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Building a Diet on Fruits and Vegetables

30 May


When I lived in London, I had a friend named Liz who went on all fruit diet for a while. She was very petite and had gotten a tiny, tiny paunch, which haunted her. While eating only fruits, Liz dropped about 20 pounds in a month. She actually had to add foods back into her diet eventually, to keep from fading away.

Liz proved the wisdom of the Weight Watchers decision several years ago to count all fruits and most vegetables as zero points. It’s not that they don’t have calories. It is just that they have so much fiber that it is nearly impossible to eat so many of them that your weight would be affected. Meanwhile, you are filling a spot in your tummy that used to be reserved for cakes, pies, and cookies!

I remember that often when people lecture me about juicing (I don’t do it–why throw all that good fiber away? I would rather make a smoothie out of the entire fruit), or giving up fruit sugar (why is the person giving me that lecture about fruit sugar usually eating a Twinkie as she does???). I know everyone has her pet theories and practices and it is a free country, but I usually let those folks talk on without paying much attention to them. I love my Weight Watchers program and it works marvelously for me! A weight loss of 110 pounds in about 13 months says it all.

I truly believe I do well to spend my food dollars more on fresh fruit than on fresh meat. Oh, I eat meat–I have been a vegetarian off-and-on but I do currently eat meat–but I eat far more fruits and veggies. I think balance is key. Meat to me is a flavoring for other things.

Would love to hear what works for all of you. Feel free to comment, down below.

Vampires and the Cleveland Horrors . . .

10 May

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight.  I had to say their names.  Their names are their identities.  These incredibly brave young women never left their names nor their identities behind, despite a decade of horrors in a torture chamber after they were kidnapped in Cleveland and forced to live out the fantasy of a madman in their community, who seems to believe he had taken three common law wives.

I have to use their names.  I can’t just say “the victims of the Cleveland kidnapping horror.”

This is not going to be another post that blames pop culture for crimes that are committed in the same timeframe.  But I do want to look at some places where we have been and wonder aloud where we are going.

There are some things that we just don’t do, because they are insensitive.  They are not wrong, maybe, in some eras, but in others they stand out like a sore thumb.  My fellow conservatives don’t always get this, but it is true.

One example is that I doubt we will ever see a high school production of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” again.  I haven’t seen one advertised in over a decade, so the show has obviously already fallen out of favor, but after this last week, I think it is gone forever.  

Remember the premise?  Seven good-looking, strong, athletic young men in the Wild West, all brothers, find there is a woman shortage when it is time for them to marry.  So . . .  they find a town with seven beautiful, marriageable young women and they kidnap them to be their wives.  

The women subsequently fall in love with their husbands, so the play markets the idea that “all is well that ends well” but . . . you can’t escape the fact that those marriages were begun with a crime, whether it was labeled that way in the Wild West or not!

An influence from my early lifetime that I am, ironically, exploring right now (as long as I can bear it), because I want to write on the influence of vampires on our culture, starting with the mild, never-shown-onscreen vampire antics of the 1960’s and prior to that, is the soap opera “Dark Shadows” which was all the rage with preteen and teen girls in 1966 and 1967.  

I am watching Season Two of “Dark Shadows” on Netflix right now.  It is total irony that the episode I saw last night involved Barnabas Collins, the gentle Englishman vampire, being impeccably polite to the father and boyfriend of Maggie Evans, whom he has kidnapped and is imprisoning in the old Collins mansion, not more than a hundred yards from the new Collins mansion where everyone is frantically searching for Maggie.  

Get it?  Man wants wife (in this case, he wants to take Maggie’s name and identity, too, and turn her into a reincarnation of his wife Josette from the 18th century).  Man kidnaps woman to be wife.  Man holds commonlaw wife nearby in the same neighborhood where she grew up.  Man is so impeccably polite that he gets away with this long term.

Newsflash which most of us already realize:  (not to make us suspicious of all politeness, because there truly are a lot of charming people on this planet who are just naturally nice) abusers don’t generally run around looking odd and saying malevolent things.  They fit in .  That is how they get away with it.  Often they are the most charming person in the room.

In my day, we would run home after school (in 3rd grade) and sneak down to my friend Agnes’s basement where her mother did not carefully monitor what was on television.  Agnes and I would watch “Dark Shadows” five nights a week after school.  We were raised on the idea of a vampire who was ever so nice, at least whenever he was not controlling Maggie Evans (and all the horrific stuff took place offscreen and was only implied).  In fact, many teen girls, a bit older than us, were in love with Jonathan Frid, the actor who played Barnabas.  He had a huge fan club.   

See what that can do to an impressionable young mind?  Create the idea that a person can be 80% wonderful and can be forgiven for the 20% stuff that happens in private.  Even when that 20% is horrific.  Even when it is a crime like kidnapping.  And a moral outrage like erasing someone’s name and identity and forcing her to take a name and identity chosen for her by another.  

Teaching young girls that extreme control tactics are a synonym for love. 

Where have we heard this before?  We have a culture saturated in it now.  We only have to turn to about 25% of our young ladies to find girls willing to believe that someone who scrutinizes their every move and tries to force them to change into his ideal woman is someone who truly loves them! 

This is a very prevalent and dangerous belief.  However, I think when we get beyond the extremes of controlling behavior, we find it is something we all share in common as a human race. 

I believe that control issues are the basis of almost every other sin we commit on this planet.  

God is sovereign, we are not, we try to be sovereign in the lives of fellow humans.  We try to control them.  

It is a very great sin and one we all commit at some point in our lives.

It is one I hope to explore a lot more in upcoming months.


Interesting that the News Services Now Go With Whatever Gender a Person Calls Himself!

28 Feb

Interesting that the News Services Now Go With Whatever Gender a Person Calls Himself!

And the wider issue is that this child is not the only child who needs appropriate schooling in that school.

We have truly become a nation of individuals who don’t care whether others lose their rights when we claim ours.

By claiming a right to the girls’ bathroom at an age where he either can’t yet have sexual reassignment surgery or it isn’t happening for some reason . . . this child is claiming the right to not only use a toilet in a private stall but also to use gym showers with girls as his body develops into an adolescent male’s body.

In a world where 20% of our girls are sexually molested, most before adulthood, I don’t suggest forcing a girl to change her clothes next to a person with male equipment.

Does she not have the right to avoid trauma, too?


Women’s Thursday: A Majority of the Human Race is Never Born

28 Feb

A Majority of the Human Race is Never Born


Writing about abortion, I have been running into statistics like those expressed in this chart about the miscarriage rate.  As you can see, it is estimated that 75% of pregnancies spontaneously abort before the mother knows she is pregnant.

Beyond that, be careful with interpretation.  The next statistic means that 10% of the 25% of pregnancies that survive the first few days will then go on to spontaneously abort in the next period.  Then 5% of the pregnancies that have survived the first two periods will spontaneously abort in the next one . . . and so on.

If we read that incorrectly and assume that 10% of the original pregnancies will spontaneously abort in the next period, then 5% of the original pregnancies in the next period after that, we end up with a chart that seems to imply that almost 100% of all pregnancies spontaneously abort.  Added to our 20-25% intentional abortion rate, that would make a birth rate of, say, 0%!!!

Now, for those of us who regard a fertilized egg as possessing an eternal soul from the moment of conception, there is a staggering thought here.

Take just a moment to contemplate that far more than half of the human race never gets to the birth process.

We pretty universally agree that those who have a soul and never reach the age of accountability go to heaven automatically.

So over half the human race will be in heaven without having ever taken one breath on this planet.  Without having made a choice to follow the God of the Bible.  In fact, He chose for them.

Now, I want us to dare consider another thought.  In the matter of election that can be so controversial, is it possible that God chose for the rest of us, too?

I know some Arminian folks are aghast at this idea.  Choice is very important to them.  They call it “free will.”

But is it as important to God as it sometimes is to us?  We love our choices, but does He see them the same way we do?

Especially the choice to be saved.

We willingly acknowledge that He knows who will be saved in the end.

Could He also have chosen them, chosen for them to come to the part of their life where they get saved?

It’s just a thought . . .


Women’s Thursday: One Voice in the Abortion Debate

21 Feb

Women’s Thursday: One Voice in the Abortion Debate

I disagree with this blogger on many different levels  She gives me the opportunity to address them.

First of all, most people who are against abortion are not also against contraceptives.  The people who are against both are usually traditional Catholics.  They are only a small percentage of Catholics, let alone of the pro-life movement!

Secondly, one bit of data usually not included in comparisons of countries where abortion is legal and those where it is illegal is the status of doctors conducting abortions in both places.  They are usually the same bunch, with one bringing women in the front doors of their clinics and the other bringing them in the back doors of their clinics.   That was also the difference that occurred in the U.S. in  January of 1973, when abortion became legal.  A totally new group of doctors did not get trained in the procedure from one day to the next.  The ones who were already providing it just became legal.

That is key because when a country makes abortion legal, the blood of those unborn babies accrues on that nation’s conscience.  When abortion is illegal, individual doctors and mothers incur the guilt for a baby’s death.  That may seem a fine point now, but that only proves how far downward our thinking has spiraled since 1973.  I don’t want anybody’s blood guilt spread over our entire nation.  If someone chooses to murder a child in the womb, let those people bear their own guilt.

So I do not concur when the post says that countries that make abortion illegal punish women who want abortions by making them seek them illegally.  In light of responsibility for blood guilt, I can’t buy that line.  For when abortion is legal, I am punished by living in a society where we collectively bear the blood guilt of every woman who aborts and every doctor who provides an abortion.  Why should I be punished with that?  Given the choice between “punishing” a woman by making her find an illegal abortion and punishing our entire society with blood guilt, I choose the former.

Thirdly, the post advances the shaky argument that a woman’s body naturally expels more fertilized eggs than are expelled via birth control; this event is referred to as a natural abortion.  Well, so what?  If God causes a fertilized egg to pass out of a woman’s body, then that is God’s decision.  I am not worried about those cases.  My objective is not to maximize the number of fertilized eggs coming to the birth process, but to suggest that people don’t have the right to play God and to cause the death of a fertilized egg, whether by a birth control method that works after fertilization or by abortion.

Fourthly, however, I do agree that those who are prolife must be consistently so and must advocate for ways in which poor women can be helped to raise the children they bear.  Those ways do not necessarily have to be funded by the government, however.

And fifthly, one final word about the post is that statistics should often be questioned.  The Western European abortion rate is said to be 12 per 1000 women, while the Eastern European abortion rate is 43 per 1000 women.  Yet we know that in the U.S., a western nation, we abort between 20% and 25% of all pregnancies.  If that were consistent with Western Europe, then we would be talking about an abortion rate in Eastern Europe that is almost 100%.  I believe the discrepancy exists because all women are included in the statistic, not just all women who get pregnant in a given year.  That would be a more meaningful statistic.

There is much to be said on the abortion issue; my initial two posts have merely scratched the surface.  But when we say it, we need to use meaningful words and concepts.


Women’s Thursday: Putting a Tenuous Toe in the Water on the Subject of Abortion

14 Feb

Putting a Tenuous Toe in the Water on the Subject of Abortion

This link is interesting to me.  I have some pretty fundamental differences with some stands Tony Campolo has taken in the past.  But that doesn’t mean I think he should shut up and never write anything again.  In blogging, there is no concept of secondary and tertiary separation, as there is in fundamentalist pulpits!

I do like the idea presented by both men here that we can’t just make it our project to dissuade women from abortion, then leave them on their own to pick up the pieces of their lives.  I think we have to be willing to use our own time, talent, and treasure to help them after their babies are born.

When we homeschooled, we collected gifts at Christmas for “Baby Jesus” in our homeschool support group.  Baby clothes, diapers, wipes, etc. to be presented to our local crisis pregnancy center.  The thought of it makes me cry even now, as Joey and I would drive a car full of packages over after our Christmas party.  Our saying was, “Since Baby Jesus isn’t here right now, let’s give to another baby in His Name.”  Such a blessing to be involved.

I do agree that the majority of abortions seem to be caused by hopelessness in women, particularly financial hopelessness.

However, I also see that many abortions don’t particularly appear to be a woman’s “choice” (as prochoice people constantly say they are).  When a young woman is being coerced by her parents or by the baby’s father to abort the child, that is no choice for her.  Just sayin’.

And there is the guilty secret, hardly ever addressed, that many, many pregnancies (and subsequent abortions) in minors involve a man who is not, himself, a minor.  How very cold of him to encourage or even offer to pay for the operation that destroys the evidence of his crime, eh?  Because sex with an underage person is still a crime.

Where is the mercy for the woman who wants to keep her baby but is being told by her parents or by her boyfriend that she will be abandoned if she chooses to give birth to the child?

And where is the mercy for the underage girl, abused by an adult and then pressured to abort an innocent child to hide the guilt of that adult?

Real people have to live with the consequences of these abortions, too.  And mental scars are no less real . . .


Women in Combat

25 Jan

Picture 017Women in Combat

Ya’ll knew I was gonna do this. After 27 years of service as a naval officer, and as a self-respecting blogger (most days), I have to do this.

I love the anecdotal story at the end of the above article in which the woman being interviewed spoke of finding a hidden insurgent and calling her male colleagues in to help her with the capture.

Thing is, my stories are anecdotal, too. When I came in, I went through Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida for my career path, although I was not going to be a pilot or a navigator. And there were three separate standards for women in that strenuous program: 1) we did not have to take the boxing block (our entertainment before we were allowed liberty was the “smokers” or boxing matches that our battalion would conduct against our sister battalion) 2) we did not have to scale the low wall on the obstacle course but just had to run up and tap it 3) we did not have to scale the high wall on the obstacle course but just had to run up and tap it. The first wall required a pull up with the upper arm muscles–it may have been eight feet tall. The second one required a pull up with a rope–it may have been twelve feet tall.

Various studies over the years confirmed the wisdom of the obstacle course exemptions. They showed how young women could ruin their shoulders for life by utilizing muscles in ways they were not equipped (or trained) to exercise them. In other words, we aren’t built the same as men and, if we are going to take on some of the same tasks, we need a long curve of prior physical training in that task before we take it on. Some women will never make it in those tasks. I am probably one of those women.

That said, I do applaud the opening of the combat door to women as inevitable. Some women are strong enough physically to handle all the same aspects of combat that men handle. Some women will handle those better than some men. C’est la vie.

I look back and smile as I remember some of the things I did in AOCS that I have never done before nor since. Kind of seems like someone else’s life in many ways. But I smile because I did them and no one can ever take that part away from me.

I parasailed behind a truck (because there were sharks in the bay that day so we could not do it behind a boat). I was lifted from the bay another day onto a helicopter (“remember, guys, let the lead hit the water before you touch it or you will be electrocuted with the charge the helicopter has built up!”). I went in the Helodunker which was a simulated helicopter cockpit, submerged upside down underwater in a pool. We were plunged into the pool, blindfolded and belted into our seats, rolled inverted, and then had to escape the cockpit after counting to ten once the machine stopped moving.

I learned to run like the wind, although I am the anti-athlete, so that the DI’s would not yell at me. I would say I tried to escape being singled out for DI attention, but as one of only four women in my class (two of the others dropped out as we went along; the third one was held back into the next class), it was impossible to avoid being singled out for extra PT. The best I could do was not be yelled at every moment of the entire training day!!!

The way I have always described it was that the DI’s seemed to really bend over backwards to get the women to drop the first six or seven weeks of the fourteen week program. But after that, I sensed a change. Although they still yelled at me, they did it with a sense of humor behind it. We never dared look DI’s in the eyes (it was against the rules), but if I had dared, I think I would have seen a glimmer of amusement there as they trashtalked me. By the end of the course, they would openly say humorous things when they were gigging us and not punish us for laughing a little bit under our breath.

I remember our beach run, near the end of our course, with Gunnery Sergeant Clark, USMC, leading the charge. He was about six foot six and had a huge stride. He ran that beach at around a seven minute mile for about three miles. And I, who have struggled in the best years of my youth since then to ever make an eight minute mile, kept up somehow. My male classmates were dropping out, crying and throwing up, and . . . I just didn’t want the hassle of him yelling at me so I gutted it out.

At the end, Gunney Clark turned to me in astonishment. “Gardner, you’re still with me?????”

“Yes, Gunnery Sergeant Clark, United States Marine Corps, I am still with you,” I gasped.

I swear, with my peripheral vision, I saw something that was almost a smile cross his face.

(Photographs are of:  1) Gunnery Sergeant Clark, of the famed beach run, with me 2) Gunnery Sergeant Walker, my class’s DI, doing the first salute ceremony with me after my commissioning)

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