February- Heart Month

This blog is dedicated to my precious mother, Savannah I. Hardin.

Since the death of my mother, I vowed to educate women to the best of my knowledge on heart disease which is the number one killer among women. Cardivascular disease is also the leading cause of death in the USA with one in every three deaths being related to heart disease and stroke which equals to  two thousand, two hundred deaths per day.

It is my mission to do all I can to stress the importance of good health and healthy habits. I have had to make choices for improvement and prevention. Heart disease runs rampant in my family genes due to high blood pressure and cholesterol problems which are brought on by bad choices and lack of exercise. There are many things you can do make changes to better your health. If you are a smoker, seek help and be determined to quit smoking. Eating habits are also very important. Opt for healthier recipes and drink lots of water. Exercise is also essential for good health and prevention. Just thirty minutes a day can change your life in many ways.

February is Heart Month which has been put aside by the American Heart Association which I suport. Each day this month, I will post motivatational pledges and encourage those who want to make changes in their everyday lives to improve and prevent. There are many helpful things you can do for yourself or someone whom you love. “Million Hearts” an association that has the support of multiple federal agencies including the American Heart Association and the Pharmacists Association and many others have pledged to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by the end of 2016. Their goal is to empower Americans to make healthy choices and improve care for people who need treatment. I ask that you join with me as this is a very important and personal endeavor to take the Million Hearts pledge at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov . You can also take classes at the Red Cross Assocaition for CPR and AED which is Automated External Defibrillator. It is a regret of mine for not being much prepared when my mother died in my presence as I was not qualified to help her when she needed me the most. But on her behalf and many others, I ask that you take the time and take a census of your health and be aware of the seriousness of the diseases that can claim your life in a matter of seconds.

This month wear your heart on your sleeve and show your support. Be heart healthy conscience at all times and together let’s bring those numbers down and bring healthy living up…

 

Al Anon

I am finally finding serenity through the strength of others. For over a year now, a friend of mine has encouraged me to go to Al Anon. Even though I am no longer with a family member with an active drinking problem, it was still in my best interest to find true inner healing. I had no idea just how much unhealthy leftovers were still embedded deep inside my self. Living with someone with an alcohol problem is very painful and we find ourselves caught up in the behavior of that individual. There was a time in my life, where I realized I could not change the one I loved, so I gave in and joined the band. My drinking festivities began to escalate, but by the grace of God and a strong will, I was able to back down from an everyday alcohol splurge.

My problems did not end there. I figured if I could do it, so could everyone else. I had become the self-righteous one. It was at this point, I began to blame and focus on the faults of the one who became the enemy. My husband. I felt I could honestly change his ways to match the way I felt he should be. I tried to control the situations as I saw them getting out of hand. There were public scenes, the shoving and the pushing emotionally. Then the abuse. I took on the blame and the hurt. The fears and the guilt of that alcoholic making myself sick. I would talk to others, but realized I was talking with the wrong people. The ones I confided in had no idea what I was going through. They never dealt with it nor had they been exposed to it. All they would say to me was, “I’ll pray for you.” There is nothing wrong with telling someone else that you will send up a prayer for  them. We all need it! But what I needed was for someone to tell me to get help. I needed to know I was not the problem. But there were those who made it a point to put me on that cross and place the blame on me. I began to lose my self-esteem. I started concealing my feelings and filling my self with anger and frustrations that became unmanageable. I now wanted to strike back. I felt the need to punish and make my alcoholic husband pay for all of the damage he had brought into our marraige. After all, I felt cheated, hopeless, and like life has had it’s final moments with me.

Help was no where in sight. I had to try and learn to heal on my own. I survived the best way I could find. But, something was still missing. It was me! I had not healed as I thought I had over the past few years of being alone. Those seeds that were planted inside of me grew even deeper and rooted resentment and bitterness deep in the heart of me. I did not realize how messed up I still was until a dear friend recognized our conversations were about the alcoholic and what he did to destroy me. That was a definite indication of someone not healed. He kept insisting I go to Al Anon. “But why should I. I am no  longer with this man,” would always be my excuse. Finally after the pleading and the pushing, I gave in. Now, I will forever be indebted to this man for caring enough and having the knowledge enough to know exactly what I needed to heal. A place where judgement is not allowed. No pointing fingers and condemning. I am learning it was not my fault. I am learning to forgive myself so I can better forgive others. Now, I want to encourage you to join Al Anon. If you have a member of your family, or know someone close who is an alcoholic, I strongly urge you to give in and take that step. It’s never to late to pick yourself up out of those ashes. You will be accepted no matter what. The support is there and it will turn your life around. Then, you will be able to truly reach out to others who might be facing the same as you. You will also understand you and the alcoholism.

Al Anon Family Groups are located everywhere. They offer hope for families and friends of alcoholics. You can go to wso@al-anon.org. Or  if there is a teen who has a problem, you can find help at www.al-anon.alateen.org.  Take that step and go the distance…

Grief

This week has been an emotional land-mine. From family issues to news of those in my past who are no longer with us. My heart could not find a moment of safe haven as the news, bitter as it was, made constant it’s comfort as it broke through the lives and brought grief unbearable. I, like so many others, know grief first hand and it’s unwelcoming bite. I remember my first real encounter with this monster was when my brother died. No one expected such a tragedy. I had feelings I could not understand. At first, there was denial, then anger. I watched my mom slip into nothingness as the pain was too harsh for her. My dad tried to be strong, but even I could recognize the hurt that eventually brought him to his knees.

Then the unthinkable happened. I lost my mom when her very life source gave way and claimed her being. Again, I watched my dad suffer as loss made him prisoner holding him in the chains that none of us choose to wear. Then recently, death came once again to claim my father. Many times during these horrible moments, I heard so many well-meaning people try to offer their condolances. “Be strong during this time” or “you’ve got to tbe strong for your family.” Unless you have walked down this path, you really have no idea about how being strong is at the very bottom of death’s totem pole. I could not quite get how to be strong. I even tried but failed miserably. It’s been 8 months since the death of my dad and I still grieve. I find some moments are worse than others, but I have learned grieving is as individual as our lives.

Our grief is our emotional healing. Shock, anger and guilt. I felt these three as they hit me hard and sure. I even felt angry at God and casted my blame upon Him. After all, He is the giver of life. He gives and takes away. But what I failed to understand is that God’s purpose is not always for me to grasp it’s understanding. We know the saying, “you never know what you have until its gone.” But, we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives. We are blessed to have those we love in our lives and once they are gone that does not mean life is over for us. We must carry on and press forward accepting the goodness that waits for us. The ones who have left us have recieved a life far more superior and rewarding.

Grieve as you may, but live life to it’s fullest with all the potential it offers you. Welcome the newness that arrives as healing gives wings and brings warmth to your soul. There is a time to live and a time to die and while you live, offer hope. Show more love. Bring joy to the tired and weary. Laugh out loud. Don’t just exist, LIVE…

This post was inspired by my loved ones that have already gone, and for those who are experiencing death’s leftovers. Janice Mau, Mark Parsec, Barry Fergusson and many others, life is beautiful you’ve proved it with your love towards those you’ve lost. In honor of my friend Jan Nydell, you will be missed, but your journey cleaves now to life eternal…

Drops Of January

I love the old proverb; “he loses his thanks who promises and delays.” But with my own experiences, promises like babies are easy to make, they’re just hard to deliver. Every year of our lives, we come to an end and start anew on the first day of January. It’s almost like a spiritual rousing in one’s life. It’s all about newness, freshness, new beginnings. Get rid of the old, start over. It’s always a second chance we give ourselves.

We celebrate January, as it is a new month in a new year. It’s all about “new.” But as we make a promise to make changes, for most of us,  somewhere along the way we become blindsided falling off the wagon and resorting back to the place we vowed to leave. Sometimes, we find a way to get back up and get back on that wagon, while most times we give in and give ourselves reasons to continue with the old ways we wanted to change to begin with.

How do we build a custom-fit plan of loyalty to ourselves and commit to the vows we make and deem to carry out starting on the first day of the year? The first place to start is in the mirror. You know, the place where you have that conversation with yourself from time to time. It’s not a one-time promise and expecting your world to change. That monkey on your back did not decide to vacay when you decided to do things differently. Those little demons that like to argue with the angels on the other shoulder are not easily intimidated. They are going to fight to win. For every reason you will have to better your self, there will be a hundred coming from that monkey and those demons trying to convince you why you should’nt. So, every morning, start anew just like it’s the first day of the year. Keep that January spirit inside you all year long. When you feel like giving up, celebrate those drops of January and know that each new day brings a new start…

Dear Abby Moments

Digging through my archives, I found this little blog I did back in 2012. I think it’s worthy of a reblog, and if you enjoyed it as much as me please leave a comment and let me know…..

My favorite part of reading the paper is reading the Dear Abby column. Most of the time, you read about sincere advice seeking inquirers needing sincere answers to their dilemmas, at more rare times, you will find humorous posts that you will never be able to forget about. I found one of those unforgettable post many years ago, but have never forgotten it.

I can only imagine what it would be like to try and answer some of those letters that she receives, such as:

Dear Abby,

My neighbors are two women who live together and there is never a man seen coming into or leaving their apartment. I am curious if it might be possible that the women are Lebanese?

Or how about the man who wants to know what he can do about all the sex, nudity and fowl language on his VCR?

Not to mention the worried young woman who says she has a man she can’t trust. He cheats so much, and she is not sure if the baby she is carrying is his.

My favorite of all is the young man whose reputation is at stake. Here is his letter to Abby:

Dear Abby,

I am a crack dealer who has recently been diagnosed as a carrier of the HIV virus. My sister is married to a transvestite. My parents are from Philadelphia and were arrested for growing and selling Marijuana, and they are dependent on my other two sisters who are prostitutes in Jersey City. One of my brothers is serving a non-parole life sentence in Attica for murdering a 14 year old boy. The other brother is being held in the Wellington Remand Center on charges of sexual misconduct with his three children. I am engaged to a Thai prostitute in the Bronx. She is still a part time “working girl” in a brothel. We plan to open our own brothel with my fiance being the working manager. We hope my two sisters will join our team and make it a family buisness. However, I prefer they wouldn’t prostitute, but I feel like it would be getting them off the streets and their heroin habits. I love my fiance and look forward to bringing her into the family and I certainly want to be honest with her. Should I tell her about my distant cousin who is French?

Signed,

Worried about my reputation,

Hello World

Happy 2012 everyone and welcome to my blog page. As most of you know, I love writing about this and that and the other, and this year, I am going to be blogging more than usual. I invite you to sit down for a read and maybe perhaps leave  a comment or even a suggestion.

This is a new blog and I don’t have any posts ready yet, but I am leaving you with the awreness of my best not-so-kept secret. So watch for upcoming posts and I will try and keep it non-boring for your reading pleasure.

From my mind to yours,

Jane