Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The downside of energy drinks

How often do you reach for an energy drink to increase alertness? While energy drinks help during tasks that require focus, regular consumption of energy drinks pose health risks and sudden death in some individuals. When we choose energy drinks as a substitute for sleep, we injure our bodies and can develop long-term health problems. Research and company product analysis reveals the average teen and young adult consumes two to three 16-ounce to 24-ounce servings daily.

While parents recoil at the thought of young teens having coffee with breakfast, permitting energy drinks causes excess caffeine consumption and leads to a host of additional health issues. It is important to understand that the instant alertness from an energy drink comes from excess amounts of caffeine and sugar. An eight-ounce cup of coffee contains 100 milligrams of caffeine, as does eight ounces of the average energy drink. However, the average size for an energy drink is 16 to 24 ounces, containing 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per can.

When the caffeine content in the energy drink is combined with sugar, (an average of 15 teaspoons, or one-third cup, per 16 ounce serving), trace B vitamins, and carnitine (an amino acid purportedly pumps up endurance and promotes fat burning. Most people only need extra carnitine if deficient (which is rare) and more than 3 grams a day can lead to stomach upset and possibly seizures. The combination of ingredients in energy drinks can lead to high blood pressure, depression, and cardiac arrhythmia. As of 2014, 34 cases of deaths and 56 serious health events linked directly to energy drink consumption have been reported by the Food and Drug Administration. This may seem like a small number, but consider the unreported cases of high blood pressure complications, anxiety, cardio arrhythmia, and depression that have roots in over consumptions of energy drinks.

For a review of popular energy drinks by Consumer Reports click here.

High blood pressure affects the ability of the arteries to open and close. When your blood pressure rises, the muscles in the artery wall respond by pushing back harder. This enlarges the arterial muscles and makes the artery walls thicker. Thicker arteries decrease the amount of blood that can pass through the arteries.  Over time, high blood pressure leads to heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, dementia and more. For a full list click here. 

Depression associated with energy drink consumption is caused by a rise in the brain chemical norepinephrine. As the nerepinephrine increases, there are enhanced negative feelings, feelings of distrust, and increasing the desire to fight or flee from unpleasant situations. In addition, anxiety increases. “In previous research, we found that energy drink consumption increased blood pressure in healthy young adults,” explained first author and Mayo Clinic cardiology fellow Anna Svatikova. “We now show that the increases in blood pressure are accompanied by increases in norepinephrine, a stress hormone chemical, and this could predispose an increased risk of cardiac events — even in healthy people.”

Heart rhythm problems (heart arrhythmias) occur when the electrical impulses that coordinates your heartbeats do not work properly, causing your heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly. The excess caffeine and sugar in the energy drinks contribute to abnormal heart rhythm.

Ask yourself if the energy drink is really worth the risk. There are so many healthier ways to increase and sustain your energy. Practice getting 7-8 hours sleep each night, improve your diet my including lean protein and smart carbs like almonds, cheese and Greek yogurt. While working, at home or on the job, take a short walk (5-10 minutes) about every hour and a half. Take naps when you can (there is nothing like a 20 minutes power nap.

Get creative, get more energy and improve your overall health by ditching the instant energy and focusing on renewable, sustainable energy.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

How to paste wax a hardwood floor

I have learned how to paste wax an old hardwood floor. The process will work for any floor. I put this together from twenty or so sites I found when searching for methods of paste waxing floors. I learned the difference in buffing, polishing, and cleaning the floor. This will save time when you decide to paste wax your hardwood floor.
Buffing removes excess wax. Polishing makes the floor very shiny. Cleaning pads remove smears, spots, scratches, and redistributes the wax.
Since you are making the paste wax commitment, use a bonafide household floor machine. I use a Koblenz Cleaning Machine. If you do not want to use a machine, you can purchase buffing and polishing pads from a hardware store. You can also use a car wax buffer/polisher.
Step 1
Sweep the floor. Duh! Floor vacuums work best for pet hair. If you do not have a floor vacuum use a micro fiber mop after sweeping. Spray the micro fiber mop with Endust for easier cleaning.
Step 2
Mop with a mixture of vinegar and water. Use one gallon of water to one cup of cleaning vinegar. A sponge mop works best to control the dampness on the hardwood floor.
Step 3

Find an old rag or towel that is mostly lint free. Dampen the rag. Start at the wall and apply the paste wax to the hardwood floor. Yes, hands and knees. However, it goes fast. Wipe the floor with the wax, applying a thin coat to the floor.
Step 4

Let the paste wax dry. Depending on how thick the wax coating, this should take 15 minutes to one half hour. You will be able to see when the paste wax is dry because it will look cloudy and dull.
Step 5

Buff the paste wax. I use a Koblenz Cleaning Machine I picked up used. Because the buffing also picks up excess wax, it is prudent to have a few buffing pads on hand.
Step 6

Use a polishing pad or the polishing brushes. This will further smooth the wax. I buff again after this because I am OCD and little streaks and spots appear.
Some tips

If you are applying past wax on a floor with a decent polyurethane finish, use less wax. If your floor is losing finish, you can apply a little more. The finish will prevent the paste wax from sinking in, so you will need some extra buffing.
If you cannot seem to buff out the streaks or spots, get the cleaning pads for the machine. The cleaning pads are rougher, redistribute the paste wax, and remove the spots. Buff again after the cleaning pads.  

Friday, January 26, 2018

God cares for small prayers

God answered a small prayer for me today. I had a large box of photo matte paper I had gotten from work. The paper was high quality, 4ft. by 4 ft. I only wanted four sheets, but had to take the entire box. I had set it outside with a big “FREE MATTE PAPER”.

No one took it. The box fell over, was rained on, and too heavy for me to bend and lift into my trashcan. Yesterday, as I thought about how I would cut it down to get rid of it, I asked God to touch the heart of the trash man to pick up the box for me.

This morning, I heard the recycle truck. When I left for work, I saw that the person had lifted, folded, and placed the box into one of my trashcans.

I smiled, and thanked God. He really does care about even the small details of my life.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Aging's Smile

Aging is coveted by small children,
Tall enough to ride, or walk, or simply reach.
Then reaching seems easy and aging turns
Mastering math, catching a ball or boy, and beauty,
Aging is distracted by desire, dreams, goals,
Lost in achieving, gaining, raising kids,
Regaining momentum in attainment, and watching babies
Turn to tall children.
Then somewhere in the mix, age becomes a distance,
Disregarded, and conversations skip.
Unseen, unknown, aging is creeping always on the young,
Bending them into worn wisdom, advanced by small children.
Cycling, aging, beauty, achievement, master, wisdom
And a small sly smile.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Yard work beats a trip to the gym

Don’t worry if you can’t make a trip to the gym because of yard work. Yard work burns calories and uses your abs, strengthens your arms, and is a killer workout for your legs. Yard work provides a great workout, burns lots of calories and increases muscle strength and definition. So mow, rake and plant. You will get a great work out, and a sense of accomplishment at the same time.
The internet exercise site Exrx has an excellent guide to calculate the calories burned during yard work.  Calculating the calories burned in one hour doing heavy yard work (based on body weight and number of minutes):
Weight 125 pounds = 425 calories
Weight 155 pounds = 527 calories
Weight 200 pounds = 680 calories
Heavy yard work burns 3.4 calories a minute (choose any weight above; divide the calories burned for one hour (60 minutes) by the weight. If you want to see your results instantly, look into a fitness tracker. The fitness tracker lets your monitor your heart rate and view the calories burned as you work.
So what is heavy yard work?
Lawn mowing
Mowing the lawn is equivalent to walking on the treadmill. If you have a hilly yard, the workout is even better. Mowing uses the major muscles in the upper body and legs. If you use a bagger on the mower, the trunk and arms benefit from bag removal and emptying. If you rake and bag the mown grass, you receive the same benefits as raking the yard.
Rake and clean the yard
During the early spring, raking up leaves and debris is equivalent to a workout on a rowing machine. Raking uses the entire upper body, the chests pectoral muscles, the shoulder muscles and the back muscles. Picking up leaves and debris works the quads, the hips, and the buttocks.
Digging with a shovel or a spade is equivalent lifting weights. The digging action uses the quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, the buttocks, biceps, and triceps. Maintaining balance as you exert the muscles provides a palates workout for the trunk.
Weeding and planting
Planting and weeding is equivalent to a cross trainer, with the added benefits of arm, shoulder and back muscles as you pull up deeply rooted growth. Planting and weeding use the back, shoulder, and arm muscles, the buttocks, and thigh muscles. Whether you kneel or squat to weed and plant, the trunk muscles are engaged for balance.
Fun fact: If you are carrying and spreading bags of mulch or top soil, the addition weight and action can burn 7 calories a minutes.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Submission to God-What does this mean?

Submission to God
Submission to God is an ongoing process in the Christian walk. Submission means to come underneath God, to abdicate your thoughts, plans, and ideas to God’s Word, and His plan for your life. This can be confusing as we move through life, faced with choices and challenged by the desires of our hearts.
As a noun, submission is the condition of being submissive, humble, or compliant; an act of submitting to the authority or control of another. As a verb, submission is to yield oneself to the authority or will of another; to permit oneself to be subjected to something; to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another.
Submission is not a natural concept. We are taught to be independent, think for ourselves, and rely upon our own resources. Submission has negative connotations: giving in, backing down, servitude, and cringing.
Submission to God is first to trust God and learn that He is loving, kind, and has a good plan for your life. As you grow in God, you begin to understand His Word is not written to hurt you. God understands the human nature; He has given wisdom in the Word to help us live well.
As we come to understand God’s Word and trust Him, we begin to see the opposition that exists in our hearts towards living a Christ centered life. It is our natural desire to hurt someone who hurts us, but God asks us to forgive. In our quest for success, we often look for ways to get gain an advantage over another person, to promote ourselves, and contrive methods to achieve our own ends.
David, a man after God’s own heart, contrived a way to be with a woman who was not his wife. Then, when she became pregnant, tried to find a way out of the situation.
God does not look for our strengths. God looks at our hearts. 1 Samuel 16: 1-13 tells us how David was chosen to be Kind. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.”So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”
What does this have to do with submission to God? David trusted God and knew Him as his strength and his source. He accepted that God had anointed him, and set out to learn to be a king. However, the power clouded his judgment, and he carried out his own agenda.
What is amazing is that when David was confronted with his sin, his inner man immediately went to his knees. He was, in his inner most being, submission to God. (Psalm 51) What impressed me the most about David’s submission was verse 16:  "For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it."
God is not looking for us to perfect ourselves. He is looking for hearts that are imperfect, yet willing to trust Him and try. God will create smooth paths within us. He will reason with us, and show us the wisdom in living a life modeling His Son Jesus. Submission is trusting God and letting Him change our heart and our life.
Psalm 51:1-19 (ESV)
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How to kill peppermint

I planted peppermint in my garden several years ago. I watched as it spread and devoured most of the other plants, and set out to kill the peppermint. Peppermint is an invasive root hog, and I tried vinegar, salt, and other methods. However, I did find one that worked quickly and killed the peppermint.

What is the best way to kill peppermint? Use Roundup. I worked as an accountant in Monsanto’s Agricultural division for 6 years. One of my tasks was to account for Roundup, from the raw material to the finished good. I learned about Roundup. Despite the claims of toxicity, Roundup is safe to use as directed, does not live in the soil, and will kill peppermint.

When using Roundup, wear garden gloves to protect against minor drips. I usually wear sweatpants, but not always long sleeves. Don’t use the spray when it is windy to avoid spray transfer to other garden plants. Wash your hands well. I usually change my clothes after because I tend to get some Roundup on my shirt and long pants.  

Since the peppermint in my garden surrounds other plants, I use the pump with a directed spray. I point the sprayer downward, focused on the outer edge of the plant growth. Peppermint has an intricate root system, so photosynthesis will transfer the plant killing chemicals of the Roundup to the root system.

The picture above shows the peppermint surrounding Black-eyed Susans. Notice that the outer portion of the peppermint is dying. The Roundup will continue to work in the root system, but will not kill the Black-eyed Susans. I use Roundup throughout my garden, around Russian Sage, Day Lilies, and other plants.

Get rid of the peppermint in one summer using Roundup. It’s a safe, sure way to stop the peppermint invasion.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Wicked Hearts

This is why we stay close to God and learn to love the world as He loves. For it is not the action of man but the heart of man that needs the grace of God.

Wayward wanton warlords
Calmly board the planes
To demonstrate a ritual
And prove their true disdain.

Treacherous, troubled tyrant
Slipped calmly into school
Fired anger into children
Uncivilized and cool.

Maleficent, malicious mother
Captured children, one by one,
And held them under water
Until each life was done.

Repellant, reprobate raper
Chased the woman as she ran,
Grabbed her by the collar,
Left her dead upon the sand

“Something wicked this way comes”
A falling from the grace
Tattered holy weave of man’s nature,
Void, the heart debased.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Women rule the world in whispers

All politics aside, women rule the world. It is not a rule of dominance or dominion over men but a leadership of concepts and lifestyle that starts at the cradle. The formative years of childhood are spent in the arms of a mother. The mother imparts values to her child, a wisdom that ingrains itself and forms the man or woman the child becomes.

The word ‘rule’ can ruffle feathers. However, to rule means to have a directive, to lead, to manage, and reach a decision. I feel compelled to clarify that when women rule, it is in the social sense, the most powerful element. Powerful because social norms determine how men and women relate and respect others. Historically, societies were not ‘civilized’ until the female voice of reason took the lead.

Women have the ability to change how society views women, men, equality, justice, fairness, respect, education, and much more. When individual women realize their potential to bring about social change, social change will begin. Women can raise their sons to respect women as they respect themselves. Woman can raise their daughters to respect themselves. Women can enable social equality with just a whisper.

When I see the horrific pictures on the internet showing veiled women in chains, or veiled woman being buried, I understand that women do not understand how powerful they are.

I read the values of the International Woman’s Day: Justice, Dignity, Hope, Equality, Collaboration, Tenacity, Appreciation, Respect, Empathy, and Forgiveness. These are the lullabies of women who move society forward.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Wounds that bind us

There is no wound so deep it can’t be mended
No relationship so shattered it cannot be restored
The real devastation comes when embers
Are selfishly discarded and ignored.
The fires of life grow dim within each season
Prayerful tending now and then required.
God has placed our hearts in careful motion
Chosen for us parent, friend and child.
The body we are bound to fills a nation
But we are bound by borders less than these
To sharpen and refine our very nature
To build the Body up upon our knees. 

So always we are free and we are fastened
To God and family, blood born, others found.
The choices that we make have lasting etchings
That only time reveals and heaven resounds
No one can separate us from God’s loving
And only we can leave His holy ground
So we are free to roam and chose our own path
But that does not disturb that we are bound.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Follow your heart without fear

To follow your heart means to trust your instincts. The heart is the choicest, the essential and most vital part of an idea or experience. To have heart is to have the courage to follow your convictions. When a person follows the heart, the way is sometimes contrary to what is expected. Others may say he is a fool, or he is chasing a pipe dream. However, when you have a dream, and pursue it, you are following our heart.

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears however measured and far away." (Henry David Thoreau)

There is an expression "the heart wants what the heart wants." This is true, but the phrase is often only associated with the emotions. Emotions are strong feelings, sometimes driven by love, and sometimes by intense anger. When we follow our emotions, we do not always follow our heart. Sometimes the feelings we have for another person pull us away from our dreams. Important people in our lives may not understand, or have the patience to support us while the dream becomes reality. They may argue with us, berate us or insist that it is them or the dream.

When faced with decisions, there are often times of confusion and doubts. We look at the pros and cons, weighing rewards and consequences. No matter how we turn the decision or the situation, if we have no peace, we are not following the heart. When we have no peace, it’s best to be silent. In the solitude of self, the heart will whisper the right choice. It is important not to allow emotion or desire to silence the truth our heart is telling us.

"If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are one, and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on'. " (Rudyard Kipling)

So how do we know the difference?

If your emotions are leading you to give up your dreams, you aren’t following your heart.

If your motives are to please those you love, you aren’t following your heart.

If you are taking the easy way, you may not be following your heart.

Following your heart takes courage and conviction. You may have to walk away from people who are important to you. You may have to confront your shortcomings, and determine in your heart to press on. Following your heart is not always easy, but the reward at the end is worth it.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Who is the holiest in God’s kingdom

Who is the holiest in God’s kingdom? Is holiness what we do or is it where the heart lies?
Salvation is a free gift from God, and all He requires is our belief and submission. It is as simple as walking through an open door, and as difficult as trying to get the locked door open. During the average lifetime, everyday living bruises us, and causes us to lock down our hearts
Education introduces alternative thoughts on reality. Society promotes self fulfillment and moral freedom. The truth is housed in shades of gray. My understanding of salvation is a level playing field.
We enter into God’s kingdom by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior. God’s love was always with us, and didn’t increase because we are now His child. The faith we have was already measured out by God, and now becomes active. In God’s eyes when we are saved we are as holy as we will ever be. 
I have been in the Kingdom for more than 30 years. I have observed many ‘movements’ within the body: the faith movements (name it and claim it), the prosperity movement (honoring those who are well off more than those who are not), and the judgment movement (those who have trouble and illness must be secretly sinning).
While faith is the substance of following Christ, prosperity, or righteousness, is the strength of Christ in us, and judgment exists within our personal relationship with Jesus. God is in control, and these movements have passed away because they were man-made. 
Yet within the individual groups of believers, some of these ideas still exist. I met one woman who vehemently opposed Joyce Meyer, call her a prosperity teacher. I tried to explain that the Word refers to prosperity as righteousness. And this left me wondering: Why is it so hard for people to believe that God wants us to prosper?
I have an illness called positional vertigo. I can get very sick at times, and have to limit my movements. Why am I sharing this? Because I met a woman in a denomination who walked up to me and asked me if I had aids because she heard I was ill. I had never really spoken with her, and only known her a short time.
I thought, off all the illnesses a person can have, why did she leap to this one? I honestly can’t look her in the eye. Not because of her question, but because of the heart if sprang from. Who thinks these things? How can a person go immediately to one of the worst conditions in America just because another person has an illness?
I have met believers who have many rules: don’t wear makeup, don’t go to movies, don’t play cards, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t fellowship with unbelievers (now that one blows me away, after all, are we only suppose to shine the light on each other?).
I had a conversation with a young woman who had accepted Jesus as Lord. She was thinking of turning back because she couldn’t conquer all the ‘don’ts’ she was being told to do. I shared with her my own salvation experience. I was told by a woman I couldn’t be saved because I was a hippie. I thought about the statement, but knew in my innermost being that Jesus was real and that I decided to follow Him. 
I didn’t change overnight; it was years of praying, listening, and being cooked in the silver pot, all the dross skimmed off, then being cooked again.
Who is the holiest in heaven? God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. No matter what we do as Christians during our journey on earth, we cannot earn a higher place in heaven.
We can draw closer to God always by learning to let our nature, our thoughts, our judgment, and our hearts give way to what God is doing in our lives. For me, that is deflecting my pride, keeping my tongue, being submissive to the rules at work, doing good wherever I see to do it, and handing my tendency for melancholy over to God every time I find it swimming in my soul.
It is remembering that we live in an imperfect world, shrouded in darkness, and it is my ‘job’ to shine a lot in this darkness. My light is kindness (even when I don’t feel kind), consistency in my actions and reactions (even when I want to slap someone), smiling, and listening for the opportunity to encourage, provide, and perform a good deed for someone. 
And I do this for unbelievers. Imagine that?  

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Lifting God Higher

I have to share a song I heard this morning. It’s Higher by Unspoken and it will move your heart and soul. What amazing lyrics. The words are an echo of my heart. I ordered the CD Follow Through tonight.

This is my favorite verse:

“The devil's got a target on my heart and my soul
But let me tell you, brother, what the devil don't know
The lower I go, the more I'm gonna lift you….
Singing hallelujah 'til I hit the dirt, oh...”

Honestly, all that life throws at us, we hit the dirt often. As I am lying in the dirt, I look up. I remember that God is good all the time. Even when it seems so bleak, God is there, and I do need to remember to use these opportunities to lift God higher.