Archive for the ‘To Our Health’ Category

Our family has survived our second week of the TV/gaming fast with zero fanfare.  Some have asked “How can you call it a fast if it’s not absolute?” since we will allow TV and computer access on exception (for example,  school & work related matters).   I liken it to the Old Testament “Daniel fast”.  Daniel and his friends refused to eat the rich foods from the royal table and ate vegetables & fruit instead.  After 10 days they appeared to be healthier than the other Israelite captives (Daniel 1:8-16).  While our TV/gaming fast is not 100% absolute unplugging, it has proved to be a healthier choice already: more rest, more human interaction, less attitude.

Although of everyone in the family I think I suffered the most this week the night hubby and kids left me in the house alone for 5 hours while they went to watch the Phillies vs. Braves in Philadelphia.  That night wasn’t just ANY night.  It was THE season premiere of Glee, one of my favorite guilty pleasure shows.  There was also that Netflix  DVD of Ironman sitting on our desk taunting me for the past week.  I was Glee’s own Sue Sylvester incarnate that evening, continually berating myself for even considering such an insane idea as a TV fast.  What on God’s green earth could I have been thinking?

The good news is I somehow remained distracted with the backlog of to-dos I had waiting for me and didn’t otherwise cave in to my burning desire to indulge myself in front of the “glowing rectangle”  (a term coined by a dear friend of mine) .  It had to have been none other than God’s grace for I am absolutely incapable of such self-discipline, ESPECIALLY when no one is around to see me.

The rest of the week, thankfully, was a cake walk for me.  My kids are still counting down the days until the end of the fast and hubby is hanging in there…not complaining or grumbling (at least not to me).  However, Mr. Mallard, our pet duck is deliriously happy as he has been getting much more one-on-one time with each member of our family than before the fast when into effect.

Here’s to hoping that the next 2 weeks get even easier!


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Our 30-Day TV & Gaming Fast

Today marks seven days into our family’s TV & gaming fast.  The idea started years ago in my heart as a slooooow burn…and turned into a roaring fire a little over a week ago.  I was fed up with the collective amount of time that each member of our family (including me) spent on mindless TV viewing, video gaming and computer gaming.

All of our addictions started out innocently, of course, and with careful moderation:

  • My kids never watched live TV; only carefully screened programs that were recorded on our Tivo. But even my 6yo ended up watching waaay more TV than he should have.
  • I used Tivo to record my “guilty pleasure” shows that I only watched late at night after everyone else was fast asleep and my body could work no more.  But staying up until 12-1am only exhausted an already exhausted mom even more. In addition, that midnight hour quickly became a time for an unneeded 4th meal of the day.
  • My husband would come home after work and innocently tune into the news but then would end up surfing…and surfing…and surfing…until he finally fell asleep in front of it.
  • When the Wii came into our house, it did so with the provision that it would only be used on the weekends and that’s pretty much how it’s been used.  However, it’s taken the place of other more beneficial ways for our kids to use their time during the weekend.
  • Computer gaming was also very minimal during the course of the day except this past year it quickly became an obsession with our 9yo.  At first, I observed his keyboarding skills improve and his spelling (as he chatted with other gamers), and I was surprised to discover that my ADHD child no longer seemed to have a problem sitting in a chair for more than 10 minutes at a time.  Indeed, he was spending EVERY spare minute he had in that computer chair and becoming increasingly upset when it was time to walk away from it!

What was the straw that broke the camel’s back?  It was a combination of many things:

  • Consistently poor sleeping habits which resulted in fatigue in both my husband and I (and irritability on my part)
  • Poor behavior of the children including a desperate and tearful attitude to rush through lessons in order to get their “computer time”
  • The lack of good, old-fashioned exercise and playtime outdoors
  • The decreased amount of quality family time
  • The decreased amount of quality husband & wife time

As one would expect, my suggestion to start this fast was not a very popular one with my family.  “I don’t like it” my husband announced.  “Mo-O-om!!! 30 DAAAAYS???” wailed my oldest.  “Let’s do it for 60 days, Mom!” said my smart-alec 6yo in an attempt to antagonize his older brother.

My plea was to do this only for 30 days with the intent to revisit the household climate and go from there.  And so it began.

So how’s it been for this family with the first week under our belt?  Let’s see:


  • I’ve experienced angst in not being able to watch the first Oprah episode of her final season as well as experiencing significant angst in not being able to watch any of the fall season line-up of  my other guilty pleasure shows.
  • My kids ask me daily how many more days until the fast is over with.


  • My husband is getting more meaningful sleep by actually falling asleep in our bedroom as opposed to in front of the TV.
  • I’m getting to bed much earlier and getting upwards of 7-8 hours per night which has put me in a better mood during the days.
  • Because we’re getting to bed earlier, so are our children which means they are getting more rest and starting their days earlier and being more productive.
  • My living room floor has been delightfully littered with engineered creations of all kinds: train tracks, blocks, legos, puzzles, etc.
  • My kids have been outdoors more during breaks and leisure time
  • We’re playing more board games together.
  • I’m slowly starting to play catch up on long overdue items (bill paying, taxes, follow-ups, etc.)

We’re still trying to navigate through this 30-day fast, however.  Questions like:

  • Can the 6yo play Leapster in the car? (yes)
  • Can the kids watch DVDs when on long drives? (no – we listen to stories on CDs instead)
  • Can we invite a good friend (who is disabled) to come over and watch the Eagles football game on Sunday? (the jury is still out on that one but probably yes)
  • Can the kids watch a bible video on TV? (yes)
  • Can mom sneak in a Netflix DVD  of Ironman when know one is looking? (she hasn’t yet but is soooooo tempted)

I can’t say it’s been a terrible week on this fast.  Challenging and tempting…but not terrible.

My prediction is that by the end of the 30 days, it will have gotten consistently easier to do without those things, perhaps even weaned some of us off the really bad habits, and overall turn out to be a much more positive experience than the majority of the family ever expected it to be.  I would LOVE to repeat it for another 30 days but the rest of the family might feel the need to disown me if that happens.

Stay tuned for next week’s update!

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Eyeglass ball & chain

I’ve had perfect vision my entire life up until around the age of 40 when I finally had to break down and buy dime-store reading glasses because presbyopia, otherwise known as aging eyes, finally set in.  Since then it’s been 7 years of continually degrading vision with the need to purchase higher and higher magnification lenses and, ultimately, prescription bifocals.  I have been literally chained around the neck by what my younger brother non-affectionately refers to as “coke-bottle granny glasses” (by the way, he has not so coincidentally been promised that he will suffer my same fate soon enough).

Up-down-up-down-up-down onto my face with the glasses all the live long day.  This was particularly dangerous while driving because I couldn’t see the GPS instructions on my iPhone without my glasses on yet I couldn’t see distance with them on.  Forget texting and driving; shifting glasses off & on while driving is waaaaaay more dangerous. And never mind trying to wear sunglasses and read; you either go blind from the sun or you can’t read the print.  And quite frankly, I was worn out from sitting on, stepping on, getting tangled in or panicking because I  just plain couldn’t find my glasses.

Fortunately, where once-upon-a-time LASIK surgery could not be performed on patients with presbyopia, it is available with today’s laser technology.  A quick 2-night trip to San Diego to the Gordon & Weiss Vision Institute and I no longer need that chain around my neck.  I CAN SEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!  Within minutes after my procedure I could read my surgeon’s business card.  Twenty-four hours later I could read the name of my watch maker on the face of my watch; something I was not even able to do WITH my glasses.  I can once again see the tiny freckles on my kid’s faces and be reminded how handsome my husband is.  This vision correction has been an indescribable gift of the highest order.

Why did I use the  Gordon & Weiss Vision Institute when I live on the East Coast?  Simple:

  1. They came highly recommended by personal friends of mine (also east-coasters).
  2. They have an impressive website presence detailing every possible aspect of eye correction, including LASIK surgery, for every possible eye problem.
  3. They have an impressive facility with state-of-the-art equipment that not many other eye institutes have (certainly not within the Philadelphia metropolitan area).
  4. They have a 0% infection rate.
  5. I was impressed that Dr. Gordon wasn’t out to financially ruin me.  While I was fully prepared and even DESIRED the multi-focal procedure in both my eyes, he alternatively recommended mono-vision correction in one eye only.  When I challenged him on the reasons behind his recommendation he simply responded with “Why do to two eyes what you can accomplish with one?”  He EASILY could have pushed the two-eye agenda but didn’t; he chose the solution that was best for the patient and not his wallet. 
  6. I was able to pay for the entire cost of the surgery through Care Credit, a third party financial institution that offered 18-months interest free payments.
  7. Last but certainly not least, the miracle that Dr. Gordon performed on my eye notwithstanding, I was incredibly impressed with the way I was treated from the first moment I stepped foot into that facility for my free 2-hour eye consultation until the last moment when I left their facility after my post-op check-up.  From the front office gal to the optometrists to the back office people to the surgeon:  EVERYONE treated me as though I was their ONLY client and that the success of their business in the future depended on my 100% satisfaction.  I was given the red carpet treatment from start to finish.   You can’t get that on the east coast where most people in the medical profession are just plain rude, tired, hurried, make you feel as though you are bothering them and think that the only reason they can overcharge by at least 100% is because they boast about the celebrity eyes they’ve corrected.  Sorry, not impressed.

I HIGHLY recommend anyone who desires corrective eye surgery to go with the very best:  Gordon & Weiss Vision Institute in San Diego!  Thank you, Dr. Gordon and staff!  I am truly blessed!!!

Praising the Lord for great doctors, great medicine & great vision!

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My naturopath is on a mission to get me to exercise on a consistent basis.  The nerve.   Actually, I do respect her tenacity and wish there was a homeopathic remedy for her to give me that would produce some of that same tenacity in me.  In the absence of said remedy, I am forced to be ever increasingly mindful of the condition of my body or, as the inspirational Neicy Nash puts it, my jiggly parts.

I hate working out.  Not just hate but DETEST.  I can’t think of anything less appealing to do with my time and my body.  I don’t CARE that Michelle Obama wakes up every morning at 4am to work out as a “gift to herself”.  The greatest gift to myself at 4am is to SLEEP.  And the thought of incorporating into my day some horrid joint-jarring, profusely-sweating form of physical activity that will only re-emphasize how much more jiggly my body parts have become just makes me cringe.  I rank it up there with having to do our (back) taxes and would rather have my fingernails removed one by one.

Having said all that, earlier this week I learned of a form of exercise that might…just might…NOT make me nauseous just thinking about it:  REBOUNDING.

Rebounding uses a mini-trampoline to perform a variety of workouts from low-level stretching to high-impact aerobics and everything inbetween (including yoga, core work, kick-boxing, hip-hop, latin, you get the idea).  Jumping on a tramp sounds fun, right?

So I ordered me that beginner’s DVD and got started today.  Things to note from this rebounding first-timer:

  1. Rebounding is, as I suspected, easy on the joints.
  2. Rebounding is, in fact, fun.
  3. Rebounding is no sissy workout.  To the contrary, it is one heck of a challenge.  My jiggly parts only lasted 10 minutes on the 20 minute-beginner workout.
  4. My $2 yard sale find mini-trampoline is insufficient.  It uses wide nylon straps, instead of springs, to secure the tarp to the frame.  I started to hear nylon-ripping noises within the first 5 minutes so I ordered the official rebounder today.
  5. Contrary to my initial preconception, the premise of rebounding is NOT jumping up and down but rather PUSHING down onto the trampoline with your legs and inner core.    As a result of this technique, my legs were screaming with pain within seconds.  I trust this unpleasantry will improve over time. After all, the participants on the workout DVD all look delirously happy.  Could happen to me…right?
  6. After my 10 minutes, my morning tension headache, which was a leftover from the night before, was gone.  This is more of a testimony, I think,to the positive effects of exercise in general rather than the method used.

There is an abundance of positive personal testimony about the benefits of the rebounding workout and I’m looking forward to extoling some of my own testimony soon.  In the meantime, my jiggly parts and I will continue to rebound. Ga-boing, ga-boing!

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