So, it's the time of year I get inundated with requests for recommendations for students that are looking to be camp counselors. So in honor of camp counselors everywhere, today's Friday Five is the Recommendation edition (which has nothing to do with camp or summer or anything--work with me, it's late....)
1. Recommend a favorite worship resource or devotional book. Right now I am loving Common Prayer by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Eunuma Okoro.
I see that it now comes in pocket, Kindle, and Audible editions...I must say it's a LARGE book and when I have been travelling I've photocopied the pages for the days I'd be away, rather than carrying the large book. I may need to get that Kindle version! From the Amazon listing: "...the authors have created a tapestry of prayer that celebrates the best of each tradition. The book also includes a unique songbook composed of music and classic lyrics to over fifty songs from various traditions, including African spirituals, traditional hymns, Mennonite gathering songs, and Taize chants." As someone intimately familiar with liturgy, but only of one flavor...I love this book's variety of traditions and resources.
2. Recommend a blog that you like to read that you think others might find enjoyable. How to choose only one!? I think one of the funniest writers around is Janel at 649.133: Girls: The Care and Maintenance Of. She is a librarian and mom of three small girls whose spouse works the night shift. She is insanely funny and occasionally profane and, oh, did I mention that she's a librarian? Thus the name of the blog. Feel that you need to be enticed just a bit? One of her children is named Bellatrix. Go, read, laugh!
3. Recommend a fiction book that you think people might like. I want everyone I know to read Someday this Pain Will Be Useful To You. I thought enough of it to put it on Goodreads, which I never take the time to do. It's an amazing book. Saith Amazon.com:
It’s time for eighteen-year-old James Sveck to begin his freshman year at Brown. Instead, he’s surfing the real estate listings, searching for a sanctuary—a nice farmhouse in Kansas, perhaps. Although James lives in twenty-first-century Manhattan, he’s more at home in the faraway worlds of Eric Rohmer or Anthony Trollope—or his favorite writer, the obscure and tragic Denton Welch. James’s sense of dislocation is exacerbated by his willfully self-absorbed parents, a disdainful sister, his Teutonically cryptic shrink, and an increasingly vague, D-list celebrity grandmother. Compounding matters is James’s growing infatuation with a handsome male colleague at the art gallery his mother owns, where James supposedly works at his summer job but where he actually plots his escape to the prairie.
In the tradition of The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Booklist has hailed Cameron as “one of the best writers about middle-class youth since Salinger”), Peter Cameron paints an indelible portrait of a teenage hero holding out for a better grownup world.
Do yourself a favor: read it. Then share it with a young person you love. Hey! in Googling for the bookcover photo, I learned this is also a movie, released in 2011. On the track of that now...
4. Recommend a favorite recipe website. O.k., if you aren't into cooking or food, then just recommend a random website that you find useful, hilarious, mind numbing or thought provoking. Okay, it's not a recipe website, but here's my guilty fascination: Shawni's blog "Life" at 71toes.com. I love her photography and descriptions of her family's activities. I can't remember how I found it, but I was initially fascinated and moved by her account of her youngest daughter's condition, which is where the name originated. Check it out. Maybe you'll be a groupie with me. :)
5. And for the last recommendation--it's bloggers' choice! Make a recommendation for anything! Hmm. I "like" Lifehacker.com's Facebook page and always learn lots of interesting ideas from them. The most recent is the one on how to make a stand for a tablet computer from an old DVD case. I'm going to try it....will let you know how it works out.
I received an email yesterday telling me that I won a random drawing at Abbey of the Arts. I was one of 430 people who submitted my "word for the year" (see below) and Christine (the Abbess) notified me that I won my choice of one of three of her online courses. I am thrilled and, in light of my word for the year, have chosen this course:
My word for the year was WINDOW, for several reasons.
* I am newly in an office with glorious windows, and it's improved my outlook and productivity amazingly. After 2 years away from natural light, I feel like I'm being nourished all day long.
* After a tough year with Ken's illness, I am trying to see where I am going. I am looking through windows I have not encountered before, and seeing things I didn't plan on. Many of the windows are still opaque; I don't know what is behind them.
* The windows in my home are very challenging to clean. They are old and fragile and mostly painted shut (boo) due to the speed with which we painted to make the house habitable when we moved in. In Texas, we mostly don't have "open window days," but there are some...and I want to get those windows unstuck and be able to open them.
* The windows in the house also have storm windows on them (which is good, because they are in no way an effective barrier to the elements on their own), but getting those storm windows down to clean them is a heck of a job.
* Thinking about cleaning windows reminded me of what the young Felix says to the young Katherine in Madeleine L'Engle's The Small Rain, explaining his description of himself as a "window cleaner:"
"We're all shut up in rooms. Everybody. And nobody can ever get in to anybody else's room. That's because we've got bodies. And the only way we can have contact with people is through the windows in our rooms. . . And some people have more windows than others. And everybody's windows get dirty. So there need to be window cleaners."
(Felix goes on to become a bishop, by the way. At this point in the narrative, that would have been laughable to all concerned. So, you see, we never know.)
* I want to clean my own windows. In some way in this world, perhaps I can help others clean their windows. I don't expect it to be easy. But I expect it to be important. Thank you, Christine!
Okay. That's probably not me. I have indeed had a personal conversion, but biblical authority? Inerrancy, even? Nope. Exceptional emphasis on atonement doesn't work well for me either. And, the last one? I tend to think of my own Christianity as similar to AA: a program of attraction, rather than of promotion.
I also found a post at GotQuestions.com:
In reality, all Christians should be evangelical Christians. The Bible is consistently instructing us to be witnesses of the good news (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; 1 Peter 3:15). There is no better news than Jesus! There is no higher calling than evangelist. There is no doubt that holding to the fundamentals of the Bible will result in a certain worldview, and yes, political belief. However, there is nothing about being an evangelical that demands a certain political party or affiliation. An evangelical Christian is called to share the good news, to preach God's Word, and to set an example of purity and integrity. If these callings require political action, so be it. At the same time, evangelical Christians should not be sidetracked into abandoning our highest calling—sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I don't think I fit it.
It actually sounds as though the term "evangelical Christian" has been co-opted by a certain group of which I emphatically do not want to be a member. And a lot of them are in those, oh my golly, CEASELESS and deadly Republican debates. Why, why did there have to be so many of them? There have been TWENTY so far, and there are EIGHT more. This is insanity. It makes me want to poke forks into my eyeballs.
Yes, I could leave the room, but I value time spent with my (recently ill) conservative husband who is watching. And I don't think it's bad to know what they are saying...even if I started out sure they wouldn't be getting my vote and have only confirmed that belief
There's not much they say that I agree with, except that we have got to STOP this FREAKING SPENDING.
But their favorite topic seems to be "THE GAY AGENDA."
Oh my gosh.
Can they not find any more important thing to talk about? Here's my suspicion: they don't know any gay people, not really know them. In my philosophy, peace and understanding in the world come from the one-on-one relationships that we build. That's why I love working in international education, because all these folks coming and going to study are having real life experiences with "the other" and also experiencing BEING "the other."
Just think if you really knew someone from that group you don't like?
As I said to a friend recently, "so two people that I love, love each other. What could be better than that?"
This past holiday season is not one I will soon forget, but not for the reason some may think. Certainly, it was a busy one for those involved in the life of the church. The 1-2 punch of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on a Sunday brought more than a few of us to our knees (or hopefully to a more comfortable napping position).
In the midst of the holiday season I had one of those moments where a path suddenly was made clear - A-ha! This experience has prompted me to wonder what some of your A-ha moments may be.
They can be mundane - a realization that you like/don't like a certain food or that you really look good in that color you never had the guts to try. They can be sacred - a way to better pace your day clicks into place or finally a devotion or meditation practice that really works for you. They can be profound - the moment you realized he/she was the one (or wasn't)or the moment you realized where your deepest passion could meet the world's greatest need.
Please tell us - what are five (more or less) of your 'A-ha' moments. Where have you had a moment of clarity?
Be sure to let us know in the comments when you play so that we can learn about your moments of clarity! Can't remember how? Here's a reminder on making that pesky link.
Happy New Year!
1) At some point(s) when a child I realized that a) if people got shot, they weren't automatically dead & 2) if someone broke an arm (for instance) it didn't break OFF.
2) Leaving my grandparents' Florida house at about 8 and realizing that I might not see them again, and crying because of that. We only saw them once a year and every year after that, I cried when we left. (As it turns out, they lived until I was 26 and I was with my grandfather when he died...just goes to show you that worrying about things doesn't get you anywhere.)
3) in grad school, I stood by a copier and asked desperately, "Oh, God, what I am going to DO with her!?"
and God said, "I'll grant you the serenity to accept the thing you cannot change." Understanding FLOODED me and I laughed!
The person next to me said, "what are you laughing about?"
"I can't CHANGE people!" I laughed.
"Well, of course not!" she said, practically. "Why would you want to try?"
"Oh," I said, "you have no idea."
That was the conversation that allowed me to experience and believe in God in a new way, too. That was big.
4) Realizing in energy work therapy that my body holds old (and new) memories, angers, fears, regrets, and that I need to clean those things out periodically. And also work on not holding them as much, if possble, through some specific daily practices.
5) Realizing that there were different theories of the Atonement and that I didn't have to accept the one I was brought up with. This was good, because otherwise I was thinking I was going to have to leave the church.
Bonus: Realizing that I had to let someone I loved, go, to make his own mistakes and that furthermore, there was no point in worrying about it. Before that happened, I also realized that I had to exert my power and anger and fight back against him on something. It was a difficult situation for this Enneagram 9, but truth was spoken.
You probably don't actually WANT to do this. It's not on most people's Top 10 lists. But it can be done and it is far, far healthier for the eater (MHO) than a diet totally made up of formulas like Ensure, Jevity, etc. Hospitals and dieticians will deny this; that's okay. You are in charge of your eater's food. (Do see my recent post with a letter from a dietician who gets it...) and see also my sermon* below
About us: A little context always helps. My husband Ken was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck in May 2011. It was discovered via biopsy of a lymph node that had been swollen for several months. There was no visible sign of the cancer and he had to have several biopsies to find the primary sites in his right tonsil and base of tongue. We were fortunate it was discovered so early; he didn't need any surgery prior to treatment. He is 61 years old and never smoked, drank moderately, did not test positive for HPV.
I am aware that feeding an adult is entirely different than feeding a child or cognitively disabled person. In the first case, your amounts and possibly foods would vary. In the second case, if the person were not cooperating or were actually fighting against the tube feeding...it would be extremely difficult. So, I hope this information helps you, but your mileage may vary.
And, please do understand that I am not a doctor or any type of medical professional. My views are my own and represent only my own knowledge and beliefs, distilled from a good bit of research. Take what you like and leave the rest.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Did you know that Human PapillomaVirus (HPV) is the leading cause of head and neck cancer in men? What this means is that men from ages 9-26 (at least in the US) can be vaccinated against HPV and their risk of contracting the disease that caused me to write this post can be greatly reduced. See this link for news about the linkage and also the Centers for Disease Control website for more detail. Please share this information widely. If we can prevent just one case of this horrible disease through the spread of information, my work here will be done. :)
SECOND PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (or, SERMON)*
Did you know that cancer eats sugar? Cancer LOOOOOOVES sugar. If you were doubting that, just think about how a PET scan works (this is the type of test used to determine whether and where cancer is present in a body.) Check this out from PetScanInfo.com:
Before a PET/CT scan, the patient receives an intravenous injection of radioactive glucose. Many cancer cells are highly metabolic andrapidly synthesize the radioactive glucose.Information regarding the location of abnormal levels of radioactive glucose obtained from the whole-body PET/CT scan helps physicians effectively pinpoint the source of cancer and detect whether cancer is isolated to one specific area or has spread to other organs.
So, the procedure is that the patient gets an injection of radioactive glucose. They sit very still and quiet under a warm blanket for about an hour, then they are put into the scanning machine. The waiting period allows all the glucose to go to the area of inflammation in the body: the cancer. (Moving around during that time would cause it to go to muscles, etc.)
Here is a picture of three different kinds of scans on the same person. The PET is on the right:
See all that beautiful rainbow of colors? That's where the cancer is, going "nom nom nom" on the nice sugar that was just provided to it.
So it seems to me (and someone will correct me if I am not correct here) that: Cancer patients should avoid sugar.
And formulas? Are made of sugar, with vitamins and other nutrients added. Seems like a great reason to stay away from them - to me. (STEPPING OFF OF SOAPBOX)....
SO: BLENDERIZED RECIPES AND FEEDING
- The essential thing to remember is that anything you can eat by mouth, you can blenderize in a machine like a VitaMix or a BlendTec. (I don't care which one you use; I have a VitaMix and it works great, but I've heard good things bout the other, too. Do your own research there.)
- I’ve found with my VitaMix that I get best results at liquefying things if I:
1)Add a sufficient amount of liquid…enough to cover or just slightly “float” the other items in the blender carafe usually works, at least to start with
2)Warm the ingredients before blending. Ken preferred blends at approximately room temperature, so that’s what I was going for…but just-cooked food works fine, it will cool off or you can drop an ice cube in it. What you don’t want is to blend cold ingredients. Yucky.
3)Add items in stages, with the big / tough ones on the bottom…like chunks of meat. Get them mostly blended before adding other things.
4)Increase blend speed slowly from 1 to 10, holding onto the top of the carafe if it’s jumpy. Then flip to 1½ minutes on High speed; that should be enough to liquefy everything well enough for tube feeds.
5)Oh, don’t leave a spoon in the carafe when you turn power on. You will have to buy a new carafe. (Sad Face.)
OTHER GENERAL COMMENTS
- I prefer stock to broth if buying it at the store. Better nutrition. And I used A LOT of stock this year…so most weeks’ shopping included a couple big fat rotisserie chickens from Sam’s Club, which I ate and included in blends, and the carcasses of which I used to make stock (add a little apple cider vinegar to help soften the bones and bring out minerals).
- For feeding with syringes (using the plunger): Regular bolus syringeswith the big rubber stopper (see photo at right) are intended for ONE use only and will get harder and harder to use as you wash them. My often-sore hands were miserable trying to force the plunger in for feeds, and we had several messy accidents. Two words: Squirrel Syringes! These are great syringes with O-rings instead of the wide rubber plunger, and they work GREAT and last forever. After a while you may need to oil the O-ring and the bottom inside of the barrel the first time it’s used after a wash. They are called Squirrel Syringes because you buy them from a place that sells supplies for feeding orphaned birds and squirrels. The one I used was The Squirrel Store http://www.squirrelstore.com/ and they are available under “Rehab Supplies.”
Below is the O-ring syringe from Squirrel Store. So nice. It IS food-grade plastic...someone from the Blenderized Diet discussion list worked with the Squirrel Store folks to determine that.
- Toward the end of tube feeding, Ken determined that gravity feeding was more comfortable for him than using the syringe with the plunger. I needed to make blends thinner for that. This can be accomplished with more broth, water, etc.
- If a blend doesn’t have much fat in it you may want to add some cold-pressed flaxseed oil or coconut oil. Both are good for health and weight gain and the fat helps the blend to flow.
- As Ken started to feel better (at least paying attention) I made sure that all the blend combinations “made sense” so that he could taste a tiny bit of it. I was trying to get him to connect what he was getting for nutrition with the tastes. In general, you can blend anything and it doesn’t matter what you put together because, as we said when we were kids, “it’s all the same once it gets to your stomach.” But if a mouth eater were to get juice, meat, and milk in one blend it might not taste great. It was a good theory; HOWEVER, what we didn’t know at the time was that radiation had caused a stricture in the esophagus and it was only about 2 mm wide. So he couldn’t really swallow anything, anyway. (Now that he’s had a dilation that’s getting better.)
- If the blend is foamy after blending, adding a little bit of water and a quick stir usually helps. Foamy blends = gassy eaters. Not good.
- It didn’t usually work to keep blended food more than 1-2 days in the fridge. I did freeze a lot of 2-cup Glad containers of food and that helped, especially when things would get crazy and I didn’t have time to make up a blend before I left for work.
- We went to Galveston with friends while he was still tube feeding and I pre-made and froze all his food for the week. It worked out fine.
- I always steamed veggies besides things most people would eat raw, like lettuce and tomatoes. Raw veggies upset his stomach.
WHAT TO BLEND
- My basic formula was to try to create a meal’s worth of nutrition in each blend. Getting that to include enough calories in the amount of food that the eater can tolerate is tough. I found that protein was hugely important there. Quinoa is a great source as are wild-caught fish & other meats.
- Here are some combinations I have used with good success. Quantities, I had to eyeball it. I learned pretty quickly. I could usually get enough for two feedings from one blender carafe. (Ken could only tolerate about 2 cups of food at a time…part of the reason his weight gain has been so hard.)
- Salmon, Quinoa, Spinach, Stock
- Pork Roast, Brown Rice, Collard Greens, Stock
- Blackeyed peas, quinoa, green beans, corn, stock
- Banana, berries, protein powder, V8 Vegetable Fruit Juice
- Lactaid Milk, protein powder, berries, spinach or kale
- Yakult is a probiotic that comes in 5-packs of little bottles. It’s by the yogurt in the dairy case. I added it about every other day to the breakfast blend. It helps keep or get the gut flora to the right place…we had a lot of trouble with thrush due to chemo.
- I also made a lot of recipes from www.DrinkYourMeals.com but added flax or other oil to most of them as they are Zone Diet balanced. I needed my eater to gain weight, not lose or maintain it. You can get a free account on there as a tube feeder, and it includes advice from a dietician. They also have a Facebook group with the same name.
- Several library books I got from my local branch library. I had them working overtime getting me books on cancer caregiving, cancer nutrition, etc.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK FOR US/CHALLENGES
- Any kind of commercial formulas . I hope this is not true for you. I think an all-formula diet is not good, but if your eater needs to gain weight, they are a big help.
- Blending scrambled eggs. Too foamy.
- When Ken was in the hospital for a week in early December, I really had to work with the staff about his food coming from home, from me. They wanted us to try a formula, and given the difficulty we'd had with getting weight on him, I was willing. Sure enough, he got nauseated after a few hours.
Their main problem seemed to be, not whether he was getting sufficient nutrition, but where I could store the food. Early on I was told there was nowhere I could put it in a fridge or freezer. REALLY? I finally threw a little fit and after some bickering among the staff, they found a place for it.
The hospital was 3 blocks from our house, so I could go home and make more food, BUT that always seemed to mean I missed a doctor visit. Not good. One time I even went at 4 am to ensure I didn't miss a doctor...and I still didn't get back in time. :)