Amber Blossom

Amber Blossom

Jacob Vinson


An amber blossom grows before my eyes
Attune with the shining of the autumn sun
Rising at dawn like a deep violin crescendo
Slightly wilted for lack of love’s nourishment

It smiles at me with a kind passion
Emitting its own light
Whispering at me with sweet pleasantries
Wanting me to come near
Needing to be healed

My pupils shrink with curious delight
Should I pick this flower or let it bask
In natures wondrous beauty?

Would it be better off with me,
With my broken heart its only shelter?

Could we cure each others scars,
As we lie under the open stars?

Oh, amber blossom, you intrigue me
Like no other flower before
You emanate a beaming radiance
That makes me want you ever more

If I leave, will our paths ever again intertwine?
Will I regret taking a different direction-
Regret not showing you affection?
That fear of these unknown truths
Tingles throughout my spine

I don’t want to taint your soul
For I am broken and weak
But just your soft presence
Makes my heart begin to speak-
Words filled with hope that can only come true
If I stay close to you

Oh, amber blossom
You are my world
We’ll grow together
A new life shall be unfurled

Full of contentment and splendor
Adventure and unending joy
You are so magnificent and desirable-
Rivaling Helen of Troy

Oh, amber blossom
Could it be true
That we’ll see every radiant sunset-
Every rising moon
Within each others delicate view?

Oh, amber blossom
Can it be so?
Do we belong together?

Only time will tell-
Only God can know

Cling to Singing Souls

Cling to Singing Souls

Jacob Vinson

Cling to singing souls

They are our last hope

Our only hope

That our lives do not wither away

For otherwise we would never sing

Never laugh or cry

Live only to die

Cling to singing souls

So that you may sing forever

In a symphony of life and death

After death there are no tears

No worries, or even fears

But nothing lives without hope

Hope that we all may cling

To an ancient soul that sings

And live forever, to sing and shout

Beyond time and space

Yet, I often wonder what will happen

Once I have completed my journey beyond life

Will I like it there, or will I want to go back?

Back to the place I was born, to do it over again?

Only time will tell if my beliefs will fail

But I will continue searching

For that one singing soul

That will show me the way

Through the clouds we will fly

Knowing that we are all connected

The living and the dead

Cling to singing souls

Respect the lives they once had

To one day dance among them

In abysmall fields of light

Reading – The Great Escape from Stress

Reading – The Great Escape from Stress

I just finished the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer and I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  I had shied away from books for a while, but since Twilight is such a big teen pop-culture breakthrough, I finally read the books- and I’m glad I did because now I want to read more often.  Here are some facts about reading:

It can take us to exotic lands, with powdery white beaches and clear azure skies.  It can take us back in time—even to prehistoric days—or forward to the Big Brother world of the 25th century.  It can fill our eyes with tears or make us laugh aloud.  Reading opens a window to the world, giving us a vision of things we never dreamed possible.  But, though you might not realize it, reading can also reduce your stress level.

For one thing, reading can help with problem-solving, which, in and of itself, can relieve stress.   Say you are overweight, and that is contributing to your stress. It seems that the more weight you gain, the more stressed out you become, and the more you eat.

By reading books about good nutrition, you can learn to plan meals that are low-cal and low-fat.  As a result, your weight problem might disappear—and your stress level will be greatly improved.

Reading can also be relaxing.  When you curl up with a good book, you put the rest of the world at bay.  You take time out to travel to distant worlds, to learn about different time periods, and to expose yourself to out-of-this-world philosophies.  You are essentially taking a vacation of the mind—but one that can be relatively cost-free, especially if you live near a library.

Reading can be a source of great hope, which can also help to relieve your stress.  Through biographies, you can read about famous people and learn how they overcame their struggles.  These stories of triumph might inspire you to seek ways to overcome the challenges in your own life.  Inspirational books can send your spirit soaring, enabling you to accomplish things you never dreamed possible.

Of course, there are instances when reading can raise your stress level.  For instance, if you are studying for a test, or reading about tragedies in your local newspaper, you might find your stress level skyrocketing.  That is why it is important to be choosy when it comes to your reading material.  If you’re feeling stressed, pick up a book that will relax you—perhaps a travel book, a cookbook, or a book of poetry.  Resist the urge to read something that could simply make you feel more troubled.

Self-help books are particularly effective in helping to reduce stress.  They allow you to explore your feelings and the triggers that lead to stress.  And they recommend such techniques as listening to soothing music, playing a musical instrument, playing cards, or engaging in deep breathing in order to deal with stressful situations.

Or you might buy a book to learn about a hobby that can further reduce your stress.  Perhaps it’s needlepoint, woodworking, or crochet.  It may be origami, calligraphy, or stenciling.  You can learn how to refinish furniture, paint, renovate your kitchen, or redecorate your bathroom.  You can either build upon a skill you already have, or learn a new one from scratch.

It has been shown that reading novels can relieve depression, so it should come as no surprise that such an activity can also reduce your stress.  When you read a novel, you travel to a distant place, metaphorically speaking.  This allows you to use your imagination freely as you try to picture characters and settings.  It’s a wonderful escape from the pressures of everyday living, and can allow you to return to your life feeling more refreshed.

Reading also forces you to concentrate—concentration which might be otherwise lost due to stress.  As a result, you learn to exercise your mind—an exercise that can bear much fruit.  Thanks to your reading, you may notice you find it easier to remember things which can, in turn, reduce your stress level.

If you find that you don’t like to read, you might start with graphic novels.  These comic book-like creations might appeal to you because of their interesting pictures.  Or you might simply start with glossy magazines.  In the long run, it doesn’t matter so much what you read as how much you read.  Read in the grocery line, at the bank, or while pedaling your stationary bike.  You’ll quickly find that the more you read, the more you will want to read, and the less stress you will feel.

Bloggers Unite World Aids Day

Bloggers Unite

Bloggers Unite

I’m over a month late, but Dec 1, 2008 was Bloggers Unite World AIDS Day.  Better late than never.

More than 33 million people are living with HIV worldwide, including 2.5 million new cases in 2007 alone. For the United States, the latest numbers indicate that more than 1 million Americans are living with HIV-and one in four of them did not know it.
Behaviors associated with drug abuse are among the main factors in the spread of HIV infection in the United States.

Drugs can change the way the brain works, disrupting the parts of the brain that people use to weigh risks and benefits when making decisions.

This site connects you to information about the link between drug abuse and HIV infection. It contains information for young people, parents and teachers, and the media with links to our latest research findings and news updates. Read on to Learn the Link between drug abuse and HIV and to help us Send the Message.

January is National Blood Donor Month

blood1_0inline

January is National Blood Donor Month

Start off the new year right, by donating blood to the Red Cross or your local blood bank in honor of National Blood Donor Month. The process only takes an hour of your time, and results in lifesaving platelets or pints of blood for those in need.

Hundreds of thousands of healthy people with good, visible veins  donate blood every year. I have seen the Red Cross donation truck parked at shopping malls, grocery store parking lots, and schools and there are donation centers located nationwide. All blood types are needed and with more traffic accidents happening during the winter season, clean backup blood is sparse this time of year.

The first month of the year has been recognized as National Blood Donor Month since 1970. According to the American Association of Blood Banks, now known as AABB, in the United States every day, “approximately 39,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims.” The AABB works in conjunction with the American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers and their main goal is to help those in need of blood, especially in harsh winter environments due to illness, accidents, and unforeseen weather conditions.

In order to donate blood, you have to meet certain donor requirements. The most important is that you must be at least 17 years old in order to give blood voluntarily, although some states do consent at 16 with written parental consent. You must be at least 110 pounds, you should be healthy meaning without infection, not on antibiotics, without a fever, and generally feeling well on day of donation. You may only donate if you have not given blood within 8 weeks.  The rest of the guidelines are available here from the American Red Cross.

CEO of America’s Blood Centers, Jim MacPherson says that a major shortage during the cold season could risk lives if people don’t try to donate on a regular basis. “To avert critical blood shortages this winter, we need citizens across the country to schedule an appointment to donate blood…. Blood has a shelf life of only 42 days, which means it constantly needs to be replenished. Donors can give blood every 56 days, or six times a year.”

Teachers and students around the country can also benefit from blood donor month without even having to donate blood. Because elementary age students are unable to donate, donation centers offer classes and demonstrations on how a blood bank works including the different types of blood, the blood donation process, all while providing a community service and an informative lesson plan for schools and home school families.

By inviting a spokesperson to talk to your class or organizing a field trip to your local blood bank, teachers can inspire their students to do more in the future and donate themselves. If you are too young to donate or have non-viable veins like me, you can still help by offering a monetary donation or simply by volunteering your help during this important donation window. Once the New Year is over, the champagne is gone, and the parties are cleaned up, think about donating blood this January, you might even get a slice of pizza or a free t-shirt.

New Year’s Resolutions

happy_new_year_fireworksNew Year’s Resolutions

I hope you all are enjoying the holidays and no matter where you live, I hope you have a happy and festive new year.  New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. Did your New Year resolutions make this top-ten list?

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends

Recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.  Work shouldn’t always come first!

2. Fit in Fitness

The evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.

3. Tame the Bulge

Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year’s commitment to shed extra pounds.

4. Quit Smoking

If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life!

5. Enjoy Life More

Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that “enjoying life more” has become a popular resolution in recent years. It’s an important step to a happier and healthier you! Just get out and try something new! Take up a new hobby or try your hand at skiing. Go to a theater performance, or head to the local spa.

6. Quit Drinking

While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available. E-mail me if you want more details.

7. Get Out of Debt

Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It’s a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.

8. Learn Something New

Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year’s resolutions to keep.  Most local colleges and universities offer distance and adult education programs.

9. Help Others

A popular, non-selfish New Year’s resolution, volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help. If your time is really in short supply, maybe you can at least find it in you to donate the furniture, clothing and other household items that you no longer need, rather than leaving them out by the curb to fill up our landfills.

10. Get Organized

On just about every New Year resolution top ten list, organization can be a very reasonable goal. Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite someone over on a whim, or your office organized enough that you can find the stapler when you need it, these tips and resources should get you started on the way to a more organized life.

If this isn’t one of your New Year’s Resolutions, please leave a comment to let others know what you’re doing to improve your life throughout 2009.

My Memorable Blog Posts from 2008:

The Last Autumn Leaf

Beyond the Storm

The Calling

Harmony of the Worlds

Staying Positive in Tough Times

Turn Around the Negative Self-Talk

Anima Mundi

The Optimism Test

Flow

The Key

The Breakthrough


Foods and Tips that Relieve Stress

Strawberies calm stress and reduce anxiety.

Strawberries can calm stress and reduce anxiety.

Good foods to help relieve stress:

Avocados
Nuts
Bananas
Oranges
Soy
Spinach
Strawberries
Turkey

For more look here: http://www.freesamplesite.com/ydf/sh….php?p=1324255

Stress hormones:

trigger back pain
weaken the immune system.
make blood sugar rise and can promote diabetes.
increases your chances of developing gum disease.
Can cause depression.

80% of fatigue is from stress. Get a 20-30 minute cat nap before 4 pm.

Stress can be produced by drugs, chemicals, infection, surgery, noise, excessive fatigue, psychological upsets, resentments, hatred and hundreds of other factors.

Job Stress Fuels Disease

Studies have shown that workplace stress can lead to serious ailments such as an increase in rates of heart disease, flu virus, metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure.

Some studies have found stress can cause unhealthy behaviors, such as eating poorly or drinking more alcohol, which can then lead to health problems. In the new study, the researchers suggest stress can have a more direct effect, disrupting the body’s ability to process glucose, leading to diabetes. Those who are chronically stressed are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. The results held even when factors like age, sex, exercise and obesity were taken into account.

Stress leads to emotional exhaustion, physical fatigue or exhaustion and cognitive weariness (slow thinking).

________________________________________________________________

Affection signals the brain to release oxytocin, a hormone that boosts feelings of affection and is a buffer against stress–and has even been used to treat depression.

We all need to be touched several times a day. Hug family and friends to raises level of Oxytocin that slows the body’s response to stress. Smooching signals the brain to release oxytocin, a hormone that boots feelings of affection and is a buffer against stress–and has even been used to treat depression.*This is why we al need to be touched several times a day.

One of the best weapons against tension is laughter which lowers levels of the damaging stress hormone cortisol. (Cortisol will cause us to crave comfort foods like chocolate cake.) Laughter reverses the constriction of blood vessels, helps protect brain cells and helps us get rid of the fat stomach that cortisol gives us in times of stress.

Stress is detrimental to the immune system and laughter has the ability to strengthen the immune system. Laughter helps boost the immune function by raising levels of infection fighting T-cells, produces a general sense of well being. It works as a prescription drug but is entirely natural and has no negative side effects.

People who get enough sleep feel significantly more cheerful the next day (plus it helps get rid of the damaging stress hormone cortisol in your stomach which makes you look fat). Lack of sleep can lead to strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, psychiatric problems, weight gain, decreased alertness, impaired memory and cognitive ability and along with the increased stress.
Get plenty of sleep.

Go to bed early (at 9:00, if you have to) and try to wake naturally without an alarm clock. Unplug the phone in your bedroom so you can’t be bothered. Drink milk at bedtime to sleep better and be significantly more alert the next day. Any variety even lactose-reduced, skim, full-fat or flavored will work.

Siberian Eleuthero (aka Siberian ginseng) helps keep you sharp and alert. It helps support the adrenal glands which become depleted during stress. 200 mg capsule twice daily (health food stores)

Vitamin C helps reduce the physical and psychological toll of stress, and even lowered stress-induced high blood pressure as much as 10% when taken regularly. Orange juice is proven to lower levels of cortisol, 1000 mg Vitamin C- completely wipes out elevated levels of stress hormone cortisol.

Grapefruit and oranges and whey protein contain a stress busting ingredient and will help you stay calm tension free. Whey contains alpha lactalbumin that boosts the body’s level of tryptophan, a building block of the feel-good hormone serotonin by as much as 43%. (Serotonin is a brain chemical that reduces hunger and boosts our sense of well being. When serotonin is low (which happens when you go “low carb”) you become increasingly dissatisfied with both food and life, making it harder to stick to a diet. Low serotonin levels make us much more prone to nighttime munchies but when serotonin levels are high we just don’t crave sweets. We need the right cards to get thin.

Foods that are considered sources of tryptophan (a natural sedative) are dairy products, beef, turkey meat poultry, barley, brown rice, fish, soybeans, and peanuts.

600 mg. of Valerian daily for a week. Valerian is a natural muscle relaxant, so it also is an excellent remedy for stress induced insomnia.

Lemon balm- Drink lemon balm tea or take an 80 mg. capsule three times a day (health food store)

10 minutes of sun

Orange scent- a drop calms people and puts them in a more positive mood.

Relaxing also helps you *to unlock fat stores caused by the stress**hormone cortisol.*

Read something fun*instead of stress-inducing “thrillers”.

Chew gum to relieve muscle tension (preferably Big Red, which contains cinnamon which naturally kills bacteria in our mouths for up to 30 minutes after*wards)

5-10 min walk to help reduce stress by boosting feel good endorphins in your body. Stress constricts blood vessels and lowers our immune system and ability to fight off disease.*Just 30 minutes, three to four times a week will keep your stress hormones down. Anything that gets your heart rate up–even heavy cleaning–will work.*

Deep breathing calms the nervous system, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and reduces the level of cortisol.*

Nuts, rich in magnesium , a mineral proven to instantly help people feel calm and content or a cheese plate– the protein boosts serotonin levels in the brain, putting you in a happier, more relaxed mood. Serotonin is a brain chemical that reduces hunger and boosts our sense of well being. When serotonin is low (which happens when you go “low carb”) you become increasingly dissatisfied with both food and life, making it harder to stick to a diet. Low serotonin levels make us much more prone to nighttime munchies but when serotonin levels are high we just don’t crave sweets. We need the right cards to get thin. V-8 stops the munchies Protein helps prevent high levels of the stress cortisol. (Good sources eggs, fish, chicken tofu and beans.

Magnesium rich foods- tofu, cashews, almonds, turkey, spinach, avocados and Brazil nuts-*
strawberries
apples

Wear the calming color of blue (the color red can actually make you feel stressed.)

Listen to 25 minutes of relaxing music daily can lower stress hormone by 25%.

Make sure you are taking a multi-vitamin daily.

Avoid alcohol as it depletes your body of B-Vitamins and magnesium.
B vitamins are very important and should be taken in a complex with all of the other B vitamins. (B-150 at Wal-Mart is a good one.)*Molasses, Brewer’s Yeast and wheat germ are rich in “B” vitamins

Fact: If you exercise to lose weight chances are you won’t stick with it. But if you walk or do other exercise to lower stress, chances are that you will.*

The easiest way to solve any problem is to simply let it go. Let go of the struggle and you will be released.*

Stress increases your chances of developing gum disease.

Lavender, rose and jasmine oil are all natural stress relievers.*

Before entering a stressful situation take a moment to reflect on what’s most important you–ex: your faith. It will tame your body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol.

FACT: There is a link between everyday stress, tension and excess stubborn belly fat. High levels of the stress hormone, cortisol can cause lots of excess body fat to accumulate around your waist and tummy…(that weight gain that gives us a big basket-ball like stomach) creating a bulging midsection and destroying your figure. It is a health threat to an estimated 47 million Americans. The harmful combination of everyday stess, overeating, and excess cortisol…all conspires to keep us overweight, tired, and thick around the middle.*

Cortisol, which has also been linked to Alzheimers, causes us to crave comfort foods like chocolate cake.

* Ok….stress–> cortisol –> Alzheimer’s and now they are showing Alzheimer’s has a link to diabetes! .

Chronic stress triggers major biochemical changes that practically give our bodies no choice but to gain weight. When Cortisol is consistently released into the blood stream the digestive system becomes weak and unable to alert the liver that the stomach is full. Cortisol causes a blood sugar flux that sparks carb cravings so intense that sticking to a diet is nearly impossible.

A tongue that is red and bumpy it is a sign of cortisol overload.

Protein (beans, chicken, eggs and fish are foods that counterattack the cortisol.) and helps prevent high levels of the stress cortisol. (Stress slows down metabolism which causes weight gain.)

To ease stress, try this acupuncture trick: Hold out your right arm, wrist straight and fingers relaxed. Measure two fingerwidths down from your wrist; press that point for 10 seconds, then release for 10 seconds. Repeat nine times. Pressing this point sends a calming energy flow to the heart and triggers a 22 percent drop in cortisol almost instantly.

Stress can slow down your metabolism. When the body is faces with stress of any kind–a traffic jam, an illness, an over-wrought boss or even the stress of dieting –it releases anti-stress (adrenal) hormones, particularly norepinephrine. In a well-nourished, fit person, the body recovers quickly from the stress and goes on as before. Most average Americans are existing on what can be termed a “fast food” that depletes their reserves of micro-nutrients. When this happens, the body’s fat-burning ability is impaired.*

To reduce the effect of stress on your body and get your metabolism in high gear you need anti-stress vitamins and minerals (which can also help you control hunger and cravings and help you control stress) and you need to be active. (You may not even feel like being active now but once you get your metabolism corrected you will start losing weight and feel so good about it you will want to be more active to burn more calories.)

The Department of Health lists caffeine along with nicotine and heroin as an addictive substance. Caffeine is also a real stress on the body–one that has a negative effect on your metabolism. The anti-stress hormones are the substances that prepare your body for an appropriate reaction to stress.*

Caffeine causes the release of these anti-stress hormones. Eventually the body’s supply of these hormones is depleted. When that happens you begin to notice symptoms: fatigue, headaches, irritability and a general run-down feeling. What you aren’t noticing is that due to the depletion of the anti-stress hormones, your metabolism is slowing down and your ability to burn calories has been compromised. You simply can’t lose weight effectively.

Anti-stress formula vitamin will help you lose weight because stress slows your metabolism. Get a good quality multiple vitamin and mineral compound containing 10,000 IUs of beta-carotene and approximately 50 mg of each of the B vitamins plus 1,000 mg of Vitamin C, 400 IUs of Vitamin E and 50 mcg of selenium.*

When we eat a candy bar–which contains more sugar than a body can use in a week– blood-sugar levels goes up and the pancreas overreacts, producing an excess of insulin. This flood of insulin depresses your blood sugar severely. In response the adrenal glands release anti-stress hormones, which in turn release the sugar that is stored in the liver for emergencies.

The ultimate result is that you get a brief burst of energy from the candy. Then your insulin level goes up and your spirits fall. Suddenly you feel tired, irritable, moody, depressed–and you don’t know why. But finally your adrenal gland kicks in and you experience feelings of anxiety, including nervousness and sometimes even palpitations. The extreme rise and fall of insulin levels makes you hungry. Sugar is causing symptoms of energy followed by depression followed by anxiety and a constant feeling of hunger.

*Make sure to talk to your doctor about the foods that you eat and the level of stress that you have. I am not a doctor