Serious Sunday

This morning at church a friend of mine shared her story. I knew much of it but learned a few new details today.

It is a story of redemption. It is a story of years of darkness and lostness and aloneness. It is a story of life not making sense in the day to day. 

Her world was completely broken. She was standing at the edge of a cliff with the grounding disappearing beneath her feet.

But how encouraging to know the truth. The truth that in the middle of her pain, God was there. He was in pain with her. As parents we know that when a child of ours is suffering and in anguish, how great is our anguish, as well. I fully believe that the Lord grieves with us. 

I admit that I do not understand why God does not/will not intervene in circumstances. This is one of the (many) great mysteries of life. But I do know that He is a God of redemption. He is a God who will make all things right, in time. 

For my friend, He made all things right. He made it so right that this story could have only been written by Him. Her story made a complete circle that no one, not one person would have believed 40 years ago. It is still hard to believe except that we have the proof. 

And for those of you who know the photo, oh yes I did. 


Selfie Elbow

“Selfie Elbow” is now a real medical condition. Who-da-thunk-it?

When I awaken with sore muscles after a previous day of yoga or a rigorous upper body workout, it feels great. I love to know I have pushed myself and fatigued muscles that are now in the process of rebuilding stronger.

However, if I awaken with a sore elbow from a previous day of taking too many selfies, that feeling would not be great. 

Selfie elbow is the latest tech-induced ailment to sweep the world of smartphone addicts. People are holding their elbows in a bent position for extended periods of time in order to get the best angle for their selfies. The result is a strain on the tendons, muscle soreness, and overuse injuries.

Mary Ann Wilmarth, a doctor of physical therapy and spokeswoman for the American Physical Therapy Association told the Washington Post that “Selfie elbow is similar to tennis elbow or golfers elbow, which are names for conditions in which you experience inflammation in the tendons that run along your arm from your hand to your elbow.” She added that inflammation from taking selfies happens because you’re extending your arm but also trying to keep a firm grip on your phone as you do—a modern movement that our bodies just aren’t designed to do on a regular basis. This is the definition of a #firstworldproblem. 

Ya think?

We, of course, have heard about other tech-related conditions such as “gaming thumb”, “swiping finger”, “texting neck”, and other issues caused by our driving desire to stay connected. I use those last two words loosely. Are we truly staying connected through these methods?

Thankfully, the solution is as simple as the problem itself, said Wilmarth. She suggests we build technology time-outs into our day to give our limbs a rest. Get regular exercise to improve your circulation and make sure you’re stretching and strengthening all parts of your body daily, she added. 


I am a certified personal trainer. I fully expect to begin receiving pamphlets in the mail advertising CME courses to teach folks how to strengthen their elbows, shoulders, and fingers in order to maintain their narcissistic lifestyle. 

Oy vey. 

Plastic Stirrers Begone!

USA TODAY reported that Alaska Airlines will be eliminating plastic drink stirrers. Those stirrers will be joining the archived legends of paper tickets and empty middle seats.

The airlines will be switching to a compostable version of stirrers made of white birch, and citrus sticks will switch from plastic to bamboo.

These changes, set to begin July 16, are in the name of environmental protection. Other global airlines have promised to gradually reduce the use of plastic items, as well, but Alaska Airlines is putting its money where its mouth is, making it the first in the U.S. to eliminate them altogether. 

“Plastic is a serious issue for our planet. What’s important is continuing to move the global supply chain toward making sustainable materials accessible and affordable,” Shaunta Hyde, Alaska Airlines’ managing director-community relations, said in a statement to USA TODAY.

In another statement detailing the change, Alaska Airlines says “plastic straws are of special concern because they cannot be recycled, and they’ve been shown to kill birds and other marine life.” 

After handing out a combined 22 million plastic stir straws and citrus picks on its flights and in its frequent-flier lounges in 2017, Alaska Airlines hopes its shift to sustainable versions will make a difference. 

I applaud Alaska Airlines for making an intentional decision for change. I am fired up!

No more plastic stirrers for me. Let the search begin to find an artisan who can craft me a coffee stirrer made of steel or gold or crystal. I will carry it in my purse and whip out my custom-made stirrer at McDonald’s, Panera, the mom and pop coffee shop in my town, and maybe Alaska Airlines. 

It may be reason enough to book a flight. 

Real Shopping

Apparently some people still enjoy driving to a mall, finding a parking place and shopping in a real store. 

Macy’s department store experienced a sales surge at the start of the year as customers poured in to buy products from clothing to hand bags to perfume. 

Sales were up 4.2% in the first three months of 2018, reversing a downward trend the retailer has experienced over the last four years. Macy’s net income was $139 million in the first quarter, up from $78 million in the same quarter last year. I know Macy’s is a huge company, but an increase of $61million is a lot of money to anyone. 

For decades, Macy’s was the king of department stores, but it has been struggling to reinvent itself in a time when people would rather sit on their sofa in their jammies with their laptops in their well, laps, and await the front door delivery of their shoes and clothes and Keurigs. 

Macy’s is hoping to better compete with Amazon by bringing technology to its aisles. By the end of this year, shoppers at all Macy’s stores will be able to use their smartphones to scan and pay for most products with the store’s app. 

The company also recently bought Story, a Manhattan shop that regularly rotates its look and merchandise, similar to the changing exhibitions at an art gallery or features in a magazine. Macy’s has also brought Story’s founder and CEO onto its leadership team to help improve the in-store experience for shoppers. 

I have never kept one pair of shoes or a clothing item that I purchased online. For that reason, I do not shop that way. Even QVC shopping (which I have rarely done), has been bagged back up and schlepped to the post office for return. 

I am definitely more of an in-person shopper. I want to look at the real color and see if it is a true royal blue, not periwinkle, a true lemon yellow, not golden yellow, or a true pink, not peach. 

True confession here. I carry 3×5 laminated cards of my color swatches in my purse. I am a ‘winter’. FYI.

I also want to touch the fabric. I want to know how it feels against my skin.

And perhaps most importantly, I want to try the darn things on. I am a between-sizes person. I may wear one size in a brand and another size in a different brand. I also need to see if it covers what I want it to cover and accentuates what I want it to accentuate, which isn’t a lot, but I work with what I’ve got.

So, I say “Go Macy’s!” I am glad that department stores realize they still have value. And besides, I figure I am burning a few calories and toning my calves as I walk through the stores. I also get quite the cardio workout when I jump up and down in a claustrophobic fit as I attempt to pull the size two, that won’t fit,  back over my head. 

New clothes AND a workout. Now that is multi-tasking. 

Healthy Thursday/Loneliness

You may be better off smoking 15 cigarettes a day than being lonely.

Loneliness and social isolation pose a greater health hazard than we realize. The American Psychological  Association conducted a loneliness study and states that about 42.6 million adults in the United States are suffering from chronic loneliness. 

Another study has surfaced suggesting that being lonely is worse than smoking, hence the opening sentence. 

The study was conducted by Brigham Young University in 2015. In order to prove their hypothesis that being lonely is just as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, the researchers analyzed data from different health studies. All the studies included more than three million participants that included data from social isolation, loneliness, and living alone. 

The lead author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, explains that “It exceeds the risk of alcohol consumption, it exceeds the risk of physical inactivity, obesity, and it exceeds the risk of air pollution.” 

Dr. Nasreen Khatri, a clinical psychologist and gerontologist at the Rotman Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto, adds that the presence of others can alter a person’s cortisol levels and stress hormone levels. Social connections protect people and help maintain exercise and healthy eating routines. 

The study also found that increased social connection was linked to 50% reduced risk of premature death. FIFTY PERCENT! 

A 2016 Census found that one-person households account for more than 28% of all households. Since 2001, the number of couples that have children has been falling and only make up 26.5% of all households.

Apparently, staying home with friends, eating pizza and donuts is better for you than working out, staying slim, and breathing the outside air. 

This is big news, folks. I may cancel my gym membership and toss my fresh fruits and vegetables in the trash.

Okay, not really. It is optimal to have close relationships AND stay fit, eat healthy and breathe clean air. 

This is indeed a serious issue. We are created to be in community. This evidence is glaring proof. But we did not need a study to inform us of this.

We know it in our gut. 

If you are blessed, as am I, to be surrounded by a loving family and dear friends, that is no small thing. It is a gift.

We must be aware of and sensitive to those who do not have this blessing. If you notice a person at work who is often alone, go to them. If you see a person at church sitting by themselves, ask them to join you and your family.

 It can be even more simple. Give a warm smile to everyone you see. This alone may help someone not feel invisible. 

And if that lonely person is YOU, reach out. Others are often simply unaware of another person’s loneliness. Take a walk and say hello to a neighbor. Go to the dog shelter and adopt the sweetest dog you can find. Walking a dog can open conversations with strangers.

As do all things that bring positive change, proactivity is essential. Begin. Do something today.

I think my husband and I will go out for double cheeseburgers and onion rings tonight. It’s a totally social and healthy thing to do.