The Bucket Challenge

I know what you’re thinking – she left out the word ICE in the title. Well, no, that was intentional.

First, I LOVE the ice bucket challenge! I’ve enjoyed watching videos of friends, relatives, strangers, celebrities, and college presidents taking the ice bucket challenge. I click on the link to every video despite the fact they’re all pretty much the same and each one brings a smile to my face.

We’ve lost three family members to ALS in the past decade. My dad’s cousin’s husband, Howard, my mom’s uncle, Condit, and John’s cousin’s husband, Gary all suffered with this disease and lost their battles.

In addition, two neighbors have been diagnosed with ALS and seeing the changes in Jim has been heartbreaking. I’m delighted at the publicity and donations rolling in to such a worthwhile organization.

However, the reason I left out the word ICE is because I’m taking a different challenge. My daughter Sarah issued the following challenge:

photoand I accepted as did her sister Emily. (In fact, you should read what Emily posted on her blog about the #icebucketchallenge.) Of course, Emily challenged her Dad, and since both girls knew their sister, Meghan had already contributed $100 to our team for next month’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s, she wasn’t called out!

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What a great thing the ice bucket challenge has been! It’s started conversations about ALS. It’s encouraged people to donate to the A.L.S. Association; but it’s also started an even bigger conversation about the numerous organizations that need our support, both financial and as volunteers.

So, to the A.L.S. Association, yes, the check is in the mail. And on Saturday, September 6th, I’ll be walking to end Alzheimer’s. Our team can use your help! Click here to donate.

And instead of calling out any individual to accept the ice bucket challenge, I’d like to challenge everyone who reads this to make a contribution of time or money to any organization you feel passionate about. No ice required, but heck, it’s August and the “Feels Like” temperature is 100°, icy cold water may be just what you need to cool off.

 

 

Take Care of Your Brain

With this year’s Memory Walk just around the corner, I’ve been receiving email from the Alzheimer’s Association regarding not only the walk but information on their research and other programs. In addition, there have been numerous stories about Alzheimer’s research on the news of late.

First I heard a story about a “smell” test that may predict the development of the disease, and then last week I saw a report about how a test performed by your eye doctor can be used as a predictor of problems 15-20 years in the future.

However, the news that most interested me was regarding brain health. I’ve been bombarded by stories on television, the radio, and from the Alzheimer’s Association about real, effective steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and that’s the message I want to know more about.

Four areas identified to maintain a healthy brain by the Alzheimer’s Association include:

  1.  Be active. Not only does an active lifestyle reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, but it’s essential for good blood flow to the brain something necessary to encourage new blood cells. Thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise can make a difference.
  2. Eat healthy. Getting the right balance of nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts, while limiting food high in fat and cholesterol appears to protect brain cells. Good nutrition also prevents high blood pressure and high cholesterol two more risk factors for the development of dementia; and maintaining a healthy weight significantly reduces the chance you’ll develop the disease. Eat well and in moderation.
  3. Spend time socializing. This sounds like a good excuse to enjoy time with friends. Social interaction improves brain health. Volunteer, join a club or community group, enjoy sporting or cultural events, participate in religious activities. Even engaging at work is beneficial.
  4. Use your brain. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, use it or lose it. Well, that applies to your brain. Engage in mental activity that stimulates your brain. Read, write, do puzzles, play games, learn new things. All of these activities provide the mental exercise your brain needs to thrive.

If diagnosed with a disease, we’re all anxious to get help. We’ll take off work to visit the doctor or schedule surgery. We’ll spend money on prescriptions or medical devices. However, until a problem occurs, many of us claim to be too busy to take care of ourselves – no time for exercise, no time to spend with friends, no time to read or eat properly. We claim it’s too expensive to eat healthy, yet it’s not as expensive as medication to control the problems caused by failure to care for our bodies.

Be active, eat right, spend time with friends, and stimulate your mind. It’s the least you can do to take care of your brain.

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Mom

Remember, this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Ocala will take place on Saturday, September 6th. Register to participate or click here to support me as I walk in memory of Bettie Lou. Donations assist the Alzheimer’s Association in their mission:

To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

 

Perhaps It Is the Tobassco

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Perhaps It Is the Tobassco

I can’t imagine my life without you.

It’s no fun watching herons alone,

            Or

Drinking coffee without a dash of salt

            When you’re not with me.

Even eggs taste better when you are around,

            Or

Perhaps it is the Tabasco.

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Bettie Lou died in February, 2010 from Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve organized a team to participate in this year’s Memory Walk on Saturday, September 7th to raise funds for research and awareness of Alzheimer’s in her honor. If you would like to donate, please visit Team B. Lou.

B. Lou...the reason we're walking!
B. Lou…the reason we’re walking!

How Can I Be Lonely?

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.IMG_0657

How Can I Be Lonely?

I used to be surrounded by love –

            Not so long ago.

It seems such a short time,

But days, weeks, months, years

            Pass so quickly –

And so will my loneliness.

It is such a strange feeling.

How can I be lonely

            When I like to be alone?

Perhaps the days, weeks, months, years

            Of family togetherness

Left little time for communicating.

I have what I need.

Forget what I want.

Put those thoughts to bed.

Sleep well, B. Lou.

Bettie Lou died in February, 2010 from Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve organized a team to participate in this year’s Memory Walk on Saturday, September 7th to raise funds for research and awareness of Alzheimer’s in her honor. If you would like to donate, please visit Team B. Lou.

I am the Clown

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.IMG_0300

I am the Clown

I have a sadness inside of me –

A sadness that I alone can see.

I am the clown who laughs and sings.

The clown who handles everything.

            I am the clown.

I want to sing. I want to dance.

I want to laugh. I want to cry.

My voice is weird and so am I.

I’ll say my prayers. The tears will dry.

Sing the songs and clap your hands.

Bring in the clown who laughs and sings.

The clown who handles everything.

            I am the clown.

Bettie Lou died in February, 2010 from Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve organized a team to participate in this year’s Memory Walk on Saturday, September 7th to raise funds for research and awareness of Alzheimer’s in her honor. If you would like to donate, please visit Team B. Lou.

Pride

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.

Pride

Where is my well?

Where does the Spirit dwell?

Why don’t you lift the ache from my heart?

Why don’t you take my cold, clammy hands

            And make them warm and useful?

You’ve done that in the past, you know.

Why do you leave me alone?

Is it that I’m tough and can handle it –

            Or

Is it that pride is closing you out?

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Bettie Lou died in February, 2010 from Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve organized a team to participate in this year’s Memory Walk on Saturday, September 7th to raise funds for research and awareness of Alzheimer’s in her honor. If you would like to donate, please visit Team B. Lou.