Monday, July 27, 2009

I Don't Want to Drink Algae

Every year in mid-July our local tap water starts to taste like muddy lake water due to an over abundance of algae called algal bloom in the lake that our water comes from. It is not harmful for us to consume because the water is treated before we consume it. It is not treated before the plant and animal life living in the lake are exposed to it, however.

A lot of people do not realize that this algal bloom when they are overfed. By overfed, I mean from unnecessary chemicals that people use in their own homes. Bleach, phosphates and other household cleaners are chief among the culprits because the algae feed off of them. Phosphates, used as a water softening agent, have been phased out of laundry detergents for this reason, but it has not been enough to stop the problem. There are still phosphates in dishwasher detergents and many fertilizers.

Most don't think of the impact that regular household bleach and other anti-bacterial agents in soaps and household cleaners have on our waterways. Look at it this way: The way that average Americans use antibacterial products is like pouring massive doses penicillin into our water every day. Just as overuse of penicillin will cause the body to develop a yeast (fungal) infection, so will the overuse of antibacterial products cause a development of too much algae (fungus) in the water. This is not conducive to healthy plant and animal life in the lake any more than it is conducive to healthy flora in our bodies whenever we take too many antibiotics. It really is that simple.

We all need to be aware that what we do inside our homes and on our lawns has an impact beyond simply having a cleaning home and greener grass. I have replaced all of my commercial products with environmentally friendly ones, but every July it is driven home to me the importance of getting the word out to others when I smell that earthy smell in my tap water. I volunteer for my city's environmental task force. We go to schools and other groups and educate them on the dangers of this phenomenon. I hope that we are positively influencing people but then every summer I get a whiff of the tap water and I am disappointed that the problem hasn't gone away.

Of course it is not just household use of these products that is causing algal bloom, but also industrial use. The problem seems overwhelming to me when I think of how widespread the predicament is. That is when I realize I can only do what I can. I can't stop the whole phenomenon myself, but I can do my best to use non-harmful products myself and caution others to do the same. I have been very pleased with my choices. My family is also benefiting because they are no longer exposed to harmful chemicals inside our home and we are having an effect on the world beyond our front door. This is important to me and, I hope it will become important to everyone else as well. Together a huge difference can be made.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tooth Pain Is the Worst

I had to have a tooth pulled yesterday. This particular tooth has been a problem for about 10 years. I first broke a filling out of it when I was pregnant with my last child. I didn't want to get it fixed while I was pregnant because I wasn't sure about the epinephrine in the Novocaine shots they give you to numb you up. I didn't want anything to mess with my blood pressure and perhaps harm the baby. It wasn't hurting, so I left it alone for the time being. When it did start hurting a while later, I went to the dentist and had the filling replaced.

It was a big filling, but it lasted a few years and then it started to hurt again. At that time I got a root canal and a crown put on the tooth. About a year ago I noticed that the tooth felt as if it were loose. It wasn't loose though and didn't hurt at all, so I ignored it. About 6 months ago I began to get some swelling along the gum line that would come and go, like I had injured it with a sharp piece of food or something. Again, I ignored it, because the tooth itself did not hurt.

Then, about a month ago it began to hurt when I bit down on something hard. The pain was not that bad, so I put off going to the dentist out of laziness. I thought it was getting better and I was lulled into a false sense of complacency.

A week and a half ago, I woke up and realized that I could not put off going to the dentist another minute. The gum around the tooth was severely swollen and it felt like it was going to explode. The pressure was so intense that I felt like I was trapped in it. The only way that I can describe it, is that it was similar to claustrophobia, in that I felt like the pressure was closing in on me and that I couldn't escape it. The dentist took some x-rays, gave me some pain killers and antibiotics then sent me to a specialist to re-check the root canal.

At the specialist's office, it was discovered that the tooth was broken at the root level, under the crown it was fractured and abscesses and would need to be removed. At that point I was relieved. I was ready to pull the tooth out myself with a pair of pliers. The next day, I went to the regular dentist to have the tooth pulled. It felt so good to get that tooth and all its poison out of my body.

I was reading Psalm 38 today as a part of a 150 day challenge I am doing. The pain that David describes in this passage is the way I felt about that tooth. I don't think that my bad tooth was a sign from God of my sin, or a judgment being rendered to me, but I can see where it would feel like that at times. Especially back in David's day when there was very little medical care, and the way the body reacts to germs was not as well known as it is today. I can also see it as a wake-up call of sorts.

In reading about the type of abscess that I had on-line, I was stunned to know that in years past, people died from this sort of infection. Where mine was situated was on the top, so the infection often (and still can) go into the brain and kills the patient. I also have a added risk of a tooth born infection becoming a blood-born infection that could travel to my hip replacements. I knew all of this in the back of my mind, but I still put off going to the dentist. Why?

I am not afraid of the dentist. I don't enjoy it, but I don't fear it either. I think the reason that I didn't go was simply because I didn't think anything that bad was going to happen to me. That is pretty foolhardy, since the chances of having a disease that requires one to have both hips replaced by age 44 is pretty far-fetched too, but it happened to me. It was really just stupid for me to wait to go to the dentist.

I did read that some people do put off going to the dentist when they have this sort of infection because, since the abscess is draining, the pain is not that bad. It is only when it gets to a more advanced stage and the pressure/pain becomes markedly worse, that people seek dental help. This is what happened in my case. Still no excuse, but a reason nonetheless.

So, please, do not put off going to the dentist. Moms would not hesitate to take their child to the dentist if they had this kind of problem, you should make sure that your own dental health is in good order. It could be a matter of life or death.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July Celebration

He went to my folks house to celebrate. My kids had a lot of fun blowing up things, luckily only inanimate objects and not living things. Here are a couple of picute from the evening.

Beautiful Fireworks


Playing Football

Doggie Cousins

Me, one of my sons and Tinkerbell.
My gang plus an extra.

Days 17/20 - 150 Day Challenge

Psalm 17
This Psalm is a tough one for me to digest because on the surface it seems to say that as long as we live in line with God, then everything will be smooth sailing. That all sounds well and good - kind of makes me want to stand up and fly right, that way nothing bad will ever happen in my life. Problem is, bad things happen to Godly people all the time, so how do we square that up?
It has always been a puzzlement to me because I have received many blessings in my life that I feel are a direct result of my faith. There have been other things that have happened in my favor that, although less directly tied to my faith, I feel still feel happened because I was faithful. These things that occurred, be they big or small were things that I didn't deserve any more than the next person in the pew beside me on Sunday morning.
Then at other times when I think that I have been abundantly faithful to God's call and things don't seem to be going so well, or the plan that I tried failed. Why is it that things never seem fair? Could it be that our 'righteousness' is not as inextricably bound to our blessing as we think?
I believe that we have trials and blessings in our lives simply because that is the way life is. Were it not for trails, our blessings would feel flat. Were it not for blessings, in times of trial we might lose hope. Either way, God is there with us to help us through the trying period, or to rejoice with us in our victories.
In my search for inspiration for this post today, I came across this song Over My Head by Brian Littrell. The song sums up the way I feel about the ups and downs of live better than I can. I know that problems will come up in my life, just as I know that I will be blessed beyond my wildest dreams at other times. I know I am in over my head in life, but I find it such a comfort to know that my soul has found its place of rest in God.

Psalm 18
*It has been a very long day. I finally had time to sit down and write my post for today's Psalm. I got it all written out and hit the spell check button and then my browser crashed. Will I never learn to save my draft before I hit spell check? I don't have the heart or energy to recreate the whole thing tonight. It was all about how God is like a heavenly Father to us. He not only protects us in the way a parent protects and teaches a child to defend himself, but He also teaches us how to be great advocates for our own children.

Psalm 19
This is another on my favorite Psalms, especially the last verse. I have prayed the prayer that the words of my mouth (fingers) and the meditations of my heart would be pleasing to my God many, many times.
I also love the reverence to nature in this passage. It is impossible for me to look around at all the wonders of the natural world with out believing in intelligent design. I know there is a lot of science that can answer many of the questions about the natural world, and I believe in science to. I just happen to believe that God created science.
I enjoy the beauty of nature even though I would not consider myself an outdoorsy gal. I prefer to enjoy nature from afar most of the time. There are times, however that you need to actually be in the midst of it to truly appreciate the allure of nature. For instance, I had seen pictures of Niagara Falls for many years. I thought the scenery was gorgeous, so I decided to visit there on vacation with my husband two summers ago. No picture I had ever seen did justice to the majesty of the place. You have to be in the midst of it - to hear the roar of the falls and smell the luxurious landscape of the surrounding area. I was completely taken by the whole region. I found God in a new way as I marveled at the scenery.
In the Contemporary English translation of this passage in verse 9 it mentions that the worshiping of the Lord is sacred. When we hear the word sacred we think - set apart for a divine purpose. This is the way I see this scripture in relation to nature. God has set apart these natural phenomenons for a divine purpose - so that we can see his divinity in it. It brings us closer to him as we see the astounding beauty that surrounds us and worship God in doing so.
Once I realized this I became much more aware of the loveliness in nature and began to be much more of a tree hugger than I already was. Protecting this graceful earth became a dedicated passion of mine. It became an act of worship for me to do my part in saving as much of my small corner of the universe as I possibly can in my lifetime.
I think we all should.

Psalm 20
This Psalm to me is a prayer of blessing to others. When become Christians and experience the blessings and love of God, we automatically want that same feeling for those around us.
I liken it, in a way, to a feeling of being in love. Remember when you first fell in love with your spouse and you wished that everyone you knew could feel the way that you felt? That is the way that we, as Christians are about our faith. We want to share that special feeling with everyone around us, so that they can experience it too.
In our zeal to share that enjoyment, though, we need to be mindful that not everyone is looking for the same thing we are. This passage even says that some believe in other things.
Of course this doesn't mean we can't pray blessings for others. I do it all the time, but we should be respectful. I have encountered some non-Christians who do not wish to be prayed for and they feel condescended to when a Christian says they will pray for them in regards to a problem in their lives or for salvation.
This passage is also a prayer that the desires of ones heart will be given and that his plans succeed. This is a prayer that I pray for my children on a regular basis. I know that there is nothing more blessed than to be given what you long for and to have your plans work out. I pray that my children would be able to experience this blessing in their lives.
I would be lying if I said I didn't care if my children chose Christianity as their faith base. As a mom and as a Christian myself, I greatly hope that they chose that path for their lives also. I won't stand in their way if they choose something different, but I pray daily that they will choose what I believe to be the truth. I also teach them the lessons of my faith and help them to sort out the complexities of it's tenants as they grow. I don't think this is much different than any other mom would do, no matter which faith one subscribes to.
Yes, I long for my children to know the God that I know. I yearn for them to feel His grace and compassion. I want for them to find the path that I believe He has already set in place for them. I pray that they would feel confirmation of their place in this world, that their plans would succeed.
I believe that there is only one who loves these beings, my children more than I do and that is God. I trust him to lead them, guide them and make them into the contributing members of society that they are destined to be.

© KDV 2009