Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

How Time Has Flown...

I just realized that I have been blogging for three years now. Amazing.
A Book I Intend to Read...

Mad In America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill by Bob Whitaker is one book I intend to get ahold of and read.

It seems like every second person I meet is on some form of antidepressant. There is a rising tide of mental illness in North America, and aside from the usual causes of overwhelming guilt caused by unredeemed sin, one of the contributing factors appears to be the very drugs they administer for depression.

Whitaker
starts by debunking the effectiveness of these massively hyped wonder drugs -- antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil, and the new atypical antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa. His research shows how they often are barely more effective than placebos in treating mental disorder and depression, despite the glowing adulation they have received in the mainstream media.


But he goes on to make the startling claim that these new psychiatric drugs have directly contributed to an alarming new epidemic of drug-induced mental illness. The very drugs prescribed by physicians to stabilize mental disorders in fact are inducing pathological changes in brain chemistry and triggering suicide, manic and psychotic episodes, convulsions, violence, diabetes, pancreatic failure, metabolic diseases, and premature death.


Whitaker originally was a highly regarded medical reporter at the Albany Times Union and also wrote off and on for the Boston Globe. A series he co-wrote for the Boston Globe on harmful psychiatric research was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1998. When he began his investigative research into psychiatric issues, Whitaker was still a believer in the story of progress that psychiatry has been telling the public for decades.

He said, "I absolutely believed the common wisdom that these antipsychotic drugs actually had improved things and that they had totally revolutionized how we treated schizophrenia. People used to be locked away forever, and now maybe things weren't great, but they were a lot better. It was a story of progress."

That story of progress was fraudulent, as Whitaker soon found out when he gained new insight from his research into torturous psychiatric practices such as electroshock, lobotomy, insulin coma, and neuroleptic drugs. Psychiatrists told the public that these techniques "cured" psychosis or balanced the chemistry of the brain.

But, in reality, the common thread in all these different treatments was the attempt to suppress "mental illness" by deliberately damaging the higher functions of the brain. The stunning truth is that, behind closed doors, the psychiatric establishment itself labeled these treatments as "brain-damaging therapeutics."

The first generation of antipsychotic drugs created a drug-induced brain pathology by blocking the neurotransmitter dopamine and essentially shutting down many higher brain functions. In fact, when antipsychotics such as Thorazine and Haldol were first introduced, psychiatrists themselves said that these neuroleptic drugs were virtually indistinguishable from a "chemical lobotomy."

Remember what a doctor I quoted in an earlier blog post said? Drugs are things that if given to a healthy person, makes them sick.

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Warning about 4-H

It can make you and your children very sad.

I guess one of the reasons that 4-H exists is to help develop youth in rural areas to have some expertise in farming. Part of a farmer's job is to sell what he raises, usually for consumption, which is great if you are raising carrots and peas, but traumatic if you are raising things that exhibit personality. The more personality something has, the harder it is to contemplate it on your dinner plate.

This year Hannah and Ben both raised a pig and a goat each and Ben raised a rabbit. Ben worked with his goat so well that it grew very attached to him and followed him around like a puppy. Hannah's wasn't quite so well trained, but they were very amusing to watch and you could definitely see that they had different personalities.

As part of the 4-H program, if you raise an animal in imitation of farmers, you must auction it off. As the time for loading the animals up for the trip to the butcher's drew near, faces got longer and longer. In the end, there was hardly anyone who wasn't crying, either because their "pet" was going away to be eaten, or because they were in sympathy with the kids.

I think next year we will have dairy goats instead.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

In Search of the Perfectly Clean Home

Ok, so it isn't perfect, but it is a great deal cleaner than it was a few days ago. With only six children at home (five of mine and a grand-daughter), and two extra neighbor children, I have had to do a great deal of the cleaningk while being ably assisted (somewhat) by my youngest kids.

Something the anti-QF crowd doesn't understand because they likely won't experience it is that the more kids you have, the more organized and efficient you can become. What this means is that even though I am down a quart with kids at the agricultural fair, I have been able to clean the downstairs thoroughly and keep it that way even with eight kids here, ranging in age from 13 to 2 months old. Moreover, I did it in a relatively short time.

I couldn't have done this twenty odd years ago when I first started out having kids, but it is a job that you grow into as time goes by and children get added to the mix. I didn't do much today (cleaned the kitchen, made meals, cut Garnet's hair, washed windows, did lots of dishes, swept and washed the floor, several loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom and my office, fed the baby, played with the baby, caught two free range draft horses of my neighbor's and returned them to secure paddocks, etc.). The thing is, if I had really been motivated, I could probably have all of this done by noon (with the exception of the draft horses and feeding the kids who like to eat more than once a day) and had the afternoon for goofing off. Instead I decided to take a more leisurely pace with it and spread it out over the day.

No, it isn't perfect, but it's good enough.

I couldn't resist re-posting what I found on Tammy's blog, heheh.  Posted by Picasa
In Search of the Perfect Peach

I just finished licking the peach juice off my fingers of the most indescribably delicious and delectable peach I have eaten in the past ten years. It was brought to me in a basket with three other peaches with instructions given to the bearer that they were to be delivered to me and me alone. These peaches came ripe off the tree of the brother of my next door neighbor, who generously wanted to share this rare booty with me. Why rare? Most fruits and veggies are picked before they are ripe and before all the normal phytochemicals are in them. This accounts for much of the tastelessness of most of the produce we are forced to eat thanks to modern agricultural methods.

How I wish that all our fruits and vegetables were allowed to ripen the good old fashioned way. Maybe our kids would want to eat them then.
In Search of the Perfect Baby

Christians who are in favor of birth control as a form of good stewardship should be aware of the fact that the very same arguments they use as an excuse for limiting their families are the same ones used for aborting them. They should also know that their arguments contribute to the building pressure to abort and destroy "imperfect" babies in the name of "good stewardship." Just because we can do something is no argument for deciding whether or not we should do it.

Families with a history of cancers and other inherited diseases may soon be able to ensure their babies do not have the genes responsible by opting for IVF instead of natural conception.

Fertility regulators are considering whether to widen the rules which already allow parents to ensure babies are not born with faulty genes that will inevitably lead to conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington's disease.

This would enable clinics to offer parents the opportunity to prevent their offspring inheriting genes for conditions that may develop later in life, even though not all people with the genes will ever get the disease.

The move is likely to prompts ethical debate for two reasons. First, it might encourage families with no history of fertility problems despite other family health problems to seek IVF. Secondly, it would mean the destruction of embryos capable of forming life with no guarantee that genes they carried would be responsible to later disease.

Will someone please tell these clowns that life is terminal? No one (with only two notable exceptions that I can think of) gets out of it alive. The possibilities of pain, disease, disability, imminent death, economic hardship, and the stunting of parental aspirations and self development are not sufficient argument for denying anyone the chance of life.

Friday, August 12, 2005

My Kids Are Tops

This weekend is the local agricultural fair complete with horses, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, cows, and other farm type animals. Both Hannah and Ben have their goats and pigs entered in the 4H projects. Hannah won Grand Championship in Goat showmanship and her goat was the Grand Champion goat. Ben got Reserved Champion goat.

When it comes to swine, all of Ben's vast experience in keeping his bedroom in the condition of a pig stye has paid off handsomely. His pig won Grand Champion pig, and Ben won the Grand Champion swineherd ribbon as well. Not sure how Hannah did on that one. Probably not as well since she tends to be neater. One of the competitor's pig didn't do so hot. She had trained it to expect a good scratch all over every time she touched it with a stick. So instead of doing what a pig is supposed to do in these competitions, it would invariably lay down and practically roll over begging to be scratched, almost like a dog would.

Rumor has it that Sam has won second place with his rabbit. We'll see if rumor was correct when I pick them up in a little while.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

August Book Finds

Yesterday I went to Value Village and perused the book aisles. Their books cost more money than those I find at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, but I generally can find some books that I would really like to own. Here is a partial list of what I found:

The Heart's Code by Dr. Paul Pearsall. If you are interested in the discipline of psychoneuroimmunology , or how the emotional/psychological aspect of human life can influence the health and function of the body, then this is one book you will want to read. It contains an authoritative and comprehensive summary of some of the important scientific findings related to the emotions and cellular memory. I read this book a few years ago and it contains stories about heart transplant recipients who took on some of the traits and preferences of their heart's donor. Most people don't realize this, but their hearts have a "brain" in them that has something in the order of 80 million neurons which is as much as some parts of the cerebral brain contains. This brain in the heart is capable of storing information as well as transmitting it to the head and in some experiments has even over-ridden the head's instructions. Ever have the experience of knowing something "in your heart?" It kind of sheds an interesting light on some of the Scriptural instructions to guard our hearts, etc., at least for me.

The G-Index Diet by Richard N. Podell, M.D., F.A.C.P This is a "diet" book based on the use of the glycemic index, which is an approach to eating that I advocate and need to implement more consistently. I am going to be using this approach and starting back to the gym tout de suite et maintenant, s'il vous plait! If you don't know about the glycemic index, this is an index that tells you how fast a particular food breaks down into blood sugar. The lower on the index something is, the slower it breaks down to sugar and the slower and less of a rise in insulin levels your body experiences. Since you are producing less levels of insulin, you are also giving your body less of a signal to store food energy as fat instead of burning it for energy. Get it?

How to Have a Smarter Baby: The Infant Stimulation Program for Enhancing Your Baby's Natural Development by Dr. Susan Ludington-Hoe. This isn't so much for Sweet Baby James as it is for my own information and use with children I see in my practice. But if James benefits, so much the better. I would get this book and read it even if I didn't have James because it contains information in an area I am really interested in -- how to stimulate brain growth. Some of this information may still be applicable to older children and even adults, given the plastic nature of the brain.

The Experience of Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger Anything by Sheila Kitzinger on the topic of childbirth is worth reading and should be read by expectant parents. It is sad the way that birth has been medicalized in North America into a disaster just waiting to happen and has been co-opted by a system concerned primarily with disease and things that go wrong. Sheila helps you to see things the way they should be. I am collecting her books when I find them to pass on to my daughters.

More Alike Than Different by Lee Bussard This book was written by a man who is disabled and I picked it up because I am appalling ignorant about the lives of disabled people and want to know more.

A Treasury of Handmade Gifts by Kate Yeates I always have this dream of sitting down and doing some arts and crafts with my girls. Maybe this book will help me to actually do it.

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne This is a read aloud for Garnet and Elodie.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.

Harvard Classics -- These are some of those nicely bound hard covers of classic authors that are dark green in color and embossed with gold. I picked up one which contained works by Bunyan, Izaak, and Walton and another with works by Ben Franklin, Woolman and Penn.

There were a few others, but this is all I feel like commenting on for now.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Below are a few recent photos from our trip to Edmonton.

Bethany at the picnic Posted by Picasa

Sam in Edmonton Posted by Picasa

Garnet being a goof. Posted by Picasa

Daughter Hannah is growing up Posted by Picasa

Here is my son Trahern Posted by Picasa

This is my son Ben. Isn't he cute? Posted by Picasa

This is a family photo with the three eldest missing, and the addition of Milly S, a dear friend who helped me drive the crew to Edmonton. Posted by Picasa

This is Elodie having a picnic snack on our way home from Edmonton. Please note the health food. Posted by Picasa

This is a picture of me holding my son James as he was being initiated into the Visible Church through the waters of baptism. My beloved pastor, Greg Price, did the deed. Posted by Picasa

This is me with Willena, aka Rambling Rose. See my sidebar for a link to her blog Posted by Picasa
An August Evening Musing

I haven't felt much like blogging or being on the net lately. Part of the reason is that life has been very full in recent days and there just hasn't been the time. But tonight I feel like writing for no particular reason other than the peculiar kind of pressure in my chest that requires this sort of an outlet to relieve it.

It has been over eight weeks since James made his debut. At present he is laying on a nursing pillow on my lap, gazing up at me as though life held nothing finer than laying in his mother's arms. Was there life before James? It is hard to remember. It feels like he has always been a part of me.

I love this part of childrearing. For a short time, the sun and moon set by me and all that is needed for happiness to be complete is a full belly of mama milk and a constant cuddle. Already his little hands reach for me at night and if I am not found he awakens. If happiness consists in being needed, then my cup is full.

At the other extreme, I am letting go of another son. He didn't realize it when he left home that I was quite prepared to set him free in due time. I didn't realize that due time would come so soon is all. And now it has been over four weeks since I have heard from him or seen him. He doesn't call. He doesn't come to church. We are a noisy bunch when we get together and he has gotten used to quietness and was stressed out by us the last time all the children were together.
Leaving and cleaving is something that all young men are called upon to do and I have never aspired to the role of "smother mother." I know my time with him is over and it is time for him to sift through what he has been taught and take ownership of it for himself. I also know that he is just as much under the eye of God now than he ever was. But letting go still remains hard to do and the silence is hard to endure.

Almost as hard to endure is watching yet another son struggle with life. All of us are feeling an emotional letdown after our time of fellowship with the brethren in Edmonton. I can't help thinking there is more to this than mere anticlimax. Counsel is offered, and hugs are supplied. Signs of grace are there, but the conflict of learning to subdue and mortify the flesh can sometimes overwhelm. I remember my own struggles in this regard. All one can do is stand on the sideline and watch and shout encouragement to him and pray that the Lord will keep one which I have committed to Him.

Summer is almost over. The lazy days of relaxation never did materialize. I did do some homeschooling, but that has fallen by the wayside as other activities took over. Last week was devoted to travel and visiting. We also had a large barbeque party at our home on Saturday for business associates and customers in our business. Sunday was devoted to fellowshipping over a meal after worship. Today I went to have my hips adjusted by the chiropracter and then spent the afternoon trying to find some suitable clothing for Hannah to wear to the agricultural fair that is being held this week. She is going to be showing a pig and a goat as part of her 4H projects and needed black jeans and a white shirt to do it in. Every day this week will see me up before the crack of dawn to take the kids to the fairground and then back again in the evening to pick them up.

Next week I am planning on taking the kids to Barkerville. This will be both a fun and an educational day for them. We will pack a picnic lunch and the digital camera and take pictures of all the buildings, get brochures, and make notes on the history of this gold rush mining town in the heart of the Cariboo Mountains. The results of this project will be turned into something they can use for their social studies work for school. At some point I plan to get back to work on their plant unit study this month as well.

I sat down this afternoon and made a list of projects I need to complete this month before school starts in September. They are, in no particular order:

1) Make up an anti-candida protocol handout complete with guidelines, food suggestions, and recipes.

2) Organize the attic/schoolroom bookshelves. We have new bookshelves and I need to pack some books into them and clean things up.

3) Organize and clean out my closets and get rid of some things and switch over clothing

4) Get the remainder of the school curriculum organized and make up some posters of what our schedule should be.

5) Make a poster of our house rules.

6) Do some reading on my nutritional course from the University of Miami School of Medicine.

I also made a mind map of the things I want to spend my time studying. I recently acquired some materials on how to desensitize the body of allergens using a laser pen set to a specific frequency. I have been experimenting with it and have found that it is also useful for relieving muscular aches and pains. I can literally soften knotted muscles within a few minutes using it. This made it on to the mind map as well as doing more work understanding allergies, particularly in relation to children and the role it has to play with autism and ADD/ADHD and brain disorders. Brain function was on there as well as neurological re-training programs that help to balance brain function and increase mental capacity for children with learning disabilities. I have been speculating about focusing on a particular area of practice and find myself drawn more and more to working with women's and children's health issues. Fortunately, some of the training I have came on DVD's so I can fold laundry as I educate myself.

They say a change is as good as a holiday, but I don't know. I seem to have exchanged one treadmill for another one. I enjoy what I am doing for the most part, but it is taking its toll. I feel exhausted and I am still experiencing post partum bleeding -- a sure sign that I am doing too much. Too bad I find it so hard to follow my own advice.

Well, my scattered flock is back from their various activities just in time for family worship and Laundry Mountain awaits folding. The pressure feels relieved so I guess I'll end this post.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Covenanter Conventicle

Why the long silence? I just spent a wonderful five days driving to and from Edmonton with the days in between spent fellowshipping with brothers and sisters in the Lord. It has taken me a few days to catch up on laundry and sleep and I am still running somewhat behind.

I think the highlight of the entire weekend was our worship service. We came in and sat down and I looked around me during the service and felt overcome by love of my brothers and sisters in Christ. It is always good to spend time with the Lord's people no matter where they may be found, but the delight is sharpest and sweetest when you are with those of like mind and heart. To sing psalms together, to sit at the Lord's Table communing with Him and with each other, to see my son admitted to the Visible Church were but a foretaste of Heaven's delights. What joy awaits us when we are all gathered together before the Lord, only this time with no presence of sin to divide us from each other and from our loved ones who own Christ but not our covenants.

I do have some regrets -- the weekend flew by so fast and there were so many wonderful people to meet and get to know, that I never did get to spend the time with each of them that I would have liked to. I regret that some friends I have known well and loved now live far away. In at least one instance I was overcome by tears upon seeing a well loved face that I hadn't seen for a while. The regrets were more than made up for by all the benefits however. My family was billeted in the same home as my beloved pastor, Greg Price, and his wife, Lovely Lonna. He is a man with a true shepherd's heart for God's flock and he never fails to endear himself to me or my family when we are with him. I count him one of the greatest of God's mercies to me as there isn't a week that goes by when I am not challenged, encouraged, edified, rebuked, and uplifted by his sermons.

I regret that I allowed some to take pictures of me. I look like such a COW in my overalls! Oh well. Next time I will move faster and confiscate the cameras.

James seemed to be a hit. If it weren't for the fact that he needed the occasional diaper change and feeding, I wouldn't have seen him all weekend. Some of the younger girls did a wonderful job in packing him around everywhere. I would feed James and then look up and find one of them hovering close by waiting to snatch and run. Their tender care enabled me to visit with others more freely. James now feels that being held and snuggled all day and night and repeatedly told how sweet and cute he is, is his due and it took an entire day of forcible confinement in his car seat with only occasional breaks as we drove home to convince him otherwise.

It was brought to my attention what a little wiseacre my son Garnet has become. Garnet will be six later this month. Pastor Price, as is his endearing custom when speaking to younger children, called Garnet "honey." Garnet promptly informed him he was a BOY and NOT a honey. A little while later when Garnet was on his way to bed, Pastor Price teased him by saying, "Goodnight, Honey!" Garnet stopped in his tracks, turned around and silently regarded him for a moment before replying, "Goodnight, Babe" and then headed down to his bed. He also informed me that he has four "chicks." When I expressed puzzlement over what in the world he could be talking about, he named four of the teen girls there. Mothers take note and guard your daughters. I can see I am going to have an interesting time with him when he is older.

So now it is over and I am suffering a slight emotional let down. The good times had to come to an end, but, Lord willing, there is always next year.