Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Aging Brain- Proven steps to prevent dementia and sharpen your mind - Book Review

Book:  The Aging Brain:  Proven steps to prevent dementia and sharpen your mind

Author:  Timothy R. Jennings, MD

Publisher:  Baker Books

  282 pages, paperback

A great many of us are concerned about dementia these days.  Dr. Jennings has written a powerful book to help us not only understand more about this problem, but provides possible ways to prevent it from happening to us.

The book is separated into four sections:

1. History and Aging

2. Oxidative Stress and Aging

3. Lifestyle and Aging

4.  Pathological Aging

He goes into heavy detail in each chapter, describing how aging works, and also what we can do to prevent dementia.  It is scholarly but written in layman terms.  It is the type of book you do not just read, you actually study. There is research and studies he shares including the effect of drinking coffee.

Some of this may go over my head at times, but if I am very concerned about it, I will take the time to really study what he has written.  There were some sections I studied more than others.  Throughout our lives, we may be more concerned about some aspects of living than others that may not apply to us. For instance, I am not a smoker, so his excellent, detailed advice is not necessary for me to read. However, I may want this information to share with a friend or relative who is a smoker. In this case, the book is an excellent reference book for good health.

On page 44, the chapter is "Our Genes and Aging"  The subtitle of this is "Decay over Time."  There is a quote just under this by Thomas Jefferson in 1816, which says, "Bodily decay is gloomy in prospect , but of all human contemplation the most abhorrent is body without mind."

We need to understand that we will age.  We will decay, but that we can, through our choices in how we live, keep our minds sharp.

At the end of each chapter, there is an excellent feature for those who want to quickly glance through the main points and still obtain a great deal of education.  These are:

"Learning Points" - This quickly sums up, in a list, what the chapter contained.

"Action Plan - Things to do" - In chapter four, this list includes ideas such as "Be physically active in life: avoid a sedentary lifestyle." Sometimes we simply need a reminder to just keep busy and moving in the current culture we live in. 

You may or may not want to do everything he suggests. Some of the suggestions, like getting a certain kind of vaccine, may not align with your beliefs.  But take what will work for you and leave the rest.

There are some Bible verses in here, which is wonderful.

I did not read the entire book, I skimmed over some science studies that I did not want to read.  It is also a heavy book with much to think about.  If you simply want a quick read, consider just reading his "Learning Points" and "Action Plans" at the end of each chapter.  You can also study any section of any chapter where you want more detailed information.

Overall I think you will find some great information on how to prevent dementia. 

* Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Crack Yourself Up Jokes for Kids - book review

Book:  Crack Yourself Up: Jokes for Kids

Author:  Sandy Silverthorne

Publisher:  Spire (Revell)

138 pages, paperback

It's nice to have a wholesome book to make one smile.  Sandy's book, Crack Yourself Up: Jokes for Kids, is fun, wholesome, and entertaining. 

Inside you will find adorable comic-style illustrations in black-and-white.  There are knock-knock jokes, Riddles, amusing dialog, and much more.

I have left this book on the end table in our home. Anyone can pick it up and start reading, anywhere in the book.  They might flip through some pages and then read a joke to make us all laugh or smile.  It is a great book to have on hand when you need to hear something funny.

Some of these jokes I have already heard, but they still make me smile. Most of what is in this book is new to me and I enjoyed reading it very much.

* Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Friday, October 12, 2018

Southern Style Biscuits

I enjoyed this video so much. It is by a great-grandmother in her 80's as she shows how to make biscuits for the family, the way her mother used to. Her mother made 40 buttermilk biscuits each morning for her 9 children.

If this video does not play for you, here is the direct link:

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Coach Wooden's Forgotten Teams - Book Review

Book:  Coach Wooden's Forgotten Teams

Author:  Pat Williams with Jim Denney

Publisher:  Revell

196 pages, paperback

This is a very well written book, consisting of 9 chapters.  Coach Wooden was a legendary basketball coach.  He not only trained his players in the game, he also trained them for life with his godly wisdom.  This book brings to light the summer basketball camps many were privileged to attend.

We hear stories from some of the coaches who worked at the camps.  We also hear from many of the campers themselves, as they look back over the years to when they were younger enjoying the basketball lessons.

The book is inspiring as it shares many of the wise sayings of the coach.  We also get the sense that he was a very humble man with a great Christian faith.

Here are a couple of my favorites from the book:

Page 65, "The example Coach set by doing things like that made a big impression on me. Coach didn't preach.  He lived his lessons. He set an example. Whenever you were around him, it was lesson after lesson. He'd never say, "This is how you should  lead,' but if you had eyes to see and ears to hear, you'd learn by watching the man."

Page 75, "He would say, 'Drink deeply from good books, first and foremost, the Bible.' I think he spent a lot of time there, and his faith was a grounding point."

Reading this book will make you want to be a better parent. It will make you want to be a better person, in general.   You might even start taking notes, or highlighting passages in the book, for later reference.

* Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Practicing the King's Economy - Book Review

Book:  Practicing the King's Economy

Author:  Michael Rhodes and Robby Holt with Brian Fikkert

Publisher:  Baker Books

317 pages, paperback

The book consists of 12 chapters.  There is also a lengthy preface and acknowledgements section. This may be because all three of the authors share their thoughts in each section.  This part did help me get to know the writers a bit better. When I first started reading this book, I had never heard of any of them, so it was helpful to see their background and introductory thoughts.

The introduction was very difficult for me to read. I think it went over my head.  There was just so much information that it seemed like a small book in itself.

Each chapter has sections on the Bible.  There is interpretation that was bold at times, with wording that I didn't think really represented the meaning of certain Scripture.

The message of the book is to make the reader take a long look at how they handle money, both in business and in personal matters.  It is a very good and commendable topic.  However, as for me, I could not relate to much of the book.  There are some references to such things as "Narnia" and football that I know nothing about.  Yet, there were some passages that I thought were insightful. Here is one example from page 132, where they are discussing Ephesians 4:28. . .

"It is interesting what Paul does not say.  He doesn't say thieves should start working so they can get off welfare rolls or achieve the ancient world's version of the American Dream of middle-class independence.  Paul says they should work so they can have something to share."

I think people who are earning good money in America, but think they need more, are the target audience.  There are a few helpful examples throughout the book sharing a vision of using money for the Lord, with the goal of doing the Lord's work with our money. But it was very hard for me to glean these insights.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Road Home by Beverly Lewis

Book:  The Road Home

Author:  Beverly Lewis

Publisher:  Bethany House

316 pages, paperback

I enjoyed reading this wholesome story.  The main character is the oldest of 10 children. Her name is Lena Rose.  She comes from a very close family and a wonderful Amish community.  The sudden death of her parents, early in the book, caused all the children to have to live apart.  Lena is sent to work and live with relatives in a different state.  She struggles with her grief and loss privately, but is an excellent example of serving others and making the best of a difficult situation.

She meets a wonderful young man in the new community and becomes very close to her Amish relatives and new neighbors.  She dearly wants to be reunited with her siblings back home, but has also formed a bond in her new environment.  

There is a subtle lesson of comfort and encouragement coming through the pages with Biblical wisdom that I found to be inspiring.   I very much enjoyed reading about Amish customs and their way of life.  This was a peaceful story and one of my favorites.

*  Disclosure - This book was provided for review purposes. *

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Wife - Short Story by Washington Irving

                            THE WIFE

                   by Washington Irving, 1800's

  I HAVE often had occasion to remark the fortitude with which women
sustain the most overwhelming reverses of fortune. Those disasters
which break down the spirit of a man, and prostrate him in the dust,
seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such
intrepidity and elevation to their character, that at times it
approaches to sublimity. Nothing can be more touching than to behold a
soft and tender female, who had been all weakness and dependence,
and alive to every trivial roughness, while treading the prosperous
paths of life, suddenly rising in mental force to be the comforter and
support of her husband under misfortune, and abiding, with unshrinking
firmness, the bitterest blasts of adversity.

  As the vine, which has long twined its graceful foliage about the
oak, and been lifted by it into sunshine, will, when the hardy plant
is rifted by the thunderbolt, cling round it with its caressing
tendrils, and bind up its shattered boughs; so is it beautifully
ordered by Providence, that woman, who is the mere dependent and
ornament of man in his happier hours, should be his stay and solace
when smitten with sudden calamity; winding herself into the rugged
recesses of his nature, tenderly supporting the drooping head, and
binding up the broken heart.

  I was once congratulating a friend, who had around him a blooming
family, knit together in the strongest affection. "I can wish you no
better lot," said he, with enthusiasm, "than to have a wife and
children. If you are prosperous, there they are to share your
prosperity; if otherwise, there they are to comfort you." And, indeed,
I have observed that a married man falling into misfortune is more apt
to retrieve his situation in the world than a single one; partly
because he is more stimulated to exertion by the necessities of the
helpless and beloved beings who depend upon him for subsistence; but
chiefly because his spirits are soothed and relieved by domestic
endearments, and his self-respect kept alive by finding, that though
all abroad is darkness and humiliation, yet there is still a little
world of love at home, of which he is the monarch. Whereas a single
man is apt to run to waste and self-neglect; to fancy himself lonely
and abandoned, and his heart to fall to ruin like some deserted
mansion, for want of an inhabitant.

  These observations call to mind a little domestic story, of which
I was once a witness. My intimate friend, Leslie, had married a
beautiful and accomplished girl, who had been brought up in the
midst of fashionable life. She had, it is true, no fortune, but that
of my friend was ample; and he delighted in the anticipation of
indulging her in every elegant pursuit, and administering to those
delicate tastes and fancies that spread a kind of witchery about the
sex.- "Her life," said he, "shall be like a fairy tale."

  The very difference in their characters produced an harmonious
combination: he was of a romantic and somewhat serious cast; she was
all life and gladness. I have often noticed the mute rapture with
which he would gaze upon her in company, of which her sprightly powers
made her the delight; and how, in the midst of applause, her eye would
still turn to him, as if there alone she sought favor and
acceptance. When leaning on his arm, her slender form contrasted
finely with his tall manly person. The fond confiding air with which
she looked up to him seemed to call forth a flush of triumphant
pride and cherishing tenderness, as if he doted on his lovely burden
for its very helplessness. Never did a couple set forward on the
flowery path of early and well-suited marriage with a fairer
prospect of felicity.

  It was the misfortune of my friend, however, to have embarked his
property in large speculations; and he had not been married many
months, when, by a succession of sudden disasters, it was swept from
him, and he found himself reduced almost to penury. For a time he kept
his situation to himself, and went about with a haggard countenance,
and a breaking heart. His life was but a protracted agony; and what
rendered it more insupportable was the necessity of keeping up a smile
in the presence of his wife; for he could not bring himself to
overwhelm her with the news. She saw, however, with the quick eyes
of affection, that all was not well with him. She marked his altered
looks and stifled sighs, and was not to be deceived by his sickly
and vapid attempts at cheerfulness. She tasked all her sprightly
powers and tender blandishments to win him back to happiness; but
she only drove the arrow deeper into his soul. The more he saw cause
to love her, the more torturing was the thought that he was soon to
make her wretched. A little while, thought he, and the smile will
vanish from that cheek- the song will die away from those lips- the
lustre of those eyes will be quenched with sorrow; and the happy
heart, which now beats lightly in that bosom, will be weighed down
like mine, by the cares and miseries of the world.

  At length he came to me one day, and related his whole situation
in a tone of the deepest despair. When I heard him through I inquired,
"Does your wife know all this?"- At the question he burst into an
agony of tears. "For God's sake!" cried he, "if you have any pity on
me, don't mention my wife; it is the thought of her that drives me
almost to madness!"

  "And why not?" said I. "She must know it sooner or later: you cannot
keep it long from her, and the intelligence may break upon her in a
more startling manner, than if imparted by yourself; for the accents
of those we love soften the harshest tidings. Besides, you are
depriving yourself of the comforts of her sympathy; and not merely
that, but also endangering the only bond that can keep hearts
together- an unreserved community of thought and feeling. She will
soon perceive that something is secretly preying upon your mind; and
true love will not brook reserve; it feels undervalued and outraged,
when even the sorrows of those it loves are concealed from it."

  "Oh, but, my friend! to think what a blow I am to give to all her
future prospects- how I am to strike her very soul to the earth, by
telling her that her husband is a beggar! that she is to forego all
the elegancies of life- all the pleasures of society- to shrink with
me into indigence and obscurity! To tell her that I have dragged her
down from the sphere in which she might have continued to move in
constant brightness- the light of every eye- the admiration of every
heart!- How can she bear poverty? she has been brought up in all the
refinements of opulence. How can she bear neglect? she has been the
idol of society. Oh! it will break her heart- it will break her

  I saw his grief was eloquent, and I let it have its flow; for sorrow
relieves itself by words. When his paroxysm had subsided, and he had
relapsed into moody silence, I resumed the subject gently, and urged
him to break his situation at once to his wife. He shook his head
mournfully, but positively.

  "But how are you to keep it from her? It is necessary she should
know it, that you may take the steps proper to the alteration of
your circumstances. You must change your style of living- nay,"
observing a pang to pass across his countenance, "don't let that
afflict you. I am sure you have never placed your happiness in outward
show- you have yet friends, warm friends, who will not think the worse
of you for being less splendidly lodged: and surely it does not
require a palace to be happy with Mary-"

  "I could be happy with her," cried he, convulsively, "in a hovel!- I
could go down with her into poverty and the dust!- I could- I could-
God bless her!- God bless her!" cried he, bursting into a transport of
grief and tenderness.

  "And believe me, my friend," said I, stepping up, and grasping him
warmly by the hand, "believe me she can be the same with you. Ay,
more: it will be a source of pride and triumph to her- it will call
forth all the latent energies and fervent sympathies of her nature;
for she will rejoice to prove that she loves you for yourself. There
is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies
dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and
beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity. No man knows what
the wife of his bosom is- no man knows what a ministering angel she
is- until he has gone with her through the fiery trials of this

  There was something in the earnestness of my manner, and the
figurative style of my language, that caught the excited imagination
of Leslie. I knew the auditor I had to deal with; and following up the
impression I had made, I finished by persuading him to go home and
unburden his sad heart to his wife.

  I must confess, notwithstanding all I had said, I felt some little
solicitude for the result. Who can calculate on the fortitude of one
whose life has been a round of pleasures? Her gay spirits might revolt
at the dark downward path of low humility suddenly pointed out
before her, and might cling to the sunny regions in which they had
hitherto revelled. Besides, ruin in fashionable life is accompanied by
so many galling mortifications, to which in other ranks it is a
stranger.- In short, I could not meet Leslie the next morning
without trepidation. He had made the disclosure.

  "And how did she bear it?"

  "Like an angel! It seemed rather to be a relief to her mind, for she
threw her arms round my neck, and asked if this was all that had
lately made me unhappy.- But, poor girl," added he, "she cannot
realize the change we must undergo. She has no idea of poverty but
in the abstract; she has only read of it in poetry, where it is allied
to love. She feels as yet no privation; she suffers no loss of
accustomed conveniences nor elegancies. When we come practically to
experience its sordid cares, its paltry wants, its petty humiliations-
then will be the real trial."

  "But," said I, "now that you have got over the severest task, that
of breaking it to her, the sooner you let the world into the secret
the better. The disclosure may be mortifying; but then it is a
single misery, and soon over: whereas you otherwise suffer it, in
anticipation, every hour in the day. It is not poverty so much as
pretence, that harasses a ruined man- the struggle between a proud
mind and an empty purse- the keeping up a hollow show that must soon
come to an end. Have the courage to appear poor and you disarm poverty
of its sharpest sting." On this point I found Leslie perfectly
prepared. He had no false pride himself, and as to his wife, she was
only anxious to conform to their altered fortunes.

  Some days afterwards he called upon me in the evening. He had
disposed of his dwelling house, and taken a small cottage in the
country, a few miles from town. He had been busied all day in
sending out furniture. The new establishment required few articles,
and those of the simplest kind. All the splendid furniture of his late
residence had been sold, excepting his wife's harp. That, he said, was
too closely associated with the idea of herself; it belonged to the
little story of their loves; for some of the sweetest moments of their
courtship were those when he had leaned over that instrument, and
listened to the melting tones of her voice. I could not but smile at
this instance of romantic gallantry in a doting husband.

  He was now going out to the cottage, where his wife had been all day
superintending its arrangement. My feelings had become strongly
interested in the progress of this family story, and, as it was a fine
evening, I offered to accompany him.

  He was wearied with the fatigues of the day, and, as he walked
out, fell into a fit of gloomy musing.

  "Poor Mary!" at length broke, with a heavy sigh, from his lips.

  "And what of her?" asked I: "has anything happened to her?"

  "What," said he, darting an impatient glance, "is it nothing to be
reduced to this paltry situation- to be caged in a miserable
cottage- to be obliged to toil almost in the menial concerns of her
wretched habitation?"

  "Has she then repined at the change?"

  "Repined! she has been nothing but sweetness and good humor. Indeed,
she seems in better spirits than I have ever known her; she has been
to me all love, and tenderness, and comfort!"

  "Admirable girl!" exclaimed I. "You call yourself poor, my friend;
you never were so rich- you never knew the boundless treasures of
excellence you possess in that woman."

  "Oh! but, my friend, if this first meeting at the cottage were over,
I think I could then be comfortable. But this is her first day of real
experience; she has been introduced into a humble dwelling- she has
been employed all day in arranging its miserable equipments- she
has, for the first time, known the fatigues of domestic employment-
she has, for the first time, looked round her on a home destitute of
every thing elegant,- almost of every thing convenient; and may now be
sitting down, exhausted and spiritless, brooding over a prospect of
future poverty."

  There was a degree of probability in this picture that I could not
gainsay, so we walked on in silence.

  After turning from the main road up a narrow lane, so thickly shaded
with forest trees as to give it a complete air of seclusion, we came
in sight of the cottage. It was humble enough in its appearance for
the most pastoral poet; and yet it had a pleasing rural look. A wild
vine had overrun one end with a profusion of foliage; a few trees
threw their branches gracefully over it; and I observed several pots
of flowers tastefully disposed about the door, and on the grass-plot
in front. A small wicket gate opened upon a footpath that wound
through some shrubbery to the door. Just as we approached, we heard
the sound of music- Leslie grasped my arm; we paused and listened.
It was Mary's voice singing, in a style of the most touching
simplicity, a little air of which her husband was peculiarly fond.

  I felt Leslie's hand tremble on my arm. He stepped forward to hear
more distinctly. His step made a noise on the gravel walk. A bright
beautiful face glanced out at the window and vanished- a light
footstep was heard and Mary came tripping forth to meet us: she was in
a pretty rural dress of white; a few wild flowers were twisted in
her fine hair; a fresh bloom was on her cheek; her whole countenance
beamed with smiles- I had never seen her look so lovely.

  "My dear George," cried she, "I am so glad you are come! I have been
watching and watching for you; and running down the lane, and
looking out for you. I've set out a table under a beautiful tree
behind the cottage; and I've been gathering some of the most delicious
strawberries, for I know you are fond of them- and we have such
excellent cream- and every thing is so sweet and still here- Oh!" said
she, putting her arm within his, and looking up brightly in his
face, "Oh, we shall be so happy!"

  Poor Leslie was overcome. He caught her to his bosom- he folded
his arms round her- he kissed her again and again- he could not speak,
but the tears gushed into his eyes; and he has often assured me,
that though the world has since gone prosperously with him, and his
life has, indeed, been a happy one, yet never has he experienced a
moment of more exquisite felicity.

                        THE END

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