My Debate Wish List

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I guess it would be too much to ask that either Trump or Clinton lead off the debate with a Rosary.   Or a salute to Our Lady of Guadalupe.   So, I guess I’ll need to keep my wish list to things more temporally satisfying.

Before I even start, I’ll tip my hand.   I cannot in any case ever, ever, ever see myself voting for Hillary Clinton.   Never ever.   Ever.   There is zero common ground I have with her on issues of morality, but then extending beyond that we have no common ground on any of the other temporal matters at hand, either.   I find her entirely and utterly despicable.   Or, to use her word, deplorable.   I won’t say she’s unredeemable (another of her words, which is not actually a word) because God can do anything, and in fact Christ redeemed us all if only we accept that redemption.    But she labeled a number of Americans with that word as well, which further speaks to her character.

Having tipped my hand, I suppose I need to do what everyone else feels compelled to do, and to make it clear that I don’t really like Trump either.    I find it somewhat fascinating that people always feel the need to be apologetic and squeamish about supporting a candidate.   I am neither apologetic, nor am I squeamish.  I have a choice to make here, and I’ll make it, and I won’t apologize for it.   If I am perturbed by anyone, it’s the other voters who ultimately gave me this choice.    I did not vote for Trump in the Primary, and he was never my favorite or even close to it.

But I can’t change that, so I can either throw a tantrum and not vote, under the delusion that he’s as bad as Hillary, or I can vote third party under the delusion that either of those nutjobs are any better (OK, I suppose that wasn’t charitable.   This is a Catholic blog and I suppose I should be more careful.   On the other hand, I’m not supposed to lie, so I’m in a conundrum.   So I’ll keep the comment and you can feel free to judge me.).  Or I can suck it up and be an adult and recognize that I have only one choice to make.   And since I’m forced to choose between these two, I choose one and will not apologize in any way for it.    It doesn’t mean I’ll defend him on everything, it means that I think he’s imperfect but still a lot better than the alternative.

And so, there it is.   Full disclosure on my feelings.

So, with that, here is my wish list:

  1. In Trump’s opening remarks, he paints the backdrop for the entire debate.   That while Clinton spent the last week resting and rehearsing every detail and every scenario, and turning herself into a robotic and programmed policy wonk who is incapable of authenticity, he spent the last week traveling around and meeting with every day Americans.    That he didn’t rehearse at all, except to talk about some things that might come up in the debate.   That he didn’t have stand-in Hillary practice.   So, in the next 90 minutes, the American people are going to hear my real, unrehearsed, authentic thoughts.   It may not be finely tuned and rehearsed, and he may not have decided to memorize and encyclopedia’s worth of details on every issue under the sun.   As President, he will have trusted advisers to provide all the details, while his job is to stay big picture and provide direction.     And so on.    Basically, he needs to set the entire debate up in his favor so that every time she throws out statistics and facts and policy, he can engage where comfortable but always have a default response of “you did a nice job of memorizing in the last week there.”    This will use her strength against her and sow doubt.    He doesn’t need to beat her on facts and figures if he can create a sense that whenever she goes there it’s just not authentic and not what the voters care about.     He may or may not win that argument with the high-brow intellectuals, but he will win it with typical Americans who have proven that they simply don’t care about all these details.   They are no watching the debate to find out who knows more about the issues.   They just aren’t.   That is a bit sad, but true.    It caused me angst during the Republican debates.    Trump clearly doesn’t know as much about policy as many others on stage.   And yet, he won the nomination.    Trump just needs to find a way to equalize that advantage so that he keeps people unimpressed by the know-how, and makes it about stature and personality.
  2. I want to see a 5-minute coughing fit from Hillary about 45 minutes in.    Maybe prompting Trump to offer her a glass of water.    I am not wishing for a major medical event, let me be clear.   I just want coughing.   It would provide entertainment value, it would be incredibly embarrassing for her, and quite frankly I think something as goofy as that with 100 million people watching would simply be her death knell.   Politically speaking.    I suppose this isn’t particularly charitable of me either.
  3. I want to see Trump wear a tie-pin that clearly says “Les Deplorables.”
  4. I want to hear Hillary Clinton say the words “radical Islamic terrorism.

To be perfectly honest, I think we’re just living in sad times where, as a friend of mine said, this whole thing is just one big garbage fire.    I think I’m well past the point of hopefulness that the process, at least this year, actually is redeemable.

So, I can choose to stew in bitter disgust, or I can at least try to enjoy it.   Admittedly, it’s kind of like enjoying the view of the ocean while on the deck of the Titanic.

 

A Little Inspiration

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I have always found inspiration from this video.   We all need a little bit of what Matt does.   Many of you have probably seen it.   If not, I challenge you to watch it and not feel anything.

Charlotte’s Web

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If one pays attention to the world about, it is often apparent that there is a strange dichotomy in place, nearly side by side.   It’s that old traditional saw about the battles between good and evil, it’s the wheat and the weeds, etc.    Sometimes, it’s the crucifixion and resurrection – something good somehow coming from something bad.

Charlotte has suddenly been thrust into the darkness of civil unrest following another police shooting.    It matters not that the police officer was black, all that matters is that the victim was black.   It seems we are now in a state where chaos will be triggered no matter what the circumstances.   Here is the image of Charlotte America now sees:

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To be clear, I do not know what happened.   I don’t know if the shooting was justified or unjustified.   I don’t know if the victim was truly a victim because no gun was involved, or if he was in fact a criminal who threatened the officer with a gun, reaping what he sowed.   What I do know is that I don’t know, and what I do know is that few, if any at all, of the protesters know at this point, either.   The police department is being criticized today for not releasing the video of the incident.   I don’t know enough about it to judge it myself, but I am nearly certain that we have reached a level of discord that the video could clearly show an man pointing a gun directly at police and there would still be people ignoring it, so that they can use this unfortunate circumstance to do harm to others.

And yet, I read another article today about Charlotte’s boom in seminarians.

Here are a couple excerpts from the article.

“For the first time in its 44-year history, the Diocese of Charlotte has 24 men in formation in three seminaries. A contributing factor to the record number of seminarians this year has been the establishment of a minor seminary in Charlotte, St. Joseph’s College Seminary.”

“Under the steady and orthodox leadership of Bishop Peter Jugis the diocese has fostered a strong devotion to the Eucharist. Just this past weekend Charlotte hosted its 12th Eucharistic Congress.  15,000 people participated this year, many arriving early Saturday to join in the annual Eucharistic Procession through the streets of downtown Charlotte.”

Now, the article I linked to tends to think it’s all about Traditionalism.  That’s OK.   I don’t disregard the fact that those who prefer a Traditional Liturgy will tend to be more orthodox.   I do think it’s a mistake to equate orthodoxy with Traditionalism.   I consider myself entirely orthodox when it comes to submitting to the magesterial teachings of the Church, while considering certain elements of worship as preferences.   I think we fight too much about things that are preferences.   But I digress.

The reason I point out the article is as a juxtaposition of the anger and hatred on display right now.   In the heart of it is the following picture of Charlotte:

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I’m often reminded of the stories of hope during World War II, even among those in concentration camps or those threatened with that possibility.    The images above and those stories serve as a reminder to us that we are a world in constant opposition.   God wants us, and  the Devil wants to take us away from God.   Evil manifests itself in countless ways.   But no matter how much darkness there seems to be, and no matter where you are and what is happening, God has pockets of light.   A little light can break through a lot of darkness.

The men above are the men who can help heal Charlotte.

Kneeling for the National Anthem and Flying the Confederate Flag

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Unless you’ve been comatose lately, you are well aware of the controversy in the NFL surrounding the appropriate posture during the National Anthem.   This all, of course, started with Colin Kaepernick deciding he was going to protest social injustice by sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem.

Not surprisingly, this has left a bad taste in many peoples’ mouths.  It is not a stretch to conclude that someone who takes this action is being blatantly and purposefully disrespectful to toe flag, to the country, and to all those who have fought for our country, many of whom have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the process.

Kaepernick sees it differently:   “The media painted this as I’m anti-American, anti-men-and-women of the military and that’s not the case at all.  I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put themselves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country and my freedom to take a seat or a knee so I have the utmost respect for them.”   [source]

He’s not anti-American, I guess, but he’s not proud of the country, either:  “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

OK, I won’t regurgitate the obvious points about the color of our current President, how blessed Colin is in both status and income, etc.   I also won’t rehash the argument about how the National Anthem has nothing at all to do with the thing he’s supposedly protesting.

What I’d like to do is compare this to the controversies around flying the Confederate Flag.

While the Confederate Flag controversy has basically died down, mostly because those who oppose the flag have largely won the day by eradicating it from most public spaces with great fanfare, I would like to revisit their arguments in the context of the protests during the National Anthem.

Many people flew the Confederate Flag not to celebrate slavery, nor as a statement of racial superiority.   Quite frankly, some people I think just thought it looked cool and didn’t give any thought whatever to the “meaning” of the flag.

In full disclosure, I never really got the whole thing one way or the other.   I’m a northern boy who is perfectly satisfied with the U.S. Flag.   If I’m being perfectly honest, most of the people I’ve personally witnessed flying the flag on the back of a jacked-up pick-up truck were not really the circle of friends I would naturally gravitate towards.   I am fairly agnostic about the whole thing.   I could actually see and understand both views.   I can see how some like what it symbolizes from a traditional and culture aspect apart from the slavery issue, but I can also see how it can be very difficult to view it as a symbol completely divested of the slavery issue.

Be that as it may, let’s review the arguments given for why the Confederate Flag is not racist:

1 – It represents Southern Culture – similar in meaning to “Don’t Tread on Me” – it’s a symbol that screams “don’t mess with us!”

2 – The flag has nothing at all to do with race – it’s a historical symbol devoid of any specific meaning

3 – It’s just cool looking

4 – Many people – relatives and ancestors – died in the Civil War.   This is a way to remember and honor them.   The Civil War was fought over many issues other than slavery, after all, and not all those fighting were fighting for that reason.

5 – We are just too politically correct and sensitive and we are reading way too much into things.

 

I am not saying those are good or bad arguments.   What I am saying is that many, many people actually do revere the Confederate Flag because of those arguments, and that many many people who fly the flag are not intending to be racist, or hold feelings of racism.   Many aren’t even trying to make a statement, they just want to fly the flag and be left alone.

I am sure there are others who do fly the flag to make a statement, and also fly it at least in part – whether they openly admit it or not – that there’s a racist component to it.

 

But let’s explore the person who claims to fly the flag with zero racist motivations.    How is that viewed by those who consider the flag a symbol of racism?

This article is a bit dated, but it shows how many states have taken actions or have proposed removing the Confederate Flag.   In none of the states where the flag has come down has there been an actual admission that the Flag is racist, or represents racism.   It is an act, however, of unity.    Why?   Because perception becomes reality.

You see, whether intended or not, there is at the very least an indirect tie to the issue of slavery that is represented in the minds of folks in the Confederate Flag.   Right or wrong, there are people legitimately bothered by its presence.    You need not prescribe to the idea yourself, nor do you need to even accept the premise of it, but those who oppose it will say that you are – de facto – supporting or celebrating racism and slavery if you support the flying of the Confederate Flag.

I am not here to argue that point as much as to question where the same people who make that argument fall on the “is purposefully kneeling during the National Anthem anti-patriotic and anti-military?”   I am only guessing here, but I would guess that those people would say “no.”   And if so, they are being hypocritical.

The U.S. Flag represents many things.   Yes, our country has its warts, but that is not what the Flag represents.   The Flag does not represent the police or individual lawmakers or anyone else you have a beef with.   It represents the ideals that our country was founded upon, as delineated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.   It represents our country in battle, as a defender of Freedom, and directly corresponds to those who have served.

It matters not one iota if Kaepernick or anyone else says that his actions don’t mean what everyone in the country thinks they mean.    It matters not that he wants to blame the media for mischaracterizing his intentions.    You cannot make the argument on the one hand and dismiss it on the other.

If you are going to argue that intentions don’t mean diddly in the one case, then stop arguing that intentions are what matter in the other case.   You can’t have it both ways.

Simply put, the actions by these players ARE anti-America, anti-Military, and anti-Patriotic.    Whether they believe it or not is irrelevant.  At least that’s what we’ve learned from them during the Confederate Flag issue.

Boycotts – Who, Where, When, How, and Why

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I’m not a huge boycotter.   It is not that I have anything particularly against them.  In fact, I think they could be effective in many cases.   The main reason I tend not to boycott is because, in my own jaded view of the world, everything seems so screwed up and – to use a Hillary Clinton term – “unredeemable” that in order for me to be consistent in judging where my dollars should go I’m not sure I’d step foot in just about any store, and I would probably not buy products from nearly any brand.

Having said that, I have moved beyond that generally sense of hopeless response to warming up more and more to the idea that selected boycotts are a good thing.    I think my mindset was incorrect that it is necessary to boycott every evil all at once.   It is probably more realistic, and possibly even more effective in changing the culture,   to take selective action for specific reasons where it can have the most impact.    This not only presents a more specific message, but it also serves as a warning shot to all those who were not on the receiving end of the boycott to clean up their act or they may be next.

I think it’s all fine and well and good to take principled stands, but I think one also needs to understand that not everyone will (or reasonably can) avoid every place everyone else might want them to avoid.   I know many people are boycotting Hardees/Carl Jr because of racy ads.   Many people are boycotting companies that came out as supportive of gay marriage during that whole fight.   And the list goes on.   I say, go for it.   But if your friend isn’t boycotting Hardees then don’t whack that friend on the head in judgment.   He or she may well point out this thing or that thing about a company you are not boycotting where it could be argued that it is just as meritorious to do so.

I guess, to me, it is most effective if all of us Christians can get together and collectively come to grips with the fact that all of culture is broken and is in various states of decay, and instead of just trying to fix everything all at once and ending up with only a handful of people boycotting any particular place, there needs to be a bit more thought and actual strategy behind it.

That is one reason I loved the Target boycott.   It was kind of cool to see something so well organized that tugged on the boycott levers of a large swath of people.   The other good thing about it is that they knew exactly why they were being boycotted.   It is then up to them to decide what to do, or not do, as the case may be.   And despite their own resolve, it is almost certain that other major corporations took notice and thought “Uh, yeah…  think we’ll not wade into those waters right now.”

So, ultimately, there are two kinds of boycotts.   (1) You, as an individual, feel strongly about something and you are not going to patronize some place.   There is no real organized movement afoot.  (2) A critical mass of people have signed up through an organized effort to boycott.   In the first case, depending on your approach, it is unlikely that your boycott will impact anything at all, and may in fact do you more harm than anyone else if you are foregoing a product or service you enjoy.   That may well be a worthwhile sacrifice, but that is all your boycott will likely product.   But there could be exceptions to this.

So, taking a look at those words often heard in terms of journalistic enterprise:

WHO – I think it’s probably a losing battle to boycott everything.    So it is probably important to focus either on a particular issue you feel very strongly about or a limited number of companies that have particularly upset you.

WHERE – If you take your boycotting to the peaceful protest stage to try and educate others, keep some things in mind:  (1) do not harass other patrons.   (2) do not judge other patrons. (3) keep in mind that the people working there likely need a job and your actions may be indirectly hurting their future job prospects – particularly if a boycott is successful.   Treat them with dignity and respect even if they aren’t all that nice to you.    They may be seeing you as an enemy not so much because of the issue, but because they are concerned for their own job.

WHEN – As I said, it’s completely up to you.   But I would  look for organized boycotts that have built up steam and can actually have an impact on the financial results of the company being boycotted.   It may not even be your primary issue or main focus, but if it’s a cause you can get behind and can help send a greater message, this makes better strategical sense than proverbially carpet-bombing everything in sight.   But you may feel very strongly about other issues as well.

HOW – I think the most important element of boycotting is to make sure companies realize you are boycotting them and why.    And it also probably helps to let them know how much you would have otherwise patronized them.  Sure, they may dismiss you as a nutjob or may simply not even care that you will not patronize them, but if 1000 other people send them the same note or email they will be forced to take notice.    They may not even want to capitulate, but with enough pressure they just might because they are still a business.   If you personally boycott Hardees and have never told them how much you would likely spend there in a year and why you are taking your dollars elsewhere, they don’t even know that they are missing out on sales, or even if they notice a decline they don’t know what the reason is.   A few years ago I happened to see the sponsors of a local gay pride event.    I saw a jeweler my wife uses on the list.   I sent an e-mail, not even to boycott, but to express my disappointment that they would sponsor such an event.   As far as I know, my email was the only one they received and it prompted the owner to take sponsorship duties from his store manager and promise me that it would never happen again – and it hasn’t.   A note can mean a lot, or it may not mean much, but if they don’t know then your actions likely mean even less.

WHY – I encourage people to stay focused on the fact that it is executive management who decides the corporate approach to things.   I work for a very large company.   I don’t agree with some of the public stands taken by my company.    I am an employee who wants to do a good job providing a good product for people who need it.    Taking the torches and pitchforks out against all company employees is a disservice to what you are trying to accomplish.   You are trying to change the culture by getting people to reconsider the damage they may be doing to it by the actions they are taking.   If you are angry and hateful in doing so, then you will fail miserably, will bring disrespect to the cause, and will only help further the deterioration of our culture.   You are boycotting because what they believe and what they are doing is causing harm to society.   That needs to be said, but in a charitable, clear, concise, and logical way.

 

A Medical Year to Remember

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The last year has been an interesting one for me on the medical front.   While this is getting somewhat personal, there really isn’t anything I feel needs to be kept to myself on it.   And there’s a couple reasons I’m sharing, from just thinking that my experience may help others figure out some other options in their health care to a spiritual component, keeping all things in perspective.   Kind of the theory that there are no true coincidences – everything has a purpose.

Around October 2015, I started feeling tired all the time.   Nothing specific, just didn’t feel right.   I decided to schedule a hair mineral analysis test and then do a consult with a Doctor who specializes in that area.   My consult, though, wasn’t until the end of March 2016.   OK, whatever.   I can deal.

It was Christmas 2015.   Anyone who knows me knows that Christmas is my favorite day of the year.   I love absolutely everything about it.   I love what it means from my Catholic perspective – the birth of the Savior of the World, the humility in how He came to us, the joy that accompanied His arrival…  everything.   I also love all of our celebratory traditions.   I am not a person opposed to the gifts, the treats, the decorations, the lights, the music…   oh, the MUSIC!    I find it all enjoyable, awesome, and in no way detracting from the real meaning of Christmas.   Yes, people can go overboard and lose focus, but that is an issue with the person, not the thing.

So, it’s Christmas morning and…   I’m in pain.    And I know the pain.   Kidney stone.   I’ve had them a few times and have become intimately familiar with the drill.

OK, so in the past I’ve gone to the E.R., but now I know what to do.    Get ahead of the pain with pain meds.   Except this time I have an accompanying symptom.   My bladder feels so full I swear it is going to explode, except that I have continually emptied it.   This did not alleviate, and it was a tossup as to what was more uncomfortable – the pain associated with the stone itself or the unceasing feeling of a bladder that has no more room at the Inn.

This whole thing concerned me to the point where, once again, it was off to the E.R.    You need to understand here that I am cheap (I personally believe it should be lovingly referred to as prudently frugal).   A trip to the E.R. costs money, which now also causes psychological distress.   But it is what it is, and I needed to find out what was going on.

So, while the kids were celebrating their new presents I was in the hospital, as was my wife who was there to pretend she wanted to be there with me on this most celebrated day of our Lord.

OK, fast forwarding a bit, the docs were concerned about the bladder symptom as well and I had a CT scan.   The good news was that my bladder was in no danger of exploding, the bad news was that this was apparently my body’s current reaction to having the stone near it.   Yay.   In other words, suck it up and deal with it because there’s really nothing to be done, and there are no drugs that really take away the sensation of needing to urinate.

Oh, and by the way, it looks like you have some fat in your liver.   Eat less fat.

And so it was.   And I passed the stone that night, and life went on.

I had my hair mineral analysis.    And then my consult in late March as scheduled.    My analysis showed some interesting things.   Most of my readings were either low, or at the low end of normal range.    A few things didn’t show up at all.   I began a general protocol addressing my HMA results, along with the general knowledge of the Kidney Sotne issues, my propensity towards headaches, my general fatigue issues, and general GI/stomach issues.

Around that time, I had pain in my lower abs area.  OK, yes, near the groin if you must know.    I also had a bulge in the area previously unknown to me.   I’m thinking possible tumor or a hernia.   So I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for late April.

The night before my doctor’s appointment, I passed another kidney stone.   I didn’t go to the E.R. this time – I got ahead of the pain with the leftover meds I have.   Man, those things suck.

Doctor’s appointment – good news…  no hernia or tumor.   Looks like a fatty tissue deposit that I don’t really need to worry about, and the pain is likely a groin muscle strain.

Oh, but we need to talk…   the CT scan you had…  the diagnosis is SEVERE fatty liver.

Um…  what?   They just said I have some fatty liver and to eat a little better.

No, it’s severe.   Which is a bit odd, since all liver function tests are normal.   So, I want to run some more detailed tests to see what’s going on that aren’t as typical.   Oh, and by the way, back in 1996 when you had knee surgery your orthopedic surgeon ran a blood test that showed borderline underperforming thyroid function,.    I have no idea why an orthopedic surgeon would have run that, but since he did let’s do that too and see what’s going on there.

I won’t go into how I pass out with blood tests.

Fast forward to results:   (1) My thyroid is wonky.   Hypothyroidal.  (2) Copper is low.   Weird.   Alpha-1 % and Alpha-2 % are both low.   Weird again.   Outside of my doc’s expertise – see a GI doc.   Oh, and suddenly my blood pressure is really high.

GI doc – normal overall liver function, nothing to see from physical exam.   Probably nothing, but let’s run a couple other tests to rule everything out and be done with it all.   And, oh by the way, anyone reading a CT scan and trying to proclaim liver conditions as anything specific and assigning severity is guessing.   You can only do that from a biopsy, which we’re not going to do.   So don’t lose too much sleep over it.  And, oh, you need to pee into this bucket for the next 24 hours.

Fast forward to further tests:   Wilson’s disease, no.   But you actually do have low antitrypsin.   Interesting.   We need to do a genetic panel.

Final answers: (1) Thyroid is likely contributing to fatigue issues – I am not doing medication yet.   Talked the doc into giving me a few months.   Working with the hair mineral analysis doc on ways to address that, including putting iodine tincture on every day.  (2) I have a genetic condition that I won’t even try to describe in medical terminology.   Basically, I only produce 60% of normal antitrypsin levels.  Antitrypsin is produced in the liver.   I also produce a defective protein that is not recognized by the liver.   This might be difficult for the liver to eliminate, and could produce scarring and liver damage.    Antitrypsin also is what protects the lungs from all sorts of things.   A deficiency could lead to lung problems, including emphysema.   The good news is that 60% production should be enough for a normal and healthy life as long as I minimize my exposure to things that can cause lung issues.   No smoking for me…    I also may be more susceptible to prolonged cough symptoms that accompany colds and flu and may have more difficulty recovering, so I need to do my best to stay healthy in the first place and avoid as much of those circumstances as I can.  (3) High blood pressure is not quite where they’d recommend medication (I wouldn’t go on it anyway) but I need to monitor.   Buy a band.

Since then, I have no passed any more kidney stones.    I have a follow-up thyroid function blood test in November.   I have been on varying protocols with the HMA doc as new information has emerged from all these tests.

Here’s what is interesting to me.   There is almost no way under normal circumstances that I would have ever looked into or otherwise discovered that I have this genetic condition.   But now that I know I have it, I can eat certain foods and take certain supplements and do certain things that will really help me live a healthy life with this condition.   This all came about because of bladder sensation while passing a kidney stone, combined with thinking I had a hernia that I didn’t have.   Also, had my orthopedic surgeon 20 years ago not done a TSH test, I likely would not have pressed for one, and I probably didn’t give my doctor enough general information that would have led him to believe I needed one.   But now I know I have that issue and can deal with it.

I guess you never know what to expect, but I feel that this all came about in such a unique way that there was some guiding hand out there that decided it was time for me to get healthy and deal with these somewhat hidden issues.   As uncomfortable as it was, as much as I didn’t want to spend Christmas Day curled up in pain, and as much as it cost me I am nonetheless thankful to be where I am at.

I am a believer in both conventional medicine and alternative medicine.   I want to find a way to cure or help my body first through natural remedies, but also think there is a time where you accept the blessings of modern medicine as well.    I have followed the advice of the HMA doc and been doing some interesting things.    I feel better overall, my recent Hair Mineral Analysis shows improved mineral readings, and I think this is the first major step to getting back to where I need to be.   I’m drinking a juiced lemon every day that I can and taking a number of supplements.   I am using tanning beds to get natural Vitamin D and avoiding D supplements.    I have learned that the Vit D/Vit A/Vit K needs to be in balance, and it is likely mine was not.   I need to produce D naturally and I need A to remove excess D, and I need K to deposit my Calcium where it is supposed to go, and not in my Kidneys or arteries.    I am supplementing with copper to get that level up.   Exercise and sleep are very important – I am trying to do better with both, but old habits die hard.    Interestingly, my blood pressure is now back to normal levels.

I am also having my amalgam fillings removed.   I know this is a point of debate, and to be honest I am not certain how convinced I am that it is necessary.   But I’ve decided that if I do it, then any question about it is gone and I don’t have to worry about it.

I am willing to try just about anything that makes some kind of potential sense to me.

So, to finalize my thoughts on this, why did I blog about this today?   Well, first, from the standpoint of faith and trust, i am not saying there is no such thing as coincidence, but I think we tend to overstate what might be coincidence because – for whatever reason – it is difficult for us to believe that God is directly intervening in our life to bring something about.   What I think is interesting about this aspect of God in our lives is that seldom does He just give us a direct answer via a dream or something.   It’s not like He sent me a note, saying “Get your antitrypsin levels checked.   And your thyroid.   K, thx…   God.”    He finds a way to bring it about that may not even be all that pleasant, but nonetheless gets us where we need to be.   It’s almost like His price tag to giving us this information is an opportunity for us to join in Christ’s redemptive suffering on the cross.   Even on Christmas!

The other thing that is interesting to me is the timing.   I have been referring to Charlie Johnston and what he says is coming.   I don’t want to overdo it with that, but it’s worth keeping in mind.   If he is right, then the timing and the timeline needed to get all this straight for me is difficult for me to write off as entirely coincidental.   It could be that the time has come to prepare myself for the times ahead and be ready physically for whatever it is my family and others will need me for.

In any case, interesting times for me, and for all of us.