Monday, October 31, 2011

Patron Saints

By Diane Forrest,

There is a movie starring Val Kilmer called The Saint.  It is the story about a man who takes on different identities to perform criminal activities, and he uses the names of Patron Saints. I love the movie, its on of those where you end up cheering for the bad guy.  Being brought up in the Baptist religion, however, I didn't know anything about Saints.  Patron saints are chosen as special protectors or guardians over areas of life. These areas can include occupations, illnesses, churches, countries, causes -- anything that is important to us. The earliest records show that people and churches were named after apostles and martyrs as early as the fourth century.

When I was young I went to school at a Baptist school.  One day I had worn a beautiful necklace my next door neighbor let me borrow.  While I was standing in the lunch line the headmaster of the school walked by and noticed my necklace.  He made me take it off.  It was a St, Christopher's, and he told me we didn’t believe in those.  I just thought it was a pretty necklace.

There are thousands of Saints, which is pretty incredible, since it takes a great deal to be nominated for Sainthood.  We have holidays named for Saints, such as St. Patrick's Day, and St. Valentine's Day, and today, we celebrate All Saint's Day.  

All Saint's Day follows Halloween which is the oldest celebration, dating back thousands of years.  Hundreds of years ago in what is now Great Britain and Northern France, lived the Celts. The Celts worshipped nature and had many gods, with the sun god as their favorite. It was the Sun God who commanded their work and their rest times, and who made the earth beautiful and the crops grow. The Celts celebrated their New Year on November 1st. It was celebrated every year with a festival and marked the end of the "season of the sun" and the beginning of "the season of darkness and cold." The Celts believed, that during the winter, the sun god was taken prisoner by Samhain, the Lord of the Dead and Prince of Darkness.

On the eve before their new year (October 31), it was believed that Samhain called together all the dead people. The dead would take different forms, with the bad spirits taking the form of animals. The most evil taking the form of cats.

On October 31st after the crops were all harvested and stored for the long winter the cooking fires in the homes would be extinguished. The Druids, the Celtic priests, would meet in the hilltop in the dark oak forest (oak trees were considered sacred). The Druids would light new fires and offer sacrifices of crops and animals. As they danced around the fires, the season of the sun passed and the season of darkness would begin.
When the morning arrived the Druids would give an ember from their fires to each family who would then take them home to start new cooking fires. These fires would keep the homes warm and free from evil spirits. The November 1st festival was named after Samhain and honored both the sun god and Samhain. The festival would last for 3 days. Many people would parade in costumes made from the skins and heads of their animals. This festival would become the first Halloween.

The next influence came with the spread of the new Christian religion throughout Europe and Britain. In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church would make November 1st a church holiday to honor all the saints. This day was called All Saint's Day, or Hallowmas, or All Hallows. Years later the Church would make November 2nd a holy day. It was called All Souls Day and was to honor the dead. It was celebrated with big bonfires, parades, and people dressing up as saints, angels and devils.

Today All Saints Day is celebrated by the Catholics by attending Mass and praying for the Saints.  In the United States, however, this custom has been abrogated, meaning it is no longer practiced.    You can still celebrate this day by clicking on the site below and looking up some of the Saints, or rent the movie The Saint, or watch a football game with The New Orleans Saints.

Did you know that the New Orleans Saint's got their franchise on November 1, All Saints Day?

For more information about Saints, click here:

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

By Diane Forrest, RN

A year ago a young man in our community committed suicide.  While I don't know the reason for this action, I learned that soon after his wife discovered she was pregnant with his child.  She went to the doctor the day before her due date, and it was discovered there was a problem.  She was rushed to the hospital where a c-section was performed only to discover the infant had died.   I cannot imagine the pain this family experienced.

The son's mother, and baby's grandmother spoke at my church recently.  Within seconds the whole congregation was in tears. She attributed her strength to her faith in God and the support of her friends and family.  Without them she would not have been able to survive.  She told us how they wrapped the baby up, placed him in her arms where she was allowed to hold him, sing to him and talk to him.

For those who have never experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant, it is hard to imagine what the parents are experiencing.

It all starts as a dream. You have decided you want to have a baby. You dream of how it will feel to have a baby in the house, picture what you will do for it's room, but it is still a dream. What you hope for.

Then the day arrives! You find out that you are pregnant. Hooray! The dream has become a reality. You are going to the doctor, making plans. There is a little life growing inside you – your child.

Now you have the reality of your dream - a baby. And more dreams! Will it be a boy or a girl? You immediately start thinking of names. What will he/she look like?

We all know what is supposed to happen next. Having a healthy baby, of course. Yet, that doesn't always happen. Whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, newborn death, or SIDS some of us lose our babies. It is a shattered dream, and it is a shattered reality.

Even though they may not have had the time with the infant that you have with other people who are gone from their lives.  The loss is still the same.  This is a time that we need to remember these families have experienced a great loss, and need as much support and comfort they can get.

Remember those who are grieving this month, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and every month.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

10/31 Ghosts, Goblins and Spooks

By Diane Forrest,

I can't remember any Halloween costume I wore grow up as a kid.  I guess because back then they were these ugly little things you stepped into and they tied in the neck in the back.  I do remember the candy though; I mean who can forget free chocolate?   I do remember my son's costumes though, because I made each one.  He was a pumpkin one year, a clown, Peter Pan, and Dracula.  His last year he was a mime, but he could never master the not talking part.

At my church, we celebrate a family festival.  This is a fun safe place to take kids and play little games to win prizes and candy.  There are several different booths, a cake walk, hay ride, candy apples and everything in between.  This year they are going to perform little skits along the path of the hay ride, should be an exciting time.

Another fun activity during Halloween is visiting a haunted house.  Many organizations will decorate an abandoned home and charge admission for you to walk through and have the devil scared out of you.  Many area business will offer candy to dressed up youngsters, and some restaurants will offer free or discounted hot dogs and burgers on Halloween night.  Have you ever wondered how Halloween got started?

During the 10th and 11th century the Catholic Church in Scotland began to practice All Hallows Day (Also known as All Saint's Day or Hallowmas) on November 1. The tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.  The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve. The people would gather in front of a blessed bonfire and would sing, dance and listen to the stories that were told during the celebration. At the end of the evening, each person would take some of the bonfire home to relight their heart fire in hopes of ensuring good fortune to their home and family for the coming year. It is said that if your hearth fire would not light from the sacred bonfire, misfortune, even death, would befall someone in the house that very year.

By the 19th century, most of the religious aspects of the Halloween celebration had dwindled away and it was mostly a secular holiday, a gathering of community with only some of the remnants of the past clinging to it like the cobwebs of a haunted house. People would still dress up in costume, but less for the original reason of confusing the dead and more for just plain entertainment and fun.

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In some parts of Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of trick, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, to earn their treats

Beware of the ghosts, goblins and spooks that are lurking in your neighborhood tonight, make sure you have plenty of candy on hand, so you won't get any tricks played on you. 

We hope you have a safe and successful Halloween!

10/30 Sudden Infant Death Awareness (SIDS) Month

By Diane Forrest, RN

When my son was born my mother came to stay and help out.  I had a C-Section because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, so she was letting me rest while she took care of him.  Our first day home from the hospital my mother anxiously watched as he slept.  After 3 hours she could no longer stand it and woke him up.  I guess she was afraid he was sleeping too long, or she just wanted to hold him.  It took 18 months for him to sleep during the night.  Of course that time I was the one to check to make sure he was ok.

The threat of sudden infant death is terrifying.  It is the leading cause of death in children between one month and one year of age. Most SIDS deaths happen when babies are between 2 months and 4 months of age.

The following have been linked to a baby's increased risk of SIDS:
  • Sleeping on the stomach;
  • Being around cigarette smoke while in the womb or after being born;
  • Sleeping in the same bed as their parents (co-sleeping);
  • Soft bedding in the crib;
  • Multiple birth babies (being a twin, triplet, etc.);
  • Premature birth;
  • Having a brother or sister who had SIDS;
  • Mothers who smoke or use illegal drugs;
  • Being born to a teen mother;
  • Short time period between pregnancies;
  • Late or no prenatal care; and
  • Living in poverty situations.


  • There are some precautions that you can take to help prevent SIDS;
  • Always place baby on the back to sleep;
  • Refrain from putting the baby in the bed with other persons;
  • Avoid soft bedding material;
  • Allow baby's bed in the same room as parents;
  • Don't keep room too hot;
  • Offer pacifier while sleeping; and
  • Keep soft toys out of bed.

This is Sudden Infant Death Awareness month, so if you are someone you know is expecting, or has a newborn; please share these tips to prevent an unnecessary tragedy.

For more information click here:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

National Candy Corn Day

By Akindman,

Candy corn history dates back to the 1880s when the Philadelphia-based Wunderlee Candy Company's George Renninger invented this popular candy. Wunderlee Candy Company was the first company to manufacture the candy. In 1900, the Goelitz Candy Company, which later became the Jelly Belly Candy Company, started making these candies and continues to make candy corn today. (Wikipedia)

Candy corn is one of those polarizing Halloween traditions; people either love 'em or just can't stand them. Their triangular shape, Autumnal colors, and sweet little stripes make up an image ingrained in Halloween celebrations all over the world. In honor of the iconic seasonal treat, I looked up a few facts and put it all together in a fun quiz. Think you know candy corn? Test your knowledge here.

1. What are the three primary ingredients of the original candy corn recipe?
    a) Sugar, corn syrup, powdered sugar
    b) Sugar, water, and corn syrup
    c) Sugar, water, and honey

2. Originally, how many months per year did they produce candy corn?
    a) Five
    b) Eight
    c) 12

3. On average, how many calories does each kernel of candy corn contain?
    a) 2.57
    b) 3.07
    c) 3.57

4. In the Thanksgiving variation, "Indian Candy Corn," what color is the yellow layer replaced with?
    a) Brown
    b) Red
    c) Orange

B – Sugar, water and corn syrup
A – Five
C – 3.57
A – Brown

10/29 Psoriasis Therapy Month

By Diane Forrest, RN

You may remember the "Heartbreak of Psoriasis" commercial.  This was a commercial selling Tegrin medicated shampoo.  It was a treatment for psoriasis, but they never really told you what that was.

Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation. Most people with psoriasis have thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales.
Psoriasis is a very common condition. The disorder may affect people of any age, but it most commonly begins between ages 15 and 35.

The condition cannot be spread to others.

Psoriasis seems to be passed down through families. Doctors think it probably occurs when the body's immune system mistakes healthy cells for dangerous substances
The following may trigger an attack of psoriasis or make the condition more difficult to treat:
  • Bacteria or viral infections, including strep throat and upper respiratory infections
  • Dry air or dry skin
  • Injury to the skin, including cuts, burns, and insect bites
  • Some medicines, including antimalaria drugs, beta-blockers, and lithium
  • Stress
  • Too little sunlight
  • Too much sunlight (sunburn)
  • Too much alcohol

  • Psoriasis can appear suddenly or slowly. In many cases, psoriasis goes away and then flares up again repeatedly over time.
  • People with psoriasis have irritated patches of skin. The redness is most often seen on the elbows, knees, and trunk, but it can appear anywhere on the body. For example, there may be flaky patches on the scalp.

The skin patches or dots may be:
  • Itchy
  • Dry and covered with silver, flaky skin (scales)
  • Pink-red in color (like the color of salmon)
  • Raised and thick

The goal of treatment is to control your symptoms and prevent infections.

In general, three treatment options are used for patients with psoriasis:
  • Topical medications such as lotions, ointments, creams, and shampoos
  • Body-wide (systemic) medications, which are pills or injections that affect the whole body, not just the skin
  • Phototherapy, which uses light to treat psoriasis

Most cases of psoriasis are treated with medications that are placed directly on the skin or scalp:
  • Cortisone creams and ointments
  • Creams or ointments that contain coal tar or anthralin
  • Creams to remove the scaling (usually salicylic acid or lactic acid)
  • Dandruff shampoos (over-the-counter or prescription)
  • Moisturizers
  • Prescription medicines containing vitamin D or vitamin A (retinoids)

If you have an infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics.

You may try the following self-care at home:
  • Oatmeal baths may be soothing and may help to loosen scales. You can use over-the-counter oatmeal bath products. Or, you can mix 1 cup of oatmeal into a tub of warm water.
  • Sunlight may help your symptoms go away. Be careful not to get sunburned.
  • Relaxation and ant stress techniques may be helpful. The link between stress and flares of psoriasis is not well understood, however.
  • Some people may choose to have phototherapy.
  • Phototherapy is a medical treatment in which your skin is carefully exposed to ultraviolet light.
  • Phototherapy may be given alone or after you take a drug that makes the skin sensitive to light.
  • Phototherapy for psoriasis can be given as ultraviolet A (UVA) or ultraviolet B (UVB) light.

  • There is no known way to prevent psoriasis. Keeping the skin clean and moist and avoiding your specific psoriasis triggers may help reduce the number of flare-ups.
  • Doctors recommend daily baths or showers for persons with psoriasis. Avoid scrubbing too hard, because this can irritate the skin and trigger an attack.

The main thing to remember is that it is not contagious, and those who suffer from it lead a very embarrassing and isolating life.  If you know someone who has this condition, or see someone with scaly patches, do not stare or ask questions, just show support and understanding. 

For more information visit this site;

Friday, October 28, 2011


By Akindman,

Cats, whether they are big or small, black or white, long-haired or short-haired, make excellent pets! These furry felines have strong, flexible bodies and quick reflexes. They are also nocturnal and have acute hearing and an ability to see in near darkness. This is why cats usually prey on mice: the rodents make high frequency noises so the cats can pinpoint exactly where they are.

National Cat Day was founded in 2005 by Pet Lifestyle Expert & Animal Welfare advocate Colleen Paige in order to help the public recognize the number of cats each year that need to be rescued. There are approximately 4 million cats entering shelters each year, with 1-2 million of them being euthanized.

Cats are often overlooked as pets because they don't help people like police dogs or guide dogs. But research shows that having a cat as a pet can lower an owner's blood pressure and stress level. Cats also have many different types of vocalizations that they use to communicate with their owners including meowing, purring, trilling, hissing, growling, and grunting.

On National Cat Day, celebrate cats and the unconditional love and companionship that they provide to their owners. If you don't own a cat, today is a great opportunity to volunteer at your local animal shelter to play with the cats and give them some attention. You may just fall in love and want to adopt one!

Wild Food Day

By Diane Forrest,

An old timer who grew and collected much of the food he ate used to say something like this:

"The plants I grow in my garden and the foods I collect in the woods have to fight off the same bacteria, molds and viruses that I do. The ones that live in this area near my house. They've developed immunities over hundreds of years to survive here -- the fiddleheads, wild leeks, mushrooms and blackberries. When I eat them I get the benefit of some of that evolution. When you go buy fancy vegetables from California and fruit from South America or some faraway place, what good does that food do you? None of the bugs it’s had to fight off live here. It might even do you some harm."

My son grew up in boy scouts, from the time he was a cub, til he reached the rank of Eagle.  They would go on many overnight camping trips in the woods in our area.  During these trips they would learn about how to survive in the wild.  The would locate and identify edible plants, as well as learn how to trap and prepare animals, clean and cook the things they gathered as well as other useful information.

There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that you can survive off of the land and catching and preparing your own food without the use of a grocery store or microwave.  Many men and women in the south are known for their skills in hunting and fishing.  They claim that the first day of deer season should be considered a national holiday.  Each year during deer season, our local paper is full of hunters with their kills.  They take great pride in being able to supply food for their families.  They grow up learning the rules and skills of hunting and tracking, and pass this knowledge on to their children.  If you take care of nature, it will take care of you.

It has been my experience ( since I am not much of a chef) that men have a knack for cooking wild game, so I am giving you a recipe from an experienced deer hunter called Deer Meat Supreme:

  • Venison
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Meat Tenderizer
  • Flour
  • Margarine
  • Lemon Juice
  • Accent
  • Eggs
  • Lemon Pepper

Tenderize venison that has been aged properly.  Place meat on cookie sheet and sprinkle with lemon juice.  Add pepper (heavy), lemon pepper, salt (sparingly) meat tenderizer, Accent and marinate for 1/2 hour.  Turn meat and repeat process and marinate for 1/2 hour.  Flour meat, dip in beaten egg and flour again.  Fry in cast iron skillet with about 3/4 inch hot bacon grease for about 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn and try another 2 to 3 minutes.  For a different taste, you can skip the egg and flour and fry in 1 stick butter.  Do not overcook.  Enjoy!

One of my favorite recipes with deer is deer sausage.  The sausage is made at meat packing facility.  Of course you can make your own, but it’s easier to have it prepared.  You can also have hamburger made from deer meat as well.

I like the link sausage and my daddy's old scout recipe for biscuits.

Boy Scout Biscuits:

1 cup self rising flour
1 heaping table spoon mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 425.  Mix flour and mayonnaise, then add milk until the mixture is thick, not too dry, and not too wet.  Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until done.  Makes about 6.

Slice sausage down the center and place in skillet.  Fry until done and place on hot buttered biscuit.

For other information about wild food and recipes click here

Today is wild food day, so try something different and see what you can find in your yard.  Just make sure it is edible and not poisonous first!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


(an email to share)

Between the fields where the flag is planted, there are 9+ miles of flower fields that go all the way to the ocean. The flowers are grown by seed Companies. It's a beautiful place, close to Vandenberg AFB. Check out the dimensions of the flag. The Floral Flag is 740 feet long and 390 feet Wide and maintains the proper Flag dimensions, as described in Executive Order #10834. This Flag is 6.65 acres and is the first Floral Flag to be Planted with 5-pointed Stars, comprised of White Larkspur.  Each Star is 24 feet in diameter; each Stripe is 30 feet wide. This Flag is estimated to Contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants, with 4-5 flower stems each, for a total of more than 2 million flowers. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

American Beer day

By Diane Forrest,

Benjamin Franklin once said that Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States, where over 1,400 breweries produce more than 6 billion gallons annually.  Beer has been around for thousands of years.  The earliest known chemical evidence of beer dates to circa 3500–3100 BC.

It is the third most popular beverage, behind tea and water.  Beer in the United States is manufactured by more than 1,700 breweries.   Americans drink more than 50 billion pints of beer each year—that's enough to fill 1 out of every 25 residential in-ground pools in the U.S.!

I can remember being around beer from an early age.  My father would sip some suds on the weekends, I grew up singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall, and when I went to college there were always games to play that involved drinking beer. Even when I started working at the hospital I had a doctor to order beer for one of his patients.

One of the best beers I ever drank was on a hot summer day out at the lake and the only thing I had to drink was an ice cold beer.  While I am not a beer drinker, I have used it on occasion as a rinse for my hair and in batter for frying onion rings.

Today is American Beer day, and you have many different brands to choose from.  One of the best selling brands is Budweiser.  While I’m not an expert on the taste, I have to admit they have some great commercials.  Who can forget the singing frogs, and the beautiful Christmas ads with the Clydesdale horses, or the awesome memorial tribute to the victims of 9/11.

So today, on American Beer day, why not relax and blow the froth off a few, and if your aren't a beer drinker, have some beer battered onion rings...or even rinse out your hair, but enjoy celebrating this fun day.

To Good Lung Heath

By Diane Forrest, RN

The other day I was talking to my father's former secretary.  She had recently moved out of state, so I wanted to catch up to see how things were going.  Things were not going well for her, she had developed COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and Emphysema.  I could tell as she was talking to me how short of breath she was getting, and she had a frequent cough.  As she talked about her treatment and medications she realized that this condition was not totally unexpected.  She has been a heavy smoker for years, and smoking is the number one cause of COPD.

Smoking is not the only cause of damage to your lungs.  Exposure to dangerous fumes and certain gases in the workplace, or long exposure to cooking with fire can also cause lung damage.  Air pollution is another cause for lung damage.

From the moment you are born, the first action you take is breathing.  In the old days the doctor used to whack a baby on its bottom to start that first breath.  My son just celebrated his birthday, and I found the perfect card for him.  It said, there was alot of excitement in the delivery room on the day you were born, everyone wanted to slap your bottom!  Of course these days they don't do that, they just suction out the mouth to clear out any mucus.  Breathing is also the final action we take.

Normal respirations are 15-20 breaths per minute.  In the lungs, the oxygen from each breath is transferred to the bloodstream and sent to all the body’s cells as life-sustaining fuel. Keeping your lungs healthy is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

Warning signs that there is a problem with your lungs include:
  • a cough lasting several months;
  • wheezing;
  • shortness of breath;
  • coughing up blood;
  • producing mucus; and
  • chest pain lasting several weeks.

If you have any of these symptoms inform your doctor.  He will listen to your breath sounds with a stethoscope, get a chest x-ray done, and if there is any abnormalities detected will do further testing.

Prevention and safety is essential to good lung heath.  You need to be aware of the air you breathe at home, school work and outdoors.  Being in a smoke free environment, wearing a mask if working around dangerous chemicals and gases, and having proper ventilation at home and school are good ways to prevent damage to your lungs.

Today is Lung Health Day, so take a few minutes to look around your environment to make sure the air you are breathing is hazard free.

For more information about lung health, click here:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

National Mincemeat Day

By Diane Forrest,

Every year when the holidays are near I think about mincemeat pie. I don't know why, I guess it’s from reading all those Charles Dickens stories.  While I have never had mincemeat pie, my neighbor, who was from England, used to eat it a lot growin up.  One would think that it being a pie would be a dessert, but in fact it is a main course. the following is a recipe from the 16th century:

Pyes of mutton or beif must be fyne mynced & seasoned with pepper and salte and a lytel saffron to colour it / suet or marrow a good quantitie / a lytell vynegre / pruynes / great reasons / and dates / take the fattest of the broath of powdred beefe. And if you will have paest royall / take butter and yolkes of egges & so to temper the floure to make the paest. (sic)

The tradition of mincemeat pie started in the 11th century.  The Christmas pie came about at the time when the Crusaders were returning from the Holy Land. They brought home a variety of oriental spices. It was important to add three spices (cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg) for the three gifts given to the Christ child by the Magi. In honor of the birth of the Savior, the mince pie was originally made in an oblong casings (coffin or cradle shaped), with a place for the Christ Child to be placed on top. The baby was removed by the children and the manger (pie) was eaten in celebration. These pies were not very large, and it was thought lucky to eat one mince pie on each of the twelve days of Christmas (ending with Epiphany, the 6th of January).

Today, you can find mincemeat in jars, but reports are not as favorable as homemade mincemeat.  Below is a recipe that is easy and delicious.  So today, on National Mincemeat Day, why not try a practice run and serve this at your holiday gathering.

Mincemeat Pie

  • 1 1/2 cups diced cooked beef
  • 4 cups chopped apples
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 large orange, peeled, sectioned, and cut into bite-size
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sorghum or molasses
  • 1 cup beef broth

  1. Combine the cooked beef, apples, raisins, sweet pickle vinegar, pineapple, orange, salt, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, sorghum and 1 cup beef broth.
  2. Store in the refrigerator or freeze until ready to use.
  3. Pour in unbaked pie crusts and  Bake at 350 for 45 mins to an hour. 
  4. Makes 2 pies.