May timely topics-memories, memorials, and mothers

IOther events that typically occur in May include proms, graduations, and weddings. I know because I was married in May; interestingly, I almost share an anniversary with the Duchess of Sussex, the former American actress Meghan Markle.

May is a month of celebrations and remembrances.

You’ll find several affiliate links in this post, to help me fund this blog and give extra value to you, my readers.

In the United States, we call the second Sunday in May Mothers’ Day to honor mothers. We may not be one, but we all have one, although like me, yours may be deceased.

You may have pleasant or not so pleasant memories of your mother, as nurturing may not come easily to some women, possibly because they did not receive it. Sometimes when that happens, other women step in to bridge the gap. They deserve to be honored also.

Other events that typically occur in May include proms, graduations, and weddings. I know because I married my husband in May; I almost share an anniversary with the Duchess of Sussex, the former American actress Meghan Markle. And now she and Prince Harry are new parents of a so cute baby boy, Archie. What a sweet family they make.

May timely topics include

  • parenting issues
  • spring and summer health concerns
  • Memorial Day, another U.S. national observance
  • women’s’ health
  • books about mothers

thanks for exploring with me

I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, links are on the left side bar here and the Home page. Thanks so much.

You will find links to the Timely Topics on the Home page and on the right sidebar on every post (you may need to scroll down to find them on a mobile or tablet)

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                              Dr. Aletha 

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Creating a life that matters

In part 1, I told you about my childhood dreams and those of country music legend Dolly Parton. In part 2,  you’ll learn more about where our imaginations led us.

Here’s the post I wrote to introduce part 2 of the guest post I did for Let’s Create. 

I hope these posts illustrate that creativity isn’t limited to the arts-music, drawing, writing., sewing.

We  use creativity anytime we plan and set goals;

when we try new things , or change the way we think .

Meeting new people and forming friendships and collaborations is creative.

Anytime we find new and better ways to do things, we have created.

We can create a life that matters.

 

Create the life you imagine

Arriving home from an evening out to a movie, I opened my email and found one from Kathleen of Let’s Create; she wrote that part 2 of my guest post had been published.

The timing was both amusing and amazing. My husband and I had just watched the movie I Can Only Imagine. The film portrays the story of singer/songwriter Bart Miller who wrote a best selling song of the same title. The single has sold 2.5 million copies, making it the best-selling Christian single ever; it has had over 2 million digital downloads.

Bart Miller-I Can Only Imagine

As a young boy and teenager, Bart endured the pain of physical and emotional abuse but survived by imagining a far different life. He dreamed of a successful career which seemed impossible, but with the support of friends and a mentor he saw those dreams unfold in ways  he never anticipated.

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM(affiliate link)

And by coincidence, that is what part 2 of my guest post is about- imagining, dreaming, achieving. 

Reading-the fastest way to everywhere (part 1)

In part 1, I told you about my childhood dreams and those of country music legend Dolly Parton. In part 2,  you’ll learn more about where our imaginations led us.

Every person is creative. We have the ability to be creative as we live our daily lives. Some from a young age have been encouraged to develop their creativity and so it comes easier for them to think outside the box.  Often the fewer resources we have the more creative we become.

Enjoy the conclusion at

Real Life Creative Lessons – Let’s Create.

And by the way, this post was one of the most viewed at Bloggers Pit Stop

The Blogger's Pit Stop

 

 Oklahoma’s Official State Inspirational Song

Bart’s band, MercyMe, lived in my home state Oklahoma for a few years and the movie was filmed here. So, Oklahoma’s governor has proclaimed “I Can Only Imagine” as our official state inspirational song.

Representative John Paul Jordan, the  author of the bill, said,

‘This song has its roots in Oklahoma and in the midst of these troubling times, what better time to focus on a song so full of hope? It represents our faith, our hope and where our peace can be found.’

 

 Here’s the whole story-

Imagine This: MercyMe Hit Now an Official State Inspirational Song

Don’t miss Bart Miller’s life changing song.

Bart Miller tells his story in this memoir I CAN ONLY IMAGINE

(This is an affiliate link, meaning if you use it, you’re supporting this blog in a financial way, for which I thank you. )

Bart’s memoir is published by Tyndale Publishers which offers My Reader Rewards Club

As a member, you’ll have access to inspiring literature, Bibles, special promotional offers, and much more. Earning points is easy—you’ll receive 25 points just for signing up!

WHY BECOME A TYNDALE REWARDS MEMBER?
tyndalerewards.com

You can also earn points when you:

  • Shop at Tyndale.com or NavPress.com
  • Refer a friend
  • Write reviews
  • Take surveys
  • Sign up for e-newsletters and e-devotion 

My Reader Rewards Clubis a great way to earn free books and Bibles for yourself, friends, and family! Your journey to earning free faith-based products starts HERE.

(By your signing up through these links, I can earn free books that I may review for this blog.)

Thanks for joining me to reflect on my dreams and those of some interesting people.

I hope  it has inspired you to imagine and keep exploring your dreams.

Always exploring the HEART of health.  Dr. Aletha 

Top 5 posts of 2016- #5

 

This week I’m sharing my top 5 most viewed posts of 2016. I’m not surprised that any of these were the most popular because a couple of them are among my favorites too. (Well, ok, they all are.)

This post is number 5- a story about a special week I spent with some special kids. It’s the

Week that makes me glad I am a doctor

 

 

2015-07-02 14.25.07

 

 

For one week I was the doctor at an exclusive summer camp for children ages 7 through 11 years. Only a few children are accepted to this camp from those who qualify. There are strict requirements for admission, but once a child qualifies, they can return every year until they reach 11. Both boys and girls are recruited to attend.

2015-06-30 11.02.18

 

 

So exclusive is this camp that the ratio of staff to children is almost one to one. Some activities are done in large groups; others are done in groups of four campers with at least 2 adults.  There were adult staff in charge of leading music, teaching crafts, hiking, fishing, swimming and drama presentations. Additional staff came each evening for special programs and a birthday party for everyone. Since we were there the week of Independence Day, there was a fireworks show one evening.

2015-07-01 14.28.13

 

Three hot meals, served all-you-can-eat style, and snacks were provided daily. Assisted by a registered nurse, I oversaw treatment of any injuries, assessed illness and dispensed medications. The campers slept in air-conditioned cabins with full bath facilities, supervised by adult staff.

2015-06-30 11.43.14

 

The total cost of running this 5 day camp is in the tens of thousands of dollars; the cost to each child’s family-nothing.

Sound wonderful to you? The kind of camp you would like to send your child or grandchild to? No, it isn’t.

basketballs and volleyball court

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This camp is exclusive but you can’t buy your way into this camp. It is not for the children of the rich and famous, celebrities, entertainers, politicians, or doctors.

 

This camp is reserved for children who are in the foster care system- children who have been abused, neglected and/or abandoned by their parents.

2015-06-30 07.07.29

 

By  sponsoring these camps Royal Family Kids has been

confronting abuse and changing lives since 1990 .

The camps are staffed by local people for children in their community, usually affiliated with a church. All are volunteers. Funds to pay for the camp are raised by individual and corporate donations, grants, and old fashioned fund raisers like pie auctions .

Child abuse is a preventable, treatable medical condition- and a crime.

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls it  “a public health problem with lifelong health consequences for survivors.”

The World Health Organization calls it a “global priority” due to its potential impact on social and economic development.

All organizations that deal with child abuse agree that prevention is much more effective than treating the effects of abuse.

Child abuse is underrecognized and underreported but estimates are that as few as 4% to as many as 30% of children worldwide experience some sort of maltreatment- physical injury, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual assault or exploitation.

Many of these children land  in the foster care system which can be another form of abuse. Foster children may be shuffled from one home to another without warning, separated from siblings, leaving behind  personal possessions like  clothes, toys, books and photos. They have few opportunities to do normal kid activities like summer camps, family vacations, play sports and music lessons.

2015-07-02 14.31.33

 

That is why our camp is so important. For their week at camp, each child gets  caring attention from safe adults, many of whom return year after year. The goal of the camp is to create positive memories for kids who have few. Each craft is carefully packed to go back with the child, as is a small photo album filled with pictures of their activities at camp.

 

For the sake of their privacy and protection, I cannot show pictures of the children to you, but these photos  from the camp give you an idea of the fun things they did that week. Most important, they are taught that their life has value and that they can overcome the challenging situation that has brought them here. 

2015-06-30 07.06.31

If you suspect a child is being abused, here is how you can help.

State child abuse reporting phone numbers

Come back tomorrow for number 4 of the top 5 posts this year.

Why this week makes me glad I am a doctor

 

This week I head into the wild to serve as camp doctor for a children’s summer camp. It’s a special week for many reasons.

Here’s what happened last summer.

 

2015-07-02 14.25.07

 

 

 

For one week I was the doctor at an exclusive summer camp for children ages 7 through 11 years. Only a few children are accepted to this camp from those who qualify. There are strict requirements for admission, but once a child qualifies, they can return every year until they reach 11. Both boys and girls are recruited to attend.

2015-06-30 11.02.18

 

 

So exclusive is this camp that the ratio of staff to children is almost one to one. Some activities are done in large groups; others are done in groups of four campers with at least 2 adults.  There were adult staff in charge of leading music, teaching crafts, hiking, fishing, swimming and drama presentations. Additional staff came each evening for special programs and a birthday party for everyone. Since we were there the week of Independence Day, there was a fireworks show one evening.

2015-07-01 14.28.13

 

Three hot meals, served all-you-can-eat style, and snacks were provided daily. Assisted by a registered nurse, I oversaw treatment of any injuries, assessed illness and dispensed medications. The campers slept in air-conditioned cabins with full bath facilities, supervised by adult staff.

2015-06-30 11.43.14

 

The total cost of running this 5 day camp is in the tens of thousands of dollars; the cost to each child’s family-nothing.

Sound wonderful to you? The kind of camp you would like to send your child or grandchild to? No, it isn’t.

 

This camp is exclusive but you can’t buy your way into this camp. It is not for the children of the rich and famous, celebrities, entertainers, politicians, or doctors.

 

This camp is reserved for children who are in the foster care system- children who have been abused, neglected and/or abandoned by their parents.

2015-06-30 07.07.29

 

By  sponsoring these camps Royal Family Kids has been

confronting abuse and changing lives since 1990 .

The camps are staffed by local people for children in their community, usually affiliated with a church. All are volunteers. Funds to pay for the camp are raised by individual and corporate donations, grants, and old fashioned fund raisers like pie auctions .

Child abuse is a preventable, treatable medical condition- and a crime.

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls it  “a public health problem with lifelong health consequences for survivors.”

The World Health Organization calls it a “global priority” due to its potential impact on social and economic development.

All organizations that deal with child abuse agree that prevention is much more effective than treating the effects of abuse.

Child abuse is underrecognized and underreported but estimates are that as few as 4% to as many as 30% of children worldwide experience some sort of maltreatment- physical injury, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual assault or exploitation.

Many of these children land  in the foster care system which can be another form of abuse. Foster children may be shuffled from one home to another without warning, separated from siblings, leaving behind  personal possessions like  clothes, toys, books and photos. They have few opportunities to do normal kid activities like summer camps, family vacations, play sports and music lessons.

2015-07-02 14.31.33

 

That is why our camp is so important. For their week at camp, each child gets  caring attention from safe adults, many of whom return year after year. The goal of the camp is to create positive memories for kids who have few. Each craft is carefully packed to go back with the child, as is a small photo album filled with pictures of their activities at camp.

 

For the sake of their privacy and protection, I cannot show pictures of the children to you, but these photos  from the camp give you an idea of the fun things they did that week. Most important, they are taught that their life has value and that they can overcome the challenging situation that has brought them here. 

2015-06-30 07.06.31

If you suspect a child is being abused, here is how you can help.

State child abuse reporting phone numbers

Protecting our children- what parents need to know

Do you feel as angry as I do when you hear yet another  news story  about adults, usually men, who sexually abuse children and adolescents? Almost every newscast on television reports a new incident, if not nationally, but here in my own community. And I don’t live in a high crime area.

Do you feel as angry as I do when you hear yet another  news story  about adults, usually men, who sexually abuse children and adolescents? Almost every newscast on television reports a new incident, if not nationally, but here in my own community. And I don’t live in a high crime area.

Even assuming that some,maybe many of the perpetrators are mentally ill, the numbers  seem staggering.   I wonder, how can our society do better? How can we adults protect vulnerable children?

Too many children are being abused; we need to protect them.
graphic from Child Sexual Abuse  U.S. National Library of Medicine

Thankfully, smart people are working on solutions but in the meantime all of us who have children, grandchildren or other children in our care must do whatever we can to be the first line of defense.

One mother’s story

This  article by Stacy Harrison ,who blogs at Revisions of Grandeur ,caught my attention. She recounts a time when her child might have become an abuse statistic but didn’t due to her vigilance as a mother. She thwarted a potential attack upon her son by

  • trusting her instincts
  • talking to her child
  • disregarding stereotypes and
  • being aware of where she was vulnerable

I encourage you to read her post and consider her suggestions for keeping our children safe.

Not My Child: Protecting My Son from a Sexual Predator 

“Sexual abuse can happen to children of any race, socioeconomic group, religion or culture. There is no foolproof way to protect children from sexual abuse, but there are steps you can take to reduce this risk. If something happens to your child, remember that the perpetrator is to blame—not you and especially not the child.”

At this link from RAINN, you’ll find some precautions you can take to help protect the children in your life.

How Can I Protect My Child From Sexual Assault?

“Stop It Now! has developed a warning signs tip sheet to help identify possible warning signs. Any one sign does not mean that a child was sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests that you begin asking questions and consider seeking help.”

Here is expert advice from the U.S. Department of Justice about

Recognizing Sexual Abuse 

a little girl with a big backpack standing next to a yellow school bus
Lightstock.com photo, affiliate link

You may want to bookmark this link to the National Sex Offender Public Website 

NSOPW

 

 

This post has been updated August 2018.

Thanks for reading and sharing this important information about protecting the HEART of our children’s health.

Please review my Share the HEART of health page for ways you can help children and adolescents.

Dr. Aletha 

 

Some affiliate links for you to consider to help support this blog-

Purchase textbooks at student discounts – 10% off! Shop Now at eBooks.com!
Use code: student$savecp. Until Dec 31, 2018 only

Purchase textbooks at student discounts – 10% off! Shop Now at eBooks.com!
Use code: student$savecp. Until Dec 31, 2018 only

Why we need to end violence and how to stop it

A review of the medical consequences of interpersonal violence

I read the newspaper article in disbelief, then grief; a family of five, parents and three children, murdered in their home in my community. Even more shocking, the assailants were their other two teen-aged children!

Things like this just don’t happen here, a suburban city that is quiet, peaceful and secure. Statistically, one of the safest cities in our state and even the country. But that doesn’t make us immune- violence can happen anywhere to anybody.

“siblings charged with first-degree murder in stabbings of family members”

I  know. Two of my husband’s relatives were murdered. One of them survived multiple wounds from a vicious assault, only to die from a second attack.  The other one died from an in-home attack, a case that is still open and cold- the killer has never been arrested and brought to justice.

I have served as the doctor at a summer camp for children in foster care . Almost all had suffered physical abuse .

“Mother accepts plea deal, prison time for committing child neglect, abuse “

What is interpersonal violence?

The World Health Organization defines interpersonal violence as

“the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against another person, group or community that results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.”

The major agencies that track statistics on interpersonal violence, call it

  • “a pervasive public health, social and developmental threat.”
  • “a leading cause of death, particularly in children, adolescents and young adults.”

“Reporter, photographer  shot and killed during live report”

Did you know that exposure to violence can

  • Cause immediate physical wounds and
  • Result in long-lasting mental and physical health conditions?

Violence matters because it 

  • Directly affects health care cost and payments
  • Indirectly stunts economic development
  • Increases inequality
  • Erodes human capital

Violence causes physical injuries many of which are fatal or leave permanent disability. Other results include sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unintended pregnancy and pregnancy complications.

“Elderly woman beaten to death by two people she lived with. “

Medical effects of violence

Violence contributes to several chronic medical conditions   although the exact relationship is not  clear.  These include heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease (possibly due to smoking), diabetes, alcohol abuse and obesity.

“Rape charges filed against man accused of attacking pregnant woman “

Mental and emotional effects of violence

Exposure to violence leads to multiple types of mental and behavioral disorders :depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, sleep and eating disorders, substance abuse and suicide attempts. Adults who experienced childhood trauma struggle with stress due to finances, family and jobs. Abused children often  commit crime as adults.

“Teen suspected in violent crime spree arrested”

Our health care system encourages prevention, but tends to focus on the prevention of cancers, heart disease, infectious disease and dementia. But given the far reaching consequences of interpersonal violence,,preventing the resulting health problems is just as important. The  multiple factors that contribute to violence makes that a daunting task.

Violence is   a public health, social and political problem. But physicians, mental health professionals, teachers, and law enforcement deal with the effects in the course of our work every day.

“Deadly violence has become all too common in one neighborhood”

Opportunities for prevention

The article concludes with a summary of “opportunities for prevention.” The emphasis is on starting in childhood to address the factors than can lead to violence and to focus on the family unit and schools.

What can we do to prevent violence ?

  1. Early childhood visitation
  2. Parenting training
  3. School-based social-emotional learning approach
  4. Early childhood education , Head Start as an example
  5. Public policy; for  example , addressing laws related to alcohol sales, since alcohol consumption is associated with violence
  6. Therapeutic approaches , including CBT- cognitive behavioral therapy

“Mothers band together to protect Chicago neighborhood”

See this CBS news report on how simple plywood signs are stopping violence in Chicago

RESOURCES ON VIOLENCE PREVENTION

 

Read a  true story about surviving violence

( this is an affiliate link; at no extra cost to you, this blog may receive a commission if you buy through this link; thanks.)

The Rising -Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town 

by Ryan D’Agostino

The Rising by Ryan D'Agostino

The astonishing story of one man’s recovery in the face of traumatic loss—and a powerful meditation on the resilience of the soul
On July 23, 2007, Dr. William Petit suffered an unimaginable horror: Armed strangers broke into his suburban Connecticut home in the middle of the night, bludgeoned him nearly to death, tortured and killed his wife and two daughters, and set their house on fire. He miraculously survived, and yet living through those horrific hours was only the beginning of his ordeal.

Broken and defeated, Bill was forced to confront a question of ultimate consequence: How does a person find the strength to start over and live again after confronting the darkest of nightmares?

In The Rising, acclaimed journalist Ryan D’Agostino takes us into Bill Petit’s world, using unprecedented access to Bill and his family and friends to craft a startling, inspiring portrait of human strength and endurance.

To understand what produces a man capable of surviving the worst, D’Agostino digs deep into Bill’s all-American upbringing, and in the process tells a remarkable story of not just a man’s life, but of a community’s power to shape that life through its embrace of loyalty and self-sacrifice as its most important values. Following Bill through the hardest days—through the desperate times in the aftermath of the attack and the harrowing trials of the two men responsible for it—The Rising offers hope that we can find a way back to ourselves, even when all seems lost.

Today, Bill Petit has remarried. He and his wife have a baby boy. The very existence of this new family defies rational expectation, and yet it confirms our persistent, if often unspoken, belief that we are greater than what befalls us, and that if we know where to look for strength in trying times, we will always find it.

Bill’s story, told as never before in The Rising, is by turns compelling and uplifting, an affirmation of the inexhaustible power of the human spirit.

reprinted from a Goodreads review

How we give new meaning to “happy campers”

Child abuse is underrecognized and underreported but estimates are that as few as 4% to as many as 30% of children worldwide experience some sort of maltreatment- physical injury, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual assault or exploitation.

2015-07-02 14.25.07

For one week I was the doctor at an exclusive summer camp for children age 7 through 11 years. Only a few children are accepted to this camp from those who qualify. There are strict requirements for admission, but once a child qualifies, they can return every year until they reach 11. Both boys and girls are recruited to attend.

2015-06-30 11.02.18

So exclusive is this camp that the ratio of staff to children is almost one to one. Some activities are done in large groups; others are done in groups of four campers with at least 2 adults.  There were adult staff in charge of leading music, teaching crafts, hiking, fishing, swimming and drama presentations. Additional staff came each evening for special programs and a birthday party for everyone. Since we were there the week of Independence Day, there was a fireworks show one evening.

2015-07-01 14.28.13

Three hot meals, served all-you-can-eat style, and snacks were provided daily. Assisted by a registered nurse, I oversaw treatment of any injuries, assessed illness and dispensed medications. The campers slept in air-conditioned cabins with full bath facilities, supervised by adult staff.

2015-06-30 11.43.14

The total cost of running this 5 day camp is in the tens of thousands of dollars; the cost to each child’s family-nothing. Sound wonderful to you? The kind of camp you would like to send your child or grandchild to? No, it isn’t.

This camp is exclusive but you can’t buy your way into this camp. It is not for the children of the rich and famous, celebrities, entertainers, politicians, or doctors. This camp is reserved for children who are in the foster care system- children who have been abused, neglected and/or abandoned by their parents.

2015-06-30 07.07.29

 

A special camp for special kids

 

Royal Family Kids has been confronting abuse and changing lives since 1990 by  sponsoring these camps .  The camps are staffed by local people for children in their community. All are volunteers. Funds to pay for the camp are raised by individual and corporate donations, grants, and old fashioned fund raisers like pie auctions .

Child abuse is a preventable, treatable medical condition- and a crime.

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls it  “a public health problem with lifelong health consequences for survivors.”

The World Health Organization calls it a “global priority” due to its potential impact on social and economic development.

All organizations that deal with child abuse agree that prevention is much more effective than treating the effects of abuse.

simple children's paintings on a wall

Many of these children land  in the foster care system which can be another form of abuse. Foster children may be shuffled from one home to another without warning, separated from siblings, leaving behind  personal possessions like  clothes, toys, books and photos. They have few opportunities to do normal kid activities like summer camps, family vacations, play sports and music lessons.

2015-07-02 14.31.33

 

Why Royal Family Kids

That is why our camp is so important. For their week at camp, each child gets  caring attention from safe adults, many of whom return year after year. The goal of the camp is to create positive memories for kids who have few. Each craft is carefully packed to go with the child, as is a small photo album filled with pictures of their activities at camp.

For the sake of their privacy and protection, I cannot show pictures of the children to you, but these photos  from the camp give you an idea of the fun things they did that week. Most important, they are taught that their life has value and that they can overcome the challenging situation that has brought them here. 

2015-06-30 07.06.31

 

If you suspect a child is being abused, here is how you can help.

Contact the National Child Abuse Hotline

or your local child protective agency – find the number at this link.

Together we can help every child feel safe and create positive memories. Thank you.

(This is not an affiliate link. Donations to Royal Family Kids are not shared with this blog.)

drawing of a laptop with GIVE on the screen
Royal Family Kids