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Mother’s Day for 3 Very Special Daughters

Three of my daughters are mothers now. Jennifer, my son’s wife, has been a mom since 2005, my eldest daughter Natasia, since 2008 and my 18 year old daughter Noêl became a mother this year. Three incredibly amazing women. All as different as night and day yet bound together in the common unity of life, motherhood, humanity and having to have ME for a mother! God bless them!🙂

I’m starting with Jennifer. She is an AMAZING mom. I don’t think she knows how much I love and appreciate her, and that’s my fault. I don’t communicate it to her often enough. I love her so much and she is a blessing to me.

jenflowersHer husband and children adore her. I have seen her grow and change so much in the years since we have met. One thing never changes though, and that’s the level of care and commitment she has for her family. She has endured a lot with having a husband who has been deployed over seas multiple times, wounded in combat, the moves they have made from state to state, and through it all, she has been a great mother to two awesome kids.

jenkidsJen, I just want to say that I love you and Happy Mother’s Day! (P.S. I got your card! Thank you!)

 

Natasia Champion is my eldest daughter of my 6. Her first experience with motherhood was heart breaking, to say the very least, as she endured the death of her infant daughter, Elizabeth Skye. Time is far too limited to go into the details of all she suffered, but I am sure she is the amazing mother she is today as a result of all her pain and sorrow surrounding such a great loss. I can’t even begin to explain the roads we have traveled, the ups and downs, but she is still there for me, even as I am now almost FIFTY and I STILL cannot handle the full load of “mothering”.

tasMD2014What can I say, Natasia. I love you. I know that you know that. As rocky and as up and down as life has been, I just love you. No matter what. Thanks for being a great mother to my children and my grandchildren.

tasiakidsHappy Mother’s Day!!!!!

 

And now there is my sweet Noêl. At the oh so tender age of 18, just as I became a first time mother at this age, here you are…a MOM!! And what a wonderful mommy you are!

newbornI think the most outstanding thing that radiates from you is the incredible depth of change a person goes through all because of a tiny little human being they love more than their own life. It has been a joy watching you grow and change as a person, in so many ways. It’s a hard process as we all know, but so worth it.

Happy Mother’s Day my dear daughter!welly

I am so very proud of each one of these amazing mothers. They inspire me. Yes they do. Each one in her own unique way. I am truly blessed to have each one in my life.

Happy Mother’s Day to each one of these beautiful women!

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Mother’s Day ~~Marilynn~~2014

My mother is Marilynn Sheron Willis. She lives in Arizona with my little sister, Shannon Baca, Shannon’s husband Moses, and their4 children, India, Jacob, Levi, and Isaac. I don’t get to see her very often, but we keep in close touch via, of course, Facebook, and for that I am super grateful. She has been for me this past year, next to or maybe even tying with my daughter Grace, my biggest supporter and encourager concerning my academic endeavors. And rightly so. What parent would not be proud of a child going to college? So what if I am about to turn 50, right?

Mother…..I don’t want to go into the hundreds of cliches and cheesy, flowery phrases that I could come up with but the funny thing is, they would all be quite applicable and fitting. Our relationship has gone through so many changes over the years, yet here we are, coming full circle and renewing those old bonds. What an honor it is to grow older and wiser and more mature over the years and to have you to share it with.

I want to remind you of some things I said to you back in 2011. I think you may have forgotten some of them and they bear repeating, so allow me to copy and paste here. >>>>>

>>>My intention now is to reflect on my thoughts of my mother and come up with everything good, because….as I have learned, sometimes a mom just needs to know her child loves her.

So I start with this. Marilynn Willis…Mom…I love you so very much. We live so far apart and our lives are very different now, but in many ways they are much the same and we are very near together at heart.

My earliest memories of you were in Columbus, Ohio. I see you in the kitchen making our meals but more vividly I see you serving us at the table. I see you watching us at the pool as we swim. I remember several rides in the car with you and my siblings. I even remember going to yard sales with you. I remember visiting the neighbor ladies when I was the only child at home and Bryan and Lexi were at school. I felt very special to have you all to myself.

My earliest memories in Jersey are of us moving into the house. I remember picking out the new carpet for the house with you and Daddy and taking the cats away to be euthanized in lieu of the coming new carpet. Did we bring Sunny and Beanie all the way from Columbus? We must have because I remember eating the cat food at Bristol Court. 🙂

The next major memory was the arrival of my new baby sister. Daddy teased me that I would no longer be the baby of the family. I felt sad, but I was anxious to meet my new sister and I remember you brought her in to my second grade class to show her to my teacher. I thought it was so neat that my mom was at the school, in my classroom! All through elementary school, I have vivid memories of being home with you. Listening to records, watching TV, doing the grocery shopping, doctor appointments, visiting with friends, holidays, weekend recreation….the list is far too numerous. You were always there, quiet and calm, I don’t remember any yelling. Everyone loved you. People were drawn to you and you were one of the favorite moms of the neighborhood because you were always genuinely loving, caring, warm and open to any and all who sought out your friendship.

The sad days surrounding your divorce were days that molded me into a new person. This was a time of eye-opening growth for me as I stayed by your side and helped you with the simplest daily tasks. There were times when you could not even answer the phone and you depended on me to help you. I felt very special and grown up and we began our friendship at this point as you suffered through many changes in your life. I remember feeling very happy to be able to help you. I remember thinking how much I loved you. I could not imagine life without you.

Then there was the big move to Florida. What an adventure for us all. It was hard on everyone, but there were plenty of good times as well as major adjustments for us all. They were trying times that made us into a very close family. I learned during these years that there is nothing you would not do for your children. You gave up a lot to make us happy and comfortable. Time and again, I remember the sacrifices you made and how many times, though we were all there, you felt very much alone as each of us drained away a part of you. Particularly, I am thinking of the time you ended up on the couch while every one had a room in the house but you..(Nana had pushed you out of your room). I remember every sacrifice, Mom…not just that one.

The gifts of money…

The help and support emotionally…

The friendship….

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of ALL of this simply because, now I am the mother of children and I am literally in your shoes. I have really screwed things up here and there. There have been rivers of tears, loads of regrets and broken hearts….all my own fault. But you never once turned your back on me. Even when we were far away and not in touch, I knew in my heart that you would be there for me. That you loved me no matter what. You patiently waited for me to grow and to change. I did not realize it at the time. I thought I knew everything. I knew NOTHING. I still don’t know much, but I do know this. I know that I love you and that your long-suffering and forgiveness has inspired me to do the same with others.<<<

Mom, I have grown so much since I wrote these words to you in 2011. I have always had your example to reference. Your example shines. So for this Mother’s Day, 2014….there is nothing left to say except thank you. Over and over again…thank you. Your love and support mean the world to me as I press on to make my dream come true. I love you so much!

menmom

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Book Review for History 108

Book Review
Two Troubled Souls: An Eighteenth-Century Couple’s Spiritual Journey in the Atlantic World is an historical work of epic proportion. Written by history professor Aaron Spencer Fogleman, the book follows the lives of Jean-Francois Reynier and his wife, Maria Barbara Knoll. Fogleman depicts the life of Jean-Francois from age 16 as he sets out on a journey from Germany to the New World to ‘find himself’ while seeking spiritual enlightenment and fulfillment. His humble beginnings in America leave much to be desired as he faces life in a Moravian religious community as an indentured servant. From Pennsylvania to Georgia, his travels lead him through many experiences that include conflict with others as well as bouts of mental illness. After gaining difficult training in his first 11 years of life in the British North American Colonies, he returns to the core of his religious sect and marries Maria Barbara Knoll at the Moravian community in Marienborn, Germany. The couple is then sent on missionary journeys across the Atlantic to Suriname, St. Thomas, and the British North American Colonies. Through their years of ministry, the author spotlights their tumultuous relationship and the hazardous effects on their marriage from people they work with and places they live. The greatest struggle each one seems to have is the inner desire for spiritual fulfillment and how they clash with one another and the communities in which they work as they each seek different means of emotional and spiritual satisfaction.
Fogleman was trained as an early Americanist, but was always interested in transatlantic connections of the British North American colonies to Europe, especially regarding migration. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1991. Currently, he teaches history at Northern Illinois University. He is intent on showing the reader how this couple set out to change people and circumstances as they ministered through the Moravian religious sect, yet their encounter of so many aspects of the events that were shaping the Atlantic world (such as the pietism and individualism in the religious community, the transatlantic slave trade, plantation life, intense tropical climate, diseases, wars, starvation and generally harsh living conditions the modern reader might not think to consider) changed them. Fogleman reveals that rather than just influencing people through their mission work, the Reyniers were ultimately transformed by their experiences with the people and places in the Atlantic world.

Throughout the narrative, Fogleman proves factual events and also suggests possible scenarios that could have favored Jean-Francois’s position over his wife Maria Barbara’s. He offers various reasons that could have been in favor of (or the fault of) each person so the reader can decide for themselves what may have caused so much tension between them. Propositions are also given for the part the Moravian Church played in their troubles. The evidence laid out from Fogleman’s sources (the book has a 14 page bibliography citing works from manuscripts, online data bases, newspapers, magazines, books and pamphlets in both English and German) is simply stated leaving the reader with their own musings and opinions about the life of the Reyniers. The most convincing argument; that these two people were indeed troubled souls, is easy to concur with no matter who or what is at fault or which person the reader may favor.
Two Troubled Souls reads like a history book on the Moravian Church as well as, perhaps, a detailed book about religious life in the American colonies. In fact much of the happenings in the beginning chapters where Jean-Francois is a single man at the Ephrata cloister in Pennsylvania can be compared to an American history book such as The American Challenge: A New History of the United States. The reader will find references to and details about transatlantic travel, indentured servitude, religious freedoms/persecutions, developing cities such as New York and Philadelphia, and colonial life in general. In Georgia, Fogleman incorporates references to the Stono Rebellion (the largest and deadliest slave rebellion in the history of British North America) which had a major impact on the life of Jean-Francois.
Any student of American history would benefit from reading Two Troubled Souls, especially one interested in communal religions of early America. One may even find it difficult to decide whether the book is mostly about the Reynier’s personal life of struggles or perhaps an historical account of the Moravian Church in the colonies! A rich history of an historical time period and an interesting account of lives lived within it, nonetheless.

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Paper 2 English 102 Higher Education

 

Recipe For Sweet Success: Overcoming Unexpected Obstacles for the College Freshman

Heather Niewadomski

English 102

Erin Faherty

April 22, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Abstract

College freshman are usually ill-prepared for the first semester of courses they face. Whether they are not academically prepared to a sufficient degree or they are unaware of the amount of time needed to work through the materials of their classes, many new students fail to anticipate unexpected challenges they will face. Strategies for forging ahead under difficult circumstances can be employed for any student wishing to overcome obstacles and be successful despite disappointments from trying situations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe for Sweet Success: Overcoming Unexpected Obstacles for the College Freshman

The term, ‘higher education’ has more than one meaning. Some define it purely as education that will result in a college degree; at the very least, in an associate’s degree. Others believe it is the pursuit of any education at levels where attendance is voluntary. It usually means completing courses from a school that offers post-secondary education. Whichever way one may choose to think of higher education, it can be agreed upon that the word ‘higher’ gives a connotation of something above what one may have already experienced in high school and, generally, that is what can be expected. Unless of course, that is, a student has to enter remedial courses in college because he or she is still not college ready! Reasons for not being college ready are numerous and varied, but high school students are not the only ones who face the deficiencies that complicate the first semester of college learning. Maybe one has been out of school for years and is returning to college after a long absence. It could be possible someone has never been to college at all and their life circumstances have dictated the need to get an education in order to provide a better living for their family. Perhaps a student is seeking a degree in a second field after 10 or 15 years of work in their first. Whatever the case may be, students have individual needs that are unique to their own lives yet they all share one common bond. Every new student is going to face academic struggles and difficult situations as they seek to earn their degree. Going into the world of higher education is no easy task for anyone. Despite myriad challenges facing every college freshman, any obstacle can be overcome with hard work, perseverance, and the right attitude.

 

Many new students don’t realize that remedial classes are necessary during their first semester in college. It comes as quite a surprise that preparatory classes must be mastered before entering a college, credit-earning course. However, these same students received high marks throughout high school and did not struggle to keep their grades up. They made ‘A’s and ‘B’s with minimal effort, yet they find upon taking their placement tests that they are not at the aptitude they need to be in order to begin college level courses. Studies reveal that nearly 60% of first-year college students discover (despite being fully eligible to attend college) they are not ready for postsecondary studies (The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education , 2010). This can be very discouraging to college freshmen just starting out, fully motivated to get into their studies and get on with life. Having the best possible attitude about being stuck in remedial courses is the only way to keep the first semester of college up-beat and productive.

Students should realize they need to know the concepts found in the remedial classes in order to build strong skills to continue on to the next level. It’s a simple fact that unless one has already experienced A, B, and C….. the D, E, and the F are not going to make much sense. As the human nature of any individual proves, people tend to run ahead and try to find the answers on their own, often ignoring instructions because they chose to neglect the rule book. Working through the remedial course materials will build confidence in the learner knowing that they are getting the necessary information in order to be successful in the next level of the subject matter. Cutting corners is never a good idea and most people discover that particular certainty at great cost. Students should surrender to the mindset that they will have to work extra hard to make up for lost time. Most of the issue with disappointment is found in the ‘will’; the desire to have a personal time table fulfilled. Realizing that one’s plan has changed (and for very good reason) anyone can ‘buckle down’ and remain motivated by employing a strong work ethic. The choice is theirs, depending on how they look at it. Positive overall effects for students who take remedial courses are regularly documented. A report by Harvard Graduate School of Education associate professor of education and economics, Bridget Terry Long states, “Students who received remediation in math were over 15% more likely to complete a college degree in four years. Those in English remediation programs were 9% more likely to do so…” (Long, 2005). Remedial courses should never be viewed as a setback but rather as a stepping stone to success.

New college students typically underestimate the volume of reading they face in each course. For the most part, a full time college student is going to have 4 courses and each course may have two or more text books. There will be a lot of reading! Experienced college students understand this fact. Whereas most students are not used to reading high level material from a printed page for long periods of time, they will argue that the teachers never made them read very much. Nonetheless, the fact remains, students will have chapter after chapter of college level material that is technical and often times less than enjoyable. There simply is no way around it. Students must vigorously apply themselves!

Every college freshman, no matter what their age or circumstance, should determine that this is something that must be accomplished and approach the task with determination. Having a daily planner is a great way to divide up the task of large amounts of reading. Taking the amount of page numbers to be read in a week and dividing by the number of days available for the task, a student can successfully cut up the chore into manageable sections. Daily goals reached bring the reader one step closer to the final objective. Knowing what must be accomplished and seeing the task ahead can be daunting for the pessimist. Giving up at the first sign of discouragement is never an option. This is where one must draw upon available resources to “power through” and reach the goals. Whether it’s a study group one can go to or just the simple practice of giving up leisure time, students should expect to work hard and make sacrifices. The reading must be done either way, so getting into a positive mode and determining to not only get through the material but also try to retain what is being read can actually be an adventure if done with enthusiasm. The right attitude get anyone through the hardest assignments and strengthen character. Setting thoughts of the ultimate rewards in the forefront of the psyche is key to overcoming long chapters in subjects such as history and psychology. Consider even further rewards, apart from learning about the subject one studies. Some very interesting perks result from large amounts of reading as reported in an article titled, What Reading Does for the Mind by Anne E. Cunningham and Keith E. Stanovich.

Reading has cognitive consequences that extend beyond its immediate task of lifting

meaning from a particular passage. Furthermore, these   consequences are reciprocal and

exponential in nature. Accumulated over time—spiraling either upward or downward—

they carry profound implications for the development of a wide range of cognitive

capabilities. (Cunningham & Stanovich, 2001)

 

If nothing else, one will certainly benefit from the overload of course material in text books and all that reading will definitely not be a waste of time. Constant positive thoughts on this matter can keep one motivated to forge ahead. Determination is the major prerequisite for the next topic mentioned, as well.

 

Tutoring plays a significant role in helping new students to keep up with the work load. Many students feel they could spend hours on the subject of math alone and still not get ahead. Without question, quantitative reasoning is one of the most dreaded of subjects, generally speaking. Conversely, there are those who actually like math! Students who did well with it during high school expect they will do just as well in college math courses. However, classes such as algebra, calculus and trigonometry turn out to be harder than they anticipated. They have underestimated the need for tutoring and extra study time.

Understanding the value of mastering math concepts is paramount to working through difficult math courses. Whether one has a strong foundation and positive experience in math or has had a rocky road all the way, math is important not only in life but in successfully earning a college degree. According to Pearson Education Inc., “A lack of sufficient mathematical skill and understanding affects one’s ability to make critically important educational, life, and career decisions”(Sherman, Richardson, and Yard, 2010). Even if arithmophobia has plagued someone their entire life, the good news is that all of that can change with the right attitude. Adulthood and academic goals dictate a new way of approaching difficult tasks related to education.

Students should seek out a math tutor at the moment they realize there will be a struggle ahead. Finding a person who is qualified and available is one option, should it be affordable and convenient. Another option is to find help on the internet. The World Wide Web is the greatest asset to the college student of our modern times. Literally hundreds of math videos are available on YouTube alone. Math tutorials and free math web sites abound for anyone in need of extra help with math. The very best thing about using videos for math tutoring is the pause button. This feature allows one to stop the tutorial at any point to further contemplate the concept and allow it to sink in before the next step is spoken. Videos can be viewed over and over again. A variety of instructors can be perused until just the right teacher is found to fit an individual student’s taste. One may find the on-line math instruction to be superior to an in-person teacher. In fact, many students prefer an on-line math class for the convenience. USA Today reports that, “At some schools, online courses — originally intended for non-traditional students living far from campus — have proved surprisingly popular with on-campus students. A recent study by South Dakota’s Board of Regents found 42% of the students enrolled in its distance-education courses weren’t so distant: they were located on campus at the university that was hosting the online course” (Pope, 2006).

This statistic supports the probability that students struggling with math are indeed making use of that pause button and going at their own pace when needing extra help. One cannot stop the teacher during a class when they are in the middle of teaching many people. Tutoring in this manner works very well. Viewing videos on one’s own time makes for a more personalized lesson without the pressures of the ticking clock and other students in the room.

Above all, students should work hard and determine to learn the material. All of this will take time and effort to coordinate if one desires to keep up and even excel. Nothing done in college is going to come easy and with little effort. Students should understand from the very beginning that hard work is not something that can randomly be done at one’s leisure. It’s not about getting by, cutting corners or sliding under the door. Persistence in any academic endeavor is key to succeeding and having an over-all good college experience.

All first time college students will face new, uncharted territory. Not every obstacle can be fully anticipated, but anticipating obstacles is a good place to start when planning for higher education. Whether the challenge is unexpected remedial courses, tons of reading in several text books or conquering that math class, hard work and determination is the only recipe for the best success. A positive attitude through every hardship is just the icing on the cake that will make the experience that much sweeter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Fusaro, M. (n.d.). Usable Knowledge: Remediation at the college level. Usable Knowledge:

http://www.uknow.gse.harvard.edu/leadership/LP101-407.html Remediation at the college

level. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from http://www.uknow.gse.harvard.edu/leadership/LP101-

407.html

Cunningham, A. E., & Stanovich, K. E. (2001). What Reading Does For The Mind. Journal of

Direct Instruction, 22(1-2), 8-15. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from http://www.csun.edu/~kro

Wlands/Content/Academic_Resources?Reading?useful%Articles?Cunningham-What%20

Reading%20Does%20for%20the%Mind.pdf

 

 

Pope, J. (2006, January 15). USATODAY.com – Some students prefer taking classes online.

USATODAY.com – Some students prefer taking classes online. Retrieved April 10, 2014,

from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-01-15-college-online-courses_x.htm

 

Sherman, H., Richardson, L., & Yard, G. (n.d.). Why Do Students Struggle With Mathematics.

Education.com. Retrieved April 10, 2014, from

http://www.education.com/reference/article/why-students-struggle-mathematics/

 

National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. (n.d.). Beyond the Rhetoric – Improving

College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy. Beyond the Rhetoric – Improving

College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from

http://www.highereducation.org/reports/college_readiness/gap.shtml

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Final Draft for Paper One, Food Fight

Heather Niewadomski

English 102

Professor Faherty

February, 2014

 

The Combination for Better Health

Little did I know, back in the spring of 2011, when I decided to change my eating habits to try and lose extra weight, that not only would I be embarking on an intricate journey to learn all about good nutrition and proper digestion, I would also begin an experience with my husband that would forever change my life. I’m talking about an experience that would educate me far beyond what I had intended to discover. As I sought enlightenment in one direction, I was pulled into a world of research that involved learning all about the specific process of digesting food and the role that the body’s major internal organs played in reaching “good health.” I could never have imagined that in just 5 short months, I would face the reality of my husband receiving a medical diagnosis that would put him in the grave exactly 10 months later.

Not to get ahead of myself, for there is much to tell. Yet this is not about my personal history, this is a research paper for a college writing class (although I will refer to my personal experiences and the things I learned). When I opened the instructions for the paper I was assigned to write, the title literally jumped off the page at me. FOOD FIGHT! I was to write this paper on a food related issue. I told myself I could write about restaurants, I could write about a favorite recipe, how my mother taught me to cook, or perhaps America’s obsession with fast food. There are so many avenues to travel down on this broad topic, but narrowing it down to my chosen topic was inevitable considering what I had been through with my husband and the wealth of knowledge we gained as we researched proper food combining for efficient digestion, the amount of toxicity found in our food and the amount of food that people consume in proportion to their actual need. What we discovered was… not only do people fight about food, but your food is fighting with you! It may be hard to imagine how one’s food could be fighting with them. Most people equate food with a very sensual and pleasurable picture of sheer enjoyment. Perhaps for the tongue alone and ultimately, that full feeling in your tummy once it has been satisfied. The rest of the body has a very different view of the food it is fed, from your small intestines to your over-taxed liver, your poor gall bladder, (if you still have one) your weakened kidneys and a dehydrated circulatory system. All of these conditions can be attributed to lack of proper digestion and when your digestion is inhibited; your food is fighting with you! Improving the quality of the foods we eat is very important but achieving efficient digestion is a major key to better health.

 

You may be thinking something along the lines of this: “My food does not fight with me! We have a beautiful love affair and I like it that way!” Who wants to have their food choices and eating habits put under a microscope? People just want to enjoy eating! This is quite understandable…. but I am not talking about the pleasurable sensations of taste alone. I am addressing the topic of digestion, plain and simple. This is a topic that must be considered for the health-conscious eater. People rarely consider the process a body goes through when they put food into their mouths. The very first step in converting the food that is eaten into usable energy (by way of nutrients from food) is begun in the mouth where all those wonderful pleasure sensations take place. Once the stomach is satisfied and hunger has been abated, how many eaters stop to ponder the work involved to finish the digestion process? Perhaps if someone gets a stomach ache, (“Oh! I ate too much!” *again*) or if someone suffers from heartburn, then and only then is any thought given to the rest of the internal organs and the process of digestion. The truth is, our bodies work like a very precise machine, every organ and system laboring together to accomplish a common goal that is the most important function of the body. Without food and water, there would be no body! When you take in food, the very first priority of the human body is to begin the process of digestion. No matter what else is going on in your body, the brain sends out the ‘red alert’ signal that it must give top priority to breaking down and processing the nutrition that has been taken in. Ah, but here is where the controversy comes in. Have you taken in any ‘nutrition’? This argument is not going to be about what we consider to be ‘healthy’ food. I think everyone knows what good food is and what bad food is and the difference between the two. I would like to focus on the act of digestion and the process of how your food is fighting with your body even when (what one considers to be) healthy food is taken in. People can think they are making great food choices, and maybe they are, but there is more to digestion than eating the right food.

It matters much how we combine the foods we eat and the times we choose to eat them. Food combining refers to combinations of foods that are compatible with each other in their digestive chemistry. We all may have learned some of the basics in school. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, etc. All of these have their own chemical makeup and require different enzymes and digestive juices to process so your hard-working body can turn food into usable energy. When we mix up any old combination of food groups and especially any combination of toxic, additive-laden, processed ‘food product’; it’s a recipe for a food fight, indeed! Dennis Nelson lays it all out in a very basic and simplified version of a complex topic. His 64 page booklet, Food Combining Simplified, caught my eye at the health-food store during a time when I was seeking to improve my diet in hopes of losing weight. What I learned about food combining would also be invaluable to my husband as he struggled with a failing liver in the months before he passed. We were seeking every way possible to make the digestion process (for us both) as easy as possible. Proper food combining is the best way to make digestion smooth and easy and get the most from your food while not over-taxing your organs as well as avoiding extra fat storage. Although there are other factors that can hinder good digestion, we learned that bad foods and poor combinations of good food are the major culprit of a sluggish and unhealthy digestive system. Much of what Dennis Nelson includes in his booklet is a simplified version of the same subjects covered in Food Combining Made Easy by Herbert M. Shelton. In his 1951 publication of this basic principle of the workings of Mother Nature, Shelton brings to light how that,

The Human digestive tract was not designed by nature to digest complex meals. Seven

course meals and twenty-one course dinners were not in nature’s plan when she

designed the human digestive tract. The man who sits down to a dining table that is

burdened with a great variety of foods and eats everything from “soup to nuts,” is sure

to suffer with indigestion. If he makes a habit of eating complex meals and disregarding

his enzymic limitations, as is customary, his abdominal distress will be chronic.

(Herbert Shelton 8).

If the symptoms of immediate indigestion, stomach ache or acid reflux are not present with some, then chances are the results of a poor diet are showing up in obesity, fatigue, poor sleeping patterns, dull skin tone, lack of energy….and the list goes on. Few people understand the benefits of proper food combining resulting in accelerated digestion simply because they have nothing to compare it to. My husband and I both discovered the very first benefit to proper food combining was more energy and better sleep patterns along with a clearer thought process. It was kind of like being able to hear someone speak and understand what they were saying for the first time because the neighbors turned down their blasting stereo equipment next door! We both experienced enhanced abilities in our bodies as we cleaned up our food choices and ate proper combinations of foods that were compatible with one another. As our bodies began to assimilate good nutrition from whole foods, unhindered by the usual barrage of bad foods and improper combinations, we experienced more energy, better sleep patterns, less inclination to snack between meals and an enthusiastic desire to feed ourselves cleaner and healthier food. Getting rid of the junk load of chemicals and additives and heavy salts, preservatives and food coloring, all those ingredients found on the labels of food products (that you can’t even pronounce!) allowed us to appreciate the way our bodies were designed to operate; smoothly, efficiently and peacefully! Our entire persons were affected by the change, meaning mind, body and spirit. It was something we really needed at the time as we both prepared for the task ahead.

 

Few people want to debate the foods they should and should not eat. No one wants their diet restricted and their food choices limited. Consumers want what tastes good and they want it now and in large quantities! Most people argue that eating should simply be a pleasurable experience. Many people even argue that you’re going to die anyway, why not enjoy yourself while you can? I would like to agree but my conscience was telling me otherwise. As my husband and I forged ahead in our quest for better health, we found ourselves at the Whole Foods Market just as often as we could get there. Funds were tight, but every spare dime went to natural health foods and raw, whole fruits and vegetables. I’d scan the book section and wish I had the money to pick up a copy of every health-related book I thumbed through. We wanted a comprehensive resource as we studied foods and their affects on the body. We wanted to know what foods would best help my husband so his liver would not have to work so hard. I came across Bragg’s Healthy Lifestyle, Vital Living to 120. The sub-title caught my eye; Body Purification, Toxicless Diet & Healing System. That said it all to me. In the words of Patricia Bragg, “The chief reason Americans need so much bowel “dynamite” is because they eat so much refined, mushy, lifeless, unnatural and empty-calorie foods” (Bragg 101). Of course we were already aware of the poor quality of the typical American diet, but Patricia Bragg was able to say it in a way that made us feel motivated to learn about what was best for the human body. She went on to say, “Most diets consist of too many over-cooked, mushy, fast foods that lack the tough cellulose fibers of raw vegetables that act as helpful, tiny intestinal brooms to give mobility, bulk, moisture and lubrication to the colon” (Bragg 101). There we are, going right back to the topic of digestion! People in today’s society are so far from understanding what a healthy diet is and how vital it is for good digestion. Gone are the days when Grandmother prepared a home-cooked meal that included a fresh salad and plenty of vegetables. The lifestyle we 21st century humans live dictates speed and convenience. Even the fast-food industry is aware of the importance of raw vegetables as you see them, more and more, trying to offer a healthy salad on their menu along with all the other junk they serve up. The more we looked into the subject of digestion, the more information we found about the key to accomplishing healthy, optimal digestion, namely, raw whole fruits and vegetables. The more we incorporated real food into our daily menus, the less we desired the chemical-laden food products offered in all the fancy packages with the myriad list of ‘ingredients’ that made these foods ‘tasty’. We practiced the food combinations suggested in all the books we referenced. The number one tip we came across was never to mix hard-to-digest proteins with starchy carbohydrates. This made for a mix that thwarted the efficiency of the digestion process. Paul Pitchford explains what happens when “many different ingredients are eaten at the same meal” in his comprehensive digest, Healing with Whole Foods. According to Pitchford, “…the body becomes confused and is not able to manufacture all of the necessary enzymes simultaneously” (Healing with Whole Foods 260). This certainly shook up the traditional meals for us. Consider all the favorites that combine meat proteins with starches! Spaghetti and meatballs, eggs and grits, chicken and dumplings, pork and noodles, pizza and lasagna that have meat and cheese, turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, meatloaf with potatoes, steak and potatoes….the list just goes on and on. No wonder America has a weight problem! We discovered that these sorts of combinations were the hardest to digest and the hardest on the body. Despite that comfortable, full feeling obtained after such meals, there were also the times when over indulging reminded us that consuming such combinations ultimately weighed us down and brought on the familiar ‘food coma’ as we often called it. We learned to appreciate the work the digestive system had to do and we sought to help it rather than hinder it. We were onto something real and for me, the weight began to come off, and for my husband, his suffering was greatly reduced even though his disease was progressing.

 

The time of day that food is taken in, the portion size of food being consumed as well as an optimal “stop eating” or cut off time for the day are also crucial to optimal digestion. I must admit, this was one of the harder things to adjust to or even follow. I am with most people, “First you tell me what to eat and now you’re going to tell me how much of it I can eat and when I can or cannot eat it?” Granted, many people will be open to incorporate healthy food and some even will give up un-healthy food, but seldom will these same people allow restrictions on portion sizes and when they eat. I also struggled with such rules, but there was hope for me and a light at the end of the tunnel.

Exercise is the second biggest factor in achieving good health and hastening the process of efficient digestion. Every source I have ever delved into on the subject of whole foods, proper food combinations, raw food living and good digestion had just as much to say about regular exercise as they had to say about digestion. The Braggs advocate a consistent regimen of daily exercise first thing in the morning, especially before eating. Patricia Bragg urges the reader to “earn your food!” Paul Pitchford asserts that, according to ancient Eastern traditions, activity is the second (after awareness) priority in healing the body. He tells us that, “According to the East Asian healing arts, exercise builds digestive fire and therefore is necessary for us to  receive good nutrition from our food. Without sufficient activity, we may find it difficult to make progress in health, regardless of how good our food may be” (Healing with Whole Foods 25). I was able to incorporate plenty of daily exercise into my routine, despite my increasing duties of caring for my ailing husband. As I supported him and nursed him during his greatest hour of need, he reached out to me right from his recliner and encouraged me as I did daily calisthenics right in the house and also took long morning walks out in the woods. I found the exercise to be such a vital part of not only improving my digestion and contributing to weight loss but it was the number one way I was able to deal with the stress of getting ready to lose my beloved partner of 31 years. It was like somehow, the Good Lord knew just how strong I would need to be at this time in my life and the doors had swung wide open for me to be ready to face the challenge.

 

Making an argument about healthy food is not very difficult. Most people understand what healthy food is. There is so much more to good health than what I have touched on here, but it’s easy to see how the foods we eat are what build a body and keep us alive. That vital intake is hardly usable unless our bodies can break it down, process it and digest it for the regeneration of all our organs and tissues. Choosing healthy, whole foods is important and eating them in the right combinations, at the right time of day is even better if you want to be at your best possible health. The lessons I learned have stuck with me even though I am not as consistent in keeping the good habit of proper food combining since my husband passed. I know what is best for my body and I have experienced the benefits first hand. I’m a living witness to the success of practicing the principles set forth from the authors I have mentioned in this paper, yet humanity dictates that we all be overcome by temptation from time to time. Writing this paper has reminded me of some very important things and that maybe it’s time I get back to the place of practicing these good habits so I can once again enjoy the benefits of good digestion. I’ve experienced so many changes since losing my beloved two years ago and discovered some really bad combinations within widowhood. A combination to better health through good digestion and proper food combining would be a welcome change in the path I have been walking lately!

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Bragg, Paul Chappuis, and Patricia Bragg. Bragg Healthy Lifestyle Vital Living to 120.

33rd ed. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Health Science, 2004. 101-106. Print.

 

Nelson, Dennis, and Pamela Cohn. Food Combining Simplified: how to get the most from your

food. 3rd rev. ed. Santa Cruz, CA (P.O. Box 2302, Santa Cruz 95063): D. Nelson], 1988.

Print.

Pitchford, Paul. Healing With Whole Foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition. 3rd ed.

Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, 2002. Print.

 

Shelton, Herbert M. Food Combining Made Easy. Summertown, Tenn.: Book Pub. Co. 2012.

Print.

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Paper One Writing 102 Food Fight

ROUGH DRAFT Posted here for easier reading…..

____________________________________________________________________________

Heather Niewadomski

English 102

Professor Faherty

February, 2014

The Combination for Better Health

Little did I know, back in the spring of 2011, when I decided to change my eating habits to try and lose extra weight, that not only would I be embarking on an intricate journey to learn all about good nutrition and proper digestion, I would also begin an experience with my husband that would forever change my life. I’m talking about an experience that would educate me far beyond what I had intended to discover. As I sought enlightenment in one direction, I was pulled into a world of research that involved learning all about the specific process of digesting food and the role that the body’s major internal organs played in reaching “good health.” I could never have imagined that in just 5 short months, I would face the reality of my husband receiving a medical diagnosis that would put him in the grave exactly 10 months later. Not to get ahead of myself, for there is much to tell. Yet this is not about my personal history, this is a research paper for a college writing class (although I will refer to my personal experiences and the things I learned). When I opened the instructions for the paper I was assigned to write, the title literally jumped off the page at me. FOOD FIGHT! I was to write this paper on a food related issue. I told myself I could write about restaurants, I could write about a favorite recipe, how my mother taught me to cook, or perhaps America’s obsession with fast food. There are so many avenues to travel down on this broad topic, but narrowing it down to my chosen topic was inevitable considering what I had been through with my husband and the wealth of knowledge we gained as we researched proper food combining for efficient digestion, the amount of toxicity found in our food and the amount of food that people consume in proportion to their actual need. What we discovered was… not only do people fight about food, but your food is fighting with you! It may be hard to imagine how one’s food could be fighting with them. Most people equate food with a very sensual and pleasurable picture of sheer enjoyment. Perhaps for the tongue alone and ultimately, that full feeling in your tummy once it has been satisfied. The rest of the body has a very different view of the food it is fed, from your small intestines to your over-taxed liver, your poor gall bladder, (if you still have one) your weakened kidneys and a dehydrated circulatory system. All of these conditions can be attributed to lack of proper digestion and when your digestion is inhibited; your food is fighting with you! Improving the quality of the foods we eat is very important but achieving efficient digestion is a major key to better health.

You may be thinking something along the lines of this: “My food does not fight with me! We have a beautiful love affair and I like it that way!” Who wants to have their food choices and eating habits put under a microscope? People just want to enjoy eating! This is quite understandable…. but I am not talking about the pleasurable sensations of taste alone. I am addressing the topic of digestion, plain and simple. This is a topic that must be considered for the health-conscious eater. People rarely consider the process a body goes through when they put food into their mouths. The very first step in converting the food that is eaten into usable energy (by way of nutrients from food) is begun in the mouth where all those wonderful pleasure sensations take place. Once the stomach is satisfied and hunger has been abated, how many eaters stop to ponder the work involved to finish the digestion process? Perhaps if someone gets a stomach ache, (“Oh! I ate too much!” *again*) or if someone suffers from heartburn, then and only then is any thought given to the rest of the internal organs and the process of digestion. The truth is, our bodies work like a very precise machine, every organ and system laboring together to accomplish a common goal that is the most important function of the body. Without food and water, there would be no body! When you take in food, the very first priority of the human body is to begin the process of digestion. No matter what else is going on in your body, the brain sends out the ‘red alert’ signal that it must give top priority to breaking down and processing the nutrition that has been taken in. Ah, but here is where the controversy comes in. Have you taken in any ‘nutrition’? This argument is not going to be about what we consider to be ‘healthy’ food. I think everyone knows what good food is and what bad food is and the difference between the two. I would like to focus on the act of digestion and the process of how your food is fighting with your body even when (what one considers to be) healthy food is taken in. People can think they are making great food choices, and maybe they are, but there is more to digestion than eating the right food. It matters much how we combine the foods we eat and the times we choose to eat them. Food combining refers to combinations of foods that are compatible with each other in their digestive chemistry. We all may have learned some of the basics in school. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, sugars, etc. All of these have their own chemical makeup and require different enzymes and digestive juices to process so your hard-working body can turn food into usable energy. When we mix up any old combination of food groups and especially any combination of toxic, additive-laden, processed ‘food product’; it’s a recipe for a food fight, indeed! Dennis Nelson lays it all out in a very basic and simplified version of a complex topic. His 64 page booklet, Food Combining Simplified, caught my eye at the health-food store during a time when I was seeking to improve my diet in hopes of losing weight. What I learned about food combining would also be invaluable to my husband as he struggled with a failing liver in the months before he passed. We were seeking every way possible to make the digestion process (for us both) as easy as possible. Proper food combining is the best way to make digestion smooth and easy and get the most from your food while not over-taxing your organs as well as avoiding extra fat storage. Although there are other factors that can hinder good digestion, we learned that bad foods and poor combinations of good food are the major culprit of a sluggish and unhealthy digestive system. Much of what Dennis Nelson includes in his booklet is a simplified version of the same subjects covered in Food Combining Made Easy by Herbert M. Shelton. In his 1951 publication of this basic principle of the workings of Mother Nature, Shelton brings to light how that,

“The Human digestive tract was not designed by nature to digest complex meals. Seven course meals and twenty-one course dinners were not in nature’s plan when she designed the human digestive tract. The man who sits down to a dining table that is burdened with a great variety of foods and eats everything from “soup to nuts,” is sure to suffer with indigestion. If he makes a habit of eating complex meals and disregarding his enzymic limitations, as is customary, his abdominal distress will be chronic” (Herbert Shelton 8).

If the symptoms of immediate indigestion, stomach ache or acid reflux are not present with some, then chances are the results of a poor diet are showing up in obesity, fatigue, poor sleeping patterns, dull skin tone, lack of energy….and the list goes on. Few people understand the benefits of proper food combining resulting in accelerated digestion simply because they have nothing to compare it to. My husband and I both discovered the very first benefit to proper food combining was more energy and better sleep patterns along with a clearer thought process. It was kind of like being able to hear someone speak and understand what they were saying for the first time because the neighbors turned down their blasting stereo equipment next door! We both experienced enhanced abilities in our bodies as we cleaned up our food choices and ate proper combinations of foods that were compatible with one another. As our bodies began to assimilate good nutrition from whole foods, unhindered by the usual barrage of bad foods and improper combinations, we experienced more energy, better sleep patterns, less inclination to snack between meals and an enthusiastic desire to feed ourselves cleaner and healthier food. Getting rid of the junk load of chemicals and additives and heavy salts, preservatives and food coloring, all those ingredients found on the labels of food products (that you can’t even pronounce!) allowed us to appreciate the way our bodies were designed to operate; smoothly, efficiently and peacefully! Our entire persons were affected by the change, meaning mind, body and spirit. It was something we really needed at the time as we both prepared for the task ahead.

Few people want to debate the foods they should and should not eat. No one wants their diet restricted and their food choices limited. Consumers want what tastes good and they want it now and in large quantities! Most people argue that eating should simply be a pleasurable experience. Many people even argue that you’re going to die anyway, why not enjoy yourself while you can? I would like to agree but my conscience was telling me otherwise. As my husband and I forged ahead in our quest for better health, we found ourselves at the Whole Foods Market just as often as we could get there. Funds were tight, but every spare dime went to natural health foods and raw, whole fruits and vegetables. I’d scan the book section and wish I had the money to pick up a copy of every health-related book I thumbed through. We wanted a comprehensive resource as we studied foods and their affects on the body. We wanted to know what foods would best help my husband so his liver would not have to work so hard. I came across Bragg’s Healthy Lifestyle, Vital Living to 120. The sub-title caught my eye; Body Purification, Toxicless Diet & Healing System. That said it all to me. If they were advocating a toxic-LESS diet, that meant there must be a toxic diet out there! We were seeking to clean up our diet and Patricia Bragg put her instructions in easy to read terms and even easier to follow steps that generated enthusiasm about doing what’s best for your body. In the words of Patricia Bragg, “The chief reason Americans need so much bowel “dynamite” is because they eat so much refined, mushy, lifeless, unnatural and empty-calorie foods” (Bragg 101). Of course we were already aware of the poor quality of the typical American diet, but Patricia Bragg was able to say it in a way that made us feel motivated to learn about what was best for the human body. She went on to say, “Most diets consist of too many over-cooked, mushy, fast foods that lack the tough cellulose fibers of raw vegetables that act as helpful, tiny intestinal brooms to give mobility, bulk, moisture and lubrication to the colon” (Bragg 101). There we are, going right back to the topic of digestion! People in today’s society are so far from understanding what a healthy diet is and how vital it is for good digestion. Gone are the days when Grandmother prepared a home-cooked meal that included a fresh salad and plenty of vegetables. The lifestyle we 21st century humans live dictates speed and convenience. Even the fast-food industry is aware of the importance of raw vegetables as you see them, more and more, trying to offer a healthy salad on their menu along with all the other junk they serve up. The more we looked into the subject of digestion, the more information we found about the key to accomplishing healthy, optimal digestion, namely, raw whole fruits and vegetables. The more we incorporated real food into our daily menus, the less we desired the chemical-laden food products offered in all the fancy packages with the myriad list of ‘ingredients’ that made these foods ‘tasty’. We practiced the food combinations suggested in all the books we referenced. The number one tip we came across was never to mix hard-to-digest proteins with starchy carbohydrates. This made for a mix that thwarted the efficiency of the digestion process. Paul Pitchford explains what happens when “many different ingredients are eaten at the same meal” in his comprehensive digest, Healing with Whole Foods. According to Pitchford, “…the body becomes confused and is not able to manufacture all of the necessary enzymes simultaneously” (Healing with Whole Foods 260). This certainly shook up the traditional meals for us. Consider all the favorites that combine meat proteins with starches! Spaghetti and meatballs, eggs and grits, chicken and dumplings, pork and noodles, pizza and lasagna that have meat and cheese, turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, meatloaf with potatoes, steak and potatoes….the list just goes on and on. No wonder America has a weight problem! We discovered that these sorts of combinations were the hardest to digest and the hardest on the body. Despite that comfortable, full feeling obtained after such meals, there were also the times when over indulging reminded us that consuming such combinations ultimately weighed us down and brought on the familiar ‘food coma’ as we often called it. We learned to appreciate the work the digestive system had to do and we sought to help it rather than hinder it. We were onto something real and for me, the weight began to come off, and for my husband, his suffering was greatly reduced even though his disease was progressing.

We also learned a lot about the best times of day to eat as well as portion sizes and when to stop eating for the day. I must admit, this was one of the harder things to adjust to or even follow. I am with most people, “First you tell me what to eat and now you’re going to tell me how much of it I can eat and when I can or cannot eat it?” Granted, many people will be open to incorporate healthy food and some even will give up un-healthy food, but seldom will these same people allow restrictions on portion sizes and when they eat. I also struggled with such rules, but there was hope for me and a light at the end of the tunnel. Exercise is the second biggest factor in achieving good health and hastening the process of efficient digestion. Every source I have ever delved into on the subject of whole foods, proper food combinations, raw food living and good digestion had just as much to say about regular exercise as they had to say about digestion. The Braggs advocate a consistent regimen of daily exercise first thing in the morning, especially before eating. Patricia Bragg urges the reader to “earn your food!” Paul Pitchford asserts that, according to ancient Eastern traditions, activity is the second (after awareness) priority in healing the body. He tells us that, “According to the East Asian healing arts, exercise builds digestive fire and therefore is necessary for us to  receive good nutrition from our food. Without sufficient activity, we may find it difficult to make progress in health, regardless of how good our food may be” (Healing with Whole Foods 25). I was able to incorporate plenty of daily exercise into my routine, despite my increasing duties of caring for my ailing husband. As I supported him and nursed him during his greatest hour of need, he reached out to me right from his recliner and encouraged me as I did daily calisthenics right in the house and also took long morning walks out in the woods. I found the exercise to be such a vital part of not only improving my digestion and contributing to weight loss but it was the number one way I was able to deal with the stress of getting ready to lose my beloved partner of 31 years. It was like somehow, the Good Lord knew just how strong I would need to be at this time in my life and the doors had swung wide open for me to be ready to face the challenge.

Making an argument about healthy food is not very difficult. Most people understand what healthy food is. There is so much more to good health than what I have touched on here, but it’s easy to see how the foods we eat are what build a body and keep us alive. That vital intake is hardly usable unless our bodies can break it down, process it and digest it for the regeneration of all our organs and tissues. Choosing healthy, whole foods is important and eating them in the right combinations, at the right time of day is even better if you want to be at your best possible health. The lessons I learned have stuck with me even though I am not as consistent in keeping the good habit of proper food combining since my husband passed. I know what is best for my body and I have experienced the benefits first hand. I’m a living witness to the success of practicing the principles set forth from the authors I have mentioned in this paper, yet humanity dictates that we all be overcome by temptation from time to time. Writing this paper has reminded me of some very important things and that maybe it’s time I get back to the place of practicing these good habits so I can once again enjoy the benefits of good digestion. I’ve experienced so many changes since losing my beloved two years ago and discovered some really bad combinations within widowhood. A combination to better health through good digestion and proper food combining would be a welcome change in the path I have been walking lately!

Works Cited

Bragg, Paul Chappuis, and Patricia Bragg. Bragg Healthy Lifestyle Vital Living to 120.

33rd ed. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Health Science, 2004. 101-106. Print.

Pitchford, Paul. Healing With Whole Foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition. 3rd ed.

Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books, 2002. Print.

Shelton, Herbert M. Food Combining Made Easy. Summertown, Tenn.: Book Pub. Co. 2012.

Print.

1 Comment

Tattoos: Permanent Markers

                                              Tattoos: Permanent Markers (final draft)

 Colorful, artistic, tacky, outrageous, lewd, tasteful, decorative, fancy, captivating, interesting, funny, breathtaking, grotesque, morbid, old fashion, new-fangled, peaceful, outlandish, informative, wild, wacky, beautiful and so much more. While one could assume such a variety of adjectives could describe people and their personalities, these words could just as easily be ascribed to the tattoos they wear. Tattoos are now a huge phenomenon in popular culture. Tattooing one’s body ranges from a single image in a hidden location on the wearer’s body all the way to covering an entire area(s) with one design after another, leaving very little bare skin showing.

The history of tattoos starts from the beginning of time when various tribes of peoples used body markings to fend off evil spirits, rank members of the tribe into different classes of importance, as well as also being used for curative purposes in efforts to heal diseases. Not very long ago, as close as the early 1900s, tattooing was considered to be practiced only by what we had termed as the misfits and outlaws of our society. They were most commonly worn by circus freaks, criminals, sailors and motorcycle riders (or ‘bikers’). Today, they have become the cultural norm for countless individuals to express anything from a memorial of a loved one to marking a special event in their lives, or just letting the world know who they are, what they like, and which cause they want to support. It has long been said that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and that is what most people want to get across to others as they display their own unique designs on their skin. They have a story to tell and they want the world to ‘read’ it right from their ‘person’.

Tattooing has been included in story telling since the beginning of time and it continues to live on in this generation. People, through the ages and from every walk of life, have written books, drawn pictures, told stories and sang songs to share the happenings in their culture and in their personal lives. As we ponder the reasons people choose to adorn their bodies with these permanent markers, we find a deeper understanding for it even if one chooses to abstain from this practice. Tattooing is a common and artful form of self-expression that is widely accepted as normal behavior, despite the earlier stigmatisms from years gone by. Certainly, people have their own unique reasons for tattooing and whether it is a physiological, psychological, a social reason or a combination of all three, it definitely has become a widely accepted form of self-expression.

In light of the fact that this widely accepted, self-expressing activity is the current trend, we see that motivation to actually get into the tattooist’s chair comes in various forms. By and large, the reasons for getting ‘inked’ fall into three major categories: physiological, psychological and social. In years past, there were those who said the act of getting tattooed is just a sign of rebellion, of one who wants to go against authority. This may have been the case decades ago as demonstrated by those afore mentioned criminals and societal misfits. Nowadays, the reasons are quite varied from person to person and more than socially acceptable. Motives for why people do this are controversial, at best. Interestingly enough, a laser tattoo removal service gives a very thorough outline of why people choose to get tattoos. New Look Laser Tattoo Removal of Houston offers some very convincing points in their news blog found at newlookhouston.com. Among the 15 reasons people choose to go back for more and more tattoos, we find some very convincing arguments. Beginning with the physical aspects of the tattooing procedure, believe it or not, all that pain from the needles makes a person feel good! It sounds a little contradictory but it’s true. The human body releases adrenaline in response to pain. Adrenaline is a commonly known name for the hormone, epinephrine which is released by the adrenal glands. According to April Cashin-Garbutt at Newsmedical.net, in an article titled, What is Epinephrine (Adrenaline)?, when the body is threatened with pain, the release of this hormone is a response that floods the bloodstream and gives the entire body a natural ‘high’ or state of euphoria referred to as the adrenaline ‘rush’. This may be a good reason why so many people don’t fear the needle but, rather, look forward to it! The ‘rush’ is described by 5 major symptoms. These symptoms are: Increased strength, no feeling of pain, heightened senses, a boost in energy, and increased breathing. FitDay.com goes on to tell us more about the effects of the adrenaline rush in their web blog article, 5 Symptoms of an Adrenaline Rush. There is also another set of hormones that flood the blood stream in response to the threat of pain coming against the physical body. These are called endorphins. They also contribute to the sensation known as the ‘natural high’. In speaking with people who regularly get tattoos, it has been stated that it is indeed, an addiction. I interviewed several people who were willing to share their thoughts on the subject of having tattoos. Most of the people I spoke with said that they could not wait to go back for their next session and that it is indeed very addictive. When asked why they felt it was so addictive, the answers were vague or simply unknown. They just knew that it was a positive experience they enjoyed and wanted to repeat it. One would not think that the pain of having your skin punctured with needles could bring on that kind of a reaction!

Another catalyst for the decision to get tattoos comes from the psychological realm. What are people thinking when they make such decisions? The old way of thinking by those who passed harsh judgment said that people who did this were seeking attention, that they just wanted people to be ‘shocked’ by their flamboyance, thus their place was behind the mysterious circus tent! Long gone are those particular attitudes today as more and more classes of people participate in tattooing. Once a person latches on to the intensely personal act of self-expression, the sky’s the limit with releasing those inner thoughts and the need to ‘tell one’s story’. As people gain feedback and comments on their designs, the power of artistic freedom gives strong satisfaction, thus the desire to return for more ink. In one sense, the wearer of tattoos becomes an author of their very own personal story. They simply choose to display their text through images of colorful ink injected permanently into the skin rather than the ordinary black or blue ink on paper pages of a book they may never write or get published and that may never be read by anyone. Telling their story via the medium of body art is an instant gratification and sends most ‘authors’ back to the tattoo parlor to write another chapter in the journal of their lives. Anyone can write their story in this way. Writing that was once limited to the page of books and newspapers is now displayed with beauty and originality unlike anything told by the simple alphabet. Perhaps then it is writing or story telling that draws the potential tattooee in to contemplate their need to self-express. Writing is thought to be a deeply personal act of necessary communication. As quoted from Writing, Inner Speech, and Meditation by James Moffet on page 223 “However personal or impersonal the subject matter, ALL writing as authoring must be some revision of inner speech for a purpose and an audience.” (JSTOR.org)

In my interviews with people that have tattoos, the majority of them spoke of having memorial tattoos in memory of loved ones lost and even of those still living. The compelling need to acknowledge the existence of a person, whether living or passed, goes on to point in the direction of not only self-expression by the tattooed, but the expression of their personal joy and grief. Emily Luttrell of Mackville, KY has the name and birthdate of her first born child tattooed on her foot. She is now expecting another child and plans to mark this child’s birthdate permanently on her body as well. Another mother, Jennifer Niewadomski of North Carolina has the names of her two children tattooed on her wrists. Memorializing a loved one is certainly worthy of permanent markers should a person choose to mark at all. What could be more expressive of a person’s life journey than to tell of lives and loves to whom they were very much involved with?

Social acceptance (by society as a whole) of this once taboo practice is seen in every area of life. No matter where you go, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the conservative and the liberal; people from all walks of life have made the decision to permanently mark their skin with tattoos. Even if one chooses not to participate in this phenomenon, thought patterns and judgments can be transformed by taking the time to look beyond one’s own personal opinion. Considering the host of ways people have to choose from when seeking to express a personal experience or the life and loss of a loved one, tattooing is among those mediums that take first place. The reason for indulging can be physical or psychological or social, allowing every author to tell their story. The next time you see an interesting piece of skin art and begin to form a judgment or be critical in your thinking, ask yourself why you need to do that. You may just be surprised what you can learn about a person and find it is so much more than ‘skin’ deep!

__________________________________________________________________

                                                         Works Cited

April Cashin-Garbutt. “What Is Epinephrine (Adrenaline)?” News-Medical.net. 19 Nov. 2013.

Web. 19 Nov. 2013

http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Epinephrine-%28Adrenaline%29.aspx

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