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Good personal hygiene habits can reduce illness

In the last two months my son has come home sick from West Ashley High School.  I know that he got sick from school, because that is where he spends the majority of his time.  In a classroom full of other students that may or may not be sick.  From what we understand, the rules state that a child is not considered sick, until they are throwing up or running a fever.  If they are not showing those two symptoms then they have to be in a class room.  What if the child is not showing those symptoms?  Does that mean that they are not sick?  What if the child has visible signs of a cold such as a runny nose, constant coughing and an overall not feeling good?  What if the child has a Viral infection or bacterial infection?  How contagious are those?  I spent some time on the WAHS website and I see nothing that outlines what constitutes a sick child or when they are sent home to the parents.

I am no health expert but I have spent enough time in the medial field as an EMT and a ER tech to know the basics.  EVERYONE must practice good personal hygiene to prevent the catching of, and spreading of germs.  Germs/pathogens is what gets us sick.  I understand that our children must receive an education and that the public school systems have to implement rules that are for the good of everyone involved.  I also believe that rules should not be so iron clad that there is no room for common sense.

For instance, our son came down with Mono, and was sick beyond the allocated number of days that he was allowed to miss in one school year.  A doctors excuse was not good enough for school administrators.  We had to write a letter to the principal advising them that the doctors excuse was not fabricated, and that we did in fact see a medical physician that diagnosed him with mono.

Every single time my son comes home with an ugly cold, it circulates through our entire family which causes us all to make the trip to the doctor for shots, antibiotics, steroids and breathing treatments.  Initially, we wait and try all the over the counter drugs, like NyQuil, Dayquil. Sudafed, Benadryl, before we make the trek to HealthFirst in West Ashley.

I remember a time when a common cold would last me 48 hours to 72 hours, and then it would be gone.  In the last couple of years, I believe that the common cold virus has gotten progressively aggressive and uglier.  Maybe the over use, and abuse of antibiotics over the years, has allowed the virus strains to adapt and are more resistant to treatment.  If you are a medical expert or know more about how this is happening please weigh in on the comments section.

The bottom line is this.  We can help each other out, if we will just follow some common sense practices, with regards to personal hygiene.  I will list a couple below as a reminder.

  • cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze ALL THE TIME
  • wash your hands BEFORE you touch something in the kitchen
  • Use HOT water and SOAP when cleaning the dishes and pots and pans
  • wash your hands with SOAP and HOT water AFTER you use the restroom
  • do NOT shake hands or get close to other people if you KNOW you are sick
  • ENCOURAGE other people who ARE sick NOT to touch you or loved ones.  (do it in a loving but firm manner)
  • Do NOT share straws or drinking glasses with someone if they are sick
  • Do NOT put your hands up to your face after touching a door handle or elevator hand rail or elevator button.  If you can touch it IT can have germs that will possibly get you sick
  • keep hand sanitizer with you at work and use it OFTEN.  If you wind up touching office equipment that other people touch, USE the hand sanitizer, or wash your hands on a regular basis.  If others can touch it they can leave a nasty surprise for you.
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Focusing on today

I was reminded recently of how important it is to keep my eyes on the cross. I must not compare myself to others. Doing so will only serve to inflate my ego and fool myself into thinking I am better. Even worse, it could cause me to become sad and defeated because I fail to measure up.

My focus must be on living in the day that God has given me and not worry about the future or the mistakes of the past. It does no good to dwell on my failures. That would only serve to fuel negativity. I can not serve God while feeling sorry for my mistakes. I must focus on the cross and the gift of life and grace that He has given me. I must focus on the life and health that I have today. Life lasts for a season and it is up to me how I will live it. I must take control of my emotions and focus my mind in those things that are worthy of building my life on. Those things include my love for God, family, church and friends. Everything else is secondary to those things.

Life is those things that happen to us. We will always experience negative things that happen to us and around us. I chose to find the lessons that need to be learned from life and to grow stronger because of them. I chose to not let the negative garbage in life tear me down and destroy my inner peace. My faith in the work on the cross of Calvary gives me an anchor to hold onto in the midst of life’s storms.

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Lord Byron the Super Bowl puppy

Have you ever had something unexpected happen to you ? I am not talking about life changing events such as losing a job, or having a loved one propose spending the rest of their life with you.  I am talking about simple unexpected events,that happen from out of nowhere, yet leave foot prints in your heart. 

This weekend my daughter called me and asked me to come pick her up at her friends house in Goose Creek.  I just happened to be on that side of town and I drove over to pick up my daughter.  When I pulled into the drive way my daughter and her friend were sitting on the porch.  My daughter got up and walked out to the car carrying a small dog.  I thought she was going to show my son and I the dog and then take it back to her friend.  To my surprise my daughter told me she found the dog and that her friend’s parents would not let her keep the dog.  My options were to be cold hearted and say I do not care or to bring the dog home with us.  I have to admit that Lord Byron appeared to be a small Boston Terrier and he is very cute.  I decided to bring the dog home since my daughter had already bonded with the dog and was on the verge of crying a river should I decide to chose option one.  This is a picture of Lord Byron.



We called Lord Byron the Super Bowl puppy because he stayed around for approximately 24 hours, and the very next day, he broke out of the house, and took off down the street.  To be more specific, Katy and I were out running errands on Monday in the rain.  We came home to get something Katy had forgotten, and to check on the pets.  Katy opens the front door and she is trying to keep Frodo the “weiner dog” and Lord Byron the Terrier from running out the front door.  Needless to say Lord Byron was like a greased pig because she shot out the door, ran across the yard and ran down the street as fast as his little legs would go.  Katy took off down the street on foot and I stood there in the rain not believing what was happening.  The last thing I wanted to do, or had the time for, was to be chasing a dog down the street in the rain. 

I jumped in the car and headed down several streets until I thought I saw him running in the middle of this one street.  There were two vehicles that were driving slowly next to Lord Byron because I guess they figured out what was going on.  I passed them both up and tried to block the dog between the vehicles but he would have nothing to do with my plans.  So, there we are, myself and two other adults trying to catch this little dog who was doing a great job of staying away from all of us.  I guess I chased this dog for over an hour until I finally gave up the chase.  I was hoping that Lord Byron would get tired from all the running and just give out so I could pick him up.  I thought wrong, because no matter what I tried, he kept getting away from me. 

Needless to say my daughter got home from school and she did cry a river.  The dog was in our lives for one day and then he was gone.  Lord Byron was a runner and I am thinking that he probably did the very same thing to his previous owners.  I put an ad in the Charleston Craigslist in the Lost and Found message base hoping that the rightful owner would see the ad and call me.  Thus far I have not heard anything in response to that advertisement.  If someone contacts me now, all I will be able to say is that I was unable to keep their dog cooped up long enough for them to claim him. 

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Distractions and goals


How we find success is determined by our goals and how we keep distractions from deterring us from action.  If we do not have a goal then we are like ships in the sea drifting aimlessly through life.  If you have said I want to lose weight or I need to lose weight then you know that it wont happen through magic or by just wishing it.  The weight will come off if you develop a plan and set some realistic goals.  The first thing you need to realize is that you are entering into a battle.  Your mind may recognize the need to lose weight but the body will be lazy, lethargic and want to provide you with tons of resistance.  In one of my last blog posts I mentioned “mind over matter” and that is the reality of it.  Our minds will have to overcome our bodies and do whatever we need to do in order to whip it into submission and to do our will. 

It is important to have short term and long term goals.  I want to lose 1 lb. per week for the next 52 weeks or 100 lbs. in the next two years.  Those are good short term and long term goals.  Maybe your goal is to get into a different size of clothing or you want to be able to go hiking with the family without having to be air lifted to the nearest emergency room.  We are all different and different things will motivate us to do what needs to be done. 

The important thing is that we find what motivates us to do what needs to be done and not let the distractions in life to keep us from our goals.  Just this morning I am trying to determine if I will go work out this morning or if I will wait until tomorrow.  My goal has been to work out every other day and that typically works out to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  That leaves me with two days off on the weekend which sort of screws up the every other day routine or goal for scheduling my work outs.  If I work out today then that means that on Tuesday morning I need to be back at the gym.  Tuesday morning is election day so I plan on being at the polls at 6:30 or 6:45 am so that I can be at the front of the line with my wife to vote.  If I can get the voting done super early then perhaps I could run to the gym and spend 60 minutes getting some exercise before I zoom off to work. 

We have to set a battle plan for having solid meaningful goals and what we are going to do in order to overcome the distractions of life that will come our way.  I use the term battle plan because of my involvement with Battle plan ministries and my interaction over the years with my friend Bill Berry.  My friend Bill has developed a method in which people can develop a battle plan in order to overcome addictions in our lives.  Addictions range from pornography, over eating, drugs or whatever it is that ails you.  If you plug in your particular issue then there is a battle plan template that you can use in order to set goals and plan on what you will do when a particular temptation rears its ugly head.  Over eating and being a glutton are two reasons how we have gotten to where we are at.  I know that there are folks out there that have medical complications such as thyroid problems that also contribute to weight gain problems.  No matter what the issues are that cause the weight gain we have to do the following things in order to set a battle plan and goals in place.

  • we have to identify that we have a problem
  • we have to determine what our goals are
  • we have to determine what actions we will take in order to meet these goals
  • we need to identify what distractions will come our way and plan to defeat them
  • we will need to enlist the help of family and friends to support us in our goals.
  • we need to identify the distractions that will keep us from our goals

An important part of our battle plan and goal setting is to educate ourselves with regards to what food is healthy and helps towards burning calories and what foods are detrimental to our over all health. In America it has been said that there is a church on ever city block.  Now I think we can say that there is a fast food establishment on every block.  I think that there are way more fast food restaurants than there are churches.  If you are hungry and you have the cash in your pocket or debit card then there are a ton of choices when you drive down the street and it is so easy to give in to that urge to whip into McDonalds and order that Big Mac oozing with extra cheese and special sauce.  Just typing that makes me hungry and gives me the urge to go eat breakfast.  What we need to realize is that fast food restaurants are not focused on our healthy living goals but they are focused on driving us to their restaurants with their bill boards and advertisement so that they can gather in our dollars.  It is up to us to recognize and to educate ourselves on what kind of food we are sticking in our mouths before we do it. 

To keep the importance of understanding how many calories you are eating think about this fact.  You have to burn 2000 calories to burn one pound of fat.  I spend 30 minutes every other day on the elliptical trainer and I burn 420 calories.  That means that by only using the elliptical trainer 3 or 4 days per week that I am burning a little less than 2000 calories.  That does not take into account how many calories I am consuming each day.  Common sense dictates that if you consume more calories than you burn then your body is going to store those extra calories as fat and that fat will stay with you until you burn it off or it kills you.   I am not sure how many calories I am burning during my circuit training with the weight machines but I am confident that I am burning more than 420 calories during a 60 or 90 minute work out.  That is part of my battle plan to meet my goals.  My plan is to get a good solid aerobic work out to build cardiovascular strength and endurance and weight training so that I can increase the number of calories that I burn.  I also want to do weight training so that I can tone the muscle that is there and build upon i
t so that I will have the ability to use the equipment. 

We must plan for distractions and the things in life that will throw up roadblocks and make it difficult to stick with our plans and meet our goals.  The other day Bill Berry mentioned in our Healthy Living Facebook Group that he has to be careful with not eating comfort foods late at night.  Comfort foods are those favorite foods that we like to eat during times of distraction or emotional trauma that psychologically give us comfort.  We must identify those periods in our life that cause us to be the weakest.  Life is not easy at times and it is full of stress that causes us to stray from our goals and are very detrimental to our battle plans.  O

One of the things I have had to learn how to overcome is not eating junk food while sitting in front of the television set (idiot box) late at night.  There is nothing more comforting than to watch a movie and eat myself into a fat consuming stupor as I stick “who knows what” into my face.  You know what I am talking about.  Something in our minds is triggered and we think that we must be eating something while in front of the t.v. set.  What we fail to remember is that thing we are sticking into our mouth is probably full of calories and fat and it adds to the over all caloric intake for that day.  We may have been counting our calories during the day and been successful not in over eating then but if we let our guard down our “mindless snacking phase” during our down time in front of the T.V. or the Internet can destroy our daily goals.  If you have to snack in front of your computer or T.V. then find healthy alternatives such as sunflower seeds.  I have found that the act of shelling the sun flower seeds and eating the seed fulfills my need to eat in front of the T.V. and I am not eating tons of fat or calories.  I am sure that there are other healthy alternatives out there, you will have to find out which ones work for you. 

I want you to know that losing weight is not impossible but that it is possible but it will require careful planning and determination on your part.  If you set realistic goals for yourself and surround yourself with supportive people and educate yourself then you will meet your goals.  One of the sayings that I have heard years ago at a church we attended in Houston Texas goes like this.  Through the pain, onward to battle and victory.  Identifying the problem and those things that are causing the problem can be painful but necessary.  Planning what our goals are and how we are going to achieve them will require that we establish our own unique battle plans.  If we set realistic goals and we stick with our battle plans faithfully then we will achieve that sweet victory.  You can not win a race if you do not enter into it and run with all of your might and strength.  We can run this race together and I am confident that together we can be victorious. 



  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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Mind over matter

Katy and the kids are off to work and school and it is just me and the pets. I have an evil grin as I imagine the things I could do to rid myself of my own personal Farmville.  I love my wife dearly however I do not love all of these pets.  I have a couple of favorites that I would probably spare if I were to ever go off the deep end but the rest of the critters would need to run for the hills or perish.  I guess that explains why most of the cats keep a wary eye on me and never turn their backs on me. They can sense that I am secretly plotting against them.  I love to day dream about what I could or might do to get rid of the excessive pet population in my home and then I am snapped back to reality with regards to divorce court.  I am not sure I want to push my wife’s love to a vote over me or the pets. Something tells me that I would suffer her wrath to the point that it is just not worth the brief moment of pleasure I would get to empty out Farmville. 


Today is the first day of my three day weekend.  I plan on having a leisurely morning which will include my regular trip to Planet Fitness in a few minutes.  My body is killing itself trying to convince me to use my three day weekend as an excuse to stay planted firmly in my recliner and to enjoy some well deserved laziness.  I am tempted to give in to the belly aching and whining from the flesh this morning but then I remember how much work I have done up to this point to gain the momentum I have gained and the weight and inches I have lost.  That did not happen by listening to the flesh and allowing it to talk me into a lazy bliss.  I will be stifling the moans and groans and I will drag my carcass out to the truck and drive over to the gym.  That always seems to be the hardest part, getting started and convincing myself that the trip to the gym is worth it. 

It is a mystery to me why at this stage in my life I have this huge amount of energy and motivation to do what I am doing.  Over the last 9 years Katy and I have been working through several stages of grief as we absorb the impact of losing one of our children to cancer. Having lived through 14 months of watching our daughter get sick and then sicker and then pass away has caused a huge rip in the fabric of our entire family.  That takes a lot out of you emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  When you take a beating in those three areas the flesh usually has its way with you and you don’t really pay much attention to what is going on.  Nine years later I guess we are managing the grief more efficiently and now we are finding a place where we can refocus our energies in other places and not dwell on the pain as much.   I would like to take all of the credit for going back to school after 20 years and getting gobs of motivation and energy to kick start my wellness program.  I am thinking that my motivation and energy must be a God thing.  I know that I have several people in my life that have been praying for me and my weight issue for quite some time.  These people have watched me and wondered why in the world would I let myself go as badly as I did.  How is it that I could waste so much time with trying to justify the issues and just be satisfied with the way I looked despite the fact that I was on the road to a heart attack or stroke? 

I may not be able to put my finger on exactly what happened within me to kick start my action but I am thankful for it.  Maybe it is a combination of friends praying for me and the Holy Spirit of God prodding me gently and methodically over the years.  No matter what the reasons I am happy to find myself on the track of getting better.  Slowly but surely I am working towards my goal of losing one pound per week and getting in better physical condition.  This is my body that God gave me to live in and it is my duty and responsibility to be a good steward of what he has given me.  My flesh is not who I am.  My flesh or the body that you gaze upon when you see me in real life is only a shell for the person within.  Some would say that when you die that is all she wrote and there is nothing else. You die and that is it, it is over.  I chose to believe that the spirit within me, who I am will live on in the hereafter.  At some point I came to the realization that my not taking care of this body was slowly but surely speeding up the process for me to meet the hereafter.  I realized that as I look around me I do not see any obese old people.  Have you noticed that for yourself?  You do not see severely obese old people because obesity eventually kills you.  I do not want to live through diabetes, high blood pressure or the many physical ailments that comes along as consequences of those issues. 

Mind over matter means that in my mind and spirit I am taking possession and control over my flesh.  I have decided that my flesh will no longer have dominion over my destiny.  I will no longer allow it to rob me of precious years of life.  I realize that no matter how much I work out at the gym that ultimately I will experience that physical death that we all will face one day.  Nevertheless that does not mean that I can not take care of the body that God gave me and enjoy life to the fullest in a body that is in good shape.  I am also thinking that while I am increasing the longevity of my life that I will be able to do things that I otherwise would not be able to do.  I am hoping that at some point that my wife will be encouraged by my progress and that she will adopt the same mindset as mine and start doing some regular exercise as well.  Mind over matter means that when we go to the grocery store that we determine that we will not buy crappy junk food and we will buy fruits and vegetables and lean meats.  We will decide to eat smaller portions and not sit in front of the idiot box and eat comfort foods that make us feel better about ourselves and ultimately eat ourselves into the grave. 

I used to get depressed when I saw advertisements for the TV show the Biggest Loser.  Now I am getting to the point that I am proud of those people for what they are trying to accomplish in their lives.  I realize that they probably get paid nicely for being on the TV show but despite that they have the courage to stand before a huge TV audience and admit that they need to lose so much weight.  I am proud of the fact that despite all of the odds and the difficulty of exerting so much energy that they are doing whatever it takes to lose the pounds.  Yes, working out takes a lot of energy and at the age of 48 it is way harder than it was when I was in my teen years or the 20’s.  In 1.5 years I will be 50 and I know that I know that it will only get harder to do this.  In my mind I want to be the biggest loser in my home and in my neighborhood.  I no longer care what people think of me and how I look because I know that I am doing everything I can to get exercise  and eat right so I can obtain my goals. 

My hope and prayer for you is that I can be vulnerable before you with my actions, feelings ,thoughts and fears so that you might be able to identify with me and realiz
e that you too can do whatever it takes to make permanent life changes that will help you be the biggest loser.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  Today is the day that you can and should make steps towards making good life choices and develop new and healthy habits.  You will have to decide what it will take for you to make these changes.  I hope and pray you make those decisions and changes in your life now while you are able to do it.  You can do it!  I have faith in you that you can and will make these changes. 


  Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 James Moffitt

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