A Born Again Health Nut

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My mother-in-law was born with a serious heart defect. As a result she lived her life far differently than most of us. When she was in Junior High she was told that she would probably only live to her mid twenties, and then only if she was very lucky. When she married she was cautioned not to have children because the stress of being pregnant and giving birth would surely kill her. Always the independent woman she nonetheless risked her own life to bring my husband into this world. She often recounted the lengths to which she committed herself to having him. The story was quite harrowing and demonstrated both her courage and love.

She was put into a state of sleep shortly before her baby was due. The doctors then brought her son into the world by way of Caesarian section. She was kept in a slumber until it was deemed safe to bring her back into consciousness. Since she lived on the same street as her mother she was able to rest each afternoon while her mom did much of the heavy lifting with the baby. Slowly but surely she recuperated and surprised her doctors with her resilience.

All of this happened in 1947, so the advances that have been made in the treatment of the heart had not yet been discovered. She was still at high risk of dying if she overexerted herself. In many ways her life and that of my husband were miracles that had a great deal to do with my mother-in-law’s determination to employ whatever means necessary to extend her life.  As a result she became an expert at pursuing a healthy lifestyle even before such an idea was popular.

I was admittedly bemused when I first saw my-mother-in-law’s kitchen. She always kept a scale for weighing foods at the ready and her cookbooks had exotic titles with recipes from nutritionists and doctors. She was conscientious in recording her intake of salt, calories, cholesterol and such. She was a student of nutrition and an advocate of proper exercise. Sometimes I grew a bit weary of her lectures on how to live, but in retrospect I realize that she was way ahead of her time. She outwitted death and made her doctors’ predictions of her early demise appear to be akin to voodoo. She lived all the way into her late seventies, far past the age that most thought she would attain, and she did so with a sparkle in her eyes and a zest for life that was incredible. She had done everything possible to defy the odds that were so heavily stacked against her, enriching everyone that she encountered in the process. Never once do I remember even an ounce of negativity or lack of faith in her approach to each day. She was truly a warrior.

Now I am doing my best to recall the many lessons that my mother-in-law so patiently taught me. That son that she risked her very life to bring into this world is now facing his own health problems, and as with her there is no miracle cure, but there are ways to help the situation. My goal is to support him as he adopts the very life style that worked so incredibly well for his mother. To that end he and I are both changing our ways, perhaps a bit belatedly, but in the hopes that our efforts will provide us with more time to enjoy this beautiful world together with our children and grandchildren.

Our kitchen now sports a scale for weighing our foods along with an array of cookbooks touting heart healthy recipes. Our larders are filled with fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats and fish. Our treadmill which had become dusty from disuse is churning away. We keep records of every morsel that goes into our mouths and have learned the joys of hydrating with water. We have become as serious about taking care of ourselves as my mother-in-law ever was, and I often feel her spirit guiding us on this new journey of ours.

I have to admit that I have at times been a bit irritated by people who spend so much of their time honoring their bodies with proper foods and exercise. I have rolled my eyes more than once at their focus on health just I as sometimes grew weary of hearing my mother-in-law describe the latest foods or techniques that she had discovered. Now in the moment of crisis I find myself wanting to walk around wearing a sandwich board that urges everyone to eschew their bad habits now. If I could, I would burn down every tobacco field on planet earth. Like Jesus with the money changers I would overturn the tables of candy and fatty foods that tempt shoppers in all of the grocery stores. I would insist that children do as well with physical activities as we ask them to do with mathematics and reading. I have become a fanatic overnight because I have seen what happens when we ignore the common sense notion that our bodies are as important as our minds.

My daughters are fearful that there may be a genetic tendency for stroke that they carry and may have passed on to their children. They worry about what they might do to prevent the kind of health emergency that we all recently endured when my husband had a stroke. I have told them that the solution is quite straightforward, and it was outlined magnificently by their Granny long ago. We must all do our very best to lead healthy lives from this day forward. That means that we are careful every single day of what we choose to eat or drink and how much activity we provide for our bodies.

There are so many wonderful resources in our world today that my mother-in-law never had. We now know much about how to best treat our bodies. I am finding that my husband and I are eating quite well and never feeling underfed or somehow beset upon. There are incredible recipes that use very little fat, salt, sugar or carbohydrates. Vegetables have become our staples and we prepare them in a variety of tasty ways. We are consistently losing the excess pounds that have been stressing our hearts. Our muscles and our stamina are growing stronger. Both of us are developing a kind of glow. It feels good to be on the right track and thankfully many of the people who once annoyed me with their crusades for health are helping me to launch my own odyssey. They are more than eager to help a fellow convert, no matter how late to the game I may be.

Perhaps I’ll do my part by sharing some of my favorite tasty recipes in the future. I’m trying different things and taking notes. The key appears to be in starting with a weekly menu plan, something that I used to laugh at my mother-in-law for doing. Now I understand that having good meals doesn’t just spontaneously happen. It takes a bit of effort that pays huge dividends in the end.

So here I am now, a born again health nut. Who knew that I would come to this? It’s a great feeling actually, and I’m not afraid to proclaim that we should all do ourselves a favor by mending our ways. There are no guarantees in this life, but it won’t hurt any of us to treat our bodies with the respect that proper care and feeding provides. My mother-in-law fought for her life. Now I will honor her by fighting for the lives of all of her descendants who are only here because of her courage and sacrifice. Mea culpa for the sins of gluttony and abuse that I have inflicted on myself and my family. From this day forward things will change.

A Good Dog

20106475_10213628315602894_3653417267467797884_nA good dog is more than just a pet. He is a member of the family, a true and loyal friend. A good dog asks for very little, a bowl of water, a bit of food, a hug or a belly scratch, and every once in awhile an “Atta boy!” A good dog loves unconditionally, dotes on having its people around and waits patiently for their return when they are gone. A good dog is a protector and a comforter. There is nothing quite like a good dog, but sadly good dogs have much shorter life spans than we do, so once we have a good dog it is more than likely that we will one day have to say goodbye. It is always a very difficult thing to do.

Shane, my grand dog, was a very good dog, a quite handsome golden retriever. He was found wandering the streets of San Antonio, homeless and confused. The people at the shelter gave him his name because they imagined his owners calling for him and begging him to come back home just as the little boy did when his friend left at the end of a classic western movie. Sadly Shane was hopelessly lost and nobody ever stepped forward to claim him. Happily his world changed when a family of four little boys fell in love with him and decided to adopt him. For the next eleven years he would be hugged and wrestled and and adored by his people. He became a beloved member of the family and he was very happy indeed.

Eventually Shane got a little brother, a pal, who was a pug named Cooper. He was content to share his home with the silly little tyke for there was more than enough love and affection for everyone. He showed Cooper the ropes and the two of them developed a routine that rarely varied. He was a great big brother, smart and kind and sharing. Cooper loved him as much as the family did. They got along quite well and became a kind of Mutt and Jeff twosome with Shane always being a patient teacher.

The years went by and Shane watched the little boys grow into fine young men, but they never became too old to play with him. They bought him toys and made sure that he was part of all of their celebrations. He stood by them when they were sick and made them feel good when all they really wanted to do was to cry. He gave them whatever they needed from him because he understood that that is what a good dog does. He was patient, vigilant and trustworthy. When little babies came to visit the family he showed them that a big dog can be gentle. He let them pull on his fur and grab him with delight. He never harmed them even when their enthusiasm hurt just a bit. He was ever a good dog.

Shane grew old. His muzzle began to turn white. His energy waned but his love never did. He was the first to announce that visitors had arrived. He greeted the them at the door with his tail wagging a friendly “hello.” If a stranger came he sent a notice that they better not harm his people. His bark and his growl told them that he meant business. He knew all too well that a good dog has a duty to protect his family from danger.

Shane sometimes came to spend vacation time with me and my husband Mike. He was always so polite, so clean, so unassuming. He did his best to have a good time with us, but he always missed those boys of his. He’d run to the front window every time he heard a car passing by. He’d watch the street wondering when they would return. At night he liked to sleep in our bedroom and he did his best not to disturb us while we slumbered.

I liked talking with him and reassuring him that he would soon be back home again. He loved lying on the couch next to Mike getting his rump scratched. When I let him outside he always announced to the neighbors’ dogs that he was the king of our domain. He wanted those other critters to know that he was going to take care of us just as well as he did his family back home. I loved having him over because he was always such a good dog. I missed him when he left but he never forgot me. He was always so happy to see me when I came to visit at his house.

The last time I saw Shane he was quite lethargic. He didn’t seem to have enough energy to move from his post outside one of his boy’s room. When I called him over to where I was sitting he slowly complied and shuffled over to get my hug and strokes on his back. He seemed exhausted but still determined to be a good dog. When his buddy Cooper barked for food he followed their routine because he knew that Cooper wouldn’t eat without him, but it seemed to take great effort for him to be a big brother. He was very ill but none of us realized it. We thought that maybe he was just a bit sad and worried because some of his boys were away from home.

A few days after my visit Shane seemed to have given up. He soiled himself, something that would have normally been abhorrent to him. His family noticed that he was almost listless. His oldest boy felt that something was terribly wrong so he took Shane to see the veterinarian. The news was very bad. Shane was in great pain. He was dying.

The boy called his mother and one of his brothers. They all went to sit with Shane until his suffering was no more. They sobbed with grief. Their good dog was gone and they could not imagine how they would be able to live without him. That is the way it is with good dogs. They burrow into the hearts of the people whose home they share. We want them to live forever. It is heartbreaking when their time comes to an end.

I went to see my grandsons and their mother on the evening of Shane’s death. It was my daughter’s birthday but she was not ready to celebrate. We were all so sad. Shane’s little friend Cooper seemed worried and lost. He sensed that something was terribly wrong. We couldn’t explain what had happened, we could only try to comfort him and each other.

A good dog is a very special gift. A good dog steals our hearts. A good dog takes care of us even more than we take care of him. Shane was a very good dog, the best of the best. He earned his angel wings in the finest tradition. We will miss him. We hope that he always knew how much he was loved.

Beautiful Peope

de50d6883e9caed5feb268cd8d4ddefdAt the St. Dominic’s Nursing Home there is a prominent display of photos of some of the elderly residents. They all sport thinning gray or white hair and wrinkled faces, but as the gallery title notes they are all quite beautiful. There is something about the unadulterated natural appearance of humans that is far more gorgeous and pleasing to the eye than that of stick thin models whose faces are recreated with makeup and whose eyes sometimes appear to be almost vacant. We humans possess a radiant loveliness that does not require artifice to be enchanting

I received my most recent copy of National Geographic Traveler magazine a few days ago and in between the covers were stories of people and places from all over the world. One woman’s photo struck me as being particularly lovely, and yet she was hardly what anyone might call a classic beauty. It was the delightful twinkle in her eyes that lit up her face and overshadowed any flaws in her appearance. Her smile was inviting and gorgeous and I found myself wanting to know her and her story. She was a truly beautiful person.

I remember being shocked one day when I heard one of my aunts proclaim that my grandmother had never been a beauty. I found myself totally disagreeing with her even though I had only seen my grandparent in the later years of her life. As far as I know there were no photographs of her as a young woman, only those in her later years when she had grown heavy with the weight of bearing ten children. By the time that I knew her she was wrinkled and her hair was frosted with gray. She never wore makeup and her preferred dress rarely included wearing shoes. Still I saw her as a stunning woman. Her face was classically Slavic and her blue eyes reflected a heart of pure gold. To me there were few women as gorgeous as she was.

It was much the same with my other grandmother, a tiny woman who was not quite five feet tall who never weighed much more than eighty pounds. She was an old lady by the time that I was born. She had long before replaced her teeth with dentures and her skin was soft and creased with age and hard work. She too had blue eyes that fairly danced with merriment and mischief. Her hair was thinning and the osteoporosis that afflicted her bowed her back into a quite noticeable hump. Still I thought of her as one of the prettiest ladies that I had ever seen. I  especially loved her hands which were capable of producing the most incredible meals and crafting clothing, quilts and crocheted items worthy of the finest homes.

They say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but I maintain that all we need do is remove the scales from our eyes and we will begin to see and appreciate the true exquisiteness of those who might never find themselves on the cover of fashion magazines. Such people literally radiate loveliness not so much because they might win a beauty contest but because of their openness and generosity of heart. That is the true appeal that we often miss when we assess appearances. I am actually quite happy to note the current trend of demonstrating that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, ages, races and genders. As a society we are growing more and more willing to accept that our uniqueness is actually the best of our features.

One of my favorite movies was Elephant Man, based on the true story of a man born with a genetic disorder that rendered him grotesquely riddled with tumors that made his face and skin resemble that of a pachyderm. He was savagely shunned from society and wound up being ridiculed as a sideshow freak in a carnival. Once he was saved from his dreadful existence by a doctor who hoped to help him, it became apparent that he was far more than his outward appearance. He was a gentle and beautiful soul who inspired those who befriended him. He somehow managed to see the best in people and life in spite of the mistreatment that he had so long endured. Those who knew him learned to see him with a new vision in which he was not a horror but rather a vessel of goodness.

I was shopping in Highland Village recently along with some of the loveliest people from many of the wealthiest parts of town. So many of the women that I observed had somehow hardened their looks with hair dye, a profusion of makeup and possibly even plastic surgery. There was something so artificial looking about them. Worse yet was the fact that many of them appeared to be very sad, as though they had not been able to find contentment in spite of their good fortune. True beauty comes from within and somehow it was missing in some of the people that I saw. It actually made me sad to realize that not even the ownership of a hundred thousand dollar automobile or designer clothing can mask unhappiness or a soul that has lost its way.

Don’t get me wrong. I paint myself up for special occasions and highlight my hair to keep it from looking dull. I find nothing wrong with attempting to be a bit more attractive but I have found that all of those efforts are for naught if one’s heart is not filled with love and compassion. Those qualities light up the face like no manmade product ever will.

As my mother lay dying she became ever more beautiful. There almost seemed to be an aura about her in her last moments on earth. She had always been an attractive woman but in the end it was her love of her family and her God that shone in her very eyes. She was experiencing a peace and joy in knowing that her life had been well lived. Her loveliness was stunning and comforted us all.

Our young want to be seen as being beautiful. They look in the mirror and study all of their flaws wondering how to become more alluring. They have yet to understand that it will be the content of their souls that determines their ultimate appearance to the world. Think of someone like Jimmy Carter who is so heart warming and giving. He is beautiful to almost everyone. Then consider someone like Adolf Hitler. His hideousness was derived from his actions. It was difficult to look past the horror of his deeds in assessing his looks.

The world is filled with beautiful people and their pulchritude has little or nothing to do with their physical features and everything to do with their character. This is the lesson that we should be teaching our children. Perhaps the story of Beauty and the Beast is the best fairytale of them all, for in that tale is the understanding that our external appearances have little to do with who we truly are.

There was a time when the world was a quieter place. There were fewer sounds, no cars, planes, trains, televisions, radios, telephones, complex machines. People heard each other, the calls of animals, the wind, the rustling of water. Lif was stiller, slower and in most ways more difficult. The very things that so often annoy us, cause us to feel stressed and steal the silence that we desire also make our lives easier than those of our ancestors. The conundrum that we face in the modern world is how to keep a balance between simplicity and over consumption. It is the tightrope that we walk in our pursuit of happiness and comfort.

I live in a southern climate. I might be happy to eschew using a great deal of energy in the winter because the days are mostly mild and even on an abnormally cold day a heavy coat and a pile of blankets make the chill go away. The summer presents me with a far greater challenge when temperatures linger in the mid nineties for weeks at a time. It is so hot that I take refuge in my air conditioned home and car during the middle of the day. The thought of being without the cool air is almost untenable and yet there was a time in the not so distant past when I lived through nineteen summers without air conditioning and never felt beset upon.

It was a normal and accepted way of life back then. We simply adjusted to our circumstances and carried on the way people had done for thousands of years before us. We led simpler lives that were still more modern than those that our grandparents had known. It never occurred to us that we may have been disadvantaged. We coped with what we had.

Somehow in spite of the multitude of improvements in American life our society seems to be more dissatisfied than ever. We tend to believe that we should all have more and more and more when just maybe we have reached a tipping point at which we should consider cutting back on some of the things that we do and take for granted. We often argue that each successive generation should do better than the last but what if that idea is flawed? What if our real goal should be to find ways to enjoy the best of our modern inventiveness without being so obsessed with accumulating wealth and things? Is it possible to live the good life while also being more frugal in our use of resources and capital? These are our modern day questions. Our dilemma is in finding the answers that will benefit the most people in the world, a gargantuan task at the very least.

I believe in the concept of liberty and as such I mostly disdain the idea of forcing a particular lifestyle on people. I prefer that we each decide on our own how to partake of the world’s benefits. Still I would like to encourage everyone to find their own personal ways of stepping back just a bit and considering how they might simplify and thereby save for the future. By that I mean in terms of both money and our precious resources. Small measures taken collectively often lead to great gains. Our ancestors knew this well and they pulled themselves out of a major depression and two world wars with determined effort and a great deal of patience.

When I describe the world of my youth it sounds absolutely antiquated. My family had one car, one phone, one television. Computers and cell phones were but dreams of inventive souls. Travel was by car for most people other than the wealthiest among us who had the means to fly from place to place. Eating out was a rare luxury. The books that we read mostly came from the library. I only knew one person who had a swimming pool in her backyard. The rest of us went to the city pool on hot afternoons. Air conditioning was a luxury that was only beginning to come into vogue and even then it was in the form of a unit set in a window. Homes usually had a single bathroom often shared by as many as six or seven people. Children bunked together in rooms. Most of us had two pairs of shoes, one for special occasions and the other to be worn for daily activities. We exercised by running and walking and riding our bicycles. It was a happy time and it never occurred to us that one day people would look back on how we lived and think it quaint and wonder how we were able to endure such seeming want.

The average household of old would appear to be more like a state of poverty today. We have improved things considerably but what have we lost in the process? Our desires seem almost insatiable. Our complaints would confound those who lived in another era. They would wonder at the luxuries of even an average person and ask why we still feel as though we need even more.

We argue over the state of our planet ad infinitum. Why would we risk being wrong? The simple answer is to always think about the consequences of our actions. Our golden rule should be to leave every place better than we found it. If that means recycling, planting trees, composting garbage, picking up trash, adjusting our thermostats, buying only what we really need, turning off lights, or finding our own ways of using less energy why would we complain? These are actions that our ancestors took for granted. It doesn’t matter who is wrong or right when it comes to climate change. We should all still want to be kinder to our world.

We probably will never receive the entire cake of benefits but we are certainly capable of sharing pieces of it with our fellow men and women. We will never be able to achieve perfection but surely we will find more contentment in working together just as our ancestors once did. They raised barns as a community and made certain that people experiencing hard times were cared for. My grandfather told countless stories of people coming together to insure that all members of the community were safe and secure and happy. It was understood that this was behavior expected of everyone. They had so much less than we have today but they willingly gave whatever they were able in times of need.

Sometimes it seems as though we have closed ourselves off inside our modern day castles. We have everything that we need inside and we may have anything that we want delivered to our front doors. We isolate and insulate ourselves from the problems outside our domains, often not even knowing the names of our neighbors or what challenges they are enduring. We come and go and rarely think of the difficulties that are ongoing all around us. We turn off bad news and idealize existence and quibble over issues that should have compromised solutions. We have lost our way on so many levels when we need look no farther than the examples of the past to know what to do.

Thoreau admonished us to simplify, simplify, simplify. Mother Theresa showed us how to share. Our grandparents demonstrated courage and a willingness to adapt to changing situations. Marshall rightly urged us to help our struggling European neighbors after World War II. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us how to open our hearts to differences. The lessons to be learned tell us how to live without the worry and strife that exists in so many corners of our world today. If each person were to change just one way of doing things for the better perhaps we might all wake up to brighter days. It’s time to cease all of the grumbling and work together. Shall we begin?

Shall We Begin?

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There was a time when the world was a quieter place. There were fewer sounds, no cars, planes, trains, televisions, radios, telephones, complex machines. People heard each other, the calls of animals, the wind, the rustling of water. Life was stiller, slower and in most ways more difficult. The very things that so often annoy us, cause us to feel stressed and steal the silence that we often desire also make our lives easier than those of our ancestors. The conundrum that we face in the modern world is how to keep a balance between simplicity and over consumption. It is the tightrope that we walk in our pursuit of happiness and comfort.

I live in a southern climate. I might be happy to eschew using a great deal of energy in the winter because the days are mostly mild and even on an abnormally cold day a heavy coat and a pile of blankets make the chill go away. The summer presents me with a far greater challenge when temperatures linger in the mid nineties for weeks at a time. It is so hot that I take refuge in my air conditioned home and car during the middle of the day. The thought of being without the cool air is almost untenable and yet there was a time in the not so distant past when I lived through nineteen summers without air conditioning and never felt beset upon.

It was a normal and accepted way of life back then. We simply adjusted to our circumstances and carried on the way people had done for thousands of years before us. We led simpler lives that were still more modern than those that our grandparents had known. It never occurred to us that we may have been disadvantaged. We coped with what we had.

Somehow in spite of the multitude of improvements in American life our society seems to be more dissatisfied than ever. We tend to believe that we should all have more and more and more when just maybe we have reached a tipping point at which we should consider cutting back on some of the things that we do and take for granted. We often argue that each successive generation should do better than the last but what if that idea is flawed? What if our real goal should be to find ways to enjoy the best of our modern inventiveness without being so obsessed with accumulating wealth and things? Is it possible to live the good life while also being more frugal in our use of resources and capital? These are our modern day questions. Our dilemma is in finding the answers that will benefit the most people in the world, a gargantuan task at the very least.

I believe in the concept of liberty and as such I mostly disdain the idea of forcing a particular lifestyle on people. I prefer that we each decide on our own how to partake of the world’s benefits. Still I would like to encourage everyone to find their own personal ways of stepping back just a bit and considering how they might simplify and thereby save for the future. By that I mean in terms of both money and our precious resources. Small measures taken collectively often lead to great gains. Our ancestors knew this well and they pulled themselves out of a major depression and two world wars with determined effort and a great deal of patience.

When I describe the world of my youth it sounds absolutely antiquated. My family had one car, one phone, one television. Computers and cell phones were but dreams of inventive souls. Travel was by car for most people other than the wealthiest among us who had the means to fly from place to place. Eating out was a rare luxury. The books that we read mostly came from the library. I only knew one person who had a swimming pool in her backyard. The rest of us went to the city pool on hot afternoons. Air conditioning was a luxury that was only beginning to come into vogue and even then it was in the form of a unit set in a window. Homes usually had a single bathroom often shared by as many as six or seven people. Children bunked together in rooms. Most of us had two pairs of shoes, one for special occasions and the other to be worn for daily activities. We exercised by running and walking and riding our bicycles. It was a happy time and it never occurred to us that one day people would look back on how we lived and think it quaint and wonder how we were able to endure such seeming want.

The average household of old would appear to be more like a state of poverty today. We have improved things considerably but what have we lost in the process? Our desires seem almost insatiable. Our complaints would confound those who lived in another era. They would wonder at the luxuries of even an average person and ask why we still feel as though we need even more.

We argue over the state of our planet ad infinitum. Why would we risk being wrong? The simple answer is to always think about the consequences of our actions. Our golden rule should be to leave every place better than we found it. If that means recycling, planting trees, composting garbage, picking up trash, adjusting our thermostats, buying only what we really need, turning off lights, or finding our own ways of using less energy why would we complain? These are actions that our ancestors took for granted. It doesn’t matter who is wrong or right when it comes to climate change. We should all still want to be kinder to our world.

We probably will never receive the entire cake of benefits but we are certainly capable of sharing pieces of it with our fellow men and women. We will never be able to achieve perfection but surely we will find more contentment in working together just as our ancestors once did. They raised barns as a community and made certain that people experiencing hard times were cared for. My grandfather told countless stories of people coming together to insure that all members of the community were safe and secure and happy. It was understood that this was behavior expected of everyone. They had so much less than we have today but they willingly gave whatever they were able in times of need.

Sometimes it seems as though we have closed ourselves off inside our modern day castles. We have everything that we need inside and we may have anything that we want delivered to our front doors. We isolate and insulate ourselves from the problems outside our domains, often not even knowing the names of our neighbors or what challenges they are enduring. We come and go and rarely think of the difficulties that are ongoing all around us. We turn off bad news and idealize existence and quibble over issues that should have compromised solutions. We have lost our way on so many levels when we need look no farther than the examples of the past to know what to do.

Thoreau admonished us to simplify, simplify, simplify. Mother Theresa showed us how to share. Our grandparents demonstrated courage and a willingness to adapt to changing situations. Marshall rightly urged us to help our struggling European neighbors after World War II. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us how to open our hearts to differences. The lessons to be learned tell us how to live without the worry and strife that exists in so many corners of our world today. If each person were to change just one way of doing things for the better perhaps we might all wake up to brighter days. It’s time to cease all of the grumbling and work together. Shall we begin?