I will go to the bank by the wood…

And what I assume you shall assume;
For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my Soul;
I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes—the shelves are crowded with
I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it;
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume—it has no taste of the distillation—it
is odorless;
It is for my mouth forever—I am in love with it;
I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked;
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

Walt Whitman

Yesterday I had a tad of rebelliousness when I wrote on Instagram that “I’m over not having a cocktail, or eating my fried foods when I’m hungry for them. Because here’s the truth… I’m sick either way. It doesn’t make a difference except that I’m happier when I don’t create tons of rules for myself. Being sick is rigid enough!”

How many people do you know who are chronically ill that don’t show some rebelliousness from time to time? Lets just all admit that sometimes the answer for us is, “NO MORE, I’ve HAD it!!!”

Not long after my sister was diagnosed with stage 4 Adenocarcinoma of the lungs, I was over at her house smoking a cig and drinking a cocktail. Let me just say that for years this had been my sisters and my favorite pastime. Oh, the conversations we had pouring over our magazines, doing our nails, and sipping on our totties. During those times we would smoke cigarette after cigarette after cigarette. (insert guilt)

Anyway, at this point, she had chosen to go the 1 year route, which entailed chemo and radiation. Instead of the 6 month no treatment alternative. I know in my heart that it was so she could see and have time with her newly expected granddaughter. She was one heck of a tough cookie, so I knew she would be giving it her all that year.

Anyway, I went out to her little porch where her husband (Charlie), and I would smoke. At this time in her life she had quit smoking years prior… so this is where her hubs and I would transport ourselves in order to get our nicotine fix. (insert eye-roll… we realized how bad this was for us, ok?)

So on this particular day, I was out having a smoke while she was in her kitchen creating a snack. Before my cigarette was done, she had come out to sit with me, instead of retiring to her family room. I immediately put my cigarette out and started waving my arms frantically trying to bid the smoke out the window screen. “Oh for God’s sake, knock it off and give me a cigarette dork!” she said.

“Absoooooolutely NOT,” I shook my head concernedly.

“Su! Heads up! I have stage 4 cancer, I’m dying.” Tears glazed over my eyes as I glanced over to her rock collection so she couldn’t see them pooling. “Listen” she said, “I don’t have much time left, and ever since I’ve quit smoking I’ve wanted one! If I want to have a damn cigarette, I’m having a damn cigarette!”

She also had cocktails.

She also watched her favorite TV shows and movies.

She also walked her pugs every night with her hubs.

Until she couldn’t.

But she didn’t regret it. She had been given her death sentence, and she wasn’t going to let it stop her from doing the things she loved. She lived the year, she seen her baby granddaughter, and she got to spend time with her! She enjoyed her time, until she just got too ill to enjoy it at all.

I can’t comprehend someone telling me that I only had 6 months to a year to live. But I’m pretty sure, knowing me… that I would handle it the exact same way. Her and I have never been ones to allow society or other people to dictate how we’ll live our life. That could possibly be why she got cancer, and I have Lupus. But it might not either. Only God knows that.

That being said, I have “chosen” to live my life the healthiest way I’m able. Until I don’t. Like I said earlier, I’m a rebel like that. (Not that that’s an admirable thing, because it most definitely isn’t). But lasts night, I was having one of those rebel-like tantrums. “I can have a smoke if I want to, I can have a cocktail if I darn well feel like it, and I can have this fattening cheesy tater-tot casserole!” (a delicacy, lol)  In other words, “SCREW IT!”

And just to make things clear, I had quit smoking 6 months prior, and I rarely drink anymore. But pizza is and always will be a fave. I’ve just learned to generally eat it from my own healthy kitchen instead of our favorite pizza place.

But is it just me? Or do we all have these moments? Maybe not with the occasional cocktail or cigarette, but there’s always something…

That being said, today I was back to looking for ways to promote my health.

Now that hubs and I bought our retirement home, I’ve been quite literally: nesting. Besides knowing that I have a large garage sale in my near future that I need to get ready for. Ugh, “downsizing” I’ve been feeling quite at peace.

One thing I’ve decided to add to our home this spring is house plants. I’ve been reading up on them at treehugger’s website. I’ve also been looking at the different varieties.

Here are a list of the health benefits I’ve learned:

  1. They give and assist in breathing: “Inhaling brings oxygen into the body, exhaling releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants do the opposite, of sorts: They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making plants and people great partners when it comes to gasses. Plants help to increase oxygen levels, and our bodies appreciate that. But here’s something to know: When photosynthesis stops at night, most plants switch things up and absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide. However, a few special plants – like orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads – flip that script and take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Meaning, use these plants in bedrooms to keep the oxygen flowing at night.”
  2. They help deter illness: “In the great outdoors, plant roots tap the groundwater table for water which then evaporates through its leaves in a process known as transpiration. Studies show that this accounts for about 10 percent of the moisture in the atmosphere! The same thing happens at home (minus the groundwater table part), which increases the humidity indoors. While this may sound unappealing during hot moist months, it’s a gift during drier months or if you live in an arid climate. According to Bayer Advanced, studies at the Agricultural University of Norway document that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs. And other research reveals that higher absolute humidity is conducive for decreased survival and transmission of the flu virus.”
  3. They clean the air: (not that I smoke(d) in my home, but I’m up for cleaner air regardless). NASAs space agency did a lot of research in this area, and discovered (a then-new concept) in indoor air quality improvement in which plants play a pivotal role: “Both plant leaves and roots are utilized in removing trace levels of toxic vapors from inside tightly sealed buildings. Low levels of chemicals such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.” When talking about the relationship between plants and space travelers, NASA notes that plants, “provide nourishment for the body when eaten as food, and they improve the quality of indoor air. Plants take the carbon dioxide from air to produce oxygen that humans can breathe.””The top 10 plants for removing indoor pollutants, according to the agency are: Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii), golden pothos (Scindapsus aures), English ivy (Hedera helix), chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium), gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii), mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’), bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii), azalea (Rhododendron simsii), red-edge dracaena (Dracaena marginata) and spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum). For more on these specific plants, see: Houseplants that clean the air. The NASA researchers recommend one potted plant per 100 square feet of indoor space.
  4. They boost healing: “Bringing flowers or a plant while visiting a hospital patient may be verging on cliché, but so effective are plants in helping surgery patients recover that one study recommends them as a “noninvasive, inexpensive, and effective complementary medicine for surgical patients.” Plants as medicine! The study, conducted at Kansas State University, found that viewing plants during recovery from surgery led to a significant improvement in physiologic responses as evidenced by lower systolic blood pressure, and lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue as compared to patients without plants in their rooms.Another technique to decrease recovery time, as noted by Texas A&M University, is horticulture therapy in which patients are tasked with taking care of plants. The patients who physically interact with plants experience a significantly reduced recovery time after medical procedures.”
  5. They help you work better: “What? How? A number of studies with both students and workers reveals that studying or working in the presence of plants can have a pretty dramatic effect. As with simply being in nature, being around plants improves concentration, memory and productivity. Being “under the influence of plants” can increase memory retention up to 20 percent, according to a University of Michigan study.Meanwhile, two Norwegian studies found that worker productivity is greatly enhanced by the presence of plants in the office. “Keeping ornamental plants in the home and in the workplace increases memory retention and concentration,” notes Texas A&M. “Work performed under the natural influence of ornamental plants is normally of higher quality and completed with a much higher accuracy rate than work done in environments devoid of nature.”-treehugger, 5 benefits of houseplants, Melissa Breyer; 2015

So the moral of this story? There are times we will say no to what we know is best for us. There will also be times we are a downright rebel. But we need to make changes where we’re able, and we need to continue educating ourselves in ways we’re able to implement change. When we fall off that horse, we need to dust off… and jump right back on, for the ride. Cliché or not? It’s true.

That’s all I got for you today or tonight… however you want to look at it.

I pray that all those suffering and in pain, feel the healing hand of God resting on your shoulders. You are not alone… you never have been. God bless each and every one of you.




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