The Road To Freedom

Grandad

With Memorial Day yesterday and VE Day earlier in the month in England, I wanted to write a short post about what that day means to me.

As we get on with our everyday lives I’m sure it rarely enters our minds that we have the opportunities and the ability to pursue life as we do because of those who fought and died on our behalf.  I will readily admit I fall in to that category.  But it is on these occasions that I sit and consider what this means in relation to the life I live.

Those of you who are regular readers and/or have been with me from the beginning of my blog, you will know that appreciation is something which is an extremely important aspect of my everyday life.  It is my firm belief that even if it’s not every day, gratitude is a virtue that every so often we should stop, sit back and think about.  Our lives are comprised of countless elements that we can consider blessings, including friends, family, a career, a home or just the ability to be able to function on a daily basis.  The familiar phrase, ‘There’s always someone more fortunate and less fortunate than you’, whilst not dwelling on somebody else’s negative situation, is for me a truth.

In this instance, Memorial Day and VE Day lead us to be grateful for our freedom.  That freedom enables us to make our own choices and decisions ranging from the simplistic, what to have for lunch to how we choose to treat others.  Not everyone in the world lives in a place where those options are available.

In England we recently had the general elections where David Cameron of the Conservative Party was re-elected as Prime Minister.  There was initial uproar at the outcome which caused people to protest in London.  What really saddened me was this protest was not peaceful as it should have been.

That’s the beauty of life.  We have the right to our opinions and have been given the opportunity to make ourselves heard which those who have gone before us have fought for.  We have the ability to protest and to put forth our beliefs in that way.

In this ‘peaceful’ protest, there was violence and a World War II memorial was defaced.  Absolutely mortified, I couldn’t help but feel a degree of shame about my British roots.  To agree or disagree with certain beliefs and/or decisions is a gift that has been bestowed upon us, but taking advantage of the right to freedom of speech in such a way is absolutely dreadful.

So this year, not only has it been a time of contemplation and gratitude to those who have fought on my behalf, but it has also been a time to embrace the sadness of how recent events in my home country clearly demonstrate that for some, appreciation is not even a consideration.

Just as I did last Memorial Day, I end this post with thoughts of my Grandad who fought and struggled in the aftermath of World War II.  Despite the recent events in London, we know and appreciate what a brave man he was and to his family, he will never be forgotten.

Simple Non-Medical Seizure Intervention

Hello followers,

My post today is a letter which I received from a gentleman named Larry Roof. With experience of his own three children who have suffered/suffer with seizures, he and his wife discovered an effective way to maintain seizure control through massage.  Tragically, they lost their daughter but have since made it their mission to pass this essential information on.  It could save so many lives.  If you are in a position where you know someone with epilepsy, please pass this on as it is a simple  yet valuable method which could save lives.

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A Simple Non Medical Seizure Intervention

After several years of successfully intervening in our three children’s seizures, we decided that all persons with Epileptic seizures should know about the procedure. But first we needed to travel to Bethel Epilepsy Center in Germany to discuss the procedure. Bethel’s world preeminence is based on 150 years experience with all aspects of Epilepsy. On May 6, 2010, we met with Alois Ebner, head of the Bethel Epilepsy Hospital. The meeting was amazing, and at the conclusion, Dr. Ebner said, “You have given us information we did not know”. We came away from the meeting with the understanding that many, if not most persons with Epilepsy worldwide may benefit from care-giver administration or self administration of the procedure.

This is how we got here: our daughter, Rainey, and autistic twin sons, Shawn and Shannon, had endured over forty years of Epileptic seizures, most of Rainy’s were grand mall, sometimes resulting in a coma. We thought, “There must be a way to distract and divert the brain from seizure activity?” Because we always recognized our children’s oncoming seizures, we decided to try massaging both sides of their entire face, ears and hair, very vigorously in circular motions with our open hands. To our amazement, it worked! If we began the procedure immediately, within seconds of the beginning of an aura, every seizure was interrupted. If we were a little late in responding, we needed to alternate between massaging and patting the face.

 Why does it work? We believe the vigorous massaging of the face intervenes in the seizure because the brain perceives the a “Fight or flight”circumstance. If you try the procedure on yourself, you will understand the dynamics. We also believe that the procedure may lead to new avenues of medical research.

On May 18, 2009, our wonderful “Differently abled” Rainey, died of complications from powerful seizure medication and medical mistakes. We know she would be here today, if we had known about the intervention much earlier. Her first thoughts during special circumstances were always for others. She would say “We need to pray for them”, “We need to give them a gift”. Rainey would be so pleased for everyone with Epilepsy to have the gift of stopping seizures.

 If you are one of the many persons with Epilepsy or you have a loved one or you know someone with Epilepsy, this is a gift that may be life changing for you or others. Please tell someone who needs the information. We hope and trust that you or someone you know may have a better quality of life and a longer, more productive life.

We are gratified that this “non-medical seizure intervention procedure” emanated from parents because we considered it a testament to the loving and diligent care that hundreds of thousands of dedicated parents provide their special needs children at home, year after year. Our best to all of you. Be healthy.

Larry & Annette Roof

You can contact Larry Roof at: lroof@languageofflowers.com

Being A Seattle Tourist

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It’s funny how when one lives in a city, aside from the initial exploration when you relocate, one more often than not doesn’t delve further to find out the history or more information about it.

As you well know, I adore Seattle.  I have never lived in a city with greater quirks than this one.  Every corner you turn there’s a new mural, a hidden sculpture, or unusual treasure that sets it apart from anywhere else and makes me love it even more.  How many cities do you know that has a troll living under a bridge?!

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This weekend we just had a family member who visited who has never been to Seattle before.  This is always great fun as the choice of activities here is endless, particularly when the weather is good.  One of the things we chose to do was the Underground Tour.  It’s not an average weekend as errands and relaxation tend normally to take over in order to recharge and prepare for the forthcoming week.

I love the history of Seattle so the Underground Tour was just fantastic.

In 1889 a fire ripped through Seattle courtesy of a spilled glue pot.  With the locals laughing at the voluntary firefighters battling to put out the fire, they jeered and shouted that they could do a far better job.  Unsurprisingly, the firefighters up and left leaving the city to burn to cinders.  Bearing in mind that a lot of the roads were predominantly sawdust, all in all about twenty-five blocks disappeared.

After this, they decided to rebuild the town about eight feet higher than the original sidewalk.  The originals were still to be used but naturally this caused havoc every now and again when people (drunk or otherwise) and horses were unfortunate enough to fall down into them.  The higher rebuild was done in part to avoid the mud as well as goodness knows what else that was to be found down there.  So in short, they built on top of the original Seattle.

On the tour, we got to explore the remaining underground passages that still lurk beneath the current walkways.   To see remnants of the ‘old Seattle’ including: original hotel staircases, the windows and door frames of shops, old furniture and there was writing from a butcher’s shop which indicated where all the ingredients on the shelves were placed, was absolutely mind blowing.

Modern technology saw Thomas Crapper coming to the rescue bringing his new invention of the toilet with him.  This became affectionately known as the ‘crapper’.  Unfortunately, not having worked out a proper sewage system, the first creation was a simple wooden box pipe.  With not quite as much thought as would have been ideal, add to the sewage system the tide timetable, when it came in there was a reverse in pressure and if you were unfortunate enough to be sat on the toilet, the quote which came up through my research was, ‘It was strong enough to blow you off the crapper!’ You can just imagine, it would have been quite the sewage tsunami.

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So with that new found knowledge and the sun shining, we visited a gem of a chocolate shop that randomly had an oversized furry bear in it.  I skipped out holding tight to my purchase of salted dark chocolate which was quite splendid.  We visited the Starbucks Roastery in Capitol Hill which is a must, ate delicious local and Jamaican home cooked food, visited Pike Place Market, went to the movies, had a wander round Ballard munching apple pie and lest we forget the unforgettable visit to the, ‘Sexy Alley Puffy Taco’ window, (yes it really is called that and no we couldn’t not try it out!)

So with good company and activities that were out of the ordinary, I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend off from being a Seattle-ite and instead playing the role of a Seattle tourist.

The Necessity For Love & Support

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In Epilepsy and many other illness’s there continues to be stigma, fear and a lack of understanding which surrounds them.  Therefore, we can find ourselves in situations where we experience prejudice.  It is those occasions when we question ourselves and wonder how to move forward  peacefully without having to continually battle to be understood.  It is then that we need the love and support of people who do understand us and the conditions we live with.

Summer’s On Its Way!

Ahh..  Summer’s arrival changes everything.

We all become talkative, we lose the numerous layers of clothing, there’s the excitement of vacations, even work doesn’t seem quite as dismal if you can dive out at lunchtime for some sun.  But perhaps the best of all, (even if you can’t duck out on your lunch break), it will still be sunny when you leave work.  Bliss.

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Aladdin’s Cave of Treasures

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Continuing with the recycling theme, yesterday I decided to visit Aladdin’s cave of treasures.

As a teen, with what I thought were my ‘worldly’ ways, I regularly turned my nose up at shopping in charity/thrift stores.  How could I possibly buy something that somebody else had owned let alone use it or wear it?  The mere thought gave me shivers.

This weekend got me thinking about recycling and how simply one can live.   My attitude as I mentioned above was not only naïve but also ignorant.  Never having been ‘loaded’ with money as a teen or in my twenties, (that makes me sound like now I’m in my thirties I am, but that is certainly not the case!) my early lack of financial knowledge and the ability to save was pretty much non-existent.  Thanks to my need to gobble down food like I hadn’t eaten in months, I spent as if my bank account was a money tree and afterwards I had nothing to show for it.  So, my Saturday’s were regularly spent with friends mainly looking forward to lunch as I could stuff down burgers and fries and goodness knows what else.

As I got older and I lived on my own, money got tighter to the point where my outgoings, i.e. rent and bills exceeded my income, surely that would have been the perfect time to invest in rummaging around in charity shops.  But no, my pride superseded common sense. It is only over the last six years that I have developed an adoration of charity shops.  My mum has the knack for finding absolute treasures and it was she who unknowingly encouraged my love of recycling.

One of things I love about charity stores is the fact that you can find things that you just can’t find in high street stores and if I have, they’re ridiculously expensive.  I have been on the lookout for vintage tins, such as biscuit or cake tins for storage.  When I reached the section where they were, a little wave of excitement washed over me, I felt like I had just won the lottery.  Probably about now you’re wondering how anyone could get so excited about tins.

I’ll give you some background about the inside joke.  When my sister and I were younger, each Christmas we would receive a box and tin of some sort.  We always looked at each other with fixed smiles when we opened these as we knew we could add these to our already vast collection. We collected a bunch of stuff as kids so they were actually very handy to store things in but at the time we would sigh at the thought of another tin to fill.

As we got older we stopped getting the tins and we gave many away as we moved on to our adult lives.  My mum always said that we would end up loving tins and baskets but we vigorously shook our heads with a definite “No!” However, I now hold my hands up and confess her premonition rang true as I too have been sucked in to the tin and basket addiction.

Joyfully, once found, these items went in to my basket (the store’s basket, not one for me to buy sadly!)

Some may call me tight, some may have the attitude I did when I was younger, some may not understand the concept of buying from a charity shop when you can get things new but everything bought second hand is recycling.  Not only that, but buying at the Goodwill in particular, for every dollar spent eighty seven cents goes back into the community to help people find jobs.  In 2014 this enabled 9,400 people to become employed.  I am a massive advocate of recycling and if I could I would recycle far more.

Even if you wouldn’t buy at a charity shop yourself, if you’re having a good old sort through of the belongings you don’t want, before you send them to the landfill take a minute to think how many jobs you could provide by donating your items.

As always, every little thought and action can make such an enormous difference to someone else, even if it’s only me rummaging around for more baskets and tins!