"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wow - a chance to cry and marvel

I haven't written much lately - not that there's nothing going on in me - but things are marinating inside.

But here is something that is certainly post worthy. It warms the heart and soul.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hot off the press....

If you have ANY health issue, you need to watch this video. This includes arthritus, allergies, skin conditions, colon conditions, neuropathy, diabetes, chronic fatigue, bi-polar, autism, MS, fatigue, any autoimmune disfunction which includes osteoporosis, etc. I wish that I knew this information 30 years ago and I wouldn't have been living my life with poor health. It is long but listen while you are working on something else, you will be SO glad that you did.

And here is the ultimate irony in this.... This institute is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan! This is where I lived when I became ill initially.

A little update on my health and veganism. So far to date I'm between 50 and 60 pounds lighter than I was last November when I started this new lifestyle. My cholesterol is down to 184 from a whopping 255 initially with my LDL being WAY too high back then. I didn't want to go on medication so I just avoided the doctor for a few years.... charming! My blood pressure is down 10 points. I walk five miles a day effortlessly whereas when I started doing 2 miles initially I had great difficulty breathing. I have more energy and health.

However, I am still suffering from migraines. My digestive tract becomes angry with me after I consume gluten and my weight loss halts along with lethargy and fatigue. My walking is slowed and all manner of health goes out the window from a whole wheat cracker. There is something to what this man is saying.  Apparently wheat and gluten are not what they were when God created the world way back when. Many foods have been genetically modified to increase productivity in the field. Pesticides aren't our only worry. We are killing ourselves with our food and then using drugs to try to correct it.

In this report, Dr. Den Boer spoke about a man who weighed in at 330 pounds and worked out three hours a day. He couldn't budge his weight (sound familiar). The culprit was gluten. When he went off he started losing weight rapidly. One day he treated himself to a pizza and a hot dog... gained 10 pounds... hmmm.

DBC Natural Health Website

Monday, April 8, 2013

Through the eyes of Edward Hopper...

Took a little trip to Cape Cod last Saturday. It was 37 degrees and the wind was crazy cold. I wanted spring and summer to come so badly.... But in the midst of the cold, I decided to take a little "Hopper" trip. Through some sleuthing, I found his home in Truro. I hiked along the beach to spot it and then took a drive through a dirt road to view the back. I also photographed the "Corn Hill Beach" scene. We then went into Provincetown and wandered around the shops and art galleries for a little while. As I walked, I tried to view the area through Hopper's eyes. These photographs were manipulated as a tribute to Hopper - clean, crisp and bold.

Stanley Vander Klay's Obit in The Banner

Dad's Obit

Above is the link to my father's write up in The Banner, our denominational magazine in case any of you are interested.

Friday, April 5, 2013

More Zion Beauty...

Vegan Update

Five months ago I became a vegan. I was tired of looking and feeling the way I did. Counting calories and exercising daily was not causing the scale to tip in my favor. Frankly, I was depressed about the state of my health and more than a bit worried about things like cancer, heart attack, diabetes and stroke. I was eating an average of 600 calories a day and exercising and yet gaining weight! I was not one of those people on "The Biggest Loser" that admits to eating bags of cookies and potato chips! I was just a middle aged woman whose metabolism had shut down.

I knew that I needed to do something drastic that had proven effective for me in the past. Since I was already convinced of the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle it didn't take much thought for me to know that this was the path that I was to take.

In five months, nothing has swayed me from my course. I have on a few very special occasions chosen to "lighten up" a bit on my rules, but have not been deterred. Even the death of my father and two weeks on the road didn't set me back.

So, how have I faired health wise?

Today I visited the doctor for my checkup. My last one was more than two years ago. I lost 40 pounds since my last visit. Since I know for sure that I had gained more weight in the past two years (the average person gains 10 pounds a year and well, let's just say that my jeans were not wearable), it might be more accurate to say that I've lost between 50 and 60 pounds eating vegan for the past 5 months.

I have a ways to go.... but I feel so much healthier. I'm able to run across the streets of Boston now without getting winded. I'm so much lighter on my feet... literally.

Was it worth giving up meat, dairy and eggs, sugar and ice cream, the pizza and thick juicy steaks?

Yep... no doubt about it! If you are feeling like you need a change in your health go back and read my old entries in November and December. It's good for the body and the soul!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Hebrews 12:22-23 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Every year when I go to Vegas on business I rent a car and take off for "God's country" for a little photography break. Here are a few images from my last trip. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

I'll praise you in the storm

Reflections on Resurrection Sunday...

I have a few thoughts coming out of yesterday....

Church was tough... no way around it. I chose to go to my mom's church because that's the church where my dad spent many of the last years of his life ministering, so I was with many friends and relatives. It was still a tear fest for me. Every song set me off. Scripture comforted me. The message was great. But the songs... oh boy....

I never knew how much the songs on Easter referred to "the grave". It makes sense and on some level I always knew it to be true, but when you've just put someone you love dearly in the grave and the ground is still fresh and churned, that word takes on a whole new meaning. It's kind of like rubbing salt in an open wound.

The hope of the risen Lord coming to abolish death is a wonderful thing. I don't know how people who don't believe get through the death of a loved one. I would go stark raving mad. However, the hope we have is a far away hope - it's like the rest of the aspects of faith, you know God is there for you, but in the here and now, your circumstances still suck. To be reunited with that loved one you actually have to die too. There's no crossing over that Jordan river in the land of the living even for a little chat. It's a harsh reality.

People sure are happy on Easter. The same people who cried with us a few weeks ago have moved on, but we still cry. It's a bit of a lonely feeling. It's not to say that people weren't sensitive, because they were, but in the end, you are all alone in your grief.

While I could hardly get through church, dinner was a much better experience. My sister and brother-in-law make a spread that could rival any restaurant. They spice everything to perfection, always trying new recipes and succeeding. Everything was fantastic and I ate joyfully.

We changed things up a bit to make it more tolerable. My sister set up multiple tables which got us away from the "this is where Dad always sat" problem. Mom sat in his seat. The rest of us wandered around playing musical tables. The day was beautiful and we were able to eat outside. 59 degrees for the robust New Englanders seemed like real spring.

The company was superb! I didn't know how I could handle the day being with people. The good thing was these were good friends. Friends who love to laugh. Smart, talented amazing people who we've known for a long time and who loved my father too. They were friends that were well aware of the realities of grief because they had been through it too... in harsh, awful ways. They got it and it made the day that much more bearable. It's just so good to surround yourself with people who you love and who love you. It's really the best medicine.

One of my friends said to me that the reason that we just can't ever accept death is because we weren't created that way. We were never created to die or experience death. So true....

My mom and sister have been doing some research on my dad's cause of death. Death is so final, but it's normal to go back to those last few days before and wonder if it could have been prevented. I haven't spent much time thinking about "if only" but there has been a question in my mind about why the doctor didn't know this was going on when he had his heart tested and a clean bill of health given just a few days before his death. Apparently "ventricular fibrillation" happens when the bottom two chambers of the heart just shut down. It's a muscle issue as opposed to "arterial fibrillation" which tends to be more common and treatable. It seems that there would have been very little that they could do to prevent this kind of episode from happening in my father. If we had known this was the problem, we would have worried and watched him, waiting for that moment. I probably would have followed him around with fib paddles. It would have been no quality of life for him or us.

In addition, when "ventricular fibrillation" happens, the person passes out immediately, feeling no pain, and the blood is no longer pumped through the body. Brain damage happens within five minutes. If they had been able to bring him back it would have been a sadder reality.

Do these things make me feel better? No, I suppose not. I'd like for him not to have had that problem but I suppose at age 77, things do start to wear out. We speculate on why his heart wore out so quickly. Was it the scarlet fever at age 4 that almost took him back then? Did it damage his heart? Whatever the cause, our bodies all break down. I should know that as well as anyone. It's almost easier to have it happen to yourself than someone you love though.

It was four weeks ago today. That's one month. For most of life's little traumas we can move on in a few minutes, or days. Something like this... I hear three years to get to some kind of point of being ok. Here I am after one month still blogging about the same topic. I kind of hoped that I could go through the grief of lent and when Sunday came.... I could start focusing on the new life part of the equation. Grief doesn't work that way.... and that's alright.

So, no big answers or hope or meditation today. Yesterday was kind of draining. I'm going to lay low, bring my daughter back to her dorm, maybe clean the house (big maybe there) and take a nice, long walk. What are you going to do today?