Trying to Focus

There’s a lot going on in this college girl’s life right now.  I’m in the middle of summer term classes, which I’m pleased to report, are going well.  They’re not at all food-related (Intro to Business and Sales Principles), so while I AM enjoying them, I’m looking forward to the fall term, when I’ll be able to start cooking again!

I’m having a hard time focusing on my school work, though.  For the first time in almost 2 years, I’m feeling like I need to put my education on low heat so that I can take care of more important matters.  I don’t want to forget my schooling altogether…absolutely NOT…. but I do need to focus on two “biggies” right now.

1.  Lack of finances.  It’s the same old song and dance… the horrid economy.  My hours at work have been cut to 12 per week, which is not nearly enough for me to live on.  I could just run out and apply for a full time job, but my problem is that I’m registered for 15 credits this fall, and I need every one of those classes if I want to graduate and move on to bigger things in my life.  Working in a job around school hours is not an easy task, and the job market still isn’t where it should be right now.  My search for a flexible, part-time job that pays more than minimum wage continues….

2.  My health.  Some of my friends have queried on the point of my obtaining a degree if I won’t be around very long to use it.  Their questions and concerns are valid, but graduating from college will be the realization of a lifelong dream for me, as well as the completion of a commitment I made to myself.  I simply must graduate.  End of story.  I just hope that I don’t end up burning the candle at both ends like I did last December.  I can’t financially or emotionally afford another hospital stay, and with as serious as my condition has become, my hematologist doesn’t think that my body will last more than a couple of more years.  I told him that I respect his opinion, but that he needs to stand in line behind God… He’s the ONLY one with all of the answers!

Besides, I need and want to feel sick right now.  I’m crazy, right?  Not so much.  There’s a very important reason for my saying this.

I need to hurt right now, because it will serve as a reminder that there are people who are suffering more than I am. I ALWAYS want to keep that in perspective. I need active reminders that although I am dealing with some rather serious health issues of my own right now, they pale in comparison to what others are enduring. There are those whose health is so poor that they don’t have the ability to sit in front of a computer and get their thoughts written out like I do. There are people who need and deserve my full attention and prayer right now. One such person is a dear friend of mine, Vic Berry.

Vic and his sweet wife Cindy have been my friends for over 20 years. They live in a small coastal town in mid-eastern Florida. I met them through the church I attended in Merritt Island, Florida. They’re the kind of warm-hearted, sincere, giving people that would and have bent over backwards for a friend in need. They’re always thinking of others and placing their needs on the back burner to minister to others. I admire them both so much. They were an invaluable part of my support system during the bitter end to my first marriage. When I moved back to Wisconsin from Florida in 1995, I was sure I’d never seem them again because they were also good friends with my ex-husband. As is the case with many divorces, mutual friends of my ex and I felt like they had to choose one friend over the other. Because I was moving away, I was not the chosen friend. I respected their decision, but I was saddened to be losing them as friends. However, I was extremely grateful that they would be able to remain a supportive force in the lives of my young children, who stayed behind in Florida to live with their dad.

Unbeknownst to me, God had other plans. Thirteen years after I moved back to Wisconsin, the Berry’s and I were reconnected through Facebook. I was elated to have them back in my life after all of those years. Our friendship rekindled seamlessly and we picked up right where we had left off. Although I’ve yearned to see them in person again, the opportunity hasn’t been there for me to do so. Now it’s not a matter of desire… I truly feel like I MUST make a visit. Time is of the essence. You see, Vic was diagnosed last Thursday with an aggressive form of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He is about to embark on a 6-month journey through a living hell… with hopes of a victory of healing at the end of the long road. All of us who love Vic are shocked and heartsick at his diagnosis. If you’d like to help, please join me in praying for Vic and his family. They can use as many prayers as possible right now. Thank you…

Because I also care about you, my dear reader, I want you to be educated and healthy. Here are some great foods to feed your mind and body with. These are amazingly healthy, delicious ways to help keep your body functioning at its best:

Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens are full of Lutein, vitamin A, and Folate, which may help prevent colon and ovarian cancer. Spinach, kale, collard greens, arugula, and dandelion greens are packed with nutrients and flavor.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, watercress, and Swiss chard all have tons of phytochemicals, which can lower the risk of breast and stomach cancers.


Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, and red grapes are abundant in antioxidants, which can help repair cell damage.


Tomatoes contain antioxidants and Lycopene, which can lower the risk of stomach and lung cancer.

Here’s a great article by Mara Bateman that explains what antioxidants and free radicals are, and it outlines the top 10 foods that fight free radicals. You can access the article here.

This week’s recipe is a great one for keeping nasty cancer cells far away from your body. The dish is loaded with antioxidants, it helps to fight free radicals, and it tastes delicious, too!

Chicken, Bacon, and Walnut Strawberry Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, grilled

¼ cup shaved carrot

4 cups fresh baby spinach or other dark leafy greens

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

3 slices crisply cooked bacon, crumbled

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup olive oi

lsalt and ground black pepper to taste


Whisk the balsamic vinegar, lime juice, and honey together in a bowl; slowly stream the olive oil into the mixture while whisking continuously. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving.

Combine the greens, bacon, strawberries, Gorgonzola cheese, grilled chicken, and walnuts into a large bowl.

Until we meet again, may you be safe, happy, healthy, and blessed!



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