When Fear Became Reality!

I remember as a young girl overhearing a conversation my mother was having with some female friends from church. We were never allowed to be in the same room while adults were having adult conversations. This particular day, I left the room as told, but listened outside the door. It would be a conversation that would haunt me until adulthood. I never disobeyed my mother, but for some reason that I still can’t explain today, I took it upon myself to listen in on the conversation she was having with women of the church.

The conversation they were having was of a woman who had lost her husband. I was about 10 or maybe even 11 or 12, but what struck me was when one of the women used the word “WIDOW.” I didn’t understand the word then but I can tell you it terrified me to the core. I do remember what was stated and it went like this: Sister …..just lost her husband and my heart goes out to her, because now she is a Widow and her life will never be the same. I should never have been listening in on grownups conversations. The word WIDOW was new to me, I had never heard of someone being called this before and for some reason I was too young to understand, it terrified me.

I remember asking my mother what the word meant and she telling me and even though she always had a way with comforting me and my siblings, this word still frightened me. Unknowing to me, one day, I would become the word, title and name that terrified me so much. The word nightmares are made of. That word only one could think that only happens to other people, but could never happen to them. My sweet little bubble that I was living in suddenly burst!

June 4th, 2012, Grief and Widow rang my door bell and when I answered, it became the greatest, challenging, horrific time of my life. The word I was most frightened of and it’s best friend showed up at my door, moved in and began a reign of terror on my life.

There is nothing more menacing and painful than Grief, and to be accompanied by it’s best friend Widow, is almost too much for any person to comprehend. My husband was my best friend, someone I could always talk to, share my dreams, ambitions, goals, as well as the things that frightened me and went bump in the night with.

Never would I ever imagined that the one word that terrified me so much would show up at my door! I have learned to accept the fact that I am a “Widow,” but I will never allow it or it’s friend Grief to hold me down and neither should anyone else, whether you are a Widow or Widower!

This is a lonely journey, but one we all can conquer.

JASMINE D. PARKER ©
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The Struggle is Real!

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We have all heard the saying, “The Struggle is Real.” Many may not know what that phrase means, but as we read and listen to the news each day, and go through our day to day lives it becomes pretty clear as to what it means. Each and every one of us is fighting a battle of our own; and for many, the struggle is more real than one could ever imagine!
Here lately I’ve noticed on Facebook more and more friends stating how depressed and/or stressed they are, and asking for prayer. We have to admit, our jobs can be very stressful and adding to that stress are our bills in which we can’t escape, family illnesses and other issues, the cost of groceries going up higher and higher, gasoline prices soaring, plus those who commute back and forth to work in heavy traffic experience lots of stress due to their daily drive.

I know people who don’t watch or listen to the news anymore because they say it stresses them out and they feel as though the media reports more negative news than positive news. As we continue with our daily tasks and go through life, we all should think of things we can do to keep our stress to a minimum and continue encouraging one another as much as possible.

We all live in this world and there is no escaping many of life’s situations, but we can reach out to others in need and be a pillar of support. The struggle is real, and everybody needs somebody! We can’t live in this world all by ourselves!

JASMINE D. PARKER ©

Five Foods We Should Avoid Eating Raw

 

 

Growing up in a small town in West Texas, it was quite normal for my siblings and I to gather in the kitchen when our mother was baking and ask if we could lick the mixer beaters or the cake mix bowl.  This was always something we looked forward to and back then, it was no big deal!

 Either due to cross-contamination or poisonous quality, there are many foods and ingredients that we are better off avoiding in their raw or undercooked states.

 Here are five of them you should know about:        

1. Cookie dough

One reason, of course, is that the recipe may involve the use of eggs which carries the risk of salmonella in the uncooked state. But the flour itself may also contain harmful strains of bacteria such as E. coli. The contamination is likely due to the exposure to animal feces which are present in and around wheat fields.

 The cookie dough concerns me due to my sons and grandchildren have always loved eating it raw.  I myself have even raw cookie dough.  

2. Potatoes

Raw potatoes, particularly the ones that are green or sprouted, are said to produce solanine. The toxic alkaloid can lead to diarrhea, nausea, cramping, headaches, and in rare cases, even lead to life-threatening effects. In fact, you should always skip consuming green potatoes even if they are cooked.

Even putting solanine aside, raw potatoes “contain starches that are resistant to being digested,” Dr. Lisa Davis, the chief nutrition officer at Terra’s Kitchen, told Reader’s Digest. So, you may end up with serious gastrointestinal problems.

                    

3. Cassava

Cassava is dangerous when consumed raw or undercooked as it contains compounds that are converted into hydrogen cyanide in the body. This can cause a long list of extreme symptoms such as rapid respiration, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, and convulsions.

Food Standards Australia & New Zealand advises people to “first peel and slice the cassava and then cook it thoroughly either by baking, frying, boiling or roasting,” to reduce the risk of poisoning.

 

4. Pork

Thanks to better pork production laws, the risks associated with undercooked pork have reduced in recent years. Nevertheless, it is possible to find parasites like Trichinella spiralis. If transmitted, the person may experience illness and various side effects ranging in severity.

“The most common symptoms include fever, abdominal pain [and] nausea. And, in later stages of infection, it can cause myalgia, swelling of the face or around the eyes, as well.” stated Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist.

Follow the recommended temperatures provided by the Department of Agriculture when cooking pork. The meat should be allowed to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming.

 

5. Kidney beans

“Eating raw red kidney beans can cause extreme nausea, severe vomiting, and diarrhea from a naturally occurring lectin, phytohemagglutinin.” 

In order to get rid of the toxin, she explains how the beans need to be soaked for 5 hours. Next, you should drain the water and boil the soaked beans in fresh water for at least 30 minutes. Keep in mind that this does not apply to canned kidney beans which only need to be reheated.

Soaking beans and rinsing well is a practice I picked up from my mother and grandmother.

I found this to be pretty informative as I am always willing to learn better ways of keeping my family safe.

KRISTOFF ST. JOHN – The Death of a Soap Opera Star

 

I haven’t blogged about grief in a while, but had to write about this sad story of how that thing called “GRIEF” can cause such destruction and lead to death.

I can remember vividly watching soap operas with my mother and grandmother. One of the soaps watched was “The Young and the Restless.”
They watched others, such as “Days of Our Lives.”
These soaps were a daily part of many women and men’s lives and each person who glued themselves to the television had their favorite actor or actress.
I can remember when this tall, young, handsome actor came into the Young and the Restless back in the early 90s, playing the character, Neil Winters. His acting skills were on point and he never missed a beat as far as his lines were concerned, or at least what we could see.

St. John began playing Neil Winters, a cosmetics executive who struggled with infidelity, alcoholism and many other issues, on “The Young and the Restless” in 1991. He recently resumed this role in January, completing nearly 1,700episodes of the show.

St. John would go on to win two Daytime Emmy Awards during his long tenure on the CBS soap opera “The Young and the Restless,” which brought him fame and fortune and a star-studded cast of great friends that were more like family.

Born on July 15, 1966, in New York City and grew up in Bridgeport, Conn., and Los Angeles. His father, Christopher, was a producer, director, and actor; his mother, Maria, was an entertainer. Both parents inspired their son to enter show business.

Early Acting Years:

His television career started with an appearance on the sitcom “That’s My Mama” in 1975. He played a young Alex Haley in “Roots: The Next Generations” (1979) and had a recurring part on the television version of “The Bad News Bears,” on which his father also appeared. He was also seen on “Family Matters,” “Martin,” “A Different World,” “Diagnosis Murder”

Personal life:

St. John was married and divorced twice. He had a son, Julian (1989–2014) and a daughter, Paris Nicole (born 1992) with his first wife, boxer Mia St. John. Julian died by suicide on November 23, 2014, following a long history of mental illness. St. John was married to Allana Nadal from 2001 to 2007, and they had a daughter, Lola (born April 15, 2003). On August 31, 2018, he then eventually dated again and became engaged to Russian model Kseniya Olegovna Mikhaleva.

St. John was a vegan and animal rights advocate and appeared in two PETA ad campaigns.

St. John was at increased risk for several mental and physical issues due to the death of his son, Julian St. John, who died of an apparent suicide in 2014 while in a mental health facility. Kristoff St. John became a “suicide loss survivor,” part of an unwilling group of millions of Americans left behind by loved ones’ deaths, who take on a mantle of grief and often shame and guilt. It is not uncommon for those left behind after the death of a loved one to feel some form of guilt. At some point in time, they feel as though they should have been there to save their loved one, and unfortunately, the guilt sets in and takes hold of the survivor. His son, Julian, an artist who suffered from schizophrenia, depression and drug addiction, committed suicide by asphyxiating himself with a plastic bag at a mental health care facility in Long Beach, Calif., in 2014. Mr. St. John and wife, Mia, accused the staff of negligence, and filed a lawsuit against the facility and aired their grievances in an interview on the television show, “Entertainment Tonight.” Mia was also quoted as saying in a 2017 statement to Entertainment Tonight, “No parent should ever have to bury their child, and for those who do, it is a nightmare that haunts you forever.”
The lawsuit was settled in 2017.

On Jan. 21, St. John retweeted a tweet about the loss of a child that reads: “Grieving the loss of a child is a process. It begins on the day your child passes and ends the day the parent joins them.”
He also responded to the tweet, writing: “Never a truer word was spoken. Thanks for posting this.”

Sadly, Kristoff St. John was found dead on Sunday at the age of 52.
The cause of death has been deferred “pending an additional investigation” after an autopsy was completed Monday, according to the coroner’s official website.
Parents of suicide loss survivors, especially, may have lifelong needs as a result of their loss and be especially afflicted with feelings of guilt and responsibility, according to a 2012 article in the medical journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience.

Suicide Lifeline: If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.