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Replacing fear and ignorance with a new perspective

  • Written by Claudia Parker

Claudia-NEW

 

This may be rather risky, but I’m going to share a spring break story from my past. It’s one of those trips where I did something that could raise an eyebrow or two. It occurred in March of 2013.

My family and I were on a frosty spring break vacation in Lake Geneva, Wis. We've been there numerous times but never while the lake was frozen. A crunchy layer of snow covered the glass block ice that sat atop the freezing water beneath. “Magnificent” I thought, as we strolled along the beach. We were fortunate that 40 degree temperatures and the sun had graced us with its presence. In weeks prior, the highs had been 28 degrees. Those consecutive cold days had strengthened the confidence of the tourists. They were dancing, skipping and fishing on the ice.

“Are they nuts?” I commented to my spouse, Don. "That’s just not a risk I’d take." I pointed to a little girl presumed to be the age of 3. She was frolicking on the ice with her parents.

I engaged a person passing by saying, “They’re super brave, huh?”

She stopped, adjusted the zoom on her Nikon and snapped a photo. “Or super stupid,” she replied.

The more I observed, the more I wanted to know. I thought. “Why aren’t they afraid? How are they comfortable standing in a cluster? Call me antisocial because I’d have no problem saying, “Naw, don’t stand by me. There’s no need to apply stress to the area I’m standing.” I mean, if I had the audacity to try such a thing.

Funny thing is, the longer I watched the more enticing it became. Then, I dropped the hand of my then 5-year old, Donae, and said, “Stay with Daddy. I’m going on the ice.”

She tugged and pleaded. “No! Mom! It’s gonna crack. You’re gonna die!”

I wasn’t totally convinced it wouldn’t. That I wouldn’t, so I settled on a part of the lake where my feet would hit the bottom should a spontaneous plunge occur. After observing me stand successfully, Donae tore away from Don and joined me. It was about five minutes of our living wild and dangerous before we carefully eased our way back to the shore. We were high-fiving and giggling about our spring-break-gone-wild moment when one of the locals said, “You were never in any danger. The thickness of that ice can hold the weight of a car.”

I love it when the Lord allows me to have moments where He shows Himself in simple ways with meaningful impression. Our ignorance had brought about judgement and unnecessary fear. It happens more often than not. Our lack of understanding keeps us constrained by our limited experiences. Sometimes it’s a bold move that breaks the cycle of mundane. Other times its education that gives us the edge in our exploration. But, when the pull within our heart remains lured to the Call within, it’s our faith that must thrust us into the fullness God has positioned us for.

Do you find yourself standing on the sidelines in life? Are you scared and maybe even judging others for what ‘you presume’ to be a risk? Romans 14:3 says, "Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him."

God has great things in store for all of us. Have a little faith to come off the shore. You just might enjoy the experience.

Time has indicated that patients need CoQ10 to maintain health

  • Written by Dee Woods

Dee-Woods

About 12 years ago, I wrote of how alternative physicians were warning patients who were taking cholesterol drugs about the importance of augmenting those statin drugs by supplementing with Coenzyme Q10.

Those alternative physicians were basing their urgency on the fact that statin cholesterol drugs, while stopping the liver from producing cholesterol, were also halting the production of coenzyme Q10, which supports mitochondrial energy function. It’s also important to note, that back then, most physicians did not accept the premise of the need for CoQ10; some calling it junk sciences. Well, today, most physicians totally accept that patients need CoQ10.

CoQ10 is found in all human cells. The highest concentrations are found in the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas; organs that possess the most metabolically active cells. It is found in tremendous amounts in the cells of the immune system. Although it is found in nuts, peanuts and walnuts as well as oily fish (that I can’t eat), it is difficult to obtain enough to replace the shortfall both age and statin drugs create. Once we reach the age of 40, our own production of CoQ10 begins to drop dramatically. So, those who take statin drugs and are over the age of 50 are getting the double whammy of CoQ10 loss.

After I wrote the first article, it was discovered the most bio-available form of CoQ10 was known as “ubiquinol.” You see ads on TV for products containing ubiquinol.

Another amazing aspect of CoQ10 in ubiquinol form was discovered by the National Cancer Institute to help protect the heart from the cancer drug Doxorubicin. Additionally, yet another study by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) was found to have shown this wonderful enzyme as helping cancer patients. The study in about 2008 or 2009 was conducted among patients with melanoma and breast cancer. In the melanoma study, the NCI compared the effect of administering alpha interferon with or without daily CoQ10 in large doses (400 mg.).

As reported in the September 2015 issue of “Life Extension Magazine,” “there was an astounding 10-fold lower risk of metastasis in the CoQ10-supplemented group! This effect was even more pronounced for those with more advanced melanoma, where supplemented patients were 13 times less likely to develop metastasis, according to the publication. Additionally, patients with kidney disease on dialysis were found to have improved and need less dialysis when augmented with CoQ10.

In 2009, the magazine reported cancer patients were found to have exceedingly low levels of CoQ10 in their blood. That is what precipitated the studies.

Human trials were called for but the National Cancer Institute cited costs as the reason for not conducting the trials.

Other smaller studies were conducted that found the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 was helpful with multiple sclerosis, ALS and muscular disorders as well as neurological disorders.

While no one should take the high doses without the advice and under the observation of his/her physician, alternative physicians believe there is plenty of reason to take smaller doses when taking statin drugs or if one is over the age of 40.

We should have wide-spread studies, but somehow the funding is not there. However, the funding is available to study teaching mountain lions to ride a treadmill ($856,000) and studying the gambling habits of monkeys. Gosh, I never knew there was a casino at the zoo and creating a video game on climate change. And there is tweeting at terrorists ($3 million) and testing the reaction of monkeys to the effects of cocaine.

Even considering these marvelous trials, there is not a great deal of excitement in the medical community about taking CoQ10. Talk to your physician about supplementing with this wonder worker; especially if you are over the age of 40.

Dee Woods can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Driving to vacations spots with no Wi-Fi and TVs

  • Written by Joe Boyle

The Chicago Auto Show has just rolled out of the city. A variety of vehicles were on display and the annual event again drew large crowds that come to stare at the latest models.

Of course, there are people who attend the auto show with the sole purpose of buying a new car, truck or SUV. I was never one of them. The vehicles on display are interesting to look at. We can all fantasize when we get behind the steering wheel.

But after about an hour or so, I tended to get bored. I was not going to buy any of these cars because none of them were in my price range. So, after a while it just becomes kind of futile. It’s like going to a party that you were not invited to.

Hey, I like new cars. I’m amazed at the features these vehicles have. Newer vehicles can park themselves. And to think I used to agonize over learning to parallel park when I was in driver’s ed in high school. Learning to parallel park in Chicago was necessary when I was in high school. Living in the suburbs where many of the homes have driveways means that I’m a little rusty with that skill.

But with newer cars, you don’t have to worry about that. Many vehicles have been equipped with TVs for some time now. Wi-Fi is becoming a standard feature in most vehicles. I think it’s great, that is if you can afford it. When I look at the prices of a lot of new vehicles today, it would probably be better to put money down for a house.

In the long run, it might be a better investment. The main problem with a new car is that as soon as you drive it out of a lot, it depreciates in value.

My philosophy is to get as much mileage out of my car as possible. I’m actually driving a car right now that has become extinct. My 2002 Saturn sedan still rides well. The heat works fine during the winter and the air conditioning will keep me cool when it gets hot again. The radio works and so do the speakers. I still have a CD player and I often listen to CDs on my way home from work.

Heck, about 20 years ago what I have in my car would be big deal. Now when I enter a new car, I’m sort of lost perusing through the interior. Vehicles have so many additional accessories that it’s hard to find everything.

When I was young and would go on vacations during the summer with my family, we did not have TVs in the car. To make the time pass as we traveled to either Michigan or Wisconsin, we would play a game where we would count gas stations. One sibling would be on the other side of the car counting how many they could see. Another sibling might work as sort of an intermediary, checking to see if we are accurately counting the gas stations.

Yes, there were some disputes. Sometimes I saw gas stations that didn’t exist. Hey, sometimes we just made it up. We were having fun but we could be competitive. But it was a way of passing time on roads leading up to cabins or houses that our family would stay in for a week. When we would go to places like northern Wisconsin, the best thing was to just go to sleep for a while. But with three brothers and two sisters, it was usually a little too loud.

Looking back at those days, I felt sorry for my father and mother. Dealing with a carload of kids who would get cranky must not have always been fun. I suppose my dad could have used those TVs in the back. But you don’t miss what you don’t have. For the most part we had fun. The landscape offered more than gas stations. We would see horses at stables and cows on farms. Those were sights we did not see in our Chicago neighborhood back at home.

My dad had a radio in the car. It was nothing special and this was in the days when it was strictly AM. Sometimes he might be listening to a talk show or a ballgame. Often he had the volume down low and tried to conduct a conversation with my mother.

That’s another reason we were loud in the car. We had to talk louder because the windows were mostly likely open. Air-conditioning was not featured in most cars in the mid-1960s. Depending on how far we were traveling, my dad would be listening to a ballgame that would begin to fade out, or blend in with another local station.

We could hardly wait to drive up to our vacation spot. We would swim, fish and play board games. These places usually did not have TVs. We would keep each other company. I guess that is one advantage of having a big family.

Rather than having TVs or Wi-Fi when we got to those vacation homes in our old Rambler., we had Clue, Life, Monopoly, the beach and each other.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reach at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Academy Awards welcomes controversy, ratings

  • Written by Joe Boyle

The Academy Awards is this Sunday night. We will hear about the fact that the 20 people nominated for major awards are all white. This is just the latest controversy in the years the Academy Awards have been in existence.

I guess I’m not all wrapped up in this debate. I know Jada Pinkett Smith, the wife of actor Will Smith, is going to boycott the Academy Awards. She is appalled that no African-American is up for an award. She does not mention her husband, who was passed up for his role in “Concussion.” Smith plays the doctor who discovers a link to lifelong brain damage of former NFL football players who have suffered repeated concussions.

“Concussion” is supposed to a good film. I know some people who have seen it when it was released near Christmas. The fact of the matter is I have not seen it. That symbolizes some of the problems of the Academy Award voting process. Other members of the voting academy have not seen it either.

I recall hearing about this years ago. You would think that would be a requirement but it isn’t. The academy provides an honor to many of these voters that they can take part in the process for life. The only problem with that is how engaged are some of these voters as they age? Many of them vote on previous formulas that they believe makes a good film.

The Academy Awards, despite the controversy and hoopla surrounding this event, will still draw huge ratings on Sunday. Black comedian and actor Chris Rock serves as host this year. No doubt he will take aim at the “so-white” Academy Awards with a series of jokes. Even when the academy is criticized, it draws more attention. Maybe more people will be watching this year.

That’s the amazing thing about the Academy Awards. The motion picture industry puts on an awards show every year for the world to see and then they proceed to congratulate themselves on being so significant and relevant. And then there are speeches by some of the winners who take themselves much too seriously. This year, nominees will provide to the academy a series of names of people they would like to thank. The names will scroll past our TV sets. That’s good news. Many of these winners in the past insist of thanking everyone from stagehands to first-grade teachers as they ramble on past their designated 45 seconds.

That’s why we often tune out the Academy Awards as it drags past three hours. A little brevity along with humility can go a long way.

In regards to a lack of minorities being nominated, the Academy is sensitive to being criticized for being, well insensitive An effort is being made to have a larger minority presence among the academy voters. Critics would also like to see more women in roles as directors and studio executives, along with more representation of Asians and Hispanics.

It may take a few years before these changes have any real impact. A lot of those old white guys will still be around for a few more years. They will be replaced in part by more white men who will become old white guys.

But the Academy Awards, even with it faults, is still interesting when they pick up the pace. I can recall when the independent film “Crash” won Best Picture for 2005 over some heavy contenders like “Good Night. Good Luck” and “Brokeback Mountain.” Maybe “Crash” was not really the best film but had people talking about it.

Those are the things that make a movie memorable. I mean was “Titanic” really the greatest film of 1997? That can be debated. The special effects were great but the story line was like a predictable Lifetime movie. But it moved people and got them talking about the Titanic again.

And was “Ordinary People” the best movie of 1980? I thought it was a solid movie with Mary Tyler Moore playing a cold and distant mother, a surprising twist. But was this better than Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull?” I’ve seen both movies and Robert De Niro’s portrayal of self-destructive boxer Jake La Motta was magnificent.

Regardless of the ethnicity and race of the nominees, the Academy Awards are consistent. They love lavish productions and often vote for actors who portray someone with a disability. Musicals are also hailed by academy members. The Academy likes to be important, but not to controversial.

So, enjoy the Academy Awards on Sunday. If the show tends to drag, you can always turn the channel to let’s say, HBO’s “Vinyl.” I will be watching because I actually saw two movies that are up for Best Picture – “The Big Short” and “Spotlight.”

And the winner is…

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

When we are confronted unjustly, don’t back down

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

Claudia-NEW

How often do you “exercise” the right to stand up for yourself?

   I recently found myself in a “What Would You Do?” situation. You know the Primetime television show with John Quinones, right? I seriously didn’t know “what I would do” if what I observed was happening to me.

I was smack-dab in the middle of a fight at the gym.

Most gym members know there’s a lay of the land. You wipe your machine down before and after use. Be mindful of your time spent on popular equipment and if you see personal belongings on a vacant machine, it usually means that machine is taken. Which leads me right into the aforementioned confrontation.

Gym-girl A was on the rolling staircase to my left when Gym-girl B approached from the locker-room. I was feeling rather sluggish that Saturday morning because I couldn’t use my iPod. I’d forgotten my earbuds and found myself singing inaudibly to the video playing on the flat screen overhead until I heard, Gym-girl A and Gym-girl B… going at it!

“That’s MY machine. I just cleaned it. You need to move,” demanded Gym-girl B.

“You don’t own it. You weren’t here. I’ve already started my workout -- use that one,” directed Gym-girl A. She was on the machine to my left. I was climbing away on the middle machine. The machine to my right was unoccupied and that’s exactly where Gym-girl A felt Gym-girl B needed to go. She stretched her hands, extending to Gym-girl B the belongings that had once occupied the machine; a towel, water bottle, iPod and earbuds.

Gym-girl B appeared completely incensed by the audacity of Gym-girl A and snatched the items saying, “I cleaned this machine and left to use the bathroom. I was gone all of two seconds and you’re going to take it? Really? OK! Well guess what? You’re going to clean it now!” The next thing I saw was Gym-girl B glazing Gym-girl A with her water like a Thanksgiving turkey.

I have to admit, I could appreciate Gym-girl B’s position at first. I too have placed my belongings on a machine and walked away for a brief period but she lost my support completely with the water assault. “Did she really just take it there?” I thought. I looked around and caught eye contact with one of the personal trainers from clear across the gym floor. I mouthed, “Get over here quick!” Then I did a wide-eyed, clenched teeth facial expression. I was thinking, “If a riot breaks out, where’s the nearest exit?”

By this point Gym-girl A had informed a few of her friends from nearby machines. They threw out a few verbal assaults but Gym-girl B wasn’t intimidated and didn’t back down from her fighting stance. Luckily, my panic appeal to the personal trainer caused cooler heads to prevail. I don’t think these women wanted to cross her, she’s built like mixed martial artist Rhonda Rousey. This trainer was professional but pretty much told them to knock-it-off. Tempers were still flaring so the duo involved a mediator, the gym’s general manager.

Both women made passionate appeals for their position. Their arguments were so equally persuasive the GM didn’t know who to believe. Of course, neither party was being totally honest. Gym-girl A said the machine had been unattended for over 10 minutes and she assumed the belongings had been forgotten. Gym-girl B vehemently denied pouring water on Gym-girl A citing, “The water spilled when she was handing it to me.”

I continued to climb away, not saying a word. As far as I was concerned it was none of my business. I wasn’t investing anymore of my work-out on the shenanigans. But the one thing I could appreciate about both women was they stood up for themselves.    

I once lacked a sense of self-worth to the point where I allowed myself to be mistreated. We don’t have time to get into that now, I literally wrote a book, “Becoming a Mother While Losing My Own,” that gives a detailed account of my journey. But not everyone has time to read a memoir.

So I’ll leave you with this: we can’t allow anyone to undermine who we are. If you find yourself being treated unfairly, disrespected, violated or abused, it’s NOT OK. I don’t recommend being belligerent or getting physical with anyone, that wouldn’t be appropriate. However, as long as you have a voice, it’s OK for you to exercise your right to stand up for yourself. If you don’t, who else will? Recognize your worth. You have value and you matter!

Claudia Parker is an Evergreen Park mother, author and runner whose columns appear in The Reporter the second and fourth Thursdays of each month.