Thinking Out Loud

April 6, 2019

Press ‘D’ for Depression

Filed under: blogging, Christianity, health, personal, weather, writing — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:00 am

The result of an image search for depression: This one seemed to sum it up best.

I haven’t been writing much here these last few weeks. The ideas come — sometimes I don’t write them down — and the computer beckons, but I either don’t write, or prioritize other writing, such as our devotional blog which continues to grow.

I’ve never been diagnosed with clinical depression. I’m still fairly certain that the textbook definition, which you can read about here, is not applicable. If those symptoms do apply however, be sure to seek help.

In my life depression has always been circumstantial. Change the circumstances, I’ve told myself (and God) and my outlook on life will change along with it.

As a result, I’ve tended to be judgmental or dismissive of those whose depression, not otherwise diagnosed as genetic, or chemical, or the result of family history, seems to be circumstantial like mine.

So you can imagine my response to Seasonal Affective Disorder, the acronym for which is, quite appropriately, SAD.

‘Spring is coming,’ I will say to myself and others, ‘Just a few more weeks and we’ll be basking in sunshine.’

But then this winter never ended. Spring never seemed to arrive. We changed to Daylight Saving Time but the environment missed the memo.

As I write this, on April 6th, a warmer day is forecast for my part of Ontario, but there are still clumps of ice by my front door (which is in shade) and at the end of my driveway. I can see some neighbors houses with some packed snow (caused by snow ploughing) which hasn’t fully melted.

There was no January thaw this year.

Our week in the Caribbean was literally over far too soon.

And no matter what scientists tell you, living in Canada as we do, we are convinced that 0°C is definitely much colder than 32°F.

Furthermore, we’re not compelled by family traditions or a hyper business-driven economy to be on the road when common sense dictates otherwise. Americans simply risk limb and life to get the family — or the packages — where they need to be. Canadians stay home where it’s safe and pour another bowl of chicken soup.

No wonder I feel sad. Correction: No wonder I feel SAD.

Then last week I got sick. Like many of our friends, we held our heads high saying, “I haven’t been sick all winter.” But then, as March was giving way to April, our bodies simply ran out of immunity before the weather ran out of cruelty. (“Forget this” was my immune system’s exact words.) After directing my physician yesterday to issue a more powerful degree of opioids [Note: This could foreshadow another column in about three months*] I finally got a few good hours of sleep last night.

Sleep is good. Sleep is needful. Sleep also wards of depression.

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

So yes, like the guy in the John 5 story, I wish to get well. I want a sunny day, chasing the clouds away. I want to be walking on sunshine. I want joy, I want fun, I want seasons in the sun. (See, the codeine isn’t affecting me at all.)

I want a week of this (about 93°F for you non-metric laggards; 0 mm of rainfall is very approximately 0 inches of rainfall):

If the drugs don’t work, I may be forced to try chocolate.


*The opioid crisis is real. So why doesn’t my computer’s spell-check know the word? How can so many systems in my computer be updating so often, but the machine’s basic dictionary not know a word defining an urgent medical crisis in the First World? Anyway, I didn’t want anyone to think I was treating this lightly. If you know someone still taking the pills, or cough syrup, or whatever; long after the illness has left, they have a problem and need to seek help.

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April 20, 2018

The Year Summer Never Came

I’ve run this picture 3 times now. On New Year’s Day 2009, Ippswich in Australia was expecting a high of +38C, which is about 100F. Meanwhile, back at home, my Weather Network indicator on my computer is showing that we’re heading to a low of -18C, which is about -1F. Their high temperature on a summer mid-afternoon Thursday would be occurring at the same time as my Wednesday mid-winter night. That’s 101 degrees F difference. That day I was asking, “Are we even on the same planet?”

As I’m writing this, it looks like temperatures are going to break out of the single digits (°C) here this weekend, though nothing spectacular is promised. The sun is shining for the first morning in six, so there’s reason to hope.

But what if never summer never came? What if you didn’t know why? In 1816 there wasn’t the communications we have today and certainly not weather forecasting. The first video below is short, to whet your appetite for this story. The second one is 16 minutes, talks about the role of the church in the face of meteorological disaster, and even notes a small connection between the winter of 1816 and the birth of Mormonism.

I’m sure the people of that day felt they were witnessing the end times. Later, they would learn the scientific reason that winter truly never came that year.

 

September 7, 2017

Special Report: Barbuda

 

Map makers, amateur and professional alike, disagree as to what is included as part of the Leeward Islands. This map traces back to Pinterest, but wasn’t properly sourced.

As we prepare this, images are just starting to come from Barbuda which are similar to this CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) image of Sint Maarten (the name of the country on the island of Saint Martin) showing damage there. (Click to link.)

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, we’ve learned that up to 95% of the structures on the island of Barbuda have been damaged; but many of us weren’t aware of this island at all until these reports surfaced.

We checked Wikipedia*:

Barbuda (/bɑːrˈbjuːdə/) is an island in the Eastern Caribbean, and forms part of the state of Antigua and Barbuda, which in turn consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands — we counted 46 in the list — including Great Bird, Green, Guiana, Long, Maiden and York Islands and further south, the island of Redonda. The larger state has a population of 81,800, out of which Barbuda has a population of about 1,638 (at the 2011 Census), most of whom live in the town of Codrington, which is the 10th largest town overall.

You’ve also heard references to The Leeward Islands, which describes the whole region. In English, the term refers to the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles chain. As a group they start east of Puerto Rico and reach southward to Dominica. They are situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean. The more southerly part of the Lesser Antilles chain is called the Windward Islands.

Barbuda alone consists of four (or five) islands and in more normal years, generally experience low humidity and recurrent droughts. The country is a unitary, parliamentary, representative democratic monarchy, in which the Head of State is the Monarch who appoints the Governor General as vice-regal representative. Elizabeth II is the present Queen of Antigua and Barbuda, having served in that position since the islands’ independence from the United Kingdom in 1981. The Queen is represented by a Governor General.

The populace consists of people of West African, British, and Madeiran descent. The ethnic distribution consists of 91% Black & Mulatto, 4.4% mixed race, 1.7% White, and 2.9% other (primarily East Indian and Asian). Most Whites are of Irish or British descent. Christian Levantine Arabs, and a small number of Asians and Sephardic Jews make up the remainder of the population.

Islands of Barbuda (WorldAtlas.com; click to link)

An increasingly large percentage of the population lives abroad, most notably in the United Kingdom (Antiguan Britons), United States and Canada. A minority of Antiguan residents are immigrants from other countries, particularly from Dominica, Guyana and Jamaica, and, increasing, from the Dominican Republic, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Nigeria. English is the official language. The Barbudan accent is slightly different from the Antiguan. About 10,000 people speak Spanish. There is a greater than 90% literacy rate. In 1998, Antigua and Barbuda adopted a national mandate to become the pre-eminent provider of medical services in the Caribbean.

Of special interest to readers here is religion, with a majority of 77% of Antiguans being Christians; Anglicans (17,6%) being the largest single denomination. Other Christian denominations present are Seventh-day Adventist Church (12,4%), Pentecostalism (12,2%), Moravian Church (8,3%), Roman Catholics (8,2%), Methodist Church (5,6%), Wesleyan Holiness Church (4,5%), Church of God (4,1%), Baptists (3,6%) and Mormons (<1,0%). Non-Christian religions practised in the islands include the Rastafari, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Bahá’í Faith.

With the devastation witnessed after the hurricane, The Los Angeles Times headlined an article, “Once there was an island known as Barbuda. After Hurricane Irma, much of it is gone.” The Prime Minister is quoted as saying, “…on a per capita basis, the extent of the destruction on Barbuda is unprecedented.” 

There are currently three hurricanes in the region including Hurricane Katia and Hurricane Jose.


*We are grateful to Wikipedia, without which we could not bring this report to you as quickly, importing and patching together large sections from the pages linked below. Click on the following pages to learn more:

 

 

 

 

February 18, 2016

War Zone vs. Highway Carnage

Filed under: Christianity, current events, media, weather — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:59 am

Now it’s Syria. Next month, I fear to say, it may be somewhere else.

We see the video on the evening news of areas blown apart by war and it’s easy to feel grateful that we don’t live there.

free_snow_signBut I wonder what they see.

I’ve done some weather related blog posts before — everybody talks about it, right? — so I don’t want to repeat myself, but I wonder what people in the Middle East would think if they saw the highway carnage on the U.S. Interstate Highway System that also plays out on those same supper hour newscasts here.

On Monday, which was the Presidents Day holiday, over 2,000 separate accidents were reported, many involving loss of life. It’s easy to sit back and armchair quarterback the whole thing; “Why didn’t they just wait and leave the next morning?”

But on that day we found ourselves having to drive in similar conditions without an option of postponing our travel. The roads were sheer ice. Averaging about 5 mph, I still managed to trigger the anti-lock braking system with just the slightest touch of the brakes. We saw the horrific after effects of cars in the ditch and facing the wrong way.

Do those scenes ever play on television there?

What if a family in the Midwest or a family on the East Coast decided they wanted to be refugees? Refugees from freezing rain. Refugees from tornadoes. Refugees from hurricanes. Refugees from mudslides. Refugees from record snowfalls.

What if a line started forming and heading toward the equator? People seeking to escape the weather with the same earnest as those fleeing war zones on the other side of the earth? Again, I ask the question, “Were people really meant to live here?”

That question always leads me to another. Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote:

To those who constantly ask, “Is America in Bible prophecy,” the answer might have more to do with the country being diminished by weather catastrophe than by some major loss of economic influence.

But take that question, “Is America in Bible Prophecy” and Google it sometime. The results can be rather disturbing. Two years ago we looked at four possible answers.

So I’m waiting to see the first American family seek refugee status somewhere else. Not because of election year politics. Not because of abortion. Not because of gun control.

But because of the weather.

And no; those shots of a truck rollover on the I-95 probably don’t play out on the evening news in Syria, because they’ve got a real war going on there. However, the pictures have some similarities, and some days, our lives are not entirely different.

January 1, 2009

100 Degree Difference in Temperature Last Night

Filed under: Christianity, weather — Tags: , , — searchlightevents @ 6:06 pm

Last night I was listening to 96Five, a Christian radio station in Brisbane, Australia that plays a mix of general market and Christian music.   Check it out here.   It was already mid-morning into the new year there, and I figured that I could beat the rush into 2009 and already have an idea what the new year looked like.

Anyway, they did a weather forecast, and it most places they were expecting a high of +34C, but in this place called Ippswich, they were expecting a high of +38C, which is about 100F.  Meanwhile, back at home, my Weather Network indicator on my computer is showing that we’re heading to a low of -18C, which is about -1F.   Their high temperature on a summer mid-afternoon Thursday would be occurring at the same time as my Wednesday mid-winter night.

101 degrees difference.   I mean, are we even on the same planet?

bondi-beach2windy-night

One picture is Canada, the other is Bondi Beach, Australia.   Can you tell which is which?    (Airline tickets for a family of four to Australia or New Zealand gladly accepted. )

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