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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chemicals and Babies - Or Lack There Of...

As many of you know, Mike and I have tried to get preggers for years with no luck and no real reason for it not happening...and I know lots of couples that have gone thru the same thing. I personally think its enviromental...so I am always reading articles like this and I find it very interesting!

Common Chemicals May Delay Pregnancy

HealthDay Reporter by Steven Reinberg
healthday Reporter – 1 hr 20 mins agoTHURSDAY, Jan. 29 (HealthDay News) --

Chemicals known as perfluorinated chemicals, which are pervasive in food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, carpets and personal care products, may delay pregnancy, a new study suggests.

These chemicals are being phased out in the United States because of their toxic effects, and are expected to be completely gone by 2010. However, they remain in the environment and in the body for decades, and have been linked to developmental problems.

"These widespread chemicals apparently lower the fertility in couples trying to get pregnant," said lead researcher Dr. Jorn Olsen, chairman of the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA's School of Public Health.

Danish women in the study who had with high levels of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) took longer to get pregnant, Olsen said.

"If this finding can be replicated, one would have to look for other chemicals to replace these," he said.

The report is published in the Jan. 29 online edition of Human Reproduction. And it follows on the heels of a report linking another common plastic chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), to developmental problems in fetuses and infants.

For the study, Olsen's team collected data on 1,240 women who participated in the Danish National Birth Cohort. The researchers took blood samples from the women and interviewed them on how long it took them to become pregnant.

The researchers found that blood levels of PFOS ranged from 6.4 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) to 106.7 ng/ml. For PFOA, levels ranged from 1 ng/ml to 41.5 ng/ml.

Olsen's group then divided the women into four groups, depending on how much of the chemicals was in their blood.

Women in the three groups with the highest levels of PFOS took from 70 percent to 134 percent longer to get pregnant than women with the lowest PFOS levels, the team report. It took women with the highest PFOA levels 60 percent to 154 percent longer to get pregnant compared with women with the lowest levels of this chemical.

Why these chemicals would delay pregnancy isn't known, Olsen said, but they may affect hormones involved in reproduction.

Recent animal studies have found these chemicals may have a variety of toxic effects on the liver, immune system and developmental and reproductive organs, he noted.

In addition, previous studies by the same researchers found that PFOA may affect the growth of fetuses. In addition, two other studies linked PFOA and PFOS to impaired fetal growth, Olsen said.

However, Dr. Jamie Grifo, director of reproductive endocrinology at New York University Medical Center in New York City, believes the study is missing a cause-and-effect relationship.

"There are probably things in the environment that are affecting us in ways we don't know about, but you have to get to the basic biology of what's the mechanism of action -- that's the missing link," Grifo said. "The problem with the study is, it creates more anxiety and fear, but it doesn't answer the question."

Any danger with these chemicals may soon become moot, since in 2006 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had commitments from eight manufacturers of PFOA to voluntarily reduce emissions and product content of PFOA and related chemicals in the United States and overseas by 95 percent by 2010, and to work toward eliminating emissions and product content of these chemicals by 2015. This action was brought on because the chemical was associated with "systemic and developmental toxicity."

In addition, 3M, the only manufacturer of PFOS in the United States, had agreed to phase out its production and use of the chemical nine years ago, according to the EPA's Web site.

Vibes for Hailey

Poor thing. She is so sick all the time. I know a lot of people are sick right now with the flu, strep, and any host of sinus issues...and since Hailey's immune system is shot, she gets it all. Plus the fact that she has no strength and she is trying her best to work & keep her job...just makes her more tired and worn out. She is emotionally drained and physically exhausted. So if you have any vibes and prayers to spare...send them her way!

Thanks guys!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Heather's new adventure, I need your help!

Dear Friends,

I am writing you this with a happy heart and a hopeful future. As many of you know I have been studying yoga as a personal practice for many years. Last summer I decided to take a leap of faith and study yoga in order to become a professional yoga instructor. I am beyond excited to announce that my first class will be in a few weeks at New Community Church in Hoschton! I hope to enrich the community and provide a restful repose in this turbulent world we live in today by teaching yoga to a growing community. In Jackson County there are no yoga studios or teachers, so I am filling a need that has been very well received! I think I will be very successful; however, I need your help in order to make this a success. I am asking for you to partner with Soul Shine Yoga and New Community Church with a donation in order to purchase mats, blocks, straps and other supplies I need to get this movement started. Mats are approximately $12 each, blocks are anywhere between $5 and $25 depending on the quality and other yoga supplies range from $5 to $30 for straps, balls, eye pillows etc…

I plan on making Soul Shine Yoga a non-profit organization (God willing) in the future, but it is a huge task to file for 501c3 status and it can take years for approval. I do not want to wait that long to get this going, that is why I need your help! As a non profit I hope to be able to provide free or donation based classes to cancer patients and caregivers as a non-profit here in Jackson County as well as lower priced classes for everyone in need of mind, body and spiritual healing. However, in the meantime, since this program will benefit the community and because we are partners in this initiative, New Community Church will provide a receipt for your donation.

I know times are tough right now, but any small amount will be appreciated. I don’t care if you can only donate $1! That is something and it will go toward a nice yoga mat that somebody will be nourishing their mind, body and spirit on in the very near future. To make a donation please send a check to:
New Community Church
3955 Highway 53
Hoschton, GA 30548

*** Please make sure you put Soul Shine Yoga in the Memo or they wont know its for the yoga classes!***

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read this. I hope it finds you well and if you want to come to class please do! I would love to see you there. All the information is on my website http://www.soul-shine.org/.

Also, if you want to see what Hailey and I have been up to lately – check out my blog at http://www.haileyandheather.blogspot.com/.

Love and Light,

Heather Swint
Soul Shine Yoga & Wellness

Funny Friday in Effect Suckas!

Here you go!

Are they towing our cars?

Hairless Prophet of Doom!

Hook me up with one of those shipping containers!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More pictures!

Merry Christmas!!! Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells...
Oh, wait...its the middle of January...oh well! Here are Christmas pics, finally.

Here is C-mac digging into the goodies Santa left for her on Christmas morning. No, not the golf bag, that is for Big Daddy.

Mickey Mike and Blue Girl on Christmas morn at our casa. Puppy sugars for b-fast! yum!

Hails on our traditional Christmas Eve gathering. I found this ornament in Athens, too perfect!

This is what James gave my dad. No, that is not a photograph...that is a DRAWING he did. He is an amazing artist. Still waiting on that web site James! (tapping fingers)

Me and sis on Christmas eve...I poked her boob - its still funny in your 30s.

So funny that Hailey cant open her eyes she is laughing so hard...

OH! the best part about this is that we did not plan on wearing the same shirts, we did not even know that we had the same shirts! And we both wore it with jeans and a white t-shirt...the connection between sisters is amazing and weird.

The happy fam again

Even Coco got into the festivities by making a bed out of tissue paper. Ha. Sweet old girl...

Merry mid January everybody!
Love & Light

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Multi-Tasking and Distractions

This is a very interesting article my yoga teacher sent me. She is using this theme as her focus for one of her classes. This class she teaches sets goals and finds a yogic way of reaching them - very cool concept.

Anyway - the Cliff Notes version of this article: multi-tasking and all of the distractions in the workplace such as your phone, email and IM - are making us get LESS accomplished in a day. Funny how companies are setting aside rooms and entire days to actually THINK. The solution? Find quiet time, MEDITATE and turn off the computer and blackberry when you are at home, or else your significant other may think that "you are not worth my time"

Here is the article:

June 22, 2008
Shifting Careers
Fighting a War Against Distraction

The subject of focus comes up a lot in my discussions with people about work. We talk about the constant interruptions of working in the digital age, of the mistakes we make while multitasking and the efforts to find quiet places to think.
Maggie Jackson has been paying attention to these questions for quite some time, and the result is a thoughtful new book, “Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age” (Prometheus).
The book promises to help us understand how we all became so distracted and how we can arrive at what she calls a “renaissance of attention.” I asked Ms. Jackson to write about this important issue for my blog. Following is what she said. MARCI ALBOHER

DISTRACTED? And how. Beeped and pinged, interrupted and inundated, overloaded and hurried — that’s how we live today. We prize knowledge work — work that relies on our intellectual abilities — and yet increasingly feel that we have no time to think. For all our connectivity, we often catch little more than snippets and glimpses of one another.
The greatest casualty of our mobile, high-tech age is attention. By fragmenting and diffusing our powers of attention, we are undermining our capacity to thrive in a complex, ever-shifting world. Consider the mounting costs of this widespread distraction:

The average knowledge worker switches tasks every three minutes, and, once distracted, a worker takes nearly a half-hour to resume the original task, according to Gloria Mark, a leader in the new field of “interruption science.”

Interruptions and the requisite recovery time now consume 28 percent of a worker’s day, the business research firm Basex estimates. The risks are clear. As one top executive told me, “Knowledge work can’t be done in sound bites.”

Employees who are routinely interrupted and lack time to focus are more apt to feel frustrated, pressured and stressed, according to separate studies by Ms. Mark and the Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit group.

Under deadline pressure, workers produce creative work on days when they are focused, not when they are scattered and interrupted, a study published in the Harvard Business Review found.

In meetings where everyone is checking e-mail, opportunities for collective creative energy and critical thinking are lost, argues Nathan Zeldes, a senior engineer at Intel and a leader of the nonprofit Information Overload Research Group. At home as well, split-focus gives a clear message: “You aren’t worth my time.”
Should we blame the BlackBerry and other devices? No. The P.D.A., the cellphone and the computer did not usher in our hypermobile, split-focus, cybercentric culture. Instead, the first high-tech revolutions more than a century ago created new experiences of time and space that have intensified. Inventions like the telegraph, cinema, railroad and airplane shattered distance and upended ancient temporal rhythms. Our age of speed and overload has been building for generations.
But just as we are working toward a green earth, so we can find ways to create what I like to call “planet focus.” What’s needed is a renaissance of attention — a revaluing and cultivating of the art of attention, to help us achieve depth of thought and relations in this complex, high-tech time.
The first step is to learn to speak a language of attention. The exciting news is that the enigma of attention has just begun to be mapped, tracked and decoded by neuroscientists who now consider attention to be a trio of skills: focus, awareness and so-called executive attention. Think of it this way: You can be “aware” that you’re in a beautiful garden and then you can “focus” on an individual flower. The last piece, “executive attention,” is the ability to plan and make decisions.
Learning about the nature and mechanisms of attention has been life-changing for me. Sometimes I hopscotch distractedly through the Net. It’s fun. But now, if I’m wrestling with a problem or really want to connect with someone, I turn off the ringers, collect my racing mind and find the time and space to focus.
We are born interruption-driven — that’s how humans stay tuned to their environment. But if we jump on every e-mail message or ping, we’ll have trouble pursuing our long-term goals. To make inroads on the deep, messy work of life, we need to stay focused, bringing the spotlight of our attention back again and again to the work at hand.
Practice may help. Scientists are discovering that attention can be bolstered through training, including meditation. One study, for instance, showed that eight weeks of meditation significantly boosted focus in a group of 17 novices. Six-year-olds given computer-based attention training by the scientist Michael Posner showed a marked gain in executive attention.
TO combat overload, we also need to look to our environments. That’s why a few pioneering companies are creating places or times for uninterrupted, focused creative thought. I.B.M. employees practice “Think Fridays” worldwide, avoiding or cutting back on e-mail, meetings and interruptions. Other firms are setting aside unwired, quiet rooms.
“Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook,” wrote William James, the father of American psychology research. Long ago, he identified the foremost challenge of our time: how to allocate our attention. And now, we’re beginning to discover what he foretold: that living distracted just isn’t smart.
Shifting Careers, a blog by Marci Alboher, is at nytimes.com/shiftingcareers.

Whooo Hoooo! Picture Time!

Hailey's "real" 30th b-day. We celebrated with a pumpkin pie and lots of cool whip. Her b-day was of course a big deal considering that she made it to the 30 year old mark and there is no more cancer in her body right now. :)

Dig in kids!

Eatin pie straight out of the tin...greatness!

Hailey's big "Wig Out" 30th b-day party at casa de Gill
Featured in this pic are Brittany Spears, Sexual Chocolate from "Coming to America" and Richard Pryor circa 1975.

Hails and Mr. Bob Peek - the one and only.

THIS is my dear ol' dad

Hailey's cake made by my friend & neighbor Wendy - she is awesome! How cute is this cake?

Hey, who are you???

All of my moms - Mama Junie, Mama Bear Swint, and my Mommie
(yes, I still call her mommie sometimes!)

3 Hotties! Me, My sista and her BFF Jill aka Bettie Page

The happy family - James, Colleen and Hails
James looked like one of the Nelson brothers - quick, name that tune!

After this shot, I really wished I lived back in the late 60's early 70's so I could be a goddess with a big fro. I swear, if I were a black girl, I would have the biggest fro and it would be great.

Even Bell got into the act of dressing up as "Gangsta Bell"

More pictures will come throughout the week. I could post them all now, but what fun would that be???

Love & Light

Watch THIS now for the answer of "name that tune"

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Gag, nasty, ick, this makes me nauseous! I mean really! I understand indulging in a cheeseburger with fries - even though I don't eat red meat, believe me, I understand and a big juicy burger is the one thing I miss - but this is nasty. I do love the fact that the person that finishes the Quad is a skinny Asian dude...ha! Irony!

Watch CBS Videos Online

Friday, January 9, 2009

Evil forces

I swear, some outside evil force is keeping me from posting new pics on here!!! I am going to do my best to finally have them up this weekend.

Hailey, Mom and I may be attending a cooking workshop with a vegan, vegiatrian, macorbiotic chef in Jefferson to learn how to best cook for Hailey and maybe learn some tasty, healthy dinners for ourselves as well.
The chef's website is http://largelifefoods.com/

I can not wait for this!!!! If yall think I am freak about what I eat now, then watch out! Soon I will be eating only nuts, brown rice and bringing my own homemade veggie chips to pot lucks. I already blessed the Borah's and company on NYE with homemade veggie burger sliders. They were good and people gobbled them up! Plus the recipe made so much that Mike and I ate them for a week afterwords and never got tired of them. I will post the recipe so you guys can try it out.

Speaking of food...do you guys make New Years resolutions? I used to, but now I dont. I am planning on losing the last stupid 15 lbs that I need to shed - and I am thinking about signing up with weight watchers on line to get me started - but this is not a New Years resolution per se. Its just a good time for me to get in better shape & improve my overall health.

On another note - I have scheduled my first yoga classes!!!! I am BEYOND excited to start this! My first yoga class will be on Tuesday, February 3rd, 6:00 PM at New Community Church in Hoshcton.

Check out my website!
My buddy and I are still working on it, so it will be "tweaked" a bit here and there - but let me know what you think!

Love & Light & Promises of pictures real soon,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Laugh: Its Good For You

Here is a funny video to kick us off in the new year. I know I owe you guys LOTS of pictures and I promise they will be up this weekend.

In the meantime - here is a funny video a friend sent me today