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Art Therapy Washes the Blues Away

I have a sad story to share today not related to Gettysburg, but very close to the heart:

The sudden news about my Nana’s brain tumor came like a shocking surprise for my whole family. Ever since then, Nana had been suffering from a terrible depression when the doctor confirmed that her tumor cells are growing rapidly. Her sadness only grew worse after she was told that, she only has a couple of months to live. I can’t help but feel sorry whenever I see her but I also try my best to hide my sadness. Deep down I know that I can’t afford to show any signs of weakness, because she is counting on me as her solid support system.

Coping with her illness is the worst and the most challenging part for the rest of our family especially when you see her suffering from the agonizing pain. Thankfully, the amazing caregiver that we hired from Spokane was very helpful, and understanding.

I can’t stand to see her in pain so I had to think of some ways to make her feel better by some creative distractions. Some of my friends recommended to try drawing and painting because, it has been proven to help persons with critical illnesses. I was skeptical at first until I came across a couple of scientific studies to supports the claims of art as one of the most incredible ways of managing any kinds of illnesses.

So how does art really help in healing a sick person?
According to some researchers at Berkeley University in California, art helps in boosting the immune system of sick persons. Furthermore, there’s another scientific research that shows how art heals by altering a person’s physiology, moods and attitude. The more a person engages in art, the more his body’s physiology can change from a stressful one to a deeply relaxed state of emotion. Art changes a person’s brain wave pattern, and in turn, affects his autonomic nervous system, as well as the hormones and the brain’s neurotransmitters. It’s like a domino effect because after your brain gets stimulated, every cell and part of your body responds by changing the immune system and blood flow to your organs.

This is a great discovery and just perfect for Nana, who has has always been fond of painting using water colors back when she was still in a good shape. So the next day, I bought her a big canvass, and a complete set of drawing materials, paints and brushes to keep her busy. She wasn’t in a good mood at first because of the pain again. But the moment she started taking a few strokes on her canvass, her enthusiasm sets in. As days go by, she became mostly preoccupied with her paintings. Somehow, I saw her outlook and disposition changed especially when she feels proud and accomplished in showing us her masterpieces.

I can’t say for now that art had cured my Nana’s brain tumor, but I can attest to the fact that it has been a great help in easing the pain whenever the pain killers wear off. Now I had art and the best Spokane Caregiver to thank, especially during the hardest times in my Nana’s battle.

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War Stories

Being a history teacher in an elementary school, I found out what most students really hate about in history class discussions. Yes, we’re talking about the Civil War. Whenever I bring up the topic, some of my students would always feel sleepy, while others would feel drained. They would always cheer in unison every time they hear the bell ring because they can’t stand another minute listening to another Civil War figures, the most significant dates and all the other events that took place during that battle. So as much as possible, I try my best to make the boring class discussion livelier but I still have a lot to learn. That is why, in this blog section, I will also my best to make my blog readers feel interested first with some fun facts about the Civil War instead of having to delve deeper about all the gruesome details that happened in the bloodiest war in the history of America. Hopefully, this short trivia this will work out well.
How did it start? The Civil war started because of clashing beliefs between the free and slave states to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. The bloody four year war commenced and got triggered when the Confederate army open fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston bay and forced them to lower the American Flag.

Angel’s Glow: At sundown after the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, wounded soldiers noticed a faint blue light in their wounds as they waited on the muddy battlefield for two days until they were given medical attention. This bacterium which was discovered by teenage boys was known as the P. Luminescens which live inside tiny parasite worms that burrow into insect larvae in the soil or plants. These “good bacteria” thrived on the wounded soldier’s wounds during that cold rainy night and saved the men’s lives by killing the other dangerous germs that entered through their wounds.

The Multicultural Union Army. One out of every 10 soldiers who fought for the Union Army were immigrants, mostly African Americans. One third of their soldiers were either, Polish, French, Italians, Germans, and Scottish. This multinational collaboration turned the tide and led them victorious over the confederate armies.
Robert E. Lee was bloodier compared to General Ulysses S. Grant.

General Grant’s horrific losses during the Overland Campaign in 1864, cost him the title, “Butcher”. It was actually Gen. Lee’s army who suffered more casualties throughout the war that he relished. Although they won the key battles, these actually cost his army heavier casualties. His army at Northern Virginia was eventually dissolved during the Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg.

Fierce women in Hoop Skirts.
During the Civil war, many women became cool spies and relayed confidential information and secrets on either the Union or Confederate Armies. One of the great spies that emerged is a courageous woman named Harriet Tubman who successfully freed the slaves during the Civil War after starting a raid to support the cause of the union. Tubman was the only woman who freed 720 slaves in one single mission. She began teaching slave women livelihood skills that could earn them money. Hat’s off to this bold woman.

Article Submitted by Jodi with Auto Body Spokane 

Bloody History

History and wars!

There’s nothing like a good piece of history. Most kids hated history at school… but I loved it! As Forrest Gump once said ‘life is like a box of chocolates’. The same can be said about history. It’s so colorful, all you need to do is look. Admittedly, our history hasn’t always been something to be proud of… but our lives are built on the trials and tribulations of past events… we owe our very existence and way of life to our history — for better or worse.

As with any good historian, I enjoy historical conflict. For all the bad that is involved, humanity almost always achieves greatness in the wake. If you look back through time, man’s greatest achievements are as a direct result of conflict and the necessity to survive. Take one of the more recent pseudo conflicts — the cold war. The nuclear technology that spawned the birth of the world’s first atomic bomb resulted in an explosion (excuse the pun) in energy creation. Nuclear fission reactors were perfected in the years following the Second World War, spawning everything from nuclear submarines to nuclear power stations.

I will be the first to admit that nuclear energy doesn’t have the best track record… but you can’t deny that I provided the world with a glimpse of clean energy that could be scaled. The problem we have now is mostly political and economic. The world’s nuclear are aged and we’re at a cross roads. Do we invest billions in repairing old technology? Do we invest more in building new nuclear power plants? Or do we go back to fossil fuels? What a dilemma.

I’m getting a little off topic now… but you can see that without the Second World War… how long would it have taken scientists to envisage, yet develop and implement nuclear power for the masses? There’s not a doubt in my mind that politicians would have stifled development for many decades.

What about the space race? Now, make no mistake, the space race was politically fueled as a way of gaining military advantage over the Soviet Union. Yeah, so we went to space and we pt a man on the moon a few times… so what? You need to read between the lines and trust me on this one. Intercontinental missile technology for both the US and Russia improved by orders of magnitude in less than a decade. What’s particularly interesting is that this was all done under the guise of space exploration. However… if you happen to need to put a nuclear warhead on said exploratory rocket when the need arises then… why the heck not? Very sneaky… very sneaky indeed. It wasn’t all bad, as these space exploits have fueled many technologies that are used to this day — the microwave oven for example. Also… space programs that are run today, wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the US/Russia conflict back in the mid-1900s. History — it’s great isn’t it? Stay tuned for more history insights.