Category Archives: Healthy Living

Pastor’s Corner: 10 Confessions of a Christian- Confession #1: I’m a Liar

By Chris Kirish

I confess… I’m a liar.

Perhaps you can relate? Someone approaches and asks me how I’m doing.

Conjuring every ounce of strength I have left I force a smile.

“I’m good! How are you?”

Why did I just lie? Is it because I think it’s what they want to hear? Is it because it’s what American culture has trained me to do? Is it because I don’t really want to think about it? Is it because I don’t even know? Is it because I don’t know them? Is it because I don’t want to go that deep right now? Or is it because hidden somewhere deep down inside of me I’m afraid they won’t care if I told them the truth, and that would be worse than if they never asked me in the first place.

Whatever reason we have let’s be honest – we all lie. We lie about how we’re doing. We lie about who we are. We put on a face. We play the part. We act it out. We behave the way we think people want us to behave. We bury the feelings.

Now we have a million reasons why  we do this. It could be our up bringing, our lack of trust, or it could simply be because John Wayne said it’s “What a man’s got to do.”

Why is John Wayne so awesome?

But whatever the case is, we continue to suppress what we’re going through and we hide our struggles and sins from others. But, that does not erase the ever nagging question in the back of our minds… is this is the way it was supposed to be? Is this how life is supposed to be? Am I hardwired in my DNA to deal with everything on my own? Is this the way God wanted it to be? Does God want me to carry this weight alone?

I mean sure, not everyone needs to know your deepest darkest secrets and not everyone needs to know you’re not having a good day. But maybe someone should know. Maybe suppressing the pain, hiding our struggles, and lying is not what God wanted for us.

I find it to be fascinating that Jesus had a tremendous amount of compassion and grace for every sinner He came into contact with and yet He was extremely hard on the people who acted like they had it all together. We don’t have to guess as to why He felt this way – Jesus made it clear for us:

Matthew 25:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombswhich look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appearto people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

I’m no theologian but it seems to me that Jesus really didn’t like it when people faked it. And although we like to picture Jesus as a blond haired hippy surfer, carrying a lamb on his shoulders, smiling all the time, and saying “God bless you” – it may not be too far of a stretch to say Jesus was pretty angry at these religious leaders and He may not have been smiling or carrying a lamb at this moment.

And if you think about it God has never liked it when we hide. In fact, this problem of hiding goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells us that when God came walking in the Garden after Adam and Eve sinned and ate from the tree God commanded them not to eat – they hid from God. This made God angry. And they weren’t the only ones. Jonah once tried hiding from God too. He got on a boat that was headed in the opposite direction from where God was calling him. Jonah though he could run and hide from God. I remember that not going very well for him.

Something about a big fish?

In the same way, many of us are still trying to hide from God today. We hide behind a smile. Behind a title. Behind a façade. A part we play for the people we think will judge us if they really knew us. Can I encourage you today? Drop the mask. You may be fooling people but you’ll never fool God. And God doesn’t want you to be perfect but he does demand that you’re honest. God can help a sinner but He can’t help someone who pretends like they’re not a sinner. God can do anything and He can save anyone but one thing God won’t do – He won’t save someone who won’t admit they need a Savior. Drop the mask. Tell God the truth and then go tell someone else the truth.

Pastor Chris Kirish is the Pastor of Ministries at VantagePoint Church. Contact at http://www.vantagepointchurch.org o: 909-465-9700 ex.711.

Autism Mom: Why the World May Be Shutting Down

By Melody Kraemer

The world is shutting down, so it may seem. Though is it? Or is the universe telling us something? We have been ‘social distancing” for years. Ever since we became the electronic world, people don’t seem to talk nor communicate.

Everywhere you look, people are on their electronic devices. Many people for a very long time have not looked up from their phones.

I have seen people in restaurants on their phones and not focusing on the person in front of them. I walk by people on the streets and they will bump into me not paying attention. Many car accidents I have read are caused by texting. So this social distancing is not new, it’s just now we can’t stand next to each other unless they are six feet away. But let’s be honest, many people never realized there was someone who was standing next to them.

Maybe now we can get a grasp on life and think about what there is out there. There is a world of beauty and people that will smile at you.

Sometimes I felt so alone in a world of people, why because some have no idea who or what is around them. Some never look up from their phones to see a smile in front of them. Or they are too busy worrying about the next selfie to post from where they are.

Now that everything has shut down and nowhere to go, maybe, just maybe, some will look up from their phones and see there’s a beautiful family in front of them and put down the electronics and get back to basics.

Enjoy the quiet moments, smile at the simple things, and have fun by talking, what a concept. Hopefully, on the other side of this crisis, life will be better, friendships and families will be stronger. Plus, the love of electronics will subside and the world will become a more delightful connected place between one another.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Pastor’s Corner: Sharing With Others

By Mark Hopper

Several years ago after my wife finished an extensive series of treatments for breast cancer, some friends invited us to use their house while they were away to give her an opportunity to rest and recover from this exhausting journey. Their home was on the water in Newport Beach, California. When we walked up to the house, we were amazed at how beautiful and peaceful it was. It was not on the beach with all the tourists and bicycles but on Newport Shores where it was quiet and restful.

She began to regain her strength as we went for short walks along the water. As the days went by, she felt more ambitious and determined to walk further. By the end of our stay she was walking all the way from the house to the pier and back. It felt like we were on an extended vacation even though we were only thirty miles from home.

On several occasions over the years other friends have shared their cabins in the mountains east of Los Angeles. My wife was a school teacher and after the end of a busy school year, we often went to the mountains to get out of the foggy June Gloom and enjoy the blue skies and warm sunshine. Our wedding anniversary was also in June so this provided a perfect setting to rest and celebrate together. When our children were younger, a friend loaned us his motorhome for our family vacation.

We are so thankful for the people who have shared so much with us. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share” (First Timothy 6:17-18).

You may not think of yourself as rich but I am confident that you do have things that you can share with others. You may have a mountain cabin, a beach house or a motorhome. You may have an extra car or some tools that you can lend. You may have experience, knowledge or skills that you can share with others. Let me encourage you to watch for an opportunity to share some things you have with neighbors, friends or people in need. You will be glad you did and they will too!

Instrumental Music Building Construction Begins at Diamond Bar High

Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor, Principal Dr. Reuben Jones, Board Members Helen Hall, Cindy Ruiz, Larry Redinger, Dr. Tony Torng, Layla Abou-Taleb, DBHS alumni Janeen Yamak, Katie Samrick, Teachers Marie Sato and Steve Acciani.

By Kelli Gile

DIAMOND BAR, CA—Walnut Valley USD marked the groundbreaking of a three-story Instrumental Music Building at Diamond Bar High School on February 19.

Over 150 residents, parents, students, staff, and community leaders attended the celebration for the state-of-the-art addition to the premier music program.

“It’s truly going to be amazing!” exclaimed Principal Dr. Reuben Jones at the site of the building located on the northwest end of the campus at Brea Canyon Road.

“I am so excited to say that we’re going to have the best instrumental music building in the country!”

The nearly $9.8 million project was made possible by voter approval of Bond Measure WV passed in November 2016.

Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor celebrates groundbreaking of new instrumental music building at Diamond Bar High School on Feb. 19.

“We are tremendously grateful for the support of our community,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

The new 15,700 square-foot “Music Box” will feature three strategically designed levels with a 4,320 square-foot band room at the ground level, mid-level floor ensemble rooms, recording studio, library, and office space, and upper level 3,631 square-foot orchestra classroom with adjacent rehearsal spaces for piano, harp, percussion, and individual practice.

The 465-day construction project is slated for completion in Summer 2021.

“I am truly moved to think about how many thousands of students will pass through this building in the next 10 or 25 or 50 years and the impact it will have on the lives of so many young musicians,” Taylor commented.

DBHS Principal Dr. Reuben Jones, Alumni Janeen Yamak, Katie Samrick, Teachers Marie Sato, Steve Acciani, and Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

The District chief also praised music teachers Steve Acciani and Marie Sato for their “relentless commitment and dedication to the program” and for engraining a love and appreciation of the arts into the school community.


“It is truly a part of the culture here and we’re thankful for that,” he said.

“I’d to thank our spectacular Diamond Bar High students and staff who gave up their time to help the Measure WV campaign and our amazing community for responding to their efforts,” said Board President Larry Redinger.

Diamond Bar High’s comprehensive, 700-student, instrumental music program comprises nearly one-third of the school’s population.

The program has earned the prestigious Grammy Signature Award as the top school in the nation.

For the past nine years, Diamond Bar High has broken records with the number of high school students selected for the SoCal and All-State Bands and Orchestras.

“The best thing about the new building is that it is designed around the specific needs of the uniqueness of our program at Diamond Bar High,” Acciani explained.

“Even though we have tremendously successful large groups, the program is structured around the maximizing potential of individuals.”

Two teen leaders spoke of their passion that generated impressive student involvement during the campaign.

“Measure WV gave us the opportunity to give back to our school and leave a legacy behind,” said 2017 graduate Janine Yamak.

“I remember spending every weekend knocking on people’s doors and calling people,” Yamak said.


“We did it for a purpose because we knew that all our hard work would pay off with a new three-story band building. I’m very excited to see the end result!”

Diamond Bar High alumni Katie Samrick, Janeen Yamak take stage during groundbreaking ceremony.

Katie Samrick, a 2019 graduate, hoped the efforts of fellow band members would make an impact on future generations who spent weekends walking precincts in the “blazing sun to inform homeowners of the benefits.”

And it did.

“The morning after the election day, November 7, 2016, Mr. A. (Acciani) informed us that Measure WV had passed!” We couldn’t be happier!”

Attendees were able to take a tour of the plans using 3D virtual reality goggles and view architectural renderings on display.

“Music is such a powerful thing,” said Principal Jones. “It will be truly wonderful to have it coming from this new building.”

To view a virtual walkthrough video, please visit: http://bit.ly/2w16AzY.

Centro Basco: Menu and Temporary Hours of Operation

WVUSD Closes Due to COVID-19

Staff Reports

Walnut – On March 13, Superintendent Robert P. Taylor announced that all Walnut Valley USD schools will be closed for five weeks, effective Monday, March 16. The schools will re-open on April 20.

“I appreciate your support during this challenging time,” said Taylor in a statement he sent to all parents and guardians. “As the parent of three children, I certainly empathize with the stress, fear, and inquiry that this time period has caused for many parents/guardians.”

Taylor said that the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) recommended that all schools in Los Angeles County close and/or be dismissed for a minimum of two weeks due to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). After this announcement, the WVUSD Board of Trustees held an Emergency Meeting to discuss their plan of action. According to Taylor, the Board “approved a resolution through an emergency measure” that granted the Superintendent the authority to “take all appropriate action to respond to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

“I have decided to dismiss (‘pupil free’) schools effective immediately, followed by all schools being closed through Spring Break (5 weeks),” stated Taylor.

From March 16 to 18, students will be dismissed, and it will be considered a “Pupil Free” day. However, the entire school will be closed from March 19 to April 17. Additionally, all extra-curricular activities and athletics have been postponed.

“We continue to prioritize the health and wellness of students and staff as our highest concern,” said Taylor. “Given the advisement of Public Health, medical experts, and other state and county entities, we have decided to allow an appropriate amount of time for students, staff, and families to follow advice of medical practitioners and experts, practice healthy habits, and lessen opportunities for the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

“I recognize that my decision will impact everyone differently,” continued the Superintedent. “Our District will be working with staff to lessen the academic gap that typically occurs over extended recesses from school. Next week, parents and students will be notified of curricular resources that can be utilized during the school closure.”

In addition, he said that additional information will be provided next week, and all schools will answer questions and discuss next steps. “While this is an extremely difficult decision, I also am confident that it was made with the best interest of our staff and students in mind,” stated Taylor.

COVID-19 Patient Visits Walnut, Dies in Pomona

Staff Reports

Walnut – On March 11, the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (PCHMC) announced that a patient who passed away at their hospital confirmed positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This was the first reported COVID-19 death in Los Angeles County.

On March 9, the patient went to the hospital by ambulance and was in full cardiac arrest. Staff provided lifesaving care to stabilize her condition. Based on her travel history and symptoms, the patient was placed in isolation and infection control protocols were implemented according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). LACDPH authorized to obtain samples for COVID-19 testing, but the patient died shortly after “due to complications from their illness,” according to a PCHMC statement. On March 11, LACDPH confirmed the patient tested positive for COVID-19.

A family member disclosed the patient’s travel status, which included a residence in the City of Walnut. However, the County confirmed that the individual “did NOT circulate around the City of Walnut and stayed primarily at the residence,” according to Walnut Public Information Officer, Melanie Tep. She stated that the City is communicating with LA County’s Department of Public Health for more information regarding the patients’ travel details. “We will communicate more information as it becomes available from the County.”

In addition, the LA County Department of Public Health confirmed that the patient’s family members are currently in quarantine.  PCHMC is also following LACDPH guidelines for the staff that came into contact with the patient.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the patient and family,” said Daniel Gluckstein, MD, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at PVHMC. “At this time, our top priority remains protecting public health and ensuring the safety of our patients, visitors, Associates, physicians, volunteers and community.”

“We understand people are feeling anxious about potential exposure to coronavirus, but we want to reassure our patients and their families that the risk of exposure from this case is low,” stated a PVHMC statement. “PVHMC remains a safe, high-quality facility to seek medical care.”

The City of Walnut issued a reminder stating that Public Health continues to recommend that the public do the following to protect themselves and others from respiratory illnesses:

• Stay home when you are sick.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
• Facemasks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and and those directly caring for people who are sick and by people who are sick (source control).
• Get a flu immunization if you have not done so this season.

Autism Mom: Are You Happy?

Columnist Melody Kraemer, AKA: Autism Mom

By Melody Kraemer

Are you happy? I am. I wake up each day with a grateful heart. I do get questioned at times of how I can be happy and stay positive with so much going on in my life. Plus, raising two autistic boys who need constant care and attention.


I am not saying my life is perfect. I’m not saying I don’t cry most days and I’m not saying life is easy. I am saying I am happy.


But you cry, how can you be happy, another question I get asked.


God chose me to have, love, and raise these two special boys.


They may be a handful and life can be overwhelming though, at the end of the day, my heart is filled with joy and love.


I have the patience that I didn’t know I had. I have learned to be so understanding, and I’ve learned to enjoy the simplest smallest things in life. I’ve learned to stop and smell the flowers, though my little one will eat them if I let him. I’ve learned to enjoy life and be silly, along this autism road I am on.


I have met some of the most exceptional people on this autism road who have become my supporters, my cheerleaders, my sounding block and close friends.


I am thankful and happy every day that God chose this road for me. Did I want or ask for the autism world? No, I didn’t! The autism world chose me. I’m happy despite the obstacles in the road of my life. I have the most amazing kids and the most gracious God who loves me unconditionally and will never leave me and just knowing that is comfort and happiness. “Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have.” ― Rabbi Hyman Schachtel


Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

An Invitation for Wellness in 2020

By Nancy Stoops

Make 2020 the year you celebrate yourself.  I would like to extend two invitations to all of you. The first one is to join my new wellness website at NancyStoopsMFT.org and receive a new wellness message daily and lots of other wellness ideas as well. The second one is to attend the Taste of Wellness 2020 event sponsored by the city of Walnut This wonderful and free event will take place Saturday March 28, 2020 from 8a.m. till noon at the Walnut Senior Center located at 21215 La Puente Rd. in the city of Walnut.  Their phone number is (909) 598-6200 and all you have to do is call to reserve your spot today.  This event will offer classes on meditation, the myths of diets, proper stretching techniques, yoga, a sage burning ceremony and a free tea and snack bar. Midnight the therapy dog will be there to comfort your souls and make you smile. This will be the fourth wellness event.  For those of you that have attended before keep on coming back and invite everybody you know.  If this will be your first time attending a wellness event be prepared to be delighted!

              I can’t think of a better way to help you meet your goals then by attending an event that will teach you so many wonderful ways to embrace wellness into 2020!  I personally will be running two of the five workshops offered and would love for all of you readers to come out to this amazing opportunity to enhance your wellbeing. I’m very excited to share all the facets of my very healthy lifestyle that have served me so very well for my life.  I will be discussing so many common sense ways to help yourself and just feel better so you can all improve the very quality of your life.  I look forward to seeing all of you there and sharing all of the secrets that have provided me and my patients with a life of quality and joy!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy is now accepting new clients.  She also works as a motivational speaker.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs.  For more information about any of these services contact Nancy at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

Pastor’s Corner: Navigation

By Mark Hopper

I grew up during the Space Race of the 1960’s as America and Russia worked furiously to be the first to land a man on the moon. It was an amazing time in our nation’s history. Apollo 8 was the first time men orbited the moon and Apollo 11 was the first landing of men on the moon in 1969. America won the Space Race.

It is hard to believe that was fifty years ago. In 2019 I enjoyed reading several books and watching TV documentaries and movies about both of those remarkable moments. One of the things that caught my attention was how essential reliable navigation was to the success of those missions. I learned that the American astronauts were required to memorize the locations of a number of stars and constellations. Even though they had computers and sophisticated navigational equipment the astronauts knew they could rely on the locations of constellations and stars to chart their course to and from the moon.

I have read that Polynesians used the stars to navigate their way across the vast Pacific Ocean. They rested in the day and paddled and sailed by night aiming toward certain stars and constellations. The European explorers like Henry the Navigator from Portugal and other nations used the location of the sun and the stars to identify their location and chart their courses, too. They knew the locations of the stars were predictable and reliable in ancient times and they still are today. Now we have GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) to chart the paths for ships, aircraft and our own automobiles. These provide a reliable source for navigation and travel.

The Bible says that God created the universe. He placed the sun, moon, earth and stars in their places. The planets follow predictable orbits and the location of the stars are consistent and trustworthy. The Bible says, “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens – who created all of these? God calls each of the stars by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40:26).

Let me encourage you to reflect on the beauty and order of the stars in the sky. When you see a beautiful full moon rising up in the eastern horizon I hope it reminds you of the regularity of the seasons and the reliability of each day and month. Give thanks to God who created the world we enjoy. You will be glad you did and He will too!

Intro to Composting: Free Smart Gardening Workshop

Shining With Kindness

By Kelli Gile

WALNUT, CA—Westhoff Elementary launched its Great Kindness Challenge with a “Wheel of Fortune” game show on January 24 starring grade level teams competing to solve word puzzles in three categories: Great Kindness Challenge, Shine, and Rock Garden.

Westhoff Elementary students join a “Wheel of Fortune” game show during the Great Kindness Challenge.

Counselor Erica Robledo performed as television host Pat Sajak during the interactive digital contest assisted by Student Council co-hosts and Elementary Learning Specialist Therapi Kaplan flipping letters in true Vanna White style.

Players took turns spinning the wheel and guessing letters of familiar phrases including Westhoff Shines, Smile at Others, The Golden Rule, Make A New Friend, Give a Compliment, Do Your Best, and more.

You are my sunshine! Westhoff Elementary unveils new rock garden during Great Kindness Challenge kickoff.

The kindness week kickoff also featured the unveiling of the new Westhoff Shines garden.

Six hundred rocks were painted bright yellow and then decorated by students and staff with powerful messages and affirmations aimed at inspiring kindness.

“We’re hoping the impact of this massive kindness movement will create a positive change throughout the school culture,” Robledo said.

“This will help decrease bullying and make kindness shine at Westhoff Elementary!”

Daily activities included students wearing nametags to encourage greeting each other by name, schoolwide Bingo, arts and crafts, and mindfulness exercises promoting the “Shining with Kindness” motto.

Westhoff Elementary’s new kindness rock garden features 600 inspiring messages written by students and staff.

On Thursday, students dressed in sunny colors and classes joined a kindness garden walkthrough taking a moment to read messages written on the rocks like “You are loved” and “Be the light when others are in the dark”.

On January 31, the final day of the challenge, youngsters journaled feelings about kindness, including how they felt about giving and receiving gifts of thoughtfulness.

Fifth grader Sienna Duong successfully completed a personal goal of smiling at 25 schoolmates during the challenge.

“I liked that we set aside a week that was all about kindness – it was really fun!”

“When I look at the rock garden it makes me feel happy inside because of all the kind messages everyone wrote,” added second grader Jolyn Yu.

Teachers and staff members were also observed performing random acts of kindness by inviting students into their classes, making conversations with youngsters sitting alone at lunch, and pulling together to help alleviate the burden of a sick team member.

“This week, Westhoff Elementary took on the Great Kindness Challenge to inspire others, never give up, encourage teamwork, and shine!” said Interim Principal Denise Rendon.

An Invitation for Wellness in 2020

By Nancy Stoops

Make 2020 the year you celebrate yourself.  I would like to extend two invitations to all of you. The first one is to join my new wellness website at NancyStoopsMFT.org and receive a new wellness message daily and lots of other wellness ideas as well. The second one is to attend the Taste of Wellness 2020 event sponsored by the city of Walnut This wonderful and free event will take place Saturday March 28, 2020 from 8a.m. till noon at the Walnut Senior Center located at 21215 La Puente Rd. in the city of Walnut.  Their phone number is (909) 598-6200 and all you have to do is call to reserve your spot today.  This event will offer classes on meditation, the myths of diets, proper stretching techniques, yoga, a sage burning ceremony and a free tea and snack bar. Midnight the therapy dog will be there to comfort your souls and make you smile. This will be the fourth wellness event.  For those of you that have attended before keep on coming back and invite everybody you know.  If this will be your first time attending a wellness event be prepared to be delighted!

              I can’t think of a better way to help you meet your goals then by attending an event that will teach you so many wonderful ways to embrace wellness into 2020!  I personally will be running two of the five workshops offered and would love for all of you readers to come out to this amazing opportunity to enhance your wellbeing. I’m very excited to share all the facets of my very healthy lifestyle that have served me so very well for my life.  I will be discussing so many common sense ways to help yourself and just feel better so you can all improve the very quality of your life.  I look forward to seeing all of you there and sharing all of the secrets that have provided me and my patients with a life of quality and joy!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy is now accepting new clients.  She also works as a motivational speaker.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs.  For more information about any of these services contact Nancy at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

Pastor’s Corner: Meet the President

By Mark Hopper

Recently my wife and I were traveling to Texas to meet some friends in San Antonio. Our flight on Southwest airlines took us to Dallas first and then we waited at Love Field for our short flight to San Antonio. After we found our departure gate we noticed a familiar looking person in the waiting area. I had just seen his picture in the Southwest Airline magazine on our last flight. It was Gary Kelly – the president of Southwest. He was going on the same flight we were to San Antonio.

I wasn’t sure it was him until I introduced myself and my wife and asked if he really was Gary Kelly. He greeted us warmly and assured us he was the guy in the magazine and he was glad to take a picture with us. I told him we loved Southwest Airlines and we had been flying Southwest since the time it began in Dallas when I was a graduate student in Dallas in 1971. I enjoyed our brief conversation and told him how much we appreciated the way Southwest has personally helped us on several occasions. I told him we had recently flown on one of the new Southwest flights to Hawaii a few months ago.

He was very gracious and gave the credit to the airlines’ helpful employees. As we prepared to board our flight I noticed Gary and his wife were in line with all the other passengers. He did not request or expect special or preferential treatment. I suspect most of the passengers on our flight had no idea that the president of the airline was flying with us. I have enjoyed reading many of Gary’s articles in the Southwest magazine. Many times he has stressed Southwest’s philosophy of customer service. I am confident he models being a servant leader and putting the needs of others ahead of his own. There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Jesus did not come to be served but to serve others and give his life for us” (Mark 10:45). Let me encourage you to watch for opportunities to serve people around you – in your company, your community and on your school campus. They will be glad you did and you will too.

Autism Mom: Ice Cream

Columnist Melody Kramer, AKA: Autism Mom

By Melody Kramer

“Don’t let your ice cream melt by looking at someone else’s sprinkles” Wow, isn’t that the truth?


 When I heard this the other day,  it was so accurate. I am not sure there’s even a better way to describe not to be envious or jealous of someone’s blessings (sprinkles).
 I used to let my ice cream melt by counting other people’s “sprinkles.”


Having two boys on the spectrum,  it isn’t easy and adjusting to the autism world was something that wasn’t in my plans for my life.  I started to get envious of people conversing with their children. I use to wish that my child could talk with me and hold a conversation.


 I would see people playing with their children and think if I could only do that with my child.  I would see a group of kids playing, and get teary-eyed and think I wish my child could play with other kids like that.


 I spent a lot of time counting the sprinkles of others, but in the meantime, my ice cream was melting.


 One day I decided to look at the heavens above and prayed about it all. The answer came back to count my sprinkles and quit letting my ice cream melt!


My boys are loving, kind, happy, and they may not be able to do all the things out there, but it’s ok. They are uniquely made and have amazing qualities.
My sprinkles, my blessing from above, is precisely that, Blessings!  In no way would I  ever let my ice cream melt again by counting someone else’s sprinkles because I’ve got plenty of sprinkles on my ice cream.


“Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are actually living.” Quote By: Rachel Marie Martin


Never let your ice-cream melt.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com

Sausage recalled due to metal contamination

Jimmy Dean sausage recalled due to metal contamination

9:58 AM EST December 11, 2018

Courtesy CNN

A popular breakfast sausage is taking itself off the menu. CTI Foods LLC, is recalling 29,028 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat poultry and pork sausage links after five people called the US Food Safety and Inspection Service to let them know they had found metal pieces in the sausage, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

The Owingsville, Kentucky-based company recalled the product Monday. There are no reports of anyone getting hurt by the metal, but the USDA said there are some concerns that some people may unknowingly still have the package in their freezers.

These packages were originally shipped to Tennessee and then distributed to retail stores.

If you think you have it in your freezer, look on the package for the code A6382168, with a time stamp range of 11:58 through 01:49. This is the 23.4-oz pouch that is called “Jimmy Dean Heat ‘n Serve Original Sausage Links Made with Pork & Turkey” with a “use by” date of January 31, 2019. It will also have “EST. 19085” on the back of the packaging.

The USDA suggests you throw the package away or return it to the store where you bought it.

If you have questions about the recall you can contact the Jimmy Dean customer service line at (855) 382-3101.

Life Insurance: What Everyone Needs to Know

Photo Courtesy: (c) SolisImages/ stock.Adobe.com

By Statepoint

No matter if you’re single or married, in your twenties or your forties, a parent or not, life insurance coverage is important in ways you may not realize, and costs less than you’d expect. And experts now stress that employer-sponsored coverage typically isn’t sufficient to cover most people’s needs.

“Living your best life comes with risks, but don’t let uncertainty deter you from buying a house, traveling or starting a business,” says Sean Scaturro, director of Life and Health Insurance Advice at USAA. “Take the necessary steps to protect loved ones from financial burden in the event of tragedy.”

Whether the money is used to replace your income, pay debts, pay for education or burial expenses, life insurance affords financial safety to loved ones.

Start Young

The 2018 Insurance Barometer Study published by Life Happens and LIMRA indicates that 44 percent of millennials overestimate the cost of life insurance by five times the actual amount and 42 percent believe they wouldn’t qualify. But, in reality, premiums are typically lowest when you’re younger, so it’s a smart decision to get some coverage, and reevaluate as life changes. For many young adults, student loans and housing costs sit atop the list of financial priorities. Without life insurance, the responsibility for these debts could fall to family members.

Mind the Gap

Just because you signed up for life insurance coverage through your employer doesn’t mean you’re adequately covered. Scaturro cites LIMRA data that shows that American households currently have a $200,000 life insurance needs gap. “If 60 percent of people have life insurance and 33 percent of those have group life insurance only, one in five people only have group coverage, which usually doesn’t provide enough,” he says.

Most employer-sponsored coverage provides either a set death benefit, such as $50,000, or a multiple of your base income, and many plans aren’t portable. That means, without a separate individual policy, it could be costly or too late to get coverage if you leave your job.

So, sign up for your employer’s low-cost or free life insurance, but don’t stop there. USAA believes you need enough life insurance to replace five years of your income, plus cover all debts. To determine how much coverage you need, take advantage of a free online calculator, like the one provided by USAA at USAA.com/life.

Protect Your Family

Families are especially vulnerable following the death of a primary wage earner. In fact, 35 percent of households would feel the financial impact within a month, according to research from LIMRA. That figure rises to nearly 50 percent at six months. How will your spouse pay for extra child care? Can they afford to keep the house? Will your children’s needs be covered?

Experts say that it’s important to review your life insurance needs, discuss them with your loved ones, speak to a financial professional and take action.

Dinner 2 Lunch: Cook it once, eat it twice!

Dinner- Sriracha Pork Chops

                Lunch- Banh Mi Sandwiches

 

By Hello Fresh

 

Servings: 4

DINNER-

Cooking Time: 40 mins, Nutrition: 610 Calories

LUNCH-

Cooking Time: 5 mins, Nutrition: 500 Calories

Ingredients:

 

  • Scallions- 4
  • Carrots- 2
  • Pork Chops- 36 oz
  • Soy Sauce- 4 tbsp
  • Sriracha- 10 tsp
  • Sugar Snap Peas- 12 oz
  • Sour Cream- 4 tbsp
  • Basmati Rice- 1 cup
  • White Wine Vinegar- 5 tsp
  • Thai Seasoning- 2 tbsp
  • Honey- 3 oz
  • Sesame Oil- 2 tbsp
  • Demi Baguettes- 2
  • Cilantro- 1/4 oz

 

DINNER:

 

1  PREHEAT, PREP AND COOK RICE    Wash and dry all produce. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim and thinly slice scallions, separating greens and whites. Melt 2 TBSP butter in a small pot over medium-high heat. Add ¾ cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then add rice. Cover, lower heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, peel carrots. Using your peeler, shave carrots lengthwise into ribbons over a medium bowl, rotating until you get to the cores; discard cores.

 

TOSS CARROTS AND SEAR PORK     Add vinegar and 1 tsp sugar to bowl with carrots, then season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and keep refrigerated until you prep lunch in the morning. In the meantime, heat a large drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Pat pork dry with a paper towel; season all over with salt, pepper, and Thai seasoning. Add to pan and cook until just browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to one side of a foil-lined baking sheet.

 

3 MAKE GLAZE      Add scallion whites to pan used for pork over medium-high heat. Cook until softened, about 30 seconds. Stir in soy sauce, honey, 1 TBSP water, and up to 4 tsp sriracha (to taste; save remainder for lunch). Scrape up any browned bits on bottom of pan. Let simmer until thick and sticky, about 2 minutes.

(TIP: If sauce gets too thick, stir in another 1-2 TBSP.) Remove pan from heat, then stir in sesame oil.

 

4  ROAST PORK AND SNAP PEAS      Trim any tough ends from snap peas, then place on empty side of baking sheet with pork. Toss with a large drizzle of oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Set aside ⅓ of the glaze in a small bowl and save for lunch. Brush top of pork with half the remaining glaze. Roast in oven on middle rack until snap peas are tender and pork reaches desired doneness, 7-10 minutes.

 

5  FINISH DINNER     Fluff rice with a fork, then stir in half the scallion greens. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between plates, then arrange 2 pork chops on top (save the others for lunch). Add snap peas to the side. Spoon remaining glaze over everything. Garnish with remaining scallion greens. Store remaining ingredients until you’re ready to prep lunch in the morning.

 

LUNCH:

6  MAKE LUNCH The next morning, split baguettes lengthwise. Thinly slice reserved pork. Spread reserved glaze in bowl onto baguette bottoms, then arrange pork on top. Tear cilantro leaves from stems and lay carrots on top. Spread baguette tops with sour cream

and remaining sriracha and place on top to create sandwiches. Wrap up and keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

Unhappy Gut? Some People Suffer for Years Before Seeing a Doctor

By StatePoint

Abdominal pain? Diarrhea? An estimated 16 million Americans live with a type of irritable bowel syndrome called IBS-D (the D stands for diarrhea), and it affects both men and women almost equally. However, only 30 percent of individuals consult a physician about their symptoms.

Why is that?

“People who experience symptoms of IBS-D can feel like their symptoms are not severe enough to seek medical attention or that there isn’t anything doctors can do to help,” says Dr. Howard Franklin, vice president of medical affairs and strategy at Salix Pharmaceuticals. “But doctors want to hear about everything you are feeling so they can determine the underlying cause of your discomfort and help you find a treatment plan that is right for you.”

A closer look at IBS-D

Symptoms of IBS-D, which are different in everyone, include stomach pain and cramping, frequent diarrhea, gas, bloating and an urgency to use the bathroom. Many people experience feeling frustrated, missing out on activities because of symptoms and avoiding situations where there is no bathroom nearby.

IBS-D can be diagnosed based on symptom history, including:

• Abdominal pain at least one day a week during the last three months

• More than 25 percent of bowel movements are loose or watery (diarrhea), and less than 25 percent are hard or lumpy (constipation)

• Symptoms started at least six months ago

What could be the cause?

While the exact cause of IBS-D is unknown, and people may have IBS for more than one reason, an imbalance in the usual numbers and proportions of normally healthy bacteria in the digestive system (the gut microbiota) has been found in many people with IBS-D. The microbiota help digest and absorb food and work with the immune system as a barrier against other microorganisms that can cause disease.

“One study of 109 patients with IBS showed that 73 percent had an imbalance in their gut microbiota, compared with only 16 percent of healthy people,” says Dr. Franklin. “Other potential reasons may include previous gastrointestinal infection or food poisoning, communication problems between the brain and digestive system, a family history of IBS and other causes.”

Treatment options

There is currently no cure, but there are treatments that can help with the symptoms of IBS-D. Lifestyle changes, such as eliminating certain foods and increasing exercise, could help.

“Studies have shown that between 50 and 70 percent of patients failed to respond to either fiber or antispasmodics as a treatment therapy,” says Dr. Franklin. “There are different types of prescription treatments for IBS-D. If one isn’t working, it’s important that patients ask their healthcare professional about trying a different medicine to find what treatment is right for them.”

For more information, visit IBSDUpClose.com.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of IBS-D, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about all of them. This is the first step toward helping find a treatment plan and getting relief.

Ginger Beef Stir-Fry

with Snappy Asparagus

 

By Hello Fresh

 

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Servings: 4

Nutrition: 610 Calories

Ingredients:

 

  • Asparagus- 12 oz
  • Garlic- 4 cloves
  • Scallions- 4
  • Ginger- 2 thumbs
  • Basmati Rice- 1 1/2 cups
  • Soy Sauce- 2 tbsp
  • Hoisin Sauce- 4 tbsp
  • Sirloin Steak Tips- 24 oz
  • White Sesame Seeds- 2 tbsp

 

 

1  PREP.    Wash and dry all produce. Bring 1½ cups water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small pot. Trim and discard bottom inch from asparagus, then cut stalks into 2-inch pieces. Mince or grate garlic. Trim and thinly slice scallions. Peel and mince ginger.

 

COOK RICE.     Once water is boiling, add rice to pot, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered.

 

3 MAKE SAUCE.       Meanwhile, whisk together garlic, ginger, soy sauce, 1 TBSP water, and 2 TBSP hoisin sauce in a small bowl.

 

4  SEAR STEAK.       Heat a drizzle of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Pat steak tips dry with a paper towel, then season with salt and pepper. Add to pan and toss until nearly cooked to desired doneness, 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

 

5  MAKE STIR-FRY.     Add asparagus and scallions to same pan over medium heat. (TIP: If veggies seem dry, add a drizzle of oil.) Cook until tender but still crunchy, 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add steak tips and sauce to pan and cook until sauce is thickened and meat reaches desired doneness, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

 

6  FINISH AND PLATE.     Fluff rice with a fork. Divide between plates, then top with stir-fry and garnish with sesame seeds.