Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quakers, Amish, and Pennsylvania Dutch Are Often Confused

As a child, I lived in a small farming community, and all my life, I was told our family was Quaker and Pennsylvania Dutch, so I decided to do some research on this subject.  I have totally confused myself because it doesn't match up with what I've been told.  I do remember attending a Friends church in this area and the women wore little white hats tied on their head with long skirts or dresses.

My great-great-grandparents on my grandfather's side were from England and were Amish, and on my grandmother's side they were Quaker, and she referred to herself as Pennsylvania Dutch because her family migrated from Germany near the Dutch border.  Of course, I'm still confused.  lol

Let’s get one thing straight: Quakers are not Amish, Amish are not Quaker, Amish are usually Pennsylvania Dutch, and Pennsylvania Dutch are sometimes Amish.  Got it?  Nothing irritates a member of one of these groups more than when the three terms are used interchangeably.  So who are all these people, and what are the differences between them?
Amish not Quaker

The term Pennsylvania Dutch refers to descendants of German settlers of Pennsylvania (the German word for German is Deutsche, which is probably why others picked up the word Dutch).  The Pennsylvania Dutch do have their own language — a derivation of German — but that language is virtually extinct at this point, and modern Pennsylvania Dutch are indistinguishable from other modern Americans.  Pennsylvania Dutch are a variety of religions, including Lutheran, Mennonite, Baptist, Amish (yes, that’s a religion — more on that in a minute).  The Pennsylvania Dutch are similar to any other ethnic group whose relatives came in the 18th century…They may have some lasting cultural traditions (certain foods, for instance), but they are in other ways much like any other Americans.
The Amish (at least the Old Order ones, which is who most people think of when they think of the Amish) do very much stand out from other ethnic and religious groups in the U.S.  Amish is a Protestant religion (a particular denomination of Mennonite, actually), and most Amish are actually Pennsylvania Dutch — meaning (as you now know) they are descended from Pennsylvania Germans and spoke that particular dialect of German.  What makes the Amish stand out is that the rules of their church prohibit many modern conveniences, including electricity and more modern technologies.  They still drive horses and buggies (they will get in a car if necessary, but only if somebody else is driving); they wear old-fashioned dresses and overalls with bonnets and black hats; they value farm labor and de-emphasize education.  They are very much an insular community, as marriage outside of the church is forbidden.  Your child’s college roommate will most likely not be Amish, though there’s a chance he or she will be Pennsylvania Dutch — or Quaker, for that matter.  Oh, and the Amish don’t like to have their pictures taken, so please don’t run up to them, mouth agape, snapping photos.
Quakers have nothing to do with either of these two other groups.  Well, okay, Quakerism is a religion, and Quakers came to North America in the 18th century (and earlier), but that’s where the similarities end.  Quakers are Protestant; they are one of the many religious sects that emigrated from England searching for religious freedom.  Quakers are unusual among Christians in that they worship without any form of priest or pastor.  They believe that anyone can communicate with God or be in touch with “that of God within himself,” hence Meeting for Worship consists of sitting in silence together, with individuals speaking when they feel moved to.  Quakers are pacifists and believe in simplicity and humility, so their places of worship are quite plain.  While Quakers did once dress in simple, old-fashioned clothing, they long ago abandoned those outfits.   In short, much like the Pennsylvania Dutch, Quakers are indistinguishable (on the outside) from other Americans.  You might be sitting next to one right now.
How did these three different terms come to be confused?  You’ve got me.  It’s probably because they all live in eastern Pennsylvania.  Lancaster has enclaves of Amish, and the Pennsylvania Dutch stretch across much of eastern and central Pennsylvania.  Quakers were Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers (William Penn converted to Quakerism, much to his father’s dismay), and Quaker schools offer some of the best educations in Philadelphia.  But beyond their geographical proximity, these three groups are quite different, and one of the best ways to seem like a real Philadelphian is to not get them confused.
1. Amish is a belief based on simplicity and strict living, unlike the Quakers who typically are liberals.
2. The Amish religion has priests, while Quakers believe that as everyone has a connection with God they don’t need a priest to preside over any ceremony.
3. The Amish believe in maintaining the ways of the past and don’t consider using modern amenities.
4. Though their beliefs lead to different lifestyles, both believe in God and in peace.
What do Quakers believe?
They believe that every person is loved and guided by God.  Broadly speaking, we affirm that "there is that of God in everyone." Everyone is known by God and can know God in a direct relationship.  They are called to attend to this relationship and to be guided by it. Quakers use many words to describe the Divine.  Some of them include: God, the Light Within, Christ, Spirit, Seed, and Inward Teacher.
Are Quakers Christian?
The Quaker way has deep Christian roots that form our understanding of God, our faith, and our practices. Many Quakers consider themselves Christian, and some do not.  Many Quakers today draw spiritual nourishment from our Christian roots and strive to follow the example of Jesus.  Many other Quakers draw spiritual sustenance from various religious traditions, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and the nature religions.
It sounds like Quakers can believe anything they like―is that so?
Quakers invite the word of God to be written in our hearts, rather than as words on paper—they have no creed.  But they also believe that if they are sincerely open to the Divine Will, they will be guided by a Wisdom that is more compelling than our own more superficial thoughts and feelings.  This can mean that they will find themselves led in directions or receiving understandings that they may not have chosen just from personal preference. Following such guidance is not always easy.  This is why community is important to Quakers, why they turn to each other for worshipful help in making important choices, and why they read the reflections of other Quakers who have lived faithful lives.
Can I attend Quaker meeting?
Yes!  You are welcome to attend Quaker worship.  There are Quakers of all ages, religious backgrounds, races and ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and classes.  All are welcome. You can find meetings in your area at
Below are sources you can go to learn more about these religions.
Okay, people, I hope I have shed some light on this topic and not confused you as much as I am.  lol 
Sandra K. Marshall, Author

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Postage Stamps

Hi Everyone,


Okay, you might think I'm a little weird to write about postage stamps, but I'm a card sender and letter writer (short ones these days), so I have to buy stamps when I run out of them.  Yesterday, I bought more stamps, and I ran into a real beauty (my opinion), so it made me think of all the others beginning with the first ones.  lol

I bought two books of Farmer's Market stamps (the beauties I mentioned above).  The postal employee said they just came out.  What do you think?  There are more coming this month, too.

Stamps as we know them date back to the 1830s, with Sir Rowland Hill's proposals to reform the British postal system in 1837. Prior to that it was normal for the recipient to pay postage on delivery and the system was difficult, expensive and open to fraud.

The idea of adhesive stamps as a form of pre-payment marked a landmark in communications around the world, with stamp-making picked up in every country on the face of the Earth. But some picked things up quicker than others. Here's a look at the first five issues of postage stamps.

The Penny Black and Two Penny Blue

Initially a competition was launched by the Treasury to find a design suitable for the new stamps, but no winner was declared as it was concluded that none were suitable.

Instead they made use of a design suggested by Hill himself, based on a profile of Queen Victoria, the image being of her when she was just 15 years old. All British stamps continue a tradition of presenting the monarch's head somewhere on the stamp.

 The Penny Black and Two Penny Blue were released together (or at least within days of each other - there is some dispute over whether the Blue was fractionally later) at the start of May 1840. Roughly 68,808,000 Penny Blacks alone were released.


The New York Dispatch

Surprisingly, perhaps it was nearly two years before stamps were picked up in another country. That was the United States of America, but the stamps issued were not by any means for use all round the country.

Instead it was created by one Alexander M Greig of New York City, who issued stamps, bearing a portrait of Washington, printed from line engraved plates, and charged 2c only to carry letters anywhere in the city - or at least as far as 23rd street. The government charged 3c.

Greig established his postage stamp in February 1842. By August it had been sold into the government and became the United States City Dispatch Post. Greig was made a government officer, apparently as part of removing his annoying undercutting of the authorities.

On July 1, 1847, Congress authorized the Postmaster General to release the first United States postage stamps. Two imperforate stamps were issued, the 5 cent Benjamin Franklin which paid the domestic letter rate of 5 cents per half-ounce for up to 300 miles, and the 10 cent George Washington which paid the domestic letter rate of 10 cents per half-ounce for distances greater than 300 miles.
The Zurich 4 and 6

Within days of Greig's postage stamp being absorbed by the government, a report was published in Switzerland - or rather the Swiss canton of Zurich - recommending a simplification of the postage system, which was as cumbersome as Britain's had been.

In March the following year, Zurich became continental Europe's first postal authority to issue postage stamps based on a design produced by a lithographer called Esslinger of Zurich.

The two stamps were valued at four and six rappen to cover postage rates within the city and outside it respectively. The design made things as clear as possible with large numeral appearing right in the centre of the stamp.

 The Brazilian Bull's Eye

South America's first stamp issue was the fourth in the world, but in fact could have been its second with a law passed back in November 1841 allowing the Brazilian government to create stamps - some time before Alex Greig started annoying the authorities in New York.

 In fact, the Brazilian Bull's Eyes were released on 1 August 1843, having face values of 30, 60, and 90 rĂ©is. Brazil was nevertheless the second country in the world, after Great Britain, to issue postage stamps valid within the entire country.

The name derives from the ornamental value figures inside the oval settings such that pairs of them could resemble a pair of bull's eyes.

In mint condition a 30 reis Bull's Eye stamp is worth around $5,000.

The Double Geneva

The second stamp issued in continental Europe was again in Switzerland. But interestingly the early proposal by Alphonse de Candolle makes no reference to events in Zurich if he had any knowledge of them.

Instead he had simply been examining the effects of stamp use by Britain, which he did not refer to in his report by name, but merely refers to it as the 'most mercantile nation in the world which knew best the value of time'.

The Double Geneva followed on Brazil's production closely with the first issuing taking place on September 30 1843. However only a few were successfully created and survive. Indeed, at one point it was thought the stamp was never issued and examples were forgeries.

A Double Geneva in good condition is now worth around 55,000 Swiss Francs (US$50,000).

Thank you for visiting my blog today, and please come back next Sunday to read more. 

Sandra K. Marshall, Author
@ Eirelander Publishing

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Does Technology Drive You A Bit Crazy?

Hi Everyone,

Most writers just want to write, but they have to do many other things as well.  One thing I hate to take the time to do is learn new technology.  Geez!  Can't they just leave things like they are and stop trying to improve stuff. 

Some of you may know my computer crashed a few weeks ago due to a storm in our area.  I had to buy a new computer, of course, my husband had been telling me for two years I needed a new one. I'm digressing (blame it on Kari, I read her blogs), so to get back on track my new computer required me to learn Microsoft 8.1.  My question is what was wrong with Microsoft 7?  I loved Microsoft 7.  Wah!

Okay, I'm going to be honest and say it's not as difficult as I'm making it out, but it is irritating to have your computer crash and buy a new one to find out everything you are familiar with isn't on the new one.  I'm irritated because I have spent too much time learning new technology instead of writing.  If Microsoft is going to change everything; why don't they provide a manual, so I don't have to learn by experimenting.  All right, if I had a smart phone, or at least knew how to use one I would have figured some of this stuff out faster. 

One of the big things that irritated me is copying stuff and trying to paste into my old word processor, which I love (2003).  I finally figured I have to copy and paste into notepad, and then I can paste into my Word.  However, that isn't exactly easy either because wherever I'm copying from I have to right click to copy and then go to notepad and right click to paste.  I right click again in notepad, go to Word and go to edit to paste.  Simple, right?  Yes it is, if you knew that was how it's done in the first place.  Okay, I will admit after many tries Microsoft finally popped up and gave me the solution.  Why didn't they give it to me the first time?

Another thing I don't like that Microsoft has done is they have changed Windows Mail, but I'm sure some people like it even better, but I'm not one of them.  Microsoft wants you to have a password for every app you use.  I have three pages of passwords already, please give me a break.  Oh, I know it is for my own safety.  Grrr!  It just doesn't make me like it.  Frankly, I could have done without most of those apps, but everything has an app these days. 

Not only have I learned Microsoft 8.1, but I have returned to Twitter after a 5 year absence when I got hacked there.  I still don't know what I'm doing on that site, but if you would like follow me there just look for #AuthSKMarshall. 

There is one technical little site that I'm loving.  It's called Hootsuite, and the reason I like it so much is because I can use it to send message to all my social media sites at the same time without going to those sites.  Yay, I don't have to go to Facebook, Twitter, Ning, Yahoo Groups, LinkedIn and Google+ to promo or post anything because I can do it on Hootsuite.  Is that wonderful?  Yes!

Learning anything takes time, but I'm doing it.  I just need more time in a day.  One more thing, don't get too comfortable with 8.1 because I hear 9 is coming.  Grin!  Doesn't that just make your day?

Moving on to some promo.  Something else, I don't like to do, but has to be done.  My short story, All Bets Are Off, came out in audio during this mess.  Here is the link for it if you prefer to listen to your stories rather than read them. 


Can a recovering gambling addict bet on a second chance at love?

Ana Torres has dug her self out of her gambling debts and started a business to help others with the same problem.  Now, she wants to show her soul mate she has changed and win him back. 

Jason Gibbs meets his wife at a party and realizes he still loves her even after all she cost him with her gambling addiction.  He wants to find out if she has changed, and if she has, he will woo her back. 

I hope you like my new blog template, and if you go to my website it's in chaos right now, as I'm going to change it, too.  Thank you for listening to me today, and if you have any helpful suggestions, or if you have a rant of your own I'm willing to listen.  Smile!

Have a great week, and I'll see you next Sunday! 

Sandra K. Marshall, Author
@ Eirelander Publishing,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lady Justice and the Pharaoh's Curse by Robert Thornhill

Hi Everyone,

Welcome local Kansas City area author, Robert Thornhill.  This prolific author has another great book released titled Lady Justice and the Pharaoh's Curse.  I have read the excerpt and this book sounds very intriguing, especially, as I've seen the King Tut exhibit in Cairo and, also, at the exhibit in Kansas City.

An artifact is stolen from the King Tut exhibit, setting in motion a string of bizarre murders that baffle the Kansas City Police Department
            A local author simultaneously releases his novel, The Curse of the Pharaohs, attributing the deaths to an ancient prophesy, ‘Death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the King.’

            Are the deaths the result of an ancient curse or modern day mayhem?

            Follow the clues with Walt and decide for yourself!

Valley of the Kings
1323 B C

            Imhotep, a high priest in the court of Tutankhamun, Pharaoh of Egypt, took one last look at the vault that held the sarcophagus of his beloved boy king.
            His craftsmen had spent months preparing the body of the king and the vessels that contained his vital organs, so that the Pharaoh could pass freely from this mortal life to the next.
            His last remaining task was to seal the tomb with its gold and precious stones, and conceal it from the marauders, raiders and looters that roamed the desert hills.
            He stood before the Anubis, the jackel-headed god that had been the protector and guardian of the pharaoh’s tombs for centuries.
            Between the jackal’s paws, he placed a stone tablet inscribed with the words, “Death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the King.”
            The Anubis stood guard in the dark tomb for more than three thousand years. Then one day, the tomb was opened -----

Lady Justice and the Pharaoh’s Curse
Kansas City, Missouri

            Bernard Maloof pulled the dog-eared journal from under his mattress and carried it to the small dinette table in the kitchen.
            Although he had read the journal dozens of times, he needed to read it one more time to reinforce the decision he was about to make. He knew that if he acted on the information he had found there, his life would be forever changed. There would be no turning back.
            He took a moment to reflect on the events of the past year that had delivered the journal into his possession.
            Bernie was just an ordinary guy living an ordinary life.
            His parents had been killed in an auto accident. He was the sole beneficiary of a small life insurance policy and had used the money to enroll in the Metropolitan Junior College. After a year, the money ran out. He dropped out of school and found a job working on a custodial crew that cleaned office buildings at night.
            The job paid enough to keep a roof over his head and food on the table, but little else.
            Then one day, he received the call that would change the course of his life. It was from an attorney in Cleveland, Ohio. His uncle, Nasser Maloof, had passed away. Bernie, his only living relative, had been named executor of the estate. Nasser’s will had also designated him as the beneficiary. The call was to see if Bernie was available to come to Cleveland to settle his uncle’s affairs.
            Bernie knew very little about his uncle other than that he was a skilled craftsman and artisan. In 2003, Nassar had been contacted by Dr. Mostafa El-Ezaby, one of the most prestigious sculptors in Cairo, Egypt. Dr. El-Ezaby was putting together a team of craftsmen whose task would be to replicate the vast collection of treasures discovered in the tomb of King Tutankhamun by Howard Carter in 1922. Since the original treasures were no longer permitted to leave Egypt, the goal was to replicate a thousand of the most significant artifacts from the collection which would be presented on a world tour. Nasser Maloof had been invited to become a member of the team.
            The timing could not have been worse. Nasser’s wife, Anat, was too ill to make the journey to Egypt. Realizing that this was a great honor for her husband, Anat encouraged him to go and moved into a private nursing facility.
            The decision enraged Bernie’s father, Rashidi, who believed that family was more important than prestige. Nasser had been gone for almost a year when Anat passed away --- alone. Rashidi had not spoken to his brother from that day until he perished in the auto accident.
            Bernie took a leave of absence from his job and headed to Cleveland hoping that his uncle’s estate would put him back on his feet financially so that he could continue his schooling. He couldn’t have been more mistaken.
            Without insurance, the monthly fees for the nursing facility soon drained their meager savings account. Nasser mortgaged their home so that Anat could get the care she needed.
            Instead of a tidy nest egg, Bernie found a stack of unpaid bills and a house mortgaged to the hilt. When it was all said and done, Bernie had just enough money for gas back to Kansas City.
            Two days before his departure, he had been boxing up clothing, dishes and other household items for the Salvation Army. That’s when he found a metal canister in the back of the closet.  The journal, which he had just opened on his dinette table, was tucked away in the canister.
            Weary from his labors, he had taken a break to examine the journal. It appeared to be a diary of sorts, a day-by-day account of Nasser’s work replicating the artifacts from King Tut’s tomb. Much of the narrative was of a technical nature and beyond Bernie’s comprehension. He was soon bored with the technical stuff, but he kept reading because interspersed were Nasser’s personal feelings about how the work was progressing. Nasser was quite articulate and as Bernie read, he found himself fascinated by this family member he barely knew.
            The early entries were positive and optimistic, but as time went on, Bernie could sense a change in the tone of the entries. Although Nasser loved the work he was doing, it was obvious that he was missing his home and burdened with guilt having left his wife in her time of need.
            Nasser’s entry about the death of his wife brought tears to Bernie’s eyes. The anguish and remorse that Nasser felt was heartbreaking.
            It was at that point that the tone of the entries changed again, from somber and reflective to bitter and vengeful. He now saw his work as the culprit in his financial demise and the abandonment of his family.
            Following the account of his wife’s death, the entries in the journal were no longer about an artisan proud of his work, but about a clever plot to exact revenge on the entity that had ruined his life.
            Bernie had deduced that his uncle’s work involved taking epoxy resins, plaster, and original materials such as wood, stone, and gold leaf to make the replicas, instead of using the solid gold and precious stones of Tutankhamun's day. Nevertheless, over 5,000 original artifacts were at his fingertips on a daily basis as models for the replicas.
            Bernie read with fascination his uncle’s account of his final task on the team --- the replication of Anubis, the protector of Tutankhamun’s tomb.
            One entry read, “The statue of the Anubis, depicted completely in animal form was attached to the roof of the shrine. The jackal lying on the shrine is made from wood, covered with black paint. The insides of the ears, the eyebrows and the rims of the eyes of the reclining animal are worked in gold leaf as well as the collar and the band knotted around the neck. The whites of the eyes are made from calcite and the pupils from obsidian. The claws are in silver, which was more valuable than gold in Ancient Egypt.
            “I shall replicate the Anubis in every detail with one exception, the belly of the beast shall be hollowed out to accommodate the gold and precious stones which I will take from various artifacts over a period of time. Given the vastness and the age of the collection, the purloined items will never be missed.”
            The remaining entries in the journal detailed the items that Nasser had removed from the original artifacts, an emerald here, a ruby there, a bit of gold or silver from somewhere else. Everything was hidden in the hollowed belly of the Anubis and finally sealed.
            The last entry in the journal read, “My task is complete. While no amount of riches can bring back my beloved Anat or assuage the torment that I feel, I have, at the very least, struck a blow against the ghost that pulled me away from my family. These riches from the pharaoh’s tomb shall remain hidden until such time as I or a member of my family can claim them.”
            Bernie was dumbfounded. If what he had just read was true, and he had no reason to believe it wasn’t, somewhere out there was an artifact filled with gold, silver and precious stones and he was the only person in the world that knew of its existence.
            During the long drive back to Kansas City, he replayed the journal entries over and over in his mind.
            What his uncle had done reminded him of the old Johnny Cash song, One Piece at a Time. It was about a guy that worked on the assembly line at General Motors building Cadillac’s. The guy had always wanted one but knew he couldn’t afford one, so he devised a plan to steal one piece at a time over a period of years.
            One verse said, “I’ve never considered myself a thief, but GM wouldn’t miss just one little piece, especially if I strung it out over several years.”
            In the end he put all the parts together from 1949 to 1970 and had one “Psyco-Billy Cadillac!”
            Bernie couldn’t wait to get home and research the tour which had been named,

The Discovery of King Tut
His Tomb * His Treasures
The Breathtaking Recreation
             He was delighted to discover that the traveling exhibit was to be at Union Station in Kansas City in the near future.
            He had to get close to that exhibit and he figured out just the way to do it.
            Once back home, he made several trips to Union Station and discovered that many of the exhibits were manned by volunteers. He went to the Union Station website and clicked on the tab, ‘Volunteers.’ He read about becoming part of the team and clicked on the tab, ‘Click here to join now.’
            His night job with the cleaning company gave him his days free to volunteer at Union Station.
            That was three months ago. Since then, he had become a regular, spending every free minute volunteering and sucking up to the guy in charge. It had paid dividends. He had been assigned to the King Tut exhibit.
            He had helped unload the crates from the tractor-trailer rigs, helped clean the massive rooms that would house the exhibit and even gotten to help assemble the exhibit before opening day.
            He vividly remembered seeing the Anubis for the first time. It was everything he expected. It was beautiful. It was breathtaking. It was ferocious. It had been created by his uncle and as he stood there looking into the obsidian eyes, he knew that inside the black belly was a treasure that would soon be his.

Buy link:

Pharaoh's Curse has been downloaded over 44,000 times in the last four days and on Tuesday it was #1 in Amazon's 'Cozy Mystery' and 'Humor' categories, and #2 in Amazon's 'Top 100'.

Award-winning author, Robert Thornhill, began writing at the age of sixty-six and in five short years has penned seventeen novels in the Lady Justice mystery/comedy series, the seven volume Rainbow Road series of chapter books for children, a cookbook and a mini-autobiography.

Lady Justice and the Sting, Lady Justice and Dr. Death, Lady Justice and the Vigilante, Lady Justice and the Candidate, Lady Justice and the Book Club Murders, Lady Justice and the Cruise Ship Murders and Lady Justice and the Vet won the Pinnacle Award for the best new mystery novels of Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Summer 2012, Fall 2012, Spring of 2013, Summer 2013 and Spring of 2014 from the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs.

 Many of Walt’s adventures in the Lady Justice series are anecdotal and based on Robert’s real life.

Although Robert holds a master’s in psychology, he has never taken a course in writing and has never learned to type. All 28 of his published books were typed with one finger and a thumb!

His wit and insight come from his varied occupations, including thirty-three years as a real estate broker. He lives with his wife, Peg, in Independence, Missouri.

Visit him on the Web at:

Thank you for welcoming Bob to my site, and I hope all of you enjoy his books.  See you next Sunday.  Have a great week.

Sandra K. Marshall

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sleep Apnea and Miscellaneous Stuff

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Independence Day.  If you didn't remember our military on the 4th of July here is your chance.  Click on this link to help veterans who fought for our freedom.

For those of you in the Kansas City, Missouri area don't miss seeing the WWI museum at Liberty Memorial.  It is the only museum in the country dedicated to WWI, and they celebrating a 100 years since the war.   Here are some links to visit for prices, times and directions to their site. and Wednesday is the cheapest day to go there; it's only $7.00, but whatever you pay to visit it is well worth the price.  On any day but Wednesday ask for a military discount, or senior discount. 

It's just been recently, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea.  Most people think sleep apnea only happens to overweight people, but that's not the case.  Skinny people have sleep apnea, too.  Here's some of what I have learn about this disease. 

There are two main types of sleep apnea:

·                     Obstructive sleep apnea, the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax

·                     Central sleep apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing

Common Signs of Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

·                     Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

·                     Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea

·                     Episodes of breathing cessation during sleep witnessed by another person

·                     Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea

·                     Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat

·                     Morning headache

·                     Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

·                     Attention problems

Causes of obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. These muscles support the soft palate, the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils, the side walls of the throat and the tongue.

When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in, and you can't get an adequate breath in. This may lower the level of oxygen in your blood. Your brain senses this inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep so you can reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you don't remember it.

You may make a snorting, choking or gasping sound. This pattern can repeat itself five to 30 times or more each hour, all night long. These disruptions impair your ability to reach the desired deep, restful phases of sleep, and you'll probably feel sleepy during your waking hours.

People with obstructive sleep apnea may not be aware that their sleep was interrupted. In fact, some people with this type of sleep apnea think they sleep well all night.

Causes of central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea, which is much less common, occurs when your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles. You may awaken with shortness of breath or have a difficult time getting to sleep or staying asleep. Like with obstructive sleep apnea, snoring and daytime sleepiness can occur. The most common cause of central sleep apnea is heart failure and, less commonly, a stroke. People with central sleep apnea may be more likely to remember awakening than are people with obstructive sleep apnea.

Risk Factor for Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea

·                     Excess weight. Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing. However, not everyone who has sleep apnea is overweight. Thin people develop this disorder, too.

·                     Neck circumference. People with a thicker neck may have a narrower airway.

·                     A narrowed airway. You may have inherited a naturally narrow throat. Or, your tonsils or adenoids may become enlarged, which can block your airway.

·                     Being male. Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea. However, women increase their risk if they're overweight, and their risk also appears to rise after menopause.

·                     Being older. Sleep apnea occurs significantly more often in adults older than 60.

·                     Family history. If you have family members with sleep apnea, you may be at increased risk.

·                     Race. In people under 35 years old, blacks are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea.

·                     Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers. These substances relax the muscles in your throat.

·                     Smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than are people who've never smoked. Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. This risk likely drops after you quit smoking.

·                     Nasal congestion. If you have difficulty breathing through your nose — whether it's from an anatomical problem or allergies — you're more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea

·                     Being male. Males are more likely to develop central sleep apnea.

·                     Being older. People older than 65 years of age have a higher risk of having central sleep apnea, especially if they also have other risk factors.

·                     Heart disorders. People with atrial fibrillation or congestive heart failure are more at risk of central sleep apnea.

·                     Stroke or brain tumor. These conditions can impair the brain's ability to regulate breathing.

Complications caused by sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition. Complications may include:

·                     High blood pressure or heart problems. Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea increase blood pressure and strain the cardiovascular system. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) is greater than if you don't. The more severe your sleep apnea, the greater the risk of high blood pressure. However, obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of stroke, regardless of whether or not you have high blood pressure. If there's underlying heart disease, these multiple episodes of low blood oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxemia) can lead to sudden death from a cardiac event. Studies also show that obstructive sleep apnea is associated with increased risk of atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure and other vascular diseases. In contrast, central sleep apnea usually is the result, rather than the cause, of heart disease.

·                     Daytime fatigue. The repeated awakenings associated with sleep apnea make normal, restorative sleep impossible. People with sleep apnea often experience severe daytime drowsiness, fatigue and irritability. You may have difficulty concentrating and find yourself falling asleep at work, while watching TV or even when driving. You may also feel irritable, moody or depressed. Children and adolescents with sleep apnea may do poorly in school or have behavior problems.

·                     Complications with medications and surgery. Obstructive sleep apnea is also a concern with certain medications and general anesthesia. People with sleep apnea may be more likely to experience complications following major surgery because they're prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs. Before you have surgery, tell your doctor that you have sleep apnea and how it's treated. Undiagnosed sleep apnea is especially risky in this situation.

·                     Liver problems. People with sleep apnea are more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests, and their livers are more likely to show signs of scarring.

·                     Sleep-deprived partners. Loud snoring can keep those around you from getting good rest and eventually disrupt your relationships. It's not uncommon for a partner to go to another room, or even on another floor of the house, to be able to sleep. Many bed partners of people who snore are sleep-deprived as well.

People with sleep apnea may also complain of memory problems, morning headaches, mood swings or feelings of depression, a need to urinate frequently at night (nocturia), and a decreased interest in sex. Children with untreated sleep apnea may be hyperactive and may be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

I used these links for my sources on sleep apnea and you can find even more information on them. and

I hope you have enjoyed my blog today.  Have a great week, and I'll see you next Sunday.

Sandra K. Marshall, Author

Sunday, June 29, 2014

When Do You Know You Aren't In Love Anymore?

Is it when you say, 'I hate you,' stop communicating, run around on each other, or is it because you just gave up?   There's a thin line between hate and love, so it would be something that could go either way.  Although, it's not uncommon for you to really dislike your spouse one minute and love them the next. 

Communication is always important, but even then it's still possible to still love someone and not communicate as much as you once did.  Usually, it's a sign of taking each other for granted.  Sometimes all it takes is finding a new interest to do together to start you talking to one another. 

Even if one spouse runs around on the other it doesn't mean they don't love you; they might just be a little bored with you, or you're not providing something they need.  A couple like this could work it out if they want to. 

Giving up is the most common reason for why marriages don't last.  People get mad and they quit working at their marriage.  It's so much easier to quit on a relationship than to work at it, and I guarantee it takes work in any relationship. 

There are times when you can't love someone anymore.  For instance, someone you love turns out to be abusive; it's time to get out then.  Your partner murders another person; it's time to get out. 
In my new soon to be released short story, All Bets Are Off, the heroine has a gambling addiction, which nearly costs her husband his business.  Would you still love someone who did that to you?

Could you trust them again? 

Thank you for reading.  Have a great week, and I'll see you next Sunday.

Sandra K. Marshall, Author
@ Eirelander Publishing

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Are Memories of Events Accurate?

Most people have so-called flashbulb memories of where they were and what they were doing when something momentous happened: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, say, or the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. (Unfortunately, staggeringly terrible news seems to come out of the blue more often than staggeringly good news.) But as clear and detailed as these memories feel, psychologists find they are surprisingly inaccurate.

Eye witness accounts are often unreliable.  There are cases where a person has ended upon death roll and the person is innocent.  Here is one such case:  A man was convicted of rape and murder of a child in 1984 by five eye witnesses.  After serving 9 years in prison,
DNA proved him not guilty.  Such devastating mistakes by eyewitnesses are not rare according to a report by the Innocence Project.
Memories are stored in a region of the brain called the hippocampus, shown in red in this computer illustration.  Photo by Researchers, Inc.

Researchers have known for decades that memories are unreliable.  They're particularly adjustable when actively recalled because at that point they're pulled out of a stable molecular state.  Last spring, scientists published a study performed at the University of Washington in which adult volunteers completed a survey about their eating and drinking habits before age 16.  A week later, they were given personalized analyses of their answers that stated - falsely - that they had gotten sick from rum or vodka as a teen.  One in five not only didn't notice the lie, but also recalled false memories about it and rated that beverage as less desirable than they had before.  Studies like these point to possible treatments for mental health problems.  Both PTSD and addiction disorders hing on memories that can trigger problematic behaviors, such as crippling fear caused by loud noises or cravings brought about by the sight of drug paraphernalia.

Childhood memories are often inaccurate.  We can be led to believe almost anything if we are told the same thing over and over again. Memory is not like a video recorder, recording every moment of our lives in accurate detail. It is a murky, complex system that can be manipulated as research shows.  There have been cases where a psychologist or psychiatrist has led a child to believe sexual abuse happened to them when it didn't.  An ordinary adult can manipulate and convince others something happened in their childhood that didn't, or at least not the way they remember it.

Hypnosis is, also, and inaccurate tool, but yet has been heavily relied on.  Okay, my question for all of you:  Is your memory of events accurate, or twisted?  I know for a fact that my siblings and I have different memories.  Life is too short to allow bad memories to live in your mind, especially, when they mostly inaccurate. 

Thank you for reading.  Have a great week, and I'll see you again next Sunday.

Sandra K. Marshall, Author
@ Eirelander Publishing