Binding and Loosing

Let us follow Jesus in offering forgiveness.

Breaking Free

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18

Set Free (via Brother Give Us a Word)
Jesus’ unbinding is understood metaphorically as the experience of forgiveness, of being set free from a prison of our own past: things done or left undone, said or left unsaid, by others to us or by us ourselves.
-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

September is National Preparedness Month

Feeling prepared for a situation – be it a job interview, a new baby or a sudden disaster – not only helps us experience less fear and anxiety, but can actually improve how things go. The three most important things you can do to prepare for a disaster are to make a plan, be informed and get a kit.

2017 National Preparedness Month

As our own Episcopal Relief & Development Fund (ERD) works to respond, recover, and rebuild with local partners after Hurricane Harvey, so, too, do they encourage us to be prepared.

Visit the ERD Page US Disaster Program Preparedness Resources. Once there, follow up by evaluating and improving your preparedness for disasters of all kinds.

Resources for Seniors in Riverside County, CA

We’ve updated our Resource List for Seniors and Caregivers. Our list begins with the Riverside County Office on Aging.

Precious Elder Ministry of St. Hugh's

We’ve updated our Resource List for Seniors and Caregivers. The resources listed are within driving distance of Idyllwild and our Mountain Communities.

View or Download our Resouce List updated 1 September 2017

New heart treatment is biggest breakthrough since statins, scientists say

A report in the Guardian about research, on heart health and anti-inflammatory treatment, conducted over the last 4 years in the US.

US researchers find heart attack survivors given anti-inflammatory injections have fewer future episodes and lower cancer risk

Source: New heart treatment is biggest breakthrough since statins, scientists say | Science | The Guardian

Thyroid Cancer is the Fastest-Growing Cancer in America

In seeking to keep older Americans healthy and well, the AARP regularly posts information and suggestions for each of us to consider. Here is a recent article about Thyroid Cancer.

 

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Originally posted by Cheryl Bond-Nelms, on AARP, July 5, 2017.

As with all articles expressing facts and/or opinions about health and wellness: nothing in the sharing of this article is meant to be medical advice. Please consult your own healthcare provider as you monitor and/or research your own health needs.

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Nearly three out of four cases of thyroid cancer are found in women.

Although the death rate from cancer in America is down 25 percent since 1991, there is one type of cancer rapidly increasing in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, the chance of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has tripled over the last three decades, making it the fastest-growing cancer.The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck, shaped like a butterfly. It produces hormones that enter the bloodstream and affect the metabolism, heart, brain, muscles and liver, and keep the body functioning properly and effectively.The estimates for cases of thyroid cancer in America for 2017 have increased, and rates are higher in women than men, according to these figures published on cancer.org.

  • In 2017, there will be an estimated 56,870 new cases of thyroid cancer  — 42,470 in women and 14,400 in men.
  • An estimated 2,010 deaths will result from thyroid cancer  — 1,090 in women and 920 in men.

Women account for nearly three-quarters of thyroid cancer cases. The exact cause of most thyroid cancers is unknown. Research has concluded that better imaging technology has increased the number of thyroid cancer cases diagnosed. “Much of this rise appears to be the result of the increased use of thyroid ultrasound, which can detect small thyroid nodules that might not otherwise have been found in the past,” the American Cancer Society says.What are the signs or symptoms related to thyroid cancer? The American Cancer Society lists the following on cancer.org:

  • lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A constant cough that is not due to a cold

Talk with your doctor immediately if you have any of the signs or symptoms associated with thyroid cancer. Noncancerous conditions or even other cancers can also cause many of the symptoms.How can you protect yourself?Experts say most people found to have thyroid cancer have no known risk factors, and so emphasize that most cases can not be prevented. Professionals suggest regular self-exams to catch thyroid changes in the earliest stages as one of the best means of protection.Here are five steps to performing a self-exam from thyroidawareness.com:

  1. Hold a mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones and below the voice box (larynx).
  2. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
  3. Take a drink of water and swallow.
  4. As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow. Reminder: Don’t confuse the Adam’s apple with the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located farther down the neck, closer to the collarbone. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  5. If you see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid gland or a thyroid nodule that should be checked to determine whether further evaluation is needed.

Health professionals estimate that 15 million Americans have undiagnosed thyroid problems. The good news is that the survival rate of thyroid cancer patients is higher than for most other cancers. Early detection of thyroid cancer can open up more treatment options. You can also ask your doctor to check your thyroid health with a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, a blood test that can determine whether the gland is functioning normally.

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Even more information

SHERIFF’S OFFICIALS WARN OF SPIKE IN “VIRTUAL KIDNAPPING” SCAMS

This scam has been particularly prevalent in California, especially among Hispanic victims, the elderly and the affluent, but similar scams have been reported by victims of all financial backgrounds across the nation, according to a recent FBI report.

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Originally posted on Riverside County News Source August 19, 2017

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After a recent spike of incidents in Riverside County involving phone-based, kidnapping scams, Riverside County sheriff’s officials are reminding citizens to be wary of and to immediately report any phone calls or texts from an unknown person claiming a family member or loved one has been kidnapped or is being held for ransom.

The scams, which law enforcement officials and federal investigators first began to see in 2013 and have dubbed “virtual kidnappings,” have become more common and have been gaining popularity among criminals looking for a quick and too often very easy payout.

The scam has been particularly prevalent in California, especially among Hispanic victims, the elderly and the affluent, but similar scams have been reported by victims of all financial backgrounds across the nation, according to a recent FBI report.

One 2015 task force uncovers over 80 victims of virtual kidnappings

In 2015, the FBI began a task force, dubbed “Operation Hotel Tango,” with Los Angeles-area law enforcement agencies. The multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency task force located more than 80 victims throughout California, Texas, Idaho and Minnesota. With average losses around $1,000 per family, the victim’s losses totaled $74,000.

Although many of the cases involved suspects looking for a quick, if not substantial, payout, some of the cases have been known to yield tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In many of the known cases, the victims were contacted over the phone by unknown suspects who claimed that their loved ones had been kidnapped. The suspects often said the kidnapped person had witnessed a crime, owed a debt or been smuggled across the border into Mexico and that they would be tortured and killed if a ransom was not paid immediately.

In some cases, victims reported they could hear the agonized screams of a person they were manipulated to believe was their family member. This was done to cause fear and panic in order to quickly extort ransom payments from the victims.

By the time the victims learned their family members had not been kidnapped and had never been in danger, the “ransom payments” had already been sent off to the scammers and were unrecoverable.

The callers have also often been known to keep the person on the phone throughout the process of obtaining and wiring the money, to ensure the terrified victim does not have an opportunity to contact law enforcement officials, friends or other family members.

One parent shares her two-hour long, nightmare ordeal

In one such incident reported to law enforcement officials in March of this year, the mother of a California Baptist University student was contacted by a unknown number with a Mexico prefix.

When the victim, 60-year-old, Laura Bontrager, answered the phone the first thing she heard was the screaming of a young woman, followed by an unknown man who got onto the phone and said he had kidnapped the woman’s college-aged daughter. The man told the victim he was holding a gun to her daughter’s stomach.

The man told Bontrager that her daughter had witnessed a crime involving a child and the only way she would ever get to see her daughter alive again was to wire him a ransom in Mexico. The man then ordered the victim to go to a bank and pull out as much money as she could.

Over the next two hours, the suspect kept the terrified victim on the phone, using the mother’s fear for her daughter to control her actions in trying to accomplish what he wanted.

After Bontrager went to an ATM and pulled out $1,000, her bank’s limit, and prepared to wire the money to the “kidnapper” her husband managed to get in touch with the daughter who had allegedly been kidnapped.

To the parent’s relief, their daughter was safe and at one of her classes at the college.

FBI warns of sharp increase of virtual kidnapping incidents

At a July 2017, press conference in Los Angeles, the FBI warned Southern Californians about the scam, saying that countless Southern California residents were known to have been targeted by scammers claiming to have kidnapped the victims’ loved ones. Although officials have identified many victims, they believe the true number of victims is much higher, but that many of the victims choose not to report the crimes.

During the press conference, one victim, a Westside LAPD traffic sergeant, shared his experience when he was targeted – unsuccessfully – during a similar virtual kidnapping scam.

The sergeant, explained he had been driving on the 405 Freeway when he received a phone call from a number he did not recognize. When he answered the phone, he could hear a person screaming, “Daddy, daddy, help me!”

“I didn’t recognize the voice,” the sergeant said, “so I tried to explain to her that she needed to call 911.”

At that point another person’s voice came onto the line and told the sergeant that his daughter had been kidnapped and he had to transfer money to the suspect in order to get his daughter back safely.

“They specifically threatened to put a bullet in the back of my child’s head,” the sergeant said.

As the phone call continued – for over one hour – the terrified sergeant spotted some Torrance police officers, who were able to determine that the intended victim’s daughter was safe at her school.

How to avoid being scammed by virtual kidnap schemes

According to many law enforcement agencies across the nation that have been hit by these types of scams, some common indicators you might be falling victim to a virtual kidnap scam include if:

— Incoming calls come from an outside area code or from these specific area codes: 787, 939 and 856.

— Calls come from an unknown number rather than from the alleged kidnap victim’s phone.

— Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone while demanding you obtain ransom money.

— Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer, which allows the money to be picked up anywhere in the world, or by specific means such as a “Green Dot” card.

Law enforcement agencies have also suggested potential victims try to slow the situation down. Call recipients should request to speak to the victim directly or ask for other forms of “proof of life” from the alleged kidnappers. If the kidnappers refuse to allow you speak with the victim, ask them to describe the victim, the vehicle they drive, or to answer some questions that only the real victim would know.

If the callers can not answer your questions or refuse to provide proof that your loved one is alive and uninjured, chances are you are being targeted by scammers looking for a quick buck.

Anyone with information regarding this type of fraudulent activity is encouraged to contact their local law enforcement agency. Those who live within jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Department can also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

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Even more information

Sneeze into your arm

Help those around you stay healthy.

Man sneezing into arm

This first appeared in 9 Healthy Habits You Can Do in 1 Minute (Or Less) from LiveScience on July 5, 2013.

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When you don’t have a tissue handy to cover your mouth and nose, your best bet is to cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow, or upper arm, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The point is to avoid using your hands, which may not be that clean, and can also easily spread germs around. Covering up also prevents germ-laden droplets from getting launched into the air, where they can land on frequently touched surfaces and infect others.

This simple technique is not only good advice for adults and kids to remember during cold and flu season, but it’s also a smart health move any time — when allergies strike, or a bug is going around.