Sunday, July 26, 2009


by Anne Stortz
from Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul

When all the world is looming dark
And things seem not so clear,
When shadows seem to hover 'round
Lord, may I persevere.

When it seems everything's been tried
And there's no way to go,
Just let me keep remembering
Sometimes the journey's slow.

I may just need to stop and rest
Along the path I trod,
A time to try to understand
And have my talk with God.

As I gain new strength to carry on
Without a doubt or fear,
Somehow I know things will be right,
And so, I persevere.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Obama's Health Reforms Can Mean Life or Death

I recently wrote an article about Obama’s health care reform efforts for a local Brooklyn publication. The article should be published in the next week or so. I am limited in what I could write here because they’ve paid me for the first rights to my information in the article.

Because I’ve examined the 1014 page legislation proposed and have written an article about it, I support this health care reform effort pushed by Obama. After the American Medical Association (AMA) reviewed the proposed legislation, they now also support it (which is an 180 degree turn from their original position, and their historical position in opposing previous reform efforts by past presidents).

I also support the current reform efforts because I had personally faced difficulties from the broken health system, and because of insider understanding of certain things when I worked at UCSF (medical school and medical center.) I urge everyone to support H.R. 3200 and Obama’s health care reform efforts, because what happened to me (when I had to deal with the broken health care system) can very well happen to you and to anyone, and it has happened to many in this country and some/many have died or become disabled because of the broken health system. Unfortunately, most people don't really know how bad things are until they actually go through such situations. Don't wait until you are fighting an illness and facing death/disability before you support Obama's health reforms. It would be too late by then. We have a rare window of opportunity to change things now. Don't let it slip. Support Obama's health care reform efforts. Call or write to your senators and congressmen.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

The Confidently Wrong

I am just so sick of people who are “confidently wrong”. From the start, they have the attitude that what they are saying is right. They are very confident in what they know. You being a listener let them finish everything they want to say, to give them a chance to be right. May be if they complete their whole explanation, you will find that they are right. However, after they complete their point, they are still unfortunately dead wrong. (Honestly, I really wish people are right, because I really hate to debate them. Unfortunately, I have too much information/facts (in my head as well as in my computer. That can be a gift, but in these cases it’s a curse.)

Now you (knowing that you have the resources, literature, or documentation to back up what you know) start explaining to them. However, before you even get 10% of your explanation out of your mouth, they cut you off. They don't give you the same respect of finishing your point, the respect that you've given them. They say, “Stop” as if you are being unreasonable, when you spoke for less than a minute after listening to them for five minutes. You just want to presenting information, backed by documented facts that you have, just like you do when you teach a seminar or a class. They cut you off before you can finish, or before you barely started, and they act as if you are being unreasonable. But you barely started your explanation or correction of what they said, although you gave them the benefit of the doubt and allowed them to completely finish their point (even though it ended up to be wrong).

In the end, you try to get your last few words out before they start to get mad, “I have resources to back up what I am saying.” They don't even let you tell them quickly where you obtained your information. They cut you off because they are not interested in seeing the facts, since it conflicts with what they think they know (from a seminar or from reading, in which they misunderstood the teacher or the writer).

I think more people in this society need to understand the importance of knowledge and how to seek knowledge in depth and accurately. It is usually the non-readers and non-seekers of knowledge who are among these “confidently wrong” (although even the knowledgeable sometimes are “confidently wrong” on occasion, usually because of a stronghold on their ego which blindsides them from the facts.)

More people need to embrace the exchange of ideas in a civil manner, which includes listening and allowing both sides of an argument ample time to present their information.

For some reason, I have been coming across people who don’t understand this. However, I don’t tell people this because that doesn’t achieve anything. Also, they’ll say, “You’re a know it all” and put you in the same category among the know-it-alls who do not have the facts to back up what they are saying.

This is why I like science, or at least the part where facts and findings are documented, or published. You have to be objective. If you are right, you have literature to back things up, regardless of your lack of ability to be a politician or debater. This is also why I love to write. In writing, you get to finish all your points without interruption and you present your sources. The wise readers could read what you have and check your sources. The unwise readers can stop reading whenever they want. However, there are usually enough wise and knowledgeable readers out there to recognize the information you are presenting (if they are backed by facts and well thought out).

I think God is trying to remind me or push me by recently bringing me so many incidences of the “confidently wrong.” They are in the family, within my friends, and even among my clients. I think God is really pushing me to get my writing (or the writing portion of my plans/goals) going. The writing portion of my plans has been progressing, but at a crawling speed. (There are many portions/components of my plans but most people don’t understand this, but they will. Unfortunately, people will only understand when the millions of dollars start rolling in. Although I do currently get paid from some of my writings and from teaching/tutoring college students how to write and research, I am still not at the level where I am meant to be yet.)

This entry is somewhat of a rant. However, there is a lesson for us all here. First of all, we all need to listen, and not just speak and cut others off, and not quickly get agitated if you don't agree. Even if you think you are right, let people finish presenting their information before you analyze everything. Then, analyze everything objectively, getting your ego out of the way. As I've written in a previous entry "Is There Room In Your Cup", come with an empty cup. I consciously try to do this (since I probably am also the "confidently wrong" on occasion. I haven't totally rid my ego, which is quite hard to do. But I believe I am on the right track since I am conscious of all of this.) Those who are not conscious of this are more likely to be among the confidently wrong.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Facing Uncertainties (Part 2) - Do Not Fear the Unknown

Previously, I wrote (in part 1 of this “Facing Uncertainties” series)about seeing your gloomy situation with a different perspective, so that you can see the hidden opportunities and get the lesson God is presenting before you.

So far, the most important thing you must understand can be summed up in five words – do not fear the unknown. For me, God really drove this lesson home when I was facing surgery after surgery years ago as the doctors (and I) were scrambling to keep me from becoming disabled.

Why is it important to not fear the unknown when you are in the middle of a storm full of uncertainties? Let’s use the analogy of the dangerous situations law enforcement officers and military personnel often have to encounter. It is apparent to any one of these brave souls that you cannot panic or have fear in such treacherous situations. This metaphor applies also to the various uncertain situations you may face in life.

Fear exists because of doubt. You would not fear if there’s no doubt in you. Fear and doubt normally go hand in hand. Fear and doubt are the complete opposites of faith. Anything in opposed to faith hinders you from the outcome you desire. This is especially true for health conditions including terminal conditions.

Often, your situation is meant to strengthen you and your faith, and to move you to go to God and ask Him for help. Sadly, some people still refuse to go to God for help even in a desperate situation. It really doesn’t make any sense because they really have nothing to lose in seeking God and praying to Him for help. As my ophthalmologist said, “It doesn’t hurt.” In medicine, they often weigh the risks vs. benefits when considering whether they want to go ahead with a specific intervention. In this case, there are no risks in prayer, but there are potential benefits (as documented by scientific studies).

When you do figure out that it is best to go to God to ask Him for help, try your best to not doubt and not fear. From experience, I know that this is easier said than done. It is easier said than done when you are facing the possibility of becoming disabled, the possibility of losing your home, or the possibility of losing your life. However, you have to try your best as the enormous importance is taught in the book of James.

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” James 1:6-8

How do you not doubt and not fear when you are in such dire situations, you may be asking? Other than prayer as I’ve already mentioned, there are other things you can be doing, but they first require an initial spiritual understanding (including the understanding of the enormous power of your mind and spirit when connected to God). More on this in later blogs.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Health Insurance Options When Unemployed

Nine months ago, I wrote an article in a local newspaper about how to keep your insurance if you become unemployed in New York. It is unbelievable how many people have lost their jobs since then. Because of the increasing layoffs, I feel that I should provide here the link to the Bay Currents issue containing this important article (on page 5 "Health Currents" section):

Also, my editor had eliminated some important parts from my original article. Below, is an important part that has been eliminated and not in the published version:

So, what do you do about your health coverage if you lose your job? You should first ask the human resources representative (of the company from which you departed) about COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA allows you (the former employee) to continue the same insurance after your departure from the company, but you must notify human resources and the health insurance company's plan administrator within 60 days of your departure. Unfortunately, you would have to pay the monthly premium of the insurance under COBRA. Despite paying the premium out-of-pocket, this option is very important for people with a pre-existing medical condition who must have health coverage. Under COBRA, the health insurance companies are not allowed to include an exclusion clause (excluding coverage of the pre-existing condition) nor are they allowed to charge them more than 102% of the original employer-paid premium. If you have to buy insurance on your own, it is common practice of insurance companies to drastically raise the price for individuals with pre-existing conditions (any little ailment or major chronic disease you've had in the past can be considered a pre-existing condition).

While you maintain your COBRA eligibility, you should simultaneously look into free health insurance programs. Paying for health insurance is the last thing you need when you are laid off. Fortunately, unemployed New Yorkers are likely to be eligible for one of these government sponsored insurance programs...

Free health insurance programs for which you may be qualified if you are unemployed:


Family Health Plus


Healthy NY


Child Medicaid and Child Health Plus

If you are married and unemployed, another option you should look into is your spouse's health insurance from work. You could very well be covered by it.

Note that the information here are for New York residents. States vary in the programs offered and on eligibility criteria.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Make Room In Your Cup

An expert on Eastern philosophy, a professor, travels to the East to learn more about Eastern philosophies. He travels to the East to meet with this Eastern guru who he has always wanted to meet. When the professor finally meets with the guru, he sits with him to have tea. As this guru explains things, the expert/professor constantly interrupts the guru. The professor frequently interrupts with what he knows from his own studies. Finally the guru stops talking and begins to serve tea to the professor. Although the professor's cup is already full, the guru continues to pour. Consequently, the tea overflows onto the professor's lap. The professor jumps up and yells, "Stop pouring. The cup is already full!" The guru calmly responds, "You are like this cup. You are so full of what you already know that you have no room for my tea."

For those of you who are or were mixed martial artists over the age of 30, you probably have heard this story in the past. This story applies to mixed martial arts. However, it also applies to many different areas in life.

We all have the natural tendency to not leave room for new tea. We all have the natural tendency of rejecting new tea that we have never tried. I see that many people suffer from this (including those who proclaim themselves to be open-minded).

I have learned long ago to always approach new things or new people with an empty cup. This may mean that I am setting aside my old tea temporarily, but not permanently discard the old tea. Most of the time, I end up mixing the new tea with the old tea in right proportions creating a much better blend of mixed tea.

In order to be able to stretch our minds or to have lots of room for new tea, one requirement is humility. Many smart people I know reach their upper limit because they lack humility. As smart or wise as they may be, they could have been smarter or wiser if they are more humble.

There is unfortunately a majority of people who are so fixated on what they already know or how everyone has always thought. They have no clue most of the miseries or dissatisfactions in their lives could be eliminated if they humble themselves and just let in some new ideas or knowledge from someone else (including someone who may be younger or even someone who seems inferior.) Some people are able to do this in some areas but not in other areas. They are the ones who proclaim themselves as open-minded. But in the areas where they leave no room for new tea, they just say "I am open-minded" but they continue to leave no room for new tea in that area. Is there an area in your life where you are not leaving room for new tea? Honestly?

As I have already mentioned, this concept of making room for "new tea" is important in many areas in life. Therefore, many of my future blog entries will refer back to this "new tea" metaphor, especially when I see many in my life who understand this concept but they keep coming with an already full cup.

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