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Before the days of computers, our parents and grandparents used books, magazines, newspapers, dictionaries, encyclopedias, the library, teachers, and their own parents and grandparents to learn.  Learning is a life-long task where we discover things created by man and revealed by God.   And it is the best way to keep our minds healthy the older we get.

My mother’s father read the daily newspaper religiously.  The day was not right if the paper was late. This is because it was his joy to share what he read with his wife, my grandmother who did not have the time to read the paper.  (Or maybe she chose not to do so that they could share that special time together.  I will never know, because I never asked.)   My father’s father was an avid baker, reading cookbooks and recipes he collected for years.  He then turned around and gifted members of the family with a homemade cake or pie or bread.  Both grandfathers stayed “young at heart” by discovering a way to keep their minds alert while doing something they found enjoyable.  Both of these men lived and died without a television as children and computer their whole life and until the last six months of their lives, they lived normal healthy lives well into their eighties.

My mother died, on the other hand too early.  She lived a short sixty-three years, as did her mother and her grandmother.  My mother lived a very addictive unhealthy life for the most part.  But she was funny, kind, a good friend, mother, grandmother and wife.  Everyone loved her.  I never saw my mother exercise in her life – not walking, hiking, swimming, running, dancing, aerobics, nothing.  And yet her heart and mind were strong and healthy.  This is because she read books and magazines and always looked for ways to stimulate her mind.  Her favorite magazine was the Reader’s Digest and especially Word Power, a regular column that lists words related to a theme with a multiple choice of answers for each word.  Answers were provided but my mother never cheated.  She worked diligently studying the words until she got them all right.  My mother also grew up without a TV or computer but I feel certain that had she lived into her eighties as her father, she would have welcomed a computer in her home.

Three generations later, I too, grew up without a computer, but there has always been a television set in my home as a child and today.  And I have used a computer for over thirty years.  But it was not until I started writing that I came to realize what a benefit to my health the computer is; for it is through the Internet that I search and research for the articles, stories, blogs that I write.  Here I find recipes, spiritual guidance, articles on health and fitness, and mental strategies to stay alert.  For example I signed up today to get A.Word.A.Day by Anu Garg  through a daily email.  It was free and like my grandfathers and my mother I can use the daily words to expand my world by forcing myself to learn something new each day keeping me well and whole and healthy.

P.S. Today’s word is picaresque.  “One of my favorite pastimes is watching the picaresque movie Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHaviland.” ~ My sentence.

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