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Seasonal Allergies vs Lemon Water

Written by:  Preston Thompson

               Who loves Spring weather? I do! It may be unpredictable sometimes with cold mornings and mild to hot afternoons and evenings, but after a true Winter season is over you can enjoy the warmer weather. It’s just something about the Spring that says, “I want to start new and clean out all the junk I had stored in the colder months.” It also tells us, “Now is the time to rearrange my life!” Activities from walking the dog without wearing layers to little league baseball with the children to barbecues that leave a nice-smelling aroma around the neighborhood make Spring one of the best times of the year.

We human beings are not the only creatures participating in the Springtime fun. Nature, of course, gets involved in all the Springtime activities. As soon as the vernal equinox gifts Earth with more hours of sunlight, nature takes its course. Since the beginning of time, nature has a natural affinity for the Spring. The grass starts to wake up from its six-month dormancy, the animals begin to roam more, and oh yeah, pollination reaches its peak during the Spring months. Trees, ragweed (weeds), and grass begin their mating season by releasing pollen into the atmosphere in hopes that it catches its mate to germinate and produce more offspring during this time. Then the bees, nature’s most valuable player, play a major role in most plant cycles.

               This sounds like the best time to be alive, and it is…unless you have springtime seasonal allergies. As soon as the first signs of warmth hit the atmosphere and the plants begin to release pollen, our sensitive immune systems become active! Immunoglobin E (look it up) is our own antagonist for the perfect Spring. One of five immunoglobin antibodies involved in allergic responses kicks into high defense mode when our body detects an allergen (for this blog, the allergen will be pollen). It fights pollen by releasing histamines from the mast cells (can you tell I took a biochemistry class before?). Our responses include watery itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing, itchy skin, rashes, snotty noses, itchy throats and mouths, swelling, and enough mucus to keep the paper wipes manufacturers in business. In extreme cases histamines can cause fevers. People with asthma suffer from difficult breathing when allergens are present at high levels thus producing more histamines that tells the body to create more mucus in the lungs.  

               And if you are like me, my best friends are the antihistamines during the Spring months. Thanks to today’s smartphones I am looking on the Weather Channel App and to see the predicted pollen count from day to day. I have had most brands of antihistamines throughout my life from Allegra to Zyrtec. Year after year I am telling myself just make it to June, the Summer will come and the pollen count will not be as high, yet manageable. I get that 12 to 24-hour relief when I pop one with some water, but I have had situations where my immune system developed a tolerance to the antihistamine and had to switch up the brand. It is an uphill battle for many of us allergy sufferers.

               Please note I do not work in the healthcare industry nor am I a dietician, but I found a sidekick that alleviates most of my allergy symptoms in an unexpected way. On my path to becoming healthier, I wrote a blog or two about running in 5K’s and how I want to continue running in more so I can stay disciplined on my path to become healthier. So, one day in February my coworker told me about how he drinks lemon water for more energy. I thought to myself that I should give it a try. I do love lemons, and if it can give me energy then I want to take my chances.

               Spring started a few weeks earlier this year. As pollen counts begin to rise, so did the allergy symptoms. Day after day I took Zyrtec and a nose shot of Flonase as a part of my daily routine only to see those symptoms of springtime allergies return hours before the 24-hour relief ended. Thinking to myself this cannot be my entire Spring. By the first official day of Spring, I maintained my routine with the addition of lemon water.

The mixture is very simple. I cut one whole lemon in half followed by squeezing the juice with a handheld lemon squeezer into a cup. Then, I pour the lemon juice into 7 ounces of water. Next, I stir or cap and shake for a minute then drink. Some experts recommend drinking lemon water twice a day in the morning and at night before bed. I typically drink lemon water everyday during allergy season in the morning and go about my day.

SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU ARE SQUIMISH: The first week of drinking lemon water I noticed I was coughing up lots of mucus, thick mucus at that. My sinuses were constantly draining mucus out of my nose as well. Within a week I noticed my allergic symptoms reduced, and the expelling of mucus from my nose and mouth decreased.

NOW YOU CAN CONTINUE READING:  After one week of drinking lemon water, I was skipping days of taking allergy medication as the forecasted pollen count was rising by the day. I was able to do more outdoor activities with little to no symptoms from the pollen allergy. For even better relief I began adding natural honey to my lemon water for a soothing feeling.

I still use allergy medication from time to time, but since drinking lemon water daily I have not been as dependent on it as I was in previous years. What I like most about this lemon water is not only has it minimized my allergy symptoms to pollen, but this home remedy is so easy to make for the on-the-go person. Since lemons are a good source of vitamin C, it can help reduce risk of heart disease and aid in digestive health. And did I not mention since drinking lemon water daily I have more energy to juggle my busy life.

Please note I am no dietician, nutritionist, or work in the medical field. Everything I wrote in this blog is self-observed improvements I have experienced within my own body as a person who suffers from seasonal Spring allergies associated with pollen. Human physiology comes from the years I took courses in Human Anatomy & Physiology and Biochemistry. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits of drinking lemon water before deciding to stock up on lemons from your local grocery store and/or farmer’s market. Your healthcare provider knows what works best for your health and has developed a plan to make you healthier. If drinking lemon water is part of that plan, then I say give it a try.

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Running in my Second 5K

Written by: Preston Thompson

What’s going on family and friends? It’s your favorite and only blogger here at The Book of Think Pieces, Preston, coming with some new content. It has been a month since I last posted a blog so I will get right to it. In the morning I am sticking with my New Year’s Resolution and running in my second 5K.

I am excited I can’t sleep right now so I am writing to get this excitement out of my mind. I feel good, got my family and support cheering me on, I am ready! Training three times a week leading up to this moment. I even picked out my athletic wear for the 5K like it’s the first day of school. Fake Spring has left for the weekend as Winter weather is forecasted for the start of the Saturday morning, and temperatures may climb up slightly by the end of the 5K. Breakfast is ready and stored in the refrigerator, got my alarm set for two hours before the race…I am ready!

Well, wish me luck, and I will see you at the finish line!

And if you have any advice for my next 5K, please comment below. Have a good Saturday!

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A Think Piece on Sunday #5: My 2023 Prayer for You

Written By: Preston Thompson

First, Happy New Year!

2022 is over and our New Year’s resolution did not go as planned. It started out well with hope, ambition, and determination, but somewhere in the year those traits gradually decline. Before we knew it, the 2022 Holiday Season was here while our resolutions from the beginning of the year never got out of the first steps. No big deal! 2022 was not our year, but 2023 will be!

Year after year we set New Year’s Resolution to better our lives. This year will be the year we lose weight, eat better, exercise more, get those numbers down at the annual physical, find a better job, get a promotion, start a business, start a side hustle, be a better person, improve our mental health, work on clearing debt, the list goes on. From there, once we accomplish our resolutions for the year it hopefully becomes a lifestyle.

Like the average person who have real lives, we started strong in January 2022. By Spring 2022, we began to drop out one by one. We became good at our resolutions when the first results were good, but when the results became consistent our efforts began to decrease. What happened? Year after year we get to a certain point within the resolution then stop. What is missing that have us making the same resolution every year only to see little to no improvements in our lives?

Well, it is quite simple. For 2023 I pray you find discipline in your resolution when it gets tougher. I also pray that comfort does not overtake change. Let us talk about it!

Discipline is what separates the achievers from the stragglers. When we set a goal to do something better with our lives, discipline will keep us grounded. It makes us come back repeatedly despite the odds against us in achieving our goals. Discipline will make us study early and often. It reminds us why we chose this resolution and what the end goal will be.

As our resolutions get tougher, the results begin to differ from what they were in the beginning. They become delayed, consistent, and/or diminished. For a discipline person in his or her resolution that means adjusting or working harder to achieve their resolution’s reward. An undisciplined person to their resolution becomes easily intimidated when the resolution does not produce satisfactory results thus becoming submissive to his or her own comfort. This same person is also more likely to give up on their resolution when they receive satisfactory results rather than continuing to make it their new lifestyle. Why is that?

Comfort is easier than change. We can be so comfortable in our lifestyle that it is easy to fall back into it when changes become tough. This is because we know the results of our comfort and know how it makes us feel, comfortable. Even in our New Year’s Resolutions we can achieve our resolutions, and rather than making them a lifestyle, we go back to what has been comfortable throughout our lives. In addition, we can begin a resolution that is a change from what has been comfortably but not beneficial in our lives, become discouraged by the results and go back to comfort.

Whether you are the new year new me, leaving behind the negativity in 2022 and steppin’ on necks all 2023, or New Year’s New Gym Members type of resolution person, I pray you keep going in your resolution all 2023. And if the change becomes the opposition, keep going in your resolution because you could be closer to reaching your 2023 goals. Just know you are not alone on this journey; you have an entire network who wants the best version of you in all of 2023.

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A Think Piece on Sunday #4: If I Told You One of Your Biggest Blessings was a Rejection, Would You Believe Me?

Written By:  Preston Thompson

What is a blessing? The best definition I found comes from where it defines a blessing as “…a prayer asking for divine protection, or a little gift from the heavens” (, 2022). In the Bible (NIV Version) 2 Corinthians 9:8 reads, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

We can never receive enough blessings. Just being alive and well is a blessing we should never take for granted. But what if I told you one of your biggest blessings in life did not come in the form of money, acceptance, or healing, would you believe me? What if I told you one of your biggest blessings once came in the form of rejection? Yes, REJECTION! Let me spell it out…R-E-J-E-C-T-I-O-N.

Rejection is not wanted, but it is a part of our lives just as much as acceptance. No one applies for anything hoping to be rejected. If we knew the outcome would result to this, the odds of us applying would be exceptionally low. Each one of us have been rejected from something in our lives. A relationship, friendship, job offer, promotion, school, anything that helps better our lives. Receiving a rejection often triggers sad and regretful emotions, the feeling of not being good enough especially at the time it happens. It can linger in our mind for days, weeks, months, even years wondering if our worth is qualified to move on to the next level in life. We put our best efforts into getting an acceptance only for rejection to tear our hopes and confidence down.

Take it from me, I have had my fair share of rejections in life even when I needed the acceptance more than the others applying for the same position. Growing up in a hometown where “who you know” had more value on receiving an offer than your skillset and character, I wondered if I had bad luck when it came down to getting offers to better my life and increase my experience. I could not get a job as a teenager despite applying to countless jobs throughout the county, I ran for leadership positions and lost by landslides, not making the cut to join teams to build teamwork experiences, etc. I started to question if I really had what it takes to make it in the corporate world. Then I graduated college only to struggle to find a job during the recession era of America. I had the experience and did everything advised to avoid being unemployed after graduation, but none of that experience helped me during that time. Rejection letter after rejection letter, I began to question if my college degree was worth the years put in since I was not receiving the benefits of earning a degree. I even questioned if I did not do enough in college. Despite the hardship of rejection, it molded me to become a stronger person. I learned valuable life lessons from the experience that high school nor college taught me. I gained skills and character that not only helped me receive a job offer, but also learn how to maintain the blessings from acceptance.

Switching gears here. Rejection can be disguised as a blessing that comes in the form of protection tying in our faith. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) reads, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” This means faith is believing something good will happen although you have no clue if that good will come. If good does not come, then faith will convince you that good will eventually come. It may not come how you envisioned it, but the rejection can protect you from the unseen dangers the acceptance never told you about. It is optimism about the future on overdrive. Protection is minimizing the chances of a tough situation that may cause hardship, hurt, or harm physically, financially, and/or mentally from happening in the future by understanding the dangers of a current event based off evidence in the past.

Like a devasting storm that destroys a town. After the storm does its damage, there is a cold period that follows. A feeling of loss and confusion looms over the town wondering how they can recover after the storm, and what will it take to improve the infrastructure. Suddenly good people come to aid of the town after receiving news of its devastation. Before you know it, the town has rebuilt itself better than before the storm. Should another storm happen, the people are more prepared than before. Rejection works in a similar matter when we take the time after it to heal and learn from it. It hurts at those moments and may leave you feeling lost, confused, and down, but there is an unexplained peace that follows.

That is why we must be very mindful of each acceptance. You ever applied for a job, worthless got the acceptance offer, started working the job and a few months in, the job does not satisfy you as it did when you originally started? At some point the money does not matter because your happiness does not align with the job. You find yourself stressed and angry about your job now that you know the truth about it. Anything that goes wrong on the job amplifies your dissatisfaction. Before you know you are back on the hunt for another job. What happened to that good feeling you had when the acceptance first came?

Sometimes acceptance can be fabricated to lure you into a trap. “Accept this job offer. You will earn a livable wage, have a great work/life balance, work with a wonderful staff, and become a valuable member of this team.” That is all you may read before signing the offer letter but read a little deeper and you may discover what is promised may not be reality. Sadly, you may not discover it until you are working at the job. And that is how acceptance can be. An outsider looks at acceptance as a better opportunity from what they currently have. Acceptance will convince you everything will be better, and you got it because you were the most qualified. If we fail to investigate what we are signing up for, we may miss signs that this acceptance is something you should pass on. Before you know it, your acceptance may cause more hardship than what the opportunity was worth.

I am not encouraging rejection. If offered an opportunity in something you worked hard for, I recommend taking the chance. What I am writing is rejection does not always mean failure or giving up on our dreams. We always see rejection as bad; it can be a blessing in disguise. Remember, a blessing does not always come in the form of money, health, or good fortune. Oftentimes, it comes to use as protection. Not just protection from harm and danger, but protection from unseen dangers that may present itself in the future or even protection for our own wellbeing. Sometimes we take on opportunities when we were not prepared and end up more stressed than before the offer was made. Viewing rejection as “God knows what’s best for us” will save us from opportunities that cause more harm than help and life lessons. Allowing rejection to work in our favor can open doors we never knew we were capable of walking through. The main goal is to not allow rejection to make us feel like we are unworthy to success. We should use it as a learning tool to understand why this opportunity that did not work is good and to learn more about ourselves and what we are capable to manage.

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Happy Father’s Day 2022

Written By: Preston Thompson

Better late than never is what they say, so here is my blog post wishing all fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day 2022. To the first-time fathers like myself, I hope your introduction to Father’s Day was one that keeps you looking forward to the day year after year. May you be treated like the king that you are, and your life be filled with the love you deserve as you continue to display that fatherly love to your children. As you continue to adjust to your new lifestyle of fatherhood, continue to learn what it takes to be a great father. Be there for your sons and daughters at all times and be willing to receive fair advice from the fathers who have experience.

To the fathers who have been a parent for some time now, Happy Father’s Day to you as well. Continue to pass wisdom to your children and new fathers who seek your advice. Keep leading by example. I know at times you may not feel like a leader, but just know there is someone out there who watches you and are encouraged by your actions.

And to the fathers who may not have children of their own, but filled the role of father to someone, Happy Father’s Day to you! These great men were called to be fathers without birthing a child of their own and excelled in their role! Stepfathers, uncles, friends, coaches, mentors, etc. just know your fatherly advice did not go unheard. Continue to be the father figure a child need.

To the fathers who are parenting alone on a daily basis, I want to wish you a special Happy Father’s Day. I learn so much from my wife and admit parenting without her can be tough, but these fathers do it with little to no help. I know it has to be hard, but this is a special mission assigned for the toughest fathers out there. You stay strong in the fight and continue to be the father you were called to be. You may not get much acknowledgement from the world for taking this role, but just know I acknowledge you for your efforts! I pray you continue to excel in your role. One day, all that hard work, the sacrifices you made, and time you put into being a single father will pay off. The reward will be worth it when it is all said and done.

Lastly, and this may be tough, but Happy Father’s Day to the fathers who are not in their children’s lives. If you are still alive, I hope you can work your differences out and be the father you were called to be. May you find the peace within you to accept your role and do what you can to rebuild that relationship with your children while on the path to healing.

Thank you all for reading my Father’s Day blog. We at The Book of Think Pieces salute all fathers and hope your day was filled with the love you deserve.

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A Think Piece on Sunday #2: Mental Health Awareness for Those with No Known Mental Health Issues

Written By: Preston Thompson

About a year ago, I was working out on a home elliptical and came across an iFit fitness series by iFit Trainer Dr. Jarrod Spencer called “Anxiety: Work It Out.” In the series he talked about his career as a sports psychologist and how he helped athletes overcome anxiety now focused on helping others understand anxiety, learn triggers, and how one maybe able to help loved ones minimize anxiety episodes. He explained what anxiety is from a science and general standpoint while telling ways to manage it. Before this series I was aware of what mental health is because it gained more national attention over the years. I began to study it more during my free time through search engines and reading articles from people who shared personal testimonies of their own struggles with mental health.

Maybe on the third, fourth, or fifth workout of the series, Dr. Spencer asked a question that stuck with me to this day. I believe it was during the perfectionism and anxiety workout which may also be the title. I remember in the workout video he was walking on the beach sand as waves splashed against the sand in and out. As I pedaled on the elliptical with a resistance setting of 9, he asked, “Have you, the person who is caring for someone with anxiety and mental health, been taking care of your own mental health? Have you sought help to make sure you yourself do not become a victim of your own anxiety?” Of course, this isn’t word for word. I began to slow down my workout just to process the question he asked. I never thought about mental health for those who don’t have it or for those who care for others with it. Anxiety, in particular, seemed to always be a focal point of mental health, but I never thought about it for those who don’t normally suffer from it.

So I began to ask myself do I have some anxiety I am not aware of? Do I stress about some things more than others? Considering we were all still in a pandemic, social injustice being a daily topic on the internet, racial tension, mass shootings in the US, job losses, inflation, debt looming over all of our heads, uncertainties about the financial stability of our workplaces, supply shortages, all while keeping up with the demands of daily life, what am I doing to take care of my own mental health?

As Dr. Spencer explained although we may not have known mental health related issues, it is good to check our own mental health while helping others. This can happen by talking with someone like a trusted friend, family member, professional counselor or spiritual leader about the problems you face. Even if you have no major problems that can trigger stress and anxiety, just openly speaking with someone you trust or a professional counselor can make a world of difference in your mental well-being.

Think of it this way. The doctor and nurses aren’t professionals you visit only when you don’t feel well or health is declining, you get annual checkups to ensure you’re healthy. If test results reveal something abnormal about your health, you become aware and will work towards improving it. Same goes for physical fitness. You don’t turn to physical fitness only for competition or to lose weight. Physical fitness and a healthy diet is something you do to also maintain your physical health. Even routine maintenance and inspections help keep your car running longer to minimize the damage caused by long-term use. Your mental health needs to same initial care from time to time no matter how mentally strong you are.

Since the month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, why not take some time to invest in your mental health even if you don’t have any know issues. Like going for a routine checkup, our brain also needs primary care to perform at its best. There are so many resources out there to help in today’s society you’d be surprised just how healthy your mental health really is. And if you are the strong friend who’s always listening and supporting your friends during a mental health situation, an anxiety attack, and/or a personal conversation, your mental health could use some strengthening, too. Bearing the weight of someone’s mental health can take a toll on you. Oftentimes, it can become a burden on your mental wellbeing whether or not you recognize the triggers your brain is sending. It’s ok to be mentally strong and feel down from time to time, your body does it when you’re too tired to keep going. Just know there’s no shame in admitting sometimes you need help replenishing your own mental health, too.

So as we recognize May as Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s not forget mental health is not only for those who suffer, but also for the friends and family who have it all together.