Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy

I just came across this word on a form that I am sending to be printed. (I work at a hospital, can you tell?) This word fascinated me so I had the urge to blog about it. This one word is 26 letters long... that's as long as the whole alphabet. Sheesh!

In case you are curious, as I was, according to medterms.com the definition for this ridiculously long word is:

Also known as EGD or upper endoscopy. A procedure that enables the examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to examine the esophagus (the swallowing tube), stomach, and duodenum (the first portion of small bowel) using a thin flexible tube (a "scope") that can be looked through or seen on a TV monitor. (A great crossword puzzle/trivia term!)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Cool pics

I have gotten a couple of email forwards lately with cool photos attached so I thought I would combine and share them.















Friday, June 20, 2008

...the culture is drunk off its keester


The Catholic Moral Imperative
By Chris Findley
catholicexchange.com

For years the slogan “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink and Drive” has been the salient reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence.

This saying has become a part of our culture, embedded into our collective consciousness as a guiding principle in those moments where car keys are in hand after one too many brews. It’s not a bad slogan, as far as slogans go. It is always timely, with an almost proverbial-like quality. But what I’d like to call to your attention is the assumption behind this quote.

The “Friends Don’t Let…” campaign starts with the assumption that you and I have a responsibility to assist others for their own good. It boldly calls us to action in sometimes dicey situations (ever try to get the keys from a determined drunk?). We can be assured that our efforts will not be universally applauded and may perhaps cause some rather angry reactions. But the working assumption is that I have a better perspective than my intoxicated friend and that, for his own good, I am going to take his keys and drive him home. This places the burden on me, the sober one, to be brave enough to speak the truth and act on it. The idea is that if you care at all and are a responsible member of society then you will not “let friends drink and drive.”

I bring this up because I believe it correlates to what I’m going to call the “Catholic Moral Imperative”. The Catholic Church is regularly bashed for its stances on a host of issues from contraception to homosexuality, to the plight of immigrants, to the plight of the unborn.

That’s just the short list. The complaint is that the Catholic Church is meddling in people’s business. The charge is often leveled that the Church is oppressive and anti-fun and hurtful. The culture claims it is fine and can “drive” itself without any help from God, the Church, or YOU.

The problem is that the culture is drunk off its keester. (I love that line!)

It is drunk on humanism and relativism. It is suffering from its own over-excesses of pride and self-reliance. It has been blinded by pop-psychology and the feel-good gospels of Oprah and Dr. Phil. It lives in a time where people believe theology is as malleable as a lump of clay and that objective truth is an oxymoron. This society thinks nothing of murdering the unborn or the aged. It doesn’t think that sex is anything more than a recreational biological function. Many people bury the deeper ‘questions of life’ under layers of distraction.

The average “Joe” simply does not realize how much he is weaving across the center-line of his life until he leaves the road and finds himself wrapped around a tree. Yes, our culture is clearly, to continue the analogy, too drunk to drive.

The Catholic Church has an imperative to be the moral voice for a society that has lost its moorings. It is not “nosiness” that motivates us; it is Christ-like concern and compassion. It is not a desire for oppression that calls us to speak out. Quite the opposite, it is the desire to see the oppression of immorality lifted, so that the fullness of life Jesus promises in John 10 can be experienced.

The Catholic moral imperative is to be willing to look foolish for the sake of the Gospel. It is to speak out to an intoxicated culture so that it might improve and that lives may be saved (in this world and in the world to come). This is not a popular position, it will bring us jeers and insults and we will meet much resistance. But hasn’t it always been so for faithful Christians? I once heard a very wonderful and faithful friend say, “Courage begets courage”. May it be so with us!

Recovery God's way

Here is a great article about a community where addicts and alcoholics change their lives through the amazing natural healing power of the Eucharist, the Rosary and penance... no medicine or therapists needed. What a beautiful witness to the truth of God's word and ways!

"Each day they die a little more to themselves so that they might be risen in Christ."

Thought of the day

The Matrix (the movie) is similar to the world in which we live. We are definitely not seeing things the way God does and we need to wake up, fast... like Neo, who, when going through a transformation from an old way of living to “the real,” experienced much pain in coming to know the truth, we too must enter into the real life with Christ if we are going to be able to see the truth. And this can sometimes be a rude awakening.

The truth is only found in discovering the Divine Vision. What is this? In essence, it is seeing the world as God created it. Just like when Adam and Eve saw each other for the first time in truth and had a profound experience of the mystery of God, by letting Christ transform our vision, we will be able to slowly recover this beautiful vision of life and, more importantly, live in a way that truly fulfills.

From Waking Up to the Divine Vision
by Steve Pokorny
on catholicexchange.com

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Amazing book, amazing story, amazing woman


I just finished reading Left to Tell for my book club. Wow! I can't recommend this book highly enough. This is an incredibly inspiring story about love, survival, forgiveness and trust in God and his plan for your life. Read this book!

Courage

There is a group in the Catholic Church that is called The Courage Apostolate. They help people with homosexual tendencies to live chaste lives in union with God. I just listened to a new episode of The Heart of Things podcast which had a director and members of the apostolate as the guest speakers. I thought this show did a good job of presenting the Catholic Church's views and why there is a need for an apostolate to help homosexuals, especially in the world that we live in today.

I encourage everyone whether you are Catholic or not to listen to this podcast to help you better understand why the Catholic Church teaches and believes that homosexuals have a disordered sexual attraction. Not that the people are disordered, only their sexual tendencies are disordered.

This is always a tough subject to address because it is such a "hot button" issue for so many people. Even I had concern about this teaching as I was learning about the Catholic Church. But if you really listen to what the Church has to say, actually, what GOD has to say, it does make sense and presents only the truth.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Homily of the day

What Are You Putting in His Way?
By Monsignor Dennis Clark, Ph.D.
catholicexchange.com

1 Kings 19:9,11-16 / Mt 5:27-32

It’s hard to imagine a worse nightmare than finding oneself in the middle of a vast desert with neither food nor water. The hours pass and then the days, and we rapidly grow weaker and more desperate. There seems no escape and the end seems very near.

Many of the greatest saints have told us about this experience in their own spiritual lives. They were quite safe in their convents and monasteries, but the “desert” overwhelmed their souls and they felt abandoned by God and by everyone else as well. The pain was overwhelming because they’d put all their trust in the Lord - and he seemed to be gone.

But he wasn’t. He was there all the while; they just didn’t know where to look. He was there, as we hear in today’s Old Testament reading, in the quiet whispering of the breeze, waiting for them to strip away whatever it was in their lives that was in the way of their being at one with him. The Lord didn’t walk away from them. It was they and we who have other preoccupations and other agenda that block him out.

The Lord will never abandon you. Count on that. So if you’re feeling desperate, abandoned, and alone, don’t complain to the Lord, look at what you’ve put in his way!

Thought of the day

...while our faith isn’t something we necessarily want tested, we often find that when tested it shows us who we are. Our faith gives us hope in the midst of our fears and our sadness; but faith also makes our joys that much more gratifying. Ultimately, our faith fortifies us for life’s journey.


From the article Faith Tested is Faith Found by Cheryl Dickow
catholicexchange.com

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Homily from Fr. Ryan

Check out Fr. Ryan's site where I got this from and listen to his podcast The Catholic Underground

The Homily for 10th Sunday, Ordinary Time, 2008

Abraham was strengthened by faith and so his good works were credited to him as righteousness… All of us here have done good and noble things… Hopefully, we can all recall the moments when we realized we had really done something good. I remember the look on the faces of the poor in Mexico when we finished laying the foundation for the first real Church most of them had ever been in… It was a great work. Of course, I also remember pouring the last slab of concrete on Canal #3 in New Orleans when I worked construction on a concrete crew.

Both of those things are great tasks… Huge accomplishments… What separates them isn’t the concrete, it’s the “Why”. I wasn’t in that canal out of the goodness of my heart… But then again, I wasn’t in Mexico out of the goodness of my heart either… I went to Central Mexico because my religious superiors told me to. And I believed then as I do now that obedience to the Church is obedience to God.

Abraham didn’t build an altar and almost sacrifice his son on his own - he was directed there. And he went, because of faith!

This is why goodness, sweetness, niceness or even religiosity are insufficient. It’s not enough for people to say about us that “he was a good person” or “she was always sweet to her family.” These are good things - but they are not faith and good works alone are not enough.

Faith requires us to put God in the Driver’s seat. It requires us to set aside our ideas, our preconceptions, our understandings and our opinions… It requires us to let the Lord direct us where we may not want to go. It challenges us to humility and to trust. It challenges us to set aside the culture of lifelessness that comes through the TV.

And it does this so that we can finally come before God unburdened… Faith allows us to stop being our own messiahs and to be like a little child - but it doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t come from a self-help book and it doesn’t come from me setting my own rules…

Faith is cultivated by obedience - plain and simple. Abraham obeyed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. We obey the Church and it will credited to us in the same way… Obedience to the Church is in spiritual terms, obedience to God. Obedience is thought of as a dirty word by our culture and by some Christians - but the Scriptures are clear - obedience is what the practice of faith is all about. And so without fear, without pride, and without holding anything back, let us take up the work of faith.

Friday, June 06, 2008

It's all about ME... isn't it?

This article is a good reminder that our lives aren't about us. It's all about God and serving others... without looking for praise.


Me-Points
Posted By Sylvia Dorham
catholicexchange.com

It’s 5:53 AM. I’m standing in front of the mirror trying to force my eyelids to stay in the upright and locked position, and I’m losing. My body would prefer I turn around and crawl back into the the indentation on the sheets. The bed is saving a warm spot for me. But instead I grope for the switch and throw the room into glaring light. I take the sudden illumination like a blow to the head, but still, I persevere, turning on the water to perform my morning ablutions.

Why?

Why do all this, early, before I have to? What could possibly induce me to this violence against my comfort?

That’s the whole point. Every action has a motivation. Everything I do has a goal. And the ultimate goal is an ultimate good. My every action draws me toward fulfilling my need to love and be loved. It’s just that often my desire to be loved and approved motivates some of my most selfish behavior.

It’s good to be loved!

It’s good to know I am an important, significant, noteworthy person. But to whom?

Am I trying to be important to me? To other people? To God?

It’s one of those vicious circles.

I get up early so I can be the first one downstairs. Yay, me! I’m a winner! I have overcome the challenge of self-control, so I am clearly someone important. Bow down! (Me point!)

When my husband comes downstairs 45 minutes later, he says “Gee, you’re up early!” I feel pumped! There is no one else being recognized for early rising! (Another Me Point!) “What have you been doing?” he asks me, sweetly. (And another Me Point!)

I lift my chin and show him the essay on the spiritual life I’ve just written. It will soon be published, and thousands of people will read it and see my name in the byline. “Great!” he says, kissing me on the cheek and heading for the coffee maker. (Another Me Point, but not as satisfying as the first two. He didn’t fawn over my obvious prowess. I need more.)

“I already made your coffee,” I say, expectantly, waiting for his adulation. No answer. I follow him into his office where he is sipping the coffee and reading his email. “Did you find the coffee?” (He’s not giving me the Me Point. I’m annoyed by his breach of Metiquette.)

“Umm hmm.” He is typing now.

“Well, is it good?” (Give me another Me Point! Now!)

“It’s fine. I’ve gotta reply to this.” He doesn’t even look at me. (No Me Point! Now, I’m fuming!)

” ‘Fine?’ Not even a thank you?” I say at a volume carefully designed to sound like he’s not supposed to hear. (He denied my Me Point. Now he must be punished.)

He finishes his email, drains the cup, puts it in the sink and comes to kiss me as he shakes into his jacket. “Thanks for the coffee, hon. It was great.” (Too little, too late. He must still be punished.)

He leaves for work, and I am still mad. My whole morning is ruined. And I tap a wedge into my marriage to the ungrateful, thoughtless, thankless beast.

I’m addicted to Me Points.

Sure, it’s right to want to love and be loved, but if I’m making efforts, sacrifices and doing work with the intention of satisfying my passions, my ego, my vices, I’m wrong!

Those of us who are vain try to feel secure by getting people to love us. “If my hair looks just right, they will admire me and love me.”

Those of us who are prideful try to feel secure from ourselves. “I just shaved seventeen seconds from my shower and dress routine, I am a winner!”

Those of us who struggle with sensuality try to feel secure with things. “I deserve another pair of shoes. I need another pair of shoes. I am going to buy them because I am worth it.”

Whatever your variety, it’s all an addiction to Me Points. All of us trying to fill our need to love and be loved. To be approved, to feel secure.

If you’ve seen “Little Shop of Horrors,” where the carnivorous plant which was happy at first with a little drop of blood can now only be placated by human sacrifice, you know what happens when we start trying to get our Me Point fix.

Like all addiction, we spend more and more time, pain and energy trying to replicate the original high. We can’t, but the process sure makes us into obnoxious people! And we’re supposed to be representing Christ!

So here’s the simple and Biblical solution:

1) God made you, and although you think you’re junk, you’re still alive, so God still has something for you to do. You have a purpose!

2) God designed you with a keyhole. You can only open up and be happy if you let him put in his key and turn it. By the way, no matter how many other keys you try in your lock, none of them work.

3) You’ve been acting like you’re the only one who knows how to make you happy. The real way to be happy is to make God happy with your behavior.

4) Find Philippians 4: 8-9 in your Bible. This is it! Start thinking about purity. Beauty. Graciousness. Dwell on nobility. Truth. Justice. Not just on the concepts but on the places you see them in your life. Read an article about someone behaving with honor? Think about it. Focus on their motivations. Contemplate how the honorability makes God feel. Do this again and again for several weeks. Months. Make it a habit.

5) After a few months of dwelling on praiseworthy things, look at your motivations. If you’ve been thinking about virtue, the Me Points will suddenly look totally irrelevant. Distracting. And the loneliness will be gone. So will the anxiety. The Bible says so at the end of Philippians 4:9 - “…and the God of Peace will be with you.”

Yup. It was all in your mind. It was all in your attitude.

Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the brutality of a Nazi concentration camp, said all your control can be taken from you, except control over one thing -

your attitude.

Want to live without the facade? Want to get past all the messy disaster of a past you are carrying around?

Be motivated by love of good Father, God.

You are after all, his beloved little child.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

How to approach a mystery

I really like these definitions that differentiate between a problem and a mystery. This really made me think (obviously a good meditation for me!) so I thought I would share.

MEDITATION OF THE DAY
Wednesday, June 4th, 2008
By Sister Jean-Marie Howe, OCSO
Magnificat

I remember a retreat in which the distinction was made between a problem and a mystery. A problem must be solved. A mystery must be lived. A problem can engender frustration. A mystery can engender fascination.

I am convinced that spiritual life in general is best envisaged from the vantage point of mystery rather than problem. The two dynamics are very different. Confronted with a reality that we deem to be a "problem," we risk becoming anxious, impatient, aggressive, proud, and controlling in our response to it. Faced with what we come to recognize as a "mystery," we have more latitude to let go and be patient, humble, trusting, and open to awe. A problem demands analysis, action, and resolution: a dynamic I call "swimming."

A mystery invites meditation, contemplation, and readiness for revelation: a dynamic I call "immersion."

Modern secular mentality is more prone to approach things, situations, people, and even God with a "problematic" bias. As we have just seen, problems have to be solved regardless of their nature (material, psychological, social, institutional, spiritual, or otherwise). And yet the more one learns, through experience, that truth or let us call it wisdom is acquired at the price of humility, the more capable one will be of contemplating rather than analyzing the deep mystery underpinning all levels of existence...

Mysteries, by their very nature, are beyond our willful grasp. In a way, they impoverish us, eluding, as they do, our desire to control and possess. The realization that our very vocation issues from the ultimate Mystery – unfolding within it, evolving toward it – should give us pause.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Got my mowing done just in time for the rain and light show!

Waste of money? Kinda seems like it to me.

Have you ever seen a WATER bridge over a river?



WaterBridge in Germany. Six years, 500 million euros, 918 meters long.

This is a channel-bridge over the River Elbe and joins the former East and West Germany, as part of the unification project.

It is located in the city of Magdeburg, near Berlin.

The photo was taken on the day of inauguration.


Question:
To those who appreciate engineering projects, here's a puzzle for you armchair engineers and physicists.

Did that bridge have to be designed to withstand the additional weight of ship and barge traffic, or just the weight of the water?


Answer:
It only needs to be designed to withstand the weight of the water! Why? A ship always displaces an amount of water that weighs the same as the ship, regardless of how heavy a ship may be.

Bumper crop this year!




It's amazing what God can do with a little rain and sun. Happy spring/summer! :)

How to handle difficult people

God calls us to be sincere, honest, and open in our relationships—even with those we find difficult. We can show them as much charity and respect as possible, but we should never be fake! If the Spirit tells you that you need to bring up a problem with someone, try your best to do it sincerely and with humility. You’ll find that your efforts at honesty will actually free you to love that person even more—and it will also help him or her to respect you all the more.

No matter how sincere we may be, however, we may still find it challenging to deal with some people. That’s where prayer comes in. Instead of complaining and gossiping—as Jesus’ opponents would have done—we can take our frustration to the Lord. If we count on him for help with so many other things, we can surely trust him with our difficult relationships! He wants to shine his light into every situation we face.

Is there someone who’s causing you a lot of tension? Try interceding, and see what happens. As your heart becomes united with Jesus in prayer, you may find just the words you need to say the next time you encounter that person. Or you may find the wisdom to keep silent. Ask Jesus to let you see him or her through his eyes, and he will help you to love them. Release this person to God’s care, and let his peace fill your heart. He has won the victory for us, not just over death but over all the broken places in our lives.

From The Word Among Us