Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Confession Poll Results

Interesting results. I did notice the number for "Within the Last Week" went up dramatically this last week. Preparations for Lent I presume?

Thanks to all who stopped by and voted.

Fat Tuesday - My Kinda Day!

Some interesting information on Shrove (Fat) Tuesday and what this day means in the Catholic Church.
From CatholicCulture.com

Monday, February 27, 2006

What May Be On The Pope's iPod this Lent

I know I have downloaded them and put them on my mp3 player. I just wish I knew what they were singing!

Reflection on Today's Readings: Salvation

Today's readings (1Peter 1:3-9; Ps 111:1-1, 5-6, 9, 10c; Mark 10:17-27) focus on God's gift of salvation to us.

The first reading describes our inheritance of salvation as being "imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven" for us. It says that this gift is more precious than gold, which can be destroyed by fire. For those that believe without seeing Him, we will rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy! But this gift does not come without a price - we may have "to suffer through various trials" so that our faith may be proven.

The Responsorial Psalm remainds us that the Lord keeps his part of the bargain - He will "remember His covenant forever".

The Second Reading contains that often cited verse:

"It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God."

This reminds us that what we acquire on earth in the form of possessions and riches are meaningless, as well as a barrier to the Gates of Heaven. We have to give away what we own and follow Jesus in order to enter the Kingdon of God.

The rich man was disheartened when he heard this, and many people thought it would be an impossible task. It is, for man. Jesus agrees, "For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God." And all things are possible though God.

"Lord Jesus, As we approach the Season of Lent, keep us mindful of the sacrifice we must make every day to enter Your Kingdom. Give us the strength to rejoice with an indescribable joy as we face the trials and tribulations in our Christian lives. We ask this as we give praise to You and Your Name, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Blogging on my other sites

Trying to get some of my other blogs up to date, or at least have something on them. They are still pretty rough though.

Updated Parties and Pictures with some old photos I scanned.

Updated and changed Dachano Phone to Norton Mobile Blog and added Kathy to the contributer list.

Went to 2 birthday parties this weekend. Saturday to the skating rink, and Sunday to the gymnastics studio.

Put a new radio into my car last weekend (really I did it by myself with the help of these instructions from the Install Doctor).

More blogging tomorrow. Busy week ahead.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What's a Catholic Education Worth to You?

When I started this blog, I made it clear that I would neither solicit money nor sell anything. That's true to an extent. I do not subscribe to affiliate programs where I receive pennies if you click on a sponsor. I do not receive anything if you buy a book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble from a hyperlink on my site. I may start that on one of my other blogs, but not this one.

However, I would like give you the opportunity to make a donation of $10 to my kids' school, St. Mark, and receive a chance to win $10,000 (and other prizes). The picture of one of tickets we have to "sell" is below.

This annual fundraiser is called "The Lions Share $10,000 Giveaway". The drawing is May 13, 2006 at St. Mark Parish Hall at 6:00 p.m. in conjunction with the May Carnival. As it says on the ticket - Need not be present to win.

100% of the proceeds collected go to St. Mark School (less the $10,000 grand drawing). It is a worthy cause - St. Mark is a quality Catholic school. I attended from 1976-1981 (3rd-8th grades).

If you would like to donate and receive a chance to win the $10,000, please email me and I will direct you to a donation page with futrther instructions.

Additional items to be given away are listed on this flyer.

Monday, February 20, 2006

What to give up for Lent

I am already giving up so much prior to Lent because of The Episode, as we are calling it now. No fat, little sugar, no cholesterol, no sodium, no alcohol. Lettuce and water - but not too much of it (its really not that bad).

So instead of giving something up, I think I am going to try and do something extra. Since my recommitment to the Church, which spawned this blog in December, I have been trying to go to daily Mass. I'm averaging about 2 a week plus Sunday. I am reading more Catholic literature, praying more, etc. I'm not sure what more I can do or give up.

I'll be praying about it. Hopefully you will, too.

P.S. - I am going to read "The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ" by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich with Moneybags, per his comment, for Lenten penance. Anyone care to join us? Its available online here. I am also going to finally see The Passion of the Christ (I never saw it at the theater, and have not opened the DVD yet).

Music That Matters: Alive

This Week's Song of the Day (yes I meant that) is "Alive" by well known and respected Christian artist, Rebecca St. James. It's a song about renewal, about letting go of what we think will make us happy (car stereos, iPods, food, recognition, etc) and allowing God to re-energize us with the Holy Spirit!

Here's what RSJ said on her website about the song:

Listen to the song here.

by Rebecca St. James
Album - If I Had One Cance To Tell You Something

I always wanted to be free
Til I was bound and then
I always wanted my own way
Til I saw that I find my life when
I lose it

You make me come alive
You make me come alive
I found the secret
Its only when I let go of what I want in this life
You make me come alive

I used to think that me, myself and I were all that mattered
But You've shown me all this world can give
Cannot compare to the joy that comes from
Giving away

And as I follow after You
Now I need toLeave my past, myself behind
This I will do

I always wanted to be free
Til I was bound and then
I always wanted my own way
Til I saw YouTil I saw You

Written by Rebecca St. James and Matt Bronleewe©2005 Up In The Mix Music / Rambuka Music (BMI), admin. by EMI CMG Publishing / Songs Of Windswept (BMI)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Lent 2006: Regulations

Weekdays of Lent:
There is no obligation to fast. However, voluntary acts of self-denial are recommended.

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday:
These are days of Fast and Abstinence from meat. There is a limit of one full meal on these days for all between the agen of 18 and 59 inclusive.

Days of Abstinence: (All Firdays in Lent)
All who have reached their 14th year are bound to abstain totally from meat.

Easter Duty Obligation:
After they have received their First Holy Communion, Catholic are bound by the obligation of receiving Holy Communion at least once a year. This precept should be fulfilled during the Easter Season. Catholic are also bound to confess serious (mortal) sins at least once a year, but this is not limited to the Lenten/Easter Season.

Lent 2006: General Information

Lent is the penitential season of the Church's year. It begins on Ash Wednesday (March 1, 2006) and ends with the Mass of the the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday (April 13, 2006). Lent has six Sundays. The sixth is called Passion or Palm Sunday (April 9, 2006) and marks the beginning of Holy Week (April 9-15, 2006).

The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. It commemorates the Lord's passion and death on Good Friday (April 14, 2006), reaches its high point at the Easter Vigil and ends with evening Prayer on Easter Sunday (April 16, 2006). Then the joyful Easter Season of 50 days begins.

Traditionally the Lenten season is a time of penance throughout the Catholic Church. Lent is a season in which prayer, the reception of the sacraments, charity and almsgiving are emphasized. Fast and abstinence are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. All the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat.

New Poll

Please check out my first poll in the left column on Confession. Results are anonymous, of course. Let others know its up there, I'll keep it up until Ash Wednesday!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Seeing Christ in Others

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'

Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'

And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Mat 25:35-40)

Why do we feed the hungry and thristy?
Why do we welcome stangers?
Why do we clothe the naked?
Why do we visit the sick or imprisoned?

I think many do because it makes them feel good. Many do it because that's what Jesus did, and we want to be like Jesus.

How many do it because the see Christ in these people? Not many, I would suspect, because for me that is a very difficult thing to do - see Christ in others.

Oh, its easy to see Christ in chidren. Children are gentle like Jesus was. They have an innocence we can associate with Jesus.

Its easy to see Christ in the sick, elderly, poor, and persecuted. Again we can associate the qualities of these people with Jesus. They are underdogs, just like we imagine Jesus to be.

But what about the evil people in the world? How do we see Christ in them? The murderers, rapists, child molesters, abusers? How can we see Jesus behind the the cold blank stare of those eyes?

That is where our challenge lies - to treat all human beings with respect and dignity, regardless if they have earned it.

I meet many bad parents in my line of work. Many people who have beaten, ignored, starved, and sexually abused their children. I try not to judge them. I treat then with respect and dignity. It is a very hard thing to do - to see Jesus in those who persecute those who I do see Jesus in.

But that's what we're called to do. And its nothing compared to what Jesus was called to do.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sounds like something from Roger Rabbit...

A very bad headline for two tragic people. No anvils involved.

Two Killed in Continued Cartoon Violence in Pakistan

Music that Matters: The Change

This week's song is a challenge. Not only is it a country song (not a big fan) but it isn't a "traditional" Christian song. It does however resonate with today's Gospel in a sense.

The Gospels this week have been centered on ways Jesus was slowly beginning to "change" the world through his miracles. His healing touch certainly changed those whom he healed (leper, blind man). They were changed so much that they couldn't hold it in as Jesus requested and told everyone they knew.

Similarly, we need to be equally as excited when Jesus heals us spiritually. Garth says that what he does is so the the world will know it isn't going to change him. I say Amen to that! Ours is a constant struggle in this secular world to keep it from changing us.

Listen to it here.

The Change
by Garth Brooks
Album - Fresh Horses

One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It's like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

This heart Still believes
That love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It's like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss

And I hear them saying you'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

As long as one heart still holds on
Then hope is never really gone

I hear them saying you'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world we know
Never changes me

What I do is so
This world will know
That it will not change me

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

e5 Men

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Ephesians 5:25

Check it out.

What a Concept!

I have been reading so many blogs lately, its hard to remember where I found out about ProLifeSearch.com. If it was your site, I appologize for not giving you credit.

ProLifeSearch.com is a search engine which utilizes Google and donates part of its profits to approved pro-life charities. Here's the low-down on what, how and why they do it.

2006 Catholic Blog Nominees

The voting has started. I think the best thing about these nominations and awards is the fact I now have a list of respected blogs organized by category I can visit regularly. Thanks!

Best of luck to all nominees, but remember - its not whether you win or lose, its how you spread the Good News of Christ!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Little Miracles

Today's Gospel (Mk 8:11-13) has a great messgae to all generations who need a "sign" to believe:

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,Why does this generation seek a sign?Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.Then he left them, got into the boat again,and went off to the other shore.
I come from a generation used to not waiting for things. I want a chesseburger with fries, I go to a fast food store and get it. I want a song I just heard, I go to iTunes and download it. I want information on almost ANYTHING, I Google it, and find it. So I can see how it may be difficult for someone of my generation to believe in something they can see, look up, or download. everyone wants "proof".
Well, I say the proof is there, in what I call the Little Miracles of everyday life. We all have experienced them, we just have to be open to see what they really are.
Some people call them coincidences.
No such thing.
Chance happenings?
Little Miracles. For instance, I needed time today to catch up on office work. Guess what? We got a dusting of snow and school was cancelled. Uninterrupted time today (so, I'm bloging instead - that's not the point).
What are some Little Miracles you have experienced recently?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cabrini Cafe

Kathy and I treated ourselves to a night out last night. The Third Annual Cabrini Cafe was held in the St. Mark gym.

In the past, Kathy and I have worked in the kitchen, rather than participate as a guest at the fundraising event. This year, however, with my latest "episode" and Kathy hurting her back a few weeks ago, we decided to go, eat and bid on the silent time/talent auctions like so many of or friends. We had a great time.

Cabrini Cafe is one of the annual fundraising events held by Parents For A Catholic Education, Inc., a group we are involved with trying to raise money and support for a Catholic High School in Madison County. For more information, go here.

Parents For A Catholic Education, Inc. has also opened a local "resale store" called Cabrini Closet, and offers items donated to the store on Ebay.

If you know of any rich uncles, lottery winners, or philanthropists leaning toward Catholic education, point then in this direction. If not, that's OK - keep us in your prayers.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

God Hugging Mary

Kathy pointed out this morning that the recent snowfall (yay!) on our statue of Mary in the backyard looked like "God was hugging" her. Cool, hunh? (This picture was taken through our storm door on maximum zoom. That's why it;s a little fuzzy).

Blogs I've Been Reading: The American Papist

A funny, entertaining, and visually stimulating blog I have been reading this morning. If you haven't seen The American Papist, spend a few minutes or more over there. Written by a young man who describes himself this way:

Essentially, I'm a Catholic. Specifically, I'm an intellectual Catholic. Incidentally, I'm a young Catholic. When I'm not studying theology (which is most the time), I keep this blog running to provide material for fellow young Catholic intellectuals to read while they procrastinate.

Let me know what you think....

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Spiritual Heart Attack Warning Signs

Spiritual heart attacks are wake up calls to those of us who aren't taking care of ourselves spiritually. Our spiritual hearts are similar to our physical hearts in that it is a pump. Whatever we take in (or don't take in) through our spiritual heart is pumped right back out.

Similar to the way God breathed on the first man and gave him life, Jesus breathed on His disciples saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit," (Jn 20:22). Wouldn't it be wonderful if our spiritual hearts were taking in and pumping out the Holy Spirit! But, just like when we don't put good things into our body, we can damage our spiritual heart when we fail to care for it properly.

The following are some warning signs that you may be having a spiritual heart attack:

  • Feeling of emptiness. Most spiritual heart attacks involve an emptiness or worthlessness in everything we do. When we question why we are here or feel like no one cares about us, or that we do not have a purpose, we need to find a church and priest immediately!

  • Depression. I understand there are many physical, psychological, and physiological causes of depression. But the spiritual heart will suffer if there is no connection to feed it from God.

If you have any other warning signs of a spiritual heart attack, please share them in the comments section.

The good news is that after a spiritual heart attack, God will "revive the hearts of the crushed," (Isa 57:15) and promises:"I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts," (Eze 36:26).

Physical Heart Attack Warning Signs

From the American Heart Association:
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense as the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

  • Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.

  • Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

If you or someone you're with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don't wait longer than a few minutes (no more than 5) before calling for help. Call 9-1-1... Get to a hospital right away.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services staff can begin treatment when they arrive -- up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. The staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too.

If you can't access the emergency medical services (EMS), have someone drive you to the hospital right away. If you're the one having symptoms, don't drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Jesus: Lord of the Fork?

I Googled "gluttony in the Bible" and found a very interesting website. Here's a little of it:

"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4:5).
As Christians we are to realize the emphasis is to be put upon the spiritual man; however, just because we have an understanding of our spiritual position in Christ does not mean we can break His physical laws of health and not suffer the consequences. The spiritual man should always be given top priority as it needs to be in ascendancy. Its influence over the physical man is greater than the physical man's influence over it.We need proper balance between neglecting our bodies and giving them too much attention.

You can find the rest of it here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

National Heart Month - Cholesterol

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body." (1Cor: 19-20)

Tying in National Heart Month to the Gospel, and since education is the first step in prevention, I am providing you some basic information. Today's topic is cholesterol. Bear with me...

From the American Heart Association:


AHA Scientific Position
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among the lipids (fats) in the bloodstream and in all your body's cells. It's an important part of a healthy body because it's used to form cell membranes, some hormones and is needed for other functions. But a high level of cholesterol in the blood hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack.

Cholesterol and other fats can't dissolve in the blood. They have to be transported to and from the cells by special carriers called lipoproteins. There are several kinds, but the ones to focus on are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

What is LDL cholesterol?
Low-density lipoprotein is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. If too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries feeding the heart and brain. Together with other substances it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog those arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. A clot (thrombus) that forms near this plaque can block the blood flow to part of the heart muscle and cause a heart attack. If a clot blocks the blood flow to part of the brain, a stroke results. A high level of LDL cholesterol (160 mg/dL and above) reflects an increased risk of heart disease. If you have heart disease, your LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL. That's why LDL cholesterol is called "bad" cholesterol. Lower levels of LDL cholesterol reflect a lower risk of heart disease.

What is HDL cholesterol?
About one-third to one-fourth of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL. Medical experts think HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it's passed from the body. Some experts believe HDL removes excess cholesterol from plaques and thus slows their growth. HDL cholesterol is known as "good" cholesterol because a high HDL level seems to protect against heart attack. The opposite is also true: a low HDL level (less than 40 mg/dL in men; less than 50 mg/dL in women) indicates a greater risk. A low HDL cholesterol level also may raise stroke risk.

What is Lp(a) cholesterol?
Lp(a) is a genetic variation of plasma LDL. A high level of Lp(a) is an important risk factor for developing atherosclerosis prematurely. How an increased Lp(a) contributes to heart disease isn't clear. The lesions in artery walls contain substances that may interact with Lp(a), leading to the buildup of fatty deposits.

What about cholesterol and diet?
People get cholesterol in two ways. The body mainly the liver produces varying amounts, usually about 1,000 milligrams a day. Foods also can contain cholesterol. Foods from animals (especially egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, seafood and whole-milk dairy products) contain it. Foods from plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds) don't contain cholesterol.
Typically the body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so people don't need to consume it. Saturated fatty acids are the main culprit in raising blood cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease. Trans fats also raise blood cholesterol. But dietary cholesterol also plays a part. The average American man consumes about 337 milligrams of cholesterol a day; the average woman, 217 milligrams.

Some of the excess dietary cholesterol is removed from the body through the liver. Still, the American Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. If you have heart disease, limit your daily intake to less than 200 milligrams. Still, everyone should remember that by keeping their dietary intake of saturated fats low, they can significantly lower their dietary cholesterol intake. Foods high in saturated fat generally contain substantial amounts of dietary cholesterol.

People with severe high blood cholesterol levels may need an even greater reduction. Since cholesterol is in all foods from animal sources, care must be taken to eat no more than six ounces of lean meat, fish and poultry per day and to use fat-free and low-fat dairy products. High-quality proteins from vegetable sources such as beans are good substitutes for animal sources of protein.

How does physical activity affect cholesterol?
Regular physical activity increases HDL cholesterol in some people. A higher HDL cholesterol is linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Physical activity can also help control weight, diabetes and high blood pressure. Aerobic physical activity raises your heart and breathing rates. Regular moderate to intense physical activity such as brisk walking, jogging and swimming also condition your heart and lungs.

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease. Even moderate-intensity activities, if done daily, help reduce your risk. Examples are walking for pleasure, gardening, yard work, housework, dancing and prescribed home exercise.

How does tobacco smoke affect cholesterol?
Tobacco smoke is one of the six major risk factors of heart disease that you can change or treat. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels and increases the tendency for blood to clot.

How does alcohol affect cholesterol?
In some studies, moderate use of alcohol is linked with higher HDL cholesterol levels. However, because of other risks, the benefit isn't great enough to recommend drinking alcohol if you don't do so already.

If you drink, do so in moderation. People who consume moderate amounts of alcohol (an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women) have a lower risk of heart disease than nondrinkers. However, increased consumption of alcohol brings other health dangers, such as alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, cancer, suicide, etc. Given these and other risks, the American Heart Association cautions people against increasing their alcohol intake or starting to drink if they don't already do so. Consult your doctor for advice on consuming alcohol in moderation.

Monday, February 6, 2006

Bono's Homily on Justice and Equality

I am a U2 fan from the beginning. It's just weird seeing Bono preaching to presidents at the National Prayer Breakfast last Friday.

Daniel Pulliam has a a decent disection of the speech over at Get Religion.

You can get a transcript of the speech here.


I remember seeing a site in which I could look up a priest's name, maybe by location. It was an index of all Roman Catholic Priests. Anyone know where/what that site is?

Music That Matters - We Live

Got the "Song of the Week" from one of my faithful readers this morning. Superchick's "We Live" is about living each day as if it were your last. Not in the secular, hendonistic tradition of Carpe Diem - taking in as many pleasures as one can without regard to the future. But in the simpler, more spiritual sense:
Listen to it here.

We Live
by Superchic[k]
Album - Beauty From Pain

There's a cross on the side of the road
Where a mother lost a son
How could she know that the morning he left
Would be their last time she'd trade with him for a little more time
So she could say she loved him one more time
And hold him tight
But with life we never know

When we're coming up to the end of the road
So what do we do then
With tragedy around the bend?

We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cuz the days we are given are gifts from above
Today we remember to live and to love
We live we love
We forgive and never give up
Cuz the days we are given are gifts from above
Today we remember to live and to love

There is a man who waits for the tests
To see if the cancer has spread yet
And now he asks, "So why did I wait to live till it was time to die?"
If I could have the time back how I'd live
Life is such a gift
So how does the story end?
Well this is your story and it all depends
So don't let it become true
Get out and do what we are meant to do


Waking up to another dark morning
People are mourning
The weather in life outside is storming
But what would it take for the clouds to break
For us to realize each day is a gift somehow, someway
So get our heads up out of the darkness
And spark this new mindset and start to live life cuz it ain't gone yet
And tragedy is a reminder to take off the blinders
And wake up and live the life we're supposed to take up
Moving forward with all our heads up cuz life is worth living

(emphasis added)

Chorus (to fade)

Wake up and live the life we're supposed to take up.


February is Heart Month

In acknowledgement of the importance of the ongoing fight against cardiovascular disease, the Congress, by Joint Resolution approved December 30, 1963, as amended (77 Stat. 843; 36 U.S.C. 101), has requested that the President issue an annual proclamation designating February as "American Heart Month."

How appropriate that on February 1st, 2006, the first day of "Heart Month" in the US, I was leaving the hospital after having three mild heart attacks (for that story, click here).

My wonderful staff where I am principal gave me some baloons and two wonderful books, Total Heart Health for Men, and The Healing Connection, both of which I am looking forward to reading.

I have read the first chapter in Total Heart Health for Men and it brought up a "theory" that many have tackled under various names. In this day of self-help books (not all are bad) Total Heat develops the idea that we need to not only take care of our physical heart, but our spiritual one as well.

I think this is a very important thing to remember. What use are we if we are taking care of our physical heart, but ignore our spiritual heart. And, likewise, why would we intentionally harm our physical heart if we are already spiritually one with God?

The mere fact that we exist is a tremendous gift from God. What do we do with other gifts we receive from loved ones or friends? Do we abuse them, break them, ignore them? No, we cherish, nurture, and protect them. Why should it be any different with our bodies - with our hearts?

They say the worst non-smoker is a reformed smoker. I would say that the best kind of health conscious person is one who has been given a second chance - one who focused on being healthier in mind, body and soul.

Today's Saint - February 6, 2006

Crucified on a cross, like our Lord. From Catholic Culture:

St. Paul Miki
6 February

Born wealthy, the son of the military leader Miki Handayu. Felt a call to religous life from his youth. Jesuit in 1580, educated at the Jesuit college at Azuchi and Takatsuki. Successful evangelist. When the political climate became hostile to Christianity, he decided to continue his ministry, was soon arrested. On his way to martyrdom, he and other imprisoned Christians were marched 600 miles so they could be abused by, and be a lesson to, their countrymen; they sang the Te Deum on the way. His last sermon was delivered from the cross. One of the Martyrs of Nagasaki.

1562 at Tsunokuni, Japan

crucified on 5 February 1597 at Nagasaki, Japan

14 September 1627 by Pope Urban VIII

8 June 1862 by Pope Pius IX

The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason that I die. I believe that I am telling the truth before I die. I know you believe me and I want to say to you all once again: Ask Christ to help you become happy. I obey Christ. After Christ's example, I forgive my persecutors. I do not hate them. I ask God to have pity on all, and I hope my blood will fall on my fellow men as a fruitful rain.

Friday, February 3, 2006

One Bread, One Body - Reflection for February 3, 2006

from MyCatholic.com


"He promptly dispatched an executioner, ordering him to bring back the Baptizer's head. The man went and beheaded John in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl." Mark 6:27-28

This week the Church has been seeing red, blood red. We remember the bloody deaths of Sts. John the Baptizer, Blase, Agatha, Paul Miki and companions. From Jerusalem, to Japan, to Rome, from the time of Christ to the present day, Christians have been laying down their lives for and in imitation of the Master, Jesus.

At this moment, thousands of Christians await execution, and many have already died today. We live in an age of martyrs. Never before in almost two thousand years of Christianity has the "quota" of martyrs been so quickly filled (Rv 6:11). This is one of the signs that we are nearing the end of the world and Christ's second coming (Lk 21:12). Communists, Muslims, the secularists, and others rage against Christians across most of the world. Some, like Herod, use brutality and violence (Mk 6:28). Others use a subtle approach, even more devastating than murder-martyrdoms.
Let us never forget these brothers and sisters following the Master literally to death. Let's pray that their witness bears great fruit and that they persevere to the end.

PRAYER: Jesus, thank You for martyrs dying today. Strengthen them with fresh hope and courage.
PROMISE: "With his every deed he offered thanks to God Most High, in words of praise. With his whole being he loved his Maker and daily had His praises sung." Sir 47:8
PRAISE: St. Blase served as a bishop in Armenia and died for his faith in Jesus.

Saint of the Day - St. Blaise

St. Blaise (3rd century)Blaise was a physician and bishop. After living in a cave for years, he was cast into prison by pagans. There, he miraculously cured a child who was choking, and ministered to his fellow prisoners. When he challenged the pagans to prove the power of their gods, he was beaten and beheaded.

O glorious Saint Blase, who by thy martyrdom didst leave to the Church a precious witness to the faith, obtain for us the grace to preserve within ourselves this divine gift, and to defend, without human respect, both by word and example, the truth of that same faith, which is so wickedly attacked and slandered in these our times. Thou who didst miraculously restore a little child when it was at the point of death by reason of an affliction of the throat, grant us thy mighty protection in like misfortunes; and, above all, obtain for us the grace of Christian mortification together with a faithful observance of the precepts of the Church, which may keep us from offending Almighty God. Amen.

More information on St. Blaise here.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

My Second Chance

As some of you may or may not know, I returned from St. Joseph's Hospital yesterday afternoon after a 48 hour surreal experience involving two hospitals, one blocked artery, one stent and many many prayers. I tell this story to once again illustrate the power of prayer and of God's healing touch.

About 4:00 pm Monday, I was leaving a meeting at Madison Central High School, walking to my car and my chest started to ache. I had felt this earlier in the day, but not to the degree I was feeling it in the parking lot. I sat, relaxed and it went away. I went back to my school and by the time I got into my office, I felt the pain again. It was similar to a pain I felt 18 months earlier, which prompted me to get a "stress echo". Those results said I was healthy - overweight and out of shape - but my heart was healthy.

I called Kathy and told her I was going to swing by and pick up my insurance card and go by Pattie A. Clay's ER to get it checked out. I drove to the hospital and told the admitting nurse I was having chest pains. I was immediately taken to the back of the ER where they took my blood pressure, temperature and insurance information. The pains subsided before I got to the back of the ER.

Over the next 3 hours, they poked me for blood, prodded me for tender spots, and padded me to the EKG machine. They found that I was relatively healthy. Blood counts were fine, EKG was normal, cholesterol was a little high. By that time, however, they contacted the cardiologist I went to 18 months ago for the stress echo, and he recommended I stay the night for further tests.

I hadn't had anything to eat all day and by the time I got settled in my room, it was 10:00 pm and I was starving! The cafeteria had closed, but the nurses found a frozen dinner and warmed it up for me. As I was bringing the first bite to my mouth, the nurse walked backed in and said he just got word I was to be on a clear liquid diet. So they substituted the lasagna for orange jello. It was the best jello I ever had!

The next morning, my primary doctor came in at 5:00 am to let me know that my heart enzymes were a little high, I had very likely suffered several mild "MIs" and they wanted to do a heart cath to see what was going on. I agreed. My cardiologist came in about 7:30 am and told me that he thought I had some blockage in my right artery. They wanted to order a heart cath and if they found anything they could put a stent in at the same time. I agreed to be transported to St. Joseph Hospital where they could do both if they needed to. Plus it was a move to a Catholic hospital.

They took me by ambulance to St. Joe's where I was taken to the HISSU (Heart Institute Short Stay Unit). I waited for about three hours until they finally prepped me for the heart cath. Depending on what this new doctor found (my cardiologist was not in Lexington that day) a few things could happen: they could find nothing and I'd go home that evening; they would find some blockage which could be relieved with a stent; or they would find enough blockage to warrant open heart surgery.

Once they put the heart cath in, they began looking around. What they found was no blockage in the right artery, which the EKG mistakenly found - instead they found what my cardiologist would later call a "Widdowmaker".

A "widdowmaker" is a 99% blockage in the left artery coupled with a blood clot. The cardiologist said if I had ignored the chest pains a day earlier, I'd surely be dead right now!

He was able to clear the blockage, dissolve the clot and put the stent in. The rest of my arteries were OK and there was no damage to my heart! What a miracle!

I spent the next 12 hours lying on my back, not moving my leg, and not raising my head. A small price to pay for how fortunate I was!

I am convinced the outcome would have been different if it weren't for the prayers of my family, friends, and Church community. Not at any time was I ever nervous or concerned. I was very relaxed (even before the drugs) and calm because I knew I was in the Lord's hands. It is an amazing feeling to have!

My second chance at life begins now. My life changes now. I'm going to eat better, (no more 4-Ways) exercise more and stress less. And continue praying!

Thank you all for the prayers. They were answered!

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Out for A Bit

I have just returned from the hospital. I had three mild MIs on Monday and had a stent put in yesteday. I may or may not post during my recovery the next few days.

Keep me in your prayers.