Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In Memory of Mark


As many of you know, the title of my blog (and my moniker), comes from the fact that I am the 5th (youngest) of 5 girls. What many do not know is that I had a little brother, just a year younger than me. Mark was such a cute and crazy kid. He lived life to the fullest. He was funny and had many friends. He also had a seizure disorder.

One night, way back in January of 1981, I was studying college chemistry at my mom's place (my parents had divorced a few years back and Mark and I still lived with Dad). It was getting late and I was about to leave when who should walk in but my brother and several of his friends. He had been drinking (a few beers...it was legal at that time for 18 year olds to consume "3.2" beer). I tried to be upset with him since alcohol and seizure medication do not mix. I couldn't. He was just so silly and charming that night. Mom was at work and would not be home until the next morning. She called and I told her the situation. She asked me to take care of Mark, so when his friends left I made up the bed for him, placing a trash bucket nearby in case of the heaves.

I wasn't feeling so well that night. I had a bad case of bronchitis. Mark was all settled in so I decided, instead of my mom's couch, I was going to go home (less than a mile away) and sleep in my own bed.

It was early the following morning and I was still asleep when the phone rang. I groggily answered. It was my mother's neighbor. He said something was terribly wrong with Mark. Still being foggy headed I ventured, "Oh, he's probably just hungover". He sternly replied, "No, something is really wrong. The ambulance is here and they are taking him to the hospital". I rushed to the hospital, which was only a few blocks away. Thankfully my mom's neighbor had placed other calls to the other family members that still lived in town.

My family gathered in the Emergency Room. I witnessed the paramedics bring my brother in, CPR in progress. Oh my God...this was really serious! They worked on Mark for what seemed like hours to no avail. My brother passed away that cold January morning.

What happened? When my mom came home that morning, she heard the bath water running. As she approached the bathroom, she saw the water coming through the door. She entered and found my brother submerged in the tub. (I can not even imagine the horror she must have felt) Our best guess is that he had a seizure, while bathing, and subsequently drowned.

To this day, I still feel guilty. Mom asked me to take care of him and I failed miserably. So many "what ifs".

On a positive note, my son is so very much like the uncle he never knew: silly with a crazy sense of humor. Here's to you, Mark. It's been 28 years...I still miss you!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Oh, the Irony

Today, our new president issued an executive order lifting the ban on FEDERAL funding of international groups that promote or perform abortions. This on the day after the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Has anyone ever thought what countries these "international groups" target? Yep...3rd world nations. Where are these 3rd world nations? Many are in Africa. So in effect, our first African-American president will now be directly responsible for the willful murder of innocent, pre-born African babies. How ironic is that? And how so very sad.

One of these "international groups" to receive funding is Planned Parenthood International. This organization was originally founded, by Margaret Sanger for the sole purpose of eugenics. This attitude is still prevelant to this day as evidenced by the following video:

(Please note, I had to remove the video due to some "errors" on page creating difficulty for some to navigate way from this page. Please follow the link provided, and scroll down, to view the video in question)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Respiratory Therapy

As many of you may know, I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist. I work in a 60 bed community hospital and am responsible for the respiratory care of a diverse patient population...from the preterm babies to the aged. This requires the ability to respond to intensive care, critical care, neonatal and pediatric emergencies where my role is, simply put, is to maintain the patient's airway through a variety of therapeutic modalities. Additionally, being part of a small, but state of the art facility, means there are only 2 of us scheduled for any given shift.

We are now in "respiratory" season. At this time of year there is an increase in admissions due to Community Acquired Pneumonia (CAP), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), asthma exacerbation, etc. This makes for very busy shifts. This past weekend it appeared that every admission was one requiring the service and care our department provides. It's a good thing I enjoy my work!

RSV is a particularly vicious infection in the compromised patient population. This is especially true for premature infants. It is not uncommon to be called to the Emergency Department due to a "blue baby" in transport. These infants sometimes require intubation, respiratory resuscitation and transfer to a larger facility with a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The reason for this is that their airways are just too tiny and are easily occluded due to the amount of secretions this virus produces.

The above actually sums up what my day was like yesterday. Despite all of that, I love my job and feel God has put me exactly where I am needed: to provide compassionate care and prayers for the weak and infirm.




Friday, January 16, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: St. Anthony Academy Receives Grant

Dear Friends...Our homeschool , St. Anthony Academy, has received an amazing grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Please take the time to read the following press release. Thanks!

For Immediate Release

ST. ANTHONY ACADEMY RECIEVES PICTURING AMERICA PROGRAM

NC: St. Anthony Academy Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Initiative,
Bringing Great American Art Directly to Classrooms and Libraries across the Country
January 16, 2009 – St. Anthony Academy is one of over 56,000 schools and public libraries across the nation awarded the Picturing America program. Picturing America is a free initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) that helps teach American history and culture by bringing some of the country’s great art directly to classrooms and libraries.

“I AM TRULY HONORED AND EXCITED TO HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE HOMESCHOOLS SELECTED TO RECEIVE THIS PROGRAM” SAID ST. ANTHONY'S HEADMASTER. “THIS PROGRAM IS THE IMPETUS OUR SCHOOL NEEDS TO MAKE HISTORY AND LITERATURE MORE EXCITING AND TANGIBLE FOR MY CHILDREN. IN ADDITION, MY CHILDREN WILL HAVE IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO SOME OF THE NATION’S MOST IMPORTANT ART.”

St. Anthony Academy was awarded 40 large, high-quality reproductions of great American art and a comprehensive teachers resource book to facilitate the use of the works of art in core subjects. Picturing America’s resources are designed to allow each work of art to enhance the study of American history, social studies, language arts, literature, and civics.

“The Endowment is delighted that so many students and citizens across the nation will be benefiting from Picturing America,” said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. “Picturing America helps us understand our democracy by bringing us face to face with the people, places, and events that have shaped our country. It provides an innovative way to experience America’s history through our nation’s art.”

First piloted to 1,500 schools in January 2008, the program was launched nationally in February 2008 and awarded to over 26,000 schools and public libraries across the country in the first application period. During the second application period from August 4 through November 14, 2008, over 29,000 schools and public libraries received Picturing America awards. In addition to schools and public libraries, through a partnership with NEH, the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Head Start has made Picturing America available to the 20,000 Head Start centers across the nation. To date, over 76,000 schools, public libraries, and Head Start centers nationwide have been awarded this free education resource.

Picturing America recipient schools and public libraries are located in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories. District-wide applications during both application periods have brought Picturing America to major public school districts in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and San Francisco, as well as to school and library districts in Washington, DC.

In St. Anthony's community, 17 institutions have been awarded Picturing America. A complete list of recipient schools and public libraries by city and state can be found by visiting the media page of the Picturing America Web site at: http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/public_awards.php.

Picturing America is distributed by the NEH in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA). For information about the ALA, please visit http://www.ala.org/.

# # #
About Picturing America

Public, private, parochial, and charter and home school consortia (K-12), as well as public libraries in the US and its territories, were eligible to receive Picturing America materials.
Picturing America comes with a comprehensive package of materials that includes:
Forty large, high-quality color reproductions of the selected masterpieces (24” x 36”)
A comprehensive teachers resource book providing a wide range of ideas and background
information to support educators using the works of art in core subject areas
Additional resources and lesson plans available through the Picturing America Web site,
http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/

NEH will provide further programming opportunities for Picturing America recipients by offering professional development workshops in summer 2009 hosted by institutions such as museums and historical societies. This grant opportunity is designed to help teachers and librarians form connections with Picturing America artworks and courses in the core curriculum. Interested educators will be able to apply in spring 2009.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. The study of the humanities — history, literature, philosophy, and the arts — helps us explore what it means to be human. The humanities enable us to understand the world and our place in it.

Because “democracy demands wisdom,” NEH serves and strengthens our Republic through promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. Through its programs, NEH provides opportunities for all citizens to embrace the humanities and benefit from their wisdom. For more information about NEH, visit http://www.neh.gov/.

Sample Reproductions


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Finally Feeling Better

I am feeling much better today, thank you very much. Normally, when I get an upper respiratory infection, I can count on a severe sinus infection to follow. That hasn't been the case in a very long time. Sinus issues have plagued me for years. I would suffer one every 2-3 months. Now, maybe at most, I may get one twice a year but they are short lived. What's my secret? The Neti Pot!



The neti pot is simply a form of sinus/nasal irrigation. It’s name is derived from jala neti, a Sanskrit word meaning “nasal cleansing with water”. This practice is common in Avurveda, a traditional Indian form of medicine.



You can find neti pots in most drug stores and natural food groceries. Many come with packets of premixed dry ingredients that you simply can add to water. I, however, find those packet mixes irritating to my sinuses so I prefer to make my own.



The directions for use are simple: Add 1/4 tsp. non iodized salt (I prefer Kosher) to 1 cup warm water. Pour this into your neti pot. Place tip of neti pot into one nostril. Keeping that nostril up, tilt your head and bend over a sink. The warm saline will begin to wash over your sinuses and drain out of the bottom nostril. You will need to breath in and out through your mouth during the rinse so remember to keep your mouth open. Once finished, blow excess saline out your nose into the sink, then blow your nose into tissues you have close at hand. Repeat with other side.


For those who are more "visual" in nature, here is my personal demonstration. (Viewer beware, not for the squeamish or faint of heart)





video


P.S. That snickering you hear in the background is dear daughter, whom I forced to videotape this demonstration. I had to stop the nasal wash early because she was starting to make me laugh. Trust me, you don't want to laugh while using the neti pot!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ailing

The Zicam didn't work.
Neither did the Airborne.
The neti pot has been working overtime.
Oh, and the mega doses of Vitamin C fell down on the job.
What am I rambling about?
The flu bug decided to pay me a visit.
It was bound to happen, what with me being a Respiratory Therapist and all.
Fortunately, I did have the flu shot so this could have been a lot worse.
Actually, today may be the day I take a shower (1st one in 4 days!)
These jammies are getting pretty rank so "real clothes" may be in my immediate future, too!
And maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to eat something other than dry toast and crackers.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Good Time

The visit, with our adopted seminarian, went very, very well.
He fit right in with our family.
And he was a lot of fun, too:


He played (and won) Trouble with my son.
He beat my daughter at boxing (Wii Sports).


video



Oh, and he enjoyed my food. Dinner was a huge success! Our theme was Greek and here is what I served: For our entree, I made Greek Chicken. Although, being true to my nature I modified it. I used half black and half kalamata olives in the filling. Additionally, I added about 1 cup well drained spinach. I also used fresh herbs, rather than dried and seasoned the outside of the chicken breasts well. It was perfect. Sides included Crash Potatoes, Byrdhouse Marinated Tomatoes, Peppy's Pita Bread and my own Tzatziki Sauce. Dessert was a no brainer. Our seminarian has a birthday coming up so we had to have birthday cake served with 5 Minute Ice Cream. I make my ice cream using frozen bananas and a chopped up Hershey bar. Mmmmmm. Perfect.

Unfortunately, the visit came to an end all too soon. We were very grateful for this opportunity to get to know our seminarian better. We probably won't be able to see him again until next fall, but rest assured, he'll continue to be in our prayers. You know something...instead of 2 kids, I now have a spiritual son to add to the mix! We all, however, look forward to the day when he can be called Father.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Apologies

I apologize if anyone was offended by the "ads" that were on my site yesterday. They were quite offensive to me. Despite blocking the offending sites, more of the same continued to show up on my ad banners. I have since removed all ad features from my Blogspot account. Again, please accept my sincerest apologies.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What I Wanted to Post

I wanted to post about my son.
About how sweet he is.
About how he's the happiest kid around.
But most especially about how he lives his life to his own personal soundtrack...Seriously.
He hums while he does his school work.
He hums while on the computer.
He hums along with his video game sound effects.
He'll burst out in song at any given moment.
He even sings while he eats!
Yep, he's one happy kid.
I tried to get a video of him while he was eating but he caught me. Instead, this is what I got:
video
Did I mention he was silly, too?
And yes, my kids are still in their jammies at lunch time.
That's the beauty of homeschool!

Monday, January 5, 2009

What's This?


I found this yesterday.
Actually, I've known about it for quite some time.

What can it be? Anyone have a clue?








Never mind...it's gone now!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Guess Who is Coming to Dinner?

Our family has adopted a seminarian. What this means is that we pray for, encourage and send care packages to a young man in seminary school. This man will eventually become a priest for our diocese. Our seminarian is home on Christmas break. We are so very excited that he has graciously accepted our invitation to have dinner with us. We will finally get to meet and know this delightful young man whom I've already come to love through my daily prayers and devotions. Question is, what to serve? Unfortunately, my signature Easy Shrimp in Basil Cream Sauce is out as the poor kid doesn't care for seafood. Mr. Sister is averse to all things beef or pork. I'm thinking either a Greek Chicken dish utilizing my "famous" tzatziki sauce and homemade pitas or Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes. Maybe my Spinach and Chicken Enchiladas with a side salad based on my cucumber salsa and a black bean salad would be a better idea? Hmmmmm, decisions! If you all have any ideas, please feel free to leave your suggestions in my comment box. Have a wonderful Sunday!


This vocations poster was the brainchild of Father Jonathan Meyer, associate director of youth and young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The poster, which is modeled after an advertisement for the movie "The Matrix," was designed by Missy Scarlet, a graphic designer and friend of Father Meyer.

Recipe links:


Greek Chicken: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Greek-Chicken-2/Detail.aspx

Greek Chicken (#2): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Greek-Chicken/Detail.aspx

Crash Potatoes: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/06/crash-hot-potatoes/

Pita Bread: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Peppys-Pita-Bread/Detail.aspx

Easy Greek Tzatziki: http://5thsister.blogspot.com/2008/12/one-of-my-signature-dishes.html

Enchiladas: http://www.grouprecipes.com/75035/spinach-and-chicken-enchiladas.html

Tomato Salad: http://www.grouprecipes.com/67807/on-the-fly-pico-de-gallo-haiku-style.html

Black Bean Side: http://www.grouprecipes.com/68535/simple-haiku-black-bean-and-corn-salad.html

Favorite Prayer

My work gives me the opportunity to be there, for my patients, from their moment of birth, to their dying breath and all points in between. When there is a particular struggle, this is my go to prayer (optional prayer from the Divine Mercy Chaplet):


Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible,

look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us,

that in difficult moments we might not despair

nor become despondent,

but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will,

which is Love and Mercy itself.


What a powerful prayer. Jesus said to St. Faustina, a young Polish nun whose visions led to the Divine Mercy devotion: "....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior".

Friday, January 2, 2009

Running for the Glory of God!

I came across a wonderful article this morning at http://catholicexchange.com/ by Jimmie A. Davis, Jr. titled Running is About More than Winning. This gentleman began running about the same time I did...8 years ago. (Although I have not been consistant with my training until recently). He writes about how, when he began running, it was for personal glory: to get in shape, to look and feel better, to compete in races and to relieve stress. After a conversion experience several years ago he now runs, still to keep in shape, compete in races and as a stress relief but instead of for personal glory, he runs for the glory of God. (His complete article can be accessed here: http://catholicexchange.com/2009/01/02/115056/ )


This is exactly what I began doing about 6 months ago. I put away my MP3 player and used my runs as time for prayer and meditation. Each run started with the Rosary, asking for Our Blessed Mother's intercession on a myriad of issues. I worked hard to fully meditate upon each and every mystery of the most Holy Rosary. If I was through with the Rosary and found that I still had distance to go, I would do the same with the Divine Mercy prayers. I found that my distance and my time improved significantly. Once I was able to get out of the mindset of personal satisfaction and pride to pleasing and honoring the Lord instead, I found a peaceful joy in my heart.


When I ran the Turkey Trot, this past November, I continued with this practice of meditating upon the Rosary. I was truly surprised when the finish line approached for it had seemed the race had only begun! How truly glorious this experience was!


I thank Jimmie A. Davis, Jr. for putting into words (much better than I) how one is changed for the better when one switches his/her mindset from personal pride to pleasing and honoring our sweet and precious Lord.


For more information on the Rosary, please visit: http://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/rosary/


For more information on the Divine Mercy Chaplet, please visit: http://thedivinemercy.org/message/devotions/praythechaplet.php

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