Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What Working Out Can Do For You

A mile or two a day can do so much for you....

Some days I work out hard, and others I might just go on a nice run.  If I ever talk myself out of a workout, I regret it so much!  I just got home from a run, and the way I feel right now is so awesome.  I feel energized and my body feels great.  We all know that exercising controls weight, but there is so much more it can do for you that you will notice after working out.

According to the Mayo Clinic, exercising battles health conditions and diseases such as: diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, and metabolic syndrom.  And even better, it doesn't matter how overweight you are to start with!  The minute you start working out, you are making a healthier you.

Exercise increases energy and puts you in a better mood.  I can attest to that!  After a long day at work, I come home very groggy....but it's nothing a run around campus can't fix! 

The Mayo Health Clinic also tells us that exercise can help you sleep better and better sex life.  If you are having problems with either of these....go run.

Basically, exercising is good for you...there is no reason not to do it.  Everyone has 10 minutes they can spare to take a jog around town, ride a bike, dance...  And once you start exercising regularly it is addictive!  It is fun!  If you haven't been in the gym for a while, or ever, now is the time to start.  You will start to love exercising and see results in no time if you stay determined.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Does Anyone love Anne Geddes Photos Like I Do?

Force a Smile!

Research seems to show that physically smiling or frowning can reinforce what we are feeling.  Basically, if we feel happy our smiles and laughs intensify our happiness. In 1872, Charles Darwin said that "The free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensi­fies it.” 

This February psychologists at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people whose ability to frown is comp­romised by cosmetic botox inject­ions are happier, on average, than people who can frown. The researchers administered an anxiety and depression questionnaire to 25 females, half of whom had received frown-inhibiting botox injections. The botox recipients reported feeling happier and less anxious in general; more important, they did not report feeling any more attractive, which suggests that the emotional effects were not driven by a psychological boost that could come from the treatment’s cosmetic nature.
“It would appear that the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain—there are parts of our bodies that help and reinforce the feelings we’re having,” says Michael Lewis, a co-author of the study. “It’s like a feedback loop.” In a related study from March, scientists at the Technical University of Munich in Germany scanned botox recipients with fMRI machines while asking them to mimic angry faces. They found that the botox subjects had much lower activity in the brain circuits involved in emotional processing and responses—in the amygdala, hypothal­amus and parts of the brain stem—as compared with con­trols who had not received treatment.
The concept works the opposite way, too—enhancing emotions rather than suppressing them. People who frown during an unpleasant procedure report feeling more pain than those who do not, according to a study published in May 2008 in the Journal of Pain. Researchers applied heat to the forearms of 29 participants, who were asked to either make unhappy, neutral or relaxed faces during the procedure. Those who exhibited negative expressions reported being in more pain than the other two groups. Lewis, who was not involved in that study, says he plans to study the effect that botox injections have on pain perception. “It’s possible that people may feel less pain if they’re unable to express it,” he says.
But we have all heard that it is bad to repress our feelings—so what happens if a person intentionally suppresses his or her negative emotions on an ongoing basis? Work by psychologist Judith Grob of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands suggests that this suppressed negativity may “leak” into other realms of a person’s life. In a series of studies she performed for her Ph.D. thesis and has submit­ted for publication, she asked sub­jects to look at disgusting images while hiding their emotions or while holding pens in their mouths in such a way that prevented them from frowning. A third group could react as they pleased.
As expected, the subjects in both groups that did not express their emotions reported feeling less disgusted afterward than control subjects. Then she gave the subjects a series of cognitive tasks that included fill-in-the-blank exercises. She found that subjects who had repressed their emotions performed poorly on memory tasks and completed the word tasks to produce more negative words—they completed “gr_ss” as “gross” rather than “grass,” for instance—as compared with controls. “People who tend to do this regularly might start to see the world in a more negative light,” Grob says. “When the face doesn’t aid in expressing the emotion, the emotion seeks other channels to express itself through.”

So what can we learn from this?  SMILE!  Even a forced smile can start to make you feel happier.  If you are conciously smiling, it will hopefully lead to unintentional laughter. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Having a Bad Day?

We all have those down days...when we feel sorry for ourselves.  Our lives are falling apart because of a bad grade on an exam, a bad day at work, a fall-out with a friend...

But we always need to remember what we DO have.  Take a moment to think of the people in your life that make it worth living.  We have families, people that will always be there for us if we need them to be.  I am lucky enough to have all kinds of family....I have family that shares my blood, and I have family that I have chosen for myself.  These are the people that give meaning to my life.

And it is never too late to make a new friend.  It is always possible that one of the most important people in your life is someone you have not yet met...or someone you haven't yet become close with.  Who knows, maybe there is a person who really needs you to step up and be that important friend to him or her.

What is important to keep in mind is that when we just have our "down days" things could be much worse.  I am referring to those days when we let things get to us far more than we should.  I know that I have let little things at work or school ruin my entire day.  That shouldn't happen....it can only lead to more negativity.  Not a good way to live life!

When I am having a bad outlook on life, I often stop and think, "I am being so selfish, feeling sorry for myself when I have so much!"  I am reading a book called The Heart and the Fist by Eric Greitens.  I am not very far into it, but it has made me think about how fortunate I am.  Greitens talks about seeing parts of the world where life is far more difficult than mine.

Basically, I have decided that we can choose how happy we want to be.  We can have a very positive outlook on life, and be thankful for everything we have...we can choose to smile!  OR we can make our own lives miserable if we let every bump in the road slow us down too much.  I want to choose to be happy, and try and make others happy as well.  You know, a positive attitude can be contagious....as well as a negative.  How will you influence people around you?  Try and make someone else's day better just by putting him or her in a cheery mood.

Remember everything, everyone you have to be thankful for...and make sure they know you appreciate them.  You too, should know how much you are appreciated. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Dog Rescues Newborn Baby

Afarm dog in the west African country of Ghana is being praised as a hero hound after saving the life of an abandoned two-week-old baby. Madam Rosemary Azure, a regional director of health in Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency that the dog apparently found the baby under a bridge in the northern part of the country near the regional capital of Bolgatana. Rather than abandon (or eat) the vulnerable tot, the dog curled up next to him for the night, refusing to leave his side.A search party (looking for the dog) found the duo the next morning. The dog's owner had become worried that the pooch hadn't returned home, and had gotten a group together to look for the pup through through the nearby woods and fields. They spotted the dog under the bridge, and then saw that a baby was nuzzling into its fur.
Authorities say they have taken custody of the child and are investigating how he got under the bridge in the first place.
There have been a few such doggy heroes in Africa.
Perhaps most famous is the Kenyan stray now known as Mkombozi, who was foraging for food in 2005 when she found an abandoned infant girl in a plastic bag. Mkombozi (which means “liberator” in Swahili) carried the baby back to her own litter of puppies – across busy roads, through a barbed wire fence and into one of the impoverished neighborhoods of Nairobi.
The dog became a national hero after residents heard the baby’s cries and found Mkombozi protecting her. People still talk about the Mkombozi. When I was reporting in Kenya earlier this year at least a half dozen people asked whether I had heard of her.
We wonder what honors are in store for the Ghana pup.
As for the baby – he’s apparently doing OK after his night with the pooch. That’s one sure dog person in the making.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

All Catholics Must Read

Editor's note: Following is the full text of the homily of Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at the Mass during the April 14 "A Call to Catholic Men of Faith" in Peoria.  

There is only one basic reason why Christianity exists and that is the fact that Jesus Christ truly rose from the grave.

The disciples never expected the resurrection.  The unanimous testimony of all four Gospels is that the terrible death of Jesus on the cross entirely dashed all their hopes about Jesus and about his message.  He was dead, and that was the end of it.  They looked for nothing more, and they expected nothing more.

So as much as they had loved him, in their eyes Jesus was a failed messiah.  His dying seemed to entirely rob both his teaching and even his miracles of any lasting significance.

And they were clearly terrified that his awful fate, at the hands of the Sanhedrin and the Romans, could easily become their awful fate.  So they hid, trembling with terror, behind shuttered windows and locked doors.

When the Risen Christ suddenly appeared in their midst, their reaction was shocked incredulity.  They simply could not believe their own eyes.

Reality only very slowly began to penetrate their consciousness when Jesus offers proof of his resurrection.  He shows them the wounds on his hands, his feet, and his side.  Jesus even allowed them to touch him.  He breaks bread with them and eats with them.  And only then could they admit to themselves what had seemed absolutely impossible - the one who had truly died had truly risen!  The Crucified now stood before them as their Risen, glorious, triumphant Lord.

His rising from the grave was every bit as real as his dying on the cross.  The resurrection was the manifest proof of the invincible power of Almighty God.  The inescapable fact of the resurrection confirmed every word Jesus had ever spoken and every work Jesus had ever done.

The Gospel was the truth.  Jesus was the Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel.  Jesus was the Savior of the world.  Jesus was the very Son of God.

There is no other explanation for Christianity.  It should have died out and entirely disappeared when Christ died and was buried, except for the fact that Christ was truly risen, and that during the 40 days before his Ascension, he interacted with his Apostles and disciples, and on one occasion even with hundreds of his followers.

Today's appointed Gospel reading for this Saturday in the Octave of Easter is taken from the 16th Chapter of Mark.  It concludes with a command from the lips of Jesus, given to his disciples, given to the whole Church, given to you and me assembled here today: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature."

We heard in today's Second Reading from the Acts of the Apostles that the same Sanhedrin that had condemned Jesus was amazed at the boldness of Peter and John.  Perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, they recognized them as companions of Jesus.  They warned them never again to teach, or speak to anyone, in the name of Jesus.

But the elders and the scribes might as well have tried to turn back the tide, or hold back an avalanche.  Peter and John had seen the Risen Christ with their own eyes. Peter and John were filled with the Holy Spirit.  They asked whether it is right "in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God.  It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."

And Peter and John and all the Apostles, starting first in Jerusalem in Judea and Galilee and then to the very ends of the earth, announced the Resurrection and the Good News to everyone they encountered.

According to the clear testimony of the Scriptures, these Apostles had once been rather ordinary men - like you and me.  Their faith hadn't always been strong.  They made mistakes.  They committed sins.  They were often afraid and confused.

But meeting the Risen Lord had changed everything about these first disciples, and knowing the Risen Lord should also change everything about us.

You know, it has never been easy to be a Christian and it's not supposed to be easy!  The world, the flesh, and the devil will always love their own, and will always hate us.  As Jesus once predicted, they hated me, they will certainly hate you.

But our Faith, when it is fully lived, is a fighting faith and a fearless faith.  Grounded in the power of the resurrection, there is nothing in this world, and nothing in hell, that can ultimately defeat God's one, true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

For 2,000 years the enemies of Christ have certainly tried their best.  But think about it.  The Church survived and even flourished during centuries of terrible persecution, during the days of the Roman Empire.

The Church survived barbarian invasions.  The Church survived wave after wave of Jihads.  The Church survived the age of revolution.  The Church survived Nazism and Communism.

And in the power of the resurrection, the Church will survive the hatred of Hollywood, the malice of the media, and the mendacious wickedness of the abortion industry.

The Church will survive the entrenched corruption and sheer incompetence of our Illinois state government, and even the calculated disdain of the President of the United States, his appointed bureaucrats in HHS, and of the current majority of the federal Senate.

May God have mercy on the souls of those politicians who pretend to be Catholic in church, but in their public lives, rather like Judas Iscariot, betray Jesus Christ by how they vote and how they willingly cooperate with intrinsic evil.

As Christians we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, but as Christians we must also stand up for what we believe and always be ready to fight for the Faith.  The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism.  We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.

In our own families, in our parishes, where we live and where we work – like that very first apostolic generation - we must be bold witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  We must be a fearless army of Catholic men, ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation.

Remember that in past history other governments have tried to force Christians to huddle and hide only within the confines of their churches like the first disciples locked up in the Upper Room.

In the late 19th century, Bismarck waged his "Kulturkampf," a Culture War, against the Roman Catholic Church, closing down every Catholic school and hospital, convent and monastery in Imperial Germany.

Clemenceau, nicknamed "the priest eater," tried the same thing in France in the first decade of the 20th Century.

Hitler and Stalin, at their better moments, would just barely tolerate some churches remaining open, but would not tolerate any competition with the state in education, social services, and health care.

In clear violation of our First Amendment rights, Barack Obama - with his radical, pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda, now seems intent on following a similar path.

Now things have come to such a pass in America that this is a battle that we could lose, but before the awesome judgment seat of Almighty God this is not a war where any believing Catholic may remain neutral.

This fall, every practicing Catholic must vote, and must vote their Catholic consciences, or by the following fall our Catholic schools, our Catholic hospitals, our Catholic Newman Centers, all our public ministries – only excepting our church buildings - could easily be shut down.  Because no Catholic institution, under any circumstance, can ever cooperate with the intrinsic evil of killing innocent human life in the womb.

No Catholic ministry - and yes, Mr. President, for Catholics our schools and hospitals are ministries - can remain faithful to the Lordship of the Risen Christ and to his glorious Gospel of Life if they are forced to pay for abortions.

Now remember what was the life-changing experience that utterly transformed those fearful and quaking disciples into fearless, heroic apostles.  They encountered the Risen Christ.  They reverenced his sacred wounds.  They ate and drank with him.

Is that not what we do here together, this morning at this annual men's march Mass?

This is the Saturday of the Octave of Easter, a solemnity so great and central to our Catholic faith that Easter Day is celebrated for eight full days, and the Easter season is joyously observed as the Great 50 Days of Easter.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ - risen from the grave - is in our midst.  His Holy Word teaches us the truth.  His Sacred Body and Blood becomes our food and drink.

The Risen Christ is our Eternal Lord; the Head of his Body, the Church; our High Priest; our Teacher; our Captain in the well-fought fight.

We have nothing to fear, but we have a world to win for him.  We have nothing to fear, for we have an eternal destiny in heaven.  We have nothing to fear, though the earth may quake, kingdoms may rise and fall, demons may rage, but St. Michael the Archangel, and all the hosts of heaven, fight on our behalf.

No matter what happens in this passing moment, at the end of time and history, our God is God and Jesus is Lord, forever and ever.

Christus vincit!   Christus regnat!   Christus imperat!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Maximilian Kolbe...Giving up His Life for Another

Maximilian Kolbe was a Polish priest who died as prisoner 16670 in Auschwitz, on August 14, 1941. When a prisoner escaped from the camp, the Nazis selected 10 others to be killed by starvation in reprisal for the escape.

One of the 10 selected to die, Franciszek Gajowniczek, began to cry: "My wife! My children! I will never see them again!" At this Father Kolbe stepped forward and asked to die in his place - his request was granted.

As the ten condemned men were led off to the death Block of Building 13, Father Kolbe supported a fellow prisoner who could hardly walk. No one would emerge alive - Father Kolbe was the last to die ..