Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CEO of Important Things

My boss suggested we have business cards made and hand them out to our patients before they leave...because the fact that we work in an Emergency Department and are only available, you know, around the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week means that we should make it even easier for our patients to remember and contact us.  He felt it would be good for public relations.

 "Hi!  So glad I just met you three hours ago and had to be the one to tell you that you have cancer.  If you have any questions or want to have lunch, just give my number a call."

Hand over business card.

"So it looks like you are having a heart attack and we need to fly you to the nearest cath lab.  By the way, here's my business card.  If you make it, give me a call."

Hand over business card.

"No I am not giving you narcotics for your back injury that you've received opiates for from thirteen other providers all over the state or your dental pain that you come in twice a week for.  Here's my card, just in case you want to remember who is cutting you off."

Have over business card.

And then what do we put on the card?  I'm only in the department 10 days a month.  I don't have an outside practice.  Should I give them my cell phone number in case they want to get a hold of me sooner?  Or the automated hospital number that when they call they will be told "We can't give advice over the phone.  If you feel worse we recommend you come back or see your own doctor."

So as you can see...I'm totally not getting it.  Should I be handing these things out at conferences?  No one has ever handed me one at a medical conference...???

But in the spirit of, um, what's the word for "well, let's give it a try at least once" I put together a business card:

Slight adjustment for privacy...but there you have it: CEO of Important Things.  This is reflective of how special my job really is and how many things are not important.  When people ask me, "Are you the CEO of the hospital?" I can easily say no and point out that really, the hospital is not important.  If it was, as CEO of Important Things, I would be its CEO also.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Summer fresh

My plans for dinner included grilling chicken and cooking up some green beans with garlic...lo and behold I came home to find the beans were slimy!  Looking through my fridge I realized the only veggies I possessed were a cucumber, red pepper and onion!  So I headed out the door and drove a mile down the road to a farm stand where I found some fresh asparagus, yellow squash and zucchini ...YUM!  

After sautéing the garlic, I threw in the squash and zucchini and cooked it al dente on medium heat with just a little browning (is al dente only for pasta? oh well, there was still a little firmness to them).  The chicken grilled evenly with a little seasoning while the asparagus roasted in the oven with a little EVOO and salt.  A glass of red wine, out on the back porch with a slight breeze...well, dinner was delicious...and so easy!  I LOVE SUMMER!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Whining whining whining

But not today.  Whining is so easy!  It's so easy to say, "Look at me!  This is hard!"  And to try to garner sympathy or empathy or some sort of interest from our neighbor...but not today!  For today I am going to count my blessings and, ahem, march on!

Training for a sprint triathlon.  Today I biked 12 miles, swam 600 meters and ran 2 miles.  If someone had told my out-of-shape, overweight self three years ago that I would be running, biking and swimming...well the nicest way to say it is, I wouldn't have believed it!  If someone had said, "You'll be married, overweight and have 2 kids," well that would probably have been a bit easier to imagine. But God doesn't seem to take me the way that I can picture: my future is nothing like I imagine just like my past has been nothing like I planned.  Why I am continuing a singles journey, surrounded by friends and family, is beyond me...but thankfully, not beyond God.  And in trust, I have to say that His way is much more exciting and much more beautiful.

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him." Ps 62:5

*PS Castle in picture is from Spain

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Christians in the world

"Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign. 

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.  

They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred. 

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments. 

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body's hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself. 

From a letter to Diognetus (Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)  
Father of all holiness,
guide our hearts to you.
Keep in the light of your truth
all those you have freed from the darkness of unbelief.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014


So very tired!  I had the privilege of having my three nieces and their two friends over last night for a "girls slumber party." Four of the five girls were under the age of five!  We had such a blast...pizza, popcorn, movies, nail polish, stickers, cookies, and music from Frozen!  Of course bedtime came all too soon...at 8:30 I made everyone climb into bed, say night prayers, and...after multiple rearrangements (including moving the air mattress into the room with the bed and then everyone deciding to sleep on the floor after all)...I finally dimmed the lights and made my way downstairs to get a little work done before hitting the hay myself.

I ignored the giggles and talking, knowing that five tired little girls would probably be asleep before too long.  Then I saw a little red head peak over the stair railing, "Auntie, I forgot to kiss you good night."  "Okay," I said, getting up and meeting her half way up the stairs for a quick good night kiss.  "Now go to bed!"

"I didn't get a kiss either," quickly called four more voices before all the girls were out of the bed, coming down the stairs for goodnight kisses.  After multiple hugs and reassurances, I sent them back to bed and went back to my work.

Then came my niece's crying.  I didn't have to wonder why she was crying, because what she cried was, "I can't fall asleeeeeeeepppp!"  I called her downstairs and put her in my room where she stopped crying and was asleep almost immediately.

Then the others took turns coming out, "I can't sleep!"  "I need water." "I need to use the bathroom." "I'm scared."  "So and so won't stop talking."
"Go to bed!"
"But auntie, I need to tell you something."
"I love you."
Smile.  Tricky little things!

My oldest niece came down, "Can I stay up with you?"
"But I can't sleep."
"Then just lay in bed with your eyes shut."
"Then why does so and so get to?"
"She is sleeping alone in bed by herself.  You can go sleep with her if you want."

Five minutes later she came out and announced she wanted to sleep with the others.

And true confessions: worst part!  When the two friends of my nieces called out that they needed their "medicine" because their legs hurt, I went in my medicine cabinet and found the only children's medicine I had: liquid benadryl.  I gave them each half a teaspoon and they happily swallowed it, thinking it was their medicine (presumably motrin?), and then promptly fell asleep.  

Please don't ever tell anyone!!  I didn't feel too guilty as both were suffering from allergies and honestly...I'm pretty sure it helped with those runny noses!  (And for anyone too aghast...well it is my job to prescribe medication...not too far out of my comfort zone...okay...I was tired too.)

It's clear that no parent would ever be able to regularly take an hour and a half to get their kids to bed and have a functioning life...but for one evening...it was pretty comical.  And for this single lady: pretty fun!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Social Media

Facebook is SO VERY ADDICTING for me...I can't imagine how twitter and all the rest of them would take over my life!  I find it so interesting that I can pop on at any moment of the day and interact with friends and family all over the world...and share with them some of my funniest or most special moments.  But there comes a time when it is just too much time and not enough quality.

And I must have a care not to use Facebook as my own personal little cheering squad...so tempting to keep posting wonderful or witty things just to have the positive feedback!  In my ever-lasting quest for humility (okay, maybe not forever, but at least for all of this life time), I find Facebook can sometimes be down right difficult!  And once I get caught up in me...well, I very quickly lose the love and interest I need to have in those around me.

So for all the blessings I have found through social media (i.e. Facebook since I am so limited), there is always the danger of falling into over-indulgence.  These snippets that attract and entertain...they are limited. As long as I recognize them as such and strive to moderate my time...then I can only be grateful for the instantaneous knowledge I have of a friend's new child or cousin's graduation.  But the moment this venue becomes a stage for me to proclaim to the world my greatness...well, my friends...I know I have a problem.

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of 

yourself less.” 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Padre Pio...pretty sure he always gets his way!

When Padre Pio wants something...well I've come to know...he gets it.  Whether with God or with us, his spiritual children.  Last summer I had a desire to go to Italy...not sure why, but there it was.  It came to me several times, this desire, and finally I started looking at places to visit.  It seemed the most attractive place to me was San Giovanni Rotundo and so with a willing heart I decided to spend a week in Padre Pio's home.

When I found out that his feast day would be during one of the weeks I was planning to visit Europe, I rearranged my plans to be in San Giovanni for his feast.  It seemed a waste to only visit Padre Pio when there are so many other beautiful Catholic shrines, so in addition I attached a trip to Lanciano, San Loreto and Assisi.  A couple weeks before my pilgrimage I made a road trip with my friend's mom to Pennsylvania for the baptism of my Goddaughter.  On that trip I told my friend's mom how I was going to Italy and she expressed a desire to go with me.  Of course I extended the invitation, never expecting that the mother of nine children would really take me up on it.

A week later she called me.  Her husband had recently inherited some money and would it be very strange if they both came with me?  Well, aside from the fact that it did seem strange to be heading to Italy with just my friend's parents, I welcomed them.  Come to find out they would be celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary at Padre Pio's Monastery and Shrine on his feast day.

The more I traveled with this beautiful couple, the more aware of the true situation I became.  They had married on a Tuesday in order to marry on Padre Pio's feast day.  In the shrine I was the photographer and videographer for them as they renewed their vows in Mary Pyle's house, in the very room Padre Pio's parents had died and where there was now a chapel.  The priest, an English speaking priest from Padre Pio's order, not only renewed their vows in front of the tabernacle but also blessed their rings.

I'm not sure when, maybe it was during the all night vigil or the procession, maybe as we made our way to St Michael's cave, or maybe even as knelt in front of Padre Pio's incorrupt body in the newly built crypt church...but it came to me that this trip was not for me in any way...rather I had been honored with the responsibility of bringing this couple, children of Padre Pio, to him for their anniversary.  Once I felt "in on the joke" I laughed and laughed.  God has a sense of humor...but also He honors us with responsibility in many ways.  He gives us jobs, children, sick ones, and in this case, the job of bringing this couple to Padre Pio.

From San Giovanni we went to Lanciano, Loreto, Assisi and Rome.  So beautiful and so blessed.  I can only hope that some day God will act so perfectly in my life!  How blessed to be a part of His working in others!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

I am not a mother. Well, not biologically.  I do have five God children.  But I've never been pregnant or anything remotely close.  And I do love children!  (And God willing some day I will bear a child in my womb...and raise children in my home with a holy spouse...and then, if I am really blessed, have the joy of grandkids...no I'm not looking ahead...)

Today I worked.  A little girl, three years old, came in with a broken leg.  She screamed, cried and refused to let any one touch her...until I came in with princess stickers...and she let me touch her "boo-boo" and examine where it hurt.  When X-ray came I was back in the room and she allowed me to hold her leg for the picture.  Then she needed a cast and once again, I was the one she let straighten her leg and then splint.  It was such a beautiful, touching experience being the one that she trusted.  

It was almost strange how when I came in the room she looked toward me with trust in her eyes...and at the same time, what a beautiful honor for me!  Little did she know that the one who ordered the X-ray, ordered the shot of pain medicine, or the splint was the same one she was trusting to touch and move her injured leg.  But at the same time, these things were done only for her good...even though they would bring pain...in time they will bring healing.

Motherhood is so unique and so beautiful.  We as woman are so PRIVILEGED to fill this role and in so many ways...whether biologically, emotionally or spiritually.  I thought of our perfect mother...she who is queen of our hearts and our lives, the one that we can always turn to with trust...how she was completely our Mother at the foot of the cross and continues to be our mother today.  I remember going through a very difficult time in my life and entrusting my heart to her...and how much pain I still underwent...but maybe this is because as my mother she KNEW exactly what I needed to be healed.  Loving Our Lady today, even more on this, her day, Queen of our hearts and Mother of all the living: pray for us!

Friday, May 9, 2014


I have been so edified lately by the people God has placed in my life, my family and friends, and even the BEAUTIFUL blogs I have come across.   After missions, pilgrimages and conferences, I feel surrounded by people responding to Our Lord with their whole hearts.  What hope for the future!

This doesn't mean there are no problems, pain or disappointments!  But rather I am more able to confront and deal with the difficult things of life as I come upon them...living in this moment.  I also feel more called to make myself available to those near me who are hurting, friends and family who are suffering, going through crisis or dealing with tragedy.  Compassion, empathy, love are all gifts from Our Lord.  Walking in Him brings me that much closer to those around me in their suffering.  Praise God, for He is good.

Today my boss asked me to put together a few "salient points" to share about bioethics and what I took from this past conference.  A few prayers would be wonderful as I find a way to share Catholic truth with other doctors and allied health providers without making it obvious that this truth is Catholic!

This picture is from San Giovanni Rotondo   Will share soon how Padre Pio used me...in a most touching and blessed way!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Divine Mercy Conference 2014

Some things that stood out to me from the Divine Mercy Medicine, Bioethics, and Spirituality Conference May 7th and 8th in Worcester, Ma:

"True compassion leads to sharing another's pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear."  St. John Paul II

"God is good to me, today."  Maria Romagnano

"Conscience doesn't determine moral truth, rather it recognizes it." Fr. Mark

"Real mercy costs."  Sr. Nazareta

"Human life is inviolable."  Fr. Mark

"I demand from you deeds of Mercy."  St. Faustina's Diary

"Here comes Jesus in that most annoying costume." St Teresa of Calcutta, about a grumpy old man approaching her, before reaching out to him in love

"Our church is a field hospital, bringing in the sick, the wounded, the near-dead.  And in this hospital, Jesus brings the medicine of His mercy.  It is by this salve that we are healed.  His blood and water that flow down, through the sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, heal us and make us whole."  Paraphrased, Bishop McManus, homily May 8th

"Miracles happen, despite what we do."  Dr. Bateman

And finally from Second Corinthians 6:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"The one who falls the most...

...gets the most kisses."  Or so said Father Don Calloway this morning at the Divine Mercy Medical Conference.  If that's not reassuring for those of us continually picking ourselves up or finding ourselves brought up out of sin once again by grace...I don't know what is!

Sunday, May 4, 2014


"You must feel so free!" a friend said to me a couple days ago.  We had stopped while in Rome to enjoy a cup of coffee, just three of us from our rather large group, and surprisingly the conversation had turned to relationships.  

A couple had become newly engaged the night before in a rather romantic way and my friend was expressing the fear that this experience would give all the girls on our trip a false expectation of romance and relationships.  I think he was trying to say that it had the potential to create romantic desires that would be impossible to fulfill or that a woman might try to create for herself a relationship with the wrong person, merely because she wanted to experience something so beautiful and touching in her own life.  

Immediately I thought back to a blog I have recently been introduced to called Taking the Veil where I have encountered much sense and encouragement for a single's journey.  Not wishing to go into detail for a young man, I extrapolated from her theory by saying that I felt most, if not all, of the young women on our trip felt that God has someone, specifically, designed for us.  Our vocation is not a chance happening, not a fifty-fifty proposition or a matter of luck.  Rather God, who is perfect and has a perfect will for each one of us, has a perfect plan for our lives.  When our vocation is marriage: that means He has a person who is perfectly meant for us.

And when that person comes, it is then and only then that the most beautiful romance will start.  Will it be as beautiful as a proposal on the steps of the Vatican at sunset the eve of the canonization of two of the greatest Popes ever?  Probably not...but beautiful it will be.

With this confidence, it becomes clear that I don't have to look out for the man, because he's not going to miss me!  And I don't have to chase him, because when he finds me, I will be the one pursued.  

Hence, I can be friends with my seminarian friends and not worry that I am tempting them away from their vocation...or with my male friends and not worry that every single one might be the person I am supposed to marry...or with my married friends, both male and female, because their vocation is already clearly known...I can even be friends with my female friends, because this isn't a competition.  I am not trying to one-up them or beat them.  I don't need to be better, more beautiful or more intelligent to find a spouse...I just need to be who God is making me to be.

It is freeing to realize that the people around you are people, made in the image and likeness of God, and that I can appreciate what goes on inside of them, makes them tick, and how they love God without needing to take something from them.

On this pilgrimage I realize I was surrounded by beautiful, Godly people and that there was no pressure to be who I wasn't or self-consciously analyze myself.  Why? Because I was too busy appreciating and getting to know who they were.  And my friend was right...what freedom there is in this!

I had a special grace on this pilgrimage.  I finally feel healed from the confusing relationship I have blogged about a few times in the past.  After 18 months of confusion and distress, I have peace and a sense of gratitude.  In front of the Eucharist during exposition at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Krakow I asked God one more time why He allowed me to fall so deeply in love with someone who would not be my spouse and His answer was so clear that I feel I know it with certitude: trust.  There is no other way I could have learned to trust Him like He has taught me to trust Him.  So with this trust I am looking to the future...and hoping in Him!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Once again...blessings...

Still reeling in shock that I was present for the canonization of two Popes by two Popes.  It almost feels surreal.  I keep thinking, "did that really happen?"  And yet it did!  Why God is so good as to bring me there, I can't truly say...but how grateful I am that He did!

In these post-pilgrimage days I have been riding on a sort of spiritual high.  I am jet lagged and caught up in the memory of so many graces and consolations.  The group I went with continues to communicate through text and the resounding theme is: this pilgrimage did not end in Rome...rather it begins the mission Christ gave the Church to carry out His love to the world.  

And so, with the risk of fear and desolation at the beginning of every encounter, I am called to bring His love to those in my daily life...the ones I meet on my journey each and every day.   I have been to work two days now and have interacted with multiple family and friends...I can only hope that the amazing love and joy that I have received will be tangible to those around me, that they are willing to accept that God is real and His love flows for them.

There was significant healing for me on this pilgrimage.  I have learned to trust God in a way that I have never trusted Him before.  I can only wonder where He will lead me from here and I know it will be GOOD.

As I return to my daily duty, I am searching for God's divine will and providence in my life.  I live in hope that the one who IS will continue to sustain me in His love and truth.  How much brighter the future!

Living in love with God tonight.  God's blessings on you all.