If you've ever traveled the plains of Nevada, there are plenty of burros on the loose, descendants of the beasts of burden that were once upon a time owned by conquistadors and settlers. And the rather obvious traditional image came to mind: Our Blessed Mother carried God's Child on one of these.
These animals were grazing on the outskirts of Beatty, NV. Just a few miles from the place of this photo shoot is the now infamous nuclear test site that saw over 900 detonations above and below ground. As I understand it, Beatty won't have to worry for another 9000 years when, at that time, the toxic remnants of the testing finally seep their way into the aquafers of the local population.READ MORE
Today is the Feast day of our Lady of Sorrows which holds another opportunity for families of Holy Cross to consecrate their home and family life to the maternal protection of our Lady through this wonderful devotion, 33 days to Morning Glory. Remember that this push for consecration among our families came at the invitation of our Bishop, Thomas Olmsted, who has led our diocese to the 50th Anniversary Celebrations.
Consecrate means to set apart, set apart from all that is worldly, mundane. To that point, we all have our experiences of living among those who are not of a religious mindset, who do not speak of God in a respectful way or address him as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At the Steubenville Youth Conference I visited over the summer, I met a priest from Oregon who share this statistic: sixty percent of the population in his state is unchurched, uncatechized, or has fallen into some form of religiosity other than Christian. Sixty percent!READ MORE
It is not unusual for caregivers to feel that no one understands what they, as caregivers, face physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually every day. If you, as a new or even a veteran caregiver, feel that you are all alone on your journey, then you may want to visit the web site for the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) at www.caregiveraction.org. This web site features a variety of information, resources and useful tips to help family caregivers who work with older loved ones and young and adult children with disabilities. You can read the personal stories of caregivers facing a variety of challenges and what they have learned from their experience. You can view videos that pertain to caregiving for specific diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. You can join the family caregiver forum and share with other caregivers. You can sign up to receiver CAN's free monthly newsletter of practical tips and advice. You will discover that there are many others in similar situations like yours who understand you and that you are not alone on the caregiving journey.
Here's another image from the Steubenville Youth Conference mentioned in last week's bulletin. Laser shows with thumping bass rhythms have their place as a way to captivate youth, but then comes the time to deliver. Youth want to be challenged with the truth. They know, just as Jesus' followers knew, that the Truth will set you free. Jesus did not shy away from the hard truth of letting go of all possessions in order to follow Him closely. This was not a poetic saying. It's all or nothing with Jesus.
The religious life of the Church has been set up to help those live out the radical teaching of Christ to forsake the world and its ways. Professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience help ensure fidelity to the radical option. That's fine and dandy for a professed religious, but for the rest of us who are neither nun or hermit, how are we to take Jesus' saying about giving up possessions? We do well to live by the virtue (not the vow) of poverty. That is, we are to avoid, as best we can, ostentation and consumer culture. Live more simply. Chastity, guarding our eyes and ears from the hedonistic lifestyle, especially as it comes by way our on-line entertainment industry. Obedience, observing the commandments and precepts of the Church, conceding in things non-essential to our supernatural survival.READ MORE
I was able to make the schedule work out so that I could attend the Steubenville, San Diego, CA, Youth Conference this past July where about 20 of our youthful parishioners decided to attend. My desire to hear the presentations was rooted in seeing what relevance the themes had on our youth, and secondarily, to understand a little more, what is it, according to the mindset of Steubenville Conference Ministry, that youth should know. And yes, from what I could witness, this Conference seemed to accomplish the work of sowing good seed in these young minds and hearts.
Fr. Mike Schmitz, the keynote speaker, connected very well with the youth. He has that gift. You, as a parent, who trusted Holy Cross and the Steubenville Conferences with the formation of your children, are entitle to hear Fr. Mike's message, and you can get a feel for those gifts by visiting his YouTube Channel "Ascension Presents".READ MORE
One of the greatest concerns for older/ill people and their caregivers is the issue of falling down. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four adults 65 and over falls each year and more than 300,000 seniors are treated for hip fractures. Half of all falls occur in the home. The most common type of fall is falling sideways. One way to help prevent falls is to make sure the home environment is safe. This can be done by installing grab bars inside and outside the shower and/or tub and by the toilet and by adding guard rails on both sides of stairs. It is also important to get rid of things that can cause tripping and to make sure there is plenty of light in the home by adding more and/or brighter lights. For more information, check out the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html.
The caregiving journey is often one of ups and downs. It is not abnormal for caregivers to experience frustration with their caregiving situation and/or their care receivers. When frustration builds and hangs on for longer periods of time, the caregiver is probably experiencing caregiver fatigue or burnout and could benefit from a break. It is not always possible for caregivers to break away from their duties especially in 24/7 care situations. However, it is possible to “get away” from caregiving in small ways. One of these is to take a few moments to breathe deeply to increase the intake and flow of oxygen. Breathing in while counting to 4, holding for 8 counts and then breathing out for 4 counts repeated several times will be very beneficial. Another way caregivers can take a virtual break is to spend a few moments with their eyes closed visualizing a favorite place they have visited or would like to visit. Sound machines that generate the sound of falling rain or crashing ocean waves can be very calming and relaxing. Finally, sitting down with a cup of favorite beverage while listening to favorite music can seem like a vacation. The important point for caregivers to remember is that even a little self-care can make the caregiving journey more manageable.
When we talk about the importance of taking care of yourself so you can take care of your loved one, fall prevention comes to mind. As a caregiver, you need to safeguard yourself, as well as your loved one, against falling.
Did you know falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths for Americans sixty-five years and older?
Falls are preventable and there are many things you can do to reduce the risk. The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has information on healthy aging with an entire section devoted to fall prevention. Visit www.azdhs.gov to your Google search bar. Click on Falls & Injuries on the left sidebar. Select Falls Prevention Information & Resources from the drop down. Prevent Falls at Home contains tips on how to avoid falls. Included is a list of low-cost items, such as wheelchair seat belts and slip resistant socks, that can drastically reduce the chance of a fall.
As caregivers, we become the eyes, ears and voices for our care receivers. We make sure that their concerns are voiced and that they correctly see and hear all that concerns them. We also lend our eyes and ears to medical professionals who provide care for our loved ones. Because we know more about our loved ones than the medical professionals do, it is important for us to continuously observe our loved ones and communicate changes in their physical, mental, behavioral and emotional health. While we may be tempted to dismiss a change as too slight or subtle to be of immediate importance, observing and sharing even subtle changes can make a huge difference in the care our loved ones receive. This can be done effectively by maintaining a log that gives date, time and type of changes observed. It is also helpful to write down any questions that we may have in connection to the changes we’ve observed. And, finally, we need to listen to the inner voice within us that may be urging us to seek immediate answers to the questions we have. Getting our questions answered as soon as possible could result in keeping our loved ones more independent and living longer.
With an estimated 40 million family caregivers in the U.S., employers are recognizing the value of those who are also members of the workforce. If you are working while caring for a loved one, AARP has resources including a video with tips for talking with your employer. (Copy the URL address into your computer search bar: https://learn.aarp.org/the-working-caregiver .
Be upfront with your employer regarding your caregiving responsibilities. If your company is small, talk with your boss, otherwise, your human resources manager who can tell you about policies and services such as caregivers’ support groups and respite care.
Make suggestions that accommodate your caregiving responsibilities yet are cost-effective for the company. Be creative. Explore options such as flextime, telecommuting, working from home one day a week, and utilizing allocated time off. And some employers are now offering paid leave for caregivers. You can also inquire whether you qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act.