Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for May 10th, 2009

by Sarah Jio, Vitamin G, Glamour Magazine, on Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:15am PDT

https://i0.wp.com/www.learn-spanish.com/images/gym.jpg

There’s no sense panicking about germs–they’re everywhere. But, it is good to know where germs are more likely to congregate, isn’t it? Here’s what you need to know about the germiest places at the gym….

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Today Kim over at Little Miss Fortune is blogging about the value of gym memberships and whether it’s cool to pay a small fortune for one. Do you work out at a gym? They frequently make “germiest places in America” lists, and it’s easy to see why: pack a bunch of sweaty, sparsely clothed bodies into tight spaces and you’ll get germs–lots of them. But there are places that germs are more likely to congregate, say experts. Here are the germiest zones:

*Public yoga mats. Beware of communal yoga mats, say experts. According to Elizabeth Scott, Ph.D., the co-director of the Simmons College Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community Settings, who I spoke to for this Vitamin G post, a yoga mat–like a pillow–is a personal item we probably shouldn’t share. “I have some data that indicates that skin bacteria, including Staph aureus and the resistant strain, MRSA, can be found on yoga mats,” she says. “Our studies indicate that these mats are seldom, if ever, cleaned. These bacteria can cause serious skin infections if they gain access via any small breaks in the skin. My advice is to bring your own mat, or at least a large towel to put between you and the mat.”

5 Frightening Truths About the Germs Under Your Fingernails (and His!)

*Dumbbells. According to this article from ABC News, equipment that is used by multiple people in quick sequences, like dumbbells, harbor the most germs. Go ahead and use them, of course, but remember to wash your hands afterward.

*Exercise bike seats. It’s no wonder why they’re germy–people sit there and sweat! Yeah, it might be a good idea to sanitize that bad boy before spinning class.

The 10 Germiest Jobs in America: Is Yours on the List?

*Locker room showers and floors. No surprise here. Experts who tested gym shower floors found shocking amounts of germs in gym bathrooms: “Unfortunately, germs do survive in the shower, on walls, and on the floor,” said Dr. Philip Tierno, a microbiologist. “I found it in hordes–unbelievable quantities. We use the word ‘innumerable.’ Innumerable.”

OK, so not every “germ” that congregates on any of these places is going to make you sick–in fact, most won’t. But, experts note that if germs tend to flock to a certain place, it increases the chance that harmful pathogens can to.

Speaking of all of this, I asked you a while back about whether you wipe down the fitness equipment after each use, and many said yes. But here’s the funny thing: Most said they don’t wipe them down before use. I was really surprised by this–the fact that you’re protecting others from germs, but not yourself. Hmm.

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/the-4-germiest-places-at-the-gym-453724/

by Erin Burt
Friday, May 1, 2009

You worked hard to get the education, the skills and now the job. Don’t let these mistakes sabotage your climb up the career ladder.

Lying on your résumé, stealing office supplies or failing to show up for work will surely dampen your career prospects. But young workers need to beware of less-obvious mistakes that can sabotage their careers. Your behavior, attitude and appearance will play important roles in finding success, not only in your first job, but also throughout your entire working life.

As someone just starting out in the work world, you probably don’t have a reputation yet. Take advantage of this blank slate. “You want to be seen as an up-and-comer, not the stereotypical young slacker,” says Marty Nemko, a job coach in Oakland, Cal., and columnist for Kiplinger.com. Avoiding these seven career killers will help you craft a stellar reputation and keep your career on track.

1. Procrastinating. Remember the first time you put off studying for a test then crammed at the last minute and still got a decent grade? Many of us have been procrastinating since grade school and have done just fine, but that’s a habit you have to break. “There’s no grade inflation in the workplace,” says Nemko. If you pull together a report or presentation at the last minute, your shoddy preparation is going to show. And if something unexpected happens — say your computer crashes or a key contact fails to return a call — the old “dog-ate-my-homework” excuse isn’t going to cut it. “Procrastination is an ingrained habit,” Nemko says, “but if you don’t kick it pretty quick, you’re going to find yourself on the corporate slow track.”

2. Having a sense of entitlement. Our generation was raised on instant gratification — we’re used to getting what we want, and getting it now. Yet when it comes to our careers, no matter how hard we work, we cannot get five years’ worth of experience in one year. Younger employees tend to feel entitled to quick promotions, says Randall Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers and associate professor of marketing at Stetson University in Deland, Fla. Falling into that trap can hinder a climb up the career ladder. If you carry the attitude that you deserve to be promoted or else, you may find that “or else” is your only option, says Hansen.

If you’re lucky enough to even have a job in this economy, remember that fresh out of school, you’re on the bottom rung of the career ladder. That means you’re going to have to pay some dues, such as taking on jobs others don’t want or working days others want off. But that doesn’t mean you should accept your low status forever. Learn more about how to know when it’s time to move up — and how to pull it off.

3. Settling into your job description. You may have your set responsibilities, but you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to shine. Going above and beyond your mundane entry-level tasks can demonstrate your untapped talents and show your boss you’re not afraid to take initiative. Settle into your job description for too long and your reputation may be cast as a low-level lackey.

You may have to do a little self-promotion, but try not to come off as a braggart. Nemko’s daughter, for example, got her first job working for Hillary Clinton — but her job description was to answer letters to Socks, the Clintons’ pet cat. Soon after starting, she approached her boss and said she was willing to pay her dues, but that she had good research and writing skills. She pointed out that she might be useful on some other task. A few days went by and her boss asked her to research a topic and write a one-page brief for Clinton. She ended up spending a year as a researcher — that certainly beats handling feline fan mail.

4. Avoiding office politics. When it comes to playing office politics, there is naughty and nice. Naturally, you shouldn’t engage in backstabbing and gossiping. But avoiding politics altogether can be deadly for your career. Like it or not, every workplace has an intricate system of power, and you can — and should — work it ethically to your best advantage. To get a promotion, avoid downsizing or get a project approved, you need co-worker support. Get that backing by building relationships, asking others for advice, offering your help and showing sincere interest in others, advises Nemko. (Learn more about how to make yourself fire-resistant in the workplace.)

It’s also crucial to identify your workplace’s hidden pockets of power. On paper, a certain person may be in charge, but you need to know who else in the office has influence so you can be sure to impress the right people.

5. Not being a team player. Getting stuck with this label is one of the fastest career killers, says Hansen. But young workers face a delicate balance. “You can’t be so much a member of the team that your individual efforts are not recognized and rewarded,” Hansen says. You still need to demonstrate your skills and abilities to successfully build your career without giving the appearance that you’re interested only in looking out for yourself.

6. Not dressing the part. In an ideal world, you would be judged by your merits alone. However, we live in a visual society. How you present yourself can play a crucial role in the progress of your career. You want to look professional and in control, not sloppy and indifferent. Keep your hair and nails trimmed, your clothes ironed and your breath smelling nice.

As for your apparel, take your cues from what others are wearing — you don’t want to show up in a suit and tie if jeans are the norm. But it doesn’t hurt to dress for the job you want, advises Nemko. It can set you apart from the rest of the crowd and subtly help higher-ups visualize you in a position of more power and responsibility. If you want people to take you more seriously and build influence, you’ve got to dress the part. See Dress for Success for Less for tips on pulling this off on a budget.

7. Failing to network. You’ve heard that networking can be a good tool to help you find a job, but maintaining your contacts after you’re hired is critical to the continuing success of your career. Keeping in touch helps you stay atop the latest issues in your field and gives you people to call on when you need advice. And a contact just may help you land your next job.

When you’re starting out, you probably don’t know many people in your field, but there are plenty of ways you can plug into the grapevine:

  • Check out the resources offered by your college alumni association.
  • Join a professional organization or club.
  • Subscribe to a trade magazine.
  • Find online discussion groups for your industry through groups.google.com.
  • Keep in touch with college acquaintances in your major, especially those who may have graduated before you.
  • Don’t be a wallflower at conferences and other functions. And always keep a business card on hand when you’re outside the office. You never know when you might run into a potential contact.

Don’t forget to build rapport with higher-ups in your office. You can introduce yourself at informal company socials or even while riding in the elevator. Then send them an e-mail or stop by their office to ask an occasional question or to follow up on something you chatted about previously. You never know when that friendship could come in handy down the road.

http://finance.yahoo.com/career-work/article/107022/Seven-Career-Killers

Jn 15:1-8 – The Vine and The Branches
Fifth Sunday of Easter

Somebody once compared a Christian to a basketball player. To be good player, he said, it is not enough that you run fast, dribble well, assists timely and execute the play as planned. It is not enough that you have years of experience, full knowledge of the rules and regulation, good nutrition, enough rest  and constant practice. What matters most is to be able to shoot, to make points  and eventually to win the game.

Jesus, in today’s Gospel, is saying the same thing but in ways familiar and understandable to his people during his time.  Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears much fruit…He who abides I me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit…By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (Jn 15:1-2, 5-8).

Our Lord is describing two kinds of followers: that of those who, although they are still joined to the vine externally, yield no fruit; and that of those who do yield fruit but could yield still more. The Epistle of St. James carries the same message when it says that faith alone is not enough (James 2:17). Although it is true that faith is the beginning of salvation and that without faith we cannot please God, it is also true that a living faith must yield fruit in the form of deeds. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). So, one can say that in order to produce fruit pleasing to God, it is not enough to have received Baptism and to profess the faith externally: a person has to share in Christ’s life through grace and has to cooperate with Him in His work of redemption.

Jesus uses the same verb to refer to the pruning of the branches as He uses to refer to the cleanness of the disciples in the next verse: literally the translation should run: “He cleanses him who bears fruit so that he bear more fruit”. In other words, He is making it quite clear that God is not content with half-hearted commitment, and therefore He purifies His own by means of contradictions and difficulties, which are a form of pruning, to produce more fruit. In this we can see an explanation of the purpose of suffering: “Have you not heard the Master Himself tell the parable of the vine and the branches? Here we can find consolation. He demands much of you for you are the branch that bears fruit. And He must prune you `ut fructum plus afferas”: to make you bear more fruit’.

“Of course: that cutting, that pruning, hurts. But, afterwards, what richness in your fruits, what maturity in your actions” (St J. Escriva, “The Way”, 701).

After washing Peter’s feet Jesus had already said that His Apostles were clean, though not all of them (cf. John 13:10). Here, once more, He refers to that inner cleansing which results from accepting His teachings. “For Christ’s word in the first place cleanses us from errors, by instructing us (cf. Titus 1:9) […]; secondly, it purifies our hearts of earthly affections, filling them with desire for Heavenly things […]; finally, His word purifies us with the strength of faith, for `He cleansed their hearts by faith’ (Acts 15:9)” (St. Thomas Aquinas, “Commentary on St. John, in loc.”).

Christianity, therefore, is not just a religion of “don’ts” or simply avoidance of sin but one of “do’s”. Christ is very definite about it, “You must bear fruit in plenty,” fruits of good works.  The only thing that matters is “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6) as St James beautifully put it: “What good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it?” (Jas 3:14).

We must bear abundantly the fruit of holiness (see Gal 5:22ff) and evangelization (Jn 15:5). Otherwise, we will be like “a withered, rejected branch, picked up to be thrown in the fire and burnt” (Jn 15:6). We bear fruit abundantly by being attached to and living in the Vine, Jesus Christ (Jn 15:5). We must be abiding in Jesus and He in us, and stay in communion with all the others who abide in Jesus.

The life of union with Christ is necessarily something which goes far beyond one’s private life: it has to be focused on the good of others; and if this happens, a fruitful apostolate is the result, for “apostolate, of whatever kind it be, must be an overflow of the interior life” (St J. Escriva, “Friends of God”, 239).

The Second Vatican Council, quoting this page from St. John, teaches what a Christian apostolate should be: “Christ, sent by the Father, is the source of the Church’s whole apostolate. Clearly then, the fruitfulness of the apostolate of lay people depends on their living union with Christ; as the Lord Himself said: `He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing’. This life of intimate union with Christ in the Church is maintained by the spiritual helps common to all the faithful, chiefly by the active participation in the Liturgy. Laymen should make such a use of these helps that, while meeting their human obligations in the ordinary conditions of life, they do not separate their union with Christ from their ordinary life; but through the very performance of their tasks, which are God’s will for them, actually promote the growth of their union with Him” (“Apostolicam Actuositatem”, 4).

If a person is not united to Christ by means of grace he will ultimately meet the same fate as the dead branches–fire. There is a clear parallelism with other images our Lord uses–the parables of the sound tree and the bad tree (Matthew 7:15-20), the dragnet (Matthew 13:49-50), and the invitation to the wedding (Matthew 22:11-14), etc. Here is how St. Augustine comments on this passage: “The wood of the vine is the more contemptible if it does not abide in the vine, and the more glorious if it does abide….For, being cut off it is profitable neither for the vinedresser nor for the carpenter. For one of these only is it useful–the vine or the fire. If it is not in the vine, it goes to the fire; to avoid going to the fire it must be joined to the vine” (“In Ioann. Evang.”, 81, 3).

Jesus, makes it clear that those baptized into Christ have been baptized into one body (1 Cor 12:13). If we are united to Jesus, the Head of the body, we are to be united to all the other parts of the body. Jesus promised that the world would believe when Christians are one (Jn 17:21). In unity, we will bear the great harvest leading to Jesus’ final return.


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