Saturday, September 26, 2009

Special Guest

We are expecting a special guest at our church tomorrow - the renowned Cardiac Surgeon, Dr. K. M. Cherian.  He is in Atlanta, attending a conference on ROSS procdeure.  Dr. Cherian is planning to do a slide show at our church, after the Holy Qurbana.

Dr. K.M. Cherian is considered the top cardiac surgeon in India and across the globle.  He has achieved several top honors in his field, and has carried out over 32,000 surgeries including 14 heart transplants, 2 Auto transplants and 4 heart and lung transplants.  He used to be the Honorary Surgeon to the President of India from 1990 to 1993. In 2008, he was recognized as one of the leading living cardiac surgeons in the world- at the symposium of the International Cardiac Society of Surgeons.  He has opened a hospital at Parumala, and is considered to be one of the best in central kerala.

The Ross Procedure is a type of specialized aortic valve surgery in which the patient's diseased aortic valve is replaced with his or her own pulmonary valve. The pulmonary valve can then be replaced with a cryopreserved human pulmonary valve.  The procedure is attractive because patients do not have to take long-term, blood-thinning medications after surgery as they would with mechanical valves. This is particularly appealing to women of child-bearing age, athletes and active adults. India is the only country where this technique has been successfully implemented.

Few quotes from Dr. K.M. Cherian:

In a lifetime, the heart pumps about one million barrels of blood.

The human heart can create enough pressure that it could squirt blood at a distance of thirty feet.

An adult woman's heart weighs about 8 ounces, a man's about 10 ounces.

Every day 2,700 people die of heart disease.

Smoking is a major cause of atherosclerosis — quit it.

Most heart attacks occur between the hours of 8 and 9 AM.

South Asians men are more prone to heart attacks at a much younger age in comparison to people belonging to other ethnic groups.

Chewing uncoated aspirin right away, at the first sign of chest discomfort, can reduce the amount of damage to a heart muscle during an attack.

Oral hygeine is important- People that suffer from gum disease are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack.

Plans for Sept 26

Let me give you my feedback about how I feel - I am feeling very good overall.

All of you seem to be interested; all of you are coming in on time, and it appears to be a good start.  We are communicating well, and seems like we have good understanding between us.

We will be getting quite busy soon, and start moving at a faster pace.

So far I have heard only from few of you about the open house tomorrow.  I don't want to call your home; let's see how things go, the way it is.  

For tomorrow let's watch parts of the movie, 'The Passion of the Christ', directed by Mel Gibson.  I got a request if our class can watch the entire move.  My response: We don't have enough time to watch the entire movie in the class tomorrow.  I plan to play the scene, watch it, then I'll give you a lecture, get your input, and watch the scene again, etc.  It's kind of doing an analysis.

First set of BRS is due tomorrow.  The question is posted on this blog.  You can turn them in either electronically, or as print out - your choice.
Look forward to seeing you tomorrow.


We are coming towards the last part of our section on Love; in another 2 classes, we'll move on to other topics.  If you want to foster more closeness; if you desire relationships that are deeper and broader, more meaningful and longer-lasting, then remember the word 'T-R-A-V-E-L'.

T is for TRUST 
Trust is the 'super glue' that holds people together. A friendship or relationship will go nowhere without it.

R is for RESPECT 
"Do not save your loving speeches for your friends till they are dead; do not write them on their tombstones, speak them rather now instead," writes Anna Cummins. It's about respecting others and letting them know that you value them.

Sometimes affection means love. Sometimes it means a touch. It always means kindness.

Though we may feel afraid to let another too close, no relationship will go anywhere without risking vulnerability. Entrepreneur Jim Rohn says, "The walls we build around us to keep out the sadness also keep out the joy and the love."

Learn to be open. Learn to communicate freely. The kinds of relationships you make are largely determined by how openly you have learned to communicate.

Victor Borge got it right when he said, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." It's also the most enjoyable.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Three Jewels

There are three jewels in our life which can never be stolen.  They are the feelings we have in our life, and that makes us superior than the rest of human kind; these are love, care and sincerity. They can not be stolen by others and is uncontrollable.

The incomparable things in these feelings are that,

(1) whosoever (friends, loved ones, family, even unknown people) is linked by them can never be detached/replaced,

(2) they can never be molded, but they mold the person,

(3) these feelings never die and none except God has the power to give an ending to them.

Let me add two of my personal favorite to the jewelery list: commitment and dedication.  I would rank these two at the top as well.

Credits: Abbas M

Thursday, September 24, 2009


While everyone was busy saving their valuables, so was this guy too - wife and numerous beer cans!!
(click to enlarge)

Flu Shots

You must have noticed advertisements for flu shots all over the place.  With swine flu still around, it's a good idea  to get your flu shot.  Most places, it's around $25.  I saw an advt at Costco for $20 though.

Recently, CNN's Sanjay Gupta caught swine flu and was down for few 'miserable days'. The actual swine flu vaccine is going to be available soon.  The first batch of about 7 million vaccines will be rolled out within a week.  The next batch is expected to be available by mid October; about 40 million spray doses are expected to arrive by then.

There are several websites that offer the 'swine flu protection pack' for around $200.  According to the FDA, there are about 20 such fraudulent websites.  Do not mail them your money.

Due to the recent rain, floods, and contamination, we'll be seeing lot more diseases around us.  It's really a good idea to take preventive measures.  It's advisable to drink boiled water as well - who knows how bad the underground water system is, after all those flooding.

Congrats Gwinnett

Last week, Gwinnett county received $250,000 in it's efforts towards reducing the achievement gap between white and minority students.  With 160,036 students, it's the state's largest school district, and this is the fourth time Gwinnett county made it to the finals that was rewarding $1 million dollar scholarship for Urban Development.

Good job - Gwinnett county officials.

Open house Sept 27th

For the open house, I am planning to meet with your parents on Sunday, Sept 27th during the general session for about 20 minutes.  They can come in and take a seat.

Can you confirm via email if your parent(s) can attend that?  

House visit

A new priest moved into town and went out one Saturday to visit his parishioners. Everything went well until he came to one house. It was obvious that someone was home, but no one came to the door even after he had knocked several times. Finally, he took out his card, wrote on the back "Revelation 3:20" and stuck it in the door.

The next Sunday, as he was counting the offering, he found his card in the collection plate. Below his message was a notation "Genesis 3:10."

In order to fully understand the joke, you need to pick up your Bible and check Revelation 3:20 and Genesis 3:10.

For you lazy fellows, here are the online links:

Revelation 3:20

Genesis 3:10

Self learning

A group of 3rd graders went to visit the nearby zoo.  One smart kid had taught himself about the animals beforehand.  When they reached near the elephants, the smart kid said,

"Look, that's a frickin' elephant."

The teacher was shocked at the language and asked, "A what???"

"It's a frickin' elephant",  replied the smart kid innocently.  "I have his picture in my book", he added.

Upon reaching the bus, the kid showed the picture to his teacher - see below.

A f r i c a n  E l e p h a n t

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Soul

We all live in a world where we make our own journey - toward a place that has always existed in our minds; a place where a few have actually been but many still are trying to find. "I am home" some may say, but a home is an abstract concept of the reality we try to create.

Life should not just be from a perception of the reality that we are in. It's a mere reflection of what we try to make of the world that surrounds our very soul; our family, friends, people we learn to trust and love, people we try to understand and who try to understand us.

'Exciting!' one may think from the countless possibilities of "being YOU"; the vast ideas of thinkers making a star out of a dust or of someone to shine from the ashes of defeat. Life is but a short life span of reality but an infinite expression of possibilities.

Never hold anything that would chain you to the idea of despair, but hope. Have courage and take Flight knowing that you were always born with wings to soar high. Dream like you've never dreamed, hope like you've never hoped and stand on firm grounds. Never make haste for what needs to be accomplished for in every step of the journey, we gather the treasures of life; enriching our very soul with wonders beyond belief, shaping our very own identity to be "Special".

Lastly -Never let despair prevent you from inspiring others and in the process be inspired yourselves. As in this life's journey we will find friends who would guide us through the storm and be a rainbow after the rain.

Credits: Raffy Rabin

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our Stories

We all have our stories; intimate stories about our lives that we long to share. Stories about those things that have dearly touched us and stories about things that have cruelly torn us apart; stories about honor, stories about despair.

Our stories are about what happens to us, within us, around us. Our daily joy, grief, the silly times, the lonely times. Some of our stories are about that simple moment in our lives that change us forever. And some are about the significant moments that we wish we could do over.

We add daily to the stories we need to tell. And we let go of the ones that no longer seem meaningful enough to share. These stories we gently lay to rest.

When we listen to each other's stories we learn about ourselves, and we learn we are not alone. Listening to another's story, we feel united by common experiences. It is what helps us recognize the hero and herroine within us and graciously receive the one standing before us.

Our stories need to be told. We search out someone to listen, someone to understand, someone to tell us their stories. This profound connection is essential to our wellness. The telling and the listening are what makes our lives authentic.

Credits: Bernadette Ballezza

The wise woman and the traveller

A wise woman, who was traveling in the mountains, found a precious diamond in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious diamond and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without any hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the diamond was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.

But, a few days later, he came back to return the diamond to the wise woman.

"I've been thinking," he said. "I know how valuable this diamond is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this precious stone."

Author Unknown

For those sufferers

Below is a song for those who suffered and are suffering.

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do great things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing I asked for - but everything I had hoped for;
I almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among men, most richly blessed!

Credits: An Unknown Soldier

Guy brow

Here is another new term - guy brow.

Guy brow is a grooming service where guys shape their eyebrows.  Traditionally, women who are conscious about their looks know that grooming and shaping their eyebrows can transform the way they look.  The most common method is the one that originated in India called threading - where a cotton thread is rolled over the edge of the eyebrow which removes the precise line of hair to be removed.

Recently, there's been an increase in male grooming to improve or change their looks.  Among the popular ones, there are people like Jude Law, while the thin eyebrow of Sylvester Stallone is one to stay away from.

A word of caution though - never try shaving your eyebrows, even though it's a latest hip in New York in the fashion industry.  In some cases, it may never grow back how it used to be (I don't know), or may takes over 6 weeks to grow back; you may look like a human robot in the meantime.  Most of the models who started this were bleaching their eye brows to their skin color.

This post is just to keep you informed about the latest fashion trends - not to try at home.

Image Credit: Billion Dollar Brows

Rains in Atlanta

While the rains have been pouring down hard, several parts of Metro Atlanta still remains under water.  There are over 100 roads that remain closed in Cobb County, where we live. We were advised to stay at home if possible - that's what I am doing today.

Governor Purdue has announced school holiday for several counties today, and he's popular among many kids.  Seems that it's mostly kids who are having fun with all the water around.  If you see some danger around you, make note of the phone numbers below.  Be brave to call and ask for help if required.

- Down trees, call (404) 817-6813

- Flooding, call (404) 658-6500

- Power outages, call 1-888-891-0938.

- Watershed for flooding emergencies, call 404-954-6340

We turned on our home TV after quite some time to watch news related to the floods.  The last time I watched TV was when President Obama was swearing in.

The story of three trees

Last Sunday while we were learning 'discovery of the cross', I briefly mentioned to you the story of three trees.  Here is it for you to read.

Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!" The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!" The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world."

Years passed and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" the first tree said. The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!" The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me." He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure. She was coated with sawdust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty ship was made that day. Instead, the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river. Instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."

Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. "I wish I could make a cradle for him," her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful," she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the King of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God.

That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

So the next time you feel down because you didn't get what you want, just sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

Going one step beyond the above story, the three trees can be found in the bible.

The first tree - the manger in which Jesus was born (St. Luke 2: 1 - 7).

The second tree - the boat that carried Jesus while He calmed the storm (St. Matthew 8: 23 - 27).

The third tree - the cross on which Jesus was crucified (St. Matthew 27: 32 - 38).

Author Unknown

Sunday, September 20, 2009

BRS # 1

Just received the electronic format of BRS # 1.  The answers are due by Sunday, Sept 27th.

Click here to download it.

Feel free to contact me, if you have any questions or need clarification.

Devil's Beatitudes

Below are the Devil's beatitudes:

1. Blessed are those who are too tired, too busy, too distracted to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians — they are my best workers.

2. Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked — I can use them.

3. Blessed are the touchy who stop going to church — they are my missionaries.

4. Blessed are the trouble makers — they shall be called my children.

5. Blessed are the complainers — I’m all ears to them.

6. Blessed are those who are bored with the minister’s mannerisms and mistakes — for they get nothing out of his sermons.

7. Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church – for he is a part of the problem instead of the solution.

8. Blessed are those who gossip — for they shall cause strife and divisions that please me.

9. Blessed are those who are easily offended — for they will soon get angry and quit.

10. Blessed are those who do not give their offering to carry on God’s work – for they are my helpers.

11. Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother and sister – for he shall be with me forever.

12. Blessed are you who, when you read this think it is about other people and not yourself — I’ve got you too!

The Beatitudes

The beatitudes, as preached by Jesus Christ are found in Matthew 5: 3-12

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

If you want to learn more about the beatitudes, just ask.

Sept 20

We had a full house today; everyone was present in the class.  It's always a good sign to see everyone of you in the class.

Today, Achen talked about the beatitudes in his sermon as well.  I shall post them in a separate post.

Also, while you all were attending the general session, the Headmaster asked me if all of the 10th graders were attending the general session.  I told him confidently that the entire 10th graders will attend General Session, and I do not have to go behind them to take their attendence in GS.  All of you are grown up and responsible.  I am confident that after church, all of you will go feed yourself in the fellowship hall with whatever food is there, then head out to the General Session, then come to our classroom, pick up any activity such as BRS, and submit them on a regualar basis.  I do not have to be on your tail to do these.  We, in our 10th grade class have certain standards, and having known you for this many weeks, I am sure all of you will act as responsible students.  Let's have that understanding - which makes you and I happy.

Before starting the class, we wished Amal 'happy birthday' and shared the ice cream.  No mess or fuss - everything went like a clockwork - good job students.

Today we learned the story of discovery of the Cross of Jesus Christ by Queen Helena.  Hope this story stays in your mind for years to come.  We looked at the pictures of the cross as well.  I hope bringing in the projector helped.  A pictue is worth more than a thousand words.  I shall gmail you the pictures that we saw today.  Feel free to share them with your siblings and parents.  After all of you went out, James Joy figured out where the nail of Jesus Christ was in the last picture we examined - I'll let him show it to the entire class.  

You need to tell me how I am doing in the class - whether the lectures are worth listening, or am I boring you to death.  You get to grade me every Sunday on how I deliver, and I get to grade you on your performance.  Feel free to post your comments right here - I like to be criticized, so that I get some feedback and can improve.

Next week, we'll be watching the movie, "Passion of Christ".  I can bring in my projector and do similar to what we did today.  We'll be paying particular attention to the denial of peter.

Couple of you - Anabella and Alex turned in your BRS today.  It's due next Sunday (the BRS sheet did not say so).  There were not enough BRS questions, according to the HM, and he'll gmail it to me once he gets it in his hands.  Like we discussed today, let's try turning the answers in electronically - so that both you and I will have record of turning them in (date and time).  Further, you will have a copy of your own to refer later down the road.  Open a folder called BRS and put all your BRS mails in them.  Last year, the electronic version worked for many students, and they liked it.  Let's see how it goes with you all.  As soon as I get the BRS questions, I'll forward it to our team.

No homeworks for our class next Sunday - just the BRS.  Have a nice week.  Enjoy the rain.