Yikes

I don’t even want to look at the date of my last post. Thankfully, Orthogals is still going strong, and strong enough that Ancient Faith Blogs picked us up! Woohoo!

Where have I been instead of online self-publishing? Well, you know about this:

DSCF2372

Which lead to this:

10527284_10152390321531016_9146825458258649251_n

And during that time I worked nights:

02020015

Around the time I got to switch to days, we found out this was coming:

11889441_10153463976340365_2814687415259445101_n

Props to my 6-year-old niece for thinking of this all by herself!

And in late October, she came!

12189784_10153649896300365_1072315772286821829_n

Sigh. I hadn’t even finished changing my legal name on my accounts…

For the time being, I plan on keeping up TRS. I’m blogging about different things now, but then again, this wasn’t supposed to be a one subject blog. It’s my thoughts and ponderings on life, and those have changed a lot too.

Advertisements

When The End Comes

Sorry that I’ve been absent for so long. There has been so much to juggle the past few months, and since I have a few people with whom I can verbally process my life, I guess blogging hasn’t been a top priority. I have plans to fill in some of my thoughts and experiences from the summer, but they will have to wait.

The reason for this entry, however, is that last night I received word from Stewie that The Brain finished his battle/war with ALS.

While I hate that a terrible disease has taken yet another person in such a cruel way, my emotion is not so much based on anger or depression or bitterness. I am actually relieved to know that he fought his battle in the only way he could and was able to let go. I am relieved to know that Stewie will have the opportunity to sleep through the night for the first time in over 2 years. I am relieved to know that The Brain was able to let go of this life and not give up hope.

I’m sure there will be more writings and musings of my grieving. But they will be dampened as I do not feel my life will make as much of an adjustment compared with others.

I have been struck the past few months in how complete the prayers of Orthodoxy are for the human experience. When we let go of our pride that says only extemporaneous or spontaneous prayers are best, we find a vast wealth of wisdom. So, I leave you with several of the prayers available in the Orthodox Prayer Book published by Holy Protection Monastery in Colorado (aka “The Blue Romanian Prayer Book”)

Oh good Lord, remember Your servant(s) _______ and forgive them all in which they have transgressed in their lives, for only You are without sin and can grant rest to the departed. In Your divine wisdom and love for mankind, You bestow all things and provide for all the needs of man. O Creator, rest the souls of Your servants _____ who have placed their hope in You, O Lord, the Fashioner, the Creator and our God. Amont the saints, O Christ, rest the souls of Your servants where there is neither pain nor grief nor sighing, but life everlasting.

In one of my conversations with The Brain before I left for nursing school, he expressed to me his fear of being forgotten after his death. So, I now can pray the words I reassured to him that day: Memory eternal.

 

To The Babies I Held on My Birthday

Obstetrics clinical rotations began this past week. Day 2 was Wednesday, July 17 – my 31st birthday. Here’s what I was thinking that day.

Dear Little Ones,

Welcome to the outside world. The past week was filled with a lot of change for you. You are still dependent on your mother for nutrition and warmth, but you are now breathing on your own. And this time it’s air, not amniotic fluid. Your heart and lungs have gone through intense change and you are still causing your mom hormone and physical changes in this post-partum period. Your dad, while not new to this, is still in awe and thankful that the both of you are safe.

You didn’t know it and probably never will, but I took care of you on my birthday. 31 years ago, I was the new bundle of joy. I’ve seen pictures but time fades colors in the pre-digital photography era. I have to wonder if my face looked like a model for a porcelain doll and if my lips were perfect cherry red as yours are. As I held you, I didn’t mourn that I have yet to push a new human out of my abdomen. I was overwhelmed with a distinct sense of hope for you and wonder.

What delights will you bring your parents? How will you and that big brother I saw earlier get along? Will you color on the walls or play in the mud? Will you break hearts or have your heart broken? What will you be so passionate about that could help your corner of the world?

I hope sincerely that you will not disappoint others, but you are human, therefore you will. Thus, I hope more that you learn to ask for forgiveness and extend it. I hope you are able to see Truth and want it for you and others.

As I hear the news of what the world is throwing us – the suffering isn’t new but you are. May your eyes be opened gently so you don’t see too much at once, yet just enough that you are able to have compassion and help as you can.

It is wonderful to look upon you just being you. Content that your needs are met.

Thank you for that gift of seeing life simply when it is complex. My only regret is that I can’t tell you this for when you’ll remember nor can I leave your parents a note – that would just be creepy.

May the Lord have mercy on you daily.

Your Student Nurse

And in case you, the reader, are wondering, here’s from 31 years ago:

laurababy

My 30s

The narcissist in me likes to see how people find TRS. It amazes me that months after I posted 100 Things to do in your Twenties, people still hop over here because they Google similar phrases.

Well, as of the middle of July 2012, I was 30. I pouted for a week or so before; I lamented that marriage and babies were not mine, yet. But I also feel as though I had some new things coming. A life that was not finished being lived. And an urge to tell those entering their 20s that birthdays are milestones, not grave markers.

So, while not as extensive, epic, or entertaining – here are some things to do in your 30s. Take them, leave them, tailor them to yourself. Whatever you do, live a rich life.

  1. Learn about insurance beyond your car. If you own a home, you probably have home owners insurance – great. For those who rent: renters’ insurance should run about $10-15 per month. $120/year is a small price to pay in the event your apartment or rental house goes up in flames. What about health insurance? Life insurance? Somehow, our generation will pay for extended warranties and insurance on our phones, stereos and other electronics, but we won’t pay a few bucks per month to cover our burial expenses if we die from an accident. Learn what insurance you need and is a good expense (disability, renters, etc.) and which is a scare tactic (mortgage).
  2. Build retirement savings. A little now turns into a lot later. I would like for Social Security (if my generation even gets that in 30 years!) to be my play money, not my utility bill money.
  3. Learn a language where you could survive a day of touring the country on your own – German and Greek are the front runners for me. Then again, Church Slavonic, Romanian, or Arabic wouldn’t hurt either. We’ll see.
  4. Go visit the United States (or other places in your country of residence). South Carolina is at the top of my list as my brother lives a block from the beach – tour guides and place to stay…Win! I also want to tour the West Coast. I keep meeting people from the PNW and California. I’d love to see Napa Valley, the Pacific Ocean, and ride a San Francisco trolley.
  5. Save a few thousand for future education endeavors. Whether it’s continuing education for your job, a nifty conference, or a class at a community college – put some money aside and deduct it from your taxes that year.
  6. Spend time with the next generation. This might be your own child(ren), niece(s)/nephew(s) or young child of a close friend or Godchild. Find something that lets said child know they are loved and appreciated. This doesn’t always have to be an expensive gift. A friend of mine always takes out her nieces on their birthday and buys them a classic book. Once, I took a friend’s daughter out to tea. I try to send my nieces and nephew a birthday card and Valentine’s day gifts. I’m still getting to know my Goddaughter, but if I see a little something that she might like or can carve out time to be at a school program, I oblige. There’s no way I can be the aunt/godmother that I would like to be with distance a big factor. But remember how awesome it was to get mail when you were little? Exactly.
  7. Learn to forgive.
  8. Seek out mentors – personal, professional, etc. Pursuing excellence is an accomplishment in and of itself.
  9. Read a book or two from high school English that you muddled through on the Cliff’s Notes. If you devoured everything from English, get a math book and work a few algebra problems or geometry proofs. Or grab a science book and work a chemistry conversion or rediscover the biology classifications (Kingdom, phyla, order, etc.)
  10. Budget. Save and pay cash for your next car. Work a plan to get out of debt and stay that way. (I recommend Dave Ramsey as a resource, but there are plenty of others out there.)
  11. Conquer a fear whether rational or irrational.
  12. Get some updated photos by a professional photographer. Find someone who goes with your personal style. If you’re like me and don’t have engagement or wedding photos, get some good head shots with a kick. I did this recently in January – partly because I needed some pictures for professional and outside interests, and also because it’s fun.
  13. Volunteer with an under-served population. TRS recommends finding an organization that serves those who are homeless, those who have a mental illness, or those who have a disability. Break your stereotypes surrounding a population with which you have nothing in common.
  14. Love others where they are at.

Any other suggestions, thirty-somethings?

Mom Bombed

I don’t know if I just coined a phrase or not, but I like it, so I’m going to see if it sticks.

“Mom Bombed” = an unintentional turn in conversation when mothers start talking about baby and toddler life such as birth stories, cloth vs. disposable diapers, sleep schedules, potty training, etc.

Most of my friends are doing a good job of not randomly bringing up these topics; sometimes I am the one who asks. It’s hard to stray away from these topics entirely when 2012 was a busy year for labor and delivery amongst my female friends. Yet, there are times where you can be talking about other people, actual events in the world, sharing ideas, and then, the awkward silence followed by, “So, did you decide to go with cloth this time?”

I left.

Some women – and in my opinion, those who had children after 30 – are a little more conscious of these conversations. Some realize that their childless friends love their children, and that it is both an emotional uplift and depression to continually be around others’ children when you have none yourself. Other women are oblivious.

So…what are the childless women to do?

Some moms and older women tell us to put on our big girl panties and be content. Well, see, most of my unmarried-but-desiring-of-a-husband-and-children-someday friends ARE finding contentment in life. So, give us a little credit – we’re not completely unhappy – but being inundated with these conversations awakens the sleeping dragon.

There is always the option of politely or impolitely turning the conversation back to the pre-mom bomb topics, which would then make everything awkward.

Or you can leave the conversation and passive-aggressively write a blog post about it a month later.

Any other suggestions?

Waiting is the Hardest

This past weekend was pretty good. Except for half of my (white) shirt being covered in (red) wine and spending a few days soaking it in Biz, life was peachy.

I visited a few people in Bloomington this past Sunday. I was privy to a perogi dinner (YUM!) and visited The Brain and company before the feast. Even without nursing school to teach me symptoms and beginning pharmacology, I was able to notice the differences in the first five words. His wheel chair is propped back just a little farther, probably to keep his head from tipping forward all the time. His speech is slower, more labored and more breaths are required to finish a sentence. I also noticed a few tears come to the corner of his eyes a couple of times: emotional liability. Those with ALS sometimes lose their ability to control emotions; it’s embarrassing for some more than others.

But in the midst of the signs of further decline that I was noticing, I got to appreciate the time with a friend. There were other guests around, which added to the fun and enjoyable afternoon. The Brain is still able to talk and chew, thus I was relieved to eat some cheese and crackers alongside him. I had to be vigilant that he not talk and chew and the same time, otherwise, things were okay.

He asked about school and work. I tried to think of all the stories he would want to know, along with a few self-deprecating remarks on my first few months. But he celebrated with me that clinicals start soon and that, so far, classes are going well. I made sure to tell him about my professor who is a former Catholic nun. I have a feeling she’ll be the source of many stories in the semesters to come.

My last experience with hospice was about 6 years ago when an aunt was in the final stages of Scleroderma. After the options had been weighed, she was admitted to an in-patient hospice facility. It was the hours of keeping vigil with my family that I found the hardest. The only way her body’s functioning would go was down. The nurses were fabulous and took excellent care of my aunt in addition to her husband and adult sons. But there was still the wait.

The more I experience life with The Brain and encounter others in pain, the more I see the wait as a gift. There is time to grieve with the person; to let him/her know they will be missed. It does not take away the sickening feeling that someone you love and cherish is suffering. But their suffering, in whatever form, is a way that those of us caring for them or their family can learn compassion. We can learn when a hug is needed or when to leave a cup of tea and box of tissues at their side. Albeit, the waiting is a tough gift to receive, but it is a gift.

The visit did me some good to set my mind at ease. The past few weeks, my dreams have been more vivid and some of my day time thoughts drift to The Brain. I am thankful for the reminder that (some) dreams are a reaction to stress and anxiety. Before I left for school, his lung capacity was 5%. Five. Total. How would you feel if your gas tank was always 5% above empty?

But in the midst of this painful wait, of which I now have to watch from a distance, I’ve been given an opportunity to wait and pray and love as I am able. It is far from a “glam Mother Teresa” that so many try to make of nursing and hospice. You do not help others because that act makes you look good. You help others because you see the world and its brokenness, and you know that your calling is to help in this way.

You Know You’ve Landed in Minnesota…

…when this appears in the condiments offerings:

ImageYum.

Get in Line, You’re Family

My final Sunday at All Saints as a regular attender was not filled with much that was out of the ordinary. As typical, I was later than I wanted to be, thus not only missing the Matins Gospel, but barely sneaking in before the Great Doxology. I guess you would have to know me to understand why I have a twinge of guilt about this.

I sang in the choir, as usual. Sat among the first row or so during the homily. My feet longed for a rest and my voice longed to sing a different melody during the Anaphora prayers. But there was something about communion that was completely different than before. More

5 years ago….

5 years ago, I was anxiously starting what I knew would be my final year of teaching. I was also anxiously awaiting a call from my sister, as she was pregnant with child number one at that time.

And right as I settled in for my lunch hour to get some work done, I got the call. I was an Auntie to a beautiful niece.

4 months old, December 2007.

It’s been great to be an Aunt for the past 5 years, to my sister’s now 3 children and my friends’ babies.

Thanks for making a good start, Naomi! Happy 5th birthday, sweet girl. You are loved!

Coffee and Ginko

After my last post, I thought, “Ooh, I have some time. I’ll just scan in another quick thing and use the ‘scheduler’ feature to do a quick write-up and make it look like I blogged tomorrow when I actually didn’t!” The best laid plans…

Previous Older Entries

sublimetoday

Love Your Look!

Single Christian Girls

Because we're all crazy. Someone just needed to say something.

Nurse Eye Roll

humor | honesty | nursey shenanigans

The Orthodox Clergy Wife by Presbytera Anonyma

the secret sisterhood of Orthodox clergy wives

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Orthogals

striving for truth ... and normality

In All Things

"Grant us to greet the coming day in peace. In all things help us to do Your will..."

The Garfield Park Arts Center

The center for arts in Indy Parks

Heaven is at Hand

Struggling in Christ for Authentic Life

%d bloggers like this: