Moms

I am not a mother.

Yet, last night at a baby shower, I had a wonderful time chatting with mothers of all sorts. I still feel new to my church community, even though I’ve been attending faithfully since moving about two years ago. I love how the community is adjusting to the changes – they celebrate births, baptisms, marriages, chrismations. And they mourn together and help when someone of the community has a physical or spiritual need.

I am so thankful for the opportunity last night to talk with those moms and women of my community.

I started the evening talking with a mom adjusting to her high school freshman daughter. She’s asking herself, “How do I help her find her way, but let her do it?” She recognizes the talents, brains, and abilities and is excited to see how her daughter will use them. But is also wondering how to let go and give her daughter room.

Mom B is lively with three college-age and beyond kids. One is planning a wedding, one seriously dating, and one still trying to figure out life.

Mom C has 3 children under the age of 8. Her baby has multiple food allergies, and since she’s nursing, she has to cut those foods out. Her other two are a lively handful and she’s homeschooling. She was so vulnerable in sharing that some of the negative behaviors she sees in her children, she knows they got from her. Thus, to have her children change and nurture their spirit, she has to change.

Mom D was the guest of honor and will be a new mom after only one year of marriage. I’ve loved getting to know her these months; she’s so chill and relaxed with the perfect amount of sarcasm.

In this period of my life where I’m engaged and preparing for marriage and the possibility of motherhood, I am always struck with how open these and other women have been with their lives. I’m honored that they want to know me and my struggles in this time as well.  Some have shared the worst parts of their engagements and marriages with me. They shared their children’s delights and joy; they shared their struggles, fears, and what is at the heart of their prayers. This is not as a “WARNING: RUN NOW!” but rather an encouragement to build the good foundation and habits in my marriage and (eventual) parenting.

I guess this is a “fluffy” post where I can pinpoint the exact “meaning” of my experience. It’s amazing how going through drastic changes in my life allows people to feel confident in sharing their joyful and difficult experiences. And maybe that is the “glue” of a community.

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Why I’ve been absent…

One semester left.

That’s what I keep telling myself.

One semester. 16 weeks. Just keep going.

Part of being absent has been not figuring out how to process my patients’ and my story for blogging. You know, HIPPA and all that. I find there is meaning in their lives, and I want to say more than “wow, I worked in a hospital with patients today” but some people will make you believe THAT is too much.

Anyway, there’s another reason I’ve been more absent. Blogging was a way for me to process, and lately, someone else has gotten my verbal processing.

Someone who took me here, after we attended a family wedding over the weekend:DSCF2370

And did this, next to Bridal Veil Falls:DSCF2372

Although, I was so excited/shocked/”Is this really happening??” that I didn’t even give him time to ask. I just said “Yes!” several times, until I realized that I completely stole his thunder. To which I said, “Um, I assume you were going to ask me to marry you?” Then he showed me the ring, and because everyone asks for a close-up:DSCF2375The only down-side of getting proposed to at Niagara Falls is that you are right on the line between US and Canadian cell service. I had to wait until we were off Goat Island and 5 miles on US soil before I could call my own parents!

 

My New Favorite

Not my original today, folks. This is for my fellow nurses and nursing students.

My new favorite blog: Nurse Eye Roll

If you don’t get the humor, might I just say, nursing school isn’t for you.

Nurse Eye Roll is my therapy. Thank you.

On the Lighter Side

There has been a lot for me to think about lately in regards to myself and how I need basic reminders of character development, etc. Summer classes began two weeks ago at 8:30 AM – about 96 hours after my last final of the spring semester.

However, on to lighter topics for a bit. Believe me, there will be plenty more deep thoughts in the weeks to come.

So, let me introduce you to my coping mechanism:

DSCF2223

In my defense, I can make a box of Girls Scout cookies last 2-3 months. These packages lasted about 3 or 4. I was in the store picking up a few things to fill-out my week for groceries when I saw the display: Double Stuff. Golden. I was drawn to it like a fly to honey. Of course, seeing both options I couldn’t resist.

During this summer, I hope to change my coping mechanism to biking or outdoor activity or swimming. Then again, cookies and cream, in moderation of course, is rather therapeutic.

It still happens in your 30s…

I’m in my early 30s and still “open to a relationship.”

This past weekend, I had my first Skype conversation with a man I’d been introduced to online (via friends – you don’t always have to go through a site to be online dating, I guess.) This means that we enjoyed each other’s written words and recent pictures enough that the conversation warranted the next step: the video chat. Anyway, we had been emailing back and forth for a few weeks, and our respective schedules had finally cleared up to where we set the time.

The day of said Skype date, you want to know what happened? No, massive storms and internet outages didn’t occur. No catastrophes.

I developed a painful pimple on my chin.

When I felt it brewing the night before, I just had to chuckle. Seriously? The stuff that plagues you as a teenager the day before Prom still happens before a first date in your 30s???

Thankfully, Skype doesn’t always have the best of pictures, so a little make-up went a long way. But you want to know the other funny thing about having your first coffee date over the interwebs (other than it being Dutch treat?)… you only have to look good from waist up! Thank you bare feet and cooperative hair!

It was a good conversation. Enough that there are to be more in the future. In the mean time, I guess I’m going to dig out my benzol peroxide and keep looking for the ultimate face wash.

Cheese Fail

This is not cheese:

From the Kraft Velveeta Facebook page

From the Kraft Velveeta Facebook page

And neither is this:

Read on to see how these came about as rather relevant during the past semester.

Ah, student nurse clinical – where all the fun begins. I finished my Psych clinical with relative ease; not too heavy on the paperwork, observations completed. I was heavily appreciative of my instructor giving us a broad spectrum of the mental health system. We saw a few competency hearings in court; we traveled to a women’s prison (inmates have a higher percentage of mental illness than the population at large). I got to see the psychiatric equivalent of an ER/triage center and when I was on the floors, I would participate with group therapy as I was available.

And with a few comments and signature on a final evaluation, I was done. The next week, I donned my scrubs and showed up for Med-Surg clinical orientation for a cardiac floor. While cardiology would be emphasized more in the next semester, it was still a good experience in seeing the co-morbidities of diabetes and hypertension.

Co-morbidities: the domino effect, one thing goes wrong which causes another thing to go wrong, multiple problems occurring at once.

So, part of my learning experience is constructing and giving patient education. A lot of patients end up in the hospital not knowing why high blood pressure or diabetes is that bad of a problem. Um, yes they are.

I prepared some literature for a patient who needed encouragement to stop smoking (he had expressed an interest) and information on a low-sodium diet. I went in and asked him if he was interested in learning about some of his new medications and the new diet he would be asked to be on outside the hospital. A positive response. “Awesome! A receptive audience!”

I told him about some medications that he was on for high-blood pressure that helped with nicotine cravings, then moved into diet education.

“So, tell me what you eat at home.” The patient reported he cooks “normal” food of meat, potatoes, and vegetables while staying away from pre-packaged TV dinners and meals. “Good!” I gave him some general tips on cooking without salt. How stopping smoking would help food taste better.  I then directed his attention to the materials that I brought.

“Let’s focus on this column: the foods you can have.” I pointed out that fresh fruit is good, be careful which sort of vegetables you get, they can sneak sodium into them. “Now, cheeses. You can have a lot of variety of cheeses.” And serendipitously added, “You’ll want to stay away from Velveeta and Kraft American singles.”

His next question just about floored me. “What other kinds of cheese are there?”

“Was he serious? Is he asking that because he actually does not know of real cheese or just needs to expand his knowledge of varieties?I stammer in the next few sentences. “Well, you can have these cheeses listed here: cream cheese, cheddar…”

I have never been so thankful for my limited stage training. It was enough to help me keep a straight face.

We talk a little more about the lifestyle changes he’ll need to make. I try to encourage him to think small for the day: focus on the list of foods he can have and think what meals can be made with those.

“Oh, this lists ‘ground pork’! That means I can still have ham.”

FACEPALM! Me: “Nope! Ham is salt-cured. You’ll need to get plain ground pork from the store or a butcher’s shop.” I was rather thankful my back was turned towards the in-room computer at that moment.

Ever wonder why nurses look tired at the end of a day – we are the first line of defense in cases of common sense not being so common after all.

Fortune Cookie Predicts Lent

Today, I attended a Health Literacy in-service. While there are plenty of things I could blog about from my 6.25 contact education hours, I would like to focus on my fortune from lunch.

A WISH WILL BE GRANTED AFTER A LONG DELAY.

I didn’t think that Chinese restaurants and fortune cookie companies knew about Lent. I have been wishing intently for cheese and meat and bacon and… …

6-ish weeks of Lent. Yep, I’d say that’s a long delay.

January Photo Shoot

Happy tax day. Well, I’m posting on the blog – this can mean one of two things.

  1. I have something on my mind that must be processed via online essay OR
  2. I’m avoiding homework.

Today, it’s the latter.

Since last summer I’ve had the urge to get an updated head shot and some fun photos. Part of this was a professional reason as I’m the Secretary and Education Director for the newly formed St. John of Damascus Society. The other professional reason was my career change to nursing; while not necessary now or even in the future, I thought one or two nurse-y head shots would be nice to have around if the need arose.

The third reason? Vanity. Sometimes, I need a boost that, yes, I can spend some time on my physical appearance and not feel guilty. I haven’t had a good picture since my senior year of high school; this is over a decade ago. In January, I made an appointment to spend a Saturday afternoon having fun. (Sorry, I’ve had the pics for a while. It’s been a busy semester.) I also mentioned getting good pics in a previous post.

Also, Lisa Berry is a dear friend and amazing photographer. Her professionalism and quality is outstanding, and plus – what a great way to get time with a friend AND see her use her gifts! Worth every dime and then some!

The Professional(ish) Photos:

The Music-oriented Pics:

Sometimes the world is black and white:

Sometimes the world is in color:

Let me know what you think!

My other projects

Some friends and I recently began another blog, and I finally wrote my first post!

More fun to come on TRS, but nursing school has been kicking my rear along with all the new orientation classes at my hospital job.

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?

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