Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Was Your Christmas Cozy?

When I think of Christmas, I think of family times, togetherness, gifts, Jesus, and just good happy things.  But think about it:  the first Christmas was anything but that.

I read an email today from someone who is serving the Lord in a less than receptive country across the ocean somewhere.  And he was talking about a cozy Christmas.  This year was looking good, then the school shooting in Connecticut stopped us in our tracks and we wondered where the coziness was going to be.  But he brought out that the first Christmas and the first few years of Jesus' life were anything but cozy.  A manger?  Really, not likely a clean manger like all the nativity scenes have.  Instead of a crazed youth killing people, it was a crazed king killing babies.  And yet why do we think it was cozy?  Because God was in control.

Think of that popular picture of the bird in the nest safe and secure while the wind and storm and lightning rage all around.  Why is the bird cozy?  It is secure in the midst of the storm.  We want to get cozy when the snow storm rages outside.  Why?  We feel secure in spite of the storm.

The point that was brought out in the email is that we are cozy when we are wrapped in God and secure from the storm that is raging around us.

There were storms this year--in a way I've never experienced storms.  Shattered relationships, broken dreams, sickness:  these things all have a way of rippling through our lives and breaking into our hearts and homes.  But the question comes down to this?  Are we trusting God in the midst of everything?  Am I still cozy in spite of it all?  Still wrapped up in my comforter of God's love and secure?

I didn't say it as well as the email did, but it was what I needed this Christmas.  I felt it was a bittersweet Christmas this year; but yet I know God was in control.  While on one hand there was loss; on the other there was joy.  Joy in the little things; in the people who care; in the lovely fresh-baked buns just hand-delivered to my door just to let me know I was cared about.  Yes, there is coziness this Christmas season at our house.

My hope for each of you as we end this year and begin again next year is that each and every day of your lives can be filled with the security that only trusting in God can bring.  I don't know what the new year is going to bring--I know there will be a bit of pain and grief; but I also know if I allow myself to open up and experience God's Presence and Love, that it will be a good year.

And now, I will move on to another thing that makes me happy:  organizing my bathroom shelves with the organizing things I just bought.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Boo Hoo Hoo Post: In Which I Expose the Depressing Moments of Life in my World

Now is that long (or maybe it won't be long) depressing post that was scheduled for a few days ago and never happened.  If you don't feel like listening to something of a small rant, I suggest you click the little x box up in the upper right corner of your screen and ignore me.

I am not depressed--let me say that straight out.  I may tend to frustration and discouragement, but not depression.  This all started 7 days ago exactly when I talked to 4 different people with 4 different kinds of problems.  It all came down to 2 categories--two very, very familiar categories.

The first category is this: family problems and depression.  I lump the two together because I think that family issues tend to lead to depression at some point whether people admit it or not.  Think about it:  if you don't have a good family relationship to fall back on, life is going to be so much tougher to face.  It's sad how many good "plain" homes are corrupted with family strife and disagreements and distrust.  It makes me sad that behind all our plain clothes and conservative lifestyles, hides a world of hurt.  But that is a whole other post all its own.

The second category is: I get tired of caring about people and their health and them not caring.  Eventually, I just want to throw up my hands and say, "Fine, go kill yourself by not following recommended protocol.  See if I care."  But I do care is the long and short of it.  It makes me sad.  It makes me sadder to see the 60 year old man spend the rest of his days with the results of a stroke because he decided he didn't need to take the medicine and would go with something natural.  (Now, here is where I want to make a disclaimer:  I know this is my blog and I can write what I want, but I want to be sensitive to people who might read this and think I am full of wind with my medical perspective.  I am not opposed to natural things under certain conditions, but there are certain drugs that cannot be replaced by natural things and one of those is a blood thinner medication.  I have yet to find a natural herb that takes that place; if there is, it should still be monitored carefully every month with blood work to make sure it is working properly.)  He made it okay for many years and then he stroked.  The same evening, I had a firm conversation with a man's wife about his need for blood thinner.  He wasn't feeling good and decided to blame that particular medication and go off of it.  That is NOT okay.  I don't get too heated up generally, but when explaining that your heart doesn't pump like a normal person's and because it doesn't, you can throw blood clots; those clots can go up into your brain or heart or lungs.  At best, they will kill you; at worse, they will leave you paralyzed and maybe unable to speak for the rest of your life.  Then who is going to be feeling bad from the medications?

I feel mean telling people they could die from not taking their medication; but am I not also mean by withholding that information? It's tough sometime being a nurse and listening to people who have heart attacks and still don't care about their cholesterol; they take liver cleanses hoping to lower their cholesterol and then are completely shocked when their blood work shows their cholesterol is a little worse rather than better.  I do feel bad for these people; I understand that medication doesn't always have the best side effects and that it is nicer if you can take natural things for your diseases, but sometimes your body is too far gone for the natural to work.  And for starters, the best natural way to start is to eat healthy--that is the most important natural healer you can put in your body.

I think my rant has gone on enough now.  I still love me job--even though there are days I want to shake people and say, "Don't you understand?" I need to go do some blood work.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to All

I had my Thanksgiving post somewhat formulated in my head.  It was the post in which the Eeyore in me was going to come out in a very depressing post purposely posted on Thanksgiving day.  That post is still in my head, but the day has passed and I didn't take the time to get it out on the computer screen.

So instead, I will focus on a little happier things in life.  I am happy because my mom came down yesterday and we shot off to town on a lark and bought material and came home and made 4 purses.  They are quite cute if I must say so myself.  She left around 10 this morning; I finished the purses and then went hunting with D.  That was many hours in a tree stand, but I looked at the Black Friday ads, read, and we played some Rook, so it was some quality and quiet together time.

Tonight, I finished up some Birthday gifts; I'd go into more detail, but one never knows who reads this anymore and I can't risk my secrets being discovered by the wrong person.  But let's just say, that as each project gets completed this early, my inward cheers get a little louder.  You see, in my husband's family, whenever anyone has a significant birthday: 16, 30, 40, etc. it is a tradition to get them as many gifts as they are old.  This year, D's sisters turned 30 and 40 and that makes a lot of little gifts to get around, 5-8 per person.  But I am happy, because most of my gifts this year will be handmade.  Handmade makes me smile, and sometimes I think it makes D groan, but all in all I think he approves so far of my gifts.

But now, I must retire and get some shut-eye.  It's Black Friday tomorrow and we are going shopping.  Now, the we is NOT D and I.  I don't think that would last long, but the we is my co-workers and/or wives. It promises to be delightful.

My dreary, Eeyore like post in which I talk about the depressing days at work will have to wait.

Friday, October 26, 2012

In Celebration of Life or Mourning the Death?

It's melancholy me returning to my blog.  I have another happy post--a picture of the last completed project. I finished it last week, took a picture of it and life has moved on at a crazy pace since then.

Death seems to come in groups.  Four more people that I knew of have passed away; only one in what you could call a timely death.  (Meaning he was old enough that it doesn't surprise you)

The one that has touched me most deeply has been D's first cousin, Ruth Leatherman.  She was 31 years old and died in her sleep.  How do you reconcile that?  People that young do NOT die in their sleep.  She was athletic, had just run a marathon 2 weeks before that.  How does your heart just not keep doing its normal thing?  Why does it choose to stop functioning correctly?  She left behind a husband and 3 small children.  You want to cry out and say, God, why?  But as her mother said, "God must have needed her more."  That's the only way to really look at.  I didn't have the privilege of knowing her--had only meant her one time briefly at a wedding; but she impacted a lot of people.  The church was full.  The thing that came through in her life was: she had time for people, she loved people, she loved her family and she loved her children.  Most of all she loved her God.  What a testimony to leave behind!!  Gone!!  Now the family is left to pick up the pieces and carry on.  Pray for them if you think of it.

The other death was expected, but still too young.  I will miss her.  I will miss her coming up to the secretary window at work with a new picture showing off her 2 little grandbabies.  I will miss keeping up on her life and her family.  She had a wonderful husband who supported her and stood by her in sickness and in health. She was a sweet lady, who, while I think she battled frustration at her lot in life, didn't have a whiny personality.  She didn't complain that it wasn't fair, she tried to accept and move on.  She leaves behind a void.

How do you process all of this again?  It's a challenge for me not to become fearful of each day, but it's also a challenge to live life fully and with vim and vigor.  What do I want people to say about me after I am gone? Was I there for people?  Did I reach out and touch the lives of those around me?  Sometimes, I think my job isn't much of a mission field.  I work with Mennonites/Amish most of the day and yet, can I encourage someone by being me, by being real, by caring about their lives.  Can they see Jesus in me and be challenged to walk more closely to their Savior.  I want to live each day, to treasure each moment and to make a difference in my world by being me.  I don't have to go get all flashy and do something big; that can flop.  I just need to be me; shining my light right where God has called me to shine.

So the question is: do you celebrate the life or mourn the death?  I think some of each.  I was very blessed at the funeral on Wednesday and the praise songs we sang.  We sang about God's victory over the grave and over death; we praised him for the blessing that come like raindrops sometimes.  God is good and while we mourn the loss of a friend, we can celebrate the impact their life made on us and the fact that they are so much happier now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Things in Life that Make me Smile

After the last sad and more dreary post, I decided it was time to post some happy things in life:


 Going on dates with D.  I think it can be as nice now as when we were dating because going on a date now means I don't have to cook.  And yes, I like D for other reasons than that too, but I don't do gush and mush on the world wide web.
 My very tiny fall decor.  And I have no idea what those darkish spots are on the green.  I didn't realize there were any there in real life, but there could be.  My washer has a tendency to make things dirty when washing with just such spots.  I think I might have helped the situation some, but don't know.
 Coffee and Pull-Apart Pumpkin Bread (not pictured) with friends.  It was a lovely day that day.  Coffee with friends in the morning and a girls' club staff meeting in the evening.  A very abnormal Saturday for me in that I pretty much did nothing, but wait--that's kind of what I did this last Saturday too, so maybe not so abnormal for me.
 I don't normally get into all dressy dressy pics.  I am more of a casual picture person, but I did think the pic turned out okay.  I really need to go drag us off somewhere to take some good pics for Christmas cards.
My homemade laundry detergent.  I went off another spree of laundry soap.  I liked my last soap, but for 2 problems--it got way too thick and so I would find chunks of it that didn't dissolve in the bottom of my washer after washing a load of laundry. :( And the second problem, it didn't smell, which was an issue to certain members of the household.  So I made a granule soap that has smellies in it, which cost, I might almost as much as the other main ingredients put together.  I also added some whitener to it as well.  So the 2 optional ingredients really increased the cost per load, but when compared with Tide, it was still quite cheap.  If my math and memory serves me right, my homemade soap will cost approximately $0.07/load and Tide would cost me $0.21/load.  For a little over $28, I figure I have a years worth of laundry soap and it smells lovely when it is done washing.  So there you have it...

There are other things in life that make me smile too, but these are a few that I decided to list with pictures.  Tuesday mornings off work make me smile too--I will smile larger if I get off my rocking chair and out from under my electric blanket (all smile-worthy things though) and go sit at the sewing machine and finish my quilt.  Hopefully that will be the next pic that I post.

In other news, camping in frosty weather is a great delight--all the other campers take pity on you and you start to grow nervous thinking they think you may not have any other home to go to.  Chasing racoons at night is also noteworthy when camping.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Death

Now there's a somber title, but it kind of describes how I'm feeling about life right now.  Now there's an oxymoron too.

Death vs Life: we take life so much for granted until something happens and death stalks our door.  Then we are extremely grateful for the life we have been given and well we should be.  But how do you prepare yourself for the inevitability of death or can you?  Must it always come as a surprise and wallop you on the side of the head and while you are groping and grasping for meaning to this untimely death, another one comes and wallops you on the other side.

That's a little of how I have been feeling these last two and a half weeks: a little walloped on all sides.  Since Tuesday, August 28, 2012, six people have died.  The last two are not people I have known real well, but they were patients at the clinic.  All six of these people died an untimely death--it doesn't seem fair, it doesn't seem right, but yet I know God has a plan.  How do I even begin to process all this?

Let me tell you a little about them:
#1 This little baby died before he had a chance to live.  His parents, I am sure, prayed and grieved and cried over him.  I am sure they hoped and begged and longed for him.  As I help to wash him up, my heart lurched as I saw the little pampers the mom had included (just in case)  These were laid together with the white burial clothes and the just maybe he will live sleeper.  The hope of life and the reality of death all joined together, but death won.  I was stretched that day to the max: death, my first ambulance ride, fear, advocating for the husband, trying to find family to come and sit with the husband, wondering how to grieve, gratefulness to the cleaning lady who stood by me and helped me wash that still life, then realizing this was a complete first for her, then trying to go back to work and finish the day out.   God was there and He was faithful.  I didn't think I could do it, but I did and I made it mostly until I came home and my husband's arms wrapped around me, then the sobs came as I replayed the day.  Every time I woke up that night, I replayed the tapes.  PTL!  The mother is doing fine, though I am sure the grief is overwhelming at times.

#2  A little 2 and a half year old born with a life-destroying disease.  He exceeded his life expectancy by about 2 years, but that same week on Saturday, I had to tell the family over the phone that this is likely the end for him and to keep him comfortable.  He died on Monday

#3  A 20 year old drowned in the prime of life.  My dear friend who had stood by me so faithfully on Tuesday now was grieving the loss of her son.  Why God? Why?  Why would You take him?  He was loved and wanted by all who knew him.  The utter helplessness of going over to her house and just wrapping my arms around her and crying with her.  I don't know what to say.  I have been walloped on both sides now and my mind is reeling.  I am being forced out of my comfort zone.  I know it is good for me, but I just want to retreat rather than rescue, be hidden rather than help.  But God has called us to grieve with those that grieve and I want to be there for her.  We did really enjoy our evening spent with them this last week.  It was good to get to know her other children and to spend time with them.

#4 A 40-something year old lady driven down by cancer and then by 2 strokes.  A lady I grew up knowing who is the age of my sister and now she is gone, leaving behind grieving family and friends.  I know I should be at the viewing, I think it is good to go.  I have realized in the past weeks how much being there and supporting those who are grieving can mean; but, I feel incapable of going.  I think of them and pray for them, but this time I will be silent and hidden.  Please family, I want you to understand.  I feel bad--I have a good friend who is grieving the loss of her aunt and I feel like I am letting her down.  Please, that is not my intent--I want to be there for you now, but as I told you earlier when you called me, I still feel unable to respond and to be there in person, but I do care for you.

#5&6 A couple, yes in their 70's, killed as the result of a car/buggy accident.  She was killed instantly; he lingered a few days.  I am sure their family is saying why as well.  No, I doubt they are audibly, but inwardly, where no one can see.

Why do we hide our emotions?  Why do we not want to share our griefs?  What is wrong with crying and hugging and caring for those around us?  But that is a tangent for another day, I guess.  Is it wrong to ask Why?  I don't ask it because I am bitter at God.  I don't ask it because I think God did me wrong.  I don't ask it even to have an answer.  I just ask because it seems unfair.  When bad things happen to us, it always seems unfair.  I know it is the result of living in a fallen world.  I know God has the ultimate control and He sees the big picture, but to us...all we see are the dark and looming thunderheads--God sees the silver lining. I want to trust Him and I want to learn what I can through these past dark weeks and I want to be made a better person for having walked through grief.

I know I have still not experienced grief in a close and personal way; and there are probably those saying, you don't really get it yet do you?  What are you going to do when death really hits you?  I don't know what I will do, but I hope I will cling closer and closer to the One who is able to carry me through and to carry all the grieving families through this valley of the shadow of death.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

No Title Today

Has anyone noticed that I am very generic on my titles?  Very generic!!!!  I can never come up with a cute little title that begs for the article to be read.  There are probably several reasons for this:
a. the article isn't begging to be read or not even worth the time required to read it
b. naming things isn't my forte (our poor kids, if we ever have any)
c. I tend to ramble on posts so that a title would have to be long-winded and an article in and of itself to capture the full essence of the post.

Some days, I long to sit down and write long, sophisticated posts that are full of mental wanderings and ponderings and leave everyone walking away or clicking away going--Wow!!  She really made me think.

Other days, I want to sit down and type out a post that will leave your sides aching from laughter.

Most days, I manage to skip blogging altogether.

A few days, I sit down and just blog about whatever I think about that is appropriate to put on a computer screen.  I need to be okay with that. I will not be the deep, serious commentator nor the side-splitting comedian, but I just want to be me.  Happy and content to state a few things on here to empty out the story-writing side of my brain that wants an escape now and then.

Today, why am I blogging?  I have a few things rambling around in this brain of mine--not sure they will all come out on here or not. Also, I am sitting at McDonald's using their Wi-Fi and hoping it's faster than the library's where I just sat for 4 or so hours watching about a dozen files upload.  So far, much faster and I am also bitter.  Uploading much larger files here and I am already at about 2 dozen and have only been doing it for about 15 minutes.  Why didn't I come hang out at McDonald's first?  I mean with an iced mocha carmel, how much better can it get?  I would post a pic, but I have no idea how and don't feel like trying to figure it out.

You may be wondering why I am not using the internet at home?  Well, you see we have a limited amount of internet at home and I certainly don't want to be using it uploading files to some online back up program.  And I am sure if I mention to D about the superior internet service available at McDonald's, he would even volunteer to come babysit the computer at times too.

A mild form of humor for me from work was a call from an Amish gentleman that lives about 2+ hours from here.  (Side note: if you live that far away, do not call at 3:45 on a Friday when we are closing in 45 minutes and ask about having the Dr. look at your son's knee.  The nurse will blandly say, "Can that wait until Monday?" because she feels it is highly inconvenient to ask the Dr. to come in.  And really, when you live that far away, wouldn't it be just as cheap to go to a clinic close.  Yes, the clinic may charge you 3 times more than the clinic here, but aren't you going to pay a small fortune for a driver? End of rant and why am I trying to discourage business?)  He thought we were located in Neillsville, Wi on Mennonite Drive.  I have no idea where he got that, but I thought it was funny.  No, we are not that segregated from the rest of the world.

Which brings me to a more somber topic of conversation?  How separate should we be from the world?  I have discovered in the last few months esp. that we as Mennos can be very judgmental.  I knew that, but I have been seeing it through the eyes of someone else and it's sad.  I have been very guilty of this myself, so I have no cause to point fingers, but if someone goes more "liberal" on the outside where we see and where it "matters so much," we get nervous about being with them and start looking at them out of the corner of our eyes and wonder where they will stop.  If someone goes more "conservative" then we label them as trying too hard or some other thing.  Of course the whole liberal/conservative thing is judged based on where we are standing ourselves.  We don't stop to see them for who they really are, we just judge, think we know and understand completely, pass our judgments on to a few other people and move on.  If you look right, you must be right, then you must be okay and we don't delve into the hearts and concerns of the people around us.  I think this can be true in our own churches.  We look at our fellow church members and we see that they are dressing in church standards, so life must be going well for them, but whoa!!! let them come to church wearing something a little questionable or we heard they did something a little questionable (I am not talking going against the Bible in anyway, I am only talking man-made standards here) and we immediately jump on them.  Not to see where their heart is or what made them do what they do.  We know there heart is wrong and they are rebellious, we don't need to ask.  We assume and we make judgments, we punish and then we move on with narry a look behind to see how they are feeling.  How much of our "displays of rebellion" could be a calling for help, a cry to see if anyone cares about me, about my heart, about how I'm feeling and not done out of any true rebellion?  These are just random thoughts that have been passing through my brain at one time or another.

I want to do something, I want to care and yet I find myself being a bit of black-and-white person.  At work, everything is pretty cut and dried especially if it causes me inconvenience and that was started to worry me.  A friend did tell me that if they only saw me at work, they would think I was very cut and dried, but knowing me outside of work, they know that is not so.  That was comforting.  I have cried at the thought of the end being near for one of my patients, a dear lady I have come to really like, so maybe I do have a heart. I dream of being the kind of lady that people just naturally open up to--the kind of person who always has an open door policy, who doesn't apologize for the less than clean house, but just calmly sits down and pours a cup of tea or coffee and just really listens to what is going on in the other person's life.  But how to move beyond the judgmental Mennonite to the caring Christian? That's a transition I long to make and want to work on making, but it will only be made with the help of Jesus.  He's the only one that is going to be able to help me look beyond the facade that is our clothing and see into the heart of His People.

This is not a barrage against Mennonites.  I think there is something special about our culture.  I don't embrace everything, but I don't want to walk away from it either.  It's more a barrage against my own natural, human tendencies and what is a common failure for all of us.

Well, I think I have ranted enough.  I hope it made some sort of sense and that you don't walk away or click away and think I am a hopeless mess.  I probably am, but I would prefer God to call the shots on that, not another equally messed up human being!!:) :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Proverbs 31 woman

So, I really left this blog in an annoying and disturbed state of mind.  I am healthy again and have been for nearly a month.  Wow, I never realized how good it is to feel good.  I guess it's clear proof that sometimes you never know what you had until it's missing.

So, for the last several weeks, I have been studying the Proverbs 31 woman, using the course outlined here. I have really been enjoying it.  I don't know if all the descriptions is really how it was for this lady, but I do know it has really helped me to feel like I could maybe attain to some form of virtue.  I did tell D this morning though, that sometimes I feel like the only thing I have in common with this lady is the fact of hunting for good deals.  (She gathers her food from afar was given to mean, she went the distance to buy good, wholesome, and cheaper food than buying it at the corner store.)  But as I sit here on the couch, there are dishes piled on the counter that didn't get done last night.  I bought a $5 Little Caesar's unhealthy, high-caloric pizza for supper that we scarfed down, followed by more unhealthy substances of strawberries and ice cream.  So, I have many things to work on yet.

Yesterday, the talk was on how she clothes her household in scarlet and fine linen and makes bed coverings. The thought given to me was the Proverbs 31 woman dressed herself nicely.  The complementing verses were from I Timothy where it talked about not being unnecessarily adorned and I wonder how the 2 mesh.  I think they do.  I think as Christians who want to be a light and witness where-ever they go have a responsibility to look like like they care about life and about themselves.  Who is drawn to the person you meet in the store with a ragged shirt that doesn't fit right and baggy, sloppy looking jeans or a skirt that's all wrinkly and maybe even a bit torn?  You don't look at them and think: I want what they have.  I think sometimes, as Christians, we feel this need to look dowdy.  I don't know--does it make us feel more spiritual or is it the fact that we never learned how to be neat about it all?  I also don't think we need to be in on the latest fads and fashion and be decked out with jewelry either.  I don't know if this is making any sense.  But somedays, I would like to take a few ladies I see and say to them:  "Do you know how much better you would feel about yourselves and about life, if you had some clothes that really fit you instead of being long-waisted and short-skirted?" "Do you know how much better maybe even your husband would feel about you if you dressed neatly?"  Does it really take that much extra time?  Maybe they do like how their clothes fit, I don't know and who am I to judge?  This was just something I was thinking about over the last 24 hours.

I doubt the Proverbs 31 woman judged others either, so once again, I am left hanging high and dry in my attempts to emulate her.  The only thing for this week that was an accomplishment was I did laundry, folded almost all of it and did the ironing--all in one day.  Now, that my friends is almost unheard of in this house!!!  Shameful I know

Well, I must move on.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

And One More Thing

So, I whined a lot yesterday about being sick and about all the things that never happen to me are happening to me, well guess what?  One more thing has happened!!!!!!!  I have pretty much officially lost my voice.  As in I didn't work today, because I really can barely talk, even worse than the last few days.  Now, with enough effort, I can get audible sentences at all times, but in no way would I be having a shouting contest with anyone.  So, I just want to know if I have been humbled enough by all this that I can soon start to feel better again.

And I keep reading about this virtuous woman.  I'm doing this study from GoodMorningGirls blog and it has really helped the Proverbs 31 woman to not be so lofty and out of reach.  I don't know if it's all accurate in the details, but the lady who wrote the e-book to go with it takes the verses and brings them down to our times.  "Bringeth her food from afar,"  equals scrupulous and frugal shopping where you are looking for healthy, cheap, and quality products, not just running to the corner store for the last minute ingredient or TV dinner.  I can do that.  I can coupon, sort of, and I can shop Aldi's and sales and all that kind of stuff.  Maybe I can be something of a figment of imagination on the the Proverbs 31 woman.  Something I keep trying for.  Sitting on the couch isn't helping too much though.

I was feeling a little too sorry for myself this afternoon.  I thought I was getting better, but could feel the little aches coming again.  Then my sister called to say she was going to go straight to my parents instead of stopping in to see me and that really disappointed me.  So, I gave in to my little aches, checked to see that I was AGAIN running a low-grade fever, popped some pills, and came back to languish away on the couch in a big old pity party.

Does anyone know anything about buying stock in ibuprofen?  I should be doing that for all the pills I have popped in the last few days.  And yes, all you healthy people out there who frown on ibuprofen, when the going gets bad, the tough take ibuprofen.  And yes, I know that didn't make a lick of sense.  I decided the only people I would wish this horrible flu on were the people who made comments like: "Surely, it can't be that bad."  "Wouldn't you feel better if you got up and did something?"  I really can't say thank-you enough to D for the good care he has taken of me, even getting up in the middle of night to bring me pills and milk and a yogurt I couldn't eat.  He's the best.

And now, I will let you go and try to get busy on the project on my agenda and try not to bore you anymore with my tales of woe.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Not working out so well

This third decade things isn't working out so well for me.  I told my co-worker today that I think I will have to skip the 30's and go straight to the 40's.  She thought maybe old age would be easier to handle than sickness?  I don't know, but being sick has sure not blossomed into anything wonderful.

I don't get sick and I certainly don't get the "flu", and I don't run fevers either.  All of these high-falutin' statements have crumbled around my feet in the last 5 days.  I have been sick, I have run fevers up to 101.5, and I think I got the icky nasty "flu".  Sick enough, that the flu shot is sounding very tempting for next year and I am one that laughs at that shot.  But since Saturday afternoon, all that has gotten done around this joint was the dishes one time (and then not even put away yet).  And now, I did manage to get a load of laundry in the washer and dryer and need to dredge up the courage to get off the couch and go put another load in.

I really am starting to feel better.  The achiness is pretty much gone now, so I am on the mend, but this is just so unusual for me.

It's frustrating to me really.  I had determined to be a better housekeeper starting this week.  I was going to keep the counter tops cleared off and the living room cleaned up and the bathroom tidied and for sure the bed made.  Has any of those things happened?  Nope!!!  But, the one advantage is, when you don't feel good, not much gets messed up either.  So in all honesty, it doesn't look too terrible around here either.

So that's really all I have to say: be thankful for good health.  It really is quite priceless and I am grateful today that I can sit here in relative comfort without feeling like my joints are being shaken apart and rattled around.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Odds n Ends Snippets n Snappets

It's a slow day in the life of the little country clinic.  Everybody must be working frantically to get all their hay in before possible rain.  It's funny, really, how we always have a reason for a slow day.  Either it's too nice to go to the doctor, or it's too rainy or whatever.  Always a reason.  :):) A slow day every now and then is nice though, really.  Nobody wants to answer the phone either, it seems, because my inbox is full of people who don't answer their phones..

I hope nobody minds my small rants on here about life and how you should behave at the doctor's office.  Unfortunately, I don't go through the list each time I go on here to see what has been ranted about previously, so if I repeat myself, just bear with me and chalk up to early-onset dementia.

Speaking of dementia, I bet you were all expecting a big rant to come up.  Well, it would have, but right now I can't think what I wanted to rant about anymore.  Sad, isn't it?  I really need to do better at remembering these things.

Also speaking of dementia, I probably am at risk for it now, because in a little under 2 hours, I will be entering the 3rd decade of my life.  This is somewhat sobering to me, because I feel like I accomplished so little in the last decade.  Yes, I did:
- Go to school and graduate as a RN
- Have worked for almost 5 years as a RN
- Have helped deliver over 60 babies
- Gotten married to a wonderful man and attempted to keep house and garden for him
- Traveled to Grenada, Belize, and Morocco
- Done a bit of in-state traveling
- Done a few sewing projects
- Started an (as of yet unsuccessful) Etsy store
- Had some wonderful times with my lovely friends

But it feels so insignificant in a way.  Like I should be doing more and there are so many more things I want to do in my lifetime.  What am I doing for God?  Am I making a difference for Him in any way?  Am I growing in my walk with God?  Am I a more confident and structured and stable individual than I was 10 years ago?  So many questions, and while I am starting to feel a little older.  I am pulling out more and more gray hairs.  (I only pull out those that stand straight up and obviously yell, "Look, I'm gray", and only if I can do it quick before D catches me at it. I guess pulling out hair equates with picking at pimples in his book.)  I want to make better use of my time, and if I really mean that then I should stop spending so much time on the Internet.  Lately I have become somewhat addicted to collecting as many swagbucks as I possibly can.  My next big purchase I want to make with them is either a camera or a computer, I think.  If you don't use swagbucks already sign up through me.  It's a simple way of searching web and winning bucks to buy gift cards with.

We just got a printer.  After being without one for over a year, we finally can print again.  I am so thrilled, because for this stingy miser, it's quite a nice printer.  It's wireless, (a requirement because our computer has zoned out on working USB ports, the reason we didn't have a printer anymore.), it's connected to the internet, has it's own email address, and has some handy dandy little apps for scheduled printing.  But, possibly I am quite behind the times and you all have much fancier and more skilled printers than this, but hey, I get excited about the little things in life.

Why don't we make New Year's resolutions on birthdays instead of the new year?  I want to resolve to do a bit better at keeping the house picked up.  I did real good for about a week or two following Fly Lady's suggestions to spend 2 minutes a day cleaning up the clutter site and also cleaning your bathroom every morning before you leave it.  But then that phase passed and I am left with the bittersweet memory of how nice it was to always have a nice clean bathroom and to have the catch all cupboard cleared off on a regular basis.  So I am now resolving to get back into this routine once again.

For the first time in a while, I am delighted to be on the food committee.  We have an all-day weeding at our church's strawberry patch and I am happy about the time I will be able to take off to get lunch ready and then to clean up afterwards.  I am somewhat looking forward to the weeding itself, but I know that I am very out of shape and will be very tired long before I should be.  Plus, I know the female gender may be somewhat sparsely represented there as well and that isn't as much fun then either. But hey, who am I to complain.  I always want exercise.  I did tell D that we need to go to Subway afterwards.  We have 2 free 6" subs coming our way anyway, and I am quite sure I will probably barely be moving, much less feel like making supper.

Tonight, we are going to our favoritest restaurant and I am excited.  An evening out and not being on call to boot.  Nice.

Well, I better move on to something more profitable, such as surfing the web.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Of Projects Finished


From this: just plain and dirty tannish pots


To This: Supposed to look old-fashioned, expensive, granite pots.  I am quite happy with how they turned out and now they are filled with geraniums, petunias, and allysum.  I guess I was going to post a picture of the filled pots, but I don't have one and they aren't very nice yet, so we will have to wait and see.  


I finally finished it.  It's name?  "Kiss me Kate"  I like it quite a lot.  It is all scrap material, with no rhyme or reason.  Now, I want to go sew some more.  



Monday, April 9, 2012

Cloth diapers, Vomit, Names, and Thanksgiving

It really is hard to come up with names for a blog, especially when I have full intentions of touching on numerous subjects within one blog post. As we all know, I don't blog too often, so I have to cover a lot of subjects when I do. I always have good intentions of blogging, but too many other things come in my way and I get easily sidetracked.

So to all you young moms out there who use cloth diapers. Kudos to you. I applaud you and appreciate you, but I have just one thing to say. When you go away and take cloth diapers and your child requires a diaper change, go ahead and change the diaper, but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE take the dirty cloth diaper with you. It is most disagreeable to the nurse to walk out into the waiting room and find a suspicious diaper laying half on a little chair, half on the floor. A glove is gotten and the object gingerly picked up, (all the while, the nurse is thinking, surely not, surely not. Surely no one actually left their dirty diaper here did they? I am taking unnecessary precautions and making an unnecessary fuss, but the proof is in the pudding right?) felt, and sure enough--it is heavy, smelly and obviously used. Well, that is one left-behind object that didn't make it into our lost and found box.

Have I mentioned that we have a good secretary. Now, if you read this, secretary, don't let it go to your head, but please take it as a compliment, because it is true. You are a good secretary despite the hard time you are given. But this particular good facet of the secretary that I want to discuss is her cleaning skills. She is the one that is often blessed with the job of cleaning up vomit. For instance, just the other day, a dad comes to the window and mentions his son is acting like he might puke. In the time it takes the secretary to whip around and find an acceptable basing, the son has filled the dad's hands, spewed out around it and onto the floor. Now, I do commend the dad for trying. That is very commendable and much more than some would do (possibly even me included) This secretary very graciously cleaned up the floor, the bathroom, and the run without one word of complaint. Really, she actually had some positive things to say such as, "At least it didn't really stink." Now, I have to confess something--vomit is not something I am good at. I can gag and dry heave along with the best of them when I have to clean up vomit. I still remember as a school teacher cleaning up my little 6 year old that puked and I'm washing him off with a rag, all the while trying to hold back my own gag reflexes. That image is still very clear to me today. So the fact that the secretary has taken up on herself the title of "Puke Cleaner Upper" means the world to me. Now, I will also say that the secretary has had to clean up much worse things than vomit, but we won't get into that now.

What do you say when someone names their child a name you think is absolutely awful? What is the polite response? You just asked them what the baby's name is; you kind of need to make some sort of response. If this is their second baby you've seen and you really liked the first name, they may even be expecting a nice response. "Oh, Okay," really sounds just like that. Okay, I guess, you really are going with that, huh? Well, it's your choice!!:):)

Also, if your wife is at her due date and hasn't had her baby yet and she is taking blue or purple or pink or whatever color cohash it is and hasn't gone into labor yet, it really is okay. Even if she went early with all the others, it's still okay. It doesn't mean something is wrong; it just means baby hasn't decided to join the family in a visible way. Now, I suppose all of you moms are going to say, "But she has no idea--she has never had children." And that would be true--but I still know the philosophy behind a due date. And if it is your first child, please do not assume that you will go early. That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster when you go overdue.

I'm sure everyone is appreciating my free advice and if you are frustrated with me, just stick it out for one more thought. The thought where I talk about being grateful for everything. The thought where I may even ask you to be grateful for the unwanted advice I gave you in this blog.

I have been reading "1000 Gifts." This, frankly, is quite an accomplishment for me. When I see books that have attained to the best seller list and are sought for and fought over, I am very likely to turn a deaf ear. "The Prayer of Jabez"? never read it--have it, plan to read it someday, but because of all the hype, it's not on my "gotta read now" list. That is a little bit the way I was with "1000 Gifts" except that people I admire kept commenting on what a good book it was, etc. etc. Then I was at the library and saw it with the new books and I broke down and borrowed it. That is a decision, my friends, I do not regret. I am not through it yet, but I have been challenged by her thoughts and her style of writing. I want to be a grateful person--to see God in the small, everyday aspects of life--to know that He is present and working in my life. I want to make my own list of 1000 things I am grateful for. Little things like: the clack of fingers on a keyboard typing out this blog post, the click of the furnace as it starts up to heat the house on a cold, blustery night, the warmth of my electric blanket, the beautiful sunset that I glimpsed tonight in it's red and purple splendor, a girls' club gone well, 2 new babies birthed into the world this weekend (another one on the way anytime), the gift of the cross and the salvation it brings (now that is not a little gift) and the sound of D's truck as it crunches across the gravel signaling that he is home another day is drawing to a close. That should be happening soon and then I am going to call it a day.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Of Amish and Ordinations

And yes, I am quite well aware of the fact that these two subject titles have nothing in common with each other. And I hope I don't offend anyone my mixing humor and serious all in one post.

We will start with the latter. Our church had ordination this past weekend and it was a really good weekend. But what has stuck out in my mind since then was the sermon we heard on Saturday night, entittled: "Surrendered to the Will of God." It felt like a revival sermon. Just a really good emphasis on being surrendered to God, willing to take up your cross and sacrifice and follow the call that God has given you in your life. The story was told of Frances Havergal and her change from nominal Christianity to solid devotion and how she asked God to save the 10 people in the house that she was staying in and how through her prayers and God working, all 10 people were saved. It was the kind of sermon where you left and you were almost jealous of the two ministers being ordained. Not that I wanted their responsibilities or their wives' responsibility, by any stretch. But it left you feeling like they know what their calling is--they know what at least some of their sacrifice will entail. The rest of us are left to wonder and try to find it out on our own and with God's help. I want to be surrendered to God in that respect, be willing to take up my cross and sacrifice for the cause of Christ.

Moving on to a little lighter subject, I dared the secretary yesterday to have a stare down with a few of our patients. It's a somewhat familiar practice to come up to the window and just stand there looking at the secretary. She says, "Hello," then you say "Hello." She says: "Are you here for an appt.?" You say "Yes". Then she says, "And your name is?" I just wonder how long it would take if she just looked at them and waited for them to make the first move or say the first words. Not near everyone is like that, but there are a few.

There is also the case of paying the bill. Secretary says the amount: Husband says something to wife in Dutch. Wife goes out, husband keeps standing there looking. Secretary moves on to other things because she is guessing the wife went to go get the checkbook. A minute or two passes, nurse comes on the scene and doesn't understand what is going on, so says to secretary: Are you printing his invoice? Because it appears that surely he isn't going to pay today. So secretary says to husband: "Did your wife go get the checkbook?" Husband says: "Oh no, I have it right here." Then please tell me what were you waiting on? The secretary has already told you the amount. All in a day's work.

Here's a side note to all of you out there: young and old, plain or "English". If you are paying with a check, it is perfectly acceptable and actually preferred for you to get our your checkbook and start writing out the date, who to, and other such things before the secretary says the amount of the bill. It is a big waste of time and a cause for awkward silence when you wait until the amount is given and then you start "rooching" around for the money.

Rooching is an entirely made up word I believe, compliments of my friend.

Until next time.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

He Touched Him

I believe it is safe to say that it has been a long time since I have posted here. Beware, this may be a long, lengthy post. But I may also run out of time as I will soon need to get ready for church.

I suppose you are wondering why I chose the title. I was reading the SS lesson this morning and the phrase that jumped out to me was when Jesus reached out and touched the man with leprosy. That just wasn't done in those days. You didn't touch unclean people; you didn't touch people with leprosy for sure, because maybe you would get the disease from them. I am not real sure what leprosy was in today's vernacular-if it truly was a contagious disease or just a dreaded disease because there was no cure. Obviously, it was awful if it made your fingers and toes fall off.

But Jesus took the risk, (well, for Him it was no risk) and He reached out and touched him. Which do you think had the greatest effect on the man: the touch of Jesus or the healing. Obviously, the healing allowed him to go back to his family and live a normal life, but the touch..... It showed compassion, caring, kindness, love, and on and on to someone who was down. Do we want to reach out and touch the downhearted and show them a little love and compassion or is it too easy to walk on the other side of the road and pretend we don't see? Those are just some thoughts from this morning-possibly impressed more on me from something I read from Max Lucado a while ago.

In other news, I hope I don't have to repeat my week ever again. In retropsect, it maybe wasn't too bad, but in the living it out, it felt kind of terrible. The main secretary is gone for 6 weeks and we have a temporary replacement. She does a great job, but it does make my life a little more hectic and for whatever reason, on Wednesday, I couldn't pull it together and stay focused. I didn't get a kit sterilized for a procedure and didn't realize it until the Dr. was ready to start. Not cool--so we sent them off to Menards and told them to stop in on their way back through. Then I accidentally sent home a bottle of 500 pills (opened and used) with someone and billed them and they had to come back and work through that whole mess. I'm not that great with quickbooks and so it was a bit of a hassle, but we got it finished and I went home!!! No wait, I went to get an oil change where they told me the front and back brakes of the car are wearing thin.

Friday, was another such day. I got into a strong disagreement with "Mattie" over her medication. It is always wonderful when the patient takes a notion on how her meds work and there is nothing that will persuade them otherwise. I told her very matter-of-factly that she cannot be adjusting this particular medication on her own. It's too dangerous: too much and she will bleed too easily, too little and she could throw herself a little stroke. But no, she remains convinced that her blood was too thin and therefore was flowing through her lungs too fast and was not able to pick up the oxygen her body needed and so that is why she was feeling tired and weak. I had never heard this philosophy before and I said that, but no, that is how the rats are killed on the stuff. Okay, I think I will just have the Dr. come and chat with you.

Then another little sick baby came in who was sent "Posthaste" to the hospital with a high fever and possible meningitis. I called the ER to give them a heads up and was yelled at over the phone. I said the fever was 104.9.
ER: Did you treat the fever?
Me: No
ER: What, you didn't treat the fever?
Me: No, we wanted to get him down to you
ER: Are you a nurse?
Me: Yes,
ER: Well, you always treat a fever. He could go into seizures. I'm sorry to yell at you like this, but you always treat the fever.
Me: well, I'm sorry

In retrospect, I could have handled it a lot better, like by saying the patient is vomiting, not keeping oral things down and we would have no other way of treating a high temp like that. And really Tylenol isn't going to do much for that fever anyway.

Also, in retrospect there are things you would like to have said to her that wouldn't have been nice. Like: "Sure, we could treat the fever, while the child dies of meningitis, but at least we treated the fever." or "You know there are much worse things we are worried about right now than a fever. You should know that a fever this high, means something very serious is going on. We are only a small clinic with limited resources and I would think you would appreciate us letting you know what is coming so you won't have a child dying on your hands because you made them wait in the waiting room for too long. Think of that law suit." Okay, these are things I would never say, but felt like it later.

Then another patient remains convinced that if you go in and take a biopsy to see if you have cancer, then if you have cancer, that biopsy will spread the cancer everywhere. So no, they are doing a lemon juice cleanse for his cholesterol (totally unrelated to the situation) and they are going to go see a natural doctor. Now, I'm not that opposed to natural, but I think the wisest course of action would be first to see if you have cancer. Just because your counts are elevated doesn't mean you have cancer. Let's find out what we are working with first and then if you want to go natural, be my guest. But don't go natural and then claim you cured your cancer when you don't even know if you had cancer in the first place.

I was ready to go home by the end of the day. I really wanted brownies, but that would have been bad on the supposed diet. So I came home, made some comfort mac and cheese and played Settlers with D. Guess what? He beat every game we played. I should have known better.

But on the bright side: we got an unexpected bonus check in the mail this week. D made supper Thursday night and it was very yummy.

Until next time:

These Healing Hills by Ann Gabhart

Set in Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains during the time of the Frontier Nursing Service and the end of World War II comes a story tha...