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Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christian look at the 12 Days of Christmas

Visiting one of my patients this week, she shared with me the meaning behind the Christmas carol, The 12 Days of Christmas. I don't know if this is what the author of "The 12 Days of Christmas" meant for the song, but I liked this. I hope you do too. The website
http://www.carols.org.uk/the_twelve_days_of_christmas.htm is one site I found a basis for this list. Some of my research revealed that this was a way to secretly preserve the tenets of the Catholic faith. Whether this is true or not I liked it and hope you do to.

A partridge in a pear tree: Jesus Christ
2 turtle doves: Old and New Testament
3 French hens: faith, hope and love
4 calling birds: Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
5 golden rings: the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy)
6 geese a laying: 6 days of creation
7 swans a swimming: gifts of the Holy Spirit (Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leaders, and Mercy)
8 maids a milking: The Beatitudes
9 ladies dancing: Fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control)
10 lords a leaping: The 10 Commandments
11 pipers piping: the 11 faithful disciples
12 drummers drumming: 12 points of the Apostle's Creed

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review: Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham



When I received my copy of Find Your Strongest Life, I read the reviews on the jacket first and became skeptical. I'm not a feminist by any means, but my first thought was how is a MAN going to teach me a WOMAN how to have a strong life, to discover the role I was born to play. I had never heard of Marcus Buckingham until Michael and Gail Hyatt started twittering excerpts from his book. It was time to choose my next book for the Thomas Nelson: Book Review Bloggers and I was curious as to what Marcus Buckingham had to say that could affect my life. I only recognized two names on the book jackets back cover; Deborah Norville and Robin McGraw. I admire these ladies, so I figured this book couldn't be all that bad. I'm also reading this book during a time of desert wandering in my spiritual life and I know that God actually chose this book for me, not my curiosity. So how did I like this book.............
All I can say is WOW! Marcus Buckingham really did his research. I saw my self in the pages as he described finding your strongest life. I took the Strong Life Test before reading the book. I learned some new things about myself and had some things confirmed that I already knew about myself. I learned that am living a strong life now and never realized it. I also found I have areas to work on either to develop or let go. Marcus Buckingham gives practical suggestions to getting you started in finding your strengths and your weaknesses and then what to do with them.
When I started reading this book, I was out of a job. As I read page after page, a job finally opened up for me. It was a position in hospice which is my hearts desire to work in. I had been working in hospice as a nurse for the last 7 years until I was laid off a year ago. I then decide to combine my two favorite things travel and nursing, but finding hospice assignments as a travel nurse is hard. I worked for 26 weeks in a Long term care facility in California for 26 weeks. My husband was fired from his job during that time and joined me for the last 13 weeks. When we came home we thought I'd have a job soon and we waited for 3 months. God was testing us and growing our faith. I knew when the time was right the right job would happen and it did. When I got the job, I felt the excitement, the passion that Marcus Buckingham describes when you are using your strengths and living your strongest life. So for the next 26 weeks I am right where I need to be and thanks to Marcus Buckingham and Finding Your Strongest Life I will have less fears if I go a long dry spell again and I will know how to use my strengths to keep my life the strongest it can be.
My recommendation is to take the Strong Life Test first to see what your Leading and Supporting roles are and then read this book to see how to develop those roles to have YOUR STRONGEST LIFE. This is a book that every woman needs in her library.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Review of Fearless by Max Lucado.

Max Lucado's newest book Fearless hits the stands today. I have had the pleasure of reading it prior to its release and highly recommend this book for all to read. Max Lucado covers just about every fear known to mankind and how to deal with it through the teachings of the Bible. My husband and I are dealing with being out of a job for the last 2 months. We have just about exhausted our savings and are learning how to be better stewards of the resources God has given us. Fearless came into our lives at just the right time. Page after page, word after word God had something to say to us about trusting in him through the storms, whatever they may be.
Max Lucado starts off by asking "Why are you Afraid?" Good question and great place to start. Then he reminds us "fear itself is not a sin, but can lead to sin". And so he starts us on a journey of the different types of fears and how through the Bible we can face them and have courage by following the example of Christ.
Max Lucado has a great knack of holding your attention with his ability to tell stories. His wonderful gift of storytelling that makes you laugh, cry or cheer with the characters whether it is one of his own family or a biblical figure. And then he shows you how they faced their fears and kept their eyes on God.
Max Lucado challenged me to look to the Bible on how Abraham, Isaac, the Disciples, etc faced their fears. He challenged me to apply the principles in his book, principles that Christ taught, to my own life when I am facing fears. Right now I am facing the "Fear of What Next" but thanks to Max Lucado's book and my Christ-following friends and family, I can face this fear knowing that Christ has already conquered it.
God never promised us a storm-less life, but with the words of the Holy Spirit through Max Lucado we can learn to have a "fearless" life. If you are having any type of fear in your life this book is for you. Can you "imagine your life without fear"? That is what God wants for you and Fearless guides you through how to have a fearless life.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Trusting God


"Trust God." "He knows your needs and will provide." "Read Psalm such and such..." "Read and claim his promises." I have said these words to many friends going through financial difficulties over the years. Some even in the last few months. I have told them that God will provide when it is in His timing. I have even told them I will be praying for you and I do. For the first time in my life I am now the one hearing those words aimed at me. For the first time in my Christ-following life, I am having to rely on God more than ever.
This week my husband and I received word that we had bounced checks and creditors calling for this months payment and there is little we can do about it. Neither of us have a job right now. What little money we do have is used to buy food, and only what we absolutely need.
Prayers and bible verses are great when you aren't in the "we are about to lose everything" mode. They don't buy food, pay bills, or put gas in the car. I sent emails to friends who let us know that they were about to lose their job filled with trust God and we are praying for you. And for them a job came through before they faced financial disaster. Thanks to twitter I have many people I have never met face to face praying for David & I. Pray that God will provide a job for us. Family and friends are praying and repeating the words that I said to them many times.
Now that we are facing financial difficulties, I feel my spirit facing difficulties to remaining faithful. I want to yell "Psalm such & such or any other verse won't buy bread." I find myself bargaining with God and yet another day goes by without a job. One dear friend said on twitter "If only we could get good news tomorrow and not have to sweat out the weekend." I replied back "Amen. David & I are learning to rely on God more that we ever have." Then another dear friend replied "And with 'that' tweet God gets the glory."
This is also teaching me that when you are facing financial difficulties or any other problems it is ok to say "I'll pray for you" and make sure you do, but what the person also needs is something more concrete. Asking them "what can I do for you" does not help sometimes because they may not know what it is they really need or may be too embarrassed to ask. So far in this storm I have learned that not only do I need to pray for that person but I need to ask God what He wants me to do FOR that person. God reminded me that so far we have not had to pay for food on some days because great friends have taken us out to dinner or through the bible studies we are involved in.
When we had the means to help a friend out, all I did was say "I'll pray for you" and I did. I now realize that more is needed besides a prayer or an encouraging word. So one lesson learned and will be glad when I can put it into practice. What's next.............................
To be continued as God continues to teach me through this storm................................................

Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

"Sometimes all a person needs is a little perspective" is a great subtitle for this amazing easy to read book. Andy Andrews has a great gift of perspective as he tells the story of the people of Orange Beach, AL in all different stages of life. A man named Jones has come to town that has this gift of perception. Jones deals with 5 different types of people; the wayward, the lost lovers, the worrier, the lustful youth, the workaholic, and the useless. Jones gives these people a new perspective on their lives. As the stories unfold you find yourself related to each of these people in some way. At some point in life you can remember a time that you were like one of these people. Even as a fictional story you find practical advice on how to get a new perspective on your own life and how to notice those around you in a different light.
Andy Andrews took this book to a new level by also starting the Noticer Project, a web site where you can put your story of the 5 people that have been the most influential in your life. This project will also help to get you started in putting Andy Andrew's book into practice.
I highly recommend this book. It'll change the way you look at yourself and others forever.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Book Review: The Great Eight by Scott Hamilton

When you think you know a celebrity, along comes a book that gives you an insight to someone that you would have never thought he could be like he was. Scott Hamilton gives a heart felt look at his life, who he was and who he is know, in The Great Eight. If anyone has a right to hate God and life is Scott Hamilton. From being a sickly child to testicular and brain cancer, one would think that there is no way any one could be happy, ever. But not Scott Hamilton.
Scott Hamilton gives eight steps to being happy even when there is no reason to be happy. Scott Hamilton from the day he was born had every reason to be a miserable person all of his life and even blaming God for his problems. But thanks to wonderful adoptive parents, great friends, the right bosses, and a wife who already trusted God to heal all wounds, Scott Hamilton learned to find happiness in the mist of sorrow and hurt. He uses the fundamental skating routine of the figure eight to show us all how we can be happy. I always thought that watching the ice skaters skating a figure eight in the same rut over and over was a boring way to judge a skaters ability to skate. Now I miss seeing it in the competitions after reading this book. Just as the figure eight lays the foundation for a disciplined skater, learning how to be happy when you don't want to lays the foundation to finding happiness in times of trials.
The Great Eight is a motivational book that is worth reading and putting Scott Hamilton's eight principles to work.

Monday, June 8, 2009

How do I Pray for Healing?

This week I have 2 dear friends facing medical crisis with a parent. The first, Mary, her mom was found unconscious and went into a coma. After about a week Mary and her family needed to make the decision to take her off the ventilator and let her go to her eternal home. The second, Elaine, her dad under went colon surgery to remove more cancer. The day after surgery he was fine, up and walked in the room and was even doing his breathing exercises. The next morning Elaine and her family receives a call that her dad was critical, going to ICU and being put on a ventilator. My heart grieves from afar for my dear friends and I wish I could be with them to provide comfort.
So how do I pray for healing? I know there are two types of healing, healing back to life and healing to our eternal home. For Mary, my prayers have been for our Merciful God to take her mom home quickly when the ventilator is removed and that she has no suffering. For Elaine, my pray is that God will send an answer that to let the family know that all is going to be okay and this is just a bump in the road. I sometimes feel guilty praying for one's healing to be death and the other to be life. I feel I am cheating my friend of her mother. I also feel an overwhelming sense of peace that both of my prayers are the right ones. Both of my friends are friends of each other too. So do I talk about Elaine's dad stabilizing and getting better to Mary, knowing that her mom is dying? This is where I feel life is unfair! This is also where I get on my knees and pray that God speaks through me and I don't. I had a long talk last night with Mary. I pray that my words were of comfort.
I know for Elaine's dad my prayer for healing to life is right, that if at any point God says not this time, my prayer was answered. It may not have been the answer I wanted or Elaine wanted, but it was the answer God gave us. I also know that God is sovereign and will see us through this difficult time no matter how He answers our prayers of healing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Remember To Treasure The Moments














Today my grandmother would have been 93 years young. I hadn't remembered until my calendar alarm chimed with an alert. It was to remind me that it was Nanny's Birthday. I started crying. Nanny went to be with our Lord  & Savior on August 20, 2008. She is spending the BESTEST birthday ever. (Thanks Sammie for that word.) She is dancing and singing with The Lord, Papa, and all our family that welcomed her into heaven in August. 

            I sent a text message to my sisters and daughter that said:

"I hope y'all are having a better day than me. My calendar alert reminded me this am it is Nanny's Birthday. I was flooded with memories, remembering the good times with her & Papa. Love you guys. Remember to treasure every moment with your family no matter how much they may disappoint you. Remember to turn those times over to God & let Him take care of it."

            My family hasn't been perfect. There have been things that have happened in the past that many have not forgiven others for, me included. Unfortunately my grandfather developed Alzheimer's Dementia before I could tell him I forgave him. I also didn't get a chance to ask for forgiveness, forgiveness for neglecting them. I lived only 2 hours away and rarely went to see them, because of unforgiven hurts. I told him years later, I just pray that God let my words be understood. I did get a chance to tell Nanny before she died & I think she understood. 

            Today God spoke to me about treasuring every moment with my family and let Him take care of the hurts. My family is spread out where it makes getting together difficult, but I have determined that some way I will see my family at least once a year, preferably more often. This is going to be especially important to me when my son and his fiancĂ©e leave for Mali, West Africa in a few years. 

            My plans now are to find ways to make memories with my family, treasure every moment I get to spend with them and talk to them. And most importantly ask them to forgive me for anything I have done that has hurt them and to forgive them for the things they have done that I have let hurt me. I don't want to feel regret the next time a member of my family goes to be with the Lord. (Hopefully this will be many years away so I can make many memories for us.) I'm also going to challenge my family to write down their treasured memories to put in a family book. I hope that this will be a treasure that will continue to grow every day. 

TREASURE THE MOMENTS. Don't let hurts and disappointments stand in the way. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

People Watching

Every Wednesday is laundry day for me and then hours of Starbuck's WiFi. I hate doing laundry, especially when I have to go to the laundromat. So I have started people watching. Most Wednesday's there aren't many people to watch, but today was unusually busy and gave me an hour of watching and formulating opinions. Here are the observations I had today.

First there were about 5 Hispanics using the really big washers. They stayed to themselves at the back of the laundromat. When their clothes were finished, all they had were small loads nothing that needed the huge industrial machines. So I observed that they like to keep to themselves and since the machines in the back afford them that privacy they would rather use the larger machines.

Then there was a young woman finishing up the last of her laundry. She was folding her clothes when the owner of the laundromat came in checking the washers, dryers and change machines. He found a pair of very sexy unmentionables in one washer. He asked the young woman if they were hers, which they were. She sheepishly laughed and turned red as she retrieved them form his hand. He is an older gentleman and had a look of interest in his eyes, but politely turned his head as if to say "I don't see what these are". But the smile on his face told a different story.

The next couple was a mother and son. The son was approximately 7 or 8 years old and acted as if he may be autistic. The mother was trying to engage him in the task of laundry and he showed aloof attention (listened as he skipped away). The mother put money in the coin exchanger and told her son to get the quarters and bring them to her. Well he did get the quarters but his attention was diverted to the soap center. So he put the quarters in the slots and pushed. By the time she realized he was not obeying she now owned 2 plastic laundry bags and a box of bleach. She didn't scold him, but did tell him what he did wasn't funny since he was laughing at her apparent disapproval. I observed a type pf permissive parenting in her actions. What I also observed is she took his wanting to put the money in slots to allow him to put the quarters in the washers. This accomplished getting her task done while occupying his curiosity for putting things in holes.

The last couple was a old gray haired black woman and her adult (early 20's) son. She treated him as if he didn't know how to do laundry and his lack of interest seemed to make her opinion true. He was constantly texting while he was suppose to sort the laundry into the washers. She then put 1/2 bottle of pinesol and ammonia in one washer. Never heard of that and not sure what she had in the washer. But the suds were unbelievable. Then in 2 top load washers she dumped 1/2 of a 64oz bottle of bleach in each washer. Had to be a new bottle because she just kept pouring and pouring for what looked like 3-4 cups of bleach each. I figured either she was going to have the whitest whites or the yellowest whites. I just chuckled to myself. She also dumped more than needed soap into all the washers as well. The whole time she was preparing the laundry she complained under her breath about her son not doing the job properly.

By this time I was finished with my laundry and about to leave when I looked down and realized I had dropped a pair of my unmentionable (not sexy though) :) I laughed at myself and made this observation:
Even though we may look different, come from different social backgrounds, different economic backgrounds, we all still the same. We have our own way of doing things and on occasion we let our "unmentionables" slip for others to see whether by accident or on purpose.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Review of "For These ToughTimes" by Max Lucado

If you have ever had a tough time in your life from the loss of a loved one to the loss of a job, Max Lucado's book "For These Tough Times" is the book to help you. It is a short easy to read book. Lucado starts off asking "Where is God?" then proceeds to show us not only where He is but how He is using the circumstances to help us through the tough times.
Though we may not be able to see his purpose or his plan, the Lord of heaven is on his throne and in firm control of the universe and our lives. So we entrust him with our future. We entrust him with our very lives. (emphasis mine)
Lucado wrote this book in 2006 and couldn't be better for today with the uncertainty many of us have regarding our future. Lucado reminds us to trust the very ONE who knows what is best for us at any given time in our life and how our future will turn out. He reminds us to keep our eyes on the Father and that Satan can be used to do the work of heaven. I love the way Lucado ended the book with a prayer for troubled times.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Weight Loss Journey

Before Gastric Bypass


The story below will publish in Scrubs Magazine at sometime. It wasn't until I decided to post it on my blog that I realized I had left out an important part of my journey. A journey that hopefully will allow God to work through me to help other victims of rape & molestation and to inspire others to lose the weight that is shortening this wonderful life God has given each and every one of us.

My journey starts when I was 9 years old. My mother decides to start working which left me to care for my three younger sisters, clean and cook meals. My dad was a strict man then. The meal had to be hot when it was put on the table and consisted of a meat, potatoes or rice, two vegetables, milk gravy and homemade biscuits. He never had anything good to say about my cooking and my sisters followed his example. So I decided if no one liked what I cooked, I did and I would eat it myself. I continued this pattern through my adult life. There were very rarely leftovers in my home.

Added to this was an incident of molestation by a relative and then our landlord  and  the hotel janitor in Naples, Italy, and being raped by my boyfriend as my going away present (daddy was being transferred back to the states). In the mid to late 70's the woman was still the criminal in rape cases, although the courts and DA's were starting to see the woman as the victim in rape. But for a 14 year old girl all I could think was fat woman don't get raped. So along with my lack of support for my cooking and the fear of men, made sure that I would never be raped again by getting fat. Many years later as I began to deal with these issues, I soon realized that rape isn't a crime of passion but a crime of control. So size, age, gender, etc doesn't matter to the rapist or molester. With God's help I have forgiven each and everyone of these offenders. My weight problem didn't show up till after I married, but the fears were still there and every time I began to lose weight and other men looked at me I would put the weight back on.

When I realized my weight was becoming a problem I started trying all the diets available. I did Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, High protein/low carb, Grapefruit diet, you name it I tried it. Each diet failed because I was suffering from bulimia (non-purging). During the day I did what I was supposed to do and when the kids and husband went to bed I would find more to eat. I justified my eating that it was not junk food, but “healthy food”. In 1995 I had reached 360 pounds on a 5’3” frame. I decided then to go to a bariatric physician to try phen-phen. What a mistake! For the 3 months I used phen-phen I lost 40 pounds, but increased my heart rate to over 200 bpm with minimal exertion and my systolic blood pressure up by 30 points. I tried to tell the physician that 130/90 was too high for me since my norm was usually 96/60. But she said I was fine and handed me a prescription and never looked up from her desk or examined me. I decided then to stop taking the meds. In two weeks I still had no appetite but gained the 40 pounds back.

I went to my PCP and told him what was happening. An echo cardiogram revealed I had supra ventricular tachycardia (SVT). So heart meds were begun and because of the beta blockers I needed a diuretic to combat the edema. My PCP then tried me on Meridia, with no success. My blood pressure started to rise again and he said I was headed for pulmonary hypertension. My only hope was to exercise and decrease my calories. I already knew that was out of the question. But a friend at church invited me to a group called “Weigh Down”. I liked what it taught and thought I could stick to this eating plan. And 100 pounds later I sabotaged myself and went back to my old ways. The only difference is I had learned when to stop so I didn’t put the 100 pounds back on.  That was in 1997.

In 2006, while visiting my parents I was awaken by a pain in my chest that felt like someone was squeezing my heart and trying to rip it out of my chest. As long as I was still the pain was not too bad. If I moved it got worse. We did not go to church with my parents but decide to come back home. Yes I know I should have gone to the ER not home, but I was in denial. I went to my PCP that week. The next week I went for a thallium stress test. The test revealed a spot on my heart so I was set up with the cardiologist for a cardiac cath in two weeks. The Friday before I was to see the doctor, I was at a local hospital admitting a patient onto hospice services. While I was finishing up the paperwork I felt my left arm go numb, chest pains, nausea, and diaphoretic. I, as a nurse, knew what was happening. But I did not want to be seen by the ER at that hospital. So I finished my paperwork and drove the two miles home. By the time I got home I was feeling better so I told my husband I was tired and wanted to go out to dinner. An hour later as we were about to pay the check the pains, nausea, etc all came back. I handed my husband the keys and said “Let’s go to the ER now!” At the ER it took three hours to find and IV and it was not the best in the world. It was a 22g in the shoulder. The ER physician came in and told me that I needed a port-a-cath because according to my stress test I would be back frequently. The three hours scared my husband and me, he did not know what was happening and I was not getting the drugs needed to stop the pain due to no IV site. They sent me to the cardiac ward of our hospital set to have a cardiac cath on Monday. All weekend I had chest pains until Sunday night I felt something pop (only way to describe how it felt) and no more chest pains. All night and morning the nurses tried to get 20g or 18g IV’s started with no success. So the physician told then to stop and they would use my femoral artery if needed. I never prayed so hard that it would not be needed. I went for my cath, watched my heart light up as pretty as I had ever seen on a cath picture. The cath was clear, perfect heart. God had healed my heart and sent me a warning that I needed to do something about my weight.

The week after I was released from the cardiologist, I went to our bariatric surgeon and started researching gastric bypass. I had the choice of gastric bypass or lap-band. I chose gastric bypass because it was permanent, lap-band had a back door; I could have it removed if I did not like the after effects. It took one year to go through all of the needs for the surgery. I found out I had sleep apnea and had to go on BiPAP. I had to see a psychiatrist to make sure that mentally I was ready. I had to get clearance from my cardiologist and PCP. Then you had to go through classes and support groups through the surgeon’s office.

September 11, 2007 was D-Day. Surgery went well. I was supposed to go home the next day, but I did not follow the rules. I did not drink enough for the first day. This turned out to be a good thing because that night I went into A-fib and had to go to ICU for a cardizem drip. Eight hours later I got to go back to the floor and then got to go home. My weight on the day of surgery was 270 pounds. Today 2 years later I now weigh 155 pounds and wear a size 8. I have not seen size 8 ever, so to be here is a thrill. I gauge my weight by my BMI and not what the scale or my clothes size says.

It has not been an easy two years, but a rewarding one and wish I had done this years ago. The hand full of cardiac meds I use to take I no longer need. I have more energy now than ever before. I still have 25 more pounds to go to get my BMI below 25. I’m at 28 right now. I also have not been the model patient either. One of the side effects that you wish for is dumping syndrome. When you eat something you should not and you want to dump you quickly learn never to touch that food again. You also learn to chew your food well and to eat slower because the pain of overloading the pouch. I tried my favorite food Krispy Kreme donuts. For the next 20 minutes I wish I was dead and God was not taking me fast enough. I have no desire to touch Krispy Kreme donuts ever again.

My weight loss slow down is now due to my love for sweet tea and sugar in my coffee. The one thing I wish I had dumping syndrome over, I don’t. So I know have to learn to be a “normal human” and increase my caloric output to compensate for the added input. In hate water, flavored water is the worst. I make sure that my tea and coffee are decaffeinated and I am working on decreasing the amount of sugar I put in them. It is a slow process, when a southern born and bred girl was raised on sweet tea.

With all of the episodes of dumping syndrome, and yes I do still get them sometimes it takes a 2X4 to teach me to do the right things, and the complications after surgery I would go through the surgery again. I only take vitamins and a hormone patch now. I eat when I am hungry and only eat 4-8 ounces depending what I am having. That feels me up and I am satisfied for 3-4 hours. I have found a love of exercising through the Wii Fit and have lost 4 pounds with it.

Gastric Bypass surgery is only a tool to help you lose weight and not a miracle weight loss solution. I have seen people who had the surgery and are putting the weight back on. You have to follow the rules to lose the weight and to keep it off. That I am learning now and working on the stay off sugar part. Foods that I thought I would miss I do not. At holidays I still have pie or cake, I just have a very small piece, usually a bite off my husband’s piece and only if I’m not already full. Food does not rule my life anymore. Buffets and parties are not scary. Even if I take more than I can eat, I do not have the need to clean my plate, I would dump if I tried. And I hate dumping. For me this was the best present I ever gave myself. Oh and the best part, MY VEINS CAN BE FOUND AND ACCESSED NOW, one stick!

I also praise God that I don't fear the catcalling of men any more. I know how to protect my self if attacked again, and know that how I look didn't have anything to do with the attack. I have been able to let a few guys become close friends once again, guys that I look up to as mentors, brothers, and good friends. That accomplishment has taken many years and counseling to get to.

2 years

after Gastric

Bypass

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Resolution

Well time to make New Year's Resolutions. I usually don't because I never keep them. But this year I was challenged by Chris Brogan's blog called Your 3 Goals for 2009. He uses 3 words as goals for the year. So I began thinking of 3 words that would be goals for me this year. But as a nurse I couldn't just pick any 3 words, they had to be measurable and I had to be able to assign interventions to them (part of the nursing process). So what are my 3 words...

1. Consistent: I want to be more consistent this year. Consistent in my Bible reading, church attendance, spending time with my family & friends, and exercising. Each of these are measurable daily, weekly as well as yearly. 
Interventions: 
  • Read the daily Bible readings on YouVersion.com
  • Attend church services on Sundays either in a church building or through an online service such as lifechurch.tv
  • Plan date night with hubby, call family each week, write or call friends at least monthly
  • Exercise on the Wii fit @ least 3x/week.

2. Share: I have so much I can share as a nurse and a Follower of Christ. That is why my tag line is Serving Christ through Nursing. I want to use this blog to share what I know as a nurse, how it fits into my Christian walk and hope that others will be blessed & edified through what God teaches me. 
Intervention: 
  • Blog about my experiences or whatever God leads me to share at least weekly. 


3. Absorb: I want to absorb more of the knowledge of the people I associate with. I follow some great people on Twitter & Facebook. I want to glean from what God shows them and seek how God can use this knowledge in my life.
Intervention: 
  • Set up a reading list of inspirational books from different genres & read at least 1 hour/day.
  • Read at least 1 blog/day.
  • Journal on what God reveals to me through the books & blogs, share as God leads me.

As I have just finished listing my goals for 2009, I realized they all are interconnected. As read, I share then I absorb. A wonderful circle that will help me to become a richer person and to become the person that God wants me to be. 

Thank you Chris Brogan for this challenge. This year I may actually keep my New Year's Resolutions. Will update this post on 12/31/09 with a recap of how I did and to see how far I have come & grown.

So what 3 goals have you decided on for this year?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What A Journey... What An Awesome God!

I had planned to tell about how God led me to travel nursing sooner, but decided to wait to the end of the year because this journey really started in the beginning of 2008 and this is a fitting way to end 2008. Praising God for what He has done for me this year and how I have grown in Him.

In the beginning of 2008, I started feeling a need to move on in my nursing career. The job I was doing was not fulfilling me anymore. At first I couldn't put my finger on it then it came to me, the job I was doing was not the job I had started the year before. the President of the company I was working for seemed more interested in the money than the care of the patients. In hospice compassionate caring is a must. The nurses, nursing assistants, social workers, and chaplains I worked with were and still are doing a great job in providing end of life care for these patients. Unfortunately, management started having patients that were either not appropriate or ready for hospice admitted to hospice services. I was the admission nurse. My name goes on the certification paper stating that the patient qualifies, so if I found a patient that didn't qualify and after talking to the doctor still didn't find a reason for hospice services at that time, I didn't admit the patient to hospice. this upset the President of the company. There were some patients who after they had signed the legal paperwork with the marketer and then I went to do the assessment and started the education of what to expect from the staff and the disease process decided that they weren't ready for hospice services, so again I didn't admit and president of company got mad. My boss, who had worked with me and was the one who trained me in hospice, knew that I would try to find a way to qualify or if patient wasn't ready a way to show them how our service would be beneficial and that it didn't mean that they would be dead tomorrow and if the admission didn't happen I had done all I could.

So in April I started to lose heart in my job. I started looking at other options and felt God leading me to travel nursing. I inquired with a company and was able to start by the end of the month and they had hospice assignments. I put the idea to my husband and he shot it down. I couldn't get him to see that travel nursing made enough money so he could retire completely and travel with me. But because he is the man I love with all my heart and married, I vowed to honor and obey so I put travel nursing behind me. My husband told me that when we get the bills paid off in 5 years (which was our goal and we're on track to meet it) then we would look at travel nursing then. I agreed knowing that I can do anything as long as I remember who gave me the job and the passion to help people... God, the Great Physician.

Admissions went smoother from that point until October when it all started again. in one week I didn't admit three people, two not appropriate and one not ready mentally but needed hospice desperately. One Friday I was called into my boss's office and informed that I was being let go " because I know hospice too well". He told me that they were eliminating my position, giving me a month's severance pay and wouldn't fight unemployment if I had to apply. He told me that if they added the admission nurse position back they would hire someone who didn't know hospice that well. Being a nurse I shouldn't have needed to go to unemployment. I took a week off to absorb what had just happened to me. Then I started job hunting. The papers had no listings for RN's for 3 weeks, not even the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. I then looked back into travel nursing. I felt God strongly pulling me that way. Hubby still wasn't convinced. At the end of my severance time, I still didn't have a job and had to go on unemployment. I even went to a nursing job fair in Atlanta, handed out 20 resumes and never received a call.

I finally got a call from my recruiter at the travel agency with possibilities in Mississippi, Connecticut, or California. So the  wait began to see which place would call & interview me. Connecticut and California did. Connecticut I was their second choice, California chose me. While waiting for those calls I met a nurse recruiter at the Mall of Georgia. All seemed promising, but when I called that Monday she didn't have anything available before I was to leave for California. 

I felt through it all that God was telling me to go travel nursing and all the other positive opportunities was His way of reminding me that He was in control and working for what was best for me. 

David and I decided I would do the first assignment alone to see if it was as good money-wise as everyone was telling us. On the trip to California, God revealed to me that the pay I was getting was weekly not biweekly, that meant every other week I was making more than my husband made very 2 weeks. So it looks like the next assignment, he and our puppy will be joining me and we will combine my two loves nursing and traveling. Also combining my husband's love, being wherever I am. 

These 3 months are going to be hard, but it is something we are used to. He spent 20 years in the Navy and was gone 6-9 months each year for 3 years at a time and then 2-3 months out of the year for the next 3 years. 

Once in California, God again showed me His provision. After getting here, I had to go to Sacramento to get my nursing license for CA. I get there and find out I don't have what I need to get my license in 1 day and GA wasn't being helpful. This was all on a Wednesday. The best I was looking at was 10 days. So here I am in California with no job and no money. I do all I can to expedite my license and hope that by Monday they would have my GA verification. It took me all day to get fingerprinted, picture taken, and FedEx paperwork to GA. I turn everything in to the CA office and was ready to leave when the reviewer talked to me and 10 minutes later handed me my temporary CA license. WHAT A MIRACLE! I was constantly being told that without GA verification I wouldn't get my CA license. But God provided and I started my new job on time.

This whole year has taught me to rely on God, trust in Him for everything. 3 weeks on unemployment really stunk. Thank God we had started following a spending plan that Crown Financial Ministries developed and had money in savings to cover us through that time. I can't wait to see what He has in store for me in 2009. Whatever it is, it will be for my own good, to grow me and to make me more like Him. Looking forward to the next leg of my journey with God.