Friday, December 2, 2011

Big week

I had my last theory class this week (just gotta finish the paper by Mon - hopefully with good result) and I spent some time in my new job. The job will definitely take some getting used to and figuring out. 

Back to a normal kind of week next week.  Big game Sat night (VT v. Clemson in the ACC Championship). Hopefully we can redeem our one loss for the season.

I really need to get decorated for Christmas and CLEAN MY HOUSE!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Freedom

Happy Veteran's Day!

Last night I was looking up the results from Tuesday's election and I noticed the low percentage of people voting.  I think it's sad that there are people in the world who don't have the right to vote - who are ruled by a tyrant or a dictator and would LOVE the opportunity to choose those in power making the decisions that effect their lives. I have to admit that I probably don't know enough about those I elected, but I did vote. I exercised my right as an American citizen.  I love living in a country where we have such freedoms and where I can meet with my Bible study group and not be afraid of being harmed. We are so lucky here and take it for granted.  Just like we take our salvation for granted.  We still have those freedoms thanks to the men and women who over time have sacrificed their lives, time with their families, and selflessly give of themselves for something bigger (our nation and what it stands for). I'm so grateful!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Different thoughts on love

I sometimes think it's funny how differently Michael an I think about showing love to one another. I was talking with a coworker last night about a relationship she had had that didn't last, and I'm always so struck by the truths from the ideas of the 5 love languages (a book I have never read) and how those play out. 
The 5 love languages are:
1. Quality time
2. Acts of service
3. Gifts
4. Physical touch
5. Words of affirmation

Fortunately, I think I am low on words of affirmation because Michael tends to tease me mercilessly, but I think that everyone needs to experience a little of each. The premise is that you primarily show love in the way you want to be loved. So, since I am a quality time person (mostly), I want people who love me to just be around me. I often like to be doing something meaningful, but I feel loved when I have time with the other person and I will do my best to spend time with the person I care for.  Michael tends to be physical touch. He wants me to rub his back or scratch his head all the time and likes to cuddle.  He is wonderful sometimes at doing small acts of service (taking out the trash, helping with my dog, bringing my lunch to work when I leave it at home, etc) which is probably my number 2 and I try to show Michael I care for him by cooking for him sometimes. I'm careful not to do too much at this stage in the relationship, because I'm still afraid of being taken advantage of.  I don't want him to expect me to clean his house or do his laundry (tasks I hate anyway).  I could care less about gifts, which is probably my lowest and something that I think is pretty low for Michael too.

Michael has some interesting ideas on what girls want from a guy. He thinks that we say we want a guy who is nice to us and buys us flowers and tells us we're beautiful, but that if we find a guy like that we're actually not interested. Instead, he thinks we want someone who will keep it interesting. He says he has tried his techniques on me and I am the most successful relationship he has had, so it must work.  I think he is right in a sense. When I don't know a guy well, I don't want him to be so nice to me. If he doesn't know me, I don't understand why would he say nice, loving things to me unless he has ulterior motives (sex).  BUT I think there comes a point when a girl feels that a guy knows her that she wants unconditional acceptance for who she really is and to know that he finds her unique and valuable and worth loving. That doesn't mean be super sappy all the time, but I know that I would value special occasions.  Although, the teasing has me a little jaded and I might not believe it's real.

Stuff Christians Like

Have you ever heard of this site? http://www.jonacuff.com/stuffchristianslike/ It's a guy's blog about the sometimes ridiculousness of the Christian Church. He is a Christian guy so he has the insight. While he pokes fun, he had a real relationship with Jesus that guides his life. He is just able to see the humor in some of the things the Church does.
I thought of him when I was contemplating the Christian book fads. I was talking with my new grad orientee at work last night. I asked her if she had heard of the book Kisses from Katie which is a book a woman from my Bible Study first told me about. I think she bought it the day it came out and read it in 24 hours. I have not read it yet, but it is the story of a girl in her young 20s who went to Africa after graduating from high school and is now mother to a bunch of orphans.  She is living out her calling from God.  The book is based on her blog http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/. I love the concept of what she is doing and I look forward to reading the book, but knowing that Becky had just bought it and I had originally heard about the book in a different Christian circle got me thinking about the Christian book fad.  I remember as a kid it was I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Now as an adult, I see the Church all into Crazy Love and Radical.  I see all my Christian friends and Christian radio get so excited about movies like Fireproof, Facing the Giants, The Grace Card, and now Courageous (some better than others; typically with horrible acting).  I just find it interesting that the Church is not immune to new fads and ideas that prompt sermon series, movie nights, group discussion, etc. before fizzling out.  At least we have one Book that is not a fad, that we can cling to in all circumstances, and that we always return to to guide our lives. We seek new revelations as to the content and meaning of the words of Jesus Christ when, if we spend time with it, God should reveal himself to us in the text. I guess we love to share that with others (in books) when He does.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Warning: A little graphic

I am amazed at how nature takes care of the dead. On Monday evening as I was walking my dog before work I noticed lots of large carrion birds in the trees. I startled them and the trees were groaning and cracking as the birds flew off. I thought it was odd for there to be a flock of carrion birds - I don't often see them together. I walked a few paces more and smelled it.  Looking around I spotted a dead deer in the woods to the right. I don't know how it came to die (hit by a car and dragged itself into the woods?) but the birds were already hard at work and had the intestines spilling out of the animal's abdomen and backside. Morbid curiosity had me standing there at a distance for a few minutes trying to figure out what the animal was and how it might have died. I briefly contemplated it as a cruel Halloween joke. I wondered if I should call the police or someone to get the animal removed.  Then I realized that my dog was not on a leash and he would be very interested in the rotting meat. I back tracked to get him leashed before he could find it.  Tuesday morning revealed fewer birds and a bloodier looking carcass with less flesh.  My leashed dog had a fit wanting to check out the smell but I kept him away.  By Tuesday evening I could see ribs and by this afternoon all that seems to be left are the bones, head and tail.  Today's animal is positioned differently than the last couple days. I guess the wild animals are being thorough. It really does amaze me how quickly the animal was reduced to bones.  The fact that it gets eaten by those disgusting birds makes my skin crawl, but I am thankful that nature has a way of disposing of the rotting meat.  How amazing it is to go from a living, breathing creature to an dead object to nothing but bones in such a short time.

"As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
   he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
   they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
   and its place remembers it no more." Psalm 103:13-16

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stupid laws

I found out yesterday in my theory class that Virginia state law does not allow medical professionals to share the diagnosis of an STD in a teenager with the parent.  This makes me angry! In a minor child, the parent is responsible for teaching them how to live and to provide correction, education and redirection when a child with poor judgment is making bad decisions.  How can they do that when it's a secret?!?! I understand that the idea is that a teenager will be comfortable seeking medical treatment for their sexual activities if they do not fear their parents. But clearly the child isn't smart enough to figure out that if they are afraid of the consequences, they are doing something they shouldn't be doing in the first place. Teenagers are immature and irresponsible sometimes and that is why they have parents to help them.  They don't have enough experience to make the right decision 100% of the time. That's why they are considered minors and their parents are responsible for them! It seems so silly! I can't believe that such contradictory laws exist.  When it comes to any other medical condition, the parents make the decision even if it's against the wishes of their 17 year old child.  Why are STDs different?  It would make more sense to me to allow a child with cancer or a life threatening disease who has the time to discuss the options and their decisions with adults to make their own medical choices than to hide diagnoses indicating poor sexual choices from parents.  I agree with allowing the child to consent to treatment from a physician for STDs, but the parents still need to know.  The child needs to be protected if they are making decisions that are leading to preventable illnesses like STDs.  How can the state prevent the parents from knowing about their child's behavior and protecting their child from decisions that may change their lives???  I just don't understand and I don't like it and I would LOVE to know how to change it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Being single

All the Single Ladies - The Atlantic

I have always thought that I was somehow less because I'm still single. It was as if all my friends or acquaintances finally became somebody when they had someone to love them for the rest of their lives. In my eyes they now had purpose and meaning and family and belonged to a different class of people - a higher class. I always felt I must somehow be less because no one loved me. I am now dating someone I could see spending the rest of my life with, but the fact that he doesn't yet feel the same still stings like not being worthy of love at all. Somehow, despite what the linked article says, I feel as if everyone I know is married or getting married. Those who are married are all having children and I feel like I'm left behind and as if I've missed something.  This viewpoint that life finally starts when you get married really hinders the single person. There are so many benefits to being single. Before dating, I had so much time to do hobbies I liked and to read and to hang out with my girlfriends. I don't see much of my friends anymore at all...I'm just too busy. I am working on being patient and enjoying what are hopefully the end to my single days. But I am starting to think that there will still be times I won't feel loved despite the fact that I'm married to someone. I think those doubts that plague me now as a single person will continue to rear their ugly head. I need to find security in being me and being loved by God and then, regardless of my marital state, I can be content and sure of myself. I want a husband and kids, but I need to know I'm ok if that doesn't happen too.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

my new obsession

pinterest.com

Monday, September 5, 2011

More reading for school

One chapter had some interesting thoughts on the role of the nurse in social activism. It was still written by the feminist author so it definitely had a slant toward doing away with discrimination toward women (which I don't really see any in my life), but it was somewhat motivating. Michael had told me about a book/article yesterday that discussed the fact that more black women go to college than black men and that there are increasing numbers of black men in prisons. That coupled with the reading on fixing disparities has me thinking about how to fix it. I want to find the article and read more. How do we fix social issues like that?  What could I possibly do?

From other readings I can more confidently say Florence Nightingale is worth citing as a role model. She really believed her calling to nursing was from God. She used her position in life with it's advantages to enact change and fulfill God's purpose in her life. At one point she wrote "The kingdom of Heaven is within; but we must make it without" (from the book Nursing Theories & Nursing Practice by Marilyn E. Parker).  I think this statement succinctly sums up the message of the Gospel.  I also love the fact that she was so dedicated to God and spirituality that the author of this text can't write about her without mentioning her faith. Unfortunately, some of her views were not entirely in line with the Bible and I'm not sure she was totally sold on the Bible as the definitive book of faith, but she does seem to get some things right. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Relief

I was so relieved to find out today that my wariness of the Peace & Power book was shared by many in my class. It was also nice to find out that Dr. Kane is very open to that despite the fact that she was in a Peace & Power group with the author before the book was written.  So far the class is ok. I think I'll be annoyed with it when I'm really tired after night shift. Dr. Kane is trying to promote thinking.  It all sounds pretty fluffy. I'm a little wary of how the grade will come out, but I can only do the best I can do. I'm also starting to wonder if I'll have to pay for the class in a year....

Friday, August 26, 2011

Strange Ideas

I just started my Theory class yesterday and it definitely has me thinking. Some of the articles talk about nursing as integrating illness into the wellbeing of the person so that total health may not be the ultimate goal. I think this idea will help me in my practice to have realistic goals and thoughts regarding outcomes for my patients. Maybe I can help them to integrate the unexpected event into a new version of life for the patient and family.  Other articles I've been reading have me wondering where the Christian viewpoint comes into play and how I as a Christian nurse should view my profession and ways of thinking about people and nursing theory. One article I read was about getting away from the rigid the-truth-is-out-there-somewhere thinking to a truth-is-relative-and-dependent-on-individual-experience thinking. I have been fighting against these ideas since high school. I believe the truth IS out there. I believe God is truth and by knowing Him better we know truth better.  Does this prevent me from being open to new ideas? Maybe.  I'm trying.

We are charged with reading the book Peace and Power by Peggy L Chinn by next week. It explicitly states that it is feminist literature (which already gets me riled as I'm not a feminist). I agree with some/many of the precepts of the book, but I also think that the Bible said them first which is probably why they work.  The PEACE acronym stands for praxis, empowerment, awareness, cooperation, and evolvement.  These are addressed Biblically with verses such as:
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." Matthew 7:3-5
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:22-24

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:9-10

And the book also talks about PEACE-power rather than power-over which is again Biblical:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—" Matthew 20:25-27
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:24
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4

Since the words are different from the Bible's words, it has me rethinking my ways of behaving and interacting, but when I really sit and analyze what is being said I feel it fits with my belief system all along.  And it is certainly something I should do better at putting into practice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Earthquake Story

I was laying in bed sleeping in between shifts.  I probably heard the rumbling, felt the shaking and the dog coming out from under the bed all at the same time. It's hard to explain my thoughts. At first I thought the shaking was just the dog coming out from under the bed, but the shaking continued. Then I noticed the rumbling. It sounds like a train going by. I couldn't understand why the sound was so loud. Then I tried thinking of other things that might make that sound and cause the bed to shake (tornado?). I wanted to dismiss earthquake immediately because I live in Virginia of all places. But the more I reasoned it, that was all that made sense and the shaking was over. It seemed like it had gone on for quite a while. I went out to my living room heart pounding wondering what to do and needing validation of my experience. I saw the blinds still swaying in my kitchen and living room and a picture I had set on my ancient box tv had fallen off. I called Michael and asked where he was. He sheepishly said he was in the Taco Bell drive through. I asked if there was an earthquake and he said he thought so but his first thought was that something was wrong with his car b/c it started shaking really badly.  I sent a text to Angela who said she felt it and then tried calling Mom. I couldn't get through because the phone lines were busy by then.  I am looking forward to hearing what it was like at the hospital today. I can't imagine being on the 7th floor during that and I'm thankful I was at home. I bet the shaking/swaying was much worse up there.  I don't like earthquakes. I hope I don't have to experience many more.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc0005ild.php#details

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Do what you can

"Love the ones you can. Touch the ones you can reach. Let the others go." -Anonymous

I saw this quote in the Coffee News at Christian's Pizza on Sunday and I feel like I have been getting the same message from multiple sources. Two Sundays ago, the message was on kindness and in one of the emails or in the sermon, the pastor told the starfish story. The gist is that there are thousands of starfish dying on the beach because the tide is out and a person is throwing them back one by one. Another person comes by and says that it's futile because there are so many starfish. But the person throwing back the starfish says, "well I made a difference to this one and this one..."  I then saw another version of the story floating around at work.  So I need to make sure I am at least doing something for those I have contact with.

I read another neat article posted at work about how a woman came to realize on one of her runs that she was blessed to be able to run at all and she began applying it to all areas of her life: "I get to clean my house because I have a home to clean", "I get go to work b/c I have a job", etc.  It's developing an attitude of thankfulness rather than wishing for more (which ties into this week's sermon on envy).

It's kind of amazing how God speaks and things all tie together.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Big day with lots more to do

My sister and her family came to see me today.  We had lunch at Great Harvest Bread Co. Amazing bread - kinda pricey for sandwiches, though. Then we left her husband at Panera to get some work done, took the baby on a stroll on the downtown mall, came home to make homemade peach ice cream in my KitchenAid mixer, and watch Veggietales. We met Michael at Revolutionary Soup on the corner where we had dinner (can't wait to eat there this winter), and they were on their merry way back home.  I love hanging out with my little niece and watching her grow.  I truly hope to have one of my own one day.

Tomorrow, I need to get paint for my 2nd bedroom (and maybe a wisk for the KitchenAid if I can find it) and then paint the room. Hopefully I'll finish and it'll dry so that Michael can hang the new curtain rod I got and the room will be ready for my first Charlottesville roommate and her family to visit this weekend. Unfortunately I won't get to see much of them because I'll be working and they won't have the chance to meet Michael because band camp is this weekend.

Life continues to march on in all of its busy-ness.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

lazy summer day with lots on my mind

It is so rare for me to have time at home by myself. I almost don't know what to do! But I'm very protective of this time and worked hard not to make other plans. There are lots of things on the "should do" list that I just haven't been motivated enough to start yet.

I have picked up reading again. I am trying to figure out if marriage to the man I'm dating and sometime soon really makes sense so I am reading lots of books that ask the important questions. There's "101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged" and "Sacred Marriage" and "Love and Respect". I'm excited about all of them and trying to read them all at once. I'm also wanting to write and journal more and since Italy I've wanted to try something artistic (painting? photography?), but haven't gotten around to it yet. I guess my creative side is coming out.

At work we had a retreat to deal with some of the issues in the unit. The primary issue that was identified and that I think is relevant is lack of follow-through. I would like to take on more of a leadership role at work but I need mentors and guidance.  Leadership is not something that comes naturally to me but something that I'll have to develop.  I don't have tons of ideas or the creativity to develop new ways of doing things, but I'd like to get smarter and feel like a really good resource in the unit. Unfortunately, I don't think much else was accomplished in the retreat. The facilitator seemed to think so, but she had data collected from all 3 days. We were the last day so I wonder if she didn't push us as hard....

I've been taking a statistics class at PVCC (online) which has taken up a ridiculous amount of my time. I need to take the 2nd test on Monday (early) and hopefully it'll go well. Test taking always makes me nervous. I just hope I'm prepared and don't forget something. Before the test, I need to start on the next set of material so that I can get it done in the next week (it's a lot this week), so I'm hoping not to forget the old stuff while absorbing the new. 

The class is potentially in preparation for NP school. I was convinced I should do it until I got wait-listed. Now I'm not sure if it's a closed door or a sign I need to try harder. The thing is, I want to be a great applicant, so if I do apply again, I want to make sure I'm ready. I'm thinking about trying to volunteer at the free clinic to get a better picture of primary care and primary care including adults and families. I just need to figure out how to fit it all into the schedule.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I need adventure

As a kid I read and read. It was the opportunity to escape the every day and for something exciting to happen. Now that I'm an adult, I still read, but it's not quite enough. I need adventure. Even adventure as small as a trip to Richmond or DC every once in a while or an outing with friends to the wineries or tubing down the river is enough, but I need something out of the ordinary that breaks up the routine. Fortunately, I am going to Texas in May with my family and to Italy with a good friend in June. Hopefully, those trips will help quench this persistent need for more. Staying home every weekend isn't doing it for me, especially now that the weather is getting nice. Not only do I want adventure, I want to share it with the people I'm closest to and who mean the most to me. If they're not present than there is something missing. Telling them about it isn't enough; I want to share the experiences. Sigh. I'm feeling antsy.

God's kingdom

The sermon this week was really great and really spoke to me. Pastor Steve is going through the Lord's prayer and this week's section was "Your kingdom come."  He described God's kingdom as God's reign rather than an actual place and he proceeded to share scripture on some of Jesus' insights on God's kingdom. For some reason, I thought to look at the verses from the point of view of those hearing them for the first time 2000 years ago. Jesus' view of God and God's kingdom was so radically different from the common view.  He described the kingdom as being in us and near to us to a people who were waiting for it. Imagine what things would be like if God truly reigned (heaven). God the Just; God who is Good. I began to think about all the good stuff in life and how none of that would be here if God weren't. If we allow God to reign in our lives his kingdom is already here and our job is to share that good news with others - particularly those who aren't seen as successful by the world's standards. And then we are to live for the time when God will reign supreme (heaven).  Most of the time I feel like I don't really understand Jesus' message of "good news."  All I ever understood it to be was we aren't doomed and separated from God by our sins because Christ died for us and redeemed us (which is part of it). But Jesus was spreading good news before his death and resurrection, and that good news is the radical idea about God's kingdom.  So maybe I am starting to get it??

Monday, April 4, 2011

Friends of the Library Book Sale

I was able to go to the library book sale on Sat. It is one of my favorite things of the year. I got 11 books for $13.50. I got The Chronicles of Narnia, The Kite Runner, Reading Lolita in Tehran, The Namesake, The Pillars of the Earth, The Reader, The New York Trilogy, The House on Mango Street, SlaughterHouse-Five, The Joy Luck Club, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. I can't wait to buckle down and read them! All are books I've heard of or that have been on my wish list for quite a while. I love good finds and cheap books! :)

Mindset

The latest read is a book called "Mindset." It describes two ways of viewing things: a fixed mindset and growth mindset. The fixed mindset says that all abilities, intelligence, etc. are fixed quantities and that a person with a fixed mindset will act in such a way as to show their superiority but will not stretch themselves for fear of appearing incompetent. The growth mindset says that ability and intelligence are not fixed quantities but are things that can be improved over time. They see challenges as a way to improve themselves and seek them out. The ideal is obviously to have the growth mindset. I know from experience that I have a fixed mindset. Ex: I won't play board games b/c I don't want to look stupid.  I am taking on a leadership role at work that scares me. I am not a natural-born leader. I am hoping that through the experience and through reading the book I will learn to grow and not be afraid of looking dumb. I am hoping to be able to motivate my team members to make a difference in the PICU. I don't want the committee I lead to be a project that I alone am tackling, but I want everyone to be actively involved and to want to do their part and do it well. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan

I feel a little morbid. I can't stop watching the videos of the tsunami and looking at pictures of the destruction. It just seems so surreal to me and like something out of a movie. I just found out today that the tsunami hit about 30 minutes after the earthquake. That didn't give residents much time to get to higher ground. I can't imagine how frightening the whole experience would have been and what a horrible way to die. One of the videos showed people running from the wave and it seems like some didn't make it. Other videos show people watching their homes being washed away. The power of the water moving buildings and cars effortlessly just blows my mind. The after images showing buses, cars, and ships on top of 3 story buildings are just incredible. I also think that one of the scariest things about earthquakes is that there are aftershocks. After experiencing a huge, devastating earthquake I think that the aftershocks would invoke an automatic panic response.  I found out too that they had a 7.2 earthquake in the same place 2 days before. The fact that a earthquake that big didn't make the news also blows my mind. That's not a small thing! One encouraging video I saw showed the people who have been displaced really helping each other to get water and find loved ones.  From what I remember, Japan is a more collective society (vs. individualistic like the US) and I admire that that moves them to work for the greater good in these circumstances rather than just looking out for themselves.  I feel helpless and don't know what I might do other than pray for the people who have lost everything. One woman interviewed said that she didn't know if it was good she had survived. She lost everything and it will take a long time to rebuild.  I pray for hope for those people.  It is all so terribly sad.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Drive

I am reading the book Drive by Dan Pink (along with a bunch of other books since I can't seem to sit down with just one for too long). I find it very fascinating and I am looking forward to seeing if there is some practical tips I can use to improve things in my own work place. The premise is that intrinsic motivation is in many ways squelched by external rewards/punishments which is the traditional way for motivating people/employees. I think about our attempt at work to reduce central line infections and how not everyone is on board with doing the things a collaborative group of hospitals has said will help to reduce infection. Based on this book, the things we have tried (parties for increasing numbers of days without infection, etc) worked as expected. The reward system works in the short term (and it did for us), but people's long term motivation to see it through wanes (and our data says that we are taking steps backwards). So I think that the best way to approach it is just to say "we are doing this because it will create the best outcomes for our patients" and make that the focus. Irregular, unexpected rewards acknowledging a job well done are allowed, but if they become consistent, the reward becomes expected and the same problems result. Per the book, intrinsic motivation can be developed and is found in work that has autonomy, requires/allows the person to obtain mastery, and gives the person a sense of purpose. I am just now in the chapter on autonomy so I'll have to let you know how the rest of the book goes and what I think.  So far it is an interesting book based on psychological approaches and studies I find fascinating. After reading books like this and Freakonomics and it's sequel I sometimes think I should have been a behavioral economist or something (I didn't know that economics was the study of the way people behave). I find it so interesting (but I'm not sure I'm creative enough to think like they do).  I took an assessment from the book's website that says I am more extrinsically motivated than intrinsically. Guess I will have to work on that to be able to really make something of my life and be fulfilled.

Friday, March 4, 2011

God is Good

Our pastor challenged us today via email to list ways in which God is good to us (especially if we're going through a low time).

God has blessed me with an amazing family. I was raised in a Christian home with parents that really live out their belief in God. They are even fun to be around (you can just ask the guy I'm dating).

Even though she drives me crazy sometimes, my roommate is a blessing. She's always there to talk about things (sometimes too much talking though). She is a great ministry partner (teaching 6th grade together and serving in other youth events) and a good friend.

God has given me a man of character just as I asked Him. If only this man were also a follower of Christ I would marry him tomorrow if he asked. :-P

God has blessed me with a stable job where I can make a difference. It allows me to make enough money to pay my bills, travel the world and to share with others.

So, despite the fact that I am not where I might have dreamed I would be at 28, I am in a good place. :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who I want to be

This morning I met a new hire at work who has the unique ability of connecting with you almost immediately. She makes you feel so at ease and as if you are instantaneously one of her best friends! I like her already. I would love to have her interaction abilities! I think I'll have to pay attention to what it is she does. She has an openness about her and I know the key is that somehow she makes you feel good just by talking to her.  I always wanted to be the type of person who could light up a room just by walking in and I think the key is definitely being a sociable person.  I'm gonna work on it.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring is in the Air (or maybe just in my heart)

Feeling a little more upbeat these days. Maybe it is the sunshine and random warm days. Maybe you can only be in a funk for so long. But, I feel a lightening in my heart and a desire to experience more and worry less.

I am attempting to finish up applying to grad school. I am nervous about the prospect of not getting accepted on the first attempt. I hear that is common. But when I see myself at the end of the program graduating and being able to say "I have a master's degree!" that makes me happy; excited even.

I need more things to be excited about, I think. I need to spend some time researching what I want to see in Italy so I can get excited about our trip in June. I need to be less reserved and let my excitement about things show and I need to take more pleasure in the everyday.  It is so valuable to be able to focus on the joys in life rather than the disappointments and to be able to do that on a day-to-day basis. I can always use encouragement. 

Today's victories:
1. I ran 10 miles for the first time ever!
2. I made some beer bread for a get-together with friends tonight.
3. I made small progress toward repairing a broken friendship which feels really good. :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Trying not to take my blessings for granted

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?' So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:1-16


I am trying not to be the first workers, but I am struggling with it mightily these days. I keep focusing on the things I lack rather than what I have. My car is now almost 2. I've had my home for 4.5 years. I feel the only people who love me in the world are my parents whereas others are blessed with large families of husbands and children and in-laws that love them.  I am getting a pay cut (on the next paycheck?) and I'm worried about what that will mean. But the thing is, I don't deserve any of it anyway. How can I question God's generosity toward others? How arrogant of me! The things I do have are very good things and I am very blessed! I have my health and my car and my home and my job. If I must compare, I should compare to those that don't even have those things and then give what I have away to help them. I should work hard, accept my lot in life, and find what God's purpose is for my life.


One of our elders on Sunday spoke of how Jesus told us that the only way to be happy is to serve others. I know that that is generally true for me. When I don't focus on myself I tend to be much happier. I need to worry less about how much I am loved and more about how much I love others.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Motivation

I have taken a renewed interest in the topic of motivation. It seems to pop up in my mind as a fascinating topic now and again. I think I was first aware of how interesting the subject is while taking my psych classes in nursing school. What is it that motivates one person to stop drinking/smoking/bad health behaviors but inhibits another from doing the same? How can we as health professionals influence a person's level of motivation? Now, as I think about the possibility of taking a certification exam and returning to school AND as I experience a lot of change at work, I have started thinking again about how curious a thing motivation is. Am I motivated enough to study on my own, pay for, take and pass the CCRN exam (sooner rather than later)? Am I willing to struggle and suffer through the classes and work required to get my masters?  And for work what is it that intrinsically motivates people to learn? I am on the education committee and people just don't seem motivated to learn more about the diseases we encounter or how to do their jobs better. How do I change the work culture enough to help people want to learn and not feel burdened by the information provided them? How do you help people take ownership and partner with you in something that benefits them even if it takes a little extra work on their part?  You know, I had always intended to look up more in nursing school on the topic of motivation and just never got around to it.  I'm sure there is tons of information and research out there. I guess I simply lacked the motivation.... :-P

Friday, January 21, 2011

KitchenAid Mixer fun

Today started with my first attempt at making homemade bread. I got a kitchenaid stand mixer for Christmas and ordered the dough hook (after ordering the wrong one the first time, the right one finally came a couple weeks ago). I was inspired by the amazing homemade bread that Michael's mom made when we visited her in December. The mixer makes it more manageable because it does the kneading for me. I usually try shortcuts when following recipes, but this time made an effort to stick to the directions as closely as possible. The only hitch to that was that I had quick rising yeast which says it cuts rising time by up to 50% and since I don't know what "double in size" looks like exactly without getting out a ruler, I had to guess at when it was finished rising. I think I may have cut the rising time a bit too short. The bread was a little more dense than I hoped for and a little undercooked despite the fact that it was "golden brown" on top. It is certainly edible, but not as melt-in-your-mouth, no-need-for-butter good as Mrs. I's. So far it is just right with cheese or I think it would be phenomenal with jam (I'll have to "borrow" some of Michael's homemade stuff). I also discovered that I would like to get the pouring shield (as I was trying to pour in extra flour and kept dumping it on top of the dough hook which flung it all over the counter). It was kind of a fun experience with an edible result. I plan to make small changes for the next attempt and hope for slightly better results. Then I plan to get adventurous: making rolls and other flavors of bread.  Eventually I plan to make a cheesecake with the mixer too b/c it'll be so much easier not having to try to hand stir cream cheese! I just need an occasion so I have people to share it with. :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dare to Hope

This is becoming one of my new years resolutions for 2011. I am a cynic and I hate it. It keeps me from accomplishing great things and from being happy for those around me. The doubts always seem to creep in.  Some of it is related to a deep down jealousy and some to a fear of rejection/failure. So I hold back and make snide, hurtful remarks.  But the goal is to have a more positive outlook. To try things and have experiences. Even if I fail, I am sure something positive will come from putting myself out there. I will be able to grow, rather than remain stagnant and will hopefully have a positive influence on those around me as well. I want the hope and joy to be contagious. I will need some encouragement and reminders along the way, but I am striving to dare to hope.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Poor Rocky

My parents have a keeshond that they got my senior year of college. He was the cutest little guy as a puppy and has grown to have such beautiful long soft black fur. At Christmas, we noticed he wasn't acting right. He wouldn't focus with both eyes and when I looked closely it looked like his left pupil was blown. He snapped viciously at my dad one day when we were trying to get him on a leash to take him out for walk which is not at all like him -- he is the gamma dog, last in line, very very submissive. He kept to himself most of Christmas weekend and was not his normal self. I have been communicating with my parents via email and it sounded like things weren't getting better. I talked with Mom on the phone last night and she said they had taken him to a neurology vet when he started walking in circles and the vet wanted to do a $4000 MRI. They could get several new dogs for that price or use the money for much  more important things so they declined. The MRI wouldn't necessarily tell them anything or fix the problem, so what's the use? The vet hypothesized that it could be an infection or a brain tumor, but that he is blind in the left eye and something is definitely wrong with his brain. He was on pain killers after a trip to the regular vet and is now on antibiotics and steroids. Mom says he seems to be doing a little better but the vet had said he may look better and then get way worse. So, Mom says he is basically home on hospice. Poor dog. I hope he goes comfortably and his misery isn't dragged on for too long. I wish for full recovery or a peaceful passing.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dinner for 4

I did it! I accomplished hosting dinner for 4. I made Lemon/Garlic Chicken with potatoes and green beans. It took a bit longer to cook than I expected but the end result was pretty good. I didn't quite manage to get the rolls out at the same time as the meal, but there are always opportunities to improve. I am grateful to Michelle (and my fridge) for providing the wine. I am also fortunate that I found pumpkin roll that my mom made in my freezer for dessert.  It still tastes really good.  My roommate is always asking me to find ways to clean out the freezer; who knew that hosting dinner would start the process. I'm thinking of trying to host every other month or so and picking a new group each time. We'll see. It was fun.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Attempt at breakfast for dinner

I tried making breakfast for dinner for Michael on Wed night. He just laughed at me and my inept-ness. Pancakes and eggs are supposed to be easy...

Menu:
Pancakes: according to the Bisquick package instructions with frozen blueberries (CSA blueberries added)
Eggs: scrambled with cheese

Result: The pancakes were a little undercooked (guess I didn't get the pan hot enough to start) and certainly not round in shape. The best part about them was the blueberries. Maybe real maple syrup would have helped?? The eggs were good, but I used taco cheese and Michael wasn't used to my methods so I believe he was less than satisfied. After eating 5 pancakes and 1.5 eggs, he moved on to his standard staple: cheese and crackers. I'm sure he was grateful, but he made fun of me at every turn. I'm not quite the expert cook. I'm hoping practice makes perfect. Attempting to make dinner for him and friends tonight from a RealSimple recipe. Can't go wrong with that, right?