Sunday, March 30, 2008

Choosing Attitude

It's been a hard weekend. There have been a lot of emotions I've been experiencing, and it's brought to mind a powerful passage from Max Lucado that I've been wanting to share with you for a while. I realized that this might be just the right time. I've been reading daily devotionals from his book "Grace for the Moment" and before the daily stuff starts, the first passage in the book talks about choosing attitude. While not everything applies to me (he talks about drinking coffee -Yuk!, he also talks about his wife and kids, and my schedule is opposite his right now working nights) the rest of it is really quite powerful. It's up to us to choose our attitude.

From "Grace for the Moment":

Each Day...

It's quiet. It's early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.

In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.

For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose. And so I choose.

No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrents bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical... the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I am a spiritual being... After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

By Max Lucado in "Grace for the Moment".

It's been great to read these words each day and think about choosing my attitude. My practice has become to read these words first and then go to the specific devotional for the day before reading my scripture passages for the day.

I want to challenge each of you to also think about your own attitudes! Whether in the midst of good things or bad, we really are capable of choosing the attitude we'll have. Remember that! Accept the challenge! It's a daily choice, but it's a choice you can make -to have an attitude that is honoring and pleasing to God. I promise to do the same and you should call me on it when I choose otherwise!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fainting, a Mouse, and Olive Garden...

So yesterday was a weird day. Well, at least one part of it was...

After work I was able to sleep 5 hours which isn't enough, but more than my "normal" has been lately. Why doesn't my body understand that it needs more sleep?

After I woke up I talked with someone at Medical Express about the things that needed to happen before starting my next job in Phoenix. Each hospital has different requirements, so there are always a few things to take care of. I found out I needed a repeat Tdap (Combined Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis Vaccines) and also a varicella titer (proving I'm immune to Chicken Pox since I had it as a kid), along with a few other things. When I called the hospital's Employee Health office to see if they could help me, they agreed and asked if I could be there in 20 minutes. So, I grabbed a piece of toast, changed clothes and hopped in the car. Knowing I can sometimes be a hard stick for drawing blood (required for the titer), I drank a bunch of water while I was in the waiting room. The Tdap was obviously no problem (except my arm is sore today) but the titer, well.... that's another story.

As per all my other blood draws, my veins immediately went into hiding. They pop up nicely when I'm warm, but of course I had just thrown on a t-shirt since I was running out the door and knew they would need to get to my upper arm. The first nurse decided not to try (always a good choice if you don't think you can get it!) and the second nurse looked around a long time until she felt like the best option was in my hand. It hurts a little more, but is usually more visible. Well, since I was feeling like things were going well, I decided to watch her go for it. Bad idea. I can do pretty much anything to any patient of mine and have no problem whatsoever. I'm happy to share all the things I actually get a kick out of, but I don't want to make any of my faithful readers sick! :) But, note to self: don't watch them do things to ME!

I started to feel a little lightheaded and looked away immediately knowing what the problem was. The nurse was having no luck with my hand veins, which were perfectly visible, and after digging around a while, she gave up. I started to feel even more lightheaded and asked for a glass of water and put my head between my knees. I sat up slowly, felt pretty okay, and then all of a sudden... much worse. I told her I was going to need to lie down and while walking the 10-15 steps to an exam table, with her right by my side, realized all the blood drained from my head and next thing I knew, I was waking up on the floor. Hmmmm..... How did that happen? My left hip and left shoulder have a couple of nice bruises today, but luckily the nurse helped me fall correctly so I didn't hit my head.

It was such a strange feeling! I have been a nurse for a few years, have obviously helped many patients with many things, and have even been in the exact situation of "helping" patients faint, getting them to the bed or floor correctly so they wouldn't injure themselves. I didn't like being on the other end of things! The worst part was, I knew what it was doing to those nurses helping me, in that it interrupted their day and made everything a little harder. And, it was Employee Health not an acute floor on the hospital where there are more resources around! They were so kind and helpful, but I felt pretty bad for messing up their day. After just a few minutes I felt much better, and the tingling in my arms went away and I felt pretty much back to normal. But, I still didn't have my blood work done, so one of the nurses walked me across the street to the hospital lab to have someone else finish the draw. Luckily one poke with great results meant I didn't have any further problems. And, I laid down for that poke and watched the ceiling! :)

The biggest annoyance of all this happening is that I was short on time to begin with. I had plans to meet a friend in Rochester for dinner and a little shopping since it was my night off, and was now running late. Luckily, Kristine is an understanding nurse and was more concerned for me than being on time! Kristine is a nurse I worked with just a little in Fergus, but our friendship has grown since we both moved away to start a new adventure, right around the same time. Knowing I was now feeling perfectly fine, I didn't want to miss out on getting to hang out with her and we had some fun plans!

We met up at a cute shop in Rochester called "The House of the Crafty Mouse". The website's not all that great, but it's a unique store with all sorts of fun stuff and my mom and I have enjoyed shopping there in the past. One of the best things about being "homeless" is that it's really easy to save money with finding all kinds of great things and not buying any of them because what... they'll just sit in storage indefinitely? No thanks! It was great to wander around the store with Kristine and catch up with her as we looked at all the cute stuff.

Then, we hit the highlight... Olive Garden! I love their salad and breadsticks and since Kristine felt the same way, we had both been looking forward to this! We both ordered the Capellini Pomodoro with chicken, and since it's one of their lighter fares, no guilt involved! We enjoyed an evening of great food and great conversation, and I left the restaurant disappointed that we hadn't spent more time together in Fergus and that I am now leaving the area. But, email friendships are fun and I know we'll be able to continue that! Thanks for the fun night, Kristine! I'm so excited to hear how God continues to use you in helping people heal in Rochester!

So, my day was a weird one, but luckily ended much better than I thought it might. And by the way, I felt completely fine even before I left La Crosse to head to Rochester.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Who's anniversary, you might ask? Well, OURS! Often times on blogs you'll see people make mention of one year since they started the blog. I started this on December 1, 2006 and let the anniversary in 2007 roll right by. Then, you might see someone make note of their 100th post (like they do with TV shows!) but since that happened for me in Seattle in November with Hidden Seattle I guess I let that occasion come and go as well. So, now that it's been one year since I started a website counter I thought I'd acknowledge that the collective "you" have visited me 15,104 times! Wow! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

I decided to start the counter last March because so many of you were telling me how you enjoyed the pictures I posted of David, and I wondered just how many of you there were. (I also wonder what the number would be if I had started it BEFORE Julie went into labor?) Well, now I'm pretty curious about who some of you are! This is my request, to you the readers, to make yourselves known! The comment section is pretty easy to use, just click on "comment" under this post and follow the directions, so if you're a new visitor or a faithful regular, I'd love to know who you are! Come on out of hiding and let me know you're out there!

And, if you'd rather not reveal yourselves, please keep stopping by anyway. I love knowing you're out there in blog-world! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'll be Enjoying the "Dry Heat"!

This past week I signed the contract for my next assignment! I'll be working at Banner Children's Hospital, which is part of Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona. I'm heading back to Phoenix!

I lived in Phoenix for two years (1999-2001) and really enjoyed the area. I missed the greenery of the midwest, but I loved heading outside quick without needing to bundle up -just slip on the flip-flops and go! This contract is a shorter one than normal (they need extra help while they learn and start doing computer charting), only lasting from April 14th until May 31st. So, I'll be there for the start of the hot season, but won't need to last through the whole summer. I did that once, and survived, but it really does get pretty hot! As everyone always said "but it's a dry heat" and my reply is "well 110 degrees is still hot!" :)

I'm really excited to be at a specific Children's Hospital, as that will provide for different situations than I might get working a pediatric unit at a regular hospital. I'll be on the general peds floor, 34-beds, which has anything from respiratory to surgical to diabetes to cancer, and everything in between. I'll be working 12-hour night shifts again, so am excited to have to only be at work 3 days a week and lots of time off for fun. I've sure missed that here in La Crosse! I'm looking forward to hanging out with some great AZ family and friends, and also heading over to CA quite a bit to see family and friends there!

So, to all my southwest family and friends, here I come!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

City Girl by Birth, Country Girl at Heart!

I love the country! I love everything about being out in the wide open spaces, seeing God's creation at every level. I love the rolling hills, the flat farmland, the tall trees. I also love seeing a variety of farms! I don't know that I could ever live on one, not because I wouldn't want to, but because it's just such hard work and I'm not sure I'm cut out for it. I was raised a city-girl, after all! I have such respect for our country's farmers and am so thankful I'm able to enjoy the fruit of their labor! That being said, I love the times I've been able to spend some time on farms!

A few years ago (back before I was part of blog-world!) I was able to spend a weekend helping some friends on their sheep farm during lambing. It was a blast! I was at this farm for 48 hours and during that time there were over 100 lambs born! This was before I owned a digital camera, but here are some pictures I've scanned.

Then today I had another great farm experience! When I moved to La Crosse, I quickly learned that one of my co-workers lives out in the country, and that even though she and her husband don't farm, her father and brother both have farms that are all in the same valley. She was describing their chicken farms, and especially how they are all automated, and then asked if I'd like to come see sometime! Of course, I jumped at the chance!! Her dad raises organic chickens for meat, and she said that a great time to come would be just after a new bactch arrived -since they're only 1-2 days old then. Her brother has 5000 hens and here's the amazing part... the hens all lay their eggs in a nest that is on a conveyer belt! They are trained that way! No one has to dig around for each egg, but the eggs come to the farmer! I was thinking back to the days when we'd visit Jim and Marilyn's family at Marilyn's parents farm, and it was always someone's job to go get the eggs from the chicken coop. It wasn't the most fun job, because the worry of getting pecked was pretty high! (At least this is what my memory says, Marilyn can correct me if needed!)

Well, I knew I wanted to see the little chicks, and I was extremely curious about the automated egg-laying hens. I was happy when she told me that this was the week the chicks were being delivered, and asked if I could come out today. I jumped at the chance! Here are some pictures from the day, and you'll also see the goats they keep around for weed-control!

It was such a fun day! What a blessing to be out in God's creation, seeing His handiwork in so many different areas! Thank you, my friend, for the fun experience!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


This morning I had the blessing of watching an AMAZING sunrise! I left work and as always, looked to the eastern sky to see what kind of sunrise God prepared for us. I was excited to see that it was going to be a great one!

I took the opportunity to drive a road I hadn't been on yet, but have wanted to. I went across the bridge to La Crescent, MN and drove around La Crescent until I found the "Apple Blossom Scenic Drive". I have been wanting to drive up the MN bluffs some morning to watch the sun rise over the WI bluffs and was told that this was the route to take. I wasn't disappointed!

When I left the hospital, the sky was starting to turn pink. As I was driving to the scenic drive, the sky was an amazing combination of reds and pinks, with each cloud just a little different shade than the one next to it. Once I found Apple Blossom Drive I realized that it was a little longer to the top than I realized, so by the time I got to the overlook, the colors had turned more to the oranges and yellows. Still completely worth it, don't you think?

I also love when the sun is so bright and colorful that it changes the color of an object it's reflecting onto. These trees turned a beautiful pink shade once the red sun hit them.

Like a friend reminded me, God blesses us so much each day with the beauty of His creation. Thank you, Lord!!

David's First Birthday!

Can you believe that a whole YEAR has gone by? It was just this time last year that we were getting to know this new little bundle of joy in the family! It's strange to look back at pictures of my little nephew and see how tiny he was just 12 months ago!

I'm so happy that I'm close enough to have made it home for David's First Birthday Party this past weekend. I got home Friday night and had dinner with my parents and David while his parents prepared for Saturday. After dinner David and I played a while, and he was just being so funny all evening! He loves climbing the stairs, and if he runs down the hallway you better run fast or he'll be half-way up the stairs by the time you reach him!

He also loves his bath, and was ready to climb in without us being quite ready just yet!

His hair looks funny here, but I love how cozy he is all wrapped up in a towel. What a cutie!

On Saturday, I helped make sure David was nice and content before the party started.

I know I'm cut out in this picture, but it's all about David and his big smile! This is the face that we almost always get to see in person, so I wanted to be sure and share it with you since it was finally captured in a picture!

When it was time for cake, we expected something funny (how can you NOT have that at a first birthday party?) but weren't sure what to expect. Well, all he really did was grab the candle and pull it off.

But, then he went back in and grabbed a big piece of cake/frosting. He shook his hand like he didn't like something "sticky" on it, and when that didn't work, he did whatever possible to get the frosting off. The most successful way for him to do that was to wipe it all over his face! We all laughed, he burst out crying (I think he got some in his eyes) but once he got cleaned up he was back to his happy normal self for the rest of the party!

Next it was time for him to open presents.

"Look, Grandma, a card!"

"I love playing with these small cars -they're just my size!"

"I also love dropping the small cars back into a bag to see who will fish them out. Looks like Daddy won the task!"

Here he is surrounded by all sorts of new toys to keep him busy for the next year!

Thanks to everyone who was able to come celebrate his first year, what a blessing to be so loved!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

In The Still of the Night


This can be one of my favorite times of the day!

Now I know that most of you sleep through this hour of the night, but as a current night-shift worker on a small unit, I have a different perspective.

3:00am is when there's a stillness in the night when morning hasn't quite hit yet. I roam from room to room checking in on my sleeping patients, knowing that I was able to help ease their pain or discomfort, and all the world seems quiet.

I love being a nurse for so many reasons, but one of the biggest is that it's just such an honor that people let me care for them during their most vulnerable time. Maybe I'm caring for a middle-aged woman having her gall bladder out who's been feeling miserable for a few days and just needs someone to listen. It turns out her family issues are even worse than the gall bladder. Maybe my patient is a 2-month-old here with respiratory distress who needs my help to breathe better, and once that happens it's obvious that his mom is exhausted so I rock him back to sleep. Maybe my patient is a confused elderly man who has been up and down all shift, and it turns out when I control his pain he's able to settle into bed and fall asleep comfortably.


I feel so honored that I can watch over my patients and ensure
their safety,
that they're comfortable,
and at peace.

Before the morning rush starts.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Face Without Freckles Is Like A Night Without Stars

Redheads. We're a unique bunch! We stand out in a crowd, and people often do a double take when we pass them on the street.

I was born with basically the same color red that I have now. My mom tells stories of people stopping her as she was pushing me along in the stroller, to comment on my hair. Growing up, I really didn't like being a redhead because it made me different from everyone else. Well, that's exactly the reason why I like it now -it makes me different!

For those of you with red hair, you understand what I mean. For those of you who have a more common hair color, I realized there might be some stuff about redheads you don't know! I was in a conversation at work the other night that reminded me of some "redhead facts" I've learned over the years. Here are some things you might not have known before:

1. Redheads require more sedation for procedures. I first heard this from one of my favorite nurse anesthetists in Fergus (P.G.) who said that if he walks into a room and sees that the patient he's about to put under is a redhead, he automatically knows to add 20% more anesthesia. The thought of waking up in surgery is scary, so I'm glad they know this!

2. We bleed more, due to slightly different clotting factors, which is genetic.

3. Redheads typically experience pain at a higher level, requiring more pain medication while in the hospital.

4. Being a redhead involves more than just hair color. Redheads often have very pale skin--almost see-through albino-like pink/white skin, puffy eyelids, freckles, light eyes ... although, it's possible for redheads to have darker skin and eyes.

5. The pale skin that redheads have also leads their skin being dry. As a nurse who washes her hands countless times a shift, I can attest to the fact that dry/cracked skin means I've tried every type of lotion possible!

6. Redheads don't turn gray, but first sandy-colored then white.

7. The lack of melanin can also lead to light sensitivity -I sure use my sunglasses!

8. Redheads consist of only 2% of population. It's good to be unique!

I keep thinking there are more things I've learned, but can't seem to think of them now. Does anyone else have something they've heard?

There are a few favorite redhead quotes I've seen:
"A face without freckles is like a night without stars."

"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead." ~Lucille Ball

I know these pictures are old, but they're ones I especially like with what it does to show my haircolor!