As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than about what they can. -Julius Caesar

pexels-photo-277325.jpegDon’t worry about tomorrow.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  For sure.  But from where I sit on this fine Sunday evening, today hasn’t had any more trouble than no AC on a 92 degree desert spring day.  It was a good day.  And from the goodness of here, tomorrow and the day after that and Friday look a bit ominous.  The truth is, despite my dread for tomorrow’s manic Monday morning routine, the mercy meet for tomorrow’s needs will show up like a faithful friend just as it did today.

Tomorrow and Tuesday are work days at the hospital. And if they’re anything like what they’ve been like lately, they’ll be 13+ twelve hour shifts full of call lights, chair alarms, overhead code calls, phone ringing, vocera messaging, and to do lists that won’t get completed competing with the 5 minutes spent in my patient’s room listening to their story.  13 hours divided into 55 second intervals of perpetually interrupted management of the health needs of people made in the image of God.  And as crazy at it’s getting, the more intensely I feel called to minister to people as a nurse.

Wednesday and Thursday will be working on finishing my final draft of a 2500 word paper on the thesis that having a wound champion nurse and wound-huddle for each unit, each shift will help drive down the incidence of hospital acquired pressure injuries.  Additionally Connor and I have a couple doctor appointments those days.

Friday morning at 7 am I’ll be a patient in the hospital where I work.  I’ll be on the receiving end of nursing care and having my uterus removed.  My uterus and I have had a difficult relationship.  She’s served me well despite the pain and now I have two strapping young men growing under my care. But it’s time for her to go with all her fibroids and endometriosis and monthly trouble.

I hope to be home by Saturday afternoon and begin my 4 to 6 week recovery.

It’s gonna be a busy week from where I sit.  But from where my Lord sits, it’s gonna be a week of his faithful work to complete what he started in me 27 years ago.

I’m in good hands.


7 Thing Keeping Me Awake Tonight

pexels-photo-260607.jpegI worked a twelve and half hour day on the acute rehab unit today. Made chili dogs for my sons when I got home and a bowl of sautéed veggies, brown rice and quinoa for myself with a glass of pinot grigo.  Worked in my powerpoint presentation for my community health class.  And listened to my two teenage sons decend into a legit fight downstairs when they were supposed to be going to bed.  After the fight was broken up and they were all sleeping soundly from the let down of their pubescent male adrenaline rush, I sat here with another glass of pinot grigo to try and finish my powerpoint.  I didn’t finish. I ended up squeaking out a wimpy prayer for help in raising these teenage sons of mine.  I turned to my Bible.  And then, I confess, got distracted by a notification from Twitter and started perusing tweets.  I saw people’s posts about Rachel Denhollander’s victim impact statement at Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing and the interview she gave to Morgan Lee at Christianity Today and sighed more moaning prayers of longing for Jesus to make things right.  And then my mind flooded with concerns. Concerns for sons growing up in this culture.  In this house. Concerns for the church in the U.S. Concerns for my marriage.  And then I went back to scripture.  Like coming up for air after a dive in the deep end of the pool.  And I read this:

Genesis 22:1–2

[1] After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” [2] He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (ESV)

And then my tired brain punched out these seven thoughts like take-a-number tickets at the deli.

  1. I get that God is teaching us something about trusting him through the story of Abraham and Isaac.  And I even get that it foreshadows Christ, the only begotten Son of God, sacrificed for us.  But I’ve always struggled with why God would have Abraham offer his son as a burnt offering.
  2. I need wisdom to raise these sons.  I’m tired and I just don’t know what to do most of the time.
  3. God will take what he has given me, that I lay in obedience to him, even if it seems like I may loose the very thing he’s given me, and he will use it for his glory.  Applies to my marriage.  My sons.  My life…
  4. Eating vegan for the last month has been surprisingly pleasant.  No fancy vegan frozen imitations of real meat dishes.  Just lots and lots of fresh or sautéed veggies, quinoa, brown rice, oats, nuts and more veggies.  It’s been good.  I might just keep doing this.
  5. There is a real confusion in the church about what mercy and forgiveness is and how it’s different than enabling and not dealing with or exposing sin and wickedness.  I’ve seen this in my own life and marriage.  I see it in the Rachel Denhollander’s story.
  6. I’m going to feel so good when I don’t have a headache, jaw pain, sinus pain and a bunch of knots in my neck and back.  After having injections in some of my facial muscles yesterday and metal rods jammed up my nose I see more injections and a root-rooter job on my sinuses in my near future.  Ugh.
  7. I have a job interview tomorrow… home health.

End of day thoughts. And a silly poem.

Sinus Cacophony

by Sheila Dougal

Should be sweet voice

Soft child speak

Should be jolly laughs

Make smiles peak

But throbbing face

Every sound creates

Sinus Cacophony 


And that’s about all I can muster today folks.  The sinus headache is in full force today.  Despite it’s stabbing, throbbing anger, I really enjoyed every minute of time I had with cousins I haven’t seen in 14 plus years today.  We’re a loud, laughing family. Which my head tried to protest, especially at the gaming center where we bowled, played arcade games and shuffle board.  But the enjoyment of spending time with each one was well worth it.



End of the day (very brief) thoughts: The stomach flu, Nuclear war and writing


I have about ten tabs open on my laptop for places to submit articles in the coming days. I submitted one today to Desiring God. We shall see. I feel a little like that woman who touched Jesus in the crowds of people pressing against him. She probably thought, “There’s no way he’s going to notice me. Look at all these people!” But he did. And not that I’m hoping Jesus will notice me, but there’s a fire in my bones to write. It’s part of what God has me doing. Right now I’ll be thankful for rejection letters with advice in them. I like learning. I like learning to write better.

Today I spent most of the day disinfecting our house. The husband and one of the sons spent most of the night and morning puking. Ugh. The stomach flu.

Tomorrow I’ll get to see a cousin I haven’t seen since I was a little girl. Family coming in from out of town to visit grandma and my Aunt and Uncle. I really hope I bleached and Lysoled the stomach flu away. I don’t want to wake up puking and I certainly don’t want to bring it to my family.

That’s about all I got tonight. I have lots on my mind but the forehead is wrinkling with fatigue so I better sign off.

I leave with this thought:

I heard an expert on NPR today say that there’s a 20% chance we could end up in a nuclear war conflict with North Korea.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Some good things in a hard few days

fullsizeoutput_f4eThe last couple days have been not my better ones.  Probably the best part of them was the hour I spent on the floor smiling and making funny noises with 1 year olds in the church nursery.  It’s the most smiling I’ve done in the last 48 hours.

Some days are hard.  And I get discouraged too easily.

I was thinking today about how I’ve probably read just about every Christian-marriage book on the shelf.  And how one common theme bothers me: they all seem to say if you do what they’re suggesting, your marriage will be great!  I’ve yet to find a book that says, “Even if you do these things for your marriage it may not get better.  But Jesus is worth it.”  Maybe I should write one.

The second best thing that happened in the past 48 hours is my visit at my grandmother’s this afternoon.  Having the recent diagnosis of lung cancer metastasis to her brain and spinal cord, many family members that I haven’t seen since I was a little girl have been coming to visit.  Today I got to see two of my great Aunts: Velma and Sandra, both from Arkansas.  The last time I saw them I was 10.  I remember being at my great grandma’s rock house in Arkansas and the sound of their voices as well as the chocolate gravy with homemade buiscuits great-grandma Emma made us.  Seeing the 33 year older version of them today was a blessing.  Connor and Ryland also got to meet them.  We exchanged mini-life updates and laughs about our families tenacious tendency to be competitive, exaggerate and be loud.  There were four generations in that small apartment and it was good.

Driving home I thought about how the goodness of that family time was just a redeemed taste of what my Creator has always meant for me.  He made me for a family.  His family.  With laugher and roles and helping one another and love.

This verse really struck me in my #IsaiahChristmas reading today:

‘In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made… ‘ Isaiah 17:7-8

One day I will look on the One who made me literally.  But something wonderful has happened in me in that I believe on the One I have never seen. And I find I “look” to him more and more and recognize how stupid I have been when I catch myself looking to the things I’ve made.  As though they could save me.  As though they could help me.  As though they could make me to know love.

Only my Maker can do that.

Nursing: a degree that honors the profession is not the evidence of competence

Today is the last day of my second week in the BSN online program at GCU.  Tonight after 14 hours at work I submitted the first collegiate paper I’ve written in 17 years.  The assignment:  A formal 750-1000 word paper discussing the difference in competency between the associates prepared nurse and the  baccalaureate prepared nurse, as well as identifying a patient care situation where approaches to nursing care or decision making might differ in having a BSN versus a diploma or associates degree in nursing.  In my initial attempt I wrote 500 words without thinking twice and found all I had was an impassioned argument for why the RN, BSN isn’t any more competent than the RN, ADN.  It hit a nerve.  But what developed I think was a pretty well thought out paper which addressed the subject matter the instructor wanted while pointing out that the perspective taken in writing this paper all depends on how you view competency.  The main difference in competency is not clinical skills for bedside nursing.  The main difference is competency in being seen as a professional amongst other health care professionals, and in honoring the leading role nursing is in health care with a degree which is fitting.  Nurses with BSN degrees can move into leadership positions and be seen by their cohorts as professionals.  Nurses with BSN degrees raise the bar for how nursing is viewed.

Nursing has evolved over it history from a job seen only fitting for, “an ignorant woman, who was not fit for anything else,” (Draper, 1893/1949) where nurses blindly obeyed doctors orders without questions.  Nurses in American history strove to get nursing to be seen as a profession with a unique perspective on health care.  And they weren’t wrong to strive for that.  Nursing is a profession.  It isn’t mindless task work.  Nurses today have to manage the health care of acutely complexly ill patients while collaborating with doctors, therapists, and other health care professionals.  The truth is nurses are professional health care providers.  But that truth is being pushed to light in a system that is still trying to work in the dark with nurses as medicine delivery technicians. Nurse’s are expected to have the knowledge of their professional cohorts while working in environments that continue to expect timed tasked work.  Other health care professionals in the health care system aren’t expected to answer call-lights, take patent’s trays, empty trays, pass medications, take vital signs, answer phones, call referrals, enter orders into computer system, clean their own equipment, file repair reports, make beds, move beds, order patent’s meals, draw labs, draw blood, communicate with pharmacy, IT, management, CNA’s, family members, case managers, cafeteria staff, PPS coordinators, doctors, nurse practitioners, PA’s, patients, maintenance, housekeeping, central supply, linen services, etc.   Nurse’s are expected to do all that, plus do extensive documentation and assess, plan, coordinate and carryout a plan of care for their patients as well as educate their patients and the families all in a 12 hour shift.

If the system is going to push nursing to be seen as the profession it is, as equals among health care professionals, the system has to stop treating nurses like waitresses.

The truth is nursing is a service-oriented profession.  Good nurse’s will always do the “dirty work”of lowering themselves to help someone else. That is not beneath the profession of nursing.  But the pressure to do more tasks in a 12 hour period as well as the pressure to be seen as a professional by getting a higher degree are pressing hard on nurses so that the ones who do get higher degrees are moving away from bedside nursing beyond their first year as nurses.

The work of a nurse historically is honorable, no matter what society thought of them.  Whether doctor’s respected nurse’s or bullied them, nurses have been advocates of health and people in need of health care for centuries. The work of practical nursing does not require a bachelor’s degree. And that does not mean nursing is a job vs. a profession.  But nurses do have a unique way of approaching health care that is distinct from doctors.  Doctors treat disease.  Nurses approach people wholistically  for their health and well being. Nurses should be seen as health care professionals. And I’m glad to honor the profession of nursing with a fitting degree.  I just wish the system would honor the profession of nursing not just with pressure to attain a higher degree, but with a role in health care (I’m especially thinking of acute health care, a.k.a. the hospital) that honors the profession.

At work today I parked a patient with severe brain injury next to me at the nurse’s station for his safety and my convenience.  I had about four hours of charting to do and he couldn’t communicate or control his body safely with attached tubes and lines.   As I assessed his needs through facial expressions, the way he held a pencil and the tears welling up in his eyes while he squeezed my arm and pointed to the coffee cup he couldn’t drink out of, I decided he was communicating his despair.  I put my hand on his back and gently scratched while assuring him he was in a good place and we were going to do all we could to help him get better.   He arched his back and made an expression of relief, enjoying the back rub. A lot of problems get solved with a back rub (and a cup of coffee if the patient can have it).  It doesn’t take a BSN to make an aphasic man feel comforted.  But it does take the kind of compassion that rubs a back to make a professional nurse.

a fly by the seat of my pants post on preparation

I was listening to a podcast by HopeWriters today.  They were talking about having a set aside writing day.  It’s ridiculous that I was so scandalized by the idea, but yeah, a writing day.  I would like that.  No, I would love that!  Seriously an entire day to write.  That would be better than a pedicure or manicure for me.

But then they got to talking about the reality that you need to plan and prepare for that day… it’s not going to be magically awarded to you by your fairy God mother.  Yep.  That’s the truth of anything I want to accomplish.  I have to plan and prepare.

I’m gonna do it.  I’m gonna plan a writing day.  But thinking about that got me thinking about how true the need to plan and prepare is for anything in life that you really want to do.  Do you want to be more fit?  Plan and prepare.  Do you want to have more time alone with your spouse?  Plan and prepare.  Do you want to start eating healthier?  Plan and prepare.  Do you want to further your education?  Plan and… well, you get the idea.

My first assignments this week for my first week of the online RN to BSN program at Grand Canyon University involved writing out my greatest fears in furthering my education.  When I thought about it (other than Algebra), my greatest fear is being overwhelmed.  And that fear really involves my greatest weakness: time management. I don’t really know if it’s time management.  It’s distractibility.  Or procrastination.  Or poor planning.  Or saying yes to too many requests.  Or trying to do too much in one day.  Whatever all that is called, it creates anxiety in me.  And the only thing that keeps the anxiety tame is planning and preparing.  I can’t control the unexpected in a day or week.  And I think I function pretty well in a flying by the seat of my pants mode.  But although I can function like that, and go wherever the day takes me, if I haven’t planned and prepared for I want to achieve in a day the anxiety builds and builds and builds.

For me, planning and preparing to face my fear of being overwhelmed involves lists, calendars, alarms, check off boxes, notes to self, etc.  Even still the reality of life is, lists and calendars and alarms are good things, but they won’t guarantee that what I’ve planned will happen.  This is where resting in the sovereignty of God comes in for me.

I don’t believe you should throw the baby of planning and preparing out with the bathwater of trusting in the sovereignty of God.  In fact, planning and preparing and then committing those plans and preparations to the Lord creates a humble stance of readiness to face whatever may come without being overwhelmed by the anxieties that come with unpreparedness and lack of planning.

This is true of the relationships I care about so much.  I’m 24 years in to a very trying marriage.  Ours are the trials that I’m sure many face.  In recent months my husband and I have taken a shoulder to shoulder stance with a mutual goal of being old and still married.  Granted, that shoulder to shoulder stance feels unequal at times, but the agreement of the goal were aiming for helps tremendously. Reaching that goal is requiring us to not hope that spontaneity will have us still married when our heads are covered in silver strands.  We’re realizing how intentional we both need to be on a day to day basis to plan and prepare to strengthen our bond.

Whether its the joy of writing, or facing the fears that come with going back to school as a middle-aged adult, or healing and strengthening a marriage, or raising sons to be men; God has not designed the life of faith in Christ to be like having a fairy God-Mother grant you magical wishes.  His ways are good, and practical and miraculous.  Like a seed, planted in the ground, dying to bring about new life.  Like a patient farmer planting and watering and waiting for God to make it grow.  Like a mom and wife planning and preparing to win a husband and raise men for God and get a higher degree and have a writing day.

 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
 Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
 she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
-proverbs 6:6-8 

post anesthesia thoughts

(has nothing to do with the post, just a pretty pic i took a long time ago)
I’m not going to over think this post too much.  I had minor surgery today and am still feeling drunk on leftover anesthesia/fentanyl/percocet.  Consider yourself and the three other people reading this warned.
In the past few weeks I’ve been listening to podcasts from writers, reading articles about blogging and freelance writing, etc.  In one of those I was admonished to write something daily.  Be it a blog post, a journal entry, a poem… something.  Because writers don’t just think about writing, they write.  I think my pastor said or wrote that once too.  It struck me then, and when I read this lady’s article.  I am a writer.  Not a known writer.  Not the best writer.  But I enjoy writing and I just process life better when I’m writing.  But when I set out to write something, especially publicly, I sometimes step in the quicksand of self-analyzing and get stuck there.  And then I don’t write anything.  And that sucks.  
So, I took that lady’s advice and decided to write something daily.  And the next day my MacBook’s hard-drive failed.  My 13 year old black Lab Bailey decided jump onto the chair where I was sitting on the back patio (something she has never done) sending Mrs. Mac descending to the concrete.  I believe she lasted 48 hours after that and died (the Mac, not Bailey).  Soooo, my writing daily challenge has been mostly limited to journaling.  
I worked consecutively this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the acute rehab unit where I practice one of the least-glamorous forms of nursing and often found myself thinking about the importance of doing the least-glamorous as a Christian.  But that’s another blog post. Those past three days I wrote notes on paper about my patients and nothing more.  
Today I returned to the same hospital as a patient.  That’s a good thing to do as nurse.  I had a minor being-a-girl related surgery that will hopefully help being a pre-menopausal girl with girl-problems be less problematic in the coming years. Such a surgical procedure is neither something one wants to talk about nor read about so I’ll spare you.  But the experience of being a nurse on the other side is worth writing and reading about. 
I dont’ tell nurses caring for me that I’m a nurse until I feel like they feel comfortable with me and I with them, or until they ask me what I do for a living.  That being said, I was really glad 7 different people asked me my name, date of birth and what procedure I was having today.  I know as a nurse this is a monotonous part of our job, constantly asking questions our patients often get tired of answering, but its reassuring as a nurse to know the people about to put me into a drug-induced coma and cut on my flesh are repetitively asking for the same information ensuring I’m not going to wake up without a leg or something.
While waiting for the doctor to come talk with me before the procedure, my husband and I had a very interesting conversation about Christian theology, homosexuality and forming personal relationships with people who don’t share your worldview.  We don’t share the same view on the first two of those three, but we agree that talking and listening with people who don’t see life the way you do is a good thing for both parties and the community.  
The longer I stay married to a man who doesn’t see life the way I do, the more I see how amazing Christ is… he is the great unifier of the most diverse people.  He makes a new person.  And he makes a person new.  “And such were some of you...”  The goal may be to win a person to Christ, but it’s never to win an argument about Christ.  Required: humility, faithfulness and love.  May he bless me with those three treasures.  Oh to be made new!  And the wonder that he is making me new.  “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” 

Sunday Thoughts

I want to be a better writer.   I’ve decided to challenge myself to a series of writing prompts, which I plan to post here.
Writing for me is a way to digest life.  Reading what others have written is like going out to dinner.  Journaling is like making my own meal.  Writing publicly on a blog is like having everyone over for dinner.  I want to have my own food truck/catering biz- freelance?  And maybe even my own little hole in the wall restaurant- book?  If I am going to reach those goals I need to sharpen my culinary, uh-hem, writing skills.  No more margarine.  Time for real butter.   Maybe the challenge of writing prompts will help me refine my menu.

Today at Valley Life Church Surprise, the guy who leads the team that helps people get connected at the church, Michael, preached about the second commandment from Exodus 20. 
It always hits me when I’m at church how strange we are.  We Christians.  I mean what we do on any given Sunday in most Christian church gatherings.  We sit and listen to someone proclaim truths gleaned out of reading a book that is thousands of years old.  Our souls sing… hence for many raised hands, eyes closed, tears flow.  We sing songs about God’s sovereignty and power and grace and love and we sing amazed.  We eat bread and drink juice and remember Christ’s sacrifice.  We confess our sins and weep over them and rejoice at forgiveness and the help we find in the scriptures and each other.   I mean, I don’t know first hand what happens in gatherings of Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists, but from what I read and hear, these religious gatherings are more like corporate prayers. Memorized prayers and chants.  But not adoration in singing and proclamation of God’s self-sacrificing, heart-changing love.  And for the irr-religious, its even more weird what we do.  A morning spent singing songs of praise to the unseen God for an act done in history 2000 plus years ago that has changed the course of life for a millions of people from the inside out, causing them to no longer live for themselves but for the One who died for them?  Why?  Why not just clean the garage.  Or binge on Netflix.  Or work on your golf game.  Why do all that stuff?
Listening today to the comparison between the God of Israel and the multiple gods of the peoples Israel lived amongst (and got entangled with) I realized thousands of years may have passed, but the God of the Bible and his people still stand out in a world full of idols as different.  And we still get entangled in idol worship.  John’s closing sentence at the end of 1 John is a relevant and needed message that we shouldn’t pass so easily over:  Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  
The God of the Bible wants all of me.  My heart.  My affections.  My love.  He has given himself to me in covenant love.  No easy access idol that makes me feel good about myself for a little while should ever get between God and I.  
I start my online Introductory Algebra class on Tuesday.  I have no idea how this will work, but I am anticipating lots of hair pulling and frustrated Facebook posts.  Hopefully at the end of summer I can test into the math I need to get into the BSN program.  
Math is my nemesis. 

Time-warp wrap up

I feel like it’s going to be Thanksgiving and Christmas and 2017 in rapid succession. It really feels to me like since I drove the kids home from California this summer, we’ve been in a fast-forward time warp.

Friday and Saturday were the culmination and fruition of 2+ months of soap-making and 2+ weeks of marketing, packaging, printing and prepping. The Front Porch Pickins Vintage and Handmade Market at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale hosting hundreds of vendors, including my little Goats Make Soap Co. booth, was from 9-7 on Friday and 9-4 on Saturday. Thursday was about 8 hours of unloading and setup and Saturday after 4pm was about 4 hours of packing up and loading. 

In total, weeks of hours was put into this event and it paid off.  I learned some things, had great interactions with new customers, was blessed with visits from friends and made triple in sales what I was hoping for.  I think I’ll do it again in February and won’t be nearly as stressed about it before hand now that I know what to expect.

My dear neighbor, Laura, volunteered to help me through the whole process in exchange for keeping her in soap. Deal! And I’m sure I got the better end of that bargain, because I would not have been standing upright on the floor of the Cardinals stadium setting up a booth on Thursday if it wasn’t for her! I see a good friendship developing there. Thank you Lord!

In the weeks leading up to this event I sold my last two milking does and went to part time (24 hours a week) at work. I was also offered an opportunity to apply for a wound nurse position at my hospital (which I will be applying for tomorrow), which is a half-time position (20 hrs a week). I also applied to ASU’s RN to BSN online program which I will be following up on tomorrow to find out the next step.

The Friday before last my mother in law found out she has stage 3 duodenal cancer, which is so rare the doctors are treating it as small bowel cancer because they really don’t know how to treat it. This came as a big surprise. She starts chemotherapy next week and I will be flying out to stay with her for a couple days the week of Thanksgiving.

I’m tired and ready to call it a day after a nail-biting baseball tournament day with Connor and coffee with dear friends this evening.

I am finding that there are no A+B=C explanations for why God does what he does. At least those kinds of linear, clear, neat explanations don’t satisfy me. But a look at the cross of Christ does. A look up at an all-powerful, sovereign, good and holy God gets my eyes off why and on what. What do you want me to do? What do you want me to learn? And even more that that, it takes the questions off the table, at least for awhile, and causes me just forget myself and be in awe of one greater than me and my circumstances. To get lost for a moment in the wonder of God and his plan for the universe and little speck of dust me… to think about the fact that I am his creature, he made me, in his image, and for his glory… The whys and the whats fall off the radar and I can look back down at where I’m at in life and have a sense of peace that says, “All will be well because I am His and He is mine.”