Thursday, May 31, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 283

Today's Daily 5:

  1. a plant that has stayed alive in my dim basement
  2. a downtown park
  3. a funny memoir written by a midwife
  4. late night quiet
  5. an awesome first shift at work
  6. a borrowed car
  7. the smell of lilacs
  8. a really helpful coffee date with my friend K
  9. an encouraging appointment with my therapist
  10. laughing with friends at house church


The last few weeks in school as we've focused on family centered nursing, we've spent hours upon hours talking about interviewing, about asking questions, and about offering commendations.  (So many hours, in fact, that a little inside joke about beating a dead horse sprang up in conversation with my best friend and the poor horse became the subject of a goofy ongoing facebook wall conversation.)  We've talked about relationships, and building rapport.  And we've stressed over and over and over again that the relationship, the question, or the commendation in many cases IS the intervention.

It's not a particularly revolutionary concept for someone with a background in mental health, or for anyone who has spent any time at all sitting across from a therapist, but bits and pieces of it, particularly the commendation part, have stood out to me and left me feeling my way around inside myself, asking if these things that seem new are truths here to stay, or visiting stories of the sort that taste wonderful upon arrival but leave very little if any lasting impression.

A commendation, it was stressed, is NOT a compliment.  A commendation draws on history, experience, and builds up a person's strengths.  It notices the deeper things.

Did I mention that we spent hours upon hours talking about this? Or the part where, in a room with people we may have only known for a few weeks, we practiced?  We sat in a circle and asked carefully formed questions about each other's lives.  And then, a week later, we sat in that circle again and we gave each other commendations (and stars, because well, the stars were a fun way to keep track of how many we'd given and received.)

Two commendations have been floating around in my thoughts for the last week or so - one from that time in a circle, and the other given somewhat inadvertently by a good friend as we chatted before a lecture began.

The first was a comment from a classmate, one who I don't know well, yet, a new groupmate.  She commented that she appreciated that I was very open about my life experiences, including the harder bits, and that I was willing to let those experiences be points of learning for the others in my group.

Those words hit home in a way I didn't expect.  For a long time I've had a commitment to live honestly and openly.  To speak truth wherever possible.  In the last year, especially, as I've found healing, I find myself more open than ever.  It seems crazy to me at times (I have a lot of internal conversations where even as I speak of a part of my past, my inner voice is screaming "What the heck are you saying? Are you aware of the potential negative consequences of sharing that?")  I've spoken openly about some of my history with mental health, about my faith, and even about some of the challenges that come with family and my current living situation.  I've done it even when I'm aware of the mental image of me that it could allow others to create.  And mostly I don't regret it, but I do wonder at times what others think of  me.  Because of that it was gratifying that this new classmate recognized and thanked me for this.  That this part of me that I do almost unconsciously now was noticed.

The second commendation made me laugh when it sprouted, unrehearsed from the lips of a good friend as we sat and chatted before class.  The two of us bonded last semester over horrendous group work, and the challenges of adapting to the craziness of nursing school, and we've become close, sharing far more than just venting sessions about homework and moving to the ins and outs of our lives.  I was telling her that I'd booked tickets to fly to Florida in August, to meet four other women who I know only from our online conversations.  Four women that I've never met in person.  Without thinking, my friend spouted, "You're ballsy!"

I burst out laughing, and we moved on with our conversation, but her words have stayed with me.  I've never thought of myself as a person of courage.  Never thought of myself as adventurous, or a risk taker.  I'm attached to my comfort zone, generally opposed to change on principle, introverted, and prefer schedules to spontaneity the vast majority of the time.  And yet, "You're ballsy!" echoes around my insides, seeing if it can make itself at home.  It acts as a mirror, reminding me of who I am becoming - that the courageous heroine I've appreciated in books since childhood might in fact just be a part of my true self.  This isn't even the first time I've gotten on an airplane to meet friends made via internet connections, it reminds me.  It bounces around some more and I remember that I love the controlled risk of riding a good roller coaster.  Another bounce and I am reminded of the work I have poured into facing the hardest bits of my life and finding healing.  A final bounce and we're back at the commendation from my newer classmate, the reminder that in a world that values privacy and hides brokenness at all costs, I've chosen to let the frayed bits of me show, and that sometimes those frayed bits help others to learn and heal.

Nothing could have convinced me that a commendation IS an intervention in the life of a client until I sat with these words spoken by friends this last week.  Until I saw the way that words of commendation spoken to me at just the right moment built on truths and desires that had been growing within me already.  Until I saw the way that those words gave me strength to keep going. Until I saw the way those words made me stronger.  It's a unique way to learn a lesson, an unexpected thing to experience in such a personal way a skill we're taught to use on others, but I'm oh so thankful for it this week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 282

Today's Daily 5:

  1. The moment when a very confident male nursing student taped drawings of breasts, a vagina, cervix and ovaries to the front of his shirt and began teaching our praxis group about the changes each undergoes during pregnancy
  2. his phrase for the changes of the uterus over the course of pregnancy is still making me laugh "the uterus goes all Hulk!"
  3. a late afternoon nap, to prepare for what will be a late night tonight and an early morning/long day tomorrow
  4. reading a funny memoir on the bus for a bit
  5. my parents making the commute home from a late night work shift just a bit quicker for me tonight.

Whimsical Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This week's Whimsical Wednesday is entirely random.  Mostly, it's things that made me chuckle and nod all at once.

As usual, I'd love to hear your reactions, or if any of these images stand out to you in particular.

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 281

Today's Daily 5:

  1. another great RN to shadow today
  2. fresh mango
  3. the arrival of an amazon order
  4. class letting out early
  5. taking time at the end of the night to work on some writing that has nothing to do with school

Tuesday Anticipations, May 29, 2012

This week I'm anticipating:

  • a day and a half off-campus, doing post-partum clinic and home visits
  • getting back to studying Romans at house church
  • an observation shift at a new job
  • an evening of enjoying Jacob & Lily at a local pub
  • a low key Saturday
  • a baby shower for my first ever roommate
  • going out for Mexican with a friend from school
What are you looking forward to this week?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 280

Today's Daily 5:

  1. A cute little red rental car for this week's clinical, that was nice and easy for driving
  2. being paired with a really awesome nurse for the day of visits
  3. a whole collection of new experiences
  4. twins!
  5. the joy of having a paper shredder all my own (okay, so this one is geeky, but it really is nice to have picked one of these up tonight, and not have to think about hauling my shredding to my parents place on weekends any more!)

It Doesn't Have to Leave a Scar

I wasn't planning to ever write this post. To ever share this story on my blog. But I was paging through pinterest as I sat in class last week, listening to a long slightly dry lecture, and I came across the above image, and in an instant I was back in that moment, those moments.

I was standing in the train station, leaving frantic messages for my pastor and his wife, in need of advice and prayer. Leaving messages telling them that I was on the way to respond to a distress call of sorts from a friend who'd called and asked if I could meet up - it had been a bad day and my friend was considering self harm.

I was sitting on the bus, praying desperate prayers, still hoping my phone would ring with one of those messages returned, feeling very alone as I waited for my friend to arrive.

And I was sitting in the Starbucks, back in a corner, near a window, watching as the friend rolled up a pant leg, revealing a word carved into the flesh of their calf.

It read BROKEN, in jagged letters, scratched out in the most visible expression of truth speaking that I have ever experienced.

I wasn't planning to tell that story in this space, but it is one that has never left me.  It is an image, a moment, a series of moments that has burned itself permanently into my memory.

Letting it out doesn't have to leave a scar.  The image on pinterest transported me to the moment of seeing the fresh wound, a message, a cry, a desperation carved into flesh.  It transported me to the weeks of follow-up, of seeing the word slowly fade into the skin and begin to disappear.

That moment shaped me.  It cemented into my heart a calling to sit with the broken, and particularly with broken women.  It (along with some other moments from that vintage, also equally ingrained within my memory) began this journey of healing, of mental health, of being present and finding Jesus amidst the broken spaces.  It's the journey that I'm seeing expressed right now in nursing school - the journey I remind myself of on the days when I want to be anywhere BUT sitting in nursing school, or anywhere BUT sitting in a therapy appointment, making strides in my own journey of brokenness and healing.

I hadn't planned to share that story in this space, but it's a story that has shaped me, is shaping me, and will continue to shape me.  I will never forget that word, that cry, that truth carved into flesh.  But the words that go with the image from pinterest that transported me back to that moment? Those are the words that are the other half of the story, the part that has shaped my journey since then.  Letting it out, healing, finding expression of this doesn't have to leave a scar.  And that is the thing I pray for as I move forward in this journey - that for myself, and for others, we can heal so deeply that even some of the scars disappear.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 279

Today's Daily 5:

  1. a long lazy sleeping in kind of morning
  2. tackling quite a few things on my list of "to do's"
  3. an impromptu coffee/errands/shopping trip with a friend from house church
  4. an awesome haul of clearance jewelry at one of my favorite shops
  5. gouda (love me some gouda)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 278

Today's Daily 5:

  1. Sleeping in
  2. the fun of watching certain emails pop up in my inbox
  3. getting all the errands for the weekend accomplished this afternoon
  4. working outside for a while
  5. listening to an audio book while sipping a peach cider and baking banana muffins

Weekend List

I don't usually post on Saturdays, but today I felt the need to make a list.  This is the only weekend for the next three weeks or so when I don't have either wedding or baby related events to attend, and I'm taking advantage of it with errands, built in rest time, and trying to get just a bit ahead of the game on the homework front.  And so I'm making a list of things that I need to do today and tomorrow.  Not the exhaustive list that is in the app and website that I use for keeping my to do lists (and life) organized, but the list that reminds me of the priorities.  The one that is public and adds that funny level of accountability.  And so, without further ado, my weekend list:

  • take bottles to the depot for refund
  • work for mom for a few hours (thankful for parents who will "hire" me)
  • grocery shopping
  • bake banana muffins
  • book a rental car for next week's clinical
  • tackle homework
  • catch up on a couple weeks worth of blog reading
  • work on next week's blog posts
  • deal with some banking requirements
  • work on writing a personal biography
  • tackle a few outstanding emails
  • time for rest and creativity
  • a little bit of brainless entertainment

Friday, May 25, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 277

Today's Daily 5:

  1. blueberry white chocolate scone
  2. green tea
  3. taking the train and chatting with a friend
  4. trading some emails that brought a smile
  5. a job interview that left me grinning
  6. seeing positive attributes through someone else's eyes
  7. a quiet evening at home alone
  8. fresh mango and strawberries
  9. feeling comfortable in my skin
  10. iphone games

Friday Reflections, May 25, 2012

Today's Friday Reflection is again from Henri Nouwen, and builds nicely on the thoughts that I shared yesterday about feeling creatively and personally dry and stuck.  I'm hoping to carve out time in Scripture and other spiritual books this weekend that will let the Incarnation birth in a fresh way in me again.

To Let the Word Become Flesh 

Spiritual reading is food for our souls.  As we slowly let the words of the Bible or any spiritual book enter into our minds and descend into our hearts, we become different people.  The Word gradually becomes flesh in us and thus transforms our whole beings.  Thus spiritual reading is a continuing incarnation of the divine Word within us.  In and through Jesus, the Christ, God became flesh long ago.  In and through our reading of God's Word and our reflection on it, God becomes flesh in us now and thus makes us into living Christs for today.

Let's keep reading God's Word with love and great reverence.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 276

Today's Daily 5:

  1. a decent night of sleep
  2. the smell of rain
  3. laughing as I watched a pair of geese stroll down a university sidewalk, out for a walk in the rain
  4. a class activity surrounding commendations, and reflecting on some that I received
  5. lots and lots of baby cuddles from one of my honorary nephews, and great conversation as I hung out with his mom before house church tonight

Hunting for Rhythm

I'm writing this post in class on Wednesday afternoon, and it's going to be all kinds of random.

I've put off my usual pre-write of Thursday's post as I try to figure out what on earth it is that I'm going to talk about.

Truth is, my creativity wells are running just a little bit dry.  Actually a lot dry.

I'm buried in the state of "adapting back to school is overwhelming".  I've been reading hundreds and hundreds of pages of information about things like family nursing assessment, fetal development, congenital anomalies and circular pattern diagrams.  Some of it it is interesting, a lot of it is slogging.

Add to that some ongoing therapy homework, the need for social interactions, and taking time to send out resumes and try to find work to alleviate some financial stresses, and I just haven't had much time to fill my personal creativity tanks. Entertainment has been less in the stimulating category and more in the mindless category (hello Bachelorette!).

I keep telling myself I'll find the time for personal development and creativity, but the truth is that that might be the thing that slides a little bit until my next semester break in August.  I'm hoping that won't be the case, but I'm recognizing that it might be possible.  It might also be possible that this is just an adjustment phase as the variances of a disorganized program and a brand new semester get sorted out.  It might be that the days are an hour longer this semester and I don't have a full day off in my week.

I'm trying to figure out a new rhythm, and I'm definitely in the trial and error phase.  Every time I hit this phase, I hope it will be shorter than the previous time.  It rarely is.

So my creativity is dry, and that's what I'm here telling you about.  I was so desperate for a topic that I asked the classmate sitting next to me for ideas.  She suggested spring flowers, or the Diamond Jubilee (can you tell that Canada still has strong ties to Britain? I didn't even have to wonder what the diamond jubilee was, I just knew!)  I'm not writing about spring flowers or the diamond jubilee, but that means that I do have to tell you that my inspiration is so dry that I'm soliciting ideas from a classmate, who is pulling ideas from the newspaper she read during class today.

Wish me luck as I move towards finding rhythm and inspiration again!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 275

Today's Daily 5:

  1. a bus commute (I realized while driving my rental car to clinical yesterday how much stress I avoid by not having to drive, and it made me appreciate the bus today)
  2. a morning group session that was actually kind of helpful
  3. a guest lecturer who at least semi-held my attention
  4. supportive friends
  5. the ability to set things aside for an evening and go to bed super early for me (which is where I'm headed now! gnite all!)

Whimsical Wednesday, May 23, 2012

This week for Whimsical Wednesday I decided to pull all of the images off a pinterest pinboard that I've named "Beauty Speaks Loudly".  It's a collection of images whose varying beauty has called out to or touched my soul in some way.  As always, I'd love to hear if any of these images catch your attention, and why.

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest
Source: via Lisa on Pinterest
Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 274

Today's Daily 5:

  1. Everything going smoothly, and a good price for the first of what will be weekly two day car rentals for the remainder of the semester
  2. butt warmers in the rental car on a cool, rainy morning
  3. first postpartum home visit going well
  4. getting home safely while driving through a rain/hail/thunder storm at rush hour (this is a big deal to me for those of you who know my feelings about being behind the wheel of a car at any time, but particularly in inclement weather)
  5. a venting session on the phone with a good friend from school

Tuesday Anticipations, May 22, 2012

This week I'm anticipating:

  • It's a long way off, but I'm living in excited anticipation of time in Florida in August
  • barbequing with our house church on Thursday night
  • cuddles from various honorary nieces and nephews
  • my first day of actual clinical postpartum visits
  • the settling into a rhythm of school for the semester
  • an afternoon spent baking with a school friend
  • using my crockpot to cook a real meal for a change
  • enjoying lots and lots of berries (one of the side benefits of caring for my body is being able to eat lots of fruit that I've always enjoyed)
What are you looking forward to this week?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 273

Today's Daily 5:

  1. Holiday monday
  2. Thai peanut chicken crockpot success
  3. a productive (but still restful) day
  4. the nervous anticipation that comes with choosing an outfit and packing a lunch for my first off campus half-day post-partum placement
  5. jello - it was a jello kind of day.  I really do love the stuff.

A "Mature" Student

The other day a long time blog reader, Ally, posted the following on my facebook wall:

So i have a question-- and i don't intend to stir up any difficult emotions so let me apologise in advance should i do-- but i know that you're a couple years older than i am and you're back in school... does being several years older than the majority of students ever make you feel inadequate as a student, or even as yourself? It's a huge struggle for me, i've been in college for years and due to a variety of circumstances, i haven't been able to receive my degree-- even the AA with Taylor fell through at the last moment as i prepare to transfer out to finish my BA. Do you relate to this? Maybe you could write a blog post about it? 

I decided that writing a post to answer this question was exactly what I would do, and so, here goes...

I've thought a lot about being back in school at a much older age than you would normally find in an undergraduate program. (For those of you who are wondering just exactly how old I am, I'm 28, nearly 29.)  Graduating with a bachelor's degree on the opposite side of 30 was never on my list of life plans, but it's what's happened.

The short answer to Ally's question is no, I don't really struggle with feeling inadequate because of being older.  That said, there are reasons for that.  First, I graduated once - I know what it feels like.  Second, my current program is designed for students who already hold a degree, so while I'm older than a lot of them (I'd say the average age is 23-25), I'm by no means the oldest.  Third, it's only really in the last year that I've begun to feel really comfortable in my own skin, and I feel like I've carried that comfort level with me into this new stage of studying.

The longer answer is this - while I don't feel inadequate, I do feel very out of place sometimes.  I feel out of place when I listen to a 20 year old complain, and I wonder if I acted entitled.  I feel old when someone assures me that there is something in their life that they will never do (perhaps getting married, or having babies) and I remember being in my very early twenties and saying the same thing (and scoffing at the friends in their late twenties who assured me that that would change).  I feel old when I recognize that the classes are geared towards a generation a few years younger than me, who learned everything by doing, by group work, and very little through the sort of instruction I've been used to.  I feel odd when people talk about 30 like it's the worst possible age, and I realize that it doesn't feel old to me, and I'm actually looking forward to it!  I feel odd when I realize that in ways the other students haven't yet, I've learned some hard life lessons, and the cost of things.  I know the costs - personal, emotional, financial - of being an older student.  They're costs these younger friends of mine maybe won't know.

It's hard to be back in school sometimes.  There are days I wish I'd known my life direction when I was twenty, or eighteen, and I'd gone to nursing school right out of high school.  And there are days when I'm thankful for the decade of experience between my high school graduation and this return for a second go-round at university.  I have an empathy and a certainty of direction that I'm pretty sure is a rarity at twenty.  I have skills and commitment and the ability to make the hard decisions.  Oh, and quite frankly, I'm a far more dedicated student now.  The costs of this are real to me.  I've navigated the professional world, and finances, and I know what it costs for me to be doing this right now.  I pay my bills now.  I didn't do that the first time around (well, I paid my tuition then, too, but not food and rent).

All of that said, though, I'm thankful for the other students - the ones who are younger and the ones who aren't.  I'm thankful that the program I'm in is one where the majority of the student population holds a previous university degree.  I'm thankful for the perspective I have now - the perspective that lets me remember what it was like to be twenty, to be that young and keen student, and to appreciate that in my friends, while still holding solidly and comfortably to the person that I've become.

I hope that answers your question, Ally :)  If you have follow-ups (if any of you reading have follow-ups) leave them in the comments and I'll answer there when I have a minute or two, or expand them to a post if there's quite a few.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 272

Today's Daily 5:

  1. Sunday morning quiet
  2. writing several different long and reflective emails
  3. the ongoing conversation about my August trip to Florida
  4. Anne Lamott's facebook statuses
  5. chocolate chip cookies

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 271

Today's Daily 5:

  1. sleeping in, just a little
  2. knowing when I left the house early this morning, to be gone overnight, that I'd cleaned and tidied, and would be coming back to a good space
  3. a helpful processing conversation with a friend
  4. cuddling baby J., one of my honorary nephews, for several hours off and on as his mom and I attended a baby shower together
  5. attending a baby shower to meet the third new baby one of my good friends has had in the last month.  So fun to see this house church friend in the role of mama to her new little girl.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 270

Today's Daily 5:

  1. a breakfast date with a long time friend
  2. walking together in Fish Creek park after breakfast
  3. laughing over an inside joke on facebook with my closest friend
  4. class ending early
  5. crawling into a bed made with freshly washed sheets
  6. booking airline tickets for a trip to Florida!
  7. commiserating over workloads
  8. laughing with a classmate
  9. the value of honest communication (seen today in conversation and by email)
  10. tackling a long to do list with some degree of success tonight

Friday Reflections, May 18, 2012

I'm back to Henri Nouwen again this week, talking about our tendency to live with a scarcity mentality.

The Temptation to Hoard 

As fearful people we are inclined to develop a mind-set that makes us say:  "There's not enough food for everyone, so I better be sure I save enough for myself in case of emergency," or "There's not enough knowledge for everyone to enjoy; so I'd better keep my knowledge to myself, so no one else will use it" or "There's not enough love to give to everybody, so I'd better keep my friends for myself to prevent others from taking them away from me."   This is a scarcity mentality.  It involves hoarding whatever we have, fearful that we won't have enough to survive.  The tragedy, however, is that what you cling to ends up rotting in your hands.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 269

Today's Daily 5:

  1. Bus heaters on a cold, rainy, trying to snow sort of day
  2. Getting my favorite seat on the bus and settling in with a good book
  3. Having a student summer bus pass (a new feature, that's saving me about $300 over the course of the summer months)
  4. A skype date with L. in New Zealand - nothing quite like laughing and commiserating with your best friend, who though on another continent is also a "mature" student, pursuing a new degree and career path
  5. a really challenging conversation with my therapist in our session tonight


It's been a while since I've done a post on the things that I'm currently reading, listening to, watching and so on, so I thought I'd share some of those here today.


  • Grey's Anatomy (always Grey's!)
  • Smash (loving the whole musical styling of this drama)
  • Last Man Standing (Tim Allen cracked me up in the Home Improvement Days, and still does)
  • America's Next Top Model: British Invasion (almost done for the season, but cracking me up!)
  • Just finished watching the first 5 seasons of 30 Rock on Netflix and loved it!
  • textbooks, textbooks and more textbooks (right now on family nursing and collaborative care)
  • cookbooks (currently exploring Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes and Cooking Light's Cooking Through the Season)
  • Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer (by Novella Carpenter - listening to the audio book. I love the idea of the wholeness of food, of the interconnectedness of growing and creating food, and this is one of several books in the genre that I've enjoyed by audiobook on my long commutes to and from school)
  • Lauren Winner's newest memoir "Still"
  • a few novels when I have some extra moments
  • The Bethel Church podcast - love the sermons, especially from Kris Vallotton
  • Ian Morgan Cron's podcast, "Listening In"
  • Honeycomb Tombs - the newly released album from my friend Karla Adolphe
  • Jack Johnson's "In Between Dreams" album - this one is a standard on my ipod/iphone, and is one of my go to's for when I need bubbly, happy, cheering up, makes me want to dance type music
And you? Do you have recommendations in these categories? What are you reading, listening to, or watching right now? I'm always looking for suggestions!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 268

Today's Daily 5:

  1. A decent morning of classes
  2. lunch with a good friend
  3. an awesome conversation with a friend about reading scripture
  4. mango bubble tea
  5. the sudden finalization of plans to hang out with 4 soul friends (and 2 babies) in person, in Florida, in August!!! So excited that this is actually going to happen!

Whimsical Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This is the sort of week where Whimsical Wednesday is a bit of a disconnected mish-mash.  The only real connections between these images and words is that each of them caught my attention in some way.  As always I'd love to know which ones caught your attention the most.

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest
Source: via Lisa on Pinterest
Source: via Lisa on Pinterest
Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 267

Today's Daily 5:

  1. interesting discussions in clinical block
  2. texting and laughing with a friend
  3. a bit of a nap in the sun on the bus
  4. chicken tikka for supper
  5. an evening off from homework

Tuesday Anticipations, May 15, 2012

This week I'm anticipating:

  • dinner with a friend and meeting her newest daughter for the first time
  • the first real off campus practicum days (postpartum! so exciting for someone who loves babies and is interested in midwifery!)
  • meeting with the house church leaders
  • a meeting with a trusted advisor
  • breakfast with a friend who always makes me laugh
  • celebrating the birth of their first child with another friend
  • beginning to really establish a rhythm for this new semester
What are you looking forward to this week?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 266

Today's Daily 5:

  1. the excitement of knowing that my clinical placement is postpartum care
  2. liking my new group for the semester
  3. going out for pasta and chocolate raspberry mousse
  4. getting to cuddle my newest "niece" for the first time
  5. little girl hugs from the newest "niece's" big sister

Awkward Moments

Last week the new semester of school started off with a ton of work.  How often do you finish the first day of a semester and realize you're already a couple hundred pages and a few hours of instructional videos behind?

And then there was the hygiene lab...

(y'all, I'm so scared about the kind of search term traffic this post is going to drive to my blog!)

You know you're a nursing student when you watch two different instructional videos and then have a conversation in a public place about the fact that the video failed to zoom in on the key area (in this case a penis) so that we really knew the difference between the videos and what to do in each situation.

There was the instructor who couldn't bring herself to use anatomically correct terms.  Yep.  A professional.  Can I just say that the already awkward situation was made that much worse by the use of the term "Mr. Happy"?

Or the hand motions in place of the word "breast" when discussing the hygiene needs of elderly ladies.

Or the demonstration and discussion about foreskins, using a surgical glove with a cut off finger tip.

More than that, there was the hilarious laughter and conversations that came from sharing the learning later that day with good friends. And later in the week with family.

Before the lab arrived, I was pretty much horrified.  The whole virgin thing means that, well, I'm not exactly acquainted with a man's intimate anatomy. I expected to blush through the entire lab, and couldn't picture having to care for a patient in that way.

After everything that went on in the learning process, I'm not even embarrassed about the craziness of the lab anymore.  Right now I'm totally amused.

I know I can be professional when that situation calls for it.

From other experiences in my life, I can empathize about the vulnerability of being in that position, and needing that sort of care, and I intend to use that empathy when I care for patients facing that sort of vulnerability.

But the experience of learning how to care for patients in those situations?  I think that might always make me laugh.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 265

Today's Daily 5:

  1. sleeping late
  2. spending the morning quietly curled up with a cookbook with awesome photos
  3. plants vs. zombies on my iphone
  4. celebrating our mom together as siblings tonight
  5. knowing that it was a day where quite a bit was accomplished

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 263 & 264

Yesterday's Daily 5:

  1. a long sleep-in
  2. laughing with a friend
  3. an evening at home to myself
  4. finishing up an audio book I quite enjoyed
  5. the satisfaction of cleaning up my living space.

Today's Daily 5:
  1. a productive (sort of anyway) day
  2. the freedom to borrow a car to accomplish some errands
  3. ikea with my baby brother
  4. homemade coconut milk chicken curry
  5. homemade popcorn

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Reflections, May 11, 2012

Today's post comes again from Henri Nouwen, and struck me as appropriate this week as I talk about stories - stories about grief, and about journeying with my body.  It reminded me of how important each one of our stories is, and encouraged me as I continue to write mine out in this space.  I hope it encourages each of you as well.

Making Our Lives Available to Others

One of the arguments we often use for not writing is this:   "I have nothing original to say.  Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to."  This, however, is not a good argument for not writing.  Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived.  Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well.  Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others.

We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told.  We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 262

Today's Daily 5:

  1. group mates for an awkward lab
  2. mandarin oranges
  3. six week old baby cuddles
  4. hugs from my "favorite date"
  5. recounting the adventures of the day
  6. house church, studying one of my favorite chapters of scripture, Romans 8

Baby Steps (Continuing the Journey of Body and Food)

The conversation that took place on my last post in this series on my journey with my body and food inspired me.  It was a conversation that I was reminded of when I came across this image on pinterest this week:

I obviously don't have a daughter right now, and maybe I never will, but this image reminded me of the comments that friends left on my last post, about their own daughters, and helped remind me of the importance of learning to love my body now, in this place of having more questions than answers.

After writing that post, I went back to my therapist and we talked about the four week experiment she'd asked me to undertake.  The experiment where I didn't count points or calories, where I didn't climb on a scale, but instead I tried to be more aware of loving my body, of caring for it.

I shared with her that I was fairly certain that over the course of the four week experiment I'd gained back nearly all of the weight I'd spent the previous twelve weeks trying to lose.  That without some sort of tracking system, I found myself eating everything in sight, and rationalizing it.  I was emotional, and craving chocolate - my body wanted chocolate - I only gave it what it wanted, right?  Not precisely a healthy or rounded way of handling things.  Her observation, after more conversation was this - that I had stopped being horrible to my body, but now I was acting indifferently, not really kindly.  She also noted that I seemed to need to some accountability.

So, we tweaked the experiment, and I'm taking baby steps forward.  I'm working on forming healthier images of beauty.  On actually appreciating my body - noticing the myriad of things it does for me each day.  I'm working on noticing the parts of my body that I genuinely like, and focusing on them.  I'm working on being kind to my body.  I'm working on eating more fruits and vegetables, and listening to what my body wants, but filtering out the voices that like immature children ask for desires rather than needs - for chocolate instead of strawberries or carrots.  And I'm counting calories again.

The counting thing works for me.  This has never been a journey solely about weight.  Yes, I'd like to lose some weight (between 15-25 pounds if I'm honest), but it's not about weight particularly.  I'm recognizing a need to love and respect myself - to really see myself as a whole being.  To not have my body be only a utilitarian accessory that I only notice when it fails.  To see my body as the temple I reflected on when I first began writing this series.

I'm recognizing, too, that how I care for myself has a direct impact on my ongoing struggle with mental illness, depression, anxiety, and self-image.  That how I treat myself is a strong indicator not only my own physical health, but my social and mental health as well.

On the wholly practical note, pinterest and counting have been helpful.  I've found exercise tips and images that spoke truths I needed to hear on pinterest.  And counting, well, counting just gives me a target.  I use a website and iphone app called "Lose It!" and have found it helpful, especially as I've personalized it with the foods I eat most regularly.  As someone who has pretty much always despised exercise (with the possible exceptions of synchronized swimming and yoga), it's motivating to me that I earn extra calories through daily activities like walking and house cleaning.  Counting calories isn't an exact science for me.  I'll probably never weigh and measure everything I eat, and I'll probably never have a perfect week of food consumption, under the limit every day, saying no to everything that someone somewhere might deem unhealthy.  But I'm learning that this caring for my body thing is about moderation.  About those baby steps my counselor and I have talked about as necessary in restoring any relationship.  That the goal is to have more good days than bad days.  That sometimes the glass of wine with friends is a good thing, or the celebrating with a decadent restaurant meal is a way of thanking my body and treating my emotions.  That even if a week has more bad days than good, I get to keep trying again and again.

So, I'm counting, I'm looking for new images of beauty, I'm trying to find ways to be gentle and loving to my body.  I'm eating more strawberries (berries in general, really), and I'm hanging out on pinterest.  And I'm using Lose It! (if you happen to use it, let me know - there's a friend feature that can help add accountability).  Baby steps, folks.  The next one is going to be creating a list of all the different little things that I can do to "feel good" on a given day - body, soul, and spirit.  A sort of handy daily checklist that I can refer to.  Another way of adding a bit of accountability to this process for me.

I'd love to hear how this journey has been going for each of you.  Have you been taking baby steps? Giant steps? Are you the need accountability type?  Are there things that are unfailingly on your own "feel good" lists?  The conversation about this journey has been so helpful for me.  Don't let it stop now!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 261

Today's Daily 5:

  1. text messages that make me laugh
  2. iphone on the bus
  3. a mountain view
  4. the anticipation of first days
  5. catching up with friends after being apart

Whimsical Wednesday, May 9, 2012

For this week's Whimsical Wednesday, I'm sticking with words that either inspire, or make me laugh (or both!)

I love to hear if one of these quotation images stands out to you, and why!

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 260

Today's Daily 5:

  1. sunshine
  2. first outing of the year in flip-flops
  3. peppermint gum
  4. reading on the bus
  5. hanging out with dear friends
  6. home-made hamburgers
  7. the park with a friend, her daughter, and the little one she was babysitting
  8. sharing a meal together
  9. great conversation
  10. listening to an audio book and playing an iphone game on the bus ride and walk home

Tuesday Anticipations, May 8, 2012

This week I'm anticipating:

  • the beginning of a new semester of classes
  • seeing some of my classmates again after the break
  • sharing dinner with some friends before house church
  • creating a few more art journaling pages
  • studying Romans 8 (one of my favorite chapters of scripture) with our house church
  • a Saturday with nothing planned
  • celebrating my mom on Mother's Day
What are you looking forward to this week?

Monday, May 07, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 259

Today's Daily 5:

  1. Pajama Day
  2. 30 Rock (so loving Tina Fey lately)
  3. art journaling
  4. a glass of white wine
  5. making the most of my last couple days of inter-semester break

Honeycomb Tombs

I'm kicking off this week by talking about grief.  Cheery, no?

Actually, what I really want to do is tell you about the new album, Honeycomb Tombs, that my friend Karla Adolphe is releasing on May 15, 2012.

I've known Karla for close to a decade now, and can honestly say that she is one of the few musicians who consistently draws my heart into a place of connecting with Jesus in the places I need it most, each and every I hear her play live, or listen to her albums.  Because of that, I'm delighted to be telling you a little bit about her new album, Honeycomb Tombs, today.

The following text describing the purpose of this album comes from Karla's website:

About a year ago Karla was privileged to be at the hospital when a dear family said goodbye to their daughter. In the midst of that beautiful and heart-wrenching day Karla witnessed music play an important role in the early stages of grief.

The goal of this project is to create a FREE digital album that walks alongside those in the midst of grief; a collection of music, spaces, poetry and stories that can be played while you journal, take a drive, cry or nap.

Over the last two years, a number of my close friends have lost people dear to them - parents, children, friends.  I've watched other friends grieve as they faced major and unexpected life challenges.  I've done a great deal of that sort of grieving myself.

Last Thursday I sat on a bus with my journal, heading off to an evening engagement, and listened to a pre-release copy of Honeycomb Tombs for the first time.  It had been a day full of many harder life realities, and Karla's voice and lyrics spoke directly to my heart in that space.  I found myself feeling teary, ushered into a place of knowing again that Jesus sees me, that he knows me, even in the spaces where my heart aches the most.

I've listened to the album several more times since that first time through, and each time it has met me in deep heart places, and carried me to Jesus, to a place of listening and conversation, to a place of feeling the things I'd rather not, and also to a place of healing amidst those things.  As I've listened, I've thought about the friends who have faced deep grief over the past number of years, and wished this album had been available for me to share with them.

Since Karla shared her vision for this album, I've been excited to support it.  I'm even more excited to tell you that on May 15, 2012 you'll be able to download Honeycomb Tombs for FREE at! I hope you'll all take advantage of this album download, and use it for your own times of meeting with Jesus in the deep heart places, but particularly that you'll share it with those around you who are walking a journey of grieving.

If you're interested in reviewing Honeycomb Tombs, or learning more about the album, please feel free to email Karla.

And if you download the album on May 15th, make sure you come back and tell me what you think.  I'm pretty confident that it will move all of you just as much as it has touched my heart.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Days 257 & 258

It would seem that I fell asleep last night before writing up the Daily 5 list for the day, so tonight I'm including lists for both yesterday and today.

Day 257:

  1. a long night of deep sleep
  2. time at home alone
  3. still loving Netflix
  4. reading quietly
  5. a fresh mango
Day 258:
  1. a long, hot shower
  2. a morning of quiet, Sunday sabbath
  3. leftover Vietnamese take-out
  4. doing some art journaling
  5. a day that went a little better for recognizing my body's needs and meeting them lovingly

Friday, May 04, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 256

Today's Daily 5:

  1. a day in the mountains
  2. hanging out all day with a friend from school and her puppies, in one of my favorite parts of the world
  3. happy baby news from a friend
  4. dinner with a different friend
  5. celebrating at the wedding shower for still another friend
It was a good day... full of people and laughter and fresh air and exercise and good food and joy.

Friday Reflections, May 4, 2012

Today's reflection is once again from Henri Nouwen, and reminds me of how valuable it is to ask questions, and not spend all of our time in answers, but to really honor the questions.

Question from Above

What are spiritual questions?  They are questions from above.  Most questions people ask of Jesus are questions from below, such as the question about which of  a woman's seven husbands she will be married to in the resurrection.   Jesus does not answer this question because it comes from a legalistic mind-set.  It is a question from below.

Often Jesus  responds by changing this question.  In the case of the woman with seven husbands he says, "At the resurrection men and women do not marry - have you never read what God himself said to you:  'I am God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?'  He is God not of the dead but of the living" (Matthew 22:23-30).

We have to keep looking for the spiritual question if we want spiritual answers.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 255

Today's Daily 5:

  1. zoo trip
  2. penguins - there's something that's just so amazing about getting to watch a "new" (to our zoo) animal interact with the world... every time I encounter a new to me animal, I'm reminded all over again of Jesus' creativity
  3. quiet afternoon at home, resting
  4. listening to some new music my friend Karla wrote
  5. house church, Romans study, baby cuddles

Twice in One Week

This is the second time this week that I'm going to plead lack of structured schedule for a less than substantive blog post.

I was actually all set to write something great for this space today.  I listened to a sermon on the bus yesterday that spoke to a number of things surrounding body, self image, and other topics heavy on my mind, and I made notes as I listened and thought about the ways I was going to write out those ideas that have been floating.

And then I got a phone call that rearranged the entirety of my day yesterday.  Instead of having more than half the day at home to write and plan, I headed off to pain walls with all the ladies of the family at the house my brother's fiancee has just moved into - the home they'll share after their June wedding.  And then I went grocery shopping, and card shopping, and wedding and baby shower gift shopping.

That led to a discussion on facebook about the lack of quality cards available that don't look like something my grandma would pick out (and also don't look like bad floral upholstery threw up all over them!)

It also meant that I didn't get home last night until close to 9pm, at which point I still needed to eat supper, wash dishes, and tackle several important emails that I'd been studiously ignoring all day.

And, since I'm going to the zoo this morning to hang out with one of my closest friends, and her daughter, who is one of my favorite small people, I'm pleading the lack of a structured schedule, and not writing a fabulous long post about body image.  That will just have to wait until structure returns to my life, this time next week!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 254

Today's Daily 5:

  1. sleeping in
  2. found all of my textbooks for the coming semester available used (and significantly cheaper)
  3. managed a grocery shopping trip
  4. hung out with all the ladies of my family, painting at the suite my brother and his fiancee will be living in
  5. an unexpected confluence of events, but enjoying the things that ended up happening

Whimsical Wednesday, May 2, 2012

This week's edition of Whimsical Wednesday is in honor of my last little bit of time off.  My last week of curling up, finding happiness and rest in utter stillness, before diving back into finding those things in the midst of seeming chaos.

As always, I'd love to hear if any of these images jump out and grab your attention.

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest
Source: via Lisa on Pinterest
Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Daily 5 - Year 3, Day 253

Today's Daily 5:

  1. slow lazy day at home
  2. discovering the first season of 30 Rock on Netflix
  3. working on art journal pages
  4. focusing on healthy food
  5. a little bit of ice cream and chocolate to end the day

Tuesday Anticipations, May 1, 2012

This week I'm anticipating:

  • the enjoyment of my last week off from school
  • a trip to the zoo with a good friend and her daughter
  • dinner (home made perogies that I froze last week) with some friends before house church
  • settling in to enjoy a discussion of Romans 6 & 7 at house church
  • a day in the mountains with a friend from school
  • accomplishing a few last things on my to do list that need to happen before school is back in session
What are you looking forward to this week?