Marry the Geek, Ladies & Gents

When I was a freshman in high school, there was this guy in my first hour English class who would always, always get nose bleeds. Seriously, always, Like, are you ok, guy? I can see him standing there in his giant JNCO jeans and some ridiculous band shirt. I also started to notice how he was always making the people around him laugh; not at him but with him. We started just making some friendly small talk that year. We ended up having English together the next couple years as well. We joked about how it was our thing to have English together. Oh, one more thing about this guy, we are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this June.

I love that we built a true friendship with each other over those years before we started dating our senior year. We talked on the phone one night the September of our Senior year for hours. We hit on everything from family, to religion, to our dreams for the future. I make no exaggeration when I say that after that conversation, we both knew we would be getting married to each other one day. It was as sure and definite a thing as I have ever felt. I felt it then and I felt it now: a comfort and a safety with him.  Plus, he is super cute so that doesn’t hurt. 

We have gone through some tough stuff over the years: job loss, bankruptcy, other dumb assery of our own doing. But through it all, we have always had each other. He truly is my best friend, as cheesy as it sounds. When I have a bad day (or a good day), I cannot wait to tell him all about it. When he is gone, I look forward to him coming home. I flat out enjoy spending time with him. He makes me laugh every day, even when I don’t want to. He tells me I’m beautiful and I believe him. I can be my true self around him, and him with me. He calls me on my bull crap yet goes along with my pie in the sky plans and ideas. Plus, he is super cute so that doesn’t hurt.

I am truly thankful to have him in my life and I love him even more now than I did 20 years ago when we met. I look forward to what God has in store for us for the next part of our life. I hope we are showing our kids what a good marriage looks like: laughter, friendship, kissing in front of the kids to make them gag, and just enjoying our time together. He is amazing to me. Plus, he is super cute so that doesn’t hurt.

 

 

The Things Nurses Carry

One time I had to take care of a white supremacist with a huge swastika tattoo on his arm because I was the only white person working on the floor that night and he wouldn’t let anyone else in his room.

Another time I caught a medication error committed by another nurse on a heparin drip, but it still did not save the woman. The patient had told me the previous shift that I made her feel safe.

Another time a women in the throes of stage 4 cancer talked to me about wanting to kill herself but she didn’t want her kids to fight over her life insurance money as they had disappeared when she got the diagnosis.

Once a huge, burly confused mental health patient pushed me as hard as he could up against a wall to get me out of the way so he could leave the room.

I got sucker punched right in the jaw by a little old lady who was not a fan of me needing to re-start her blown IV.

I was in the room when a woman received her last rites, surrounded by her entire family.

I’ve called families at 2am telling them it might be a good idea to come out to the hospital, like, soon if they want to see them while they are still living.

I got a call from employee health one time after a shift saying, “Oh by the way, that patient you took care of has bacterial meningitis and they weren’t in isolation. Here is what to watch for…”

That’s some heavy stuff to carry with you. I could go on and on. These are just some of the stories of my nursing career that stick out to me. Not to even mention all the new little pieces of my heart that I carry since becoming a school nurse. You could talk to any nurse of any age in any field and they could give you a run down just like this. We see, hear, and do things that others cannot even imagine. We are invited into the sacred places in these people’s live where they are most vulnerable.  We place our own mental and emotional and even physical heath on the line to step in and do for others what no one else will do. We see people at their worst, but we also see them at their best.

I’m one of those people who considers being a nurse a true calling and gift from God. It’s not just something I decided to do, it was something I was born and molded to do. I was pulled into it by a deep seeded need to help other people. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Next time you talk to a nurse, remember that they carry lots of heavy things in those hearts and minds of theirs.

 

 

Closing Time

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Closing Time, Semisonic

I know it’s just a cheesy line from a 90s pop song but it has always just really struck me how poignant it is. It always ‘hits me right in the feels’ as they say. How true as we march through the milestones of life that we are continually ending something that once began to start something new.

It’s a season of big change here in our house. It feels like a major turning point in our family life. The ‘baby’ is having his last day of preschool today. Hope he doesn’t read this blog because he will adamantly tell you that he is NOT a baby, thank you very much! For the past 14 years there has been at least one kiddo who was at home: a baby, a toddler, a preschooler. Now that is all going to change. All of them are school age. Woah. How did that happen? It seemed like we would always have a little one at home.

Add to that the twins starting middle school. Such a time of growing up and finding who you are. I met some of my longest and truest friends in middle school. I’m excited for them to get to experience all of that and find what it is they love and care about. They have matured so much recently and, although I still see those tiny little blonde haired boys when I look at them, I know they are becoming young men before my eyes.

Also the boy who made me a momma is going to high school this year. High School. I met my husband, their dad, my freshman year of high school. It’s hard to think of him as being that old. He has drum line try outs this week. I vividly remember my freshman year drum line try outs and how nervous I was and, in a flash, now my own son is there. These next four years are going to be some of the most memorable (good or bad) of his life.

Life is weird. The passage of time is inevitable and nothing new to anyone but it is SO different when you are the one experiencing all the passage of time. Lots of people have kids starting school and hitting milestones this year. I see them and hear about them and think “yup”. But when it is my own family, who I have poured my life into, it is just so strange to see the hours/minutes/days slipping through your fingers. So here is to endings and new beginnings.

6.5, But Who Is Counting?

6 1/2.  Six and one half. We have 6.5 days until school is out for the summer. Not that I’m counting down or anything. If you have ever questioned why school staff and teachers get the summer off then you have never worked in a school. It is physically, mentally,emotionally, and spiritually draining to be on and 100% for all these kiddos every single day. And we give and we give and we give more than 100% of ourselves every single day. We do it because we love it though and we love these kids. It really does become like a little family amongst the staff and students. We spend so much time together through the highest highs and the lowest lows. It’s a privilege to get to be in these kid’s lives and to care for them as their nurse.

Don’t get me wrong, I will miss these kids immensely over the summer. I will worry and fret about them and wonder what they are up to and pray that they are safe.  But I need the time off to recharge my batteries, step away from it all for a while, and come back ready to roll in August. And believe me, come August, I’ll be ready!

Fourteen

My oldest son turns 14 today. How on Earth is that even possible? I mean, yes, I know how time and age progression works but how did it go so fast? When you have a baby people always tell you that it is going to go by fast but you don’t really fully understand that until you are living it. If I close my eyes I can still vividly remember them putting him in my arms after he was born and just being in awe. That feels like it happened 2 seconds ago. Seriously. I blinked and we went from diapers and blankies to high school and hormones. It’s a joy to watch him grow up and experience new things, really it is. It’s like getting to experience life a second time though his eyes. It is bittersweet in the truest sense of the word.

The other weird thing is to think that I have been a mom for 14 years now. I figured at this point I’d probably have this whole parenting gig figured out. Not the case at all, friends! Each new stage of life brings a whole new set of “I don’t have any idea what I’m doing” moments as a mom. The troubles of sleeping through the night or potty training have been replaced with hurt feelings and trying to fit in. His problems used to be so easy to fix (in hind sight) and now I just have to sit on the sidelines, guide him, and pray. Being a mom is harder than ever the older he gets, but more rewarding as well as he makes decisions and finds his way as a young man.

So for you mommas sitting there holding your 4 month old or 4 year old, trust me when I say that it DOES go fast. Embrace each stage and enjoy it as much as you can. But also recognizing that it’s hard and that’s ok and that you won’t ever really feel like you know what you are doing but that’s ok too. You love them and they love you and that can get you through a lot.

Multiply

This is going to maybe sound a little crazy coming from  someone with 6 kids, but I don’t believe that verse in Genesis about being fruitful and multiplying really has anything to do with the number of kids you have or even child bearing at all. I’m going to kick it old school with the King James Version:

“And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.” Genesis 9:7

There are lots of things that can bring forth fruit in your life.  There is a lot that you can multiply and bring forth abundantly. I mean, sure, that could be having kids. Honestly, my husband and I have six kids because we wanted six kids not because I’m performing some duty set forth in Genesis. But anyway…

Are you an amazing musician? Be fruitful and multiply that. Fill the Earth abundantly.

Are you super good at math? Be fruitful and multiply that. Fill the Earth abundantly.

Are you gifted at working with kids? Be fruitful and multiply that. Fill the Earth abundantly.

Do you love to write? Be fruitful and multiply that. Fill the Earth abundantly.

Have a knack for sales? Be fruitful and multiply that. Fill the Earth abundantly.

Are you a really good friend and listener? Be fruitful and multiply that. Fill the Earth abundantly.

God gives us our gifts, talents, and passions for a reason and I believe the reason is found in this verse. We are to use what we have to benefit the people around us. That thing that you absolutely love and enjoy and are just good at? Yeah, God wants you to use that.  He wants you to be fruitful and multiply that gift. So, go, and fill the Earth abundantly with what He has given you.

World’s Smallest Violin

I couldn’t fall asleep last night. My hands and wrists were throbbing in discomfort. I hate to even call it pain because when I think of pain I think of stabbing, sharp sensations and this isn’t really that. It is dull, constant, annoying. It makes it hard to grip anything, but it is just as uncomfortable to have my hands open or flat. There is no position they can be in that doesn’t hurt. In the quiet of the night ,where there is no distraction, is when it is the worst. I don’t have a dozen different things distracting me from the fact that I constantly drop things, I can barely open twist top anything anymore, and my fingers are becoming more and more gnarled and deformed. It is just me and my thoughts, and my frustratingly miserable disease.

I did a dumb thing this past week. I stopped all my meds cold turkey. I’m a nurse and I know how silly and even dangerous that is. I stopped my anxiety meds, my meds that keep my hair from falling out due to the chemo shots, my birth control, all my supplements, and even my chemo shot.  Even typing it, I know how bad it sounds. I was just in a bad place where I was just over every single thing about my disease. The fact that I am still young-ish and that it is only going to get worse and worse the older I get. The fact that the chemo makes me feel like crap even though it is helping slow the progression of the degeneration. And I was just DONE. I needed a few days to just stew and be pissed. I’m back on everything now, I promise. Don’t tell on me!!

I have an appointment in June with my rheumatologist and we are probably going to be switching me from the chemo shots to a biologic shot. I’m trying not to have high, unrealistic expectations for this new med. I have heard people have good results and feel better on them, but who knows if that will be the case for me? I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than super disappointed from getting my hopes up too high over this new med. It’s a journey and a process. I have resigned myself to the fact that I’m never going to feel ‘better’. I have a degenerative disabling disease and that is my lot in life. Not being dramatic, not looking for pity, just being real. All I can do is take it a day at a time and remind myself it is ok to have these weeks where I am frustrated beyond everything. As long as there are good weeks sprinkled in as well.

I’ll Pray for Ya!

In a social media fueled world, we seem to know everything about everyone the moment it happens. Sickness, family problems, school issues, deaths, big tests, moving across the country, etc. etc. Look through the comments on any given post and you will see no less a dozen folks comment “Prayers!” or “Praying for you!”. Is it just lip service? A way of letting people know you are sympathetic to their situation? Well, that’s between you an God and that’s not really what I’m here to discuss. Seems like it is almost an empty statement anymore, it’s just what you are supposed to say.

A couple years ago my New Year’s resolution was to actually pray for the people I said I would. Crazy idea, huh? I’ll admit I was guilty of posting that I was praying for someone or a certain situation and never even giving it a second thought let alone taking their needs to the Big Guy Upstairs. I started to feel bad about that. So I started keeping a journal. If I say I’m praying for you, you can trust that your name is in my notebook and I have sincerely prayed for your situation. I believe in the power of prayer, I also believe in jumping into action should something need to be done that I can do. I’m not going to stand there while you are drowning, write you in my book, and say I’m praying. No, I’m going to help you….and pray.

Knowing I’m being prayed for gives me a lot of comfort. It makes me feel like I’m not alone. It makes me feel like someone cares. I know of several people who sincerely pray for me and my health and it honestly means the world to me. I’m sure there are others who say they pray for me and never do, and that’s ok too. Prayer is a cool thing: it benefits the pray-er and the pray-ee.  The power of lifting someone up to God and the comfort of knowing you are being lifted up to God. Just know if you ever need prayer, I’d sincerely be glad to do that for you.

 

Paparazzi Jewelry!

pap

So I jumped in, bit the bullet, whatever you want to call it, and am now selling Paparazzi jewelry. I fell in love with this fun, stylish, cheap jewelry so much that I want others to experience it as well. Everything is $5, lead and nickel free, and the working conditions of the laborers who make it is closely monitored and is safe (that was a biggie for me!).

If you want to shop, check out my online boutique and if you have any questions let me know!!

Paparazzi with Heidi

The Weight of Weight

Some days I wake up and I feel good. Not health wise (ha!) but just about myself. My hair lays right, my clothes fit, I feel cute.  Other days I wake up, have 13 chins, feel like a busted can of biscuits in my clothes, and just generally feel gross about myself. This is all on me. No one makes me feel bad about how I look. In fact, my husband swears (and I believe he is sincere) that he sees me the same way he did when we were 17 year olds in high school.

I will get on these gung ho health kicks that last all of about, oh, a month or two. I’ve been gluten free, I’ve been vegan, I’ve done Weight Watchers, I’ve done Trim Healthy Mama, I’ve done Herbalife, I did Body By Vi and that is just what I can think of off the top of my head. None of them worked for me because I didn’t want to work. I know people who have had great success with all of the above, but not me. I think it comes down to being lazy maybe? I want to care, but in my mind I’m just not at that point where I want to commit to anything like that.

They say with drug addicts or alcoholics, they have to first WANT to quit. You can cry and scream in their face all day, show them statistics, try to scare them straight but until that switch flips in their head that THEY want out it’s falling on deaf ears. The same can be said for losing weight or getting healthy. I mean, yeah, I get it. If I could lose a few pounds, my psoriatic arthritis may ease some. If I could get healthy maybe my fatigue would decrease. If I could eat right maybe I wouldn’t be so self conscious in a swim suit. But you know what? Maybe not. I could loose 50 pounds and still feel crappy about myself.

So for now I’m going to do what I want (like I was ever NOT going to do that!). I’m going to eat fresh fruits and veggies but I’m going to have a coke when I want. I’m going to go for a walk when I’m feeling able but I’m also going to sit my butt in my chair and let my body rest. I’m going to make good choices some days and bad ones on others. And the older I get, the more I am ok with that.