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17 July 2014

Things I Learned Today

1. Both Doritos and broccoli provide you with energy.  (Apparently Miss Christa's choice should be broccoli)

2. When one of my most interesting kiddos is exhausted she looks like a drunk spinning circles and bumping into walls in the ballpit while endlessly giggling. 

3.  Kids ask you if you are married at the oddest times -- like really loudly -- in a silent room in front of fellow staff -- and parents you do not know :)

4.  I work in a place where "I have to go but I can't go, you understand?," "I gassy" "I farted" " I stanky" and " "eeew!! Oops! That me?" Are regular phrases heard (and smelled). 

5. When you are at the end of the line and you still have one more patient to go and you seriously don't know how you can muster up the energy to smile without throwing up from the pain much less treat the kiddo for an hour --- it is great to have coworkers who understand when you plop down face first on the floor for 5 minutes so you can pray for the strength to finish the day and know that they won't let you sleep through your last appointment. 

6.  Today (and over the last week especially) I have been reminded how great it is to have a medical provider who is not only knowledgable but also listens and is willing to collaborate with and refer to others when necessary.  My PCP has gone above and beyond and has actually included me in the problem solving process.  While he kept apologizing today because the problem still exists I kept thanking him for his help and his willingness to listen. It has been a good reminder of the type of medical professional I hope I am. Kindhearted, compassionate, knowledgable, listener, humble, and willing to help. 

13 July 2014

The Restart Button

It began as a kid -- I discovered after many ear infections and many rounds of antibiotics my pediatrician sent me to an allergist and testing revealed a response to oranges, oats, wheat, dairy, and raw egg white. If I ate them occassionally I was fine but if they built up in my system TaDa! rashes, hives, and ear infections.  

Fast forward many years and I am an adult who has NEVER receieved the flu vaccine because it is grown in raw egg white.  I am now an intern at Boston Children's Hospital and they are requiring that I receive the vaccine. No exception. The result -- a severe reaction -- resulting in an IV, massive amounts of fluid, benedryl, epi, terrified NP, MD, discussion of trach, and 2 days of sleeping off the effects of all of the medications. With that came documentation from the medical director stating that I should not receive this vaccine again.

Fast forward again. Current employer. Required attempt by microdose.  The problem is -- now I live in the South.  That alone requires me to be on allergy medication.  Removal of the allergy medication for 14 days to undergo the flu vaccine cause pneumonia thus requiring an extended round of steroids.  My body plus steroids is not a good thing.  The outcome this time is +40 pounds and borderline diagnoses of hypothyroid and diabetes.  Needless to say I don't want any of these.  So ---- I am going to take a challenge.  The Whole 30.  30 Days of eating following specific guidelines.

Whole 30 was created by Dallas and Melissa Harwig.  The book It Starts With Food describes the why? and the science behind the rules but I will begin by listing the rules below.  I had planned to begin tomorrow but I ended up in the hospital yesterday so my start date has been pushed back by at least a week.  Give me a shout if you want to join me.  The more the merrier :)  I will be posting along the way to hold myself acountable. 

1. No Sugar (maple, honey, agave, coconut sugar, splena, stevia, any articifical sweeteners, xylitol, etc....) it can have fruit juice as a sweetner but limited

2. No Alcohol ( even in cooking)

3. No Grains ( wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgar, sorghum, amaranth, buckwheat, sprouted grains, quinoa, gluten free pseudo grains, bran, germ, starch, etc)

4. No Legumes (all beans, black, red, pinto, navy, white, kidney, lima, fava, peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, pb, soy, soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, lecithin, etc...)
-- You CAN have green beans, sugar snap, and snow peas

5. No Dairy (cow, goat, sheep, etc)
--You CAN have clarified butter or ghee (whole foods or Trader Joes)

6. No White Potatoes (white, red, purple, yukon gold, fingerling)
--You CAN have sweet potatoes :)

7. No MSG, Sulfites, Carrageenan (in any form) (this looks like mostly processed meats)

8. No Paleofied Baked/Junk Foods (Muffins, Ice milk, banana pancakes, etc) (you can't do anything healthy baked to make it like a baked good because the idea is to get your body out of the habit of wanting that baked item.  If you feed it a healthified version it sort of defeats the purpose)

9. No Weight or Body Measurements during 30 Days (only before and after) (because it is not about any weight lost -- that is an added benefit -- it is about a restart -- a reset for your body).

There are great resources available online for free including things you can and cannot eat, grocery lists, meal plan suggestions, rules, success stories,  and how to integrate the foods back into your diet after the 30 days.  There is also a support group and forum you can sign into.  The website is http://whole30.com

I hope you will consider joining me.  It won't be easy but I truly think it will be worth it. 


29 June 2014

A Day to -- Just Be

I try to make it a point to not just provide a description of my day. But this one is worth it.  The only things that could make it better --- 1. People to share it with 2. The ability to sleep in tomorrow morning :)

Sometimes ---- you wake up and just need a day.  A day to breathe.  A day to live. A day without judgement. A day without work.  A day without laundry.  A day without paperwork.  

A day to just.  Be. 

After a week of work followed by four full days of sitting in seminars and then straight into another work week -- Add in that today is Day 11 of the same migraine-- and I just needed a day.  To just.  Be.  I'm sure we all have those days.  Today I found my solution. 

Early service as I tried out Real Life Christian Church.  Yep.  I'm church hoppin again.  I really liked this one!  And with tears streaming down my face during "oh precious is the flow -- that makes me white as snow.  No other fount I know...." I knew it was where I was supposed to be in that moment.  (How many of you sang that in your head?)

Follow that with the racing heart that can only be inspired by driving through the curvy, no shouldered, country roads of Pungo with your tank on empty and gas light blinking. Oh wait --- add a cop car with flashing lights pulling up on your bumper.  Yep.   Heart beating at heart attack speed :)

While attempting to find a gas station I found myself 10 minutes from my favorite VA beach --- and so logically -- brunch became food from the little corner store as I listened and watched the waves try to move the world under my feet.  

How do you top that?!

You stop at the farmer's market for veggies. My favorite time of the year --- when I can buy the majority of my food from the people who grew or made it and use the grocery store to fill the gaps. 

And you pick a bouquet from a field of Zinnias.  Seriously!  




If you know me you understand my love of flowers and what a true pleasure this was. The farmer's wife gave me a tour of the colors and a cutting lesson and then said " We're open til 5.  Have fun and I will see you in a couple of hours."  With my camera and all the butterflies it could have been true. Next time. 

I ended the day with chicken, my veggies, and my grill.  My yard smelled like the NC State Fair and that is seriously one of my happy places.  



And now .... Sleep.  

I hope your day was one that allowed you some time to Just.  Be. 


25 May 2014

Mama Robin

As I lay on my backyard swing dreaming the day away a hidden nest drew my attention.  A robin.  A lady robin.  A mama robin feeding her babies with worms galore.  A working mama.  

Quite often have I listen to the robins outside my bedroom windows early in the morning. Most times annoyed by the banter  and the noise.  Annoyed as I watch them forage in my garden. 

She's a working mom.  She is providing for her family.  She is doing the best she can with the limitations the world provides.  And yet I assume.  I judge.  

How often we judge those around us.  As women it seems so easy for us to look at another woman and easily find faults -- clothing, size, kids who appear to be badly behaved, station in life, type of job, lack of job, homeschooler, nonhomeschooler -- this list could go on and on....

But we don't stop there.  We then judge ourselves by the same criteria.  Sometimes for the better and sometimes worse.  "Wow if I looked like that I wouldn't wear that outfit" or "she should not be wearing that.  (aka -- Woah - she looks rough in that outfit)  folllowed by "her stomach is smaller than mine.  Our thighs are about the same size...." Thus putting down their body and our own.  

I'm guilty of it.  More now than ever.  After 3 rounds of higher dose steroids and a 40 pound weight gain  (on a < 5 ft tall body) -- it is increasingly difficult to not judge myself in comparison to others.  

-If I worked out more like her.
-If I ate super healthy all the time like her.
-If I ran marathons like her.

Ladies --- Why do we do this? 

I was asked recently if my being single affects my self esteem in a negative way.  Ironically, it is my fellow women who assist in lowering the self esteem of others. We tend to tear each other down (to their face or behind their back)  when we should be building each other up.  

The irony is that the smaller, smarter, prettier, tanner, thinner women have the same thoughts as the taller, less brilliant, cute, less tan, thicker women.  SO why do we bother? Work to change what you can change, love what you can't, and determine that you  are the best YOU there is in this world. 

I may not be able to run right now.  I may be gaining weight despite eating mostly healthy and getting my butt beat by Jillian DVDs 5 days a week.  I may live down the road from the beach and not be able to find a bathingsuit that fits.  But I am tired of being sad, angry, or embarrassed by it.  I could be smarter, skinnier, richer, or prettier -- But Y'all --- when I am I will still be the best me that exists in this world --- and that's true now --- 

Therefore - I choose to enjoy life, appreciate what I have, and help others as much as I can. 

Care to join this journey? 

02 March 2014

Restless

It has been a good day.... a day of peace... a day of knowing I am where I am supposed to be ... doing what I am supposed to be doing.

A small example of my day: a conversation between me and a 4th grade boy ( i forgot how weird and fun that age is) I didn't realize how sore I was from my run yesterday until I attempted to do a move similar to the Twist in children's worship.  Apparently my facial expression showed my discomfort...
Boy: You okay?
Me: (chuckle) Yeah. I'm fine just really sore from running yesterday?
Boy: (dead serious) What were you running from?
Me: (trying not to laugh) Nothing, just for fun.
Boy: Like a race? It was a race?
Me: Yeah I guess. A race against myself.
Boy: looks at me through the corner of his eye with both eyebrows raised in disbelief.
No other words were spoken about running but he continued to intermittently look at me with that same curious look.


Worship at 800am with the adults; worship and small group time with the kiddos (3-5 grade) at 930; a phone chat with family -- and lunch with new friends.  It is one of the few times since I have been in VA that I felt like I could truly be a part of the community --- truly have a life --- truly feel like a part of something.

(By the way-- have you tried pickles in your chili?  How do you eat yours?)

Okay -- back to the Restlessness

Numbness has been the keyword for months --- and for those of you who are disbelieving --- just trust me. For months there was nothing -- just numb --- and over the last couple of months it has begun the transformation of being replaced with a feeling of change -- a certainty that God has a purpose and plan for me --- with certainty that it is going to be far beyond my C-zone (comfort zone).

I know that I am different from my family, my friends, and those around me (otherwise I would be married with several kids and more on the way-- I probably would have married young -- and I most likely would not have attended grad school).  This difference is no surprise to God no matter how disheartening it is to me. He has a purpose and feeling out of place is part of the preparation.  I know that some dreams that used to be important have fallen to the wayside and others are present as I sleep each night. 

I don't know what His plan is and that is scary -- I am a planner -- I like to have a plan.  God is challenging that with a simple request to "Trust me."  I am trying -- but honestly --- the wait sort of sucks :)

Beginning Monday I will be participating in this FREE online book club based on "Restless" by Jennie Allen.  The link to the information is below --- I would love for you to join me in this journey!!! (and don't feel bad if you won't be able to read all of the chapters suggested by tomorrow.  I will be in that club with you. ) It is based on that restless feeling you get when you know God has more planned for you and you just haven't discovered all of the pieces yet. 

I am going to include quotes so you can see if they hit home with you :)
Seriously Y'all I am underlining and marking with colored pens all over this book.




Quotes (chapter 1) (5 pages)

- "Was this feeling pushing me toward something bigger, or crippling me from loving the life I was given?"

-"We wonder if we are missing some mystical, great, noble purpose that was supposed to squeeze into the holds of our ordinary lives.  We feel numb.  We feel bored."

-Every single one of us is designed to fit into a unique space with unique offerings.  God's will for every one of us will look different."

-"This is a book about being brave enough to imagine a better world, and how we may be used to make it that way.  This is a book about fears and suffering and joy and gifts.  This is a book about all that lies in our control and how nothing is in our control.  This is a book about vision and obedience."

-"We will lay out the unique threads of our lives that feel random, potentially even tangling us up, but we will lay them out and dream about eternal purposes for seemingly mundane moments and consider that it is possible to waste our lives.  And then let's not."

-"Dare to believe that God has a vision for how you are to spend your life.  Finding and accomplishing this vision is quite possibly the greatest responsibility we have as a generation second only to knowing and loving God."

-"We have a call to dream." **

-"He sent his Spirit to give unique visions to unique people to reach the world in unique and beautiful ways."

-"He has given you an abundance of gifts, resources, people, and vision to accomplish His dreams for you.  If you do not feel that way yet, you will."

-"What if you get past your fears and insecurities and spend the rest of your life running your guts out after his purposes for you?"

-"..a place where no life or minute or breath ever feels small again."

01 March 2014

Gender Roles anyone?

Sooooo --- The thought and process of getting back into the world of dating is a challenge for me.  People always talk about how God challenges you to live beyond your comfort zone.  Getting to know people that I have never met before is way out of my C-zone.  Seriously.  I am an introvert to the core.  

At the children's ministry training last weekend the lead lady was speaking.  She is a 5th grade teacher in real life and you can guess it by her demeanor.  She is the classic example of the higher elementary teachers we all remember from our days in school.  Something she said really struck a chord with me and I was happy to know someone else felt the same --- (when discussing parent teacher conferences) She discussed how it is the worst day of her life --- each year when it rolls around. She can talk to their kids, play with their kids, and teach their kids all day -- but with adults she is tongue tied and awkward. All I could say was a very enthusiastic "DITTO!!" Give me your kids all day long and I will be fine, let me educate you and I will be fine.  Have a personal conversation with me and watch how awkward I become.

Getting the drift on why dating is certainly outside of the C-zone?

Anyway -- I spent my morning helping with a ballet class for kiddos with Down Syndrome.  It is full of laughter and smiles as these kids try their best to do each of the dance moves with grace and elegance.  The parents watch on as volunteers assist with positioning of feet, hands, and balance.   I know NOTHING of ballet and so I am learning as I go and assisting my little kiddo as much as possible.  Today she was all smiles and laughter as we stumbled through the process together.  One of my favorite things about the class is the diversity -- in both dancers and volunteers --- a wide range of ages, multiple ethnicities, and girls and boys.  It was great to see some male volunteers today in addition to our dedicated teacher. It made me ponder a question I am often asked by guys when looking for a possible relationship -- 

And I quote --- "What is your view on tranditional gender roles?"

I hate that question.  While it is open ended a simple response is expected.  "I approve or I do not approve."  What if we fit somewhere in between?  Do I believe that God meant for the husband to be the head of the household?  Yes - But does that mean he has ultimate control and can do as he pleases? No.  Do I believe women should stay in the home to cook, clean, birth babies, and homeschool? Not necessarily.  And before people get up in arms about that response please allow me to elaborate.  I have many friends who are SAHMs and are amazing in that role.  I just don't believe that that was God's intention for all women.  I was made for my job.  I love what I do.  I would love to have kids one day but for my own sanity and the sanity of my children I need to continue with my work.  I would love to be able to greet them at the bus stop most days and fix afternoon snacks for us all --- but I have no desire to homeschool and I think my children will be better off because of it :)

As for the husband being the head of the household -- It is as my friend described me --- I appreciate chilvary but do not wish to be controlled or limited due to the simple fact that God made me female. 
My parents were a great example of a Godly marriage.  While my dad had the final say in a decision my mom's opinion (and the kids' when appropriate) were heard and taken into consideration.  That to me is respect --- and I would like a huge serving of that in any relationship in which I am a part. 



I am currently reading Ms.Understood (rebuilding the feminine equation) by Jen Hatmaker and the next in the book stack is Jesus Feminist (an invitation to revisit the Bible's view of women) by Sarah Bessey. I am interested to see what the Bible truly says about the roles and importance of women. I'll let you know what I find out :)

What are your thoughts on traditional gender roles?  Don't be shy --- please share!

23 February 2014

He has a....

sense of humor.

If you don't think so you haven't seen the God I have often seen.  Humor and irony.  I like to think that you see certain parts of His personality to match your own --- as I have a tendency to be a bit (just a bit) sarcastic at times I am certain that his responses are in a form that resonates with me.  

Case(s) in Point

1. Yesterday I drove through a drive thru carwash to get the salt off of the undercarriage of my car.  Many of you are thinking that this isn't such a big task.  However, thanks to a dear friend (who shall not be named -- but you know who you are) decided to take a 15 passenger van loaded with myself and a ton of kids through a small carwash years ago.  As she and I were just getting to know each other at that point she was unaware (until we were entering the carwash) that I have a bit of difficulty with small spaces.  Add to that the fact that the majority of the kids were screaming my name and well --- you can imagine.
       Now --- back to present day -- yesterday.  I decide to put on my big girl panties and go through the drive thru.  I literally said a prayer before entering.  Seriously.  God laughed - and about that time I realized that this was a carwash unlike I was used to --- with this carwash the foam began spraying as you entered the building.  I had just paid for the carwash as I entered the carwash -- with window rolled down.  I'll let your imagination finish the story as you laugh at my stupidity and God's sense of humor.  I didn't have time to be concerned about the noise, thumping, and small space as I was busy attempting to wipe down the inside of my car before I exited so no one would know :).

2. The need for a place in ministry. I have been struggling with where my place is in ministry.  It isn't as easy as just stepping in and getting started.  I've done that in the past.  I have also found myself juggling parts of music ministry, teaching a children's Sunday school class, being in/leading small group, etc.  All at the same time.  It becomes to easy to do -- to easy to be the person people can call on whenever they need someone to help with a new project -- and it can't be about the "doing."  It becomes to easy to lose "me" in the process. 
      And so -- a training for the Children's ministry at my new church is tonight.  For weeks I have planned to attend and then awoke this morning with discouragement in my heart that I am not where I need to be to work with the kids -- that I need to be "better," " know more",  " be more fun", "more physically fit," to work with the kids. So I went to the service today with a heavy heart once again wondering where I fit -- and then the sermon occurred.
      For approx 16 wks we have been doing a verse by verse study on the book of Colossians (honestly -- a book of which I had little knowledge).  Today's verses were 4:5-18.  The Pastor wrapped up with sermon with verse 17.

".. See to it that you complete the work you have received in The Lord." (NIV)

"..Do your best in the job you received from the Master. Do your very best." (The Message)

He concluded his sermon with the reminder that the Children's training is tonight while including the fact that the training was planned months ago and they had no idea it would coincide with today's message. 

He then added -- "Maybe you think you aren't good enough, don't know enough, or aren't fun enough to work with the kids. Well you are -- those are lies --- and I can't think of a better to place to learn more."

Hook - Line - Sinker!  Guess where I will be at 5:00pm tonight.  ROC for Children's Ministry training with the faith that God will place me in the niche that had my name on it long before today. 

What's your niche? Have you found your place in ministry? It is not easy but TOTALLY worth it!


19 February 2014

Maybe I Need a New Title

I work as a pediatric PT.  My kids come in all types of bodies . Some are tiny, some are much bigger than mine, some fully function, and some not so much. And the families are no different --- all different.  One of my favorite things about my job is that every day is different and you never know what you'll find.  Today was no exception.  I asked a caregiver what I thought was a pretty standard question.  The answer was not a standard response.

Me: "What is your goal for therapy? What do you want to see come out of (your kid's) time with me?"

Caregiver: "The doctor said that PT has worked miracles for some of her kids in the past.  I want you to work a miracle."

Now..... I am not sure what the proper response is in this situation but allow me to elaborate on the options that were immediately floating through my head....

1. Well. Let me go grab my magic wand and fairy dust.
2. Watch me walk on water as I leave the room.
3. Did you bring your loaves and fishes?
4. Would you like some wine with your water?
5. Would you like a better dress to wear to the ball? How about a carriage made from a pumpkin?
6. Yep, that's my degree ... Doctor of Miracles.
7. Sure - my business card has my name with Miracle Worker for the title.

In reality I asked "Can you be more specific?"

15 February 2014

When Life is Tiring

This week was one of those weeks that makes you bone tired.  You don't care to get out of bed. You don't care to go to work. You don't care to eat.  You just are.  You just try to keep your head down.  You try to survive.  

But life goes on and you get out of bed.  You go to work.  You eat, atleast occassionally and you survive. 

Maybe this week was great for you or maybe your week was a bit like mine.  I used to find amazing peace in the Word. I would shut the world out for an hour and dig.  It wasn't about the world.  It wasn't about anthing but my need to communicate with the One. 

 The One who knows my struggles before I voice them.  He knows the dreams of my heart because He placed them there.  He knows the depth of my pain and hurt when those dreams get tampered with or people feel that it is within their right to point out how big my dreams are in a way that tells me the accomplishment of my dreams is not possible. 

It is funny (and sad) how much those comments are like miracle grow to any doubts already in your heart, mind, or spirit. 

And so I dig,  I dig for a reminder that I am forever loved and just the way I am now and not what I will be.  It's a bit amazing really when you think that He knows  everything about us... more than anyone else in the world... more than we know ourselves.  And yet He loves us.  How quickly we judge others.  How quickly we put a cost on our love and friendship.  How different would the world be if we just loved each other without judgement.  Without the ridicule.  Without the assumptions that are made daily.  

I am participating in If:Equip for many reasons.  I find it pretty amazing to think that thousands of people are reading the same verses as me each day.  Some days the verses hit me hard and other days I end with a prayer for the person or people that truly needed to hear the verses on that day. 

I also participate because while I used to be consistent with my daily Bible study I have not yet discovered the secret of balance in my new life. My day begins with a 5am alarm telling me to get out of bed and toss on my workout clothes or running shoes. This is followed by a physically and emotionally exhausting 10-11 hr work day.  I am exhausted by the time I end my day and it is not uncommon for me to walk in the door, take a shower, and climb in bed.  If it is a day that requires work at home add that to the list. 

So for now my attempt at balance (and sanity) is If:Equip at some point during the day and attempts to work on the books in my book stack by some amazing Christian authors for extra encouragement, motivation, and reality checks. 



There is a reassurance in my soul that this is enough for now but the expectations will surely grow.  I have no idea what God has planned for me but the unrest in my soul tells me it is something life changing and far outside of my comfort zone.

It seems fitting that I have reconnected with a couple of friends from long ago as they settle in to their God called life in the far boundaries of their comfort zone.  I came across a verse the other day that instantly reminded me of them. 

""The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood." John 1:14 (The Message)

They packed up their belongings and six fair skinned red headed children and moved where God told them to go.  An old farm house in the downtown region of a small Southern town where the color of their skin determines who speaks to them, how they are treated, and the doorways that are passable.  Seeing their adaptation and the way they are helping others is amazing but also terrifying.  What if God asked the same of me.  Could I do it? Could you? 

Please check them out: 


My friend Lori  http://loriharris.me/

Christa


10 February 2014

A quote by one of the parents of a patient.....

"I almost called in today to cancel because of the snow ... Just to mess with you."

Keep in mind .....

There was no snow outside and the forecast today was a 10% chance of snow flurries. 

I love my job.  Even on the exhausting days.