Monday, July 30, 2012


I'm happy to say that you are reading a pre scheduled post written last Friday because we are Up North on vacation!  It's our annual trip to my mom and dad's cottage and we're a bit later than usual since we postponed our fourth of July vacation for a few weeks.  And boy, am I ready!  I am really working on maintaining a peaceful heart and some time in the Michigan northern woods being tech free is just what I need.  This year Donny is staying with my folks so we have a little more freedom to roam. We're taking a side trip to Traverse City to stay on Lake Michigan for a few days as well.  I'll be antique shopping and reading and sitting on a porch swing for a week, watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee in my hand and my Bible on my lap in the mornings. 
I pray you have a peaceful and joyous week whatever you plans!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Perfect Vacation Plans

1. Going to my parent's cottage for the week.
2. Those grown up kids of mine still come along for vacation.
3. Lumberjack breakfasts!
4. Campfires.
5. Traverse City for a a few days.
6. Porch swing mornings.
7. Hummingbirds & finches.
8. Antique shop.
9. Coffee with the sunrise.
10. Books as far as the eye can see!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Whatsoever Wednesday

Today is the day I've decided to share some whatsoever thing (Philippians 4:8) that restores balance and goodness into my mind and spirit.  Drumroll please....

McDonald's iced tea!

I know, silly, right?

But there it is.  Always $1, sweetened or not.  Since getting an ulcer, one of the few things that always feels good on my belly is cold fluids.  I like the sweet tea but I also like unsweetened so I kind of choose based on my mood.  I usually lean toward unsweetened, for obvious health reasons.  I don't use artificial sweeteners so my iced tea has to taste fresh and crisp and Micky D always comes through.  No need to mask the tea with sweeteners.  I can't have lemon or citrus for now but that's ok, the tea is still good.

When I'm feeling fancy, I also love Starbuck's shaken iced Passionfruit tea.  Yummmmmm!  Of course, it's a bit more than a dollar ;)  Mac and I shared a big ol' Starbuck's tea a few days ago...we must have been having a fancy day.

Sooooooo, whatsoever is your thing toay?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wrong turns

The destination I planned!
 So here's where we are.  This is my life and it's not everything I planned. 
I took a few turns here and there that I suspect might have been wrong ones.  Then again, maybe they were right ones but I'm letting my imagination get carried away.
Then again, it doesn't matter.  'cause here I am.
I'm a bit different than I planned on being.  Chubbier for certain.  Less vain, less interested in "stuff," less concerned about immediate gratification. 
I now go out in public sans make-up  For reals.  I rarely apply mascara on my days off.  I think young women are beautiful simply because youth is beautiful but I don't think I need to look like them to feel beautiful.  I think the external beauty of youth is the compensation for the lack of internal beauty that only comes with time and experience.  I used to think that the internal beauty of age was compensation for the external beauty of youth lost with time and experience. 
I look forward to having grandchildren. I am comfortable with the adults my kids are, even when they don't look like the adults I planned on them being.  I think a day spent resting is a day well-spent.  I don't exaggerate the work of keeping house.  I have very little interest in eating out.  I don't suck in my stomach. I see and hear and feel God more easily and my ideas about what heaven will be become more wonderful all the time.
I can only eat half of a Wendy's hamburger now.  And yet, chubby.  Go figure.
I don't get angry as easily as I used to, it passes more quickly and I rarely feel the need to express it. 
I wear tank tops despite my arms looking like the bat signal when I stand in the sun.
I worry about different things; people without air conditioning in the summer time, soldiers in combat, living a life that doesn't point people toward God.  I don't worry about having enough money to retire or what will become of my children or who will be president.
I'm keenly aware of things like my beautiful backyard and my sweet dog.
Things like making meals or hosting family gatherings or baking cookies have turned from burdensome work to joyous satisfaction in being able to.
Other people see empty nests and the chance to take care of their children as history.  I see no end to mothering my sons and with a better income and calmer spirit, I see opportunities to give what I might not have been able to give when they were children.
I was going to be a skinny sexy Joyce Meyer.
I'm an overweight baker of birthday cakes.
Wrong turns or just where I was intended to be?
Still not sure but not worried about it.  When I arrived, God was here.
Psalm 146: 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. 5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. 6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. 7 He upholds the cause of the oppressedand gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, 8 the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


1. Cool morning and a cup of coffee, both lovely.
2. Slept through the night after only about four hours on Thursday night.
3. One more week until a much needed vacation.
4. Ann Arbor Art Fair happening now...without me!
5. I have to do a little shopping for vacation; I kind of hate shopping.
6. Rockstar Mayhem Festival tomorrow at DTE...WITHOUT ME!
7. Tonight is Mac's last night working on the floor until vacation, praying that it's quiet and safe. 
8. I have cramps, I thought you should know.
9. Trying hard not to read the books on my Kindle until vacation.
10. I am now turning off my computer and turning on real life  :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This land was made for you and me!

Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Lake Superior shoreline
Summertime=Vacation time!
We've never indulged in expensive vacations.   Mostly because we ain't never had the money to do so ;) As the years have rolled by, I find that it's not only the money that defines our vacation plans.  I have very little desire for the exotic and foreign destinations that seem to be the preference of most people.  I think I could probably vacation within the borders of Michigan for the rest of my life and never yearn for anything more.  Let's say, for the sake of argument, I actually left my home state?  The United States of America, that's next on my list.  Seriously, the absolute dream vacation?  An RV and enough time (and $$) to tour the entire country.  From California to the New York Island, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf stream waters.  Maine to the Keys.  Everywhere in between.  Appalachia, Ozarks, the Rockies.  The Mississippi River on an old fashioned river boat.  Mt. Rushmore, Washington DC...the possibilities are endless!
Have I mentioned Hawaii and Alaska?  That's almost foreign!
I'm not big on air travel either.  I love a car ride.  I love stopping for breakfast and back on the road as the sun rises and then looking for a town with a hotel and a good restaurant for the night. 
As the world has become more complicated and less friendly, I've turned even more toward the U.S.A.  I look for Michigan-made products and I think it's important to keep our economy going.  The way I see it, vacations on domestic soil are investments in our own prosperity.
Am I fundamentally opposed to cruises or foreign vacations?  Absolutely not.  I'm not even saying you'll never see me broadening my own horizons.  My mom and sister took a dream trip to Italy last year.  I loved that!  I mean, I loved them going. I loved that they had a dream and they fulfilled it, together.  I am amazed and fascinated at the pictures and at the history they saw first hand.  I mean, to stand where the Apostle Paul stood!  Zowie! 
Jay and I talk about going to England someday.  It just might happen.  Ireland looks gorgeous and lush and green (three of my favorite things in a country.)  France?  Well, I got no interest in France.  God bless their hearts. 
There is, for sure, a great big beautiful world...God's amazing creation...out there for our pleasure.  I'm often advised that I'm missing out on some amazing experiences and that's probably true.
But I'm a simple girl.  I'm so simple that when I stand on the shore of Lake Michigan I cry; every single time.  I take pride in Michigan cherries and apples as though I personally tend the orchards that grow them.  When I'm having a bad day (or week or month or year,)  I always always want to get on I-94 and drive west across the state to just soak in the wonderfulnesss.  Give me an Egg McMuffin and a McDonald's coffee, point me toward Up North and I'll never give a second thought to an umbrella drink served on a perfect ocean beachfront. 
Naturally, now, we must know...
What's your vacation philosophy?
Maybe I'm just such a homebody that even on vacation, I long for home.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Whatsoever Wednesday

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8

I was thinking of this scripture the other day...whatsoever things are...and it reminded me of similar words that go through my mind when I am frustrated...whatever!  What a difference a few letters make.  What if, in my frustration, I changed my reaction from that aggravated statement, "Whatever!" to a holy perspective.  What potential for healing, joy and wisdom might be found in shifting the paradigm in those moments to consciously and purposefully running a spiritual inventory of the honest, just, pure, lovely, good virtuous and of the ultimate expression of wonderful;  praise.
If darkness and light cannot exist together, the darkness must flee in the presence of light.  So then, it stands to reason, frustration would flee in the presence of all of that goodness.  I've been praying lately for some increase in wisdom, some better way to be.  I want a higher level of closeness to God. I want to live a life of hind's (deer) feet in high places.

The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
 Habakkuk 3:19

Sometimes we mistakenly believe that in the pursuit of things holy, we have to lose interest in everything in the world.  I would argue that we must stop pursuing things the world has to offer.  The world, as in the creation of God and the world, as in the people of it, are two different things.  The world is a lovely place when we train our eyes on the good creation of the Lord.  But it is divided, it is struggling against submission to its creator and the arrogance of men.  The problem is that instead of thinking of ourselves as an offering to the world, we give ourselves credit for what we accomplish. 

So I propose Whatsoever Wednesdays.  I'm going to offer something every Wednesday that I find renewing and refreshing, things that would fit into the Philippians list. Sometimes the items might be obviously spiritual and other times, they will be the stuff that just brings me happiness.  Because I believe that the stuff in the second category is spiritual too. 

Today's Whatsoever Thing?

Long car rides in pretty places.  Charming neighborhoods, state parks, country roads, whatsoever is your thing.  Inexpensive as you make it.  For me, a couple of bologna sandwiches in a cooler and a cup of coffee in a thermos makes it all the simpler and sweeter.  Planning ahead just enough to make some cookies or lemonade to go with; ahhhh!  A day trip, a long weekend or a week on the road.  If you aren't sure where to start, try your state's web site.  Michigan has tons of road trips. If you're trying to think of a post for today, and you've taken one of these car rides, would you share?  I'd love to hear about your version of today's Whatsoever Thing!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Love, Honor and Vacuum...

I find myself, of late, spending a lot less time on the computer.  I think it's good to give my mind some rest and opening up the laptop is certainly not relaxing.  Plus, every time I log on, I am compelled to check on work stuff and that is certainly not relaxing!
That said, there are almost limitless resources online that are good for us!  Ideas, inspiration, recipes...It goes on forever it seems.  A person would need a good deal of time combing through the junk to find stuff that is worthwhile so I'm here to help you out!  One of my favorite ways to find the happy corners of the Internet is to link through the blogs of people I know and trust.  In so doing, I ended up here yesterday~

I just discovered this blog yesterday and spent about 20 minutes reading but I enjoyed the author's Christian woman perspective.  Between you and me, Christian women's blogs don't usually catch my interest.  I'm adding To Love, Honor and Vacuum to my favorites.  If you're looking for something to read today, give this blog a try!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A time to mourn...

The Mr. has four half siblings from his dad's first marriage, two sisters and two brothers.  On Saturday afternoon, his brother Dennis passed away after a long illness.  For the three surviving siblings of, this is the loss of their dad, mom and brother in a year in a half. 
Please pray for the family as they make arrangements for their brother. 
Thank you.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy birthday to my mom!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Responsibility in fragility

I seem to have, of late, become rather fragile!
I've got an ulcer, who would have ever imagined I'd have an ulcer?  I have insomnia, well, that's not a big surprise but still.  I take Wellbutrin for depression, which is a God-send...I never realized how crummy I felt till I stopped feeling so crummy :)
As he was reading my scope results, my doctor said, "I'd never have guessed you're so stressed out.  You look so relaxed and well-adjusted." Ha!
I am well aware of the source of my stress, it's spelled W-O-R-K.  And I've always really loved my work so that's aggravating.  I have no desire to work in another field but I also preferred my belly without a hole in it.  In discussing my current fragile status, a few people have suggested it is time to move on to something less stressful.  Or a short-term leave.  I'm not willing to do that (although at times, it sounds like a fine idea.)  Frankly,  I think going on a leave would stress me more.
As is always true, the cure to my ills is more time in prayer.  More time meditating on God and letting go of the stress.  The stress will never be gone, I am in the wrong business if that's what I need.  But I am completely sure that God can manage it, and me.   Ideally, I'll wake up some morning and be immune to worry and anxiety.  But that's not gonna happen.  I have to take responsibility for myself.  I am not managing myself appropriately and that's on me.  I will not use the current state of my body as an excuse to make my world smaller and smaller until it's so small that all of the potential that God poured into me becomes hidden away in my small world. There's an advantage of my work, I know that hiding away from the hard stuff doesn't make for a better life. It just makes you more and more afraid of what you can't handle until you fear that you can't handle anything.  And there is so much great stuff in the anythings! 
I pray for my insomnia to be put to rest (ha!) I pray for my belly to heal.  My depression, well.  This is going to bother a lot of you and I apologize in advance, but I sort of "accept" that.  Like the Apostle Paul, I have a thorn in my flesh and I am at peace should God choose to leave it as a reminder that I am reliant on him.
However, I need to sleep and not walk around trying to breathe through the pukes.
I'll get there, I'm sure of it.  I will learn lessons I didn't even know I needed to learn and I'll get better and I will keep right on this path until the Lord changes my course.
I'm ready to find the strength and wisdom to become the person I need to be.
If I don't become that person, there is one less heart reaching out to help someone else become that person who is one less heart to help someone else become that person...
See what I mean? 
I am responsible.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Asylum & The Shoe People

A place offering protection and safety; a shelter.

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.
Acts 4:32

Someone asked me just last week why people who work in mental health seem to get burned out.  I can only speak for myself, and I won't deny experiencing burn-out.  It's because the needs of our patients are so all-consuming.  Mental illness takes away potential, motivation and support.  It wears out loved ones and steers people in destructive directions. 
The burn-out, for me, became apparent a while ago when someone stopped me in the hall to, well, to chew me out.  It was a co-worker, a nice guy in fact.  A guy who doesn't work directly with patients but who certainly has a great deal of compassion for them.  One of the adult patients had been discharged and this gentleman noticed the man leaving without a pair of shoes.  In his mind, this shouldn't have happened and it was my fault.  Nurse manager and all, I guess I am supposed to be all-knowing and ever able to meet every need.
You don't have to do that in traditional health care, not often at least.
The word of the patient without shoes spread and although there was no malice, lots of people looked at me and asked me how I let this happen.  I went home and cried.  Any number of people could have gone to the store and bought the patient shoes, but at the end of the day, it was more or less agreed that it was my responsibility.  And thus, The Shoe People.
I got on Facebook and on this blog and begged.  I'll be honest, I was partially motivated by my love for the mentally ill and partially because I was fed up with being the one blamed when things like shoeless discharges or people without a warm coat for the winter.  Frankly, I resented it.  I I I, it became about me and I suppose God used my self-centeredness to inspire this outreach.  It was almost a year go that I asked for your shoes.
And goodness, did you respond!  Shoes on my door step, shoes from people at church, shoes in the mail!  Money for shoes!  And then I pushed a little bit harder (it wasn't very hard) and there were coats and clothes and sweaters and hats and even bras! 
And still more monetary donations.
Then I said we need children's pajamas and clothing and there is now a mountain literally to the ceiling in my office of children's clothes. 
This week we have an autistic child on our unit who is nonverbal.  He uses sign language to communicate and we have an interpreter there most of the day but the staff need to be able to "talk" to him.  They want to get to know him so they can establish a rapport and really reach him.  So I thought, why not ask The Shoe People?
I put a post on Facebook asking for a volunteer to teach our staff sign language.  I think it took about thirty seconds to get a reply.  My sweet friend Yvonne stepped up and offered to volunteer.  I'm not a bit surprised.  We've been friends for about 200 years and I know this chick, she is a servant to the core. 
At meetings when we identify needs that we never thought we could meet, the leadership turns to me..."Shoe People?"
I'll admit, I worry sometimes that the Shoe People will get tired of this whole thing and one day, the well will dry up.  That's not faith talking, that's the burned-out psychiatric nurse.  Because really, the Shoe People are the hands and feet of God, and his well never runs dry. 
I take this work that I do seriously.  I lose sleep over it.  I have a hole in my gut to prove it.  Yeah, I'm not coping in exemplary manner.  But the Shoe People are teaching me that where there is a need, there is a provider.  A Provider.
We need, we need, we need.  We are almost out of clothes and low on shoes.  Winter is going to come again and we'll need coats and hats and gloves.  Some of our ladies want purses.  Purses!  I would've put that request out of my mind at one time, but not now.  God wants to gives us the smallest desires of our hearts, the tiniest things that will make life sweeter.
So I suspect some Shoe People will be dropping off some purses pretty soon.
Every time I see a patient receive a pair of shoes or an article of clothing (or a book, we need books too!), I get the push I need for the next step. 
I think about stopping, leaving psychiatry.  Finding a job somewhere else, where I can take care of my patients and send them on their way without finding them something to wear. 
I wish, sometimes, that I didn't have to figure out how to communicate with a nonverbal Autistic kid.  Because I just don't have enough to offer, I just don't have the money and the wisdom to find the answers. 
Tomorrow we'll discuss Yvonne's sign language classes and schedule them.  Already word is spreading and people are feeling a renewed hope and excitement.  We could never afford to send everyone to ASL (American Sign Language) training but now we have this opportunity and we are so grateful.  
I went to the doctor today to follow up on my scope.  "Significant bleeding ulcer, looks pretty nasty."  More medicine, keep up the diet changes,  decrease your stress.  Need to schedule a sleep study, insomnia still a problem.  Heart rate staying a little too high, probably because of the discomfort in my gut.
I got in my car and thought, "I've got to get out of this, it's wearing me out."
Then Mac called, telling me about learning to sign so he can work with these kids more effectively.
And God touched the heart of the Shoe People.
I'm not done with this work but I am learning that I am arrogant to think I can do it alone.  I'm going to keep asking for what we need and I'm going to keep talking about the Shoe People and I'm going to learn, one day at a time, to stop worrying that I won't be able to do what needs doing.  Because I won't. 
But we will.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter...
Psalm 74:17

Saturday, July 07, 2012

I yi yi yi!

1. I wear my tank tops backwards, too low cut worn the "right" way.
2. I love crushed ice and half of any citrus fruit with ice water (lemon, lime, orange.)
3. I save left over coffee and use it to water my plants afer it cools.
4. I watch Criminal Minds and The Big Bang Theory reruns.
5. I find few things more pleasurable than taking a long drive through the country.
6. I think a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee while enjoying #5 is utter bliss.
7. I know longer feel the need to be "skinny" but I absolutely have to lose some weight.
8. I think hoodies are the perfect article of clothing.
9. I love rivers, creeks and streams.
10. I feel God in the air around me.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

When America was...

After "hiding" the video of a child using profanity from a friend's FB; the following occurs to me...

I think America was a better place when a child's bad behavior embarassed their parents instead of becoming a Facebook post.
When women took pride in keeping house instead of laughing about their inability to cook.
When men took pride in being strong for their women instead of looking for a way out.
When daycare didn't exist because it wasn't needed.
When people lived with outdated furniture because it was still in good condition.
When companies took care of their employees with health insurance.
When a hard day's work to earn health insurance was a reasonable expectation.
When "Go cut me a switch" meant you were going to pay the consequence for your actions,
When "Spanking a child teaches violence" still sounded stupid,
And when hitting and spanking were understood to be two different things.
When we believed that strength of character was necessary in our leaders.
When we didn't dismiss our shortcomings by calling them disorders.
When Bibles were the centerpieces of coffee tables.
When birthday parties happened in backyards.
When there were bedtimes and Sunday dinners and looking your age was a thing of beauty.
I miss what we were. I take responsibility for what I am. 
I think America was a better place when we all did.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy fourth of July!  We are planning a very quiet and very relaxing day at home.  Nothing exciting, which is exactly how we like it.  We have the shades drawn to keep the cool in and the heat out and we are going to enjoy a day with nothing demanding our attention. 
Tomorrow is EGD day, by the way!  That's enough excitement for the week ;)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The taste of dirt & green

As I sat down with my weekend breakfast of eggs with herbs from my herb garden, I had an epiphany...
Autumn smells like cinnamon, pumpkin & apples.
Winter smells like nutmeg, vanilla & ginger.
Spring smells like citrus & lilacs.
Summer smells like green & dirt.

I am a great fan of food with a good old fashioned hint of dirt on the tongue.  Not dirt as in one has not washed ones greens.  Dirt as in, this was just plucked from the ground a moment ago and it tastes nice and green.  If you don't know what green tastes like, well, I am very sorry for you.

I love herbs, love love love 'em.  I love the way they smell so much I sometimes put a bunch of fresh cut herbs on my kitchen table like normal people would put a vase of flowers.  Doesn't matter what kind, whatever is overflowing is what makes it onto the table.  I have spearmint and peppermint planted around my Spruce tree and a container garden of wonderful at my back porch.  Those spiky things in the middle are garlic chives...GARLIC CHIVES!  It's almost more than one can bear.  And they come back year after year and have survived my less than gentle transplant method of yanking them from here and cramming in there.  Around the chives are oregano, basil, dill, rosemary, parsley and summer savory.  I don't know exactly what summer savory is but it smells summery and savory-y.  Did you know that pretty much any old fresh herb can be put in scrambled eggs and it will be a breakfast miracle?  Don't take my word for it, try it!

And don't even get me started on fresh berries.  The raspberries and blackberries are just starting to plump up and I can scarcely stop from standing at the berry patch and eating them just as they turn slightly less green.  Again, a little dirt on a berry makes it taste better.

If you do no gardening whatsoever, if you hate the very idea of the outdoors, if you buy your lettuce precut and washed and in a bag (egad!)...grow a little pot of parsley and your world will be all the better for it. 

Sunday, July 01, 2012