Sunday, April 30, 2006

My favoritest baby ever!

Friday night I hung out with my cousins Jon and Heather and their 7 month old daughter Kelli. Here she is at her Little Swimmer class at the YMCA. Isn't she the cutest? It was so fun to be with family and have QBT (quality baby time)!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I had a good day, then a bad day, then a good day

Today was the day from hell, or at least 11:20 am until 3:40 pm was. I had to do an emergency respite care admission to a nursing home for one of my patients. I won't bore you with all the details and drama. Needless to say, anything that could go wrong, did go wrong. The worst part? It should have taken a half hour at the most! This was the first time I've had to do a respite care admission, which I admit is kind of shocking. It doesn't come up that often in hospice but you'd think I would have done one by now. And now that I've survived, I'm pretty sure I never want to do it again! Oh well. You live, you learn. At least most of what went wrong was not my fault. When I called my nurse Beth to follow up on the patient, I told her I felt like the worst social worker in the world (I was slightly emotional by that point.) She proceeded to make my day- she said I was one of the best social workers on the team and that no one else would go to as much effort as I was! She could have just been saying it because I was in a bad mood but I'm choosing to believe her. The family and caregiver was happy with me, Beth was happy me, it seemed to turn out all right in the end. Putting it into perspective: yesterday was my 7 month anniversary with my employer. This was my first bad day/afternoon. The past 7 months haven't been all pinky skipping and lollipops but, for the most part, I continue to enjoy my job.
Case in point...little "Manny's" mom died Tuesday night. After the respite fiasco, I headed over to her wake. The boys are doing OK. Manny came right over to me when he saw I was there. He showed me his new Bible (he read all about heaven) and the remembrance stone. Then he told me that he had drawn a picture of his mom's face and that made him feel better when he felt sad. We talked for a little while and then I gave him a big hug. I talked to the family for awhile and they really affirmed my role and confirmed once again that this is where I'm supposed to be. The biggest compliment was when the patient's sister "Lola" said she wished that I could follow the boys into bereavement because they had responded so well to me. I would do it in a heartbeat if my boss would allow me too. Unfortunately, we can't do much follow up after a patient dies, the bereavement department takes over and we occasionally hear updates. It was nice to hear that I'd made a difference in their lives, at least for this one point in time.
My day started out busy but good, turned bad and crazy, and ended up affirming and encouraging. I'm still on the right path and God keeps giving me strength each day to somehow do this job.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Breaking my heart

Today I started prebereavement counseling for a 6 year old boy. His mother is dying of brain cancer. I met with his 14 year old brother on Friday and today was little "Manny's" turn. We talked about school and other fun things and then I had to take the conversation in a more serious direction. "What do you think about what's happening with your mom?" Softly he replied, "it makes me sad." My heart broke in two. It seems so unbearably wrong that a child should go through this experience. We talked about what he does when he feels sad (he talks to his teacher, his dad, or his aunts) and he showed me a special box with a remembrance stone his mother gave him. She told him that whenever he is sad he should look at the stone and she will be with him. And when the stone or talking to his family doesn't work, I hopefully gave him a new tool that will help. Manny loves to draw. I asked him to tell me about the best day of his life. With tears running down his face, he talked about a special day he had with his mom. We talked about how sometimes it is hard to remember the happy times when we're feeling sad. I asked him to draw a happy memory and whenever he feels sad, he should look at the drawing or draw a new happy memory. Art therapy is an amazing tool for kids and Manny responded really well. After we had talked for awhile, I just gave him a hug and let him cry. And that seemed to be enough.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Best game ever!

Pictures from the White Sox vs. Twins game last night. Jill and I somehow scored amazing seats. We were one section over from the bullpen- and I made eye contact with A.J. Pierzynski and Bobby Jenks! Be still my heart! Even better, the Sox killed the Twins, winning 9-2. And to top the evening off, we had a spectacular fireworks show. Life is good!

Freddy Garcia warms up, AJ shows off his new haircut

Penny for my thoughts

My friend Todd refers to his girlfriend as his Ladyfriend. Does that mean that I can refer to my future boyfriend as my Gentleman Caller?

Jill and I got the pretty girl discount on the train yesterday. We're feeling pretty good about ourselves:)

In my dream the other night...I had to go to Best Buy to purchase a present for a family member. While shopping I was really tempted to buy a few CDs for myself but decided to stick to my budget and held off. I bought a movie for the family member and when I was leaving, a Best Buy manager gave me a $125 gift card to the store as some sort of Customer Appreciation thing they were doing. I was all like, God is rewarding me for sticking to my budget! Then later I had to go back to Best Buy and the manager gave me another $125 gift card. I was in CD-buying heaven! Also, Best Buy appeared to have a large selection of board games. I figured I should stock up on those for the new apartment.

P.S. to the Gat: Thank you for my prize! Isobel Campbell is like the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Being patient- not one of my spiritual gifts

God has been teaching me about patience lately. And I have to tell you I am more than ready for this lesson to end, which probably means that I'll be learning patience for a while to come. Something about being patient while I learn patience...

I know that God's timing is so much better than my own. I also know that my hopes and dreams are not bad in and of themselves. All I'm asking for is that God help me out with one of them. Just one! He's not ready for me to get married? All right, then off I go to Ireland, land of leprechans, Guinness, and unmatched beauty (at least that's what the pictures tell me). No Ireland? OK, I'll put the money into my dream home! What's that God? Don't buy a dream home because I'm getting married to my dream man? Well, if you say so! Am I really asking for too much? I don't think so. I'm ready for some time of blessing!

At the same time, I don't want to miss out on the best by settling for the immediate or almost as good. So I have to sit back, pray a lot more, and trust once again that God really does have it all figured out. In the end, it's not about me. It's about bringing glory to His name and I wouldn't have it any other way. Now on the other hand, if you want to help me out by sending me to Ireland, putting a down payment on a house, or introducing me to my husband, I'm not going to stop you. Not one bit!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Confessions of a Muggle

I love Harry Potter! I've just read the first 3 books in a two week period and I'll be starting book 4 tonight. It's not an obsession. Yet.


Last night I was flipping through the sales catalog of my former employer, a Christian bookstore. I like to stay on top of what's happening in Christianland. And then I discovered another reason why I'm so glad I no longer work in Christian retail...Bear with me, you need the back story before I can fill you in on the reason for my disbelieving laughter.
It's a little known fact that the Left Behind series was originally intended to only be 5 or 6 books. After the success of the first 3, Tyndale decided to extend the series to 12 books total. You can tell the difference with Soul Harvest (# 4), very lengthy and yet leaving the reader with the feeling that nothing had really happened. Wait, didn't I just read a 300 page book? Still, I stuck in for a couple more, hoping that the series would get back to its original style. Yet, after book 6, Assassins I finally had to throw in the towel. The authors, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, sold out what could have been decent fiction for money, leaving us with useless fluff. I moved on to better and brighter books, yet customers continued to buy into the Left Behind series, somewhat like lambs being led to the slaughter. I mean, did they not realize the drivel for what it was? (No offense, if you are a fan of the series!) Each remaining book was released. I was looking forward to the final 12th book, thinking the madness would finally be over. Only to learn that Tyndale was going to release some prequels and postquels, 3 each. Never heard of a postquel? Me either. It's like a sequel, but maybe cooler.
Anyway, in that time, I've left the bookstore and become gainfully employed in my field. I've left Left Behind alone and thankfully, it has left me alone too. Until last night.
Tyndale has steadily released the first 2 books in the prequel series (Before They Were Left Behind). And now, this June we can be prepared for the final prequel: The Rapture. Not only is it coming out in June- here's the best part. It will be released 6/6/6! Hurray for the genius marketing team at Tyndale! The date couldn't be any more perfect. And if LaHaye and Jenkins are really lucky, maybe we will all be raptured and no one will have to suffer through reading that book! Otherwise we'll have to gear up for the postquels and I can only imagine where they'll go with that.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I'd feel sorry for them but...

I had to chuckle when I read this recap of the White Sox game last night against the Kansas City Royals:

Guillen rested several of his regulars after six innings, putting Ross Gload in for Konerko, Pablo Ozuna for Crede and Alex Cintron for Thome.
"That was a good opportunity to do it," Guillen said. "Crede has played every day besides Spring Training. Obviously, Thome didn't need that at-bat. Besides that, I wanted to give my bench some at-bats."

Ozzie was so confident after just 6 innings he could afford to play the benchwarmers! How great is that? They went on to win 9-0. Even better, they socked the Royals again tonight! Let's go go go White Sox!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Reflections

We watched a special video featuring part of this sermon at our Good Friday and Easter services. I'm not sure who preached this originally but it is still powerful to read and reflect: "It's Friday. But Sunday is coming." I pray that you had the chance to celebrate Christ's resurrection and consider His gift of grace to us all. Thank God that Sunday came!

It's Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter's denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It's Friday; but Sunday's a coming.
It's Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, "Father, forgive them." It's Friday; but Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, "My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?" What a horrible cry. But Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. And at the moment of Jesus' death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday's coming.
It's Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that's because it's Friday, and they don't know it, but Sunday's a coming.
And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.
Now it's Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn't the only thing that was shaking because now it's Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it's Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it's Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.
It's Sunday, and the crucified/resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It's Sunday. And now everything has changed. It's the age of grace, God's grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it's Sunday.
It's Friday! But Sunday's a Coming!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Awesome T-shirts!

If you feel so inclined, you can order your own shirt from my favorite place: (FYI: You can also check out the original In Dusty We Trusty Design- Chris Festa, the company founder, is one of the biggest Cubs fans ever, which makes the new designs that much funnier!)

God is a sugar daddy?

Interesting line from a book I just finished:
"But to demonstrate that Job served God because he loved God for who He is and not just for the benefits that Sugar Daddy provides, God allowed Satan to attack Job to such a severe degree that the very name Job has become synonymous with undeserved suffering." -Robert Dean Jr. and Thomas Ice

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Work Perks

I was talking to some friends after church about various perks they get through work, from free dinners at fancy restaurants to highly sought tickets to concerts and sporting events. For instance, my friend Ben got to see Coldplay. And he had never even heard of them! When I pointed out that I don't get any such perks at my job, a few pals said that at least I had the option of getting written into a rich patient's will. As unlikely as this is, I had to point out the ethical and moral objections. Not only would my job not allow it, I could lose my license thanks to the ethical boundaries set up through NASW (National Association of Social Workers). It's always sad to rain on someone's parade but I just couldn't allow their fantasy to continue. I may not get the perks that they do but that isn't what makes my job worthwhile. Hearing from patients and families that I have helped them through such a difficult time is enough for me. And when that doesn't cut it, well, there's always the candy, cookies, and homemade fudge...I may have a stressful job at times but I will always be well fed!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Hospice Philosophy

This afternoon we had a staff meeting which included an in-service on some basic guiding principles behind hospice. Just thought I'd share my notes- hopefully you'll get a little more insight behind my work.

6 Principles Necessary in Hospice:
1. Examine my own attitudes about death and dying.
2. Understand the dying process, physically, psychologically, and spiritually
--there is a difference between giving up ("this is a failure") and letting go ("this is timely")
3. Know the difference between curing and healing
--curing: treatment of disease that it might be reversed
--healing: the spiritual process that is the treatment of the person
4. Trust the person's process (basic respect)
5. Don't try to fix the situation or rescue people from their (emotional or spiritual) pain
--I'm not here to fix it, I'm here to be present.
--Don't rob people of their chance to grow
6. Be prepared to meet the other by making room within myself for the other person
--Simply put, don't let my personal life interfere with my professional life.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sights and sounds

Bumper sticker: January 20, 2009. Hang in there, America!
Houlihan's latest promotion: Care for a quickie? Try our nooner. (And this is a family friendly restaurant?!?!)
Name of electrical supply company in Aurora: Effengee (Is that what you say to disrespect a gangsta?)
Recently viewed license plate: Cubnut 1 (It just disturbs me.)
Hi-llarious Christian product (aka Jesus Junk): Carpet for Christ
Currently singing along to: Storyhill and Sufjan Stevens
Currently watching: Lost, Gilmore Girls, and really excited that Alias is almost back. Until it's gone. Michael Vartan, you will be missed.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A few more home opener pictures

White Sox Home Opener

Last night I continued the home opener tradition with Brooke, her family, and the ever widening group of friends. It was an exciting game, it was a wet game. But even the 3 hour rain delay couldn't dampen the spirits of the crowd. In fact, Paul and I came up with a theory- the crowd was so electric during the opening ceremonies and first 3 innings, that we unfortunately lured the lightening. Hopefully that won't happen every game! It's definitely going to be another great season!

Grinder Ball Rule #69: There's always this year. (Well, and last year.)
Grinder Ball Rule #71: If at first you succeed, repeat.

Favorite moments: Getting misty eyed during the 2005 season video recap, the unveiling of the new banners (beautiful!), fly over by bomber planes, getting to see our boys- Paulie, AJ, Scott, Gooch, Crede, and Buehrle- back in action, experiencing the power behind Jim Thome (still missing Aaron Rowand though), and being with a crowd full of people who love the White Sox just as much as I do. Best of all, they won!

Here's Nate, Brooke, Laura, and Paul just before we entered the magical place known as US Cellular Field.

Heh heh, all my worlds are coming together!

From the April Fool's Edition of Sojourners:

By now, you know that God is not a Republican...or a DemocratTM. You also know that over time the stress caused by poor political posture leave you in muscle pain and discomfort.
So why not join Jim Wallis in his latest DVD series"God is not a Republican...or a DemocratTM PILATES"?!
Go deeper than simply nodding your head. Embody the message!!!
Perform quad-tightening plunges that stretch both left and right - and finish down the center*.
Benefit from the "Higher Ground" stimulation exercise adapted from the traditional leg lift!
And that's not ALL! Jim will take you on a course teaching the basic principles of posture, balance and control.
You'll learn how to "work your moral center*" in all your movements.
What are you waiting for??? BUY NOW and feel that liberating burn!
*not to be confused with mushy middle