Saturday, September 13, 2014

7 Reasons You Should Vote for My Boss...

1. There's a community competition going on right now for a "better life" award.  
2. Dr. Halloran, one of the heart surgeons for whom I attempt to work, was nominated for his outstanding bedside manner with his patients and their family members.  (This compassionate nature was re-emphasized last Monday when he finished surgery at 1am and still took time to sit and talk with the patient's family after a 19-hour day.)
3. You can read the story I wrote at the link below, or if that's too much trouble, you can just vote with your morning coffee. (He approved my accurate story reluctantly, saying it was too kind.)
4. If he wins the award, he chooses a non-profit organization to receive the prize money.  (If he doesn't, his most inexperienced staff will be drug off to surgery without anesthesia for the medical students to practice on...VOTE, I said!)
5. It's easy! Just click on the link below. You don't even have to give your name. Voting continues until September 24th. Competition was fierce the last time they let us see total votes! 
6. When I was threatening to submit my story, I told him he might be too famous to win. They probably want to award an ordinary person who hasn't already been on a billboard. But it never hurts to try...
7. Thank you!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

After several weeks of McDonald's and junk food, 7 Reasons to Begin Again!

  1. The scale.  (How can an inanimate object be so annoying, yet so inspiring?!)
  2. The lean cardiologists I bump into around the hospital, who spend their days counseling people who eat like I've been eating lately and are DYING BECAUSE OF IT.   Dr. Westerhausen's voice in particularly drifts up to me out of my McDonald's bag like an uncanny echo caught in the paper and foil.  If I'm ordering a Jalapeno Burger, I can't seem to escape the nagging fear of looking up and seeing one of them.  The only thing that makes this fear unrealistic? They probably don't know what McDonald's is, or where you would find one. 
  3. The ladies at my church, who try to stay accountable and disciplined, or share their own struggles to eat nutritious food.
  4. My co-worker Christine, who goes home and exercises even after long days in the operating room.
  5. C.S. Lewis, who said,

    “You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again...Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again.” 

  6. Jesus Christ, that great champion of calm self-denial.                "...You who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus who was faithful to him who appointed him..." Hebrews 3:1-2

Saturday, August 30, 2014

7 Ways I Survive Meetings

There's nothing as intolerable as a long meeting. The key to survival, I've learned, is to take notes on everything.  

People watching probably think, what an attentive nurse, taking minutes!



I might be.....

1.)  Taking notes on or sketching the postures of the important people around me...
  • Torso slouched low in chair, legs on the table in front of him.  
  • Head bent forward, wire-rimmed glasses sliding down bridge of nose.  
  • Standing on the sidelines, lithe and lean against a pillar.  
  • Never still, face in hands, then lounging back in his chair with his hands cradling one knee, changing position with every change of subject in the meeting. 

2.)  Matching drink and food choices to personalities.... 
  • A yellow Rockstar energy drink aluminum can, now empty.  It crashes against the table as a prop in the hands of a gesturing doctor who's spouting frustration. 
  • Water in a clear plastic glass, in the hands (of course) of that lean cardiologist by the pillar. 
  • Cinnamon roll muffin, bitten apart by a surgeon.
  • Banana, carefully peeled and eaten by a physician's assistant who exercises at the end of 15 hour days.
  • Slice of red velvet cake, selected by a female doctor whom everyone likes.  This instantly makes eating cake okay.

3.) Making lists of great vocabulary words...  The beauty of doctors is they don't use big words to sound cool.  They just choose the best-fitting word, and it often sounds cool, sliding out seamlessly. 
  • Disingenuous.  
  • Incumbent.  
  • Onerous. 
  • Supratentorial. 

4.)  Noting clothes...  Apart from the rainbow of shorts, blue-green surgery scrubs, dress shirts, and white lab coats, there are the stethoscope people and the non-stethoscope people. The stethoscope people wear their stethoscope like an extra neck muscle.  

5.)  Watching people respond to or conceal electronics...
  • Pagers going off (which is okay) and cell phones going off (which is not okay).
  • Fingers sweeping across glass screens, or picking out quick texts held low against the tables.
6.) Listing interesting remarks....
  • "Too much whining and we need more action."  
  • "It's like walking into the Department of Motor Vehicles: you gotta have your crap there or they'll send you home." 

7.) My advice, the next time you are in a meeting....prevent early death  by boredom! 
Take notes!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

7 Reasons I Love "The Hole"

I bought two pieces of discount furniture the other day.  Together, they cost $800, which is a lot of money for me, but certainly not extravagant when it comes to furniture.  

The delivery guys arrived and brought everything in.  

"I looked at your address," the one said, "and I thought, I don't think anyone in that neighborhood has $800!  Who bought this?" 

He made me laugh. I didn't tell him this area is called, "The Hole", although he probably knew that. But he also made me remember what I love about the Brady Street neighborhood.

1.)  I love the pioneer spirit of my neighbors for whom English is a second language, who are finding their place in this new world.  I love how my street clears out at 5am with nearly everyone leaving for work.  I love how the melting pot of skin tones and languages creates a down-to-earth practical atmosphere, giving our neighborhood Martin's supermarket a distinct stamp of originality that can't be experienced at the Martin's in Nappanee, Goshen, or Granger.  

2.) I love my neighbor whose name I don't know who walks his three dogs with the curled tails who must be some kind of husky.  I've tried to speak to him before, but he seems to like his privacy.  I love how he lives his own life and doesn't worry about keeping up with anyone. 

3.) I love the spontaneity of the clusters of people and cats walking up and down the back alley that runs behind my house. Social norms are irrelevant to both species.  And I too like being able to walk everywhere: to the grocery store, the post office, the Corner Cafe, and to work. 

4.) I love the generosity of my Hispanic neighbors, who press plates of tortillas and steak into my hands.  I love the generosity of my neighbor Mary, who cooks up a storm of cakes and soups and salads whenever she's in danger of having company.  I love the generosity of my neighbor Judy, who lent me her baby stroller for my audacious baby-sitting venture last week. 

5.) I love my neighbor John, who carefully steps around the neighborhood with his cane, the clogged arteries of his heart lately bypassed by my boss, Dr. Halloran.  His daily walks around the neighborhood are an inspiration to many people.  Speaking of our generous Hispanic neighbors, they have also taken him in.  The other day there was a picnic in the back yard, complete with paper party hats balanced on the heads of adults and a discordant rendition of "Happy Birthday".  When I walked out to my car a bit later, the neighbors stopped me to hand a giant piece of cake over the chain link fence: it was John's birthday, and they had thrown him a party, and would I like a piece of cake?  

6.) I love the parents who spend time with their kids at the park...a dad holding a baby, a mom catching a child on the slide.  People on Brady Street take time with their families.  Perhaps the work ethic standard is not high....but there's a great privilege in being able to sit on your porch and chat, and wave at the neighbors going by.  

7.) I won't lie:  my neighborhood is also home to empty beer bottles and staggering drinkers.... kids in the playground yelling, "I don't ever see my dad either, and do you see me crying? NO! I f****** hate my dad!"....adults who seem to compete to see how many times that previous word can be used in a sentence....shocking obscenities shouted across the street.... neighbors calling the police because of the crack dealer next door....all the things the furniture delivery guy meant.  

But what I love in this is that the peace in my heart is more precious to me when I see these things....the conviction that God is good becomes more real....the privilege I had to grow up in shelter and safety means desire to be a transparent conduit of God's love grows stronger. 

God's light is stronger than the deepest darkness!  And that is where it shines most brightly. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

7 Observations of an Out-of-Practice Babysitter

"Sure, I'll babysit for 8 hours!"  I told my neighbor confidently.  Any human can figure out how to take care of a baby!

A friend text me her support:  And they left you with these babies??? Are they nuts? 

I assured her it was only one baby, and any human is smart enough to figure it out.  But I ended the sentence with a question mark.  Surely any human is smart enough to figure it out? 

Are we? 

1. Algebra:  Taking groceries into the house becomes algebraic when you have a baby along. A.) Do I take the groceries into the house and leave the baby in the car? B.) Do I take the groceries in last and leave the baby in the house?  C.) Is it within the realm of possibility to carry the baby continuously while taking in groceries?

2. Geometry:  Putting a baby horizontally on their stomach does not have the same effect burp-wise as holding the baby vertically.  When you put them vertical again, they will resume vomiting profusely.  

3. Nutritional Science:  How do you know when a baby needs another bottle? I'm pretty sure in eight hours that my baby had as many carbohydrates as a grown man needs in a day, just because I couldn't think of what else to do.  Is it possible to overfeed a baby? 

4. Solutes and Solvents:  Speaking of bottles, they are complicated.  It's best to put the water in the bottle first, then the powdered formula.  Just take my word for it.  

5.  Gymnastics: Another bottle complication: usually the bottle is being made because the baby is crying or unhappy.  Picking the baby up makes the baby happy, but giving it a bottle might make it happier. So is it reasonable to temporarily cause unhappiness by setting the baby down so you can make the bottle?  Or are super baby people able to make a bottle of formula while safely holding the baby? 

6.  Time Management Strategies: Keeping a baby for the afternoon doesn't sound like a lot of work at all, and there should be plenty of time to do other productive things while the baby is happily playing with his toes.  Why didn't I get anything productive done?

7.  Spirituality:  That baby, arching his back defiantly because he doesn't think he wants to be rocked, is just like me.  My arms, firmly around him, are just like the God I thought I knew.  We fight God, because we are sure we know better, but in his mercy, he holds us tight until we quit struggling and finally surrender to the best life we could ever live.  We understand God's plan no better than the baby understands ours!  (Although in this case, I can't blame the baby if he was skeptical!)

"Was he good?" Mom asked when she came to pick him up.  

I wasn't sure how to answer that.  The question of goodness was more about me.  Was I good at it?  

Thankfully, she didn't ask that! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

7 wonders of the porch...

Screened in porches.  Cluttered porches.  Painted porches, wooden porches. Porches filled with people. 

Odd trend noticed when on foot: the nicer the house, the less chance there is actually someone sitting on the porch.  Is having a nice porch worth it if you never have time to sit on it?

Two men sit drinking coffee in the morning sunlight on their porch smile at me and we exchange waves. There's a rich culture behind sitting on the porch, one that ambitious, busy people can learn from.

This afternoon, a young neighbor lady of mine invited me to come over. 
"What are you doing?" I asked. 
"Just sitting on the porch," she said.  
I went.  

So many favorite life moments occur on porches.  Take for example:

1. Music and Coffee
 2. Stretching

 3. Flowers
4. Ice Cream

5. Light

 6. The moon

7. Sleeping 

Good night!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

7 Best Texts of the Week July 27-August 2

In reviewing my phone, favorite texts from favorite people: 
1.) Sunday: "I call those moments hugs from God!"

2.)  Monday:  "So how many points is 3 ears of corn with probably 1 1/2 T of butter plus salt? :(" 

3.)  Tuesday:  "Were vs we're. Their vs there vs they're.  Never trust spell check."

4.)  Wednesday: "2:15 [am] tomorrow" (Question: "When do you get up?") 

5.) Thursday: 

6.)  Friday:  " You want a 4th?  We have a critter that I'm sure is part tiger and part dog but was born to a cat..."

7.) Saturday: "You into bumming around with [us] tonight?" 

P.S....Saying yes to the last turned out to be a disaster... but that's a story I won't be able to tell publicly for years to come!

Have a great new week!