Saturday, November 22, 2014

When I grow up, seven traits I would like to have... work in stillness, wait in strength...

I find these lyrics surprising.
I though a person needs strength to work, and stillness to wait.  But this writer--Stopford A. Brooke-- is begging God for the ability to work in stillness, wait in strength.  
Maybe Mr. Brooke was like me...frantically flailing through the work day, and then collapsing, comatose.  Maybe he, too, needed the stillness to fight off the work-day craze, but strength to be productive on his own time.

I could use some stillness at work....some stillness of heart when two people need urgent surgery at once, some stillness of spirit when duplicity appears, some stillness of speech with an anxious patient or family member.

I could use some strength when I'm waiting, to recover, to pick up the pieces, to be productive rather than pass out.  

I blabbered to my aunt just tonight about all the traits I wish I had....

When I grow up, I want to eat whole grains and eggs for breakfast and fish and stir-fry for lunch and a salad for dinner and judiciously choose a dessert once every quarter.  

When I grow up, I want to casually run three miles every morning and not even think about it because it's so routine. 

When I grow up, I want to wash my dishes in a timely fashion and always have my laundry neatly folded and never run out of towels because it's been too long since I last did laundry. 

When I grow up, I want to never forget someone's birthday or special occasion, and always have heartfelt things to send to people. 

When I grow up, I want to neatly skim the ice off my November steps and sprinkle them with a hospitable layer of salt, and not leave my frozen geraniums out until Thanksgiving.  

When I grow up, I want to be able to graciously smile despite every offense, every duplicity, every hurt, and curl up under God's shield of protection when the arrows flying at me are just too much for me to handle.

Yes, that's what I want most of all. 

When I grow up, I want to work in stillness, and wait in strength. 

To see the rest of the lyrics, or buy the song from Oasis Chorale

Saturday, November 15, 2014

August 12, 2017, and seven of the beauties I didn't deserve

Lately, I've been getting behind.  I see the book lying there and grab it, hastily scanning my kitchen table for a red pen to jot with.  Sixteen hour days don't motivate you to go home and write deathless prose, to paraphrase Frank McCourt in Teacher Man.

But I still have an entry for almost every day of the last more than two years.  I hope to continue to the end of my five year journal. 

I was looking through it tonight, thinking of the days represented by the sentences I left.  Someone's house fire.  A tragic death.  Moments of turmoil in my life.  Moments of wonder.  Me bemoaning the fact that I eat too much, two years in a row on the same day.  It's good I've conquered that
problem so completely!  (If you think I'm serious, see my last blog.)

Sometime this last year I switched to focus on the best part of the day, the part that I'm most grateful for.  That's when  I started writing in red.  Now, instead of a few sentences about what happened, I try to capture the beautiful moments of the day.

1.)"Breakfast at the Cock-a-Doodle with Lily, Brian, and Byron."
2.) "Swinging on the bench by the river talking to Grandma H.  My life is so crammed with beauty!"

3.) "The Somalian's brother saying he would never forget me and complimenting my modesty." 

4.) "Chris and Christine teasing me about being high on marijuana."  

5.) "Walking to the river with DaRion and the Laurel girls, then popping in at the guys." 

6.) "Dr. Halloran's final text...'you helped me immensely'"....."Dr. Dickson thanking me for helping him Sunday night with the info..."

7.) "Crying over God's love and the church bells by the river."

The book will be finished on August 12, 2017, if I live that long and don't forget about it.  But already I think it must reflect more beauty, more "saved by the grace of God", than anyone deserves in one lifetime.  More good, more blessings than I should have ever known.

So, while my sad comments about over-eating haven't disappeared, I know that God is with me, that he will be faithful in teaching me, whether quickly or slowly, how to fight each battle that comes my way.  Sometimes he delivers, and sometimes he gives the power to fight.

But enough to know He is with us! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

7 possible excuses for why I forgot to blog last Saturday night....

1.) Being at work for about 80 hours? 

2.)  Going to the visitation of a friend's grandpa, and reflecting on the day when I was standing in the casket line myself?

3.)  Losing my grip on my dieting plans and poisoning myself with an untoward mass of carbs? (See #1.)

4.)  Decompressing at my aunt and uncle's house until late Saturday night? 

5.)  Realizing that I have no food to take to the meal on Sunday and running to Meijer for a layered almond cake?  

6.)  Eating most of the cake myself because there was too much food at the meal and it didn't get eaten?  (See #3.) 

7.)  Kicking myself because I've just missed two birthdays and my house payment and it's almost Christmas and I have 15 pounds I'm not losing? (See #1.) 

There's always an excuse available for anything.  I now lift my mug of cooling coffee to say, I hope your week was better than mine, and here's to a better week! 

Til next Saturday night...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

What I want to be like at 93

I know what I want to be like when I'm 90 years old. 

I don't expect to live that long, but if I's what I want to be like.

"But the gondolas in Australia were a lot worse," an old lady said, after discussing how her husband made fun of her for not wanting to go all the way up the Eiffel Tower.  "Going up was okay, but going down?" she shuddered. 

"I can't lose her," her husband had told me before the surgery. "I've lost too much this year."

He told me of the tragic death of a family member. 

Another elderly husband told me this week, "I don't really enjoy BINGO, but I guess I'll be playing a lot of BINGO this winter." He knew his wife would be recovering for awhile, and unable to go to her evening BINGO games. 

"Get him some cool prizes and he'll enjoy it," I suggested to his wife.

I asked another old lady what brought her into the hospital. She couldn't remember clearly.

"At the age of ninety-something, however old I am, memory is a little fleeting," she informed me, saying the word fleeting with a perfectly sharpened T.  

"Were you an English teacher?" I asked.

"No, but I've been asked that before," she said.  She had been an executive secretary, trying to keep track of important people.

A bit later one of our surgeons told her that the only treatment for her was a giant surgery. 

"Well, at the age of ninety-something, ninety-four, how old am I?"

"Ninety-three," the family interjected.

"Well you're not doing that!" she said, about the giant surgery.

"I'm not yet ready to shuffle off this earthly coil," she admitted. "No one wants to die.  But I have no quality like this."

"You should come play Scrabble with her if you get a moment," her family informed me.  

Moments are rare, but I'm hoping to do just that! 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

7 things neighbor Mary would say if you were discouraged...

Did I tell you about my neighbor Mary who knows everything?  

This is what I heard from her this afternoon when I collapsed on her couch, propping my feet ungracefully on her coffee table, and letting my head fall back against a pillow. 

I was debriefing with her...

....You can put your own name in place of mine!

1.)  There's one word God doesn't want us to say to him Katrina: can't. 

2.) God knows your story; he knows your situation!  

3.) God is for us.  The enemy wants us to think that God is against us, but He for us, Katrina!

4.) There's a lot of people in this world who would want to trade places with us. There are people in this world who have been in bed for 30 years.  Thirty years, Katrina!  

5.)  I'm going to walk the long road home, trusting God.   We got to face some tears in this life.

6.) Don't pray for a blessing on someone who needs God; pray that God chases them. 

7.) God gives us power; he gives us power, Katrina! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Instead of the blog I was going to write, 7 things I'm thankful for tonight

I was thinking of calling this blog "Seven things I should have done already", since it's after midnight and I hear my un-dry clothes spinning in the dryer, see my unwashed dishes in the sink over there beyond the pile of unfolded towels, see the un-written blog on this page, and realize I haven't started a PowerPoint that I need to have done by Thursday.

But I changed it to seven things I'm thankful for.  God does such a good job of reminding me to give thanks, and I always feel better when I do.

1.)  I'm thankful that I have clothes and towels and that, even though unfolded and undried, they are washed.  

2.) I'm glad that although the bug I found on my carpet and captured in a jar turned out to be a roach, my neighbor Mary who knows everything is confident that I'll eradicate them once I get to the pet store for a thing she calls "roach bait".  And I'm glad that my house isn't like the one I stayed at in New York City, where we would turn on the lights in the morning, and the roaches would scramble to their hideouts by the dozen. 

3.) I'm really glad for Diet Sierra Mist cranberry splash.

4.) I'm glad that my renewed passport came in the mail the other day, stiff yet silky navy, even though my publishers are still in discussion about whether it's safe for me to go to the Middle East.

5.) I'm glad my friends and I don't have Ebola.  It's truly a terrible disease without a cure. 

6.) I'm thankful that I was able to attend the BetterLife awards ceremony tonight and hear many great volunteer's stories, even though my nomination for Dr. Halloran was edged out by people working for nonprofit organizations.  That was okay though. Thanks for voting by the way!

7.)  I'm thankful this blog post is now complete! 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

My Mom's 57th Birthday, and 7 photos I would mail in her birthday card...

October 15, next Wednesday...This is the day my mom would have turned 57.

Fifty-seven is so young in the world of healthcare. My grandparents are all alive at around 80 years old.

In some ways, the more I learn to know God and the more my heart is softened, the more I miss her. If I could send her a birthday card, here are some photos I would slide in the envelope and some of the things I would tell her.

Did you know you have two sets of twin grandsons?

Did you know you have two beautiful granddaughters and two grandsons, besides Brad who you already know?

Those twins on grandpa's lap love him better than any of the aunts, I'm afraid.

You know how I wanted to be a writer, not a nurse?  I started working and I loved it.  My jobs became a source of healing for me, as I thought about the comparison of the physical heart with the soul.  I'm now a heart surgery coordinator.  I make lists of all the vocabulary words I learn from the surgeons and cardiologists and other well-worded people around me.  I work with a intelligent and caring team, the perfect alternate job for a writer.

This is the front porch of the house I bought after I started at my new job and realized God wanted me to stay in Elkhart.  In the process, some of my best friends also moved to Elkhart and I love going to their houses.  

This is my mentor and work partner Sue and I on pink hard hat day.  We made a human pink ribbon on the top floor of the parking garage.

We found the baby clothes you left us in the closet!

I have so many people who bless my life, that I wish I was better at blessing them back and not being impatient when people knock on my door.

Happy Birthday! 

Maybe she already knows all of can we know?  And if I would have time, I would tell her how God has blessed me several specific times on her much so that I begin to wonder, what good thing will God do for me this October 15th?  But the truth is, I have so many blessings already, perhaps I wouldn't even notice.....God is so good.