Changes…

Change is good.  Change is necessary for growth.  Change comes when we least expect it and when we plan it ourselves.  I personally like to be led.  I believe we all posses gifts and/or talents, that are naturally derived or God-given if you will.  When it comes to these gifts we must be sure that we are using them to the best of our abilities and for the good of others.

While searching aimlessly for a new position as I was quite unhappy in the previous one, I got a call out of the blue.  I had applied to several positions, most of which were out of the long-term care industry altogether.  Nothing seemed to be a good fit.  During my 5th interview of a particular position I was asked, “what would be the best position for Lisa if you had to pick one?”  This got me thinking…I really wasn’t sure.  What was I searching for?  I was plotting my next degree, with acceptance and now a schedule to start in 6 days.  I was eagerly applying to positions in which I had no idea what they were…in acute care.  Was I seeking an opportunity to fulfill my leadership ability?  Was I just wanting out of the long-term care industry?  Did I want to just work a position until my next degree finalized in 14 months and then start over as a nurse practitioner?  Do I really want to do hands on clinical again, with my bad back?!  Who knew?  Not me…

Then the linked in email came followed by a call.  Now in my house when we feel that something is too good to be true we have come to call this ‘magic worms’.  Why you ask?  Well, that’s a funny story, and I turn our pretty blonde in the whole thing.  I’m sure my husband would love to tell you, however.  And that reminds me, a blog for all the blonde moments would gain some much-needed chuckles.  Oh, boy…and there have been many.  Ok, on to the real point of the story, the email, the call.  It was surreal.  I was being asked by an entrepreneur if I would like to interview for a start-up health care company.  Very innovative, dreamy position, in which I would have a white canvas to make the owner’s vision of the clinical department come to life.  What?!  Why…I certainly would!  Seriously, I rushed home to have my husband research all he could about the company so that I didn’t get my hopes up, as it truly seemed like my dream job, well, and ‘magic worms’.

Everything checked out!  It is totally legitimate.  After interviewing multiple times, meeting with the start-up team, I am coming on board.  I will be the Vice President of Medical Services for a start-up.  We will open our first 3 adult day centers with an innovative clinical twist, build into home health, and then onto a national brand!  I could not be more excited, more eager to start with this new opportunity.  I’ve worked as a Director of Nursing in a start-up before, but this is whole new beast.  I feel like I’ve leaped off of a cliff and now I’m waiting for the wings I was promised.  I’m certain they will be there.  Aren’t they always there when one needs them?  If we have faith anything is possible, we must just believe.

My Nursing Philosophy

I have known from the time when I was about 12 years old that I was called to be a nurse.  I would go to the hospital with my aunt and work as a candy striper.  I volunteered on the labor/delivery and mother/baby units, as well as the newborn nursery.  I learned so much and my love for the nursing profession grew and grew.

When I graduated from high school I immediately went on to college to further my education with a nursing degree.  I attended Ivy Tech Community College in Terre Haute, Indiana.  I graduated with a Technical Certificate as a Licensed Practical Nurse 18 months later.  After which, I began my nursing career in the acute care industry.  I started working for the local hospitals as a float nurse on the medical surgical units.  I worked on several units gaining all of the hands on experience I could obtain and then started working with a nursing staffing agency.  With the nursing staffing agency, I went to various types of facilities which included acute, long-term, and long-term acute care to provide staffing in crisis situations.  I have worked on a variety of units in the acute care setting, cardiac and telemetry being a specialty of mine.

nursing 2

I knew I needed to grow more to be able to make a bigger difference in the lives of my patients, so I decided to go back to school.  I have a Master’s in nursing degree through Capella University with a specialty in nursing leadership/administration.  I do plan to return to school to continue to further my education as time permits.

The bulk of my career is in the long term care setting.  I had worked as an MDS coordinator for about five years completing nursing assessments and case management activities for reimbursement and care planning purposes, all while working as a part of an interdisciplinary team.  After obtaining my RN I decided I would like to try out nursing management and became an assistant director of nursing.  I loved this position more than I had even imagined.  The fact that I could not only make a difference in the lives of my patients, but that I could make a difference for my staff as well.  This led me to become a director of nursing to be able to lead my own team, just a short time later.  I loved that with my leadership I could touch the lives of my patients personally and now through my staff.  I could change the direction of the facility just by communicating a vision and leading the team to greatness.  This was an extraordinary part of my career, leading my facility from start up to a five-star rating within only 2 short years.  I knew leadership was where I was supposed to be.

I am currently working in a corporate nursing position.  In this position I get to do the management and leadership that I dearly love as well as develop and provide education.  I write policies, stay up to date on the current nursing regulatory changes as well as design and teach the educational components for the company.  I am able to lead change through a transformational leadership style.  When change is needed, the vision of direction must be communicated to all levels continuously, and then change occurs.  Quality outcomes have been improved, reimbursement has risen.  I have several certifications in the area of assessment, reimbursement, care planning, and wound care.

I feel that making a difference on any level, would mean more than anything to me and to each patient’s life that I am able to touch through my clinical leadership.  The more knowledge and experience that I am able to obtain, the more I can make a difference in the lives of the patients and staff that I serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References that can attest to the validity of this philosophy:

Jennifer Condren, co-worker, LCCA Jennifer_condren@lcca.com 471-327-3878

Charady Greene, subordinant, LCCA          Charady_green@lcca.com 317-750-7440

Laurine Gedemer, supervisor, Kindred/LCCA gddi@aol.com 317-750-3791

 

Leading With Love

Theodore Roosevelt stated, “Nobody cares what you know, until they know that you care.”  This is never truer than in leadership.  When a leader uses the power of the position or title to lead, it will only lead to disaster.

According to John Hope Bryant, “How you treat your employees is an important sign of how you treat everyone else in your business and in your life. If you can get it right here, you can get it right with your customers, your clients, your stakeholders.”  When employees are treated just and fairly you can be assured that this will trickle down to your customers.  Aren’t your employees a customer or a stakeholder anyhow?  Why wouldn’t you want to treat them with the utmost respect.

Creating a culture of loving leadership does not mean that when rules are broken the rule breaker gets off scot-free.  This simply means that employees are shown care, love, and active listening.  According to John Hall, “Employees who feel valued and appreciated by their leaders are infinitely more likely to go above and beyond for the company and hold themselves accountable for their part of a project.”

When an employee tells you something as a leader, you must listen.  If what the employee has to say is important enough for them to share it with you, then it must be important to you as well.  What are the goals of your employees?  Do you know what they are working on in their personal lives?  What is important to them in their career outlook?  What are they currently working towards?  Are they having any family issues that as a leader you can help them with?  All of these things can be sought out and the employees goals can be aligned with that of the leader’s and ultimately the organization’s.

leadership

According to John Hall one of the ways to show an employee you care about them is to be real with them, to be transparent.  Being transparent with an employee can be hard at times and lead to difficult conversations.  When you are truthful with employees your trust grows as well as garner better results.  John Hall also recognizes that making time for employees is essential.  When a leader appears to be too busy for his or her staff, they can tend to feel unappreciated.

A true leader will take the time to understand and truly know his or her staff.  What motivates them, what makes each of them tick, what lies in their most important spaces of life.  Why not build up the customer that waits on and cares for your customers?  Why not make use of your ability to transform your staff through leadership and not because ‘you said so’.

I Did it! Or well, I’m doing it…

a-book-a-week-imageSo by now you are asking, “what did you do?”  Well, I’ve applied, been accepted, and am now enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Kaplan University.  It will probably be one of the most persevered things I’ll have to accomplish to date.  I will 2 courses at a time, for a 10 week term, then after 2 ten week terms I’ll be ready to start my clinical rotations.  There a family practice, geriatric, women’s health, and pediatrics rotation that I will have to complete.  These clinical rotations will be about 7 months total and will be 16 hours a week, plus course work which will include writing papers, oh the dreaded papers.

I originally went for my master’s degree in nursing administration or leadership.  I loved the curriculum and courses offered, but the job outlook is concerning.  It’s what I do now, I lead others.  I have a great job, I get to write policies with an amazing leadership team, I get to develop education, I just need wings.  Well, let’s rephrase this, I need to let my wings fly, more like soar.  See how far I can go, what can be accomplished, what scale that can be measured on, as a team, from the front lines.  I want to change the face of health care.  Let’s face it health care in the US sucks!  You know it and I know it.  It’s no secret, am I right?!  Well, I just need to find my way, my path, my direction.  I am listening intently, and know that it will come.  Until then, I keep on trying make a difference right where I am.

To be quite honest, I already miss school.  I do love the fact that my home is getting back in order, my kids teachers don’t think I’m an absent minded parent (which I was most of the time), and I’ve had lots and lots of family time which includes me time.  I do love that our home is somewhat clean although lived in.  It keeps my anxiety at bay when the chores are done.  No constant ‘to do’ list going on in my head.

I’ve played some video games with the boys, shopped until we actually dropped with baby girl and my sister (too much honestly – back to a budget we go), and learned to disc golf.

We have set up some family, financial, personal, and professional goals.

There’s a new home in our future, once we find it.  Not liking the neighborhood HOA so much or the neighbors that love one and do nothing but complain about your lived in home.  Yes, you got it, we even get a ‘letter’ when our kiddos leave a bike in the yard.  Seriously, no kids toys allowed in your yard.  It’s ridiculous.  No sheds, no toys, trash barrels should be kept inside as to avoid the dreaded site of them!  Hate. It.  I know you are thinking…why the heck did you move there knowing there was an HOA?  Well, we had an awful realtor, were first time home buyers, and were too far into the sale before he even gave us the covenants.  And even then, who knows how to read those crazy worded things?  Ok, my hubby did, but still, the deal was done, and we were all in.  With Chad’s business growing so rapidly we need a place with acreage.  We have visions of our own pay to play disc golf course, a pro shop, etc.  We are hoping to make this goal/dream/vision a reality next year with the purchase of land and a home with out buildings.  We are on the lookout!

Speaking of Chad’s business, it is going amazingly.  I am so proud of him.  He is working so very hard to make it successful and live his dream.  He is growing so fast that we will need a space for further growth soon.  He is making it work and sharing his visions as they arise.  His true calling.  He was always in marketing by trade before becoming a stay-at-home dad, his most prideful accomplishment, as we have amazing kids.  Even with the porcupine like features of the teenage years.  Now, he has put his entrepreneur side to work mixing with the marketing side, to make fireworks.  He is a friend to all, always has been, and a true friend, not one of those fly-by-night people, that tell you what you want to hear at the moment in time you meet up.  He is sincere and amazing.  Can’t wait to see what the next chapter in our lives that we get to write gets to be about!

We hope to visit Florida this spring break, as Gabe has 1 year of high school left after this year.  We will only be a family of 5 just like this for just a bit longer.  It all goes by so fast.  I know you hear everyone say that, but it is so very true.  We haven’t been to Florida as a family so this should be fun.  If we can meet our budgetary goals, this is our reward, or short term goal.  So this works like, when you go to the store and the kiddos want something, you all work together you see, “no, we can’t get that it isn’t on the list” and then when you go to pick something up, they also hold you accountable, to the list.  It works great!  Sticking to the budget is the hard part, so persevering through the months and months of shorter term goals and then the long term goals.  Goals of savings for vacations, emergency funds, 6 months or more of income, and paying off all debt.  Each item met must be accompanied with a reward to offer continued success.

So stay tuned!  There is lots to come.  I plan to blog my way through school…ha, ha, we will see.  I want to help others trying to make the decision to be or not to be when it comes to higher education in nursing or anything else.  I want to make a difference on the biggest scale possible, how ever that might be!

 

 

 

Your Compass

185243565

When one loses his or her mother, there is a period of soul searching.  During that period, one looks at each aspect of his or her life and can examine it critically to determine whether or not each item is as it should be.  Do you love your job?  Do you spend enough time with your family?  Are you setting and accomplishing goals?  Are you reaching your maximum potential?

Call it a need for direction, or a mid-life crisis, but either way, do it!  I absolutely recommend finding your director in life.  Ensure that you are on the intended path.  What ever your spiritual guiding is, follow it.  I am seeking redirection.  For a time here lately, I was even feeling directionless.  I’ve come to realize now that, that is not the case.  I am still ironing out a few things professionally, but personally, I’m who and where I want to be.  My internal chatter can get to me at times, as most of us, but I try to only listen when necessary and pass over the more compusatory thoughts.  I think I just made a new word!  How cool is that! #winkieface

I have recently graduated with my master’s degree in nursing, with the leadership or administration specialty.  I have been searching for my ‘next step’ in education.  I told myself that I would eventually go back to obtain a doctoral degree once the kiddos were off to college.  Who knows, but I was overly sick of school when I graduated in June.  Well, now I’m craving education.  This happens with all life long learners.  Yes, that is what we call ourselves, as opposed to career students.  That sounds much more expensive, am I right?!  Anyhow, at this point, I still feel very drawn to getting my nurse practitioner.  I have been accepted into the Kaplan Family Nurse Practitioner program.  The classes start mid October.  It is a 16 month program and will have a clinical rotation which will include 16 hours a week for the last 7 months of the program.  The clinical hours were a deterrent previously, as I didn’t feel that taking time away from my family even more than I already had with the general school work and my career.  In a nursing leadership position one must expect long hours and travel.  Not much direct on-call situations, no holidays, no weekends.  Very high stress and pressure.  All the time…pressure.  Pressure to make the budgets, hit the numbers, even if the numbers are unfounded.  Pressure to provide the best care with the littlest staff and resources possible.  However, making sure it can be done is the makings of a great leader.  I’ve written on transformational leadership, as this is my leadership style.  It is amazing and visionary.  One can transform the face of health care today with this style.  The health care world we live in today does not allow one to lead on the preface of ‘do it because I said so’ or ‘do it because you are paid to’.  We must lead the charge!  We must lead by example, down in the trenches, with sharing and constant communication.

I’m still not sure on the path.  I love leadership.  I love what I do, I love making a difference in the lives of my patients through touching each staff member.  Do I wait it out a little longer, stay status quo?  Continue on the path of leadership, with high stress, and poor work life balance.  Do I start the program and see where it goes?  Pray I can do it?  For the life of an NP does have high stress, but in a different way.  The perks are again, day shift, no holidays, no weekends, however, most of the time you will be on-call at some point.  Most states are moving to an NP having full practice authority, meaning not working under a physician.  I could one day open my own rural office, my own clinic.  But, would this allow for me to make the biggest difference possible?  Do I pursue slowly my DNP in leadership?  So far, I’m voting on status quo, and start the NP while praying it is the path I’m called to follow.

My Mother

1896851_10202732932277505_2721483464633745005_nIt has been a hard few months since my mother’s passing on June 16th.  We had not spoken since around Valentine’s Day of this year.  She would come in and out of our lives on a regular basis since the time my sister and I were 13 and 16 years old.  She had stated later in life that she felt we were raised at that point and didn’t need her any longer.  What she didn’t know or possibly couldn’t comprehend is that a person always needs their mother.  They always have the urge to call, to talk, to discuss an important life event, challenge, or decision.  The pain she put me through in life causes such guilt for me, when it comes to missing and grieving for her now.  I feel utterly ridiculous for being sad, sad to the point that it interferes with my day to day routines at times.  No one seems to notice, or I bury and hide it well.  She really didn’t add much to my life other than an instilling determination to never depend on others and to make my own way in the world, and being the best mother and wife that I possibly can be.  I pray for this daily, as it remains a fear that I will not continue to improve and become what each of my children need at the time and be the partner and perfect mate to my husband.  I know we are not the people that make us, we are our own individual forms of DNA with our own choices and paths that lead us to completely different places if we so choose.  But, when you have a mother with a strong history of hurtful behaviors it can always seem to weigh in on your thoughts.

My mother left us when we were kids.  I was 16 and stayed with my boyfriend and his family at the time, he is now my husband.  My sister, she dropped off at my grandparents house with a note in the mailbox signing over full custody to my father.  She then took off with her boyfriend at the time.  Her motivations always surrounded the man she was currently with.  We went several years before even a call from her.  This was about the time of the internet starting to become popular, and we had gotten our first computer in the home.  I would check the obits frequently, and search her name for any news articles mentioning it.  Every time a body was found on the news with an unknown identity, I thought it might be her.  She reappeared in my life about the time of our wedding in 1998.  She came to the ceremony like nothing had happened, and she acted in the role of the ‘mother of the bride’.  Judy Chad’s mom had fulfilled this role for me since she’d vanished.  She helped me through those painful years, through my high school graduation, the proms, the dances, the wedding planning, the making of the bridesmaids dresses, the many rights of passage that a girl goes through in high school.  All my mother missed, Judy was there.

My mother was in our lives for a bit after this.  She lived in Indianapolis, working at the airport for a parking lot company.  She lived alone and with random people frequently.  At one point after several supervised visits we felt she could watch our son overnight after he turned one.  She loved him.  Her eyes lit up when she was with him.  On this night she actually lost him, he had gotten out into a field near her home and she had to find him in the dark.  This ended the visits for a bit.  I wasn’t sure what was going on with her at this point, but knew something wasn’t right.  Just a few years later after the birth of our daughter almost 3 months early, we found out she was doing heroin and many other scary substances.  She would come to the hospital and see me while I laid there trying not to give birth and I would order her a tray of food to share a meal with me and she would eat like she hadn’t eaten in quite some time.  The drug habit continued for several years, until she called me one day and wanted to move back home and get clean, be a mother and a grandmother.  I had used my connections within the healthcare industry and got her help, doctors, and a safe place to live.  She moved back, stating that she detoxed in the back seat of her car, as she was not allowed to come into our home for fear of bringing in substances that could hurt our children.  I have never validated this as she would lie frequently lie and manipulate others to get what she needed at the time. She continued to live in Terre Haute for some time, but got back into the drug quite soon after returning.  About that time we relocated to the Fishers area for a better life for our children.  We lost contact after she sent a mean manipulative letter stating she was dead to us and to tell our children that.  Several years later I received a call from my grandmother stating that she’d been in contact with my mother and that she was ill and had had a stroke.  I called her and we got back in touch.  She seemed to be medically stable with multiple co-morbidities.  She was a brittle diabetic, obese, and had suffered the negative lingering affects of a stroke.  She wasn’t able to walk without assistance, and her cognition was not what it once was.  She came to visit and seemed to be her old self.  My sister and I spent time with her and we all kept in touch for a few years to come.

In 2014 she was diagnosed stage 4 cancer.  I was with her for all of those initial appointments, for all of the tests, missed work, rearranged schedules, and spent as much time with her as I could.  For I knew what this meant, although she didn’t realize it at the time.  Once she understood what her odds where, 38% chance with treatment to live 6 months, I asked her to come live in Westfield with us.  We toured an assisted living facility, we looked into doctors in the area, I had all these dreams that we’d repair the relationship that I’d yearned for for all these years.  She would watch her grandchildren play ball, she’d be around for the holidays.  We could make up for lost time.  I’d often be jealous of my friend’s relationships with their mothers, as that was something that was always missing in my heart.

This never came to be.  She chose to stay by her friends.  She wrote counterfeit and fraudulent checks and started to lie to me again.  I pulled away with the advice from her case manager to keep a safe distance to protect my heart.  She would be very manipulative and hateful at times, all while saying very hurtful things.  I wanted to show my children that no matter what someone has done, you forgive them.  I would want to be forgiven.  Everyone deserves a second chance.  Although, I had given her multiple second chances, she was my mom.  I hate using past tense verbiage when it comes to my mother.  Saying, she was, sounds foreign.  She is, always has been… After the many times I’d looked online to see if she was gone, now it is real.  She is gone.  She didn’t use the last few months/years to gain a lost relationship, to repair and mend fences.  She once again chose drugs.  She used these last few months to continue to party.

On the last day I saw my mother, she was in one of my nursing facilities.  She was concerned as she was losing her home.  At this time she was given 6 months to live, and was almost 3 months in.  She wanted to make sure she could get her favorite things out of her home before she lost it, the following Friday.  I offered to take her up to her home and pack some of her favorite items to bring to the nursing home.  This was the first time in a long time that I had even convinced my sister to come see her, and had allowed my daughter to see her. I’ve learned to listen to my ‘gut’ after this experience.  My gut told me no, and my heart insisted we take her to her home…one last time.  I’d never been there.  She moved frequently and with all the lies, I’d never wanted to.  The home was dark, dreary, there were mattresses on the floor and boarded up windows.  I knew something wasn’t right, and then just as my nerves were getting the best of me, she pulls out a bag from a back room.  There is tubes, baggies, draino, and some other unknown chemicals present.  She pulls these items out one by one, almost in the slow motion that happens in an emergency situation, one that you feel with a car crash.  She shook the draino in my face and said, ‘you can’t even buy draino like this anymore, can you?’  Just then my sister utters the word ‘meth’ under her breath.  It hit us like a bolt of lightening!  She was cooking meth!  How dare I be the mother that subjected my child to an environment such as this?!  I knew better!  I got my daughter out of the house and told my mother to get in the car, as I was taking her back to the nursing home.  She acted like, ‘why’.  She had normalized her life so much so, that anything else was abnormal.  That’s why she couldn’t come live by us, she couldn’t lead a normal life.  It was abnormal to her.  The only life she knew was the life with drugs and addicts.

After arriving back at the nursing home, I wheeled her back to her room, and I gave her a hug, telling her that I loved her, one, last, time.  I meant it.  I always meant it.  I did love her, I do love her.  I feel that it was and is undeserving at times, but I love her anyway.  I walked away as she cried.  That’s my last image of my mother.  She said to my sister, ‘now I have to go through this alone, don’t I, just like everything else?’  My sister got into my car that day asking me if that is how I wanted to leave it, would I be ok if that was it.  I was so upset, my mouth was so dry, my feet were numb.  And I said yes, that she’d only lie if I asked her ‘why’.  And we drove off.

I called the police later that day to report what we thought was a possible meth lab and her address.  That was one of the hardest phone calls I’ve made to date.  Calling the police on your dying mother tops the list.  I couldn’t let anyone get hurt.  The police investigated the home and notified me later that my suspicions were correct, there was evidence of a meth lab at the house.  I’m not sure where this went from there, as I removed myself completely from the situation.  I did not want to be her POA, her daughter, her anything.  I was so mad, so hurt.  Not only had she drug me into a mess one more time, this time it affected my child.  I again was stupid enough to think she was ok. She wasn’t ok, she was never ok.  She’d learned to hide it for many years, almost to the point it was professional behavior.

I will always listen to my inner voice.  There are take-aways from every situation.  This was mine.  Stop and listen.

Her nurse from the Hope center had contacted me in May wanting me to know that she was going on hospice services and all treatment would be stopped and that it wouldn’t be much longer.  She urged me to go see my mother or to even call.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t do it for my baby, more than anything.  She hurt my baby.  She didn’t have to hold my child after she had cried for the next few nights from what she saw.  I did, I had to live with the fact that she brought my child into harms way.  I couldn’t go, I couldn’t call.  I had nothing left to say or to hear.  No more of her fake, rehearsed conversations.  I was done.

The day my mother had passed I received a text.  A text.

mom text.jpg

I don’t know what I’d expected.  I don’t know how I thought it would happen.  I guess I thought there would be more time.  More time to get over the hurt, more time to make the final decision to see her…one more time.  I thought that when she was actively dying, someone would call.  There was no call, nothing.

She wanted a celebration of life not a funeral.  She wanted to be remembered for her ability to make people laugh.  She was always joking and teasing someone.  My grandmother told me that when my sister and I were little she was a great mother.  She taught us to never depend on anyone, to make our own way.  She wanted us to go to college.  She never wanted us to be like her.  She had to work hard, cleaning houses, on her hands and knees.  She told me every time I spoke to her how proud she was of me.  She told me how much she loved me.  We talked on my long drives frequently.  Now I have a strong void when I travel for work.  We would talk at night when I’d stay in a hotel.  She’d always tell me about these hospital blankets that she would get with each of her hospital stays, and how she wanted to sew a few of them together for me to have the kiddos sleep with, so that when I would travel I could take it and not be so homesick.  She helped me through that homesickness at times.  We’d talk for hours.  I could tell as she got weaker and weaker with her cancer.  I could hear the sound of her voice change and the breaths becoming harder to chase.

She was my mother.  Even through the addiction I loved her.  I prayed for her often, and worried constantly.  I no longer worry, for I know she no longer has a need to eat, I no longer fear her overdosing and leaving me.  She is no more.  I miss her each day, and pray that it eases with time.  I pray that I can forgive myself for not being there and her for the torture and pain she put me through.

There was no funeral.  There was no goodbye.  There was simply a text…

Soul Searching

Wow!  What a year this has been.  With the death of my father-in-law whom lived with us in his apartment ‘man cave’ basement, my mother, and now my grandmother, it has lead to a year of pain.  The completion of my Master’s degree in nursing has been a very welcomed accomplishment.  When close loved ones pass there is always a period of reflection in oneself, but when 3 close loved ones pass within 3 months, I’m not sure what you call it.  I find that I am searching for direction lately.  

I find that I am asking questions of myself.  Do I go back to school?  If so for what?  I am a life long learner and to learn fulfills that itch, however it is also pricey at the cost of family  time and money.  My littlest one seems to miss out on that time the most. I’ve had much more time lately that I haven’t said, “no, mommy can’t do that right now, I have a paper to write”.  I’ve looked at the Doctor of Nursing Practice route, as my ultimate end game content is to be Dr. Chubb, and be the best nurse leader I can be to have the biggest impact on nursing and the health care industry as a whole.  In whatever capasity that might be.  This however, is a long over 2 year degree, that I’m just not so sure I want to fill my time with currently.  I had initially planned to dive in head first into this path when I am going through my emptynest years but before grand kiddos.  I have also inquired about the Family Nurse Practitioner route.  I have set my eyes on this route several times in the past, but never was able to jump in head first or feet first, even after testing the water temperature with my toes.  I haven’t been a so called ‘clinical’ nurse for quite some time now, and that would be a very ‘clinical’ position.  I have vast knowledge of the body, the systems, how it works, and the various ailments that can occur however, and love, love, love that scientific part of diagnosis and treatment.  I’ve read up extensively on this path.  There are a variety of settings one can choose to work in post graduation as well.  I have shadowed a Certified Nurse Midwife, and did not care for it, and a Geriatric NP in a long-term care center.  The GNP basically told me of all of the reasons why ‘not’ to be come one and that scared me away when I was trying to make my decision of master’s degree path a few years ago.  This time, it is a post master’s certificate and only a maximum of 13 months to completion.  7 of those months will include a clinical hands on component shadowing another NP or physician for a minimum of 18 hours a week.  I currently work in a leadership AVP role and travel with long hours otherwise.  I love leading others.  I feel that it is the most rewarding to me in nursing, to be able to touch the lives of my patients through others.  In leadership there are all components of nursing practice, assessment, clinical, care planning, operations and budgeting, as well as educating.  I am one whom gets bored easily and this is a constantly changing route for me that I can impact change in a variety of ways.  However, this path comes with a price as well and that is family time through poor work/life balance frequently, and high stress.  High stress is something that I am normally able to handle very well, but with the personal life changes/situations it has become much harder and at times I am very soft and squishy, where as I used to be very strong, and “robotic” as my husband puts it.  

I know that with all things, ‘This too shall pass”.  As there is a season for all things and those seasons all come to an end.  There are many, many things that I like about this season, however, and wish to reguvenate them and keep them going, and others that I am waiting for the leaves to fall and the ground to cover in a soft, pure white blanket of snow.  Spring will bring us new starts and colors so bright it feels like it might hurt our eyes.  Just as the recent full solar eclipse warned us this week.  Something so beautiful, so magnificient, so precious, can also be a danger in other ways.  I will hold onto the things of this ‘season’ that I wish to continue to fulfill my days and let go of others.  

It is funny how death also makes us look at each priority and set it right within our world.  My family is the center of my universe here on Earth, as my Godly father is my heavenly grounding or compass.  There are numbered days with our family in the capasity as it is now, and it grows and changes with each passing season and year.  It gets better in different ways, however I find I long for days past at times, for one more cuddle, one more sincere hug that I didn’t ask for or pleed to receive.  One more trip with just the 5 of us.  One more…  Isn’t that what we all want?  Just one more…anything, after it is gone.  Hold onto what you cherish, love deeply, listen intently, actively listen, put down the device, and live for today.  Live in the moment of today, stop dwelling on tomorrow.      

Ledgestone

Ahhh…a disc golf tournament.  There is such excitement surrounding a disc golf tournament, whether you are a player, caddy, or just a spectator.  There is a fly mart where the avid disc golfer can purchase items of the sport.  There is a disc golf festival, doubles matches, and many other things to do.

This tournament is in the town of Peoria, Illnois.  There wasn’t a scenic drive to get here, but here’s to hoping that the town is surrounded by beauty in the courses that we will play.  The weather will be magnificent.

We played a couple of the courses today to get the feel for them.  Eureka Lake was our starting point.  Along with spotting many pros we were able to play a full round on the permanent course.  This is an amazing course for all throwing types.  Righty, lefty, flick, backhand, you name it.  Some short hallways and some long open ranges.  Only lost 1 disk and we think it is in a tree.  We even found our sponsored hole!

Second course of the day was Bradley Park.  Wow!  My favorite so far.  We only finished the first 12 holes before the night set in, but woah is it great!  I cannot wait to play it again tomorrow.  There are many types of holes that are open with trees, woods, and many straight shot fairways.  I threw the best game I’ve thrown to date I believe.  Stayed within 1 stroke of my pro husband!  The setting at this park is beautiful.  There are lookout points, benches to simply sit and just be a part of nature, and many trails.  

Tomorrow we will hit 3 or so more courses and plan to watch some pros play.  I’d love to catch a gliimpse if a Paige Pierce playing a few.  It would be wicked awesome to watch some of the pros throw in person, as I’ve studied many of their youtube videos to learn more about the sport. Stay tuned for more greatness to follow.

My Grandmother, My Hero…

My beautiful, magnificant grandmother went to be with the Lord on Thursday of last week.  That was by far the hardest week of my life thus far.  She was and will always be my angel…

What is a matriarch?  Well, the dictionary tells us that it is the mother that is the ruler of the family and all of its descendants.  Grandma was so much more than that.  When I tried to think of how to describe her and what she has meant to all of us, it became impossible to communicate.  How do you put this woman into words?  She was a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, sister, mentor, compass, and most of all a friend.  She had the kindest voice that I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear.  Her spirit was one of kindness and love.  There are no words to describe the amount of love she has shown to all of us.  Her kindness reached far beyond the borders of this family.  We were given a gift, just in knowing her.  Being in her presence was light-giving.  When you came to grandma’s house, you were coming home.  She was a constant in our lives, someone who was always there, never changing, always our biggest cheerleader in any situation, and could just listen for hours.  

She was Christmas!  She was better than Santa when we were kids.  Sure Santa brought cool gifts, but no one and I mean no one could top Grandma’s.  She’s shop for hours upon hours, all while Grandpa was sitting in the car outside listening to radio shows.  She always had an, well let’s just say, an acquired taste when it came to buying us clothes.  The sweater when I was 16 or the western jean shirt with the shiny buttons.  Although these shirts were never to be worn in public, you always hung onto them and told her how much you adored them.  For you knew of the love and thought that went into the gift.  These shirts still hang in my closet today.    

She would get down on the floor and play with us.  She played everything from marbles in her kitchen on the floor by the stove to barbies.  When we outgrew the floor play we began to play any game you can think of at the table.  Grandma and Grandpa would come over on a Friday night and we’d grill pork chops and play cards and rumicub half the night.  My favorite thing to do was to play games with those two. 

Oh, eating…

Where do I begin here?  Grandma always had to feed you, make sure you weren’t hungry.  I can remember going over to the house for prom so Grandpa could get pictures.  They had just sat down to eat the 5 for 5 deal on roast beefs from Arbys and we walked in.  Well, there was no getting out of that one.  Down we sat and for our prom dinner we had Arbys with Grandma and Grandpa.  She taught us how to eat a pork chop.  She’d say, “you don’t use a fork silly, you do it like this” as she picks it up with her fingers.  To this day in our home we don’t eat a pork chop with a fork and proceed to tell our guests if any of that story.  She taught me how to cook.  Well, ok, I still suck at it, but she tried.  

Grandma was home to me.  She was my security, my confidant, my mentor, and my friend.  If I live to be half the woman she was, I have accomplished more in life than I could ever dream.  I can only hope that God sees fit to allow me to follow in her footsteps, fully living the life that she would be ever so proud of.              

Activity Trackers

The next thing we need to discuss is the Fitbit devices.  When it comes to a healthy lifestyle an activity tracker is a must have.  Now, again, I consider myself to be a techno geek so I’ve personally tried several of these things.  I like Fitbit the best for many reasons.  The dashboard is one of my main reasons of switching back after a short sabbatical.  I did try out the Samsung gear-fit, and did not like it at all.  The battery life was poor lasting about two days tops, the dashboard was not a user friendly and didn’t track all of the things that Fitbit does.

Charge HR

I have used the Charge HR, Blaze, and now the Charge 2.  My favorite is the Charge 2.  It has a decent amount of connectivity to my phone, such as vibrating functions when I get a text and the message scrolls across the screen when I turn my arm to view it.  It will also vibrate to alert me of any appointment reminders in my calendar, a function I use quite often to not forget anything.  There is also the vibration or silent alarm function that you can set up within the app as well to wake up without sounds and alarm noises.  I don’t know about you, but that wake up set my mood for the day.  Well, and I hit snooze a million times.  So, there is that, and to get around with a ‘no snooze’ function, I just set multiple silent Fitbit alarms.  There is a small button on the side that allows you to scroll through the device menu as well as hold in to start a workout through paired gps on a mobile phone.

When taking a walk or playing disc golf this device is smart enough to recognize it and record it.  The step counts are very accurate.  If you are a ‘tracker’ as I am when it is an activity I want to get credit for such as a bike ride or hike with connected (through your phone) gps, you simply scroll through the menu with the push of the button, then tap the face of the device until you get to the exercise you wish to track and then hold in on the button to start your timer.

There are multiple watch faces to choose from as well if you like to customize your device.  This is an all around great device for the price.  The battery life is outstanding for all of the functions and capabilities of this device.  With a 5 day break between charges it is a win win.  On a zero to five scale this device is definately a five!