November 25

November 25ย  – Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.

Tonight, on this Thanksgiving Eve; I wish I had more to say, more to share.  But I am tapped out.  I canโ€™t think of anything else to share than my thoughts that I posted to Facebook earlier this evening. Now is the time to think about others, to understand your impact on the bigger world. 

Friends, I don’t know how else to say this; but please understand YOUR actions have direct consequences for people you don’t know.  The increased spread of Covid-19 is directly impacting me, my staff and the residents we care for everyday. I have residents that cannot see their family members on Thanksgiving, I have staff that are choosing to forgo family gatherings because its NOT SAFE or we need them to work because staffing levels are approaching critical.   Hospitals and Long term care facilities throughout the DFW Metroplex are being hit hard. Please think twice before meeting up with friends.  And just because an event is allowed to happen doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe. “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial.” 1 Cor 10:23

๐—œ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜ ๐— ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ ๐—ง๐—ผ ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—บ๐—บ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜๐˜† ๐—™๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ข๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฃ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜  

“Our caregivers have gone on record asking you to do what you can to contain the virus. We expressed concern in public forums based on facts and our first-hand experience in the hospital. We asked you then to follow CDC guidelines: wear a mask, socially distance, stay out of mass gatherings, and wash your hands…Now we have 72 people needing beds in our 60-bed hospital while the rest of the Metroplex hospitals fill up. We are asking again that for the safety of everyone you help us slow this surge.” ~ ๐‘ช๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’š ๐‘ท๐’†๐’“๐’“๐’Š๐’, ๐‘ป๐’†๐’™๐’‚๐’” ๐‘ฏ๐’†๐’‚๐’๐’•๐’‰ ๐‘น๐’๐’„๐’Œ๐’˜๐’‚๐’๐’ ๐‘ท๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’Š๐’…๐’†๐’๐’•

๐—ฃ๐—Ÿ๐—˜๐—”๐—ฆ๐—˜ ๐—ง๐—”๐—ž๐—˜ ๐—” ๐— ๐—œ๐—ก๐—จ๐—ง๐—˜ ๐—ง๐—ข ๐—ฅ๐—˜๐—”๐—— ๐—›๐—˜๐—ฅ ๐—™๐—จ๐—Ÿ๐—Ÿ ๐— ๐—˜๐—ฆ๐—ฆ๐—”๐—š๐—˜ ๐—›๐—˜๐—ฅ๐—˜ >>โ€ฆ/a-message-to-our-comโ€ฆ/

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November 24

Squeezing this one in, just under the wire…

November 24

Wow, it’s late and I almost forgot about my post for today.ย  It has been a busy night, I made my first Pumpkin Chiffon Pie of the holiday season (yes occasionally I bake), did a little bit of storm spotting for work, when 2020 decided to give us a Tornado Warning tonight, and Iโ€™ve been researching ball mounts for my tow hitch as I prepare to embark on my very first camping trip with a teardrop style camper (I promise more details on that later).ย  So lots going on here and I have to work tomorrow so this post is short and sweet.ย  I just want to say that today for about 5 minutes, I felt itโ€ฆ I felt hope.ย  Hope that somehow we would see our way through this current wilderness period, that we were starting to get a handle on things.ย  That we might, dare I say it, be okay.ย  When you havenโ€™t had much to be hopeful for it’s a pretty amazing and uplifting feeling.ย  If you happen to feel it I strongly suggest that you reach out and grab it with both hands and donโ€™t let go.ย  Hold on to it for as long as you can. I feel like Iโ€™ve written these words a lot, but we have to find the light.ย  I certainly donโ€™t want to make light of anyoneโ€™s situation, there is no possible way to directly compare our experiences in the wilderness that is 2020; but there has to be some light, some hope.ย  That an employee returns from bereavement leave at exactly the right time, that others are willing to flex their schedules and fill in the gaps, that not having our huge blowout Christmas party will allow us to decorate and light up our interior courtyards and maybe even have a special appearance from Santa and a living, breathing reindeer. I am not sticking my head in the sand and pretending that everything is okay, I am just looking for the pockets of hope and light.ย  They arenโ€™t always easy to find, but they are there. Keep looking.ย 

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November 23.

One week and counting until I complete the challenge I gave myself, to post everyday in the month of November. I realize I need to start plotting out the future for this blog; figuring out a theme other than my random ramblings or maybe that is the theme, but piecing together an outline and a plan to move this forward after the month of November. But I also need to sit down and connect all the pieces, the glimmer of ideas that I have for life in general. But for now, its time for bed and its been another day on the front lines of Covid-19.

I’d like to congratulate Collin County Texas for surpassing the 10% Positivity rate (don’t ask me where that number comes from but its the one the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid use to determine how much misery they will inflict on long term care facilities in a given week,) for me that number means I have to figure out how to start testing my staff twice a week, how to communicate to family members the week of a holiday that certain visits have to be canceled, and how to respond to the pressures that other peoples behavior is placing on my residents and staff. Anyway, even if you don’t think masks make a difference would you considering wearing one to make my life and the life of my residents a little better? And may considering actually listening too and following the CDC Guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19, please?

Anyway, today was a moderately good day! I had to share bad news, another employee has tested positive; but also some good news, one resident is no longer testing positive and has no symptoms so she gets to move back to her apartment, by far the best phone call I’ve made in a while. I realize that relatively speaking we are in pretty good shape; I have the staff, supplies and resources I need to weather this storm; I worry so much about providers that are trying to manage with less. I wonder where we will end up as profession when all is said and done. I can’t say that I would willing recommend that any take up a career in Long Term Care right now, but I also feel a responsibility to help educate and prepare those that will one day take my place. To sit back and throw my hands up in the air would not be responsible; many, many people took the time to help me grow and develop as an administrator and I would not be where I am without them, so I need to start thinking about how I grow and cultivate the next generation. It’s just hard to be forward thinking when all you’re really focused on is the latest test round, the latest positivity rates, the latest staff quarantine, and the latest update to the regs. I guess I know what one of my goals for 2021 needs to focus on, developing a succession plan for myself, not that I am going anywhere anytime soon; but some day…

Alright friends I think that’s enough rambling for now, its well past bed time and I am ready to snuggle up under my new weighted blanket, which I LOVE! Stay safe and healthy.

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November 22

Happy Sunday! ‘Tis the season of giving thanks. Even though this year looks very different for most of us, there is still much to be grateful for. And my bedtime clock is saying its time to get ready for bed so I am giving a list of things I am grateful today:

  1. Time to read, the past few weeks have been very busy so it was nice to have some time to breathe today and sit and read.
  2. I am grateful for my teammates that did work today and made it possible for me to have a day of rest. The people I work with are amazing.
  3. I am grateful my company is allowing me to put my employees back in N95 masks; yes they are uncomfortable, but it is an increased layer of protection for my residents and employees.
  4. Christmas Wishes, everyone needs a little Christmas magic in their lives. If you have the means get out there and find a way to make someone’s Christmas wish come true.
  5. Holiday Traditions – I am used to the holidays looking a little different, I work in healthcare. But one thing I can always count on are our traditions so this week I am going to make my Grandma Reese’s Pumpkin Chiffon Pies. I am grateful for the holidays we when we would make these pies together. After her stroke, it became my job to help Grandma with the pies. Now that she’s gone, making these pies keeps her spirit alive.

Friends, I know it can seem like dark days with Covid rates rising and an election cycle that will not end; but there is still good in the world. We can still create good in the world. I hope you have something to be grateful for this week.

Helping Mom make the bed

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November 21

I need to have some fun tonight, do some dreaming and scheming.ย 

I wishโ€ฆ

I wish I was in the woods, sitting in front of a campfire that I built. 

I wish I knew where I wanted to live and if I really wanted to buy a house or just keep renting. 

I wish I had a teardrop camper to take out into the woods for a quick weekend getaway. 

I wish I lived in Colorado; or maybe not, maybe it is possible that actually living there would ruin the beauty and the magic? I doubt it. 

I wish Covid would go away and life would go back to normal for my residents and family members. 

I wish I could go to Las Vegas with my friends for New Years Eve. 

I wish the people that lived in my apartment building would wear masks. 

I wish I was independently wealthy so I didnโ€™t have to go to work everyday. 

I wish I wasnโ€™t so tired. 

I wish both OU and OSU could win tonight, but I know it doesnโ€™t work that way. 

I wish I could spend another magical weekend in Oregon running, writing, and spending time with an amazing group of women. 

I wish my Mom could see my Aunt and that we were all together to celebrate the holidays. 

I wish I was brave enough to turn my wishes into reality.  

What do you wish for?  

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November 20

November 20

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I thought I knew what I was going to write about tonight, its Friday and Friday is my official weigh in day so I thought I would probably write about my weight loss journey that currently looks more like a board for the game Chutes and Ladders. But tonight I am working on โ€œfeeling my feelings,โ€ and not trying to push them back below the surface with food, wine and either zoning out in front of the TV or getting lost in other peopleโ€™s posts on social media.ย  I am working on feeling the feelings, allowing them space because I understand all too well that if I donโ€™t I wonโ€™t loose weight.ย  Food is my drug, food is my security blanket, food is my companion and I am working on learning how to eat when I am hungry and stop when I am satisfied and thatโ€™s not so easy to do when there is a part of your brain screaming at you to JUST PUT THE COOKIE IN YOUR MOUTH! because thatโ€™s what you always do when things get tough and the cookie will make you feel better for about 5 seconds.ย ย 

So hereโ€™s the deal, because I know my Mom and Sister might actually read this I want to start off by saying that while I am not 100% Okay, I am actually okay. Am I tired after 3 solid weeks of work with 1 day off and averaging 10 hr days, yes. Do I feel a sense of responsibility – guilt, anxiety, even a little depression – about the fact that 7 of my residents have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 2 ยฝ weeks?ย  Yes, I do and you know what, thatโ€™s okay.ย  It is okay for me to feel those things; what I am learning and working on is how I create space for those feelings, how I offer them a seat at the table, but I donโ€™t allow them to drive the bus.ย  I can have those feelings, but I donโ€™t have to allow them to change how I show up, how I choose to take care of myself and how I react at work.ย  Yesterday was not a good day, I let anxiety take over and my responses werenโ€™t always what they should have been. What I am grateful for is that I am much more self aware and open to noticing when this happens, learning from my response and working to be better prepared for the next time because I am certain there will be a next time and it could very well be tomorrow.ย 

Tonight I am tired and I am angry that the world seems to be continuing to carry on like 250,000 people didnโ€™t die from Covid-19, that my company has to compete with the likes of the NFL and the NCAA for testing supplies, that I spend more time on tracking, reporting and keeping up with the regulations than I do actually caring for the people that call my community home.  I feel guilty that this most recent outbreak happened on my watch, I think through all the things and wonder what did we miss, where was the gap, how did we let this in; even though my rational brain understands that I canโ€™t control all of the variables, it’s still how I feel tonight.  But instead of letting myself drift slowly into the dark place I am welcoming those feelings in, I am allowing them to be, but not dwelling in them.  They are there, I know they probably wonโ€™t just go away anytime soon, but I donโ€™t have to let them pull me down.  Keep me from taking care of myself and stop me from reaching my goals.  

Putting these words and my darker thoughts on paper is a little scary, but it also feels good to just put it out there, to write it down and let it go into the universe.ย  And know that if you are struggling tonight, struggling with heartache, uncertainty, fear, and anxiety; you are not alone.ย  I see you, I love you and you are not alone even though we are not together.

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November 19

Authors Note: One of the things I’ve wanted to be more brave about is sharing my faith. I know that I have friends that don’t neseccarily think well of “the church,” and Christians, but I do self identify as a Christian and it is a part of who I am. So tonight I am choosing to be brave and to share a little bit about what I believe.

I believe 

I believe in God the Father almighty Maker of Heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord.  I believe in the Virgin Mary.  I believe. I believe that there is still good in the world.  I believe that there are courageous leaders in the church willing to speak up for what is right and working to help the institution that is the United Methodist Church truly be the church of Open Hearts, Open Minds and Open Doors.  I believe that Yโ€™all means ALL, not just those that look like us, act like us, love like us, live like us.  I believe. I read the bible which is full of flawed people picked by God to change the world.  God loves imperfect people and while I can only speak for myself I am definitely an imperfect person; I believe that I am a child of God and that God loves me. 

I was born and raised in the United Methodist Church, worse than that I am the child of a United Methodist Minister.  Iโ€™ve survived the crisis of faith that can occur when one learns first hand that their Minister (ie Dad) is not a perfect person either.  I had a brief stint as an ordained elder in the Presbyterina Church, but always seemed to find my way back home to the UMC despite its many flaws.   I still believe.  I have a 90 day streak going in the Bible App, my record being 390 days, and I am proud. I pray, I pray hard, I pray for miracles and fully expect them to happen.  I keep a Virgin of Guadalupe candle to burn, next to my Buddah and Krishna candle holders.  I believe in the power of Holy Water and the intercession of the Saints.  I believe I can make my own choices, and sometimes I make choices that arenโ€™t as good as others; but somehow I always find my way back to where I belong.  I believe. 

I love Christmas music; hymns and carols, songs of joy and hope, the promise of peace on earth and good will to men.ย  I love the story these songs tell and the message that has been passed down for centuries.ย  I believe that Christmas is not over until the wise men come.ย  I believe.ย  I believe that it is my job to figure out how to share a message of love, of light and hope.ย  To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give to the poor, heal the sick.ย  I canโ€™t profess that I do any of this well, more often than naught I fall very short.ย  I am not well connected to my professed church home, probably miss virtual church more than I attend, and I havenโ€™t done much to help the poor, sick, naked, and hungry people in my community.ย  I also believe that God is not always found in the walls of a church, that God is in us and with us and that worship, true worship can occur wherever you are. Some of my favorite “churches,” do not have walls. I believe. I believe that I will find my way, that we are all children of God and that we will find our way through the wilderness.ย  I believe that there should and can be room at the table for all and I want to speak up and move my chair over to help create that space. I believe.ย ย 

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November 18

I was so surprised to learn it’s only Wednesday and apparently we all need to be out stocking up on toilet paper again. Tonight I am pulling out another sample from my Wilder Retreat Notebook to share with you all. So please enjoy the following sketch based on the prompt, If They Chop Open My Body:

If They Chop Open My Body

If they chop open my body they will find a cup of coffee with just the right amount of almond milk; coffee being one of the early morning delights I share with my Mom.  If they chop open my body you will find a ยฝ empty bottle of red wine, Iโ€™m not able to finish an entire bottle on my own before it turns. If you chop open my body youโ€™ll find a heart full of love for my nieces and nephew, and corgis!  I love Corgis, and once you love a corgi it’s not possible to love any other breed of dog, Iโ€™ve triedโ€ฆ 

If you chop open my body youโ€™ll find the boxes of old papers, college notebooks, and other miscellaneous items that I carry  with me from place to place to place.  As a self proclaimed gypsy youโ€™d think I wouldnโ€™t pack and carry around so much stuff. But alas we like to save things in my family, you never know when you might need that empty butter tub and how can I give up that brilliantly written paper on complexity theory in nursing homes that earned me an A+ from the toughest professor in my grad school program.

If you chop open my body youโ€™ll find a pile of laundry stacked on top of my kidneys, always waiting to either be worn, hung on a hanger, or folded and placed neatly in a drawer; but never making it there.  If you chop open my body youโ€™ll find a bachelors degree that holds no relevance to the work I do now.  If you chop open my body youโ€™ll find a heart that sometimes beats to its own rhythm and not always in a good way, but something I continue to ignore.  If you chop open my body youโ€™ll find adventures and paths that lead to forests and high mountain meadows with streams that run on and on with fish that jump and boulders and rocks, and clear blue skies with high mountain vistas.  If you chop open my body youโ€™ll find a heart that loves my work, is grateful for the life Iโ€™ve built and the people that surround and support me.  

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November 17

November 17 

Today was hard Y’all, I suspect that tomorrow will be hard too or at least present a new set of challenges. Iโ€™d like to share some of the specifics, but I havenโ€™t completely worked through how much I can share and keep my job.  Hereโ€™s something I do know, I think this act of writing everyday has helped, is helping.  It’s late and it has been a very long day so I am going to gift you with a kick gratitude list: 

  1. My Director of Nursing, sheโ€™s kind, compassionate, and hardworking.  Sheโ€™s right there by my side when I need her. 
  2. My Sister, Niece and Mom who are willing to go pick up Eloise at the drop of a hat, when her Mother is stuck at work. 
  3. A good grilled cheese with tomato soup; I know food doesnโ€™t fix our problems but it sure makes you feel better at the end of a long day. 
  4. Getting to the last episode of Dash & Lilly on Netflix, it was delightful! 
  5. Finally, I am grateful that my coping skills have improved since this pandemic started; it surely makes life a little easier. 

Friends; please, please, please wash your hands, wear your masks and practice physical distancing. Covid is for real and Iโ€™d really like to be able to take a few days off. 

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November 16

โ€œWhat single brave decision do you need to make today?โ€ 

That was the quote on the top of the page of my planner today.  And I had all kinds of brave thoughts this morning on my run. Thoughts about sharing things here that I havenโ€™t thus far worked up the nerve to talk about, Iโ€™ve hinted around but never directly discussed our shared in this space before.  I was going to be brave, but now?  Now, I’ve reached my capacity for being brave after a day spent encouraging my team, dealing with upset family members, and trying to convince the Volvo dealer that a sunroof that wonโ€™t close truly is an emergency that needs to be dealt with promptly. 

Now I want to crawl under my new, weighted blanket and not have dreams about aliens abducting me and drilling into my brain – which I did last night and I am pretty certain is a metaphor for all the Covid testing weโ€™ve been doing recently, unless aliens really did abduct me and drill into my brain, but I am pretty sure that didnโ€™t happen.  I am learning to recognize and listen to my body and to my brain when it is seeking relief from the pressures of the day, that thoughts are just thoughts and donโ€™t need to lead me face down in a bag of tortilla chips with a side of salsa or eating the entire package of Ben and Jerryโ€™s Cookie Dough Bites.  I can handle this, is the mantra Iโ€™ve repeated to myself all day and I am almost starting to believe it’s true.   

So sorry, tonight I am keeping this short and sweet and I am choosing to not be very brave. I promise to do a better job of capturing my brave thoughts in the morning tomorrow.  I promise to lean into the voice that is telling me what I should share and that I should honor my promise to not self edit or self censor.  Tonight I am letting myself off the hook, giving myself grace. It’s only Monday and thereโ€™s a lot of week left to go!  Friends, donโ€™t forget now more than ever is the time to be patient with ourselves and with each other.  This is all unchartered territory for everyone, and thereโ€™s no play book for navigating the holidays in a global pandemic with the backdrop of a crazy election cycle that just doesnโ€™t seem to end.  So be kind, do your best to live the golden rule and let’s work on loving each other and ourselves.  Even if it’s from a distance. 

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