The mad method to my baking

I’ve taken up a challenge to improve my cooking/baking skills. It’s more complicated than I originally thought. I’m not one to follow instruction well. In fact my motto in the kitchen is, “let’s just see what happens”, followed by fire, smoke and an “oh no, that can’t be right”. I’m not talking about your Pinterest recipes either. I’m talking about boxed Mac and cheese. I have a new oven. It’s changed me. I feel that I need to honor it and give it a good life. The other oven was somewhat of a slut and smelled like tomato sauce seared into an over done apple pie. This new oven in different. Loyal. I need to respect this baby.

Following those canned instructions like a pro

I wanted to up my game so I started using recipes from scratch. I don’t understand most of the baking lingo. It’s like a foreign language to me. YouTube has become my shadow. Sifting, soften, kneading, beating… come on recipe makers, I don’t know what the crap those things mean when baking! It sounds like I’m reading a romance novel. I had to google every one of those terms. I even moved a tv into the kitchen so I didn’t have to keep taking a timeout to figure out the meaning.

The madness… painting and baking with a tv in the kitchen. I love it.

I finally made my first batch of cookies from scratch. It was messy, sticky, and terrifying. But it was better than any store bought cookie I had tasted before. Does everyone know that these homemade foods are this good? I’ve thought about opening a bakery with these cookie skills! Of course I will have to substitute that crisco shortening stuff in all my recipes. I almost used it… almost. Until I saw the warning label on the back in bright red letters. Fire warning. Major fire warning. It even goes into detail on what to do when the stuff sets fire… oh heck no. I catch non flammable stuff on fire, no way I can take a chance on something that requires a warning label.

I’ve read that the energy you use when cooking/baking transfers into the food you are making. I guess that’s why people say, “made with love”. I wanted good energy in my food so I set out on an adventure to dress my body in something that would make me feel the best. I found this 1970s style wedding gown at the local goodwill. I go there and try on the old creepy dresses sometimes. Don’t judge me. You have your hobbies and I have mine. Anyways, this dress has the biggest puff sleeves I’ve ever seen. I felt like a princess. The back wouldn’t zip all the way up which ticked me off. Who the heck in this town is skinnier than me? I love this dang dress so I’ll just have to buy a corset to squeeze my spine into it.

There is nothing better than baking cookies in an old wedding dress. Swishing around like a mad woman, praying the fire department isn’t called later so you don’t have to explain your attire… it’s risky business. These cookies will be made with energy that you’ve never tasted before. Just when I think I’ve found the ultimate happiness I get a random Snapchat from a guy, a selfie. I’m like eh? I don’t have time for this silliness. I can’t respond right now. I don’t even know how to respond. I can’t send you a snap back of what I’m currently wearing, that would send the wrong message.

Since when did we revert back to the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics form of communication anyways? You are much more likely to grab my attention with a phone call. I felt it was safest to ignore. I do have good judgement some of the time. I only use the snap to convert my voice into something hilarious anyways. I may be 31 years old but I laugh everytime my voice and face gets altered by that app. My baking that night was a job well done. I am still munching on the goodness made with that unique energy. I’m planning to bake something similar for the ladies at work, they need a conversion of energy anyways. There’s bad energy “sifting” around. See what I did there 😉

I have grumpy days

About 8 months ago I felt so overwhelmed with my responsibilities. I felt no matter how hard I swam I couldn’t seem to keep my head above water. Just drowning day after day, working, thinking about work from home, thinking about home from work. An endless cycle of torment. I work out of town, about 45 minutes from my house. When I get in these overwhelming moods I tend to scroll the classified ads and apply for the most ridiculous jobs. I applied to be a chef for nascar… if you’ve seen my kitchen fiascos then you understand what I mean by ridiculous. I also applied for the army, to be an online psychic, and even the coffee queen of another country. Apparently you need a passport for that last one and I didn’t qualify. I always look for the jobs that are impossible to get without an immense amount of experience. It’s like playing the lottery with my career, which is my kind of fun. I scrolled passed an ad one morning for a wound care nurse position closer to home and thought oh wow something realistic that I could actually do to eliminate some of my stress.

I went for an interview and listened to what they were looking for in a wound care nurse. I told them what my current responsibilities were and how I managed things in my current position and watched as their eyes lite up. Hired right on the spot. But something was said that took me back a step, they said I might be bored because it was a smaller facility and they don’t see the kind of wounds I’m used to dealing with. That’s what I was looking for right? A reduction in responsibility so that I could stay afloat. Then why did that seem off to me? I kept those words in my back pocket and talked with my current boss about taking the position closer to home. She told me I could do this if I really wanted to but to take sometime and think about why I started working here in the first place. I don’t know about you but I take all advice seriously.

I went home, pulled out a notebook, and started jotting down what I loved about my job. I began to reminisce about when I was first hired. It was one of those ridiculous jobs I had applied for. I had no experience. I remember bringing up bandaids in my interview like that gave me some sort of wound care expertise. I also remember praying that I would get this job, and bartering with God that if I did then I would stick with it and do the best I could. I thought about how far I have came, the experience I’ve gained, the knowledge that I’ve obtained in my few short years. The only reason I was able to get that light up eye effect from the new job interviewers is because my current job has prepared me for it. They provided training and education, everything I had asked for, a wound care tech, paid conferences, readily available supplies, if I need it then I have no problem getting it. My brother works as a nurse for another facility and he has told me countless times how lucky I am to have the supplies readily available. I didn’t realize that was a privilege. They have to order the cheapest thing available and if they want something expensive it has to be approved and fought for… now isn’t that something. I didn’t know any different, I don’t have to ask my superiors to order supplies. If it’s the best treatment for my patient then that’s what I get. If we can reduce healing time then doesn’t that save money in the long run?

With all these thoughts rolling around in my head I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel and move on to the quiet life. I enjoy the fast pace environment, I enjoy learning new things, and having a facility that will provide me with the things I need to try new treatments. I’m not done growing as a nurse. Something I’ve gained from this experience 8 months ago is to slow down during my grumpy days and change my prayers. Instead of asking God to reduce my responsibilities to meet my abilities, I have started asking God to increase my abilities to meet my responsibilities. I’ve learned that grumpy days are okay, but don’t let those days turn into weeks, or months. Change it. Have fun at work. We spend a big majority of our lives in our careers, make it something you enjoy! As for me I enjoy learning and when I feel I can no longer do that then I’ll pack my bags and move along. By the way if you aren’t familiar with the discovery of penicillin, look it up. By far the coolest thing I’ve learned this week! I want Alexander Fleming’s lab coat. The falls nurse and I have been inspired to create a similar experiment for our skills fair coming up and it is going to be fantastic!

A little something I made fun at work! It’s a scavenger hunt I set up for my wound techs Christmas present!

My Therapist Would Be Proud

This past month I feel like I’ve been taken to the cleaners. It has me wanting to loop the Dairy Queen Drive thru until I slip into a diabetic coma. I don’t know what God is trying to teach me here lately but I can tell you I don’t want to learn it. I mean I asked for it, I asked for growth and direction in my life. And then I prepared for learning only the lesson feels more like discipline. Maybe those are the same thing, consequences are lessons that grow us into better people right? I don’t know. All I know is I don’t like it. I work hard as an employee, my time at work doesn’t stop when I clock out, I investigate cases outside of work, take phone calls off the clock and come in on a moments notice when help is need. I work hard as a mother, it’s an unappreciated job at times that is 24/7 regardless of whether they are at school, a friends house, or with their dad. I work hard in my relationships with people, I find time that’s not mine to give to you. I carefully word responses and refrain from saying what’s on my mind to spare feelings and save conflict. Maybe that’s not the best approach, I work hard but still need growth.

This past month I have asked for growth. I’ve set goals and made plans to meet them. Every positive has been counteracted with 2 negatives. So as I sit here with my large moolatte and reflect on this past month trying my best not to add my salty tears to this sweetly crafted goodness I see some critical errors I’ve made along the way. I think it’s time I had a crucial conversation with myself.

#1 You don’t give yourself credit for the passion you put into you’re job, and you’re not going to receive that anywhere else. So take a deep breath, hang that lumber jack calendar up, touch you’re salt lamp, and remind yourself why you are doing this. It’s not for praise, it’s not for appreciation, it’s for the patients and you can lay your head down tonight knowing you did everything within your skill and knowledge level to meet their needs. *side note to self, turn to march on the calendar to add some cheer on a gloomy day*

I’ll add quotes from counsel I turned to for each trial that’s came my way this month.

#2. You have been through worse before with the kids. You have been close to rock bottom. You’ve been through the motions. You know you are a good mother, more importantly your children know it. Do not let an outsider have their 60 seconds of condemnation with you. Brush off that ignorance and pay the fine, do the time, and move forward. And your 7 year old is sleeping now so it’s alright if you want to go ahead and shovel what’s left of her fries into your sad tummy. You deserve it mom.

Oh yes it should!

#3. Girl. Even I don’t have anything good to say about this one. What were you thinking?! Being with that guy is like stepping into a revolving door with no exit. You end up in the exact same spot you started every single time. You are a smart woman. You know exactly what you deserve. You know there is no connection and no evolution so what the heck are you doing lady. If I had a ruler right now I’d smack your hand harder than a nun in a catholic school. Save your time for things you want to be doing until the right person who meets your standards in what you’re looking for in a man comes along. Smh. Girl stop acting a fool.

This quote is referring to Jesus Christ and it’s one of my favorites to reflect on

You know… that was a good talk with myself and a nice emotional binge on this Dairy Queen haul. I feel better already. My therapist would be proud.

MURPHYS LAW STRIKES AGAIN

Pain is something I’m used to. I have to be careful when I sit Indian style, or to be politically correct “criss cross apple sauce”. Which by the way makes no sense because apple sauce can never criss cross. The cold hurts my bones and turns me into a hobbled old lady. I look like I’m auditioning for a role in the walking dead as a zombie. I’ve tried to get it fixed, ortho consults, injections, anti inflammatories, the works. I’ve given up on the dream of being pain free and walking like a runway model, besides I think the gangsta walk suits me better anyhow.

This passed weekend I watched too many hallmark movies and got inspired to clean my attic out, pull my Christmas decor down, and bake a pie. The pie part was challenging, I had to watch a YouTube video with my daughter on how to beat an egg and then we didn’t know what to do with it… the can didn’t say if we should mix it in the filling or where to put it so I had to contact an expert. My older brother Jo Jo. He has always been the baker/cook of the family and for Christmas one year he surprised me with a ton of cooking stuff I’ve never used until now.

A little too late, might I add. We already screwed up the pie and racked it up on our list of Pinterest fails. We like failure around here, it’s educational. The kiddos went off to their dads as usual on the weekend and I decided I’d get in the attic to try part 2 of my hallmark inspired weekend plans. I forgot my sister had a ton of stuff piled away since she is in the army and needs a place to keep her memories safe. Naturally I went through all her things like any good sister would.

Why are you saving this dinosaur?

After neatly organizing everything into clear totes, I started my ascend to the attic with the remains of my sisters youth. It was heavy. Too heavy. I got halfway up the ladder and gave the big tote a big push and whoosh, my shoulder felt like the devil being soaked in holy water! I dropped the nonsense memorabilia and laid against the wall pretending I didn’t just screw my shoulder up. The pain didn’t stopped, not after ice, not after nsaids and rest and praying. Crikey. Now I’m really in trouble with myself. I am a worker. I don’t simply watch a movie, or sit still for anything. I always have my hands going, knitting, crafting, writing, ect.

My new worst enemy

I decided to show my wound some attention when I realized I couldn’t hold my coffee mug and brush my hair without a stabbing pain. So I went to the dreaded doctor, actually I love my doctor but I hate going. It’s only torn, no break 🙌🏼 ! They said to take the rest of the week off and no lifting but that’s just a guideline… like stuff they have to say when you’re a patient so, I hid the note and went back to work the next day looking like the hunchback of notre dame with ice packs shoved in my scrub top. I’ve mastered the art of looking fine when I’m in pain for years so the next couple or weeks should be cake, fingers crossed.

Being home from work was too boring. I didn’t have anything to do while the girls were in school and I imagined spending sick days being productive, like laying on the couch with the flu while crocheting a blanket and folding laundry here and there but none of that happened. I grazed through the things I pulled down from the attic, reminiscing through memories of my dad. He’d probably make me a peanut butter sandwich if he were here. He always did that when I was out of commission. I remember crying in front of the fridge once in my wheelchair days because I couldn’t reach the milk and felt helpless. He saw me from his office and came to the rescue as always. I miss that old man. I was able to visit a piece of his life over the weekend.

He had great taste in books hahaha

I’ll be revisiting most of his treasures for the next few weeks as I’m not able to get them back in the attic so if I seem suspicious for the next little while it’s because I’m learning secret trades from an old crook hahaha. Talley ho!

Emotional For Education

I know what you’re thinking ‘Tinman actually has a heart’. I’m not your typical crier. I didn’t know I could do that for the longest time. Growing up I thought, “well maybe I’m a psychopath because I don’t cry at funerals or when babies are born”. My oldest daughter told me once that I needed to sit in a quiet room with a lit candle and try to turn my emotions on… I think she was joking but maybe not. I’ve seen other nurses at the station after a code balling their eyes out, I feel it too girl but it’s not coming out of my eyes.

Today I cried a little, like in front of people. It was weird. I was only talking about education, how important it was and how learning from someone with wisdom is much better than learning by mistake. The more I explained it, I felt the wetness under my eyelids no matter how hard I tried to stare at the ceiling. A work pal started to cry just watching me cry… she must be an empath. My middle child is an empath.

I do have an emotional bond with education. I love learning, anything and everything. I didn’t have the privilege to attend high school. I worked hard to get into nursing school after I got my GED. I had failed my entrance exam into nursing school, studied harder and made it in, only to end up in a car accident during the final semester of school… I went to the school in my wheelchair and was told I couldn’t attend because I couldn’t complete my nursing responsibilities. Once I was able to walk again I had to start all over, entrance exam and all.

I cannot explain to you how much I cherish education. I study everyday. Not in school or for any sort of college credit, just for me and my patients. Come to think of it the last time I cried was watching a movie. It was called the boy who harnessed the wind. He wants to go to school so badly and his father can’t afford it so he sneaks into school everyday, sneaks in the library, he gets caught eventually and man oh man does my face end up flooded with tears every time! That movie is based on a true story. I think people often forget that education is mandatory in our country but in others it’s considered a privilege.

Today I was teaching about preventative skin care. I added some show and tell to the mix because that has always been my favorite way to learn.

Check out how that fake urine beads up and rolls off the skin!

I do this once a month and it always gets the “ooooow… awwwww” effect. It really clicks seeing the difference you can make. This is information provided for free! Learn from wisdom, from the experience of the people before you. We rely heavily on that in the medical field. I can describe nothing worse than learning by mistake in this field. It happens, sometimes you do the best you can, the best you know to do, and it’s still not enough. Later down the road you may learn the answer to that problem and wish you had that knowledge before. It will rip your heart string in half, sure you will learn, you’ll never forget that one time you should’ve done this instead of that. But when the information is there, when it’s provided to prevent those nightmares of “learning by mistake” take it!

By the way I didn’t cry while teaching. If that’s what you were thinking.

Yes To This Dress

I’ve never tried on a wedding dress. Ever. Yes, I’ve been married before. It was not a planned thing. I remember riding down the road with my then boyfriend. He was covered in drywall mud and I was in a brown floral top and khaki pants. He asked if I wanted to get married, right then… I wasn’t really doing anything else. My day had been pretty boring and I’m a spontaneous person so of course I was all in. No tears or even witnesses, just me, him, and the lady at the tags office. Romantic right? Ha. That ended 7 years ago. He wasn’t the right guy, but that doesn’t make him a bad guy, just not the right guy. I’m not sure there is a right guy. I have been asked a total of 3 times for my hand in marriage but I’m a bit more cautious with my spontaneity now a days, and to be honest my hands are cold… wouldn’t want to hoodoo another persons life with these icicles.

I believe wholeheartedly that I was meant to be a single mom. Even as a child, when I’d picture my future life, I always saw myself with children but never with a mate. Sometimes now when I’m planning for retirement, or even what I’ll be doing in 10 years from now I see the same thing, mateless… just me and a garden, my one million projects lined around the yard, maybe a medical mission or 2, the company of friends and my kiddos. Perfection. My mom says that the way I’m feeling right now is exactly when my dad found her… well come and find me dad because I’m not going anywhere!

I recently went to a local thrift store to drop off donations. As I walked in the biggest, most poofy dress I had ever laid my eyes on caught my eye. It looked like the wedding gown donned by Barbara in beetlejuice. I snatched it up as my kids laughed saying, “mom no, oh man that’s hideous”… girls this is a work of art. I teased that I needed to try it on to wear to their first ball game at school.. want to look my best right? I slipped the dress on, unaware at the time it’d be my “first time” ever trying on a wedding gown.

Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice!

Everyone talks about that special moment when they find their wedding dress. Some even cry. I understand that feeling now. The broken mirror, the puffy lace sleeves, kids cackling from the door way, the thrift store find… I’m saying yes to this halloween dress 😭. It is perfect. I can picture it now, Maleah as Lydia. Kali as beetlejuice. Hailee as Harley Quinn… I can’t picture an Adam in all this so if that’s where your mind was going, sorry, no husband for me, just the creepy dress please. Thanks.

We go big for Halloween in this house. We plan out the houses we are going to hit. Extra bags in the car for the candies, what time we are going to the Halloween party, what time we will hit Main Street before the neighborhood homes. The book character day party and time it will take for a costume switch… it is all mapped out as if we are preparing for war. My girls make great soldiers.

I took my littles Halloween shopping yesterday. I usually know what to expect with each kid except Maleah. I know Hailee loves all things frilly and Princess related, Kali is somewhere between drag queen attire and full blown Disney Character (I know what you’re thinking but there’s not much difference), and then there’s Maleah… Maleah is that kid in your school who shows up in a hot dog costume when all the other girls are dressed as Cinderella. Try to pick her out in the above picture… if you picked the granny then you’re correct. This year Maleah was holding a cheerleader costume and something polar opposite from it, I don’t even know what to call it, but after heavy contemplation she chose the thing which I will now picture:

The other two girls refuse to let me snag a picture until they’ve gone through hair and makeup so I’ll have to update on Halloween! Divas. I couldn’t get them to go along with my beetlejuice plan so I guess I’ll just be Miss Havisham and sit it my wedding dress at home. I still think it’s perfect.

The Veils of Morality

I’ve heard that death is as easy as walking into another room. That there is a veil between this mortality and immortality. There is a sacred symbolic meaning behind the veil, it can mean obedience, modesty, concealing, humility or all of the above. I want to share the oddest dream I had the other night that changed the way I viewed the veils of our mortality.

I dreamt I was walking into work. It was quiet which is unusual for a nursing facility, there were no other employees, no call lights ringing off, and every patients room had a white veil hanging on the entrance to the doorway. In most of my dreams I can not talk, rather I feel what’s happening. I felt at peace in this one and continued to prepare myself to treat my patients. I approached a doorway and felt a voice ask me who I was. I’d describe it as a telepathic conversation as my mouth never opened but I answered with, “I am Annabelle”. The voice responded with the same question, “Who are you?” After a revolving Q&A with the same results I finally took a step back and thought there is a patient in there who needs my help and I am a nurse. The mystery voice said, “You May enter”. I stepped through the veil and only found the patient inside, no security guard at the door… it was odd but I didn’t question it. The patient was angry at me, he was asking why I took so long and why I hadn’t come to see him sooner. I wanted to respond with, “my child was sick and I’ve had a stomach ulcer so I’ve been out of work” but the voice in my head said again, even louder this time, “WHO ARE YOU?!”. I answered silently, “I am a nurse”. I felt a change internally, the stressors that control my time outside of that room quickly dissipated. I was no longer a woman who had only 4 hours of sleep, a sick child, a crippling stomach ulcer, or a single mom with bills racking up. That woman was not permitted into this room, only the nurse in me was extended an invitation. My response to the patient changed to, “I apologize for my absence but I am here now, how can I help?” The angry mood shifted as the patient allowed me to treat his wounds. I finished up and stepped back through the veil. As I entered the hallway I was Annabelle again, I was a mom, a painter, an adventurer, and a nurse all in one. But each time I approached the door to another room the same question was asked before entry was granted, “Who are you?”.

As I woke up I started pondering the dream with the veils. I thought about all the doors I walk through each day and the person in me who was permitted on the other side. When I come home am I bringing the stressors of work with me? Or am I stopping at the door and asking myself who am I with the response, “I am a mom”? Am I doing the same at work? It’s an interesting concept when I sit back and think about all the mortal doorways we each have in our own lives, with that invisible veil that only allows a part of us to enter. What have you come to that doorway to do? If it’s to give excuses when you get to the other side then take a step back and remind yourself who you are before you cross.

When I walked into work yesterday I couldn’t get the image of the veils out of my head. I believe the dream came about to remind me of who I needed to be in that room, and who I needed to be at home because I couldn’t be both. The hard days I have at work do not belong in my home with my children and the hard days I have with my family at home do not belong in the room with my patients. I thought to myself yesterday before I entered each room, “Who are you?” and that changed my entire day.

What’s weird about it?

I’ve got a question for anyone who is divorced with children, does it feel weird to spend time with your ex for family functions such as birthday parties, holidays, cookouts, whatever the case where your children might be that the other parent may also be? If yes then why? I get asked this question a lot, “isn’t that awkward?”… well no, why would it be? You know what would make it awkward? If we were still married. I mean, how awkward would that be if I was still married to this guy that I only see once every other weekend, show up to a birthday party with another wife and kids, now THAT would be awkward… but I’m not. It’s not awkward because we aren’t married anymore, and haven’t been for 7 years. I’m trying to dip inside the mind of someone who would find the situation weird. Is it weird for you because you are not on good terms? Do you argue a lot? Do you harbor unresolved feelings? Bad blood between the new member to your co parenting team? Your problems are not my problems. I’ve known this fool for 15 years, he’s my kids dad, and yes I can call him a fool because it’s just a playful term of endearment. His wife is good to my kids. And here’s the thing, we live separate lives with the same children who we each love and they love us. So spending time all together is not “awkward” because I’m at the point in my life where they are just another part of my family. Sometimes it’s funny, like when we all went up the mountain to take the kids to see Anakeesta, they take a photo before you go up with your group. Imagine 3 adults and 5 kids, my kids dads laughed and said we looked like a bunch of Mormons… I laughed even harder because I am a Mormon, but not that kind 😂!

Can you see how happy these silly kids are?

Every situation is different. The kids are the most important aspect of our lives and as I see it they are not from a “broken home” they are from an expanded home, we’ve built on to what we already have. This is a very positive situation, my kids have more parents to love them, more siblings, more grandparents, more everything. We are not the stereotypical divorced parents. I despise the negative connotation that follows that term around. You are what you make it. We choose to make it right.

We did not start here. So yes I understand the scary looks on the faces of people when I mention I’m spending time with the kids and their dad/stepmom. We worked to get here. There used to be a lot of bad energy surrounding the situation. There typically is in the beginning. It takes a lot of growth, forgiveness, acceptance, and love to get here. We are not perfect but we are better than we were yesterday and that’s all that is important especially for our children. I can say that I know that in 10-20 years when my kids look back on their childhood they will remember feeling loved and being raised in homes by parents who get along, and that to me is NOT broken.

NANNY MCPHEE WOULDN’T LIKE THIS

I love how my parents always made me feel free. I know right now if we were able to pick our own parents before this life that I would have picked mine over anyone else on this planet. They always made us kids feel like we could do anything we wanted as long as it was legal and not too dangerous and even then during the teenage years we walked on the edge of that line. I never realized how amazing the feeling of freedom was until I went through relationships and roommates and such that had rules and regulations… those are the worst. I don’t like rules. I don’t like waking up and feeling like ‘this is what you have to do today, and this is how you have to do it’. Have you ever heard that phrase, “choose your battles” when raising your children? My parents were experts at this. They didn’t focus on a military uniformed household, they instead chose to step in when it came to our safety. I could’ve woke up in the morning at 10 years old and decided, ‘I think I’ll give my wardrobe a make over’, start painting my shirts, cutting my sleeves, bedazzling my shoes… and my parents would’ve smiled and told me it was interesting. Mind you if I didn’t like my artistic work, I would’ve had to live with it because we only went shopping for clothes once a year haha. And that is something I have actually done.

When I would tell my friends at school some of my daily activities their mouths would drop open and they would say things like, “your parents let you do that?”. Well yeah… I mean I didn’t ask, but I didn’t get in trouble either. My 7 siblings and I used to do all sorts of things that you’d probably bust your kids hind end for. We used to make biscuit dough and throw it against the chimney to see who could get theirs to stick the highest, play volley ball inside, collect random animals, cut each other’s hair, paintball and firework wars, build forts and zip lines, make a slip and side in the kitchen floor with dish soap and water, carry our mattresses outside and jump through the windows onto them… you know things that would give your parents nightmares. Nanny McPhee would’ve needed some extra magic to subdue us. I didn’t feel like I ever had a bedtime. I didn’t feel like I needed permission to go out into the woods or walk to the neighbors. I didn’t ask if friends could come over or if I could have this dog I found. Sure we had chore lists and the consequences for our actions came from themselves and not my parents, like cutting our own hair was humiliating, no need for further punishment there, or having the chore of cleaning a room we just massacred. The freedom of choice did not come with the freedom of consequence but I’m glad my parents allowed us to learn from our own mistakes instead of forcing us to learn from theirs.

Perhaps it’s why I live the way I live now. Spontaneous trips and random projects. Creative and free. I planned to spend this week in Salem learning about the witch trials, only my flyer mile points don’t come in until the end of the week… meh. So instead we decided to visit with family and do a road trip, which at the last minute turned into a trip to the smokies. I don’t mind what we do, as long as my girls and I can spend time together, I’m sure we will make whatever we do interesting. I’ve been to the smokies countless times, that’s one of the reasons it wasn’t my first choice. I don’t want to relive the same vacation time and time again. I’m an adventurer. I need to explore and do new things. Then I started thinking, we don’t have to stay in the same cabin/hotel, eat the same breakfast and have the same vacation just because it’s the same place we’ve been before… we can do something different in this place. I’ve asked my sister in law who is meeting me there to brace herself for what we are about to do. It will push her comfort zone to the limits… it will test our survival skills… it will be glorious. It is camp grits. Our home away from home for the week.

Isn’t it lovely?

The girls and I will start our journey today and Tonia will join us tomorrow. Gives us an entire day to set up booby traps to keep things interesting for when the gang arrives. The facilities are probably my favorite part, you have to ask the host in advance to bath in this bath tub that’s out in the woods… that way they can light a fire to warm the bath water 😂. Stay tuned for an update on how to not only take a last minute trip with your family but how to do it on a budget! The total cost for this beauty is less than what the average nightly rate is in the Pigeon forge/Gatlinburg area. Even with the added cost of bug spray and fire wood! Let the adventure begin.

Beggars are fine by me

I listened to Jeffrey R. Holland’s “Are we not all beggars?” a dozen times this morning. If this message doesn’t strike true with you in the nursing field, you’re doing it wrong. His talk isn’t about nursing, it’s about poverty and caring for those in need. I still see it in the nursing aspect. Of course. Homeless, HIV, immigrant, poor, kind, bitter… it doesn’t matter. I will care for you regardless. I want to share a paragraph from this talk to put into perspective my feelings on the topic: “For one thing, we can, as King Benjamin taught, cease withholding our means because we see the poor as having brought their misery upon themselves. Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest of us do exactly the same thing? Isn’t that why this compassionate ruler asks, “Are we not all beggars?” Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.” -Jeffrey R. Holland

This is such a powerful paragraph. How many times do we look at someone in need and say, “I’m not helping them, they brought this upon themselves”. If that is the answer The Lord gives to you when you go to him with your own personal troubles the tables would be turned wouldn’t they be? But it’s not. It’s not the answer we give to our own children when they come to us with a mistake or misfortune either. We seek out ways to help them recover, to make changes. In nursing it’s the same way. Maybe you have eaten yourself into a diabetic coma, you’ve been shooting up and have an infection in your heart, you could’ve damaged your vital organs with an unhealthy lifestyle, whatever the case we do not turn you away at the door because you’ve brought these problems on yourself. We take you in with open arms and care for you regardless of whether you continue with your current habits or have a remorseful heart. We educate and let the choice of change lie in your hands, this is your chance to make that change, we cannot do it for you but we will care for you in your time of need!

How different would our lives be if we lived by these words? How different would the lives of others be? I sometimes look at the dilemma of poverty in the world and think, “I can’t fix all of this, I don’t have enough to fix all of this?!” But then something happens, when I am in a position to help another and I think, “I can’t save them all but I can save THIS ONE”. Remember my post from yesterday about how conquering multiple small things will cross off the big things? This is it. That small act of kindness will cross off a big thing in someone else’s life. I encourage whoever is reading this to be charitable in the lives around you, even if they have brought their difficulties on themselves, haven’t we all? Thanks for coming to my ted talk 😉