Friday, August 31, 2007

Another Reason Why I Love My Husband

I don't think I mentioned what my husband gave me for my birthday.

For the long weekend, we are headed over to this beautiful little town the next state over. On Sunday morning, before he and the kidlets head over to a wildlife refuge, I'm being dropped off at the spa for an hour massage and a facial.

One of the Social Workers at hospice said, "What husband school did he go to and can I enroll mine there?"

I'm not sure that my husband's innate sweetness is something that can be learned.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sliding and Nipping

I'm stuck today between indignation and being glad to not have to do extra work.

One of my elderly patients died yesterday. She was a resident of this sad little nursing home with an Activities Director who tells anyone who will listen how awful it is that our hospice has a woman chaplain. She says, "It's not in the Bible and it's wrong!" I'm usually just happy to ignore the ranting of such people. There's nothing that I can say or do to change her mind and I'm certainly not going to stop doing what I'm doing because of anything she says.

Well, this afternoon one of my fellow chaplains, a guy, comes into my office and asks, "Was Mrs. H. your patient? Because the Activities Director at sad little nursing home just called and asked me to do her memorial service at the nursing home next week. Just thought I'd let you know. "


My colleague never visited this woman or her family and I only did a couple of times since I've been with hospice. I talked with a family member of the deceased an hour or so later and she mentioned that they had asked the facility to coordinate with us in doing a service. I didn't get the vibe that they didn't want me involved, but that they were grief-stricken and wanted someone else to take care of arrangements.

I don't feel any special attachment to this woman, though I'm sure she was a fine person. I'm not chomping at the bit to do this service, but I wonder if I'd be doing the right thing to just let it slide. First of all, I can't let this Activities Director think that she can get in the way of my doing my job at this facility. I am the only chaplain who sees our hospice's patients at this facility. Second, I wonder if I need to say something to my colleague. Something just doesn't sit right with me about him agreeing to do a service for one of my patients.

Please tell me: am I feeling weird about this for no good reason? I don't want to be territorial, but I also don't want to let this slide when (to mix my metaphors) this is something that should be nipped in the bud.

To let slide, or to nip?......that is the question.

Monday, August 27, 2007

It's My Birthday!

It's my 35th birthday today. Have one of my cupcakes!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes(12 servings)

1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Filling1-8 ounce package of cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1-6 ounce package chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl combine cocoa, flour, oil, baking soda, vanilla, water, and sugar until smooth.
In a smaller bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.
Line a 12 cup cupcake pan with paper liners. Pour equal amounts of chocolate mixture in each cup. Top with equal amounts of cream cheese mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What Will Heaven Be Like?

Here in this city in the Bible Belt, the local grocery stores often have tables near the registers with "inspirational" books for sale. Tonight this one caught my eye, What Will Heaven Be Like? The copy in the store had a sticker affixed to it that read, "Seven Common Myths Debunked!"
Since I needed to go home to feed my children, I didn't take the time to look into the pages of the book to see what those myths were, nor did I get to read just how Mr. Hartman became such an authority on heaven. Does he read the same Bible that I read? Because my Bible is quite vague on that topic.
This is the theological emphasis that is prevalent in my city; that the life hereafter is all that truly matters. The whole point, or at least the most important part, of faith is to get a fire insurance policy against going to hell. And the way to obtain this fire insurance is to say the magic words (the "sinner's" prayer) and *poof* you're a Christian.
I'm noticing this more now than I have in the four years we've lived here because I'm realizing that I have been wrapped in a liberal cocoon, surrounded mostly by Christians who, for the most part, think like me. Of course, at Presbytery meetings, I am around folks who have a different perspective, but I tend to stick to those who, again, are a lot like me. It feels safer that way in today's PC(USA.) Safe, but not very healthy.
In my new gig as a hospice chaplain, my job is to meet people where they are spiritually and minister to them in a language that is familiar and comforting. Considering the religious ethos of this metro area, most of my patients and their families have quite a different take on things than I do. But you know what? When I act and speak in a manner that seeks to reflect the love and grace of Jesus Christ, I find that in the sacred days before death, we are speaking the same language.
A daughter of one of my patients asked me the other day, "Are you born again?" Any other time I would have bristled, but at this moment I said, "If by that you are asking if Jesus Christ is my Savior and if I believe in the God of eternity, then the answer is 'yes.'" At another time and place, this answer may not have satisfied her, but in these sacred days as she walks this journey with her dying mother, she was comforted.
There are very real, very important and very painful issues that divide us as Christians. This is how it is and I believe I am called to work toward the goal of a church and a world that reflects the justice, peace and compassion of God; oftentimes in opposition to brothers and sisters in Christ whom I believe have it all wrong. And they I.
But I wonder...maybe I'm getting just a small glimpse of what heaven is like by walking these journeys with the dying and their families. That in the final analysis, our lives will come to an end and all that matters then is that we are precious children of a loving and merciful God.
Somehow, I doubt that Jack Hartman wrote about that in his book.
ETA: For some reason blogger will not let me put spaces between my paragraphs. Sorry of it's hard to read.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

and now for something completely different....

Clay Aiken tried to get his sexy on. I think he's goofing, I hope. It's a bit disturbing, but in a hilarious way!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A TMI Post

Warning: This post contains what some might deem to be TMI (Too Much Information.)

I got my test results today. The good news: all of my female parts are in tip top shape and my uterine fibroids are not causing my discomfort. The bad news: I've got an umbilical hernia and apparently it's pretty big.

It's weird, I always thought that you could see a big bulge or bump with a hernia. As I said before, my abdomen has been steadily growing bigger, but it's been growing all over, not just bulging in one spot. Also, I am unsure what is causing this feeling of fullness, like I have too much fluid in my belly.

I am going to see more doctors and figure this all out. Thanks for all of your prayers and good thoughts. But all of this is pretty lame, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Do anything you want to me: poke me, prod me, set my hair on fire... but please do not make me drink something gross!

The barium drink was just more than I could take. I know that sounds very melodramatic, but it kicked my butt all the way down the hall. I have never known myself to be such a baby about something, but this stuff was putrid. I just hope that I got enough inside of me to make the CT scan worth it because I'm not drinking that crap again.

The scan itself went fine, I think. Took about an hour. I'm not sure when I'll know anything.

Today is my 9th wedding anniversary. I think I'd rather go out to pizza with my kids and my husband than go to some romantic restaurant alone with my husband. What does that say about my sense of romance?

Monday, August 13, 2007


  • I've got two medical tests this week: a pelvic ultrasound, which I had today, and an abdominal CT scan tomorrow. I've been having abdominal pain and am looking about 5 months pregnant. I was told to drink 32 ounces of water an hour before my appointment. Well, I guess I overdid it because by the time I got called into the examination room I looked like my 3 year old when she has to go really, really bad!
  • Tomorrow I've got to drink some disgusting barium stuff that they have the audacity to call Vanilla Smoothie. I hope I can keep it down. I hope to have some news as to what is going on in my body in a few days.
  • It's over 100 degrees here today, not counting heat index. It was equally as hot this past weekend, but it didn't discourage those silly people standing outside watching the men in ugly pants walking at the big, big deal sporting event that was held in my city. This event happened across the street from the hospice offices and it was a major pain in the butt. I'm glad it's over and I can make a left hand turn out of our parking lot again.
  • I love my 7:30 am- 3:00 pm schedule.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Five: Stress Busters

I am completely goofing off on this Friday morning, but my work is caught up, so I don't feel too bad. And I haven't had a chance to do a a Friday Five for awhile, so here goes...

Sally says: I am off to spend a few days at the beach chilling out after a hectic few weeks and before I head off for Summer School...So with that in mind this weeks questions are looking at how you deal with the stress monster!!!???

1. First, and before we start busting stress, what causes you the most stress, is it big things or the small stuff ? For me, it's the little things when they start to pile up on each other. You know, like the other day when my son got pink eye, my only clean shirt lost a button, I fell going down the front steps at work and spilled out all the contents of my work bag, I lost three progress notes from visiting patients, and got some not so great health news. Okay, that last one isn't so small, but I could have handled it better without all the piddly stuff on top of it!

2. Exercise or chocolate for stress busting ( or maybe something else) ? Okay, I really want to say exercise because it is good for busting stress, but I must admit that I more often reach for the chocolate. A better plan would be exercise first and then eat lots of chocolate!

3.What is your favourite music to chill out to? It depends on if I want to relax or expend some nervous energy. For the latter, I pull out some of my 80's CDs from High School! For relaxation, I like this nice mix tape (remember those?) that my husband made me many years ago.

4. Where do you go to chill? Bubble bath, baby!

5. Extrovert or introvert, do you relax at a party, or do you prefer a solitary walk? Introvert. Parties are so not relaxing to me. I need alone time to wind down.

Bonus- share your favourite stress busting tip! That would have to be a funny movie. I'm really craving one right now. Anyone seen anything good lately?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Some Good News

I have a new work schedule! My hours are now 7:30 am to 3 pm, 35 hours a week.

I made this request to my supervisor several days ago thinking that it would be shot down immediately. To my surprise, when I approached her about it, she said, "I know that this transition has been hard on you and your family. I'm just glad that you aren't coming to me submitting you resignation!" So, she brought my request to her boss who said it was fine, if one of the other chaplains would agree to change his schedule a bit in order for there to be coverage until 5:00 pm. Right now, the other chaplains have a 7:30 am to 4:00 pm schedule and I didn't think that any of them would be willing to change- and I wouldn't have blamed them.

So, when my supervisor brought it up this morning at our chaplain's meeting, I expected there to be dead silence. But one of the chaplains immediately said, "I'll change. I was thinking about it anyway." I want to buy this man a steak- and I'm a vegetarian! I do think I will give him a gift certificate to a restaurant or something.

This is going to make all the difference in the world for us. My daughter will have a shorter day at preschool and I'll be able to pick my son up from the bus stop after school. I'll be able to spend more time with my kids in the afternoons and evenings than just supper, bath, and bed. This, of course, helps tremendously in my feelings about this new position. I still don't think I'll be doing this 5 years from now, but I feel like I can now settle into this ministry until God moves me on.

Dear blogpals, thank you so much for your support, especially when I was so very negative. I have a teensy bit of a problem in the trusting God department, it seems.

God is good.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Being Employed

I've been thinking..... A dangerous pastime, I know.

One of my many problems with this adjustment is that I don't like being an employee. Pastors, at least in my experience, aren't often called employees of the church. (That is, of course, unless someone doesn't get what they want, when they want it, from the pastor. Then, you might hear something like, "Hey, she's working for us, isn't she?") It's totally a pride thing and I need to get over myself.

But I do miss the dynamic of the pastor not being a member of the congregation, but rather a member of Presbytery. The owner of this hospice doesn't give a rip that I am a member of Presbytery; I am just his employee. And I am sure that he would have no appreciation for the fact that I consider myself first a Minister of Word and Sacrament serving in a validated ministry by authority of the my Presbytery before I consider myself his employee working as a chaplain for this particular hospice.

I believe what I just wrote, but do you see what I'm doing? I'm finding any way I can to not be an employee! I think that this is very significant for me and it is something that I am going to wrestle with in prayer. I really troubles me to think that I view the ordained office of Minister of Word and Sacrament as somehow more important than what others do for a living. Maybe I do. God help me! But also think that there are some other things going on too that I can't even articulate yet.

More later...