Sunday, September 28, 2008

Short Sighted?

Before beginning our ultrasound program, one of my fellow sonography students had attended one of the program's informational meetings. At the meeting, each person had to state their reason for wanting to become a sonographer. My fellow student explained that one interested woman at the meeting, said that she wanted to become a sonographer because she wanted to volunteer at a pro-life clinic (I'm assuming it is one of the Christian based crisis pregnancy centers located all over the country).

Anyway, my fellow student made a judgment about this woman and said, "Isn't that incredibly short-sighted?"

I immediately thought: "No, that's incredibly eternally-minded."

Mens Fraternity II

I had my latte and oatmeal, watched the end of "While You Were Sleeping," and now I gotta go study. Before I do, I have to say that I'm so proud of my husband for joining the second round of Men's Fraternity at our church. The title of this season is "Succeeding at Home and at Work." For those of you who don't know about Men's Fraternity (click on my sidebar to see more), it is a Christian series of weekly messages and small group work, going deep into what it means to be an authentic, godly man. And, they go deep. Last season was learning about what God says about authentic manhood and delving into past wounds that keep them from being an authentic man. This season will be some more of the same, but emphasis on other aspects of manhood. My husband will be heading down to church at 6:00 AM on Thursday mornings for the next few months or so. Good stuff!! Another cool thing, is that I don't have morning classes on Thursdays - thanks for working that out, Lord! :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

First Week

This week was the first real week of my sonography program. Needless to say, I won't have much time for blogging. I might try to write once a week. My brain is so tired from the intense concentration I must exert everyday, and it would be so hard to explain all that I have absorbed, but I will try to share about the experience (maybe so I can look back and appreciate it).....

I am scanning my classmates already.

I found a liver, kidney, aorta, gallbladder, and inferior vena cava all by myself.

I haven't done anything or lacked to do anything that has resulted in me being terminated from the program (a daily fear of all of the students).

I have five classes, two of them labs. One lab is over four hours long.

I found out that there were 50 people who applied to the program. 18 of us got in.

Our class is all women.

I am the 2nd oldest. The oldest is almost 40. The youngest is 21.

I have amazing, excellent instructors.

A HUGE challenge so far is learning the direction of what you're scanning, and how it translates to the screen. We go over and over and over and over and over and over it........

I have learned that while sonographers are not technically supposed to "diagnose," it is the sonographer who directs the radiologist toward the diagnosis, and in some cases, the radiologist makes their diagnosis based solely on what the sonographer says or the pictures they show them. Sonographers have a HUGE responsibility, and thus, must really know their stuff.

I am feeling good so far, because I have not lost any points on any homework or labs.

The last couple of days, I have driven home and cried due to the intense concentration I have to exert in class. Because this is going to be my future job, and I don't want to fail the program, I have to make sure that nothing gets by that I don't fully comprehend. It's tiring. On the other hand, it's incredibly fulfilling.

The program chair just got word that they have been accredited by the ARDMS (sonography organization), which means our class of students can take our registry exams immediately after graduation. Without accreditation, we would have had to work for one year before we could sit for the exams. This is HUGE for our future employment, and for the program.

I am going to love this job someday. It fits me. I thank God for opening this door for me and empowering my success. All credit to Him!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My New Favorite Sandwich

When I have excellent food, it is impressed on my memory. I do not forget awesome food. Sometimes I will just think about some memorable food, and re-experience it all over again (without eating it, of course). I enjoy the experience of eating, which means I eat slowly (which some people find the need to bring to my attention. I already know this, however, and I am proud of it - so there) :)

My favorite food is Italian. The other day, Joe and I went on a lunch date to a great little, authentic Italian cafe in Sumner. It's called Sorci's. It was sunny, so we even ate outside. This is a luxury in and of itself in our part of the country! My delicious sandwich was a grilled panini. It had three slices of tomato, big slices of mozarella and pesto spread on each piece of bread. This is my new favorite sandwich.

I will think about this sandwich for awhile.....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

School Lunch

I usually make my kids' lunches for school. Once in awhile, Ben likes to buy lunch. Last week, he actually used his own money. He brought $5, and bought one lunch. The lunch lady said she would put the rest in his "lunch account," (something the district does). She told him he had about $3.15 left.

Yesterday, Ben wanted to buy lunch with his remaining money. However, when he got to the cashier, she said he only had 29 cents. They gave him a granola bar and a milk. He cried, and asked his teacher if he could call me to bring him a lunch. His teacher said "no."

When Ben got off the bus yesterday, he started to cry, said how hungry he was, and relayed the aforementioned story to me.


I called the school, which directed me to the food services office. The lady there, looked things up on her computer, and basically said, "I dont' know what to say." They didn't have record of his $5 deposit.

SO - I called his teacher to let her know about the mix-up with his money. I also asked her why Ben was not allowed to call me. Her response was that it was 12:00, and she had to move on to the next subject at 12:20, implying that there would not be enough time for me to bring him something to eat. It was her opinion that a granola bar and milk is enough to tide them over for the afternoon. I let her know that I live very close to the school, and I could have brought him his lunch. I also let her know that not having his lunch affected his day in a negative way. She said "I apologize, and I will make a note that you don't live far from the school and you can bring him a lunch."

I was angry for hours about this. First of all, why in the world would a teacher not allow a child to call home to get their lunch??!! Is their agenda SO important, that a kid can't be finishing their lunch during her "program?" I'm sure that if he was finishing up his lunch at his desk, it wouldn't be THAT distracting!! Isn't school supposed to be about educating children, and didn't this interrupt my child's education for the rest of the day?! Did she not consider that the last time my son probably ate was around 7 or 8 in the morning?!! Did she not care about his tears?!!

I told my son, that if this ever happens again, that he has my permission to get a bathroom pass and head to the office and call me.


Sunday, September 14, 2008


Sometimes our "no's" and decisions to set limits, make other people unhappy. However, the more I learn and the older I get, it ceases to be quite as bothersome to me.

Recently, I heard a speaker talking about perspectives. She had everyone stand in a circle. She put on a funny mask, and held up a picture of something. Without turning her body, she pointed to different people around the circle, and asked them what they saw. Each person had a different answer. Each one saw things from a different point of view.


I think that, when people are unhappy with our "no's" and limits, it shows that they are unwilling to respect our decision, which was based on a different point of view than theirs. I can understand that they are unhappy with me since they are coming from a different place in that "circle," but it still doesn't change my decision.

It's unfortunate when we are unwilling to seek to understand (or even try to imagine) someone else's point of view, then refuse to discuss our negative feelings about it and work things out with someone. Besides, there are a million reasons why someone would choose to do or not do something. And, I bet that most of the time, there is no ill intent. I also don't think we should expect that the things that are important to me, should be just as important to you. And, vice versa.

Otherwise, it's people-pleasing. And, I'm so done with that.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Could I Be Experiencing Ministry Burnout?

The following is an article by Kim Wenzel, leader of Smoldering Wick Ministries (see sidebar), a ministry for wounded and burned out pastors and lay leaders...

Stress, then Burnout

It seems to me so many in the church do not understand spiritual burnout. The helping professions have always had a higher burnout rate than many other types of careers. Social workers, counselors, therapists, psychologists, and other social reform positions have scored high in burnout in the past several decades.
It the past 20 years burnout and rising drug and alcohol abuse has skyrocketed in doctors, lawyers and members of the clergy. This disturbing trend also includes suicide. In fact, I am writing this article just two weeks after the suicide of one of Colorado Springs' most loved pediatricians. A man who gave so much to the community, he had nothing left.

Some doctors claim stress contributes to 90% of all diseases. Even if this figure is exaggerated a tad, we all know stress plays a major factor in our life that isn't good. Good stress we need, yes indeed, but with clergy burnout rates climbing to 1,500 a month, there is a lot of bad stress in the church and in the mind and heart of the ministry leader.

In this article let's look at the main differences between stress and burnout.Stress can be characterized by over-engagement. Running around putting out every brush fire in the congregation, making every decision, and trying to solve every problem. "Fixers" are notorious for over-engagement.

Burnout is characterized by disengagement. The ministry leader has become disillusioned and exhausted. He/she no longer desires to "fix" anyone or anything. Mild burnout causes pastors to look the other way and pretend that problem doesn't exist in the congregation. (There are millions of ministry leaders in this category. These leaders need to be reassured that looking the other way isn't always a bad thing. The leader doesn't have to be the savior - that's Jesus' job. It is his church, he is the administrator, the guide, the high priest, the word, the bread, the life. Left alone by the pastor, Jesus has been known on occasion to fix a problem all by himself!) Full burnout is a case of extreme compassion fatigue and leads to resignation and extremes of escapism that can be destructive.

Stress - the emotions can be over-reactive. Sudden outbursts of temper, or outbursts of weeping. In burnout the emotions become crippled. The ministry leader sits and stares out the window for extended periods of time. There is little reaction to good or bad news. The compassion drive to help others dies. In spiritual burnout, the emotion-links to the spirit are damaged, and spiritual underpinnings are slowly replaced with growing frustration that can manifest toward man and God.

In Stress, the main damage is to the physical body. Ulcers, headaches, high blood pressure, etc. With burnout, motivation and drive are afflicted. Again, this isn't always bad. The burnout victim needs to learn to "rest" in Jesus. He/she has burned-out from trying to do all things all the time, and build the world's greatest church all by themselves. Stress creates physical exhaustion which also is a good thing for the "type A" world saver. They also need to rest in the Lord Surveys show us that some of the most successful pastors in North America spend precious little time with their mates or children.

Burnout creates demoralization. You reach a point where you believe your are no longer effective as a pastor, worship leader, etc. What's the use? No matter what I do it's never good enough. Nobody benefits from my ministry. Nothing ever changes. Many people hate my guts.

Stress is often understood in terms of loss of fuel and energy. Burnout is the loss of ideals and hope. This can rapidly lead to detachment, or pulling away from others, and defeatism - the feeling you're beaten and everyone, even God doesn't seem to be on your side anymore.

Depression can occur with both stress and burnout. Depression created by stress is often the body's response to protect itself and conserve energy. The depression associated with burnout is grief created by the loss of ideals and hope (this was the depression Elijah felt after Mt. Carmel failed to instantly change the entire nation back to Yahwah worship and catapult him into super status as the greatest revivalist in history). With this grief/depression comes a sense of helplessness piled on top the hopelessness. At this point one of two things usually happens to the wounded ministry leader. He/she may become very combative, like a wounded animal backed into a corner, striking out verbally at every threat real or imagined. Or, they may simply disappear. I would love to know the statistics on the number of former pastors in North America that have totally dropped out of organized religion. It seems every week I hear of or talk to another pastor who tried to move on to attend in another denomination, and did so for a year or two, then quietly disappeared into the misty dark night of uninvolvement.

While stress can produce panic, and anxiety disorders, burnout can produce paranoia. It is our belief at Smoldering Wick, that certain levels of paranoia definitely contribute to the high number of drop-outs among clergy and lay-members alike.
The above are some of the differences between stress and burnout. High stress is often a contributing factor leading to burnout, but stress is by no means the main cause. Not understanding the very core of God's heart and living in the light of that understanding is the main cause of spiritual burnout. From this lack of understanding come the subtle twists and perversions of the Gospel itself, and all the unrealistic expectations that break the spirit of so many sincere Christians. What is needed for healing is to come to know the very heart of God correctly - probably for the first time - and not swallowing any more gospels that seem to promise everything in this life.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Week

This week has been full. I have felt like I've been in a cloud, being led along by somebody else. LOTS of information, and LOTS of boring training. It started out with a full day of being scared out of my pants at all of the hard work I'm in for, not to mention all of the rules and stipulations that could mean "termination from the program," etc.....I am in a class of 18, and I feel like I am surrounded by some quality people. It's going to be great....I also learned that our clinicals are chosen for us, and not based on where we live. This means that there is a possibility we might have to commute up to 2 hours each way. Our clinicals start Spring Quarter and then our whole second year is completely clinicals.

I had a SEVEN HOUR day of boring HIV/AIDS training. My rear end was ACHING from sitting so long. And, afterwards, I was so creeped out, that all I wanted to do was keeping putting on hand sanitizer.

I had another half day of HIPAA training (privacy laws) followed by a talk given by one of the counselors. She talked about communication skills and the stages that our classroom will go through (forming, storming, norming, etc.).

On Thursday, we were supposed to be at the school from 8 to 4, but our CPR class ended up only being an hour and a half, and we got to go home!! It was a nice surprise. It was a big adjustment being gone all day, and managing the family. But, when I got home, my husband was deep cleaning my kitchen as well as dusting and vacuuming the whole house. It was a great help indeed!

I'm trying to stay really organized with a "week-at-a-glance" calendar for our fridge that I typed up for everybody. I also make lunches the night before, as well as set things out that we will need the next day. I also am committed to cooking dinner by 5:00, so we can get that out of the way for any evening activities, and we're less prone to order pizza or eat out. Once I start studying, I'm sure we'll have to eat out a little more, but I'm going to try hard to cook. I went through all of my cookbooks for easy meals, and made menus good for a whole month. Then, I split it up into two week blocks, and made shopping lists for each two week block. Every two weeks, I will do a big Wal-Mart run, and all I have to do is print out my list! I'll still have to visit the store every week to get milk and fresh fruit, but no big shopping. I'm even going to see if I can get Joe to try out some cooking!

I start my actual classes on the 22nd, so it's nice to have a little breather before the hard work begins. It's also nice, because our weather has been so AWESOMELY warm and sunny!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's Here

It's here. On Monday, I start the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program.

I am getting nervous. Nervous about the amount of studying there will be. Nervous if I can handle it. Nervous if I'll be able to be as good at this job as I want to be. Nervous if I can get the financial aid/loans to pay for everything. Nervous about the effects of my schooling on my family life. Nervous about the people I'm going to spend the next two years with.

On the other hand, I'm getting excited. Excited to learn about the human body and pathologies. Excited at the prospect of becoming a valuable member of a medical team and helping people. Excited for the sense of accomplishment I already have for getting this far, and for how great I know I'm going to feel when I finish. Excited to have an education under my belt, that will allow me to earn a meaningful income for my family. Excited about the people I'm going to spend the next two years with. Excited to wear scrubs! :)

It's here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Meet the Teacher Day

Today was "Meet the Teacher Day" at Ben's school - the day before the first day. I always enjoy observing Ben in new situations. I might venture to say he is a "slow to warm up" kind of guy. He grasped my hand tightly as we walked into his new classroom. I could tell he was a little tense. I could really tell, when he was given a list of instructions created by the teachers. It was sort of a checklist, with things to do, such as "put away your school supplies in your desk," and go check out some things in the room, etc. Ben was taking a VERY long time to accomplish this, plus he wasn't understanding everything he was reading, and seemed flustered. It was unusual for him to be this way, but I think he had anticipated this day for a couple of days now and the excitement was too much. Plus, old friends kept coming into the room and distracting him because he wanted to talk with them. His teacher commented that he was taking awhile to finish his checklist. And, it seemed like she jotted something down when he did finish. I thought, "Dang! I hope this wasn't some kind of assessment, because this isn't usually how Ben behaves."

Afterwards, Ben was quite intent on visiting his old, first grade classroom. He repeated several times that he wanted to go there. When he peeked in, there was a new teacher in there and a whole new setup. I could see that this was curious to him, possibly even bothered him. On the way home, I asked him if he was sad Mrs. Kirk wasn't there. He half-heartedly said "no." I asked him if he expected to see Mrs. Kirk when he looked in the classroom. He said softly, "yes." I knew it. I think he wanted everything to be the same, even though he was starting second grade. He thought for awhile and said something like, "I think that second grade is pretty much going to be a lot like first grade." I think he was dealing with the change internally, weighing everything out and figured out that it's going to be OK.

I love that.

Sarah Palin's daughter

When reports first came out regarding Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter, I wasn't embarrassed for their family. I didn't think less of their family. I didn't think less of Sarah Palin. I didn't think less of John McCain for picking Sarah Palin. In fact, I didn't understand how it had anything to do with Sarah Palin as a future vice-president or with John McCain as a future president.

What IS embarassing is the way the media and the Democratic party is handling the fact that her daughter is pregnant and not married. MY 17-year-old daughter, who was watching the news with me, couldn't believe how it must possibly feel to BE Bristol Palin and have that very personal information splashed ALL over the United States. It's shameful. I might go so far as to say that it seems almost criminal to do what they are doing.

The media and the Democratic party should be ASHAMED of themselves, and smart people in this country should think again about voting for someone who comes from a party who would attack a young girl in order to bring down her mother and John McCain.