Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Being Busy

I wonder. Is being busy good or bad?

I've noticed that my thoughts are returning to thinking about church again, and I think its because I am on vacation. I thought I wasn't thinking about it very much because I am SO over it. Apparently not. I think I was just too busy doing other things to think about it.

Also, apparently I have also been too busy to fight with my husband. Because we did a little of that on our Christmas break. Good times. :) We made up, though. Also good times.

I have also been so busy with other things that I haven't made very many cards. I DID make all my Christmas cards this year, but in stages. The other day I made a beautiful card, and it was wonderful. Its such a great re-creational thing for me to do.

Now that I am semi-used to working full-time, I am feeling the need to get more organized. (I usually do this before a new year starts, by the way). I am usually SO tired by the time I get home from work, all I can do is veg out until the glorious time when I can put Ben to bed so I can go to bed. However, I think that my new clinical sites might not demand so much out of me and I might just have a little bit more energy when I get home. In that case, I need a plan.

I need an exercise plan and a dinner menu plan. I've never been good at the exercise thing, but I have been good at the dinner plan thing. The difference now, is that I rely on Joe for help in the dinner plan arena. I used to do a two-week dinner menu plan, but now I think I might do it week by week, so its easier. I want to get all the ingredients for a week's worth of dinners, and have a designated day for each meal. Then, Joe and I can coordinate on how those meals will be made. Sometimes, he has the mornings free to prepare a crockpot meal, or just cook up a meal to heat later. Other times, he works overtime and doesn't have a chance to do that. He's just been taking on a lot of the household shopping, while trying to provide most of the dinner meals during my first year of my ultrasound program because I was studying EVERY waking hour. Now that I am in clinicals, I can do more. Plus, he's not even home during dinnertime most nights. And, I want to so the kids and I don't resort to cereal so often. :) All in all, this is going to take a little coordinating. Since I'm on vacation, I can figure all of this out.

The exercise plan - I really don't know. It seems like the last thing I want to do when I get home. But, now I have equipment at home I can use: elliptical, resistance bands and an exercise ball. I don't need to go a gym, which is helpful. But, I don't think I can take an hour. Perhaps if I take a half hour, and choose either cardio or toning? Hmm..its a good place to start.

There's something about organization that takes the whirlwind out of busy. It actually helps me feel peaceful in the midst of a lot of activity. When things are running smoothly, it feels good. So, while I'm not BUSY, I need to make some plans!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Is It Possible?

Years ago in San Diego, I experienced church community in a very deep and meaningful way. Our group of friends was so special to us. We just enjoyed being around them - included and important. Hanging out with them was fulfilling on a deep level for me. Sharing the holidays with them and their families filled a void in my soul. Giving and receiving. Celebrating and grieving. Playing and praying. It was one of the best times in my life.

Then, we moved.

I started looking for my new family. Didn't find it right away. Then, we started going to a church where I thought I could find it again. Spent almost five years waiting for it to happen, but it didn't. I "checked all the boxes": joined small groups, served, etc. Served, served, served, served. Oh yeah - did I say serve? This is also the place where I got burned as well as experienced a major burn out. Duh.

It's been about four years since that happened.

I feel like I have healed from that experience, but I am at a place where I don't really trust church to be my family anymore. In fact, I don't trust church that much. I question everything that's done (at my current church, that is). Sometimes it seems like one big, giant club. I could walk in and out every week, and no one would know the difference because its so big. I don't have any friends there. I do enjoy it when I go. I love good music and I like what my pastor has to say most of the time. My teenagers love the youth services, and that's really the main reason I go there. My younger son loves the three story play structure. OK. I tried a couple of womens' Bible studies where several hundred women watched a video and then broke up into smaller groups for discussion and prayer. I couldn't handle the direction of some of the conversations, so I just started coming for the video and then leaving. Nobody called to ask why.

I hear my pastor say that he wants people to come to know Christ, experience healing/wholeness so they can turn around and offer the same thing to others. He says he wants to reach our community. That sounds great to me. I also hear that he has his eye on a bigger property so we can build a bigger church. Really? Do we need a bigger one? Can't we just birth more smaller ones? Why is bigger better? Does it really mean more people have gotten saved and are now coming to church, or has the club just gotten bigger?

I know how I sound. If only you could hear all of the thoughts in my head.

Lately though, I long for the group of friends that enjoys being with each other so much - like I had before. I want to enjoy people, pray for them, meet their needs, feel a strong sense of belonging. I'm thinking that doesn't necessarily have to be found in church. In fact, I've been noticing lately, that real ministry truly happens outside the church. I minister God's love and compassion to so many hurting people at the hospital where I work. Its amazing. I read my Bible and pray before I go into work, asking God to use me. He does. And, its not even churchy.

Is it possible for me to experience people like this again? Someone once told me that it was just a season in my life. But, I'm really thinking that it should be all the time that you have Christian people you love and enjoy in your life. I need a Christian family. I need this.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

AWANA Western Night



Ben started his third year in AWANA last night. This year he is a T 'n' T kid! I'm so proud of him and how he loves the Lord. He is so good at memorizing his verses - its amazing! He loves game time, too. I'm so happy he is part of AWANA!

His outfit consisted of my cowboy boots, Joe's belt and buckle and Melanie's bandanna. I think he looked pretty sharp! Ben is never afraid to dress up for the theme nights at AWANA. Yesterday, he paraded around in the front yard for his friends. When they asked him why he was dressed like a cowboy, he said "its for AWANA!"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back At It

I went back to work at my clinical site today. (My daughter says I can't call it "work" since I don't get paid, but let me tell ya, I DO work!) It has been a few weeks since I have been there, and I was a little nervous about going back, knowing I would be a little "rusty." All in all, it was a good day. I got to spend most of the day over at the "inpatient" ultrasound department of the hospital. The outpatient side is more like a clinic, where the inpatient side is more like what you imagine a hospital to be - with sick people and ER patients. Anyway, I had the opportunity to assist with some invasive procedures, such as thoracentesis (draining of the lung spaces). I had some sweet, older patients today and I just enjoy them. Its sad to see them so frail and not feeling well. They love it when I get them the heated blankets and get them all warm and cozy. :) Today, I was thinking that I could just get people warm blankies all day and be happy. Well, I would probably want to scan them too. :) I love what I'm doing!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Opinions

Why is it, when you state an opinion, do others find it necessary to take it upon themselves to "correct" you? Why do we get offended by the opinions of others if it is an opinion we don't share? Why do we need to comment on the opinions of others at all? Can't we just say: "hmmmm...." or "that's an interesting point of view...." or "I don't share that opinion, but it is something to think about...."

Just wondering.....

I found some quotes on opinions that I particularly liked....

Your opinion is your opinion, your perception is your perception--do not confuse them with "facts" or "truth". Wars have been fought and millions have been killed because of the inability of men to understand the idea that EVERYBODY has a different viewpoint.
-JOHN MOORE, Quotations for Martial Artists

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
-Albert Einstein

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Realization

I was driving in the car the other day, and I sort of realized that I am a working mom now. I mean, I know I've been going to school and beginning my full-time clinical rotations, but as I am approaching the end of my summer break, I realize that this is my last long vacation at home like this. I start my next rotation soon, which ends in June. After that, I will become employed.

After being at home for 15 years before I started this new college adventure, this is kind of a big realization for me. I'm going to be one of those moms now.

Even though I have always been a proponent for staying at home, I've never really been critical of moms who work outside the home. I think staying at home is awesome, but I don't think its what every woman should do. Some say the Bible states that women "should" do this, and have taken a couple of verses and turned them into huge homemaking theologies (I would go so far as saying "religions"). Some even say that a woman's only role is to be a wife and a mother and that's it. I don't think that's what the Bible says.

I'm happy that I chose to stay home during my kids' youngest years. I feel very happy that my kids have never been in daycare, nor will they ever go to daycare. I'm their mom and I want to raise them. But now that they are all in school full-time, I am excited to explore the God-given interests and abilities I have been gifted with.

When I began this college endeavor, I asked the Lord to guide me and protect me from going in a direction that He wouldn't want me to go in. I asked Him to close the doors if this isn't the best for me and my family. Every step of the way, the Lord has given me success. The classes I have attempted have been beyond my imagination that I would even pass, much less get an "A." But, the Lord granted me success - even "A's." Every test, I have given to Him. Every class, I have given to Him - waiting to see if He would not allow me to move forward. But, He has allowed me to be where I am today. I give him the glory and credit for it all.

I believe God gave me the love for medical things, for human anatomy, an analytical mind, a desire to heal. I believe He gave me my personality and abilities to be a ministry to others. I believe my new job is going to be a ministry - no job is more sacred than another - everything we do is to be done "for the glory of God."

God also made me a mother. Staying home when I did was the best thing for my children. It was something my husband and I never had to discuss - we knew it was what we were going to do. Yet, we also knew that I had dreams and gifts God had given me, and at the right time, I would develop those. Now is the time, and by His grace, God has allowed it.

I look forward to what I'm going to be doing, not to mention the paychecks that will allow me to supplement our family life. I also think about how I could give to others in need. I especially am excited to help my children go to college and fulfill their God-given dreams. I will celebrate them pursuing the desires of their heart, since God put those desires there. They may not become spouses or parents, but if God has those things planned for their life, I will celebrate that, too.

I don't believe there is a formula for the role a mother, a wife (or a Christian, for that matter) that everyone should follow. I believe in the greatest commandments: "Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind." And, "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22). I think when we live out these commandments with the unique personalities and gifts God has given us, life is special and exciting.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Whatcha Readin'?

I usually have a pile of books next to my bed or in my nightstand. Lately, it has been ultrasound or anatomy books. But, since I'm off from school for a few weeks, I got a couple of new books that are not ultrasound related.

1. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, by Peter Scazerro
2. Crazy Love, by Francis Chan

I started both books at the same time, and then decided I should stick to just one. Its hard for me, because I just want to race through them and devour them. But, I know that when I read too fast, I don't absorb what I should. So, I'm trying to get the most out of them by taking it slow.

Anyway, both of these books are Christian books about relationship with God. I felt drawn to these books because I am feeling the need to start afresh in a way with the Lord. Since my burnout experience almost three years ago, I have not served in the church on a regular basis. I volunteered twice in a small capacity, but that's it. I have needed healing, for one thing. I have also needed to just step back and look at the church, church people and God from a different perspective.

I have wanted an authentic relationship with God. Anytime I feel like I "should" have time with God, I don't do it. I have, in a way, resisted anything that is a "should" or a "check the boxes" kind of relationship with God. I have resisted doing anything, in which I started feeling like I'm a "good Christian" for, or feel some sort of obligation to do. I don't want that crap anymore. I just want Jesus. I want anything I do decide to do, to come out of what He and I have together.

Lately, and through the book I am reading, I am wanting to have alone time in quiet with the Lord. More contemplative. More just listening to Him. I think I do a lot of talking to Him, requesting, sharing, etc., and not enough listening. I also just want to be with him. And not because I should feel good about myself for having my "quiet time" on a regular basis because that's what I'm supposed to do. But, because I really want to be with Him.

So, that's what I'm reading. What are you reading?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I Would Really Like To...

I would really like to....

go kayaking....
get a haircut...
move...
be done with school...
go back in time and hold each of my kids when they were babies...
make some cards...
see Jesus...
lose 10 pounds...
get two kittens...
spend more time developing a good friendship...
be in menopause...
get into a really good book...
feel confident at my clinical site...

What would you really like to do?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nailed It

I passed my first ultrasound credentialing milestone: I passed the Physics Registry exam! YAHOO!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wow

Wow. I'm half-way through my first quarter of full-time clinicals. My site instructor came and observed me scanning, and I passed my evaluation. YES! I also had my first "seminar," which is a day set aside for all the classmates to come together, share stories from our sites and present cases. I presented a pelvic case on Adenomyosis, and got 50 out of 50! Can I get another "YES!"

I have learned so much and come so far in these four weeks. So many things that I have learned in class make so much more sense to me now. My skills have have grown each day, and now I can pretty much perform a full pelvic exam, both transabdominally and transvaginally. Yes, I do that. I can also pretty much perform a full renal exam as well (we look at aorta, kidneys, bladder...). I am getting there with my full abdomen exams. I'm still slow, which is to be expected, but I am learning how to sweep through organs, and train my eye to notice the abnormal, subtle things. I can do a first trimester OB exam both transabdominally and transvaginally, evaluating mom's anatomy as well as measuring the the embryo and gestational sac. It makes my day when I see that little heart rate, and see that everything is OK. Its pretty sad when its the opposite.....

I have learned two types of ultrasound machines, and am getting more proficient in the knobology of each of those. I have learned the department's "system" of records management for each patient, as well as the computer programs they use and how to enter patient information and look up records. I also present cases to the radiologists (our site calls them on the phone). Some of the radiologists love to teach me things, and I appreciate them so much. The other sonographers are awesome at teaching me as well, and I am grateful to them as they are not obligated to take on a student, but they do and it adds extra work for them. They provide me with excellent feedback and nuggets of wisdom every day.

I know my way around the hospital for the most part, and have started to spend time in the inpatient ultrasound department. It is there that they see ER patients and perform procedures such as biopsies, thoracentesis and paracentesis (draining chest and abdomen fluid). I have seen and assisted in a couple of procedures. I have also gone on a couple of "portables" ultrasounds, where the sonographer takes the machine upstairs to ICU, etc. to perform exams. That's been very sad to see how sick some of these patients are, but also how wonderful some of these people are to meet.

That's probably the best part during the day, is meeting all of the different kinds of people. Some I remember vividly. Some are super annoying. Some are quite large. Some are quite young (always amazing when they're pregnant). Some are rude. Some are incredibly interesting. Some are very funny. Some are very dense. Some don't have much time to live. Some ask lots of questions. Some love to learn. Some hardly say a word. Some are holding back tears. Some are in pain. Some are very old. Some don't speak English. Some have interpreters. Some are beautiful scans, and you can see all of their anatomy. Others, you put the transducer down and you can't see a THING. Life is a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get.

Some days I feel like a complete doofus. Other days, I feel like a rock star. It is up and down like this constantly, which is difficult for me. I would like to start feeling confident, but I don't know if that is ever going to come. Some days I make dumb mistakes. Other days, I'm feeling quite smart. Some days I say stupid stuff. Other days, I sound intelligent. I really don't like all of this insecurity that I'm feeling, and I'm hoping this goes away with more experience. Its definitely keeping me humble, and that I hope I don't lose. I desperately want to be good at what I do, so its hard to have these up and down days of doing well and not doing well. It is seriously like a roller coaster. I suppose it is all progress. Typing this today, has made me realize how far I really have come. Yet, I know how far I have to go!!

Yesterday, I took Melanie practice driving. I was relating to her process of learning to drive to my learning sonography. Everything is new, and each time out for a drive, a small tidbit is learned. For each practice, the tidbits add up until finally you know how to drive. Even so, the skills are continuing to be perfected even years later. Pretty soon, the driving comes naturally and it becomes automatic. I'm thinking this is how it is with me and ultrasound.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Things I Learned about Parenting A High School Senior

So, I was thinking about how much effort went into parenting Amanda during her senior year, and I thought I would share some of the things I learned. There were many things I didn't expect, and wished someone had told me, so hopefully this will be helpful to someone else!

I learned....

1. A lot of money goes out for senior year stuff. All I can say is: save money for the senior year. For example: announcements, postage, cap/gown stuff, tickets to graduation ceremony, senior pictures, gifts for other seniors, college application fees, prom, accumulating items for the future dorm like bedding and laptop, etc., etc.....

2. Start preparing in the junior year. Its good for the student to study for SAT test, student as well as mom/dad should research colleges and narrow down choices, buy books and learn about college application processes, research scholarships (buy books and/or go online for that), learn about the FAFSA (federal application for financial student aid), talk to lots of people who have gone through it and get their wisdom....

3. Kids need a lot of guidance and help through this process. Create a calendar with all the application deadlines, SAT tests, scholarship deadlines, senior pic day, deadline to order cap/gown, etc and help keep the student on track. Guide, guide, guide and prepare to spend a lot of time sitting with them to help fill out forms, applications and write essays. Don't let them wait until the last minute - its too stressful. And don't leave this stuff to them. They don't get the importance of all of it, and they need some pushing and reminders. Be prepared for a lot of mental and emotional work on your part.

4. Let them choose their school and their career path, but be prepared to do a lot of work to help get them where they want to go. They don't have enough life experience to understand what they're doing, and its up to mom and dad to educate them every step of the way. Check up on their progress with questions. Did you write that essay? Did you fill out that form? Did you apply for that scholarship? Where are you at with _______? Asking questions is better than nagging and telling them what to do. They start realizing that it is their responsibility, and you're just asking if they got it done.

5. Help them understand the financial aspects of attending college. For example, Amanda's first choice of school was a private one. We estimated that she would be about $60,000 in debt if she graduated from that school vs. less than $20,000 if she graduated from a state school. We explained what that would look like for her in terms of living on her own and how difficult it would be to have the burden of a huge monthly payment. They haven't lived life yet, and they need help understanding the realities. We gave scenarios so she could picture her life in her mind: living in an apartment, having a car, what bills she might have, etc., and then adding a giant student loan payment to it and the limits there would be to her future budget, etc.

6. Talk about dorm life to get them thinking and preparing themselves for the transition. Talk about expectations they might have with dating, friends, work load, eating, how often to come home, what's going to happen to their bedroom at home, how mom and dad will support them, etc. Amanda is open to reading books. Some great dating books I have purchased for her are "Boundaries in Dating," by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. "He's Hot, She's Hot," by Jeremy and Jerusha Clark.

7. Just get ready. And start early. The junior year is when it should begin, and not the end of the junior year either. Start at the beginning of the junior year. Learn all you can, gather information, talk to parents who have gone through it and talk with your student about it. A LOT. Its their education and career, so they have to be doing the most of the work. I just found that it was my job to guide. A LOT. I didn't expect how mentally challenging that would be, but rewarding now that I see Amanda on her way to success.....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Amanda's Graduation Open House

Yesterday we held an open house in honor of Amanda's graduation. It was so much fun having people float in and out of the house. I wished I was ten people, so I could have spent more time with each person. Amanda enjoyed seeing lots of friends and even teachers who stopped by....It was an awesome day...


My sister Stephanie's husband, Ryan, Diego the dog, me, Samantha and Stephanie


Samantha, little Anna (Stephanie's daughter), Stephanie and me


Anna, Stephanie and Samantha


Mark (friend from our high school past), Rhonda Marsh (Amanda's violin instructor)



Dean (Joe's buddy) and his son, Caiden


Jenn, Adam and Amanda (long-time friends and old neighbors)


The "crew"


Amanda and her private violin teacher, Rhonda


Paige and Amanda. They became friends in second grade when we lived in Federal Way for a year. They have kept in touch ever since...


Amanda's buddies


The spread.


A couple of my ultrasound classmates stopped by. These are my prayer buddies, Olga and Lily. We're praying each other through the program. :)


The Hiegel Family and Amanda. So great to see them again...


Paige and her mom, Lisa.


Mel and her posse....


Amanda and a few of her friends...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Growth Engines

I'm wondering about church growth engines. Having been burned out in the past by buying into the "cause" of church growth, I am skeptical and suspicious of things (i.e., events) that are designed to bring more people into a church. I really wonder about the reasons for doing such a thing - is the core, true, heartfelt desire to reach as many people as possible with the gospel? Or, is the real agenda to "build" an entity, an organization into a mega-one - sort of like building a business? And why would the desire BE to be a mega entity? More pay for staff? Get bigger and better buildings with more fancy stuff? Feed egos? Be "known?"

I know its very cynical of me, but I can't help it. I've seen it, experienced it and burned out because of buying into a growth agenda. I've been wondering if it is possible to be part of a church and follow only the agenda God has for ME, and not that of others. I've been feeling something all too familiar lately, and that is, I feel like I'm being given a "sales pitch." Maybe I'm feeling this way because of my prior experience, but I get this sinking feeling every time I hear this "pitch." It feels exactly like when the Kirby guy comes to my door and keeps pushing me to let them come show me their vacuum cleaner, under the guise of "cleaning my carpets for free." I didn't invite the Kirby guy, didn't think of the idea of buying a new carpet cleaner, but someone shows up to get me to buy one.

I am not trying to be critical of church. And, I honestly don't want to be an agent of negativity in order to hurt any ministry. I am just feeling some stuff, and I wonder if there is any truth to it, or if I am still very sensitive to my previous experiences. I vowed to myself a long time ago, that I would no longer be the sheep that follows stupidly, like sheep often do, without thinking for myself. That I would not get caught up in the agendas of others - instead seeking only God's agenda for ME. If that does in fact, include following my leader's agenda, then I will do it if God asks me to. But, I am so much more reluctant to jump in nowadays. I wonder if it is wisdom or past wounding that I'm operating from. Maybe a little bit of both.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Scoop

My week off is coming to an end. I am feeling really relieved and proud to have finished one year of the ultrasound program! I received a 93% or above for each of my classes, and I give all the glory to God for providing me with this success. I am also feeling a little anxious and excited to start full-time clinicals on Monday. I wonder how our family is going to adjust and how I'm going to do with more expectations placed on me by the sonographers. I've been reviewing a lot of information during my break, so I will be ready. I will take my physics registry exam next month, which will give me half the title of a sonographer. :) After my year in clinicals, I will take my Abdomen and OB/Gyn exams which will allow me to put an "RDMS" (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer) after my name. Woo Hoo!

Joe got "bumped" out of his position at work, which means crappy hours and less pay. We're trusting the Lord that He has some sort of great plan for this, because it really appears to suck at this point. But, knowing how God works sometimes, we are believing that He has only good in mind. Well, its what the Bible says and I believe it. Anyway, I know He will help us and will provide for Amanda who will be heading off to CWU in the Fall, etc. Joe is praying that this "bump" is temporary, and he may be able to get his spot back very soon.

Amanda is looking for a job right now to save money for school. She needs a few thousand dollars, so I'm praying she gets one FAST. We're throwing her a graduation "open house" next weekend, so I spent the week gathering items for the party.

Melanie and Ben had their last day of school today. Mel is now a junior and Ben is now a third grader! Melanie will be helping us out with Ben a few hours a day in between Joe leaving for work, and me getting home.

Joe bought an old Honda Accord from a guy at work. Its actually going to save us money to own it - less gas money, and less miles on the Explorer. I can take our Kia to my clinical site, while Joe takes the Honda to his work. The name of the game right now, is being as frugal as possible while we ride out this cut in pay.

So, that's the scoop for now. Working hard, watching our pennies and trusting the Lord.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yes I'm Still Here

I am still here. Here's what I've been doing:

Going to school Monday through Friday
Going to school on Saturdays to practice scanning and complete projects
Going to Ben's baseball games
Attending end-of-year school concerts and youth symphony concert
Mailing graduation announcements
Buying flowers to pretty up the yard for upcoming graduation open house
Applying for scholarships for myself for next year
Going to the hospital once a week for my clinical time
Studying
Studying
Studying
Making sure Amanda's college paperwork is done and mailed off
Thinking about when I could possibly get my hair done
Thinking about how I am going to pull off said graduation open house
Going to AWANA derby car race
Going to AWANA awards night - Ben got Sparky of the year!
Checking my Facebook before I go to bed
Studying before I fall asleep
Studying in my sleep
Thinking about what it will be like to have my didactics done and start clinicals full time in about THREE WEEKS!!!

Yeah. That's the short list.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I feel like a real person

I wrote this a few weeks ago, but am just getting around to posting it. This quarter has been another intense one in the ultrasound program. That said, I am more and more loving what I am doing. Plus, by the grace of God, I keep doing well. I just got back mid-term scores and I am sitting pretty. It is only because of Him that I am where I am today. I am just amazed at how He is empowering me to accomplish this stuff. He is so amazing. OH! AND! I initiated a little prayer group with some girls (they're 21, 25, and 23, I think) from my class, and WHAT a blessing it is to be around them. They are truly a gift from God. They are incredible examples of young people following Christ with their whole hearts. I am in awe of them. Their walk with God has blessed me beyond words. You would think as the "older" woman in the group, that I would have something to add to their lives - well it is really just the opposite. God has been SO good to me.....

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my clinical site. They're allowing me to do a little bit more each week and learn the ropes. I've seen all kinds of interesting cases and realize how well I've been taught in my program, because I'm understanding SO much. I love the job, I love the people I work with and I love the patients. Did I say that I LOVE ultrasound? Well, I do. This once a week thing is exactly what I needed to help me keep my eye on the prize while I hammer out all of this studying and work. Pretty soon, it will be June and I will transition to full-time clinicals and no more classroom time. I can hardly believe it.

Anyway, here's the post I wrote a few weeks ago. Its how I feel every time I leave clinicals:

I had an incredible day at my clinical site today. I wish I could blab all about it, but because of privacy laws, I am not allowed to. I CAN talk about my feelings, though.

So I will.

Today I "diagnosed" something in my mind during a scan, and afterwards my "diagnosis" was confirmed by the sonographer. I was right! I kept this to myself, but I was feeling very smart. I also got to assist in scanning today, which meant running the machine while the other sonographer scanned a difficult patient. Kind of an unusal thing to do, but hey - I was game, and I did it! I worked the buttons, measured body parts, annotated and everything! I was so proud of myself. I also stayed a little late, so I could watch a scan I had never seen before. There was something funky going on, and I offered my ideas as to what was going on. It felt so GOOD using my brain, figuring things out and coming up with thoughts.

I left on a high. I love this. I totally love this. I feel like a real person (if that makes any sense at all to you - it does to me). I love using my brain, analyzing, deducing, investigating, thinking, postulating. I feel alive.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

CWU


I'm going to be a CWU Mom! Yahoo!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

He is Risen!!



Happy Easter!! He is Risen!!

Mark 16:1-8

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. (NIV)




1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead... (NIV)

Philippians 3:10-12
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (NIV)

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (NIV)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Senior Pic Day

Amanda and I went down to Pt. Defiance Park and Owen Beach for her senior photo shoot today! I must say, it was gorgeous and sunny, which made for magical pictures being taken. Our photographer, Crystal was awesome, and I can't wait to receive our disc in the mail of all the pics she took!! Don't worry. I will post some!

I also started planning for Amanda's graduation open house celebration! We nailed down the date, and sent our preliminary emails to most friends and family....

I can't believe I have a senior!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

First Day

I had my first day at my clinical site today. It was awesome. There were some sad moments with patients, some happy ones and some interesting ones. It was a great day, overall. I really felt like I knew what I was seeing as I observed and THAT was a VERY satisfying feeling.

I got a little emotional as I drove to the site this morning, thinking about how hard I've been studying and pushing myself - and now to be going to my first site. Whew. Its such a cool experience. This one day a week experience is coming at just the right time for me, as it will probably be the inspiration I need to keep pushing myself. Its a little taste of the real thing, I guess. A reminder of the goal - the end prize for all this intensity....

Today I wanted to grab up one patient and hug them, but as an observing student, it isn't my place to provide patient care. I did go into the restroom and shed a little tear and said a little prayer for them. I hope that I don't become too desensitized to the experience of patients. I know its inevitable that this will happen, but I hope that I can always show compassion and concern for whatever their situation might be. If anything, the medical field is a definite opportunity to pray for people, even if its behind the scenes and they don't know it....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ten Things I Just Don't Understand

Ten Things I Just Don't Understand

1. The sport of curling
2. Hairless dogs
3. Mean people
4. People who can't decide when to go at 4-way stops
5. Black coffee
6. Spending $500 on a purse
7. Why its necessary to yell at your children at Walmart
8. Sporting 80's hairdo in 2009
9. Smoking
10. Not wearing deodorant

What are YOUR 10??

Spring Quarter here I come...

I am nearing the end of my Spring Break, and definitely feeling like I have had enough restorative downtime. I'm SO glad I feel this way, because I've been pushing SO hard and I don't know if I could go into another quarter without being completely rested up. Spring quarter's going to be a doozy. Five classes, and one day a week of clinicals. This quarter we have OB and vascular courses, which I am guessing are going to be quite challenging. I'm up for it. Every new type of scan I learn, I claim as my "favorite." So, we'll see if OB and vascular become my favorites too.

My husband and my kids have been very understanding and supportive of this season in my life. Joe is still cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. The girls are busy girls, and tend to want to be with friends a lot, so I don't think they miss me much. Benny and I get in our "lovin" when he's feeling needy. Even when I'm studying, the kids know where to find me and I try to be interruptable (except during finals).

I was happy to go to Ben's baseball practice last night, and he kept giving me glances when he did something good - I knew he was glad I was there. Tonight we're going to have a "campout" together and watch "Bolt." The girls are still in San Francisco on their school orchestra trip, and Joe works tonight, so we're going to have some Ben and Mom time.

Joe and I are going away overnight next weekend for our anniversary to a wonderful B&B we've been to before in LaConner. I'm hoping to see some tulips in the Skagit Valley, although I'm not sure if they are blooming right now with all of our cold, weird weather this season.

So, life is working and I look forward to new and exciting things to learn next quarter. I am so thankful to be in the program and getting to do what I do. I have never experienced anything so intense, yet so darn cool at the same time. It is definitely stretching me, but while its difficult, I can't really complain about it, because its so awesome. I am scared out of my PANTS to perform my first scan on a real patient, but I trust that God will go with me and empower me to be good at what I do. I have given Him credit every step of the way, and I will continue to do so. I look forward to the care and compassion I can give to each patient, and I pray that I will always remember that my job is more than just performing a scan and doing it well, but caring for a person. I truly consider it a ministry.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Equation for the Day

C + P = E

Circumstances + Perspective = Your Experience

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. " (Romans 8:28)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dreams

My problem is not life-threatening like the situation in my previous post, but rather, dream threatening.

My daughter wants to go to a Christian, private college that she has fallen in love with. I want her to go there. I know her, and I know that this kind of environment is where she would thrive as a person. It has the programs she needs to become a music teacher.

But, she didn't get enough financial aid award money.

Sure, she could become indebt up to her ears and take the next 20 years to repay it on a teacher's salary. But, that's not wise. I suppose some people do it, but what kind of life would that be for her, being enslaved to this huge debt?

We have been a one-income family all this time, half of which was spent in the military. Needless to say, we haven't been able to save anything for college. What we have done is try to invest in her developing her music talents with the hope that it would help her get to college with scholarships, etc. She got a little bit, but not enough. She has gotten awesome grades and even will graduate from high school with her AA degree, which is great, but not enough.

Now, we're looking at option "B" which is a state college. Obviously, not Christian. A lot cheaper, but will not be as vigorous of an education. It's also still a lot of money. We did the whole FAFSA application thing, and their "estimated family contribution" makes me laugh. Do they seriously think we could contribute that much per year? And we're not even in debt, except for our home and some money left on one vehicle. So, do they think we're going to become indebt for her because we're able to get this parent loan? Is that really our responsibility?

I'm so discouraged. I think about the people who wouldn't even blink an eye at what might seem like a small amount of money to them, but it is that amount that is out of ours and Amanda's reach.

Dreams out of reach.

I feel like her dream is out of reach because of money. I sit there and give myself a headache, thinking "what could I sell, where could I work, what could I apply to" that could eeek out enough for her to attend this school. It's not fair. It's not fair that there's kids whose parents both work and their kids automatically go to college and the kids never pay a dime. Its not fair that rich celebrities go out and buy $50,000 outfits and my child can't go to the school of her dreams. It's not fair that such a wonderful, godly girl like Amanda can't fulfill her dream.

I'm frustrated, sad, angry, hurt and whatever else you want to fill in the blank with. Why isn't God blessing her? Why? Why wouldn't he give her bigger scholarships to attend this school? Why has it seemed like He's been leading her there all along, and now its coming to a screeching halt? Why? Why is it coming down to these stinking numbers - these dollar signs that we don't have to give her?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pray for Stellan

I have a heavy heart today for a mom I know only through blogging. I began praying for this mom when she was pregnant with her sweet baby boy, doctors thought would surely die in utero, or shortly after birth. Well, God performed a miracle and he is four months old now. A few days ago, he got a virus and his heart started acting up. Now, he is in the ICU and his situation is serious.

Would you please pray for Stellan and his mommy? You can read their story if you click on my sidebar link "My Charming Kids." This is a beautiful family who loves God, and has incredible faith....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm alive

Well, I'm alive. I'm completely spent, but still breathing. I completed all of my exams last week, and topped it off with volunteering at our church's youth conference ("Sold Out") on Saturday morning, followed by a family birthday party.

The good news is, is that I received A's for all of my final exams, and my final grades for all of my classes are above 92%. I am so proud of myself.

I am also SO very tired, and SO wanting Spring Break. However, I have to spend the first two days of it doing Physics Review to prepare for our Physics registry exam. We elected to do this as a class, and I guess it will pay off, but I am SO not wanting to go back there right now.....

I bought some comfy new active wear so at least I can feel cute and cozy while doing Physics tomorrow...a new outfit always helps things, right? :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

FIVE

I have five final exams next week. FIVE. One on each day of the week.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Clinicals

I received my clinical site yesterday!! I am so excited. My whole class has been eagerly awaiting this announcement since the beginning of our program. I received a hospital setting for my first clinical assignment, and it is not too far away!! YAY!! I had been praying that I wouldn't be sent to some far away place, making it a hardship on my family.

I am just thrilled to be sent to this hospital, because I think I will get to see a wide variety of patients and issues. It will be a great experience for me. I am also very nervous. I know that I lack scanning experience, but I still have this hope that I will walk in there and be good at what I do. It is just so very important to me to be good at what I do. I guess I know I must realize that it takes many, many hours of experience to accomplish this. I also know they don't expect me to be at their level of expertise, but I do know that there is some expectation that I should know a lot.

Anyway, I start at my clinical site next quarter (which starts the end of March) one day a week. This will be the site that I will spend 40 hours per week during Summer and Fall quarters next year as well. For Winter and Spring of next year, they will switch me to a new site (probably a clinic).

This is REALLY happening now.

PLEASE

My son enjoys writing. A LOT. He writes long, elaborate "books." He likes to have them look like a real book, so I cut up plain paper and he staples covers to it. He LOVES writing. He is extremely descriptive and creative. He will spend weeks completing a book.

I asked his teacher to give him extra opportunities to develop his passion in class. She, of course, wanted to make sure that what he writes about what is appropriate for school. Blah, blah, blah. Ben likes to write about blood and guts sometimes, and of course, school is not for "violence." Blah,blah, blah....

Anyway, Ben has been writing a comic book at school this past week under his teacher's guidance. I received a note home from the teacher that went like this:

"FYI-Ben worked very hard on a comic this week. :) At one point it had a coach giving a runner "crazy water" that tasted funny and made the boy "feel weird." I talked to Ben about being sure he wrote about school safe topics at school. Just wanted to let you know. Thanks."

I asked Ben to tell me about his story. When he came to the crazy water part, I asked him how he came up with crazy water? He said he just made it up. It had nothing to do with ANYTHING that I'm sure the teacher is referring to - he JUST MADE IT UP. DUH. He's 8 years old.

I wrote this note back:

"I'm sure that 'crazy water' is 'crazy water' and not something that is an unsafe school topic!"

I am SO sick and tired of what public school has become. I am SO sick and tired of everything having to be SO politically correct all the time. No parties. No holiday celebrations. Respect all religions, but PLEASE don't say the word "Jesus" out loud. Don't say "Christmas Break" - say "Winter Break." Be creative in your writing, but don't talk about blood and guts and crazy water - even though you're only eight years old, and even though most kids your age don't have the kind of passion for writing that you do - we must squelch your creativity and you must stay in this little box we want you to stay in.

PLEASE.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thyroid II

I saw the doc today regarding my thyroid nodule. He is basically not concerned at this point. He wants to see me in three months to scan it again in his office to check on it. If anything has changed, I guess he'll do a biopsy. He didn't get the feeling that it needed to be biopsied right now.

Okey dokey.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Birthday and Dance

Ben had his 8th birthday party at the bowling alley last month, and I am just now getting around to posting a couple pics. Also, last night, Melanie was invited to a winter formal dance by Jacob, who attends another high school. They both attend the same church and youth group. So, here's the pics:



There were 8 boys bowling, including Ben. What a fun party!



Ben opening his presents.



It was so cute watching Ben read his cards with all the boys listening intently. :)




Melanie and Jacob at his parents' house. They made their group dinner before the dance.




Melanie and Jacob. So color coordinated, huh? Jacob's mom said they hunted all over town for
that gold tie. :)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Totally Random

It's late and I'm still up. I just thought I would give an update on my thyroid nodule.

There is no update. I will meet with my endocrinologist next week on Wednesday. We're going to go over the images together and decide what to do. I think its going to be cool to talk with the doc about my images, because I will actually know what I am looking at and what he is talking about. I love being smart.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Do you remember that scene in the Breakfast Club where the principal said something about "cracking some skulls?" Yeah. I use that phrase when I am mad at someone, or if my kids are in trouble. So today I am mad at someone and I would REALLY LIKE TO CRACK SOME SKULLS!!!!!

I know this is all totally random, but it makes me feel better to say it. Plus, I'm really tired and loopy.

Good night.

Ultrasound Conference

Are you ever doing something and you start thinking about writing about it later on your blog? Today, I was at an ultrasound conference and was thinking about just that.

I was sitting there enjoying some herbal tea and fascinated by watching a presentation on hernias. I don't think I ever would have thought that hernias would be so interesting, but today they were. We watched a video of a real-time sonogram showing how to detect hernias. I got some really good information! We also heard presentations on pelvis abnormalities (adenomyosis, ectopic pregnanies, etc.), medical legal issues, preventing spread of infection, pre-natal echocardiography and pre-natal testing for birth defects and developmental abnormalities.

It was very cool for me, as a student, entering into this sonography world for a day. I realized that the terminology we are being taught is really spoken in real life - AND I actually understood it! I also got the chance to see some of the gals who allowed me to observe in their imaging center before I got accepted into my program. They remembered me, which felt nice, and we got a chance to talk about the program and how it is going. I also met some other sonographers who gave us some tips and tricks of the trade, so to speak.

All in all, I really enjoyed myself and am so excited about this field!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Now I'm Scared Again

OK, so now I'm scared again to be a sonographer. The other day, we learned about Thoracentesis. The procedure itself isn't what scares me - it's a draining of fluid from the chest (with a needle and tube). What scares me is that MY job is to scan the patient's back, and mark their back with an "X." This "X" is what the radiologist uses to stick the needle into. If you get the spot wrong, the doc could stick the needle into the lung on accident, and the patient has a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Greeeeaaaaaat......Last night, I looked up Thoracentesis on YouTube, just to feel better about this. There was an entire educational video on the whole procedure! I guess you can find anything on YouTube!

But, I'm still scared.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Amanda's audition

Spokane was great. Our flight was only 50 minutes, and when we arrived there was snow piled up everywhere - they must have gotten a LOT of snow! We got a rental car and drove to our hotel, which left a lot to be desired. Plus, they didn't give us the right room, so we shared a bed. Oh well - Amanda doesn't snore. :) We went out to dinner, and poked around Target before heading back to the hotel to study a little bit.

The next afternoon was Amanda's audition. We killed some time getting coffee and shopping before heading over to the college. I did not go into Amanda's audition with her, but she was very pleased and proud of herself when she finished!! Yay Amanda!!

We drove around the Whitworth campus and she showed me where everything was (she and Joe toured the campus back on October). It's a nice, small campus with wonderful students. Amanda wants to go there so badly....

I am praying for Amanda to receive a hefty, if not a full ride scholarship there. We have not been able to save for her college tuition, and since she wants to become a teacher, I'm sure it's a good idea for her not to have gigantic student loans to pay back. I have seen God lead her to this school in so many ways, and I believe that it is His desire that she attend there. So, I have to believe that He is going to provide for her. It's what I am asking Him for.....

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spokane

Amanda and I are flying over to Spokane tomorrow afternoon so she can perform in a college music scholarship audition. Pray for our safe travels and success for Amanda! :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Boobs and fake testicles

We started scanning breasts in our lab today. I know this is crass, but decided that I really like scanning boobs. I had one of mine scanned. I have a lot of fat in it, but this is because of my age. I scanned all ages and sizes today. The smaller ones are not as fun as the bigger ones. But, you can see the chest wall muscles really well with small ones. That was cool. I asked my lab teacher what she would think about scanning breasts all day. She said something about wanting to kill herself or something like that. I don't know if I could ONLY scan breasts all day long everyday - I might get sick of it, I guess, but I really liked it today.......

Our lab teacher made fake testicles and a penis out of water balloons today. She tied them to one of my classmates with a nylon. This was done to show us how to position the male genitalia for a scrotal exam. I'm sure that the first real scrotal exam I perform will be awkward for me, but I intend to think about doing the best exam I can - just as I would want for my husband, son or grandfather.

While both of these types of exams will be somewhat awkward, I think about how life-saving they can be. Men and women die from cancers in these areas of their body, but when they are found early, it makes all the difference in the world. I look forward to getting good at what I do so I can find these abnormalities and really help someone.

The thing is, school is so intense right now that it feels like FOREVER before I'll be good at my job. It's amazing what I can do already, but I know there is still so much MORE to learn and do. In about a month, I will begin my clinicals one day per week. So, it really isn't so far away that I'll begin scanning real patients. It's just so HARD right now and I'm TIRED. I'll never be tired enough to give up, but I sure am TIRED......

Please pray for me.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Midterm Update

I did pretty darn good on my midterms - yes, pretty darn good. A couple of A's, a B and one not-so-good-grade that they're giving us a chance to make up because most of the class did badly, too. I'm not worried. I'll do the make-up work, get back in good standing and keep working my little hiney off. Good stuff, I tell ya. Good stuff.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I Scanned A Baby!

I SCANNED A BABY! A pregnant lady came into my class on Friday and I got to scan her belly. I found myself smiling the whole time. It was SO much fun.

I also heard some pretty awesome ultrasound stories from my teacher. She told of a day when a brain surgeon called her in to scan a BRAIN in the middle of a surgery to remove a brain tumor. She walked in and the skullcap was removed and there was this naked BRAIN. She had to scan it to see if they removed all of the tumor. Is that not AWESOME or what?! I wish I had been there....

She also told a story about how she had to scan a spinal cord of a patient who was lying on their stomach and their spine was completely exposed. "Fileted like a fish" was more like how she explained it. I wish I had been there too.....

After a couple of difficult weeks in my program, I got the inspiration I needed that day to renew my vision for becoming a sonographer. Ever since I started my pre-req's, I have tried to keep this vision of myself in scrubs at a hospital working as a sonographer. Keeping this vision in my mind helps keep me motivated. Today was a great reminder of the vision and the true enthusiasm I have for my future career. This is going to be such a great fit for me for so many reasons, and I get so excited when I think about the kind of person I am and how this job matches me (did that just make sense?). Anyway, it's stories and short experiences like these that give me this incredible desire to learn and fans the flames of my enthusiasm for what I'm doing......I usually come home and relay the stories to my husband, throw my head back with a groan and say "AGHGHGHG! I WANT TO DO THAT!!!"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Right Now, I Would Like to Be....

Right now, I would like to be out on a quiet, serene lake on a sunny day paddling a kayak and fishing.

Where would you like to be right now?

Morning Hugs

I was hugging and loving on my son this morning, and he said "How do you get such a good smell? Is it your makeup?" I said, "Maybe. How did you get so handsome? You must have got it from me." He says, "Yeah. You're so handsome. How did you get so juicy?"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thyroid appointment

So, last Wednesday I went into my endocrinologist's office to discuss my recent ultrasound. I opted to meet with his partner, so I could get my results quicker.

The best laid plans of mice and men......

He only had the radiologist's report and not the images. When I asked my teacher about this, she said it was typical for doctors to do business this way. I think it's stupid. Anyway, after reading the report, this endocrinologist now wants to see the images. He said he would order them and see me in a month.

A MONTH?!

The whole reason I went to the imaging center to have my thyroid scanned in the first place was so I didn't have to wait until March to have my endocrinologist do it in his office! THEN, I made an appointment with his partner so I wouldn't have to wait to hear the results! NOW, I'm still having to wait until March!

My teacher says it only takes a day or two to get images, so I'm going to call the office back and be a squeaky wheel again. They're going to be sick of me.

Oh brother.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Scratch That

I would like to put a big "X" over my previous post. Here's how I am going to re-write it.

I had a difficult week. For the most part, I did the best I could. I messed up at times, but it doesn't define me.

My son was very sick. On one of his worst nights wheezing in the bathroom breathing shower steam, he asked me to pray for him. He cried out to God, "heal me!" I am amazed that he has somehow grasped from me the fact that God heals, and the first thing we should do is pray and ask for help. Good Mom.

I screwed up and did something spiteful that turned out worse than I intended. It was sin, but my soft heart was convicted immediately and I asked for forgiveness. I apologized to the person. I get to start over. Imperfect Redeemed Christian.

I thought I botched a test. Almost everyone else did, too. Come to find out, there were some points on my test that were not counted, and our teacher is also going to give us an opportunity to redeem ourselves. When I surveyed the class, and asked how many of them were already researching alternate career options. Everyone raised their hands. I realized I'm not alone. Awesome student.

I received my first ticket. Ever. I've never even been pulled over. My husband and daughter greeted me at home with laughs and hugs. It's going to be OK. I'll go to court and have it deferred so it won't affect my insurance.

Last night at church, I cried. There was something at church called "cardboard testimonies." About 50 people walked up on stage one at a time (some couples) and held up a piece of cardboard with a quick blurb about something negative that had happened to them in their lives, and when they turned the cardboard over, it said how God redeemed that situation. Then, our pastor continued a message on Nehemiah, and how Nehemiah didn't get initimidated by accusations/lies and stayed the course. Then, over 20 people accepted Christ. Then, there was impromptu baptisms. Our pastor said "some people just need to go home with wet clothes tonight." I would say that over 50 people were baptized - probably more. GOD REDEEMS.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland...." (Isaiah 43 :18-19)

GOD REDEEMS!!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

I'll Try

I was going to recap my rotten week for you and title it "Basically, I Suck." I have seriously had a horrible week, starting off with a very sick boy and not being able to stay home with him. Horrible mother.

This week I also made a decision out of spite, that turned out worse than I intended - it was basically sin that came out of a sinful attitude. I have been convicted to the core and ashamed. Horrible Christian.

THIS followed by a botched test. Horrible student.

THIS followed by my very first speeding ticket. Ever. I've never even been pulled over. When I saw the flashing lights, it was like I wasn't even surprised. I had been feeling so crappy that I almost half-expected that something worse would happen. And, thanks to the speed trap on River Road and my distracted brain, it did.

Today, I was feeling like such a sucky person, I cried the entire half hour to school, praying for the one hundredth time for forgiveness for my failures. I took my Physics midterm, and drove home.

But you know why you get the short version, and don't have to listen to too very much of my self-loathing? Well, because I asked the Lord to please, even though I don't deserve it - to please give me an encouraging word. Do you know what He did? As I got in my car to come home today, the radio was on and I heard a lady talking. She was finishing a story that sounded like she was sharing how God redeemed her life, etc. She said she wanted to share a verse, and here it was:

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland...." (Isaiah 43 :18-19)

Thank you, Lord. I'll try.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Please pray for me!

I have 5 midterms coming. 3 this week and two next week. Please pray for me! I would greatly appreciate it. :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Got it!

I got my copy of "Mad Church Disease" today!!! It looks SO good!!! Anybody who goes to church should read it!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Squeaky Wheel

Today, I called my endocrinologist's office to find out if he had seen my thyroid images. Apparently, he has, but has not written any notes yet. The nurse said I would probably have to wait until my scheduled appointment with him in.....March. I sighed and said that is an awfully long time to wait. She asked me if I wanted to schedule with his partner. I actually did an observation in this office, and observed this man doing thyroid biopsies. He is a very neat, older man so I said "yes." I have an appointment with him next week!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spider Man

I walked downstairs tonight and Ben was arranging pillows and other items on the floor. He said he was building an obstacle course. He was also wearing only his Spider-Man underwear. I asked him, "How come you're only wearing undies?"

His response: "That's how I roll, Mom. That's how I roll."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ultrasound Today

I had my thyroid ultrasound today. My very special friend wanted to come with me and my husband too. I'm sure it was a very boring sonogram to watch for them though! I should find out what the doc says about the sonogram in a few days. Or, rather, they will be getting a phone call from ME wanting to know what the doc says about my sonogram! Squeaky wheel gets the grease, I always say!

After my sonogram, I went out to coffee with my friend. It was SO nice to step off the studying treadmill and spend time with her. We had such a great talk, and we held hands and prayed together before we left. I love that! I love my friend. It just feels good to know and be known by others. To share life together - good and bad, give and receive, support and celebrate.....It's been awhile since I've had girlfriend time, and I realize that I really need to cultivate that in my life more.......

Thank you Lord, for the dear friends You have brought into my life.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Time To Laugh

Last night at church, I saw a couple from our "old church." They have been trying it out, I guess. I talked with them for awhile, and told them the story of how we ended up attending the church we attend now. I was uncanningly aware of how I felt as I told the story. I was laughing. I was genuinely laughing. I think that's an indication of healing. Two years ago when I told the story, I was disgusted. Now, I'm laughing.

Wanna hear the story?

Well, you're going to. When we were attending our old church, Amanda had been really unhappy with the youth group situation. I told her that it was OK with us if she wanted to go to another youth group if she wanted to. I took her down to our current church, Puyallup Foursquare, and sat in on the youth service. I was BLOWN away. There was about 400 kids there. Chad, the youth pastor was AWESOME and the worship was jaw-dropping. I came home and told Joe about it. I bawled.

Now, at this point we were not even thinking about leaving the church we were attending. But, when Joe saw how blessed I was from the youth service, he said, "Well, maybe we should check it out for ourselves." I was caught off-guard, but my heart lept at the idea. I had really been struggling with burnout (physically and emotionally) at that church for a little while, and I was ready for a change. We talked, and decided we would not tell anyone about it, but would check out the church and slowly take our time to decide.

The first time we went was at a Saturday night service. It was like coming home. We loved it. We knew. As we left the building that night, someone from our old church was in the parking lot and saw us.

She told on us to the pastor.

We got a phone call Monday morning from him wanting to know what was going on. So much for our "taking our time" to decide! I never came back. Joe finished out a commitment that he had, but I was done.

We've been at Puyallup Foursquare ever since, and it was the best decision we could have made.

That's my story.

Granted, there's a lot more I could say about the burnout experience, but last night, when I told that story to this couple, I think the Lord wanted me to be very aware of my laughing at it. It truly goes to show the process of healing God takes us through when we experience something painful. Nothing is instant. But, when you get there, you know it. It's not that you forget it, you just know you've reached the end of that road of process.

I think we get antsy as we're travelling the road of process. We want to know "why," or we want it to be over, or we start blaming and getting angry. Then sometimes we're stuck on the road because we get stuck in those feelings. And it takes longer. We think we're alone, but we're not.

I think the key to moving forward on the road, albeit slowly sometimes, is to give ourselves permission to feel what we're feeling. Vocalize it, write about it, and definitely express it to God. Trust Him to light the way in our darkness. Trust Him that He really does hear us, really does know we're on this dark road and He can already see the end of it even though we don't. It's our job to keep moving forward by processing and trusting Him at the same time. Then, soon, you'll find yourself looking back at the road you just travelled and find yourself laughing.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's COMING!


(This picture was pasted to this blog from the website for Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson. Click on the book image on my sidebar to be taken to the site)


I just got an email from Amazon saying that my "purchase had shipped."

I was confused and thought "I didn't make any purchase...." Then I read the email. The copy of "Mad Church Disease," by Anne Jackson, that I pre-ordered months ago was released EARLY!

I encourage you to buy the book and spread the word. This is going to rock the church's world in an awesome, positive way!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thyroid update

I had my thyroid bloodwork done today. They ran TSH and T4. TSH is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that tells the thyroid gland to secrete T3 and T4. So, if levels are abnormal it can tell them if I am hypothyroid or hyperthyroid or normal! I usually do that every year anyway. I have an ultrasound scheduled for Monday, January 26th. I am eager to see what they think. I had an ultrasound in 2002, so I'm hopeful they will be able to view those images to use as a comparison. I still would rather have it removed than get poked around, but I will wait to hear what my endocrinologist's opinion is. I'm sure he knows more than I do. :) On the other hand, I hope I can have an opinion, too. And who knows? Maybe all of this will be for nothing, and he'll say it's no big deal and they're going to "watch it" or something boring like that.....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spokane Here She Comes

Amanda received her acceptance letter into Whitworth University today! WOO HOO!! Praise GOD!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dang things

I'm experiencing a rare moment.

I'm home.......ALONE.

Of course, the dog and cat are always close by, but wow - it's so QUIET.

This week was a pretty successful one at school. I took three "quizzes," and did pretty well, I think! (I don't have all the scores back). I am scanning well, finding ovaries and measuring endometriums.....

We started scanning thyroids, and it was discovered that both lobes of my thyroid gland have some "things" on them. In fact one thing is a nodule that is taking up most of my left lobe! Needless to say, I called my endocrinologist the same day, and scheduled an ultrasound and appointment with him! I should find out before the end of the month what the nodules are. The good thing is, thyroid cancer is fairly rare. If it is thyroid cancer, it rarely metastasizes, so that's good, too. Plus, if the gland had to be removed (which it probably doesn't) one can live quite normally without a thyroid gland. Medication would have to be taken for the rest of my life, but I already take some for hypothyroidism anyway. So, we'll see!

The weird thing is my thinking. I think I would rather have the gland removed than have a needle biopsy. I've seen needle biopsies (called Fine Needle Aspirations) done, and it doesn't look very fun. Plus, I've learned that it is common for them not to get enough cells and have to re-do tests (sometimes more than once), and sometimes not ever getting the cells they need to examine under the microscope. PLUS, I have also learned that benign and malignant cells from thyroid nodules can sometimes look the same. I just think it's better to take the whole dang thing out. My teacher says that may be a drastic way to look at it, so I suppose I should wait to hear what my endocrinologist has to say. But, what's the point in doing an FNA if the thing is so big, they would want to take it out anyway?

I've also been thinking about the educational opportunity this affords me. I know. I'm weird. But, I was thinking how cool it would be if I had to get something removed, if I had them save it for me. If they had to cut it up for some reason and couldn't save it, then I was thinking they could take pictures of it for me, at least. I just think it would be so cool for me to have the ultrasound images, as well as the gross specimen. What a great show-and-tell!

I think I chose the right field to get into......I love this stuff.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Week At A Glance

Well, I made it through my first week of Winter Quarter. Even though it is so hard, I am amazed that its awesomeness doesn't end. I am surrounded by such quality people and teachers each day. I'm not only learning lots about ultrasound, but about how fascinating and great people can be. I am receiving an education in many different ways....

This quarter, I think have 16 credits. It could be 18, but I can't remember. All I know is, my classes are: Pathophysiology II, Gynecologic Ultrasound, Small Parts and Superficial Structures and Physics II. I also have a four hour lab once a week. It's been very interesting scanning uteruses and ovaries, etc. I can't say it enough: I love doing this.

I had to go buy an exercise ball for my hand, because my arm starts to shake when I am scanning for a longer period of time. It's kind of like pinching a pencil very hard and pushing down at the same time with your arm extended out - holding it like that until your muscles start to shake! Anyway, I hope that my arm and hand can get stronger with my new ball.

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I am not an addictive person, but seriously - Facebook has been like a magnet for me. I need an intervention. I have like, 80 friends in my first week of having a Facebook. It has been like a high school reunion, sixth grade reunion, old church reunion, and ex-high school-boyfriend reunion. Sometimes weird. Sometimes cool. Always fun. One person won't be my friend yet, and that is my daughter, Melanie. She won't let me be her friend, can you believe that?! Her very own mother?! The very person who was cut open and has SCARS from giving her LIFE?! Can you IMAGINE? (Melanie, if you are reading this, I hope you feel very, very guilty).

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My sweet boy is turning 8 on Monday! Joe and I went out and bought some gifts for him the other day. It's always so hard to go out and buy gifts right after Christmas. It seems like too much. But, we got him some things he needed. Ben is going to have a bowling party this year. No girls allowed. This is going to be crazy.

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We went to church tonight. It was freaking AWESOME. My church ROCKS. If you're interested, you can hear free podcasts of my pastor's messages. I highly recommend the one from this weekend. You can go to http://www.p4square.com/ and click on "Resources" to find the podcasts there. Let me know what you think of it!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas #3 in Port Angeles

It's always fun to drag out Christmas as long as possible. This past weekend, we visited my mom, her husband and my brother in Port Angeles for Christmas #3. They still had quite a bit of snow, and then it decided to snow again the night we got there. Needless to say, the kids were excited and we stayed an extra night. I took the kids to see where my mom works as well as a visit to Swain's, the local "general store," that I used to frequent as a kid when I visited my Nana and Pa in Port Angeles.

Speaking of Pa, the picture below is my 93-year-old grandfather at his friend's house. The house my mom now lives in is the house my Nana and Pa used to own. It's kind of funny that I grew up visiting them in that house, and now my kids visit my mom there.....





Here is my mom with Amanda and Melanie...





I took the kids to a sledding hill at the Hurricane Ridge information center. Ben turned out to be an awesome snowboarder!




I took the girls to "Bella Italia," which is the restaurant where Bella and Edward had their first date in the story, "Twilight."


All in all, we had a great time hanging out at my mom's house, watching episodes of The Office, laughing at the kids sledding down their long driveway and exchanging gifts.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Facebook

I got a Facebook account. It is WAY too addicting....