It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Take the risk and say this….

Sometimes the most thoughtful thing you can do to connect with someone is also the hardest.

Losing someone you love dearly is gut wrenching.  Saying goodbye is never easy even if the person you are saying goodbye to has had a long and good life.

I think there is an added dimension of grief when it is a young child or baby.

We all have good intentions when supporting our friends and family during this emotional tearful time.  We bring food, we call, we send cards and then….well then it gets awkward.  Do we bring another meal, send another card or do we even bring it up at all?

Do we mention their name?

We are afraid of adding to the grief, of being the reminder that their loved one or friend is gone.  We long for them to find joy again, to take away their pain, to have it all be good.

So often we say or do nothing and promise ourselves we will call tomorrow or send a card in a few days.  Those days become weeks and soon it has been months since we have made that promise.

We have all done it.  Put a BIG guilty stamp on my forehead.

And then I had an amazing lesson in what I know to be true.

Many of you know I work at our local hospital in the Mother Infant Unit.  I work with some awesome women.  The vast majority are younger than I am so we have lots of co- workers having babies.  We get so excited over one of our own having a baby.  So much so that you never know we see it on a daily basis.

One of our co-workers was 16 weeks pregnant when shewent to her OB appointment and discovered her baby’s heart had stopped.   She was devastated. We all felt horrible.  We supported her as best we could and after a little while she returned to work.  It must have been so difficult to come back to work and see all the Moms with their newborns but she did it.

Fast forward to 4 1/2 months later and I sat down next to Carol to chart on the computer.  I suddenly realized that her original due date was that month.

I had a little conversation with myself.  Do I say anything?  Does she want to remember?  We are at work, will it upset her too much?  Finally I felt a gentle nudge at my heart.  I like to think it was spirit or perhaps my guardian angel who whispered “What would you want?’

So I leaned over and said ” I just want you to know that I didn’t forget  your baby would have been here this month and I am thinking of you.”  She thanked me, smiled and then leaned into me and said “Want to know a secret?”  I nodded and she said “I’m pregnant” I was one of the first to share her joy.  What a privilege!

That was three years ago.  She welcomed a healthy son into the world to join her two daughters.  I KNOW she has not forgotten the baby that will never get to grow up with the other three. And even if my gesture had not been met with such joy I know it would have been appreciated that I remembered her little one.

I keep that in mind when friends have lost loved ones.  I mention them. I share a memory.  I keep their photo on my frig.  I want them to know I did not forget.

So being thoughtful can sometimes be hard, but it is worth it.  It is so important.

And as gently as I can say this “Go out and make it a Thoughtful One!”

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He didn’t have me at “Hello”

The things we nurses see could fill a few books with lots of stories left over. Most are humorous,some tragic and some jaw dropping.

I often see funny things on the internet about the life of a nurse and they are so true.  We wring our hands if our patient hasn’t peed in the last 8 hours all the while forgetting we haven’t peed in the last 12 hours.

My hospital friendships are the best.  We see and do things together that are unimaginable. I am fortunate to work with a group of supportive nurses and rarely go down the hall without being asked  “Are you doing okay?”  “Do you need anything?” even when they themselves are running around like crazy.

And yet we get jaded. I am taking liberties saying “we” but I know it is true.  I work with new Moms and newborns.  It is the best job ever and yet I do have patients that test my limits of being gracious and understanding.  I know I am not alone.

And then out of nowhere a patient or their relative touches my life in such an unexpected way that I wake up at 4am on a Saturday morning and know I have to get it down on paper.

I rounded the corner of the hospital hallway in my usual brisk pace when I am on a mission to get something done.  I almost run smack dab into this tall guy.  First thing I notice is his long scraggly beard with the middle of it confined to an 8 inch braid complete with pony tail elastic around it.

He says “excuse me” and I do the same all the while parking the thought of “strange” in my head and I continue on my mission to complete a task.

Fast forward as I am rounding on my patients.  There he is again.  He is the father of a newborn.  The braid from the beard is gone, he smiles and is very quiet and I get my tasks done.

Like I said “He didn’t have me at “hello”…  and yet there was something about him that stuck with me.

I sat down to chart and somehow this patient came up and my fellow nurse said..”that Dad has the most beautiful blue eyes”!

Shame on me..I had not stopped long enough to notice or to even take the time to have more than a few words.  I silently told myself to slow down.

As my shift progressed I noticed little things about him.  He was exceptionally kind to all those around him, he was gracious and always polite.  He went out of his way to help us with his girlfriends’ care and the baby.  He never expected anything from us and was exceedingly grateful for whatever we did.

He was genuine in a way that I rarely experience.

So I mentioned it to my friend.  She went onto to tell me about how kind and helpful he was to her (the nurse) as his baby was being born.  Before I left, the nurse who took over their care came out of the room and just exclaimed “What a nice guy!”

It’s not that we don’t have nice families and patients all the time but there was just something about this fellow.  I could tell this was his essence.  He wasn’t buried in his phone, or attached to the T.V. or trying to make us laugh. He was totally present, paying attention and helping out when he could with the little things.

He was just being himself.

He made a difference just by being who he is and I am a better person for it.  He touched my heart  without knowing it and he won’t be forgotten.

So no he didn’t have me at “hello”.  He wasn’t suppose to endear me with his looks, or anything superficial.

He did it in a better way.

He did it with his kind and loving spirit.

 I know there are angels on earth that are here to teach us.  I think he just may be one of them.

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! It’s okay to just be and not fix anything

I spent time with my parents this past week. I went out of fear, out of necessity but mostly out of love.  My parents are 88 yrs young.  My Dad will be 89 this month.

By all accounts they are doing amazing.

Amazing as in I just taught my Dad how to download, open and print an attachment.  He was amazed at how easy it was.  He and two of his friends ( 85 +) were going to try and figure it out together. I can only imagine and chuckle a little at how that scene would have unfolded.

So yes they are doing amazing….. except when they are not.

Two calls to 911 for my Mom in less than a week gave us a bit of a start.  She collapsed twice. Once for outrageously high blood pressure. Once while sitting on the couch just talking to my Dad ..scary I know.

So I went to be with them, bring food (I am not the best cook but I have a few dishes I have perfected) and a few gifts I knew my Mom would appreciate.

Mostly I went to be..just be with them. Not to clean (their house is cleaner than mine) not to clean out the frig (my Mom’s version of Tetris) not to tell Mom to throw out magazines (maybe next visit).

No this visit was just to wiggle myself in, love and just alcoholism be.

Mom and I watched a movie ( While You Were Sleeping), I updated her digital frame and put the same photos in a photo album. We chatted, watched the deer in the woods behind their house, and laughed at the jokes that Dad told. We have all heard them numerous times but he gets such a kick out of telling them again we can’t help but laugh.

It used to be when I went home I fell into the role of daughter which looked a lot like this:Mom and meJPGStill their little girl, or as my Dad likes to refer to me..his fat baby.  It’s a term of endearment referring to my baby days when I was indistinguishable from a rather quishy basketball 🙂

These days our visits look more like this:

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Just so you know, Thoughtful Thursdays came from my Mom. I remember always seeing her sitting in the kitchen writing letters, or notes. And she still does. Never misses sending a birthday card or just a note.

So this visit was not to “fix” anything but just to be with my parents.

We need to do more of that.

Just be, just love and cherish our time together.

It is what Thoughtful Thursday is all about. It’s the connection.

My hope for you is that you get to love and be loved today. There is nothing better!

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!

 

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Time for some Gumby Gratitude!

Have you ever tried to get someone to try something new?  Maybe a new food, a new experience or just a new way to do an activity?  Or have you been the one who had to be coaxed into something you thought you would never do and then ended up loving it?

We have all been there.  Reluctant at first, shaking our heads no but then taking a tiny baby step into the unknown and we are almost always  glad we did!

If you have someone who routinely “stretches” you either physically or mentally (in a good way) then on this “Thoughtful Thursday”  you owe them some “Gumby Gratitude” because like Gumby they made you stretch in good positive ways!

I have six people in my life that not only stretch me on a regular basis but remind me it’s okay to do fun things and quit being such a grown-up!

Every year I do a special day with each of the grandkids ( ages 11,10,9,8,6 and 3). They get to pick the activities we do together and lately it has been quite an adventure.  I am praying my body continues to cooperate !!!

This year we did everything from a fashion show out of my closet to ice skating to swinging in the trees at “Go Ape”.

So indulge me as I hand out my “Gumby Gratitude” to my grandchildren:

What a gift you all have given me!  Thank you Nick, Cris, Ava, Summer, Bella and Tristun!

You reminded me that:

  • It’s easier and much more fun to just jump into the Tarzan swing instead of trying to ease into it ( less scary too)
  • I can climb trees, rope ladders, zip line with the best of you!
  • Falling can be fun ( well I was in a harness)
  • Ice Skating in the summer is the bomb and you thought I looked like I knew what I was doing ( if you only knew)
  • Hanging out at the pool, splashing, standing on our hands, and diving for stuff is way more fun than just sitting and watching
  • An 8 yr old can do my makeup and I can learn from it…plus what fun it was to play fashion show with my own clothes and shoes
  • Your fascination with my old typewriter reminded me how far we have come and how much I want to share other things with you ( pay phones, dial phones, the wonders of carbon paper, real photos, stick shift cars and roll up windows) Everything old is new again!
  • AND Chocolate Chip pancakes for any meal are the best as long as you follow them with homemade chocolate chip cookies!!! YUM

Thanks for stretching and challenging me. It has been and continues to be a blast.  I hope we can continue to learn from one another and see the world through each others eyes.

I sincerely hope that the idea of “Gumby Gratitude” catches on.  Thankfully none of us have to turn green to do it.  Now go out and spread some “Gumby Gratitude” to those people who make you stretch into more of who you are meant to be.

And as always…Make it a Thoughtful One!

P.S.  Leaving you with a few photos of some of  our “Gumby” adventures!

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Oops…You were probably wondering why we are “Living Single While Very Married”

Nothing like writing a post in your mind and thinking you had published it.  Shhh don’t tell my kids or they will think its time to put Mom in a home.

I have been living and writing a bit about “Living Single While Very Married” for so long that I actually forgot to post WHY we are doing this crazy thing at this time in our lives.

Many thanks to my friend Barbara who has read many of my posts and finally asked “did you ever tell us why you are doing this?”  Thinking I had I quickly went through all my posts to find the right one to send her.  Except…..it is NOT there.

uh oh

So here goes..it is actually quite simple.  An opportunity came up for Paul for the “almost” perfect job.  It was with the same company, a promotion ( no raise but a promotion) and it was exactly what he wanted to do.  The “almost” perfect part is that it is not where we live. Not even close.

So I gave him my blessing to take the job while I kept the home fires burning.  Was I crazy?  A little.  However I am also a seasoned hair loss military wife, pretty independent and admittedly addicted to my incredibly adorable grandkids ( of course they are adorable) so it made sense for me to stay here.  There were other practical reasons.  Some financial, some because this is where we want to retire and just other reasons unique to us.

So there you have it.   We are almost two years into it and I can say that its not been the easiest thing I’ve done but not the hardest.  I have learned so much (who knew I could run a power washer?) and come to appreciate all the things Paul usually does without me noticing.  Replacing  burned out light bulbs has been an interesting one.  Turns out there is no “light bulb fairy” who magically replaces all the light bulbs.  Who knew?

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I’m a little behind in my posts about this.  I need to catch everyone up so please be patient.  At least now you know “why” we are living single while very married.  I have lots of adventures to share with you so hang on.

And as always..keep triing!

 

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Back to reality “Living Single While Very Married”

After a week of a little bit of normal (if you missed our little bit of normal read it here) we are back to reality.  Well almost back. It will take a few days to get use to the quiet house and to get back into my regular routine.

One thing that never changes. Saying “goodbye” sucks and it just seems to be getting worse. Yesterday as I was preparing the “last supper” I texted my best friend this:IMG_3114

So a few clarifications about this “screen shot”  My skills at this are not great, I couldn’t figure out how to edit it and even I have my limits as to when “happy hour” starts and it is NOT at 10:35 am..omg.( That is when I took the screen shot NOT when I sent the text!) Although my grandfather would argue you that point. He died at 92 yrs young so maybe he does have a point about when happy hour starts. 🙂 By the way “swill” is what my BFF claims is the kind of wine I drink. I am in no way a wine connoisseur and what can I say, I like cheap wine because cheap or expensive it all tastes the same to me!

Obviously Paul and I were both dreading the goodbye but we managed as we always do. Although we have an awesome airport that makes it easy to park and say goodbye in the airport it usually blood pressure works better for us if we do it curb side. It’s a little quicker and just a tad less painful..maybe.

Retail therapy might have been on the agenda if the stores were open at that hour but no such luck.

And just like that old phrase “don’t kiss and tell”  I don’t “Donut splurge and tell”  If one or two donuts jumped into my car as I passed the amazing donut place on the way home..well those are the only hitchhikers I am even tempted to pick up. Not that it happened. 🙂

My big “WIN” for this trip home is Paul realized it really was worthwhile to pay someone else to power wash the house. We both come from a long line of Do it Yourselfers (if that is even a word) but sometimes it just is smarter to get someone else to climb on the roof!

My other confirmation is that my guardian angel is alive and well and keeping me safe..more about that in another post.

In the meantime Max (the endless shedding dog) and I have some deer and rabbits to chase on our daily walk.

I will leave you with my new favorite saying from a print from Curly Girl Designs :

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and a photo from our quick trip to the beach!FullSizeRender (4)

Keep triing…it’s what makes life interesting!

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Living Single While Very Married..a little bit of normal

Since  I have been writing this series of blog posts it has not been written in real time for many reasons.  I have decided that this has  gotten a little too confusing for me and it would more fun to write it as it happens.  I have a bit of catching up to do to get everyone up to date but for now here is what is happening in “real time”.

Paul is home for a bit.  While we see each other every 6 – 8 weeks its not always here at home. So as things worked out this is his first visit home since January.

Six months since he has been here.  Six months since it hasn’t solely been my responsibility to lock up at night, walk the dog, fix things, or vacuum ( our dog sheds his entire coat once a day or so it seems)

Six months since “Hey what do you want for dinner”, “Want to take a walk?”, “Should we make it “Donut Sunday”? (Yum) “Need anything from the store while I am out?”

Believe it or not I even smiled when I saw his smelly workout clothes piled in the bathroom ( actually I smelled them before I saw them). I’m not going to lie, I smiled but that is one thing I really don’t miss.

Six months since my week-end didn’t really suck (not all of them suck but we find week-ends are especially hard when we are apart). The week-end didn’t suck not because we did anything special but just because we were together.

Nothing here is earth shattering or huge but it is all a little bit of normal, our normal.

I’ve learned so much through this experience and yet appreciating the things that often go unnoticed and yet are so valuable is the best gift ever.

So while he is here I’ll take a little bit of normal with a side of just being together all day everyday.

Of course watching him get “loved” by the grandkids never gets old. That doesn’t happen everyday so it’s always fun.
FullSizeRender (2)As always, keep triing..its what keeps me going!

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It’s Thoughtful Thursday! Are you guilty of this bad social media habit?

Social media has led me  to  develop some bad habits.  Shocking I know.  Let me just add those to the list of my less than desirable habits that even annoy me.  The top of that list is forgetting to close cupboard doors  (or any door for that matter).  I have been painfully reminded of this many times when I have banged my head into the open cupboard door.  My friends would say that explains alot 🙂

As far as social media goes I often fall into that mistaken belief that everyone I know and care about has seen my updates or photos.  This is especially true of big events ( weddings,baptisms, birthdays)

I KNOW lots of my family and friends are not on social media and yet I still forget.

If you are thinking “Well these friends and family just need to get with the times and jump onto social media”, remember that for some ( especially older relatives like my parents) it is just not going to happen.

AND social media is a poor substitute for a REAL phone call, a REAL piece of mail and a REAL printed up photo.

So here is where it gets really cool.  You can use social media to send a real printed photo postcard. Honestly I just discovered this so I am going to experiment with the different apps to see which ones I really like and in a week or two will share this with you.

One  app that I know is great is Kicksend.  It will send photos from your phone to a local place to be printed up and then you can just pick them up.  I have a couple of friends who use this on a regular basis after having their photos lost on their phones.  There is nothing worse than realizing you just deleted a photo you loved or your favorite two year old got your phone and cleared it for you.

Toddlers are pretty tech savvy these days.  Remember the 3 yr old who bought a car off of Ebay?

Watch this! And poof everything disappears!

Watch this! And poof everything disappears!

So if today is not the day to send a photo then  pick up the phone.  Let someone you love know you are thinking about them. If someone keeps popping into my thoughts I KNOW I need to talk to them.

The whole purpose of Thoughtful Thursday is to make it a day to remind you to connect with someone.

Now go make it a Thoughtful One!  And if you find an app you like please share!

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Running on Wisdom

So here is the best thing about running at my age.  I can run with wisdom.  I am not trying to be first, not trying to be the fastest, or do the longest run.  I am doing it because, well because I can.  As the saying goes ”

“Today I can run.  One of these days I will no longer be able to run.

Today is not that day”

So as I wrote earlier ( catch it here ) I had to start over with my running.  Well my running endurance and building up my distance.  Kinda bummed about it but it is what it is.

Yesterday I woke up after a very long day on Wednesday and a crappy nights sleep.  I wanted the number of the Mac truck that hit me.  I felt beat up.

So I gave myself a break and didn’t run.  No guilt. No “I should have gone running.”

Nope.  I just knew it was ok to take a day off.

WHAT??  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

I know people that would think this is unthinkable and unacceptable.  You just have to get out there no matter what.

Too bad.  Would music be music without the spaces between the notes?  Would you be able to read this without the spaces between the words?

So it goes with running or anything else.  Rest is part of exercise. Rest is part of being able to do what we want to do.  Rest is as IMPORTANT as the activity.

OMG

Quick..some people are going to need CPR over this one.

Okay..yes someone famous said ( Einstein maybe?) “That an object at rest stays at rest”   So true.  I would add that an “Object in motion stays in motion until it runs out of energy or gets injured”

Listen to yourself, listen to your body.  It is YOUR body!!  You know it best.

This works except when one day off stretches into a week, stretches into a month.  I’ve done it so I know  🙂

So I went out today..did well, not far.  Maybe a little over a mile ( my Garmin needed a day off and a charge) so not sure how far I went.  It felt great.  And I was on my own to decide when to walk and when to run since Miss Garmin was resting.  Surprisingly  I ended up running more than walking!

And then I went to treat myself with a homemade chocolate chip cookie I had stashed in work bag.

I may be a little wiser when it comes to running but when it comes to cookies my dog, Max, is much smarter.  He was licking his chops when I got back and he wasn’t sorry in the least…well maybe a little but he rolled over for a belly rub so I am guessing he really wasn’t.

Max ate my cookie

Here’s to wisdom and chocolate chip cookies ( out of Max’s reach)!  Keep Triing!

 

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Finding joy in starting over…

I just went for a run.  The first in a very very long time.  The list of reasons is unbelievably long.  Everything from traveling, to bad weather, to hating the “dreadmill” to the simple “I don’t wanna do it”

Of course, when I decided enough was enough and it was time to get out there again I caught a nasty respiratory infection that sapped my energy.  I could barely walk the dog let alone run.

I was smart enough to take care of myself as I watched some glorious perfect running days ( 70’s, no humidiy, light breeze) pass me by and I proceeded to beat myself up for NOT running all the times I had the chance to run when I wasn’t coughing up a lung.

So today was the day to start over.  I knew I would pretty much be starting from scratch.  I set my Garmin to run 3 minutes, walk 1 and decided to do a whole mile.

HOWEVER  I also gave myself permission to let go of what could have been, all those missed running days, and all the running stamina I used to possess.  And most importantly I let go of my ego and gave myself permission to do what felt good.

I made it 2 minutes and decided I needed to walk.  I enjoyed the beautiful day.  I walked 2 minutes and then decided to try the run 3  walk 1 again.  It was amazing.  When my watch signaled it was time to walk I was surprised.

I did my mile ( well .95 of it according to Miss Garmin)  Makes no matter.  I did it.  You can too! It doesn’t have to be running.  Do what makes you feel good, walking, zumba, yoga, or biking.

Let go of the past and what could have been. Let go of what others think is a the “best” exercise, an impressive amount of miles, or time, or the best yoga poses or the hills you “have” to do to be considered a cyclist.

I have lots of running medals and yet today I feel more victorious than ever because I listened to myself and I did it just for me!

Find the joy in whatever you choose to do. It makes all the difference!

The courage to start

Keep Triing,

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