I am an ordained minister and a food blogger. The combination is pretty epic. Welcome to The Strength of Faith!
A little bit about me ...
I live in Southeast Massachusetts with my husband and our 4 year old gray tabby cat, Lilly. I am a 2007 graduate of Ursinus College and received a Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 2010.
I recently started my ministry as the Senior Pastor of Rehoboth Congregational Church in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. They are a wonderful group of people who minister to me as much as I do to them. Every day I continue to be amazed at the unexpected grace I find in my life.
This blog documents my life as I try to figure out what it means to live faithfully and mindful of my health in a world full of distractions. I post my workouts and pictures of my daily eats in order to help me find balance in my life. I post recipes as I seek to develop creativity in the kitchen. I am on a lifelong quest to be happy and healthy.
Thank you for stopping by – I look forward to getting to know you!
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Wear a Dress Tuesday
I wear dresses on Tuesdays. Every Tuesday. Click here to find out why.
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I survived another night on call! I had a fairly quiet day, a busy evening and then returned from my last call around 1 in the morning and was able to get roughly six hours of sleep.
Yesterday was my last Sunday on call for the summer. I ended up with two and they fell back to back during the first half of the summer. I hate to say this, but I'm honestly glad that my Sundays are out of the way. The Sunday OC chaplain has to plan both Sunday worship for the hospital chapel in the morning and then for the psychiatry floor later in the afternoon. The Saturday OC chaplain is still technically on call during the morning worship, but I was always so worried that the pager would go off during afternoon worship with the psychiatry patients and I would have to interrupt the service to respond. Luckily that never happened - but it was still always in the back of my head!
Since I was able to get some sleep last night, I didn't need a nap when I got home. I decided instead to eat some breakfast and pull out my pilates DVDs. The DVDs that I have are broken into 20 minute workouts - and for some reason I had the bright idea to do two of them this morning! It felt great and I needed the extended workout, but I am already feeling it in every muscle in my body.
The thought crossed my mind to stay inside and clean all day, but then I realized that I walked into the hospital at 7:45 Sunday morning and didn't leave until 9:00 Monday morning. I needed some fresh air - so I went to the pool! I totally underestimated how hot it is here - I spent two hours in the sun and then promptly came inside and slept for two hours. Hot Sun + Busy On Call = Much Needed Nap for Sarah.
I really should be honest with you all. I had myself completely psyched out before this last on call. I actually teared up before I left and Bruce had to reassure me that things would be okay. I desperately didn't want a day/night as bad as last week and I hate the feeling of being so alone when I'm the only chaplain at the hospital. It's something that I'm working on, but I'm not sure that I will ever be completely comfortable with it. I have no control over what is going to happen! I don't know how the residents have done this all year. Knowing that CPE is only 11 weeks long (and that I only have nine on calls total) has kept me calm when I start to freak out. Thank you for your continued prayers - I feel less alone because of the wonderful support network that I have!
And because you know I don't like a post without pictures ...
You would have thought SHE was the one on call last night.
During the day I thought of a random assortment of things that I've been meaning to tell you all on here, so bear with me!
Thanks for all of the encouragement and laughs from the disastrous top tier of wedding cake video. My mom sent me an e-mail with the subject line "ewwwwwwwwww" after she watched it, so I think it's safe to say we made the right decision in not eating it! Maybe for our 5th wedding anniversary, I'll order just a top tier from a cake baker. :)
I never thought about this before some of you mentioned it, but I guess I've never really posted a video with me speaking in it before! I have definitely developed something of a southern twang since I've moved here (though nothing compared to people who have been here their whole lives!), but Bruce tells me it's something that I can turn on and off. I've noticed that when I spend a lot of time with people with thick southern accents (like a lot of the staff, patients and families at Grady), I tend to turn it on. I also tend to turn it on if I get excited or wound up about something and start talking really fast (like when I'm grossed out over moldy flowers on my cake).
I said this a couple of weeks ago, but I've been trying to do some organizing to this blog of mine. Blogger FINALLY allows you to create pages, so I've been slowly but surely trying to put them together (check out my Wear a Dress Tuesday page!). The page that has probably gotten the most attention is my Recipes page. Every time I post a recipe I update the page so that you don't have to dig through my archives to find a particular recipe.
I had been trying to organize a recipe binder or folder at home, but then I realized that I was doing a much better job of just keeping everything all together on here! So if you've noticed more recipes posting lately, that's why. It actually the easiest way for me to write down and bookmark the stuff that I'm cooking/baking. If you see a recipe go up and don't necessarily want to look carefully at it right away, that's where my recipe page will be helpful! Hopefully everything will be easy to find long-term.
You should also check out my "Life Through a Lens" page! I was looking for an excuse to post more photos on a semi-regular basis and created this page to organize them. It's kind of like Dooce's Daily Photo (or a Project 365 blog), except it's not daily and I usually end up offering way more commentary on the photos!
I know that most of the country was devastated when Team USA lost today, but I think the way that they lost and the way that Ghana won just goes to show how classy of a sport soccer is. There were no fights and no excessive and inappropriate celebrating. At one point I saw someone from Team USA and Team Ghana exchange jerseys (Bruce told me that's what players who defended each other do?) and shake hands. The sport has class, the players have class and the coaches have class. I love the world cup!
Oh - and I love vuvuzelas. They could seriously lull me to sleep.
I am on call again tomorrow - 8 a.m. tomorrow until 9 a.m. Monday. I was on call last Sunday and it was a long, difficult and sleepless day and night. I'm hoping for a quieter day tomorrow. Please pray for my strength and sanity as I anticipate and go through the day - I would really appreciate that! I will be back Monday to say hi. :)
I'm off to spend the rest of the night (what's left of it, where did it go?) with my wonderful husband. He's thinking of starting a fishing/outdoorsy blog and wants me to show him the ropes! Of course I'll share the link when he's up and running.
It is the kind of hot where the only thing appealing at the end of the day is curling up in a fetal position in an over - air conditioned apartment while drinking gallons of ice water. Coming home and slaving over a hot stove is NOT appealing!
Cold salads are generally the only thing that sound appealing to us on some days. During our first summer in Atlanta, we got bored eating the same combination of lettuce, tomatoes, grilled chicken and ranch dressing every night, so lately - with the help of some suggestions from friends - we've been branching out and experimenting with different ingredients in our salads. Enter in this week's dinner.
Mandarin Orange and Pineapple Chicken Salad
2 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1 cup uncooked Rice
1 can Mandarin Oranges in Light Syrup
1 can Sliced Pineapples in Pineapple Juice
Start by throwing your chicken in a pot of boiling water.
I like boiling the chicken and then putting it on the skillet or grill because it cooks through in the water and doesn't get dried out on the heat.
Turn your burner on med (cast iron) - med/high (other materials), flip the chicken often.
Cook your rice (I boil 2 cups of water, stir in 1 cup rice, 1 tbsp. of butter and 1 tsp. of salt, cover and let simmer on low for 20 minutes).
Chop your lettuce.
Slice your tomatoes.
And chop your cucumbers.
Start building your salad. I did it in this order: Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and rice.
Slice up the chicken and that goes on next.
The finishing touches.
Because otherwise the title of this post would be "Chicken Salad".
This salad was INCREDIBLE. The juices from the fruits gave it so much flavor that I didn't need to use any salad dressing at all!
So either I made the salad much healthier by not adding a fattening dressing, or I just saved the extra calories for dessert.
When I blogged about our first anniversary celebration, I said that after dinner we came home and had dessert.
The implication in that statement was that we came home and ate the top tier of our wedding cake. You know - the tier that my parents have kept in their freezer all year. The tier that my mom spent $40 on to overnight it to me so we could take part in this tradition. The tier that would essentially be the only taste Bruce and I got of our wedding cake (we were both whisked away after our little bites when we cut the cake and never got an actual piece).
Yeah - that tier.
Here is what my beautiful wedding cake looked like at the reception.
And here's what it looked like when I unwrapped it one year later.
I'll give you a hint. Whoever wrapped it up forgot to remove the LIVE FLOWERS before wrapping.
And live flowers don't take well to laying on a cake, being wrapped up in cellophane, sitting in the freezer for a year and then being shipped 1,000 miles in the heat of summer.
I left this part of the story out before because I REALLY didn't want to tell my mom what happened. She worked so hard to get us the cake and I didn't want her to find out that the flowers fermented and oozed through the icing into the cake. Ew.
She finally asked me directly on the phone two nights ago and I couldn't find a way to change the subject and had to tell her what happened. All in all she thought it was kind of a funny story and wanted to see the video.
I think I should note - we took this video with the full intention of showing me unwrapping the cake, laughing at the fact that it was mushed from being transported here and then taking a huge bite. I had no idea the flowers were on there until I unwrapped it and I was frantically trying to tell Bruce with my eyes to TURN THE CAMERA OFF!
Good Lord, I didn't think the end of this week would ever come.
I - along with the rest of the CPE interns - had IPR group this morning. IPR stands for interpersonal reflection, which apparently is supposed to be a time where we deal with the issues that we have with one another. The only problem (if you consider this a problem, I'm not sure that I do) is that we've only known each other for four weeks and so far we all get along really well. There are no real problems to hash out. So this morning I took it upon myself to complain about the fact that they keep pushing back the opening of the dolphin exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium.
I think it's safe to say that your group is solid when they only thing you can find to complain about is a dolphin exhibit.
Anyway, we have these group meetings off site, didn't so we get to the hospital until almost 1:00. We ate lunch together and then I was able to get a couple of visits in before I left for the day. I'm starting to feel a little bit more comfortable in my role, which is kind of a relief! When I started four weeks ago, there really were points when I was regretting my decision to accept such a difficult placement. I'm starting to feel a little bit better about it now (but still find myself taking deep breaths a LOT, ha!).
On my way home I called Bruce and asked if he wanted to go to Barnes and Noble with me tonight. Tori Spelling's new book, Uncharted TerriTori, just came out and ... well ... I had to buy it. I can't help it. Books like this are my vice. And I love Tori Spelling. Please don't judge me.
Bruce agreed and we ended up having a really fun time. I found my book pretty quickly, but we actually wandered around for about an hour and a half. Bruce is on a yoga kick right now (I think that deserves it's own post), so at one point, we settled ourselves into the fitness / diet / lifestyle section to find a good book on yoga. We've got some DVDs, but we'd love to build our own workouts and want to read up on it a little bit more. I hopped over to Starbucks while Bruce paged through the books to grab a treat ...
Nothing like eating world's largest cookie while surrounded by on how to get into shape!
I know I should go to sleep as soon as I hit "publish" on this thing, but I really want to start reading! Maybe just the first chapter ... ? :)
Last Monday I offered to stay at the hospital a little bit late when the OC chaplain needed to be down in the ECC (Emergency Care Clinic, aka ER) and the palliative care team needed a chaplain at the same time somewhere else in the hospital. My clinical supervisor told me that if I was willing to stay an extra hour or so, I could take that hour back sometime later in the week and leave early.
Well ... I kept forgetting, getting distracted or having to be in educational stuff, so I never was able to take the time. After my rough OC Sunday, I realized that I need to take advantage of any comp time given to me as part of my commitment to (well - my supervisor's insistence on) self care this summer.
I mentioned to one of the interns today that I was thinking of leaving early to take my comp time and he encouraged me to do it. All but one of the chaplains were in today (the only one missing was the one OC last night) and the pager had been relatively quiet all day. It seemed to me that if I didn't leave early today, I never would!
So I left in search of self care, which actually led me to the mall. I wish I could say I scoured the sale racks and found lots of great deals, but I actually was just there to pick up my contacts that had been in for three weeks that I hadn't had time to pick up. It's amazing how little I can accomplish when I have to be at the hospital during normal business hours! Seriously - y'all with 9-5 jobs - how do you find time to do tedious things like go to the bank and the post office? I literally have no time to do those things now, especially because by the time I get to these places, they're closed!
Even with my stop at the mall (and a couple of other stores that I popped into) I still got home before I normally do. With the little bit of extra time, I got a load of laundry done, baked chocolate chip muffins (recipe will be coming!) and washed both the interior and exterior of my car (well, Bruce did the exterior). It's amazing how much I can get done with 30 more minutes than I'm used to.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can be more productive at night now that I leave the house at 7:15 and get home at 5:15? There is a Mount Rushmore - sized pile of unfolded laundry currently growing next to my bed!
Yesterday was pretty much a blur for me. I held myself together all of Sunday night / Monday morning and completely broke down when I got home. I slept a lot and was able to cry - something that I couldn't do when I was in the moment and needed to be the chaplain. I was worried that sleeping all day would keep me up last night, but I was sound asleep by 11:30 and slept through the night, which was really helpful. We had a educational-heavy day today (meaning not a lot of time spent on the floors and with patients and families), which was what I needed. I'm still processing.
I have a feeling I am going to be saying that a lot this summer.
Anyway, it was a much-needed Wear a Dress Tuesday for me today. I decided to pull out a skirt I hadn't worn in awhile ...
Can you believe that I bought this skirt in HIGH SCHOOL? Am I kidding myself in thinking it is still in style?
Actually, don't answer that.
OH - look down on this picture to the left of my leg. Do you see what I see?
RED TOMATOES!!!!! This one is red and the other ones are starting to change as well! Maybe I don't have a black thumb after all?
I'm off to finish my verbatim and weekly reflection paper. I would complain about the fact that I'm being forced to write papers after I've graduated, but the reflection is honestly really good for me. I'm one of those people that needs to process out loud and with other people.
I hope you all had a fabulous Tuesday!
"Good therapy helps. Good friends help. Pretending that we are better than we are doesn't. Shame doesn't. Being heard does."
I had a really difficult on call yesterday and last night. I went for about 30 hours without sleep, so I was napping when Bruce got home this afternoon. When I woke up, I looked over at the mantel and saw this ...
A mini pink rose bush to help me feel better!
Have I mentioned lately how much I love my husband?
Ever since we bought Bruce's truck, we have been talking about selling our little scooter. We don't know where we will be moving to, but I highly doubt that it will be an urban area where we can tool around on something with a 50 cc engine.
But now Bruce is having second thoughts! It is fun, I'll give him that (although I'm not as fearless as I used to be ever since I took a tumble back in December). I guess it makes sense to keep it for now and make a decision when we find out where we're going.
Throughout the winter, I love whipping up big batches of soups and chili on a Sunday afternoon for lunch throughout the week. During the summer, however, it is just tooooooo hot to eat soup and chili on a regular basis. So I stopped cooking a weeks worth of food on Sundays.
And started eating pop tarts for lunch.
Last weekend, I thought to myself, There has got to be something in between pop tarts and chili!
And there is. Ohhhhhhh there is.
Summertime Rice & Beans
1 cup uncooked White Rice
1 can Black Beans
1 can Red Beans
1 can Whole Kernel Corn
1 can Rotel
2 tbsp. Lime Juice
Get your rice started.
How do you all cook rice? Bruce uses his rice cooker, but I like doing it the old fashioned way. Boil 2 cups of water ...
... add your rice ...
... and mix in 1 tbsp. of butter and 1 tsp. of salt.
Maybe it's not the old fashioned way of doing things. Maybe it's the unhealthy way. I don't care. It tastes delicious.
Anyway, cover, reduce to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, while your rice is simmering ...
Drain and rinse the black beans, red beans and corn.
Pour mixture into pot and place on stove. Add lime juice to the mixture and stir carefully.
Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of yourself adding lime juice to something? Harder than you would think. The picture was terrible, but I swear I added it. Use your imagination.
Add Rotel (but don't drain!). Turn stove on Med to Med/High.
Bring mixture to a boil. Stir carefully so nothing burns to the bottom of the pot.
When the rice is cooke, turn off the stove and add to pot.
Stir everything together.
I'm not even joking. This fed me all week and I've still got some to spare. It probably cost a grand total of $4 to make and it was so easy! Yesterday morning I decided to grate up some cheese when I was getting my lunch ready and melted it on top when I heated it up at the hospital. SO delicious. I was also thinking it would make an incredible burrito filler if I had some tortilla wraps.
Does anybody else have inexpensive recipe that are more summertime-appropriate? Help a girl out!
I was down in the burn unit this afternoon to check on a newly admitted patient and see how their family was doing (I had heard from the OC chaplain last night that there were a lot of family members milling around when the patient was admitted).
I checked in with the Sr. Staff Nurse and she offered to introduce me to the family. We walked into the room and she introduced me to the patient, his father and his uncle as the chaplain.
The patient's uncle looked me up and down, took a deep breath and said loudly (with a heavy southern accent): "Well, you're the prettiest chaplain I've ever seen! They didn't make them like that like when I was younger."
When I got back to the chaplaincy office I told my supervisor that I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be offended or flattered. It was 3:45 on Friday afternoon. I chose flattered.
When I was five-years-old, I was part of a graduation ceremony at my nursery school. All of the graduates walked onto a wooden bridge and said their name, favorite color, favorite food and what they were going to be when they grew up. Most of the kids in my class wanted to be police officers, fire fighters, teachers, moms and dads. Here's what I said:
My name is Sarah, my favorite color is blue, my favorite food is macaroni and cheese and I'm going to be a minister when I grow up.
Tomorrow I finish my third week of CPE. Can you believe I'm that far into it? I can't. It seems like just yesterday I was getting ready for orientation. The program is 11 weeks long, meaning I am about a quarter of the way through.
That is insane.
A lot of the reflections that I am making I don't necessarily feel comfortable sharing right away. I promise I will when we get a little further away from the cases I am reflecting on. But every day I am learning so much - about myself, about ministry, about people and about life in general.
In my weekly reflection paper that I turned in to my supervisor a few days ago, I talked about pastoral authority. It feels weird for me to be doing CPE now, at a time in my life when I am scraping together the last couple of requirements for ordination. Pastoral authority seems just out of reach to me right now. I'm waiting patiently for that time-honored tradition of the laying on of hands.
And yet - in the hospital - I do have pastoral authority. When I walk into someone's room, I am their chaplain. I minister to them. I'm their minister.
Who knows if my 5-year-old proclamation about vocation was actually a call into ministry. But it is amazing to think that 20 years later, this is what I'm doing.
Fried Chicken was definitely a father/daughter bonding experience in my kitchen growing up. Because the chicken-dredging process can take a lot of hands, my dad always asked my sister and me if we were willing to help him make dinner when that's what was on the menu. It's actually the first meal I think I actually attempted to cook by myself! It's definitely fun to have a couple of "family recipes" in my collection. It's simple, but delicious!
Daddy's Fried Chicken
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, whisked with a little bit of milk
1 cup breadcrumbs (I usually use original or plain)
Create a dredging assembly line and pour about 1"of oil into a skillet, turning it on to med to med/high heat (I cook with cast iron, so my stove settings are always a little on the low side, more towards med).
Clean and slice your chicken breasts into strips.
Dredge the strips into the flour ...
... then the eggs ...
... and then the breadcrumbs.
Nothing like a big pile of raw chicken to wet your appetite for dinner.
I'm about to state the obvious, but always use precautions when handling raw chicken. I always take my wedding rings off (learned that one the hard way - raw chicken and diamonds don't mix well) and wash my hands after I'm done like I just walked out of the TB ward.
Drop chicken strips into heated oil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning constantly.
Cook until golden brown (the first couple of times doing this, it's a good idea to use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is cooked through), remove from oil and place on paper towel.
Serve with rice and pineapples and pretend you're in Hawaii.
Well ... you can serve it however you'd like. But who doesn't want to pretend they're in Hawaii?
The title of this post really has nothing to do with anything, only it came out of conversation that made me giggle out loud. This morning we were having a staff meeting and the question came up, "What is the chaplain's role if they come across someone trying to escape from the hospital?" Considering the fact that pastoral authority really means nothing when it comes to restraining someone (picture me running after someone waving a bible in the air, pleading for them to stop and you'll see my point), we all found the conversation entirely more entertaining than it probably should have been. We also try to be extremely sensitive to the multi-religious needs of a hospital in a place like Atlanta, so we never make assumptions about what God looks like when we are talking to staff, patients and their families. Hence the part about, "In the name of whoever I represent to you," which just kind of added to the element of humor.
Or maybe theological humor really isn't humorous at all.
Or maybe I'm just a dork. Jury's still out.
SPEAKING of being a dork - let me tell you all how my morning started. First of all, I rolled over at 7:00 a.m., 15 minutes before I usually leave. Whoops. I leapt out of bed, but I am pleased to admit that I was showered, dressed, grabbed both breakfast AND lunch and still had time to kiss my husband before I left at 7:20. Impressive, right?
So I get to the hospital at 7:40 and went into the lounge. I could see the OC chaplain's sunglasses and iPod, but she was nowhere to be found. I opened up the chapel and started to put my stuff away when I heard the code blue going off. Because I didn't have the pager, I wasn't supposed to respond, but 30 seconds later the phone rang in the lounge. I answered and it was the OC chaplain, asking if I could respond because she was dealing with something else that she really couldn't get away from. I looked sadly at my not-yet-drunk coffee, grabbed my keys and headed towards the elevator.
I got in the elevator, hit 7 and made small talk with the other people riding. Everyone else got off at 5, so I waited while the doors closed, I rode up further and the doors opened again. I headed out of the elevator and down the hall. And then I realized something.
I was on the 6th floor. Not the 7th. The elevator had stopped at 6 and I just assumed we were up on 7 and got out.
I did a 360 on my heel and headed back to the elevator. I rode up to the 7th floor, checked to make sure I was ACTUALLY on 7 and headed towards the ICU. I asked the staff member who sits outside of the unit if she knew where the code was and she told me which room it was in. I headed towards the double doors of the ICU and crashed directly into them.
Like - literally.
Here's the thing - I was trying to get into an ICU.
All ICU units are locked.
I need to buzz myself into them with my card in order for the doors to open.
Well - I forgot.
"Umm, you have to use your card to get in." I heard the woman say. I thought that was generous, considering she was probably thinking to herself, "What a freaking moron."
"Oh yeah, thanks!" I laughed awkwardly, then whipped my card out like the old pro that I am (insert sarcastic eye roll here) and strutted into the unit like I'm completely competent.
What can I say? Chaplaincy should only happen after my first cup of coffee.
I think this can also safely be filed under, "Moments in my life where I would like a do-over."
Alternatively Titled: I apologize in advance if this post has no theme, flow or structure. It was a long day.
My day was mostly educational today. I'm trying to find my rhythm in terms of seeing patients on my floor for long periods of time and not having that time broken up by meetings, didactics or office administrative stuff, but so far I haven't been successful. I'm hoping I will kind of fall into one over time. We'll see.
Oh - have I mentioned that I've been assigned a floor? So now in addition to being part of the medical team during a code blue, wearing a pager, having a hospital ID and having a card that buzzes me into every room in the hospital I can now walk up to the unit clerk on my floor, say, "Can I have a census report?" and get handed a sheet of paper with all of the patients on my floor listed. It's kind of strange to have pastoral authority.
When I get dressed for Wear a Dress Tuesday now, I have to think in terms of how my pager and phone are going to be attached to my body. It limits me to skirts and I'm having serious dress withdrawal. Although - after two weeks at a Level I trauma center - I realize that this is not a tragedy. So here was today's WADT outfit ...
I have three things to note about this picture:
1. Bruce took this at 8 p.m. while we were under a severe thunderstorm warning. The lighting was terrible, so I had to set the ISO at 1600 and it's kind of grainy. Ew.
2. The past two weeks I've had Bruce take a picture of me in the morning before I left for the hospital. Bruce rode his bike to work this morning, though, so he was gone before I was ready. I'm realizing now that I'm less photogenic after a long day at the hospital.
3. I am holding Pretzel M&Ms. Oh myyyyyyyy. Do yourself a favor - go out and by some. You will not regret it.
A nurse looked me up and down yesterday, turned back to her computer and said, "You look too young to be a chaplain." I'm not sure what to do with that - other than to suggest that she get her eyes checked since she clearly missed the ikea-sized bags under my eyes.
Actually I didn't do that. I responded with an awkward, "I get that a lot" and then told a story about how I never brought a bible to class in seminary. Don't ask.
I will tell you this. That conversation is now filed under, "Moments in my life where I would like a do-over."
I fear there are going to be a lot of those this summer.
After our fun day of rafting on Saturday, Bruce encouraged me to sleep in on Sunday. I was a little confused, because I thought the plan was to go to church, but who am I to turn down a lazy morning in bed? We got up late and I finally got around to making breakfast around 11. I told Bruce that since we were having more of a "brunch" we should go out for an early anniversary dinner (my mom offered to pay!). He kind of stumbled over a response and changed the subject.
As I was cleaning the kitchen, Bruce was looking intently at something on his computer. All of a sudden he piped up, "Okay, so we should both take showers soon and then we need to leave around 1:45.
Hmm ... did we have plans? Apparently! He made me guess for the next 15 minutes. It was a place we were both going where I couldn't take pictures. I could wear whatever I wanted, but he was wearing cargo shorts. Cargo shorts? Hmm ...
Wanna know what we did?
We got a couple's massage!
Remember when I went fishing last weekend? Bruce promised to do "something girly" in exchange for my fishing - I had no idea it would be a massage! He haaaaates massages - won't let me give him one (he says they hurt) and doesn't enjoy giving me them, either (apparently it hurts his hands) - so it was amazing to be able to share that with him!
After the massage I felt like I was floating - my therapist did a lot of deep tissue work in my shoulders and upper back. It was just what I needed!
We walked downstairs into the lobby after our massage and there was another surprise waiting for me - a picnic basket! The spa was near Piedmont Park and Bruce ordered us a package that included a picnic basket with sandwiches! We took the basket, walked to the park and had a late lunch! It was so much fun.
I told Bruce that I could have brought my camera and taken pictures of the picnic, but I think he liked having me all to himself - and didn't have to share me with a camera! It was nice to just enjoy the moment.
After the picnic, we went home and watched the World Cup. We went out for a late dinner (thanks mom!) at Front Page News and came home for dessert!
I was back at the hospital today. It was kind of a strange day - it was really quiet until around 4 p.m. (we usually leave at 4:30) and at that point things just kind of imploded. I stayed until 5:30 so that the OC chaplain didn't have to be in two places at once at the very beginning of her on call. During that time I had a weird experience regarding life and death that reminded me that we really are all part of the circle of life. I'll be able to expand later when things aren't so raw. It was so surreal!
I have to present my verbatim tomorrow morning and then we have a didactic (educational seminar) in the afternoon. It's crazy how quickly the days start to fly when you start thinking about all that CPE entails!
I had my first OC (on call) at the hospital last night. I got to the hospital around 4 p.m. and the other chaplains left around 4:30. Apparently it had been an absolutely crazy day and I was preparing myself for a night of little sleep.
Right after everyone left, I headed up to one of the ICUs to touch base with the staff about a patient from earlier. My clinical supervisor had gone to the gym and had come back to his office, so when I got back from the MICU I talked to him for a few minutes and we both wished each other restful evenings (me with the pager, him with his two year old). I settled in on the couch of our lounge with some articles for my didactics next week and season 10 of Friends, hoping to relax and maybe even nap a little bit before the night got busy.
Funny story ... the night never got busy.
Actually, it wasn't so much funny as it was ... eery. My pager never went off. There were no code blues. Not even a non-urgent voicemail asking for a chaplain to stop by.
Although - my theory with hospital chaplaincy is that if no one is calling me in the middle of the night, that's a good thing!
You would think that with no calls I got a good night's sleep, but it actually took me awhile to fall asleep. I was convinced that as soon as I fell asleep I would get called out. Then I woke up every hour and obsessively checked my pager. I finally just got up at 6. The chaplain OC today didn't believe me when he came in this morning and I told him how quiet my night was!
I got home around 9:15, quickly changed and Bruce and I headed up to Duckville, TN to go white water rafting with some friends from church! (We did this last year too!) Let me tell you - as I was frantically paddling through class three and four rapids down the Ocoee River - I was happy to have gotten ANY sleep at all last night! The cool thing about this year was that Bruce bought an underwater case for our flip camera! I literally just hooked the camera into my PFD (personal flotation device - apparently they are no longer called life jackets) and we were good to go! Bruce actually took the flip at one point while we were relaxing on the calm part of the river and jumped into the water with it! And the camera is completely dry - I would recommend anyone with a flip who spend time near water getting a case like this.
Oh - so the point of that story was to tell you that we took some video and I'll try to get it uploaded soon! I wasn't filming while we were going through the rapids (I was trying to stay in the raft help my team members get through the rapid safely), but hopefully I got some fun footage.
We got home around 5:30, took a looooooong nap and now are just hanging out and nursing our rafting wounds. The day was totally worth every sore muscle, twisted knee and bruised leg (and yes, I'm almost ashamed to admit I am nursing all three of those, ha).
Tomorrow is our anniversary - I can't believe it's already been a year!
This time last year we were saying good bye for the night ...
The next time I saw him I was walking down the aisle!
I had my first call to the children's hospital this morning. It was very, very difficult. Those of you with babies - hug them close tonight. Life is precious.
When I left the children's hospital and headed back to Grady, I thought I was doing okay. I sat in on an interdisciplinary team report on the HIV/AIDS floor, accompanied one of the residents as she went to pray with the food service employees and attended midweek worship. I ate lunch in the lounge with the other chaplains. I pulled out my notebook and started noting some of the key points of my children's hospital call.
As I got further into my notes, I started to feel really anxious. I didn't understand the anxiety - the only thing I had planned for the rest of my day was an hour-long individual supervision with my educational supervisor. By the time I would be finished with the meeting, it would be time to leave. I didn't have the on call pager - I wasn't on call tonight. Why was I anxious? I think I was just more affected by the call than I initially thought. Combine that with the fact that we interns were assigned our own floors today and I had the perfect recipe for heart palpitations the inability to remember how to breathe properly.
I felt better by the time my supervision rolled around. I walked in expecting to go over the verbatim that I had been working on the other night. I asked her if I was supposed to read it out loud and she said no, she had read it that morning. She asked me about a really strange detail of the case and then kind of turned the paper over and looked at me.
"So tell me about your anxiety," she said.
Crap, I thought to myself. It's going to be a long meeting.
For the next hour, we talked about my anxiety. We talked about what it was like in college, how I changed my lifestyle to become a healthier overall person (body AND mind), how I am affected today by it and how it might affect my summer.
I didn't think it was okay to admit that my natural instincts to get anxious were going to cause me to approach my unit of CPE differently than other people might. I didn't think it was okay to admit to my clinical supervisor, "I'm not sure that I can handle that floor right now." I didn't think it was okay to say, "This is really hard for me - and I need to take a minute." I thought that I needed to compare myself and my approach to CPE the way the other interns (and residents) do. I thought that I needed to be perfect.
I was putting unrealistic expectations on myself.
I'm working on it.
My supervisor also reminded me that I've never done anything like this before - and that Grady isn't a normal hospital; it's not even a normal trauma center! It's one of the largest hospitals in the country and things get absolutely crazy once in awhile. "It's countercultural" she told me - I had never thought of it that way before.
At the end of our meeting, I told my supervisor that I felt bad saying that I was only doing CPE because it was a requirement for my ordination. This program is making me a better pastor and I appreciate that. She looked at me, smiled and said, "Sarah, I won't be offended if you hate CPE."
And for some reason, that made me feel so much better.
Alternatively Titled: I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to figure out how to spell Lieutenant.
Happy WADT! I feel like such a dork for saying this, but I am relieved that the dress code at the hospital allows me to continue WADT throughout the summer. I was actually worried I was going to need to be in dress pants all the time and have to take a hiatus!
I dragged Bruce out of bed this morning to take this picture before I left for the hospital! Poor guy - I made him take six pictures before I got one that I liked. Ignore my puffy eyes - we are under an orange air quality alert in Atlanta right now. My allergies are off the chains.
Even though I've had to work, these past two days have been fun because Gib was in town! (You may remember Gib - he was the one who starred in the Valentine's Day video where he and Bruce set our dessert on fire) Gib graduated from West Point last month and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army. He has been traveling on his month off before he has to report and his travels brought him to Atlanta! I love it when friends come to visit!
He let me try on his patrol hat and it was a tad too big for me. I think it's a look that works for me, though.
My favorite part of this picture is that Gib's just ignoring me. Apparently he's taking lessons from Bruce.
Oh - in case you are wondering (not that you would, but I feel the need to over explain myself all the time), I wore two dresses for WADT today. The first was the skirt/jacket that Bruce took a picture of this morning and the second was this yellow maxi dress. I always change as soon as I get home because Bruce says I smell "like hospital" but it was still early in the day and I wanted to have a dress on!
After I returned the hat, I told Bruce and Gib that I wanted them to pose for a nice picture. I'll let you gauge for yourself how well that worked ...
Gib ruined that one.
The look on Bruce's face says, "Okay, this is going to be fun. Let's NOT give her a nice picture."
So close. Bruce ruined it this time.
I like how Gib has this innocent, "I don't know why Bruce is laughing" look on his face. HE'S NOT AS INNOCENT AS HE LOOKS.
50% participation at all times. Never 100%.
Well - at least they got a kick out of themselves.
Gib's training is taking him to the middle part of Virginia and south Georgia so we are extremely excited that he is going to be closer for a few months! A 16 hour drive was just too far for the weekend ...
I hope you all had a wonderful WADT! Send me your pictures!
I am not a doctor, nurse, personal trainer, trained chef or registered dietitian. I am a self-taught cook and a woman who likes to stay active. I am an ordained minister with a degree in theology. If you want to talk congregational leadership, Christian ethics, biblical interpretation, world religions or worship structure, I can speak to those subjects with some authority. Other than that - consult the pros!
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