Saturday, March 26, 2011

Child Labor, Coupons, and Profit Sharing

Popcorn was invited to a sleepover.  I suggested Bookworm invite a friend over...

There was only one small condition:  The house musts be cleaned, as in dishes done, floors swept, furniture dusted, and bedrooms cleaned!

The neighbor girl happened to be over (Popcorn was sleeping over at her house), and when I suggested she go home until the work was done, she eagerly volunteered to help. 

I promise! 

Here's the real kicker:  While they industriously cleaned, I went to my bathroom with plans of cleaning it...Only I somehow accidentally ended up taking a long hot bath.

And the living room, kitchen, dining room and girls bedrooms were all cleaned while I leisurely soaked.


I got a heads up that the Sunday paper was on sale early Saturday for seventy five cents!  Imagine!  Getting coupons for 75 cents instead of two dollars.  That is enough to make me do a money saving happy dance!

After we picked up Bookworm's friend, my darling hubby swung into a quick stop for me to grab a paper....I skipped to the door, thoughts of bargains circling my head like stars on an episode of Looney Toons.

THE PAPERS WERE ALL GONE!  Those dad gum selfish coupon queens had come in and snatched them up!  The nerve!  Ugh.

So Studmuffin, my forever knight in shining armor, drove to the next quick stop up the road.  I hopped out of the pickup and resolutely marched in.  I was a woman on a mission.  "Do you have any early Sunday papers left or did those selfish psycho coupon ladies hog them all?"

The man looked slightly afraid and not a little baffled by my query.  He gestured timidly to the newspaper rack...


I grabbed the entire stack and plopped my money down on the counter and made a run for it.

I plan to charge $1.50 per paper tomorrow, which will be a 100 percent profit for me, but a fifty cent savings for my church family.

I think God will honor this plan, don't you?

P.S.  No actual couponers were harmed in the making of this post.  In fact, I only grabbed one paper, but wouldn't it have been hilarious if I bought the whole stack after walking in with a tirade about selfish couponers?

Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Scare a Nurse

A phrase that strikes fear in a nurse's heart:

"I'm going away..."

Especially when it is accompanied by complaints of chest pain, a decreased oxygen reading, and vomiting...

Don't worry.  She was fine.  She had just gotten a little too sleepy from her sedatives and I had to reverse her.  The reversal gave her a little asthma attack which scared her...

And me when she started telling her husband goodbye.

So, while in my head I knew (read here: was hoping and praying) it was a reaction to my reversal medication, it still scared the crap out of me.

 I just thought that if you ever wanted to know how to make your nurse jump up and take notice, this could be helpful to you!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Did This Happen

Popcorn expressing her joy at sneaking up on birds.  It's grainy because I was trying to sneak a picture through the kitchen window.
I was sitting on the edge of our fire pit enjoying the sunshine Wednesday afternoon as Bookworm came and folded her long legs under her and told me she plans to pretend she's a Dominican Republican...As in just sitting in the yard and reading a book.  Apparently that's all they do in the Caribbean islands.  Oh, except of course, when they sit and talk and "make plans."  I really laughed at that.  I can totally relate to making plans.  And never doing all the things I planned to do!

Anyway, as she sat there sharing her knowledge with me, I couldn't help but notice her feet.  When did they turn into big kid feet?  They are no longer pudgy little dimply feet.  Now they are long and narrow with ridiculously skinny heels that require purchasing ridiculously expensive shoes to stay on her feet.  Of course, as I reflect, I'm not sure Bookworm ever had a pudgy or dimply part on her body.  She was always skinny as a rail, but still, her features were that of a little one.  Now she's becoming so grown up.

Saturday was a big day around here.  The girls threw as much into their last day of Spring Break as possible.  Popcorn was invited by a friend to go play putt putt and do all of those video games that suck your money away before you know quite where it went.  My friends assured me they had coupons so the whole thing was free, and I decided to believe them, and sent her there penniless.  She came home with Chinese handcuffs, a slinky and a flashing ring...

Please disregard the clutter.  Focus on sister's cuddled under a blanket.

 Bookworm went over to a friend's house to play.  They golfed and went to Lowe's for yard supplies and helped build a chicken coop.  She saw her first blue bird.  That was pretty big stuff for a bookish girl like her.  That evening as I was working in the kitchen, I noticed a woodpecker in one of our little red bud trees.  We even had some redheaded finches around our fish pond!  She gleefully checked off three new birds in her bird book.

Please note that Popcorn is moving slowly, trying to get close to the woodpecker.  Slow movement is a rarity with this child!       

So that was our weekend.  Exciting times with friends, Popcorn moved slowly and thoughtfully, Bookworm was her usual contemplative self, and sisters cuddled on the couch as they watched Man vs Wild.  Somehow in the midst of our fun time as a family this last week, my girls grew up.

At least I think it all happened within the last week.  Surely this couldn't have crept on me without my noticing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thoughts Are Rattling Around

I know it's been so long since I posted...You are all in withdrawals right?  I have lots of posts rattling around in my brain, but no time to type them...Because they are naturally wordy and long and involve lots of details...

Instead I will tell you a few snippets.  I didn't get to have milk for breakfast yesterday morning.  I was exhausted by the time I got home from work Monday night, had not gotten a real lunch (I consider two Honeymaid graham crackers, one boiled egg and a container of yogurt insufficient nutrition for a 10 hour shift), had been chewed on endlessly at work (welcome back, Andi) and I failed to get milk on my way home.

I consider a large glass of milk as vital as my 2 cups of coffee.  However, we only had enough milk for the girls, and I grudgingly gave it up.  But I secretly contemplated pouring myself a glass and gulping it down before they saw, and offering them some water...

Then God told me that parents are to show sacrificial love to their children so that they may have a reflection of who Jesus is...I fear I'm a very poor reflection, and the mirror is covered in toothpaste and soap splatters, and probably needs the silver replaced in it...But regardless I gave up the milk.

I started spring cleaning on Saturday after three whole days of doing next to nothing, if one counts feeding the family and a few loads of laundry as still nothing...Which I do, because Momma's gotta eat, and we all have to have clothes on our backs.

Spring cleaning began with my kitchen.  It literally took me all day.  I cleaned all of the "decorations" on top of my cabinets.  I cleaned and polished the front of my cabinets, cleaned out and reorganized my pantry, and cleaned my refrigerator and freezer.  I even cleaned behind it!  I cleaned windows and light fixtures and even cleaned the mop boards! 

Spring cleaning always sends me down sentimental memory lane.  I had lots of thoughts of my Grandmama Dolly, who passed in January, as I cleaned all of the old canning jars she gave me. 

I thought of Brent's Aunt Aleta, and his Grandpa Max, (who always scared me to death, he was always so serious, and I never knew what he was thinking) as I cleaned the old thermoses that sit on top of my fridge.  I thought of my mother in love who gives me endless stuff because seh can't throw anything away, and she knows I will cart it home and display it as a treasure...

It also makes me think of my Grandma Irene, who is a major neat freak.  And it makes me think of how she doesn't save anything.  She even threw away all of her extra silver ware as it was just wasting space!  I think she has like 4 place settings of silverware left. Spring cleaning at her house is always a snap...I wonder what she would think if she came over and saw that I have 32 place settings of dishes and at least eight more at my mother's, waiting for me to bring home and find a place for them! 

Anyway, that is a few thoughts rattling around in my head.  I have more to share, but I must go to the eye doctor and file our taxes, and do my Bible study, and on and on and on...

What thoughts are rattling around in your brain that you just dying to share?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I Think I've Went Over the Edge

It's official.

I'm becoming one of THEM...You know the ones.

Those crazy ladies in the grocery store with a shoe box full of coupons?  The kind who write down the price of items at Walmart, to see if they can get them cheaper at Homeland if the coupon is doubled...

I'm one of them.


It's really no surprise.  I've always been disgustingly frugal.  Take my couches.  I've decided not to get new ones.  I want new floors and a bigger fence in the back yard more. It's really okay, though.  When I bought my couches I very carefully considered whether they were "traditional" and if they would match a variety of settings.  Considering I've had them in 3 different houses and an apartment, and I've had different colored walls every single place, I think I did fairly well.

But, this is actually a post about my couponing endeavors...

Studmuffin took the girls to softball practice Thursday night.  (I loathe softball, and the whole family knows it.  I consider practice their special time with Daddy...)  I decided to go hit the stores and do some couponing.  I am still trying to stick to only shopping every 2 weeks, so I really have to think about what I'm going to buy.  It takes a lot of work and preparation, I'm not gonna lie.

I decided to pop into Walgreens.  I was totally unprepared.  I had not even glanced at their sale bill.  However, I was able to get all of this for $4.43.  That was a total savings of $13.93.

I know I could have gotten tons of stuff more, if I had actually looked through the sale bill and my coupons, but I was just giving this a trial run to see if I have time or energy to add another store to my shopping.

Next I ran into Walmart to buy the things I needed that I did not have coupons for.  I ended up finding manufacturer tear off coupons in their aisles.  They were for $1.00 off.  That doubles at Homeland!  However, if Walmart was enough cheaper, I would not be saving at Homeland.  Homeland is notoriously overpriced.  That is why I only buy things with coupons that are on sale there...Needless to say I was in Walmart a looong time, deciding if items would be cheaper that I needed if I had  coupon that doubled at Homeland.

At last I went to Homeland, and I felt like I scored pretty big!  I got all of this for $39.98.  That was a savings of $54.69 off the retail price!  A sixty percent savings!

The only kicker is that I bought a bunch of junk I would normally NEVER buy because it is just junk, and it is a waste of money.  However, since it was practically free, I couldn't resist!  You will laugh, but I actually had a talk with my girls this morning on what they are allowed to eat, and how many a day.  One yogurt or pudding cup a day.  One snack bar a day.  One bowl of cereal per day.  You see, the first time I went couponing, the little twerps snarfed down all the junk food in the first three days because they were so pumped to actually have junk food!

And, for those of you who know what a label reader I am, those dad gum frozen dinners sucked me in at sixty cents a piece.  I know my husband will use them for work some day when we don't have leftovers and he's sick of sandwiches...

And those snack bars?  You bet your boots they have high fructose corn syrup in them...How the mighty have fallen in the face of super cheap snacks.

So, we will see how this whole couponing thing continues to work.  I bought all of the groceries I will need for the rest of the month, through the first week of April yesterday, aside from probably 2 more loaves of bread, 4 gallons of milk, and I will have to replenish fresh produce as we do eat apples, bananas, grapes, and such daily. 

Oh, and just in case you were wondering about my month overall, I have saved every receipt and my grand total spent on groceries for this month was $282.57 (remember this gets me through the first week of April.)  That is every single household item we have bought from cleaners to fish food to people food.  My normal budget for groceries is $500 per month.  That may seem like a lot to some of you, but we only eat out once per week, and we take our meals to work, and I'm kind of freaky about labels.  I have learned that junk food is a lot cheaper than wholesome food like yogurt, cheese, fruit and peanut butter...

This month I went a little crazy and tried to buy very little without a coupon or sale items.  I forced myself to make a meal when typically I would have said "I have no food, I need to go to the store."  That means that next month I will have depleted much of the stuff I normally have extra of, so I may not do as well.

We shall see.  We shall see.

P.S.  After I typed this Coupon Closet posted her Homeland shopping trip...Which totally depressed me as I didn't do nearly as well.  But, if you need inspiration to at least give coupons a try, go over and visit her to learn how she bought $255 worth of groceries for $27.32!!!!   That is amazing.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The FINAL Final Vacation Post

I desperatley need new couches.  


That is an exaggeration. (Exaggeration always makes things feel so much more important, don't you think?) Mine look good on the surface.  They are completely stain free, believe it or not.  But the cushions make you fall to the middle.  I have resorted to tucking blankets under them to hold them up.

I have no idea why my couches are failing me a mere 14 years after purchasing them.  I mean, it's not like we sat on them every single day for the last 14 years.  And it's not like my children have ever jumped in the cushions.

Or my then 12 year old nephew, Kris.

Nope.  These things have been treated with gentleness and love.

However, it is perhaps time to consider replacing them.  But I still like the way they look.  And I don't want to spend actual money on a couch...New couches just don't go with my hand me down, garage sale, dig through Aunt Aleta's cellar for furnishings look.

However, I had spotted a couch I like in JCPenney online.  As it turns out, it was actually in stock at the JCPenney in Fort Worth.  Since we were going to be in the area, we decided to go do a test run on them.  We love them.  However, I want them in cranberry.  So, the delivery would be 6 weeks away.  We have a town wide garage sale in 4 weeks, so we could sell our old couches then.  I think 2 weeks is not too long to go without living room furniture.  But I have been unable to truly commit to purchasing the couch.  Especially as I seem to be required to pay a delivery fee.  Yuck.
While in JCPenney, we decided to let the girls do a fashion show.   They could try on whatever they wanted and come out and model it.  

There was only one catch.  

We weren't buying them one single solitary outfit...We had already bought them each 3 outfits the day before, and ended up buying them 2 more each the next day.  So don't pity them.  Plus, in summer they can share all clothes since they don't have to worry about leg length.  In essence they each got 10 new outfits.  Score!

As they were doing their runway show, we decided to snap some photos of ourselves...

 Oops.  I'm not sure what he was going for here.  But I am sure it didn't work...

 Oh.  How sweet.  He really DOES love me...But really.  He's making my eyes all wrinkled-ey.  Please.  Don't age the diva.  Thank you.


Surely you don't think that real divas wear makeup and actually fix their hair!!

Okey Dokey.  At least he's not smashing my face.  But I wanted a new Facebook profile picture.  I just somehow feel this is not what I was going for...He looks like a drunk college boy.

  Now he is a  serial killer.  And yet I continue to smile.  Oblivious to the danger he is posing to me.  And what about that shiny skin?  You can tell I had left the arid climate of Oklahoma for the humidity of Texas, yes?

 I gave up.
  He was not going to cooperate.  If you can't beat'em, join'em.  Thank heavens I was nose friend's free in this shot!

 Now.  This is better.  If one overlooks my flared nostrils.  I think I was laughing here.
And excited.  
At least that's my story.

For sure laughing here.  
Look at that frizz. I had not determined the correct amount of frizz serum for that day. 

So there you have it.  The FINAL final vacation post.  Unless I should post the runway show?


I shall think about it, and ponder if I have any repartee to share with you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back to the Grind

Well.  It's official.  My vacation is over.


It is now back to house work and cooking and shopping for food not clothes, and yard work.  I'm actually pretty excited about the yard work.

And yet I realize I will start lots of yard projects and flake out and not keep them maintained through the end of summer.

In an effort to avoid my return to reality, I will post one final vacation blog.  It's not funny.  Just informative.

Wait!  Did you not realize I went on vacation?  Well, it was a sort of vacation.  It was kind of like those time shares.  You know, they pay for you to stay in a hotel, maybe even give you coupons for local entertainment, but you have to sit through a seminar on how fabulous their company is?  Well, it was sort of like that...

Only Studmuffin had to sit through an interview.

For five hours.

I'm pretty sure he's a better person for the experience.

I know my toes are better for the experience.  Let's just say the nail lady was pretty horrified at my feet.  Hey!  I moisturize!  I use foot scrubs!  But it had been over two years since these feet had a pedicure, and they were due!  She also tried to sneer at my hands and shame me into a manicure.

Really.  I am a nurse.  And I do yard work.  Manicures are a complete waste of money...

We stopped at Cabela's on our way home.  You would think I would have no fun in Cabela's.  Anyway I would think I would have no fun.  I have come to despise Bass Pro.  However, Studmuffin did not make me stay in Cabela's for hours.  And it isn't a frequent stop.  So... It was more vacation like.  Of course, I also got to tour their "wildlife museum" (read here room full of stuffed dead animals) and make fun of the scary robot telling stories.  Actually, he wasn't scary.  He was very lifelike.  And cross-eyed.
Don't those hands look crazy real?

It seems I am not at all above mocking a wax figure.

It also seems that one should never enter a Cabela's store after a long day of shopping.  ESPECIALLY if one is particularly hungry.  I had snatched up a bag of yogurt pretzels and chocolate covered raisins before I left the entry way.  I also snagged a bag of toasted sugar coated almonds at the check out.  Oh, and let's not forget the fudge that I bought in the fudge shop.

 I also tried on clothes.


I tried on clothes.  In an outdoor store.  You see, I had recently left Dillard's, the land of overpriced polyester, where I had insulted a sales lady.  She unwittingly offered to get me a dressing room.  I asked if there was anything that was not made of polyester.

 She walked away.

I took that as a no.

My body yearns for natural fabrics.  Cotton, silk, cashmere...I'm not picky.  But truly.  The polyester clothes are out of control.   I actually did try on a pretty top.  It was polyester.  It made me think of my Grandma Irene's clothes.  And it was nearly $100.  Strangely, I was not tempted to buy it.

So I entered Cabelas.  And there was cotton as far as the eye could see!  Unless, of course it was all weather, moisture wicking water repellent.  And of course that SHOULD be in strange materials...

I wound up desiring a pair of Columbia knee pants that resist stains and repel moisture (and yes, they are nylon/polyester) and a pair of North Face shorts that were indeed 100% cotton. They were both flattering.  I did the sit down test in the shorts.  You know the one.  If you sit down in the shorts and they cut into your thighs, then you will be constantly standing and pulling the shorts down so that it doesn't look like you need to lose 3 inches in your thighs...

I decided against the shorts.  Even though they were super cute standing up.  I just wasn't sure I could manage to never sit down in public in them!

I splurged on the pants.  They are so comfortable.  I have no idea what I needed them for, as I am in desperate need of some nice tops...  But my husband said they looked "hot" and that was that!

So.  We returned a day earlier than planned as we had no other plans but to shop at another outlet mall.  And I hate crowds. And don't particularly care for shopping.  And spending money was starting to give me hives, even though I was trying to pretend that everything on this "vacation" was free...

But I firmly stayed in vacation mode yesterday.  I did not fix one meal.  I did not clean one room.  I did no yard work.  Instead, I went in my back yard, crashed on my Adirondack chair and read a trashy romance.

And got a sunburn on my face from sitting outside reading for 3 hours.

Life was good.

Alas, reality is knocking at my door.  I took this entire week off, with intentions of doing some spring cleaning and yard work today and tomorrow.  So.  Back to the grind.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cleaning Public Restrooms

If any of you, Gentle Readers, happened to visit IHOP in Mansfield, TX on Monday night, I am sure you noticed the sparkling clean condition of the bathrooms, yes?

Well, you're very welcome.

You see, it all thanks to a very precious child with a deep servant heart who felt inexplicably compelled to clean the walls and floors to the bathroom in IHOP.

Sure you do not doubt or harbor any surprise at such a statement?

Shall I rewind and give you the back story?

Well, Studmuffin had a very stressful day Monday.  He had a five hour job interview.  The girls and I suffered in anxiety as he was gone.  We suffered through pedicures, manicures, shopping, and a dip in the hotel pool.

Popcorn had been especially cranky all the live long day.  I blame it on lack of sleep, irregular meals, and too much junk food.  Sure these factors hold more sway than her just being a plain old brat!

I had let her choose lunch, as she had been unhappy with her lunch the day before (the chicken nuggets she ordered ended up being processed, shaped chicken.  Gag), and her cheese enchilada had chopped onions in it, which is always a big turn off for her.  Hence, I felt sorry for her lack of tasty, healthy food  on vacation.  Joyfully, she chose Subway...

Okay, that back  was too far to rewind, but it will explain how we ended up eating at IHOP on a vacation.  Studmuffin and I would NEVER choose IHOP, but Bookworm loves IHOP and always begs to eat there, and we always balk and convince her to "choose" something we actually like.  Like Mexican.  Or pizza.  Because we are loving parents, and we will gladly sacrifice to eat these items at any given moment.  Not so much for the IHOP thing...

So, I had a garden veggie omelet.  Popcorn had blueberry pancakes with eggs and bacon, Bookworm ahd the Rooty Tooty junior, and Studmuffin and the 2x2x2 (2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 pancakes).  We had asked for our bill and were ready to leave and head to a movie.  A certain child needed to use the bathroom.  We patiently waited.  And waited.  Some good 80s music came on.  I proceeded to dance in the booth and embarrass the child who was NOT using the facilities.

The song ended.  Another great song came on.  Remember Heart and Soul by Huey Lewis?  That song was blasting through the speakers as I wandered in to the bathroom to check on my missing child.  I opened the door, just as she was reaching to leave.  I grabbed her and spun her into a little swing dance right there in the bathroom...

I noticed an odd sparkling appearance all around me...

I slowly came to a stop.

She remained clasped in my arms loosely.

"Did you do that?"  I asked in a laughing voice, fully anticipating a giggling "No."

However, that was not the response.  Instead a certain freckled face blushed and looked sheepish.

"YOU DID? What did you do?  Fill your hands over and over and over and blow soap all over the bathroom?"

"No.  I had soap in my hands, and decided to dance with the music, and it flew all over the wall.  And I thought it was fun, so I did it again."  Yes, Gentle Reader.  She filled both hands with foamy soap and flung them out in a joyous celebration to "Heart and Soul."

I couldn't help it.  I laughed.

And laughed.

And snorted....

And then I made her clean up every bit of it.

And as we both left the bathroom laughing gaily, I informed her "This is going to make a GREAT blog."

She froze in her tracks.  "Mom.  NOOOO.  Please, Mom.  NO."

"Oh, yeah.  This will be classic."

I eventually relented and left it anonymous as a "child of mine."  But, truly.  Any reader who knows my kids know which child would feel compelled to dance frantically around the bathroom in IHOP.

And they can picture which child would willingly go into a little jam session with me in the bathroom.

So.  Deduce what you will.

But, I think that IHOP should have taken a portion off of our meals since the room was left so sparkling clean!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Upon Reflection

I reread my last post based on some comments I received.  Comments that sort of confused me...

Until I reread my post.

I wish I could take the post back.  But I can't.  It's already been posted and sent to the cyber stratosphere, never to be retrieved again.  At least not completely.

Words are like that, aren't they?

What my post was SUPPOSED to be about was how God is working with me to be bold in my faith.  Along with that boldness comes the calling to be loving.  To truly be more like Him.  To put belligerent, rude patients above myself and put their needs and fears above my hungry/tired/cranky self.


That's where that post was supposed to go.

Only it ran away from me.  And now I wish I hadn't posted it.  I think it sounds proud and boastful.  And I don't want to do that, unless it's to emphasize boasting in the Lord and what He does.  Because believe me, the only way I'm able to exhibit patience with some people is to remember that I'm to be serving the Lord by serving them.

Even when I don't want to.

Even when I'm tired of working and I want to stay home and be a trophy wife who sits on the couch and blogs and eats Dove Special Dark Promises and clips coupons while drinking endless cups of coffee.

But God did not call me to be that lady.  He called me to nursing.  He called me to be His hands and feet as I care for my patients. 

And he has been chastising me for not embracing my calling, and seeing it for what it is. 

So.  Somehow that last post got off track and bragger like and not at all humble. 

All I can say is I'm sorry.  I can't take it back, because words can never really be taken back.  Believe me, as much as I ramble and rattle off words, I've learned to apologize.  And I've learned that once it's said, it's said.  I can apologize for saying it, but the words are still there...So I'm not removing it.  I'm just trying to fix what I did and change it to the tone I originally intended.

That's it.  God's talking to me.  He talked to me again this morning when I read the comments.  And I decided that this is what He would have me do.

So.  I think everyone was afraid to answer what God was talking to them about for fear the crazy lady would attack them.  You don't have to answer me in my comment section.  Just ponder it.  Talk to God about it.  I'm learning that He's got a lot to say to me.

I just need to shut up and listen.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

In Your Face? Maybe so.

I had a reader send me an email a while back.  She said she thought she might be friends with me, but she was unsure as I seem to be an "in your face" Christian.  I was shocked.  She was basing this on my old side bar that had steps of how to become a Christian.  I was actually tired of that sidebar and had been thinking of changing it for months, but couldn't come up with anything...

Anyway, that sidebar was basically a spin off of the "ABCs" that our church teaches every single child that walks through the door during Vacation Bible School.  Call me crazy, but if it's unoffensive to children, I think that adults can handle it.  Other than maybe kids are more willing to admit they've done wrong and the only way they can ever get to heaven is acknowledging that they have sinned and they need a savior. (Romans 3:23)

But that is not what this post is about.  This post is about conversations at work.  Conversations that perhaps paint me as an "in your face" Christian.

One of my coworkers was asking how to join our church, "Do you have to take a class or something?"  My response led to a discussion about salvation, and my belief that once saved, you can never lose your salvation.  It is always secure. (Romans 8:35-39, and here's a great article on secure salvation) God promises us an eternity spent with Him in heaven...

I guess that's a pretty bold conversation to have in front of a mixed crowd.

Yesterday I had a very trying patient.  He did not want to be there.  He was adamant that nothing was wrong with his dialysis graft, and that we were wasting his time.  I told him that if the dialysis unit was wrong, then he could go gloat to them, but if they were right, he would be glad we saved it before it failed completely.  There were many, many conversations with him that day.  Trying conversations.  Conversations where I struggled to be patient and kind...

When we were back in the procedure room, and I was getting the patient situated with monitors and warm blankets, and asking my last minute safety questions (which I had already asked as soon as he arrived, but we double check in procedure) he began to be belligerent and confrontational saying he'd already answered those questions and he wasn't a liar, so I needed to quit asking the same questions over and over...

The doctor walked in.  "Andi, would you like to do a time out now?"

Translation:  Would you like to do the time out (a safety tool where we all verbalize what procedure is being done and I compare the information with the patient ID band and consent form to be sure we are all doing the right procedure) so you can give this fellow some sedation and SHUT HIM UP?

At least, that's how I interpreted his wink and smile...

So, I gave the patient his sedation.

A few minutes into the procedure I realized I'd forgot to offer up prayer before we started, so I just paused a moment in what I was doing and said a quick blessing over the patient...

Fast forward about 20 minutes into the procedure.  The doctor had failed to mention he was about to stretch open a narrow spot in the fistula.  Or I hadn't heard him say it, which is a real possibility.  Angioplasty in a dialysis fistula is very painful.  There is really nothing I can do to make it not painful, other than a dollop more of pain medicine mixed with some Versed to make him forget he ever felt it...

He woke up when that balloon inflated and started yelling and was very angry because he claims we said it "wouldn't hurt." Which is totally untrue.  We would never say that because, as I said, angioplasty hurts.  You can't numb the inside of vein walls.

I gave him a little more medicine.  He went back to sleep.  And this time I tried to be more diligent about watching my monitor, the patient, and to see if the doctor had the tool out for angioplasty (I do not remember the name.)

I noticed he was reaching for it.  I asked if I could premedicate before he stretched.  "Sure.  I know you don't want to have him wake up again."  Again the wink and smile.

"No.  This is just me being Jesus here."

"BEING Jesus?  What does that mean?"

"Now, don't go thinking I'm being blasphemous.  That's not what I was saying.  As a Christian, I'm to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around me.  (Philippians 2:3-7) That includes taking good care of my patients and making sure they don't feel/remember when we hurt them.  You know, show the world who Jesus is."

He looked at me slightly askance.

"Testify, Andi.  Testify," the scrubbed in radiology tech said.

And the doctor had no comment to offer to that.


In hindsight maybe I am an "in your face" Christian.  If being an "in your face" Christian means I pray with patients before procedures, and any time I sense they are scared or nervous about results.  I talk about my relationship with Jesus, and what He is talking to me about right now.  I put up index cards with the memory verse I'm working on memorizing next to the computer at the nurses station.  I talk to my coworkers about what Jesus means to me, and I will call us out to "have a little Jesus in our hearts" when we are being cranky and having a rough day.

I guess if you take those things into consideration...I must be a pretty "in your face" Christian.

And I'm okay with that.

As a Christian, I'm called to be like Christ.  Loving.  Gentle.  Compassionate.

But Christ was also honest.  He did not worry about offending people when He called them to Him. 

Sometimes I think as Christians we struggle with sharing the gospel, for fear that we will offend someone.  I worry that they will say I'm being self righteous or judgmental by saying "There is only one way to heaven."  But that is the truth.  The Bible clearly says "No man may come to the Father except through me."  (John 14:6-9) Translation:  The only way to heaven is through Jesus.  And Jesus calls us to confess our sins and profess Him as our Savior and Lord. 

If we claim Christ as the savior of our lives, yet fail to share that salvation message with others around us, then we are failing to do what Christ commanded us to do. (Mark 16:15) If I proclaim Christ is my savior, yet fail to show love to those around me, I'm failing to do what Christ called me to do.  (John 13:34-35)  If I proclaim Christ as my savior, and yet do not do my job to the best of my ability, (Colossians 3:23) giving God glory in every part of it, then I'm not doing what I was called to do.

Christ paid the debt for my sins.  He took the burden of my sins, even though I did NOTHING to deserve salvation, and carried them to the cross.  (Romans 5:8)  Because of His faithfulness and love, I have the promise of eternity in heaven.  He did not promise that the journey to heaven as a follower of Christ would be easy.  He promised me the exact opposite.  The Bible promises trials of all kinds.  And it promises strength to get through those trials.  (Philippians 4:13)

Not an easy journey.  Strength for the journey. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

So.  That's what God is talking about with me lately.  What's God been saying to you lately?