Showing posts from September, 2019

Listening to Your Inner Voice: Finding beauty when fear and shame want to take over

When I quit teaching because of my health, I wanted to stay involved with the school, so for the past five years, I have mentored a student. Once a week for about an hour, I met with a young girl over lunch. We would play board games, make crafty projects, and celebrate holidays with pizza, cookies, and small gifts. Over the years, I have mentored three different students, ranging from 2nd to 6th grade, and enjoyed the fun relationships we built. As this school year began, though, something about continuing didn't feel right. Over the course of two weeks, I reflected and examined this inner hesitation. I prayed about it, silently pleading, Show me the way forward. I thought about the energy it takes to commit to the program, the weekly drive in mostly winter weather, and my need to conserve my time and efforts. Then I met with my doctors, and they reiterated their concerns about me getting sick. How the potential risk for emergency treatment would increase dramatically if I w

Can I Get A Witness? : Why it's beautiful to have a loved one in the room with you and your doctor

When I first started my journey in the medical world twenty-one years ago, my husband, Shawn, came with me to all of my appointments. Most of them were long-distance, so it made sense for him to accompany me.  I was grateful for his support and commitment to me as we sat together in waiting rooms. However, as more specialists became available locally, I transitioned my care to them. Over the last several years, our habit of going together  to the doctors' offices  fell away, and I just went by myself. It was an unspoken, gradual shift that reflected the relative stability of my health. I reasoned that I didn't need Shawn to come with me anymore as they were just routine follow-up visits.  I thought I would be fine going alone. And I thought I was fine until an appointment e arlier this week showed me what I had given up.  Tuesday, I had a follow-up meeting with my pulmonologist (a lung doctor) who specializes in sleep medicine.  He's the physician who has order

Going With the Flow: Finding beauty when your day doesn't go as planned

I am a planner. I keep a detailed calendar on my phone with appointments, lunch dates, errands, and task reminders. It brings me comfort to organize and order my days and weeks, and when things don't go as planned, my peace of mind is interrupted. I started the day yesterday with two short appointments on my schedule, one at 9:30 am and the other at 11:00 am. I had a couple of people to text, and I planned to write my weekly blog post in the afternoon. I imagined an easy, laid back pace for the day. Then everything changed. The phone rang at 8:30, just as I finished brushing my teeth. I glanced at the caller's name,  Susan, and took a moment to switch mental gears. We spoke  about an email I had sent the night before regarding the nonprofit I'm involved in. She wanted to meet to discuss her concerns in person. "Can I come over today?" I took a deep breath to process the request and agreed to meet at 12:30, thinking I can do one more appointment today .

A Place at the Table: Finding beauty is not a zero-sum game

I recently read Jennifer Pastiloff's book, On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard . In one scene, she describes a culminating turning point where she finds the five most beautiful things in the room, something she calls beauty hunting. Then she explains that it is:  The key to surviving death. The key to surviving life. The key to being human. The key to climbing out of the catacombs. I immediately thought, Oh no! Her beauty hunting is my relentlessly looking for beauty. My RL4B!   My stomach knotted up and my muscles tensed with the thought, She's written my book! She's shared my ideas about beauty with the world and now there's nothing left for me to say. This was my fear taking over. What Pastiloff would term my Inner Asshole. I gave the book a good review, but I was hesitant to connect to it or get too close. I kept it outside the walls of my heart, feeling threatened by what it might mean for me as a writer. I heard it sayin