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Monday, May 19, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

What Inspires You?

INSPIRATION.       There is that word again...

I have been trying to spice my life up a bit.  Not that it isn't diverse and crazy-good already, but it is important to me never to live a day where I don't seek inspiration.  Inspiration helps keep the perception and mind clear.  It continues to allow the creative juices flow freely.  There is so much that surrounds us to which is good and can take a rough start into a smooth sailing sailing remainder of the day.

Here are a few of my latest inspirations:

SONG.  I was driving in my car the other day when I accidentally hit my iPod and it went to shuffle mode.  I sort of freaked out a little as I didn't exactly know how or what I did.  It turned out to be the best mistake ever!

I had forgotten how much awesome and random music exists in my possession.  So I have found inspiration in music.  You would be surprised how much my memory was jogged with such fondness.

For your listening pleasure:

DOODLES.  Being a janitor sounds so menial.  I mean you spend your day picking up after everyone and it might not be satisfying at all; however this was such a cool find.  I would have loved to see the shock and awe in park patrons seeing such a cool and unexpected talent. 

Can you imagine making this janitor job amazing?  Now that inspires me!

GLUE.  My family and friends continue to inspire me as well.  They are the glue when I start to crack a bit.  I have such a tight knit support group that is so equally wide spread.  My family lives close, but my best friends live no where near me!  Distance has never been an obstacle.  We haven't allowed it to be that way either.  They send me notes, texts, and over all little reminders that they have my back.  We encourage each other.  They expose me to life in it's raw and I am forever inspired at results of those friendships.  

HUMOR.  For those of you who don't know me...I am not the tallest person, but what I lack in height I gained in personality!  This one made me crack up yesterday...

Inspiration can be found in a sign, song, kind words or an observation.  Inspiration can be found in the littlest of objects and persons.  It is so important not to forget that fact.

So, I want to know what inspires you?  Please share with us by commenting or visiting our Facebook page:

Have an inspired day!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Nurses Week 2014

It is hard to believe that 3 years ago we were wrapping up classes at UMDNJ and preparing to be real nurses, not just nursing students (the most fabulous nursing students I've ever of known). I had the best nursing class for me. I met some life long friends and learned how to be a nurse in a setting that 100% fit me in a time when it was perfect. I had to wait longer than I wanted to be a nurse, but looking back it came about in the perfect way for me. 

Since then I have gotten to know and had the privilege of working alongside so many incredible nurses. Through the chaos of learning how to juggle patients, to the nightmares that are known as night shift with a full moon, to the explosive cdiff disasters and the crashing patients, to the tears cried together over an incredible patient passing away and tears over the toughness that is the career of nursing. I say today with such joy Happy Nurses Week to some of the most amazing, fantastic, and incredible human beings I have ever met. I am honored to not only love my career, but have the privilege of working in this job with so many wonderful people who have turned quickly from coworkers to friends. So to all my nursing friends out there, thank you for what you do!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Why not be a kid again?

On Saturday it was my small group against another young adult small group at church in kickball. While running around the field playing a game I haven't played since I was a camp counselor I got to thinking. Why do we stop playing such games?

There is something about going back to our roots and the things that helped us be active as kids that I think can inspire fitness again. Why do we stop playing such games as adults? Are they silly? Yes, but if they keep us active why not be silly?

So I guess here is my thought. If you are having trouble being active, try going back to your roots. As children we all ran around with endless energy. What was it that made you want to be active?

The coolest thing on Saturday was not that my team won (though we did), it was not that I got a lot of guys to wear bright pink (but I did), but it was that every person no matter their athleticism or competitive nature were having fun, being active, and spending time with people they care about.

Not only are activities like this good for the physical heart, but they force us to put down the cell phones and enjoy the moment. To talk to the person next to us and learn about how competitive or not competitive they are. To get to meet new people and build community by cheering each other on. There is something unique about being outside in God's creation focusing on the task at hand; having fun.

So my dear friends, what kid game are you going to bring back? How are you going to start rebuilding true community while also encouraging yourself and others to be active?

I dare you to be a kid again.

Friday, May 2, 2014

In the land of Internet dating

Recently, at the encouragement of my friend Cara, I decided to join I have been single for a little over two years now. In that time, I have done a lot of "adulting". I purchased a car, started paying car insurance, checked my credit history, considered buying a house, and ultimately decided to rent a place instead. So, now that my ducks are less crooked, it seemed like it would be a good idea this Internet dating thing. But let me tell you ladies, it is extremely difficult! Here are some things I've noticed and hopefully helpful tips about online dating adventures. First, lets talk about how sifting through profiles makes one feel like a horrible human being 90% of the time. I've always been a visual person. I'll admit that I'm often more concerned about physical attraction than compatibility. So, imagine how I feel when I have to reject some of these men? I'm sure they are nice, but ultimately, if I don't feel that spark then I move on to the next profile. My tip, visit these sights for no more than five to ten minutes in a given setting. The longer you're on the website, the more pessimistic you can become. second, um ladies are you typically one to initiate conversations with men? yeah, me neither. But I find that I'm more prone to do so on Match. And while that may seem cool, yeah, for destroying gender stereotypes Emily!, it is also incredibly nerve wracking. Will he respond? It's been 24 hours. How long do I wait to respond back? How do I phrase this? I want to sound flirty but not too flirty. Honestly, I can appreciate what guys must go through a bit more. My tip, talk it out with your friends in relationships before you respond...they did something right, perhaps you can learn a thing or two young dating grasshopper. Third, the actual dates are so awkward. Eventually, after the initial five minutes of playing awkward turtle, they go well, but those first three to five minutes of deciding how to open the conversation are just tough. Oh, and it's especially more difficult if the guy that you're meeting is much more tall, dark, and handsome than you could see on his profile picture ;) and the end of the date is always just as awkward. This is especially true if you're a lady that takes things slow. My tip be prepared for an awkward hug or high five. In the best cases, hope for a good night peck on the cheek...this seems most respectable and the least awkward of all options. That's all I have so far, but tune in next week. I'm supposed to be going on date number two with tall, dark, and handsome? Did I mention he was Italian? Have a great week in dating land ladies :)

My Friend Jimmy

Last weekend, a very near and dear friend came in town.  It was nice because it had been, oh...maybe 6 years since I had seen him last?  Well anyways....we got reconnected and we had been talking for a few months now.  Because he has known me for so long, it was very comfortable talking and showing him what fun you could have in our city.  We might be in Indiana, but I know a few spots worth seeing!

He arrived about 6pm to which it was mass chaos at my household.  I got greeted with the biggest Jimmy Hurly hug I could have ever received!  It was awesome.  He comes from a big Catholic family so needless to say, he fit right in with the madness.  He sat down, hugged my mom and was good ole Jimmy.  Then we went out for dinner and drinks.  We had fantastic conversation and we caught up on Rugby, old friends and now what they were doing with their lives, and it was so very nice.  We both were open to conversation and neither one of us really held back on topics.  We talked about some stuff that affected us and molded us into the persons we are today, faith, family, jobs, and over all just a little bit of everything.  Which, I think we are pretty cool people personally, BUT I may be a little biased...

Upon being old and tired, we both decided at 11:30pm to call it a night.  So we walked back to my car and I literally tossed him my iPod.  "Here Mr. DJ...."  We listen to similar music so I knew that wasn't going to be a problem.  We listened (and sang) to a plethora of post grunge, pop, and some humorous little numbers.  As we pulled into my driveway, we concluded our journey with a familiar song:  It was full of dramatic arm motions, full out belting, and emotion.  There is just nothing that Backstreet Boys can't fix, let me tell you!

So as we were getting ready to go to bed Jimmy comes upon his sleeping arrangement.  You see, he  sleeps on very firm bed.  When he sat down on mine, he sunk.  "I CAN'T SLEEP ON THIS!!!  IT'S LIKE A TRAMPOLINE!!!" (extreme laughter followed) I just walked away shaking my head.  We both had to wake up early not only to get him on the road to his Rugby Camp but to go to Church as well.  6:30am came really quickly around and yet we both were ready and there on time.

It is these types of friendships I just love and cherish.  There is just us being friends.  Nothing sexual.  Nothing controversial.  Nothing but pure friends being there for one another.  We could be the dorks we were with absolutely no judgement.  We could talk about whatever because we knew the other wasn't going to chastise or belittle the other for our mistakes.  It was simply the most refreshing Saturday night I have had in a very long time.

One thing our friendship has taught me is that you HAVE to be yourself, shamelessly.  Those who get it....well, they get it and those who don't, obviously....well, don't.  You shouldn't have to explain yourself.   I think what makes this friendship a special one is that we bond on several notes.  We are like minded and being same faith and background, we share a similar foundation.  We share common interest in sports and activities.  We are able to laugh and commiserate over poor relationships and share moments of frustrations.

We allow each other bragging rights with his nieces and nephews.  We equally encourage and help build each other up and isn't that what a friend does?

Finding friendships as such just makes me appreciate them so much more as they are few and far between.  To find such is so very refreshing and I am forever grateful!  Friends such as Jimmy have a special place in my heart.

Do you have friends that you share such a bond with?  Care to share?  Please comment on our Facebook page or tweet us....we would love to hear about them!
<3 Catie

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Every hug was a victory dance... A goodbye story

I am an oncology nurse. Saying goodbye and grief comes with the job. However, no matter how accustomed I am to this, it is never easy. And no matter how experienced I get with this there are patients who will always leave such a mark on my life that saying goodbye to them will be like losing a part of myself. Today, I said goodbye to one of those patients.

**details have been changed and left out to respect the identity of this patient**

I first met this patient last summer. She was coming to us with her second primary cancer. She is a young mom. She was well versed in the cancer and chemo world already. She is gracious, compassionate, has a beautiful smile, is one of the fiercest fighters I have ever met, and has taught me so much in the last months I have gotten to spend with her. Even if I could share all the details of this patient, I could not clearly put into words what an amazing woman she is.

This patient is one of the ones who hasn't handled chemo well at all, in fact, she is absolutely miserable with chemo. We had every medication on board possible and every alternative treatment we could come up with, but no matter what the nausea came like clockwork. Despite the nausea though, we together as a team would battle through the chemo with one goal in sight... to give her just a little more time with her children.  And just a few months ago when she had a clear scan, we danced and hugged and celebrated together.

The type of cancer she has though is one where over 60% of patients with this cancer die within a year of diagnosis... and patients diagnosed when this cancer had already metastasized (spread to other parts of the body) are normally given only a max of 6 months. This disease is awful. But this brave patient stared it straight in the face and lived beyond that 6 months. Unfortunately though, because her disease is so bad that clean scan didn't last long...

Last week I saw her for what I now know will be the last time. In my head I knew it would probably be the last time I would see her.. there is a 6th sense you develop after walking with so many people in their last days.. but there is always that twinge of hope... that maybe just maybe things will turn around. But they haven't and chances are they won't.

Today her mom called into the clinic stating they wanted to give an update. A few minute later before I could realize what was going on there were 3 of us on speaker phone with her as we said our goodbyes. Her body is shutting down and the cancer is winning. And this woman that has taught me so much in the last few months will soon leave this earthly home for her eternal home. I am so beyond thankful for the absolute amazing opportunity to walk with her through her cancer battle. I am so incredibly thankful for the things she has taught me about life. I said it to her and I mean it, I will remember her for the rest of my life. And some of her final words to me will stick with me forever... "Erica every time you gave me a hug at the end of each chemo it was like our victory dance... we did it... we made it through another one..." And as she said those words... I realized just how much a simple hug can mean to someone.

It is for this reason  and these moments that I will grieve. I will walk through these awful emotions that go with letting go of someone who has been a part of your life. It is for this that I will allow myself room to heal. It is for moments like this that I will continue to be the best nurse I can... even on the worst of days... even on days where I feel burnt out. I will put my every effort into giving them my all even when, especially when I feel like I have nothing left to give.

I will march through every little victory I can with my patients. Because I am their chemo nurse and I want them to know they don't have to walk this battle alone.

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