Monday, August 25, 2014

What is Parish Nursing?

I'm really getting into the Faith Community Nurse Basic Course that I am taking. I've talked to a few friends and co-workers about it and have found that a lot of people are not familiar with the idea of a Parish Nurse (a.k.a. Faith Community Nurse, a.k.a. Congregational Nurse a.k.a health minister). I prepared a little information when I presented the idea to our Church Council that kind of explains a few things. I thought maybe I could share some of that information with you as well.

Sample Roles of a Parish Nurse:
Integrator of Faith and Healing
Health Educator
Health Counselor
Referral Advisor
Health Advocate
Developer of Support Groups
Volunteer Coordinator
Researcher of Available Resources

What a Parish Nurse is Not:
Doctor or any sort of Diagnostician
Hands-on Home Health Nurse
Physical, occupational or psychotherapist
Clergy

Sample of Topics a Parish Nurse Could Address:
Smoking Cessation
Insomnia Treatment
Weight Loss Programs
Exercise Programs
Oral Health
Loneliness
Church Safety (AED’s, First Aid Kits)
Praying with Church members
Preventative Education
Violence Prevention
Disaster Preparedness

A Parish Nursing Program can draw current and future parishioners closer into the church family.  As any pastor can tell you, people remember who was with them during their times of trial. It is an opportunity to be used by our God to show his love to those in need. 

Why do this? 
There are so many people who are hurting, frightened, lonely, etc.  Our healthcare system doesn’t always do a very good job of seeing patients with a wholistic approach, that is, they are not treated in a way that encompasses body, mind AND spirit...the whole person.  A Parish Nursing Program is a way to practice health and wellness with spirituality and faith woven throughout.

A Parish Nursing Program helps the pastor. A pastor spends a great deal of time with the sick. While a Parish Nurse would not want to take the pastor’s place in those situations, he/she can certainly assist the pastor to reach more people.

Of course I can't do all of those things myself, not while working full-time elsewhere. I'm hoping more will join me and eventually the program will grow. For now, it is starting quite small and slow.

How about any of you; do you have parish  nurses in your congregation? Are you a nurse interested in using your skills in a new way?


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jeanne Robertson "Don't go to Vegas without a Baptist"

I was looking for a nice Christian song or something for my post tonight but I ran upon this video. I hope it makes you laugh as it did me. Enjoy!



Friday, August 22, 2014

About Depression

(This photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post except it reminded me of a sweet, leisurely day.)

Have I mentioned that I am a multi-tasker? It's been a bit out of hand this week. In fact, I am writing this post while watching a movie on TV with my husband. I really just had a few too many things on my plate this week.  I worked of course, even into overtime.  I spent an evening with others who are passionate about the pregnancy care center where I am a volunteer board member. I've worked a bit every evening on a class I am taking online. It is a course on parish nursing (faith community nursing). This is something I'm pretty excited about.

I am sure I'll be talking about parish nursing more in the future. I'm starting a parish nursing program at our church.  It's more just in the early planning stage while I'm taking this course but one thing I am trying to do is to write articles for our church newsletter. This month I chose to write about depression as we've had several suicides in our community in the last 2 weeks. It is so heartbreaking. 

Anyway, my articles aren't particularly scholarly but perhaps they will be helpful to someone. As long as I've already written this one, I decided I may as well share it here with you.  If you are a member of the same congregation as me, sorry for the repeat. As for me, I'm going to turn off my computer and see if I remember how to relax. Here's the article...

We have all had periods of feeling sad or down, but when that feeling does not pass within a couple of days, interferes with daily activities or causes misery for yourself or those who love you, it is time to seek help. There are a variety of methods that can help relieve depression, from medications to psychotherapies.

There are different types and levels of depression.  An individual person may suffer from just one type or may, over the course of time, experience different levels of depression.  One form of depression is referred to as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. This type occurs during the winter months and may be associated with a person being exposed to less natural sunlight. It can be treated with light therapy, possibly combined with antidepressant medication and/or psychotherapy.

Some women suffer from Postpartum Depression after giving birth. Hormonal and physical changes may contribute to this type of depression. A sense of overwhelming sadness, can cause extreme distress to a mother who may not understand why she is not feeling the joy she’d anticipated with the birth of her new baby.

For some, a depressed mood can last for years. This may be Persistent Depressive Disorder.  People who suffer from this may also have periods where they also suffer from the more debilitating Major Depression.  

Major depression causes such severe symptoms of hopelessness or sadness that it interferes with work, sleep, nutrition, relationships…pretty much any part of life. It can occur in episodes and it can wear a person down to the point of hopelessness.

Bipolar Disorder is another type of depression.  This takes the form of depression alternating with a very high mood which may be accompanied by over-activity and perhaps risk-taking behaviors.  

There are other forms of depression as well. All are disruptive and many are dangerous.
It is believed that depression can be caused by a combination of factors, including genetic, biological and situational factors.  Physical problems, such as thyroid disorders, can cause depression. There is still a lot that is as yet unknown about the causes of depression.

Seeking help for depression is key to recovery. Recognizing signs and symptoms is key to identifying a need for help. Signs might include feelings of emptiness, guilt or worthlessness. Some people present with irritability or fatigue, perhaps a loss of energy. They may no longer find pleasure in things they once enjoyed. They may lose their appetite or perhaps eat much more than they did before. Some may have trouble sleeping or they may sleep much more than normal.
Of course, thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts are more obvious signs that something is very wrong. Suicide threats must always be taken seriously. Even the most severe cases of depression can be treated.

I sometimes wonder if Christians find it even harder to seek help for their depression. You know, we are all about hope and love and joy, aren’t we? Of course we are. Yet, as it turns out, we are not immune to illness, whether it be psychological, emotional or physical. As I see it, a Christian seeking help for depression is no different than a Christian seeking help for pneumonia. 

You can find a lot of interesting and helpful sites online on this subject but please be careful. I chose to gather some of this information from the websites for the National Institute of Mental Health as well as Mayo Clinic’s website, both easy to Google.

If you, or someone you love, may be suffering from depression, seek help. Please. You may want to start with your primary care provider. They can evaluate if there is a physical reason for your symptoms such as an adverse reaction to medication or an underlying illness.  Your primary care provider should also be able to refer you to other specialists if needed.


Jesus is our reason for hope.  “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 ESV) lets us know that Jesus wants us to be able to experience joy and fulfillment.  The bottom line is, we need to take care of ourselves and we need to watch out for each other.  Don’t dismiss feelings of despair in yourself or others. We all need help sometimes.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Signs

We are inundated by signs around us, aren't we? Sometimes we just don't even notice them any more. This one, however, caught my attention. I did not hang around there long!


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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rare Mindy Sighting

We have two ten year old cats who are rarely sighted by visitors. Mindy, in particular, is elusive. Sometimes days go by and I don't even see her.
Mindy actually has her own apartment! Our basement laundry room has an unfinished ceiling. She climbs up the furnace to enter her apartment. She does NOT like visitors and never invites me up. I try not to take it personally.
Now and then she does come visiting. She particularly loves Mike. Usually I do not get a chance to photograph her but she was quite the model the other night. Doesn't she look relaxed there, hanging out with her buddy?

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Golf Lessons

Mike loves to golf and sometimes after we have mall lunch, we find ourselves at Dick's Sporting Goods. The girls love it when Mike teaches them golf tips. Well, they also love showing him different ways to play the game.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

for KING & COUNTRY - an Insider Look

More about hearing For King and Country in concert this past week and a bit of an inside look at what goes into their songs...

Do you notice that there is a baby boy on the singer's shoulders?

At one point during the concert one of the brothers, Luke, told us of how sick he'd been a year before,
suffering from a digestive disorder. It was kind of hard to hear Luke speak of his digestive disorder. He told us that at one point his wife thought he might die. At 6'4" he'd lost down to 125 pounds! I, too, have a digestive disorder. Usually it is just discomfort and potential humiliation but in 2010 I had some complications and there was a night when I realized I had reached the point where my life was in danger. Luke spoke of his wife, nearing the end of her pregnancy, telling him he just couldn't leave her here. It made me think less about how I felt at that time and more about how hard it was on Mike and my family. I'll talk more about that some other time.

Anyway, after he told us about that he sang another song that I think will be coming out on their next album. At one point he went over to the side of the stage where his wife and baby boy were tucked out of sight. He picked up his son and finished the song with the little boy on his shoulders, looking quite comfortable to be there. It was not something I'd ever seen at a concert but knowing the story of how Luke had almost missed out on knowing that little guy... well, it was a tender moment.

I found this clip on YouTube and I thought you might enjoy it. This particular song was really moving to me and it was one they wrote during that hard year when Luke was so ill.


Now, please enjoy the full song.

I love the lines, "love like you're not scared, give when it's not fair..." Such good advice!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Shadows and Laughter

I still try to put something funny on my door at work each day.
I often have my door closed while I am on the phone.
Sometimes I see shadows of feet under the crack of
my door and then I hear
laughter.
I like that.


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Friday, August 15, 2014

Ancient Liturgy and For King and Country

Earlier this week Mike and I went to a funeral at a Catholic Church. We were all there to honor the mother of one of our friends. We aren't Catholics but we recognize a lot of the liturgy they speak and sing, as it is from Bible verses. We sing much of it at our church services as well, although often to different melodies.

There was a young woman there who sang several solos as well as led us all in the congregational singing. She had one of those voices, one that I wished came out of my mouth as well. It was just so beautiful! She sang with such reverence; I could close my eyes and imagine it was an angel singing. I could have listened to her sing all day. I hope she has children and I hope she sings them to sleep sometimes. Her voice was that relaxing.

Two days after that angel-singing-liturgy experience, I went to hear a concert with my friend, Nicole. We loved listening to For King and Country as well as Building 429! It was loud and stimulating. We stood, we clapped, we swayed, we bounced on the balls of our feet a bit. I could feel the drum beats vibrate through my chest.The grandstands were loaded with Christians singing their hearts out. It was really an uplifting experience.

So, did I enjoy the angel voice or the bands best? I couldn't say one way or the other, really. They were both quite rewarding. What they both reminded me of, though, was how very powerful music is. Music makes you FEEL something that spoken words can't quite do, at least for me. It must be true for many others as well.

The more I thought about the power of music and how it makes you feel, I felt even more convinced that we need to be proactive about the music to which we listen. I listen to music that isn't necessarily Christian music and I don't think that is wrong. However, I think it is important to me to often listen to uplifting, inspiring music if I want to live my life in an uplifting way.  I want to FEEL the music, to really absorb its meaning into my soul. That is why I want to be careful what kind of music I am absorbing. While I enjoy many different styles, I want to be careful what kind of content I let into my brain.

That is what I was thinking about today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Building 429: "Where I Belong" Official Music Video

Do you remember when I told you about my Life's Theme Song?

Well, by the time you read this I will be listening to this group, Building 429, singing it live! We will be having supper together and then they promise to sing it to me!

Can you believe that?

Really?

Hmmm...I didn't think you would be quite that gullible.

It is all true, in a sort of kind of way. I will be seeing them at the state fair and I will likely grab something to eat while there and I bet they will be eating while there as well (that's the supper together part.) Then, they will be singing to me and to all the other people who purchased tickets for their show.



I wish you could come along!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Found Myself!

I found myself when I was snooping through Mike's phone photos.
These are all from over a year ago, when we went to St. Louis.








Sunday, August 10, 2014

Apparently, I Don't Want To

Sometimes little kids say things that seem funny at first, but with more thought, actually prove to be rather profound. Cordelia said one of those things to me recently. Just look into her eyes here. You can see some wisdom there, can't you?


So, here's the story. I was driving with Cordelia in the car seat I have in my back seat. We have some of our best conversations in the car. She had just finished a week of Vacation Bible School and was bubbling over with enthusiasm as she told me all they had done during the week. 

One of the things Cordelia told me was that they had played games. She corrected herself then to say that the other children played games but she did not. Naturally, I asked her why she didn't play games. She stated, "Because I freak out when I don't win." I know this to be true and I thought she was pretty self aware and truthful. Still, I felt I needed to say something to encourage her to try to work on this problem rather than just accept it and let it keep her from having fun. I know her parents have worked with her on this so I don't know why I thought I needed to speak to it, but I did.

I said to Cordy, "Can't you work on that problem so you stop freaking out?" She calmly replied, "Yes, but apparently I don't want to." 

See what I mean? I laughed in my head because really, it was a funny thing for a "four-and-three-quarters" child to say. 

As I thought about her words, I realized they could apply to me, and likely most people. Here are some statements that would apply to me:

       I could be more faithful about daily exercise, but apparently I don't want to.
       I could keep my house shiny clean, but apparently I don't want to.
       I could always eat only healthy foods, but apparently I don't want to.
       I could give more of my time to others, but apparently I don't want to.
       I could clean out my closet, but apparently I don't want to.

I think you get my point, don't you? Cordy's simple answer just skipped right past all the excuses. She didn't blame her genetics or her environment or anything else. She just told it like it is. I'm thinking there is a lesson in that. The honesty is better than a bunch of excuses. 

Of course, as refreshing as such honesty is, it really is just a start. Of course Cordelia needs to eventually conquer her tendency to freak out when things don't quite go her way. She will, in time. 

The real question is, will I clean out my closet any time soon?

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Wyoming Wildlife

I was snooping around on Mike's phone this week-end. OK, I wasn't reading his texts or checking his phone messages. I was snooping through his photos to see if he had any good ones. He did! Two that I found were typical Wyoming shots so I thought you might like to take a peek as well.

This one was taken from the front door of our church. We often have antelope meandering across our parking lot and munching around on the lawn. One day Mike came out and saw a baby antelope. That's not something you'll see in the city now, is it?


This other photo must have been taken last time he was in Yellowstone Park. By the way, if you've never been to Yellowstone, it is time to plan that vacation.  Here, take a look...


When you visit, just remember that you aren't supposed to pet the buffalo.
It is a really bad idea.

Last time we were at Old Faithful, waiting for the eruption, we noticed the
crowd along the boardwalk kind of moving and murmuring. Eventually we realized a bull buffalo was coming down the boardwalk and people were just moving aside only enough for it to pass.
When we saw it, we promptly got out of the area. Often the buffalo just ignore the people but sometimes they do not.  I discovered that YouTube is full of buffalo attack videos. This one was shot right by Old Faithful, near where we saw one wandering along that very boardwalk. Don't watch it if you think it will give you nightmares but it isn't bloody or anything. It will just scare you to see how stupid people can be sometimes.




Hmmm... I didn't know I was going to lecture about buffalo safety when I started this post. That was a surprise to me as well.

Friday, August 08, 2014

An Evening at the Isle of Palms

I suppose it is about time I wrap up my coverage of our trip to Charleston. It has taken me longer to write about it than to experience it!

I'm going to close by telling you about a night that occurred early in our trip. We'd spent our first day at the at the Citadel for the North American Lutheran Church Convocation. At the end of that day they loaded us all up into school buses and drove us out to the Isle of Palms. It was a pretty long drive in a very hot bus, but we survived.

Isle of Palms is a long, skinny island and we drove quite far out on it, I think. It is a barrier island and we passed many homes that were built elevated so as to let the ocean flow under it when a hurricane or something came through. It was all so flat, I could easily imagine the ocean flowing over it and making it all disappear. Apparently that hasn't really happened but it seemed like a pretty precarious place to build a big fancy house...beautiful but precarious.

We were told we were going to the Citadel Beach House. That didn't mean much to me but if you click here you will see where we stopped. What a delightful surprise! There were many different areas set up for eating as well as for entertainment. There was a group dressed in traditional African clothing singing spirituals. There was a place set up for a DJ to play music while teaching dances. I enjoyed observing these, especially the singers, but I think you'll see where Nicole and I wanted to spend our time.






We left with our skirts wet but it was so wonderful to get to play in the ocean!


Thursday, August 07, 2014

Planes, Boats and Dolphins


 While in Charleston, we got to spend a good deal of time on the water. I liked that a lot.

This is not us.

We rode a water taxi across the harbor to tour the Yorktown, a retired aircraft carrier. That thing is HUGE! It is like a whole town floating around. There are aircraft on top of it and a big, BIG hanger inside it. It was quite interesting to tour...but very hot!






 There were actually two ships there to tour but I've forgotten the name of the other.

 Isn't it strange so see how they made planes foldable so as to fit more in the hanger?


 It was so large inside!


And, there was a wounded submarine there as well.
They want to raise money to refurbish it but it hasn't happened yet.



Another day we also rode a boat for a 90 minute tour of the harbor. We toodled past Fort Sumter, a site of a lot of history. In fact, Fort Sumter was the site of the first shots fired starting the Civil War.


My favorite part of that boat ride was that we saw dolphins in the wild. That was pretty exciting for this prairie girl! They were very hard to photograph. It turns out they didn't naturally bob around in an upright style waiting for me to focus and shoot my camera. I finally just started clicking when we saw several in the same area. It was kind of like my alligator photo; I had to blow it up to see what I had. 


OK, I just barely got the photo, but it was enough to make me happy.