Archive from May, 2013
May 28, 2013 - Quotes    1 Comment

Valor’s Quote of the Day

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Picture this: Mom and Kelly in the front seat and Valor and Percy safely strapped in the back; we stop quickly at a yellow light. Valor removes his thumb from his mouth to exclaim, “Mom! I just felt inertia in my body because the car stopped, but my body kept going.” He then replaces his thumb and continues as if nothing unusual just happened. He’s three! I was so impressed!

I consider myself a pretty intelligent individual, but this kid might pass me… next year at that!

Friends with Benefits

I just finished my first week in my new job.

(Insert obligatory first day of school picture with lunch box here)

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I was oriented, trained, educated, evaluated, queried, and most of all encouraged.

I was encouraged by my trainers that I was picking up things fast,  asking great questions and even offering suggestions for future treatment sessions. I made one cry because she said my documentation of the treatment session was so thorough and descriptive.

I was also encouraged that so many people on my former team checked in on me, asked me to lunch, texted me to check in, and were excited to see me when we passed in the hallway. I even got a spectacular package filled with notes from my little friend Valor AND my TSA-confiscated Kelly Jelly!!

Kelly Jelly

I am thankful for the new challenge and the growth as a practitioner. I am thankful to care for the least and the littlest and to show them love and compassion and skill and hope. I am thankful for my new team and how they have been so excited to rally with me. I am thankful for a stable job, a regular schedule, and especially for the addition of benefits. I felt encouraged by others all week, but one text is officially my favorite. My friend and co-worker, Twan, texted me early Monday morning on my first day of work and cheekily asked, “So now that you’ve started your new job, does that mean we’re friends… with benefits!”

Yes, Twan, joyfully it does!

May 23, 2013 - My Story    No Comments

What Kind of Music Do You Listen to?

Don’t you hate that question?

Me too.

It’s like saying, “What have you ever eaten?” Or “What colors have you seen today?” It’s too broad, too overwhelming, too diverse to narrow down.

I can’t give you a list of everything on my iPod, but I can tell you about the most meaningful music in my life. A shockingly-unknown band called Cool Hand Luke has walked with me through my darkest times. Their lyrics have spoken to my very soul. I’ve mentioned them many times in my posts. Several mentions in the “The Story of Me” series and once here, where I explain a little more how influential their music has been in my life.

As I mentioned in that post, I have gotten to know Mark, of Cool Hand Luke fame as he is now a student at the seminary where I attended. What a blessing to see that he is the real deal and that his lyrics come from his own spirituality and honesty in struggles. Mark saw me at our local Target yesterday and stopped to chat. Then he gave me fantastic news. After a two year silence from this man who has written some of the most beautiful poems I’ve ever heard, he’s getting back in the studio again.

Huzzah!

PolyValent

He has a new band, Polyvalent, and is raising money to help pay for recording fees. The deal is, if they raise $7,000 they get to make a record, if they fail to raise it, they lose it all. He shared this incredibly exciting news with me in his typical mild-mannered, unassuming way. I was super excited, not only to hear great news but to be asked to be a part of such a process. How joyful it will be if they indeed raise their funds and are able to record. How cool to know that I was involved, in some way, from the beginning.

Anything I can do to selfishly get more music for the soundtrack of my life, I will do!

 

If you’re interested in helping Polyvalent reach their goal by 11:59 this Saturday (May 25th) and pledging anything from $1 onward please visit HERE.

I thank you for your contribution to the music of my life!

May 23, 2013 - Health, My Story    1 Comment

Everest Challenge

“I’m just going to do an easy mile and a half tonight to get ready for the race.”

Yes, that string of words escaped my mouth last week and I never thought I would be able to say them. I spent decades avoiding the run with the following misguided logic, “We are finite creatures. Therefore, we have a finite amount of run allotted to us in our lifetimes. There exists the possibility that I will one day be chased by an aggressor with a knife or an angry dog and I will need to run at that point. To succeed in that task, I should save up as much run as possible to be sufficiently prepared in the event of such an occurrence.”

I saved up all my run.

But now I’m using it!

A year ago this week I started running. I literally ran 30 seconds at a time and then would walk for two minutes. After each set of 30 seconds, I’d be winded and sweaty and need a break.  I built up the running time slowly, but surely and shortened the walking time in the same fashion. Every week was a new challengeA few weeks ago I competed in the Everest Challenge, a 5K (3.1 miles) with obstacles and a scavenger hunt along the same course. So I’d estimate the entire race was about five miles. I’m pleased with my performance. I made it through, no injuries, in a solid time. I’ve never achieved the “runner’s high” where people describe some sort of euphoria where they forget that they’re even running. No euphoria for me — I feel every step hit the pavement.

But I’m totally addicted to the sense of accomplishment!

Everest Challenge

 I enjoy the training. Seeing the difference in my time and my energy level and seeing months of preparation pay off. I enjoy the anticipation of standing with several thousand compadres in the starting chute, all of us wondering if there is time for one more bathroom run. I enjoy the first mile, where my legs feel strong and my lungs untaxed. I enjoy the second mile where I’ve hit a rhythm and the running playlist on my iPod helps me keep the pace. I enjoy the third mile where it is a head game. My legs and lungs are strained and I plod along, one step at a time knowing that my training is paying off. And I really enjoy the last .1 miles. It is a magical place. The last straight away to the finish line where I gather the last of my energy and sprint, fists thrust over my head in victory as I cross the finish line.

Every race is a victory for me. It doesn’t matter if I beat anyone. The victory is in a battle against myself to know that I am strong. That I can do it. That I no longer have to save the run. I’ve gotta go run an easy mile and a half now.

 See you at the finish line.

Everest Medal

May 21, 2013 - Health, My Story    No Comments

Band-Aids of Acknowledgement

Imagine you’re three years old.

Just a tyke, full of imagination and no limits in sight. Always exploring. Always moving. Always playing. Your sense of adventure is often much larger than your height. And sometimes that over-eagerness leads to bumps and bruises, scrapes and scuffles.

So you, adventurous three year old, fall down, scrape a knee and immediately do what? Run to mom with a tear-streaked face looking for a Band-Aid and a kiss to make it all better.

I’ve been around a three year old for the past week and I saw this happen. He went skipping down the driveway running toward an inviting, puffy dog (and owner) and in his haste, he tripped over his Crocs on the way ending up in quadruped.

Instant tears. 

That’s not surprising. We remember those moments, when fear or surprise or pain renders us unable to go on. And it’s Mom or Dad to the rescue. Mom scooped up the tearful guy, gingerly washed his knee and applied a Band-Aid and a kiss.

Instant healing.

He stopped crying, wiped his tears and snot-filled nose and was ready to play again. In fact, the only problem was that the Band-Aid wasn’t sufficiently sticky so he needed a few replacements throughout the day.

Why are Band-Aids and Kisses healing? I propose that it acknowledges the pain. It is a physical way to say, “I see you, buddy. I know you are hurting. I want to make it better.” I don’t think our needs are any different as adults. A friend of mine told her four year old that she had a headache and he promptly fixed her up!

BandAide Headache

 

Maybe this won’t fix a headache as this tyke tried for his mother, but it shows that he noticed her. We don’t want Angry Birds Band-Aids, but we want someone to sit with us, to see our pain, to acknowledge the hurting — no matter the source. That’s what I want. When I am in the midst of trial, I want a friend to say, “You’re not crazy! You’re allowed to be upset.” And, “I see you hurting.”

 Such acknowledgement is their verbal Band-Aid, and to me, it works every time. 

May 19, 2013 - My Story    6 Comments

Exploring the Everyday

“Oh, Miss Kelly, let’s do more exploring! I love exploring with you!”

Kelly and Valor Front

This guy, Valor, makes my heart happy. We went out to eat in quaint, downtown New Bern and then wandered around the downtown area. He held on tightly to my hand and we walked, and looked, and took the road less traveled. We went up ramps to the side of the building instead of stairs conveniently located right in front. We looked under bridges, in plants, and over fences. We found two playgrounds, a few abandoned toys, a centipede, an old cemetery, and a rooftop dining patio. All pointed out with fierce excitement by my three year old friend.

In short, we looked. We weren’t so harried to get where we were going that we missed the journey.  Valor was upset when it was time to return home and start the bedtime routine. He wanted to do more exploring. I explained to him that he could explore anywhere, even in his own neighborhood. It was more about having eyes to see, than being in a new location.

So today, we went exploring again. He rode his tricycle from his house around the cul de sac and back. And we found a rolly poly, several beautiful flowers, a deflated balloon, a pinecone, and a small, shiny yellow ball. Valor did not pedal more than a few yards, before exclaiming, “Look! A treasure!” He would dismount, gather up his latest treasure and put it in his trunk to show Mom. He was just as excited exploring during our meandering walk downtown as he was during our sauntering stroll along his street. It was all about having the time to look.

I want to have a little more three year old in me. More time to look. More excitement about the small things. More willingness to go off course. Yes, Valor, let’s all do more exploring!

Kelly and Valor

Hurry Up and Wait

I’m in the airport right now.

I checked in online, went through security, had my prized, homemade “Kelly Jelly” confiscated due to being over 3 ounces, (Alas! Alack!) bought some Starbucks, and arrived at my gate. And now I wait. (At least I’m traveling with my laptop this time. This is a first for me and it makes the time pass much faster!)

Starbucks Airport

I tend to get very anxious when flying. I never know exactly what to expect in terms of lines, arrival time, and sequencing of tasks. I’ve had some bad experiences and have missed international flights before. I once stood in line at the checkin counter at Heathrow for over three hours and missed three flights to the United States. It was terrible. I was traveling alone and hit a low point after being awake for 36 hours and crying, while trying to sleep on top of my luggage at JFK unable to make the last leg home. It was traumatic.

So I get anxious — partially because of that experience, and partially because I am not a frequent flyer. I haven’t had enough experience to know exactly what to expect. I think that’s a pretty common fear in life: the unknown. Maybe the most common fear. I think about other unknowns in my life just around the corner. I could be anxious as I enter into a new job. I could think that I don’t know what to do or that I need to re-read every pediatric therapy book I own.

I could focus on the hurry up.

Or the wait.

I won’t feel comfortable immediately. I won’t be able to reassure my patients that I’ve worked with people with very similar issues, like I can in the neuro unit. I won’t know the name of every nurse or doctor or therapist on the pediatric units. But it will come. I’ll read and train and experience a new patient population, team, unit, and specialty. And I’ll rediscover that learning is my love language and my favorite pastime!

In life, I’m looking for a little less hurry up and a little more wait.

Bon Voyage!

Friday was an emotional day.

It was my last day at work. I’ve been at that hospital for six years and even though I’m moving to another team just a floor away, it feels like farther.  It feels like the end of an era. It feels final.

My team sent me off in style with dessert and a handmade Photo Booth. I was in charge of our office’s decorations and silly hats which we made our employee of the month wear in their photos. My team “decorated” like a tornado went through our office to prove that I needed to stay. And then each member dressed up in one of my ridiculous hats and took a picture with me.

PhotoGrid_May 13, 2013, 9_29 PM

It was perfect.

I didn’t want a plaque or a speech or to be doted upon unnecessarily. I wanted to have fun with my team. I wanted to laugh and be silly and show everyone’s personalities — all the people who have calmed me down after a terrible treatment session. The people who have encouraged me and helped me learn the complicated inner-workings of neuro rehabilitation. The people who have been there with me on Saturdays where a few brave souls do the work of the robust, fully-staffed weekday teams. The team who made up theme songs for every team member and sang and danced way too early in the mornings. (P.S. My song is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” A perfect choice.)

My team is rad. I am so thankful for their joyful send off as I enter a new adventure. I’ve grown as a therapist and as a person over the past six years. It’s because of these people that I’m ready and excited for my new job.

Thanks, friends.

May 14, 2013 - Devotional, My Story    1 Comment

Why I Write

This is all out stolen. Not plagiarized. Just stolen.

But at least it’s referenced. I’m giving credit to Leigh McLeroy, one of my all-time favorite authors. I got this email from her recently and I loved every word.

It describes why I write– because I must.

 

Why I Write   

From my first Big Chief tablet with its pale blue, alternating solid and dotted lines, I’ve long been smitten with empty pages.

I can think of few things more inviting than a pristine, buff colored piece of paper–except perhaps the same page, filled with words.

I started writing young–a word nerd from the get-go–and I never stopped. I was writing poetry at eight. Short stories to entertain myself at 10. I wrote out my prayers and filled up journal after journal through high school and college, where I was….wait for it…a journalism major who took literature classes for easy A’s.

I’m often asked now, as someone who writes for a living, “How do you become a writer?” My answer is always the same: Writers write. They don’t simply dream of writing, or plan to write someday, or talk of writing, or read books about how to get published or “build a platform.” They sit down before an empty page or screen and paint with words whatever insistent image beats its wings against the mind and heart, fighting to get free.

They write because they have to. Need to. Must.

If I never sold another piece, or landed another book contract, or received another assignment, the sight of a Big Chief tablet (or its grown-up cousin, the Moleskine) and the smell of a few sharpened pencils would still make my heart beat faster.Why wouldn’t it? I follow a God whose story never gets old. The sky-wide arc of creation–fall–redemption–restoration lies at the heart of every true and beautiful story, because it’s the echo of His story. He makes all things new, and in Him, all things hold together.

And let’s face it: all the Big Chief tablets in the world set end-to-end cannot contain the ways to say “He loves you” to a world that needs to hear. So I write.

There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books. (John 21:25, The Message)

© Leigh McLeroy, 2013
May 13, 2013 - My Story    2 Comments

Mother’s Day Woes

How was your Mother’s Day?

I realized yesterday how complicated a question that truly is.

We have such expectations for holidays, but we don’t live in Norman Rockwell’s paintings. Our relationships are broken, full of longing and blocked goals.

How was your Mother’s Day?

Do you have a good relationship with your mother? Did you call her with joy or with twangs of guilt? Do you have a close relationship with your children? Do you feel like and adequate parent or are you constantly confronted with your own perceived parental inadequacies? Have you lost family members in the past year? Are you mourning and grieving and relationship that has been affected by the great interrupter – death? Do you long to have children, but are unable because of singleness or infertility? Do you look at the mother’s with their roses and oodles of children and feel like you haven’t yet achieved full womanhood? Did you feel appreciated and doted upon by your children or was it business as usual? Have you given children up for adoption and Mother’s Day is spent thinking of them and wondering how they’re doing? Is your day spent celebrating what is or wondering what-if?

Is the prevailing emotion thankfulness, guilt, or longing? Or some complicated combination of emotions you can’t fully describe?

I sometimes have a tough day on Mother’s Day. Much like Valentine’s Day, I am reminded of what I want and do not have. God, in His providence, has not blessed me with a family. And don’t get me wrong, my life is pretty rad, but some days I am swallowed in longing and not contentment. I am blessed to have a fabulous relationship with my mother. My day is tough not because of what is, but because of what is not yet.

I had three friends check on me on Mother’s Day. One via Facebook, one in person, and one on the phone. The medium didn’t matter, the message was precious. Each friend said she remembered me in my childlessness and encouraged me by reminding me of all the ways I “spiritually parent” through discipleship and mentoring younger girls. I was overwhelmingly thankful to be remembered. These sweet friends helped me fight for joy and encouraged me to reach out to others. I decided to go on the offensive and  spent my day thinking of others who might be having a rough day. My friends who long to get pregnant, who are struggling in their marriages, who have had children pass away, and friends who, like me, are single and beset with twitching ovaries at everyone’s else’s adorable kids. I find that feeling seen and heard is the best remedy for feeling overlooked.

So, how was your Mother’s Day?

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