Archive from June, 2014
Jun 30, 2014 - Occupational Therapy    No Comments

A Pound of Life

Most of the patients I work with have negative ages.

They are premature, born months before they were “supposed” to be. Thrust from the safe, warm, dark, cozy wombs, they are ill-prepared for the world. Developmentally, I must think of them and work on skills that are fitting for a baby at 6-9 months gestational age. Even though they’ve been born, they must pick up strength, flexion, midline orientation and state regulation outside of the womb since they missed that chance inside the womb.

I often describe to parents that the womb is the first baby gym saying, “When your baby kicks, and strains, and plays with your kidneys, he is getting stronger, building muscle tone and strength, experiencing good proprioception and preparing for the world. But most of my patients check out of the baby gym early. And we have to fill in the gap.”

This month’s Time Magazine cover article discusses the trials, research and care for preterm infants. It follows one family through their NICU stay and discusses the many and varied disciplines who help their son grow and flourish.

The article ends with these sentences, “In some ways, the work of the NICU will always seem like an exercise in disproportion — an army of people and a mountain of infrastructure caring for a pound of life. But it’s a disproportion that speaks very well of us.”

That shocked me. But in a good way. I know that I do what I do because life is valuable. No matter how early or ill the infant, their life is important and worth fighting for. I believe this because I believe all humans are made in the image of God and endowed with dignity because of this fact. (Genesis 1:26-28) I am happy to be a part of that disproportion. I am happy to research, learn, and fight for a pound of life. I am happy that Time Magazine recognizes and applauds the disproportion. I too believe that this disproportion speaks well of us.

Life is valuable. Life is worth fighting for.

free-baby-wallpaper-1440x900-1005041

Jun 25, 2014 - Humor, My Story    3 Comments

New Fluffy Town

“I’ve decided that adulthood is overrated. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in my blanket fort eating Bugles from my fingertips and watching a movie.”

This was a meme that was passed around through cyberspace not so long ago. But we made it come true!

Last weekend, one of my roommates felt the need to be swaddled. She’d had an overwhelming day and needing to block out some sensory input.  I walked out into the living room to this sight.

blanket fort childhood small

I immediately “knocked” and asked to join her!

I then went to grab another roommate, who has having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I knew just the prescription: BLANKET FORT!

In order to accommodate the growing population of New Fluffy Town (as I dubbed our fort) we architected a larger scale rendition.

IMG_1848 blanket fort

We then completed the childhood recapitulation by eating cookies, drinking Capri Sun and eating Bugles from our fingertips… and watching Peter Pan — on VHS. For a few hours on Sunday night, we were in a time warp. We forgot about work and school the next day, piled into our makeshift shelter, and enjoyed the moment.

IMG_1850 IMG_1849 blanket fort

blanket fort

New Fluffy Town was magic. Not because we didn’t return to adulthood later, but because it gave us something different. Something to be excited about: we created a memory. We did something that won’t soon be forgotten. It was fun and silly and perfect. It was our celebration of childhood and togetherness.

Sometimes I forget how blessed my life is. I can easily focus on what I don’t have and want rather than celebrate what I do have in droves! I have community, friends, time, and friendship. New Fluffy Town reminded me how awesome life is.

house friends, blanket fortWhat could you do to create a memory and celebrate what blessings you have in life?

 

Jun 20, 2014 - My Story    No Comments

Vehicular Profanity

Few things have the power to derail my day like vehicular profanity.

vehicular profanity

Picture me sitting at the off ramp from the highway where we are supposed to merge within 50 feet with the oncoming traffic. I come to a stop and the truck behind me engages in a litany of horn sounds which communicate displeasure at my driving decisions. This is the essence of vehicular profanity.

It could be the off ramp or the stop light or even on the road itself. But whenever vehicular profanity is exhibited to me it only communicates anger and impatience. I find myself responding in kind, yelling to the car behind me saying, “What do you want me to do? Pull into oncoming traffic?!”

I think what I hate the most is that I am unable to respond like I want to. It is a one sided conversation where the angry party will never understand why I made the decisions I did. Perhaps they couldn’t adequately see around the corner to see oncoming traffic. Maybe they didn’t realize I was swerving to miss an animal in the road. It angers me because I can’t explain myself. Vehicular profanity derails my day because it is not a conversation, there is no understanding. It is only anger.

The same thing can happen in verbal conversations as well. Whenever I feel unheard or the conversation is one-sided, it has the same effect in my heart as vehicular profanity. As humans, one of our deepest longings is to be heard and known. One-sided conversations don’t allow that. That’s why they have such power; they are negating a desire in our hearts. As my friend Laura always reminds me, “Friendship is a two-way street.”

So the next time the driver behind me decides to share his noisy opinion about my driving, I will use that moment to remind myself that I do long to be heard and known, and to be thankful that there are other people in my life who can fill that need.

Jun 18, 2014 - Devotional    1 Comment

Un-tweetable and Un-instagrammed

I told a friend once he’d know the end was near if he ever saw a tweet from me. So far he hasn’t. No one has. If you’re a person who lives life 140 clever characters at a time, by all means tweet well and often, and be happy. Or if you’re more the visual type and Instagram or Pinterest is your social medium of choice, well then snap and pin and post away.

I can’t say for certain if I’ve missed the personal bandwidth boat or simply stubbornly avoided it–nor can I say that I really get what a hash tag is for. What I can say is this: most days, my life is not utterly fabulous. But it is good. I work for a living, and I rarely take a day off. I try to be a caring daughter, sister, aunt and friend to the people I love most. I worship. I pray. I study and write and read. I volunteer. I walk the dog. I tend to what author Kathleen Norris has called “the quotidian mysteries”–a fancy way of saying I cook and clean and shop and keep house–all very ordinary but necessary things. I don’t do any of these things in the company of celebrities, or while wearing fabulous outfits. Not every day for me is a stellar hair day; I believe given a choice, barefoot is usually best.

Sometimes I visit places that might be considered “tweet-able,” and occasionally I do take pictures. But I’m as likely to come away with a close-up of a single drop of dew on a magnolia leaf or an odd hand made sign as I am to snap a lush landscape, a flattering selfie, or a famous landmark.

You might think I lead a boring life–but I’ve had secret joys no photo has yet to tease or tweet to trumpet. I see things. Hear things. Feel things. Ordinary, amazing things. In time I may talk or write about them. Or not. But I try to be fully present and live them first. I’m not bullet proof. I fall. Literally and figuratively. I mess things up, ask forgiveness, and if I can, try and make them right. I get hurt and cry real tears, just like you. But #uglycrybefore6am isn’t likely to be trending–nor is #justburnedmysecondpanofoatmeal or #wowthatreallyhurt!

But know this: every person you see today leads a life that is in some way exceptional. Whether they’ve tweeted it or not, everyone has a story. It may be tragic or comic, epic or ordinary, challenging or comfort-filled. Don’t assume just because they haven’t advertised they have nothing of value to say. Instead of promoting your own prettied-up narrative or perusing those of a dozen dazzling others, try this: turn to someone near you, look them in the eye, and say something like this: “Tell me about your day. And not just the pretty parts. I really want to know.”

Then tell me. Because I want to know, too. And because I’m certain there is much, much more to us than meets the naked app.

O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
 You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,     
(Psalm 139:1-5)

 

 

leigh gray shirt png
www.leighmcleroy.com 

 “Speak what you feel, not what you ought to say.”
© Leigh McLeroy, 2014
And this, friends, is why I LOVE Leigh McLeroy. Check out her writings if you haven’t already or sign on for her Wednesday Words, weekly devotional of encouragement… one of which you’ve just read!
Jun 15, 2014 - My Story, Uncategorized    1 Comment

One of a Kind

My dad is one of a kind.

He doesn’t fit the mold.

I can’t ever look at an ad flyer for gift ideas for him. He doesn’t want ties, tools, or trinkets for Father’s Day. He wants time. I asked him via text if he had any specific Father’s Day requests. He responded immediately (which is saying something for my dad’s texting abilities) “I want time with you on Father’s Day.”

I love that.

I love that my dad truly enjoys his family. That he isn’t the archetypical distant father figure, but that he is playful and hasn’t lost the kid side. I think my dad is great and I’m happy to celebrate him today.

Like I said, he truly does stand out, see?

golf cart

golf cart

Jun 14, 2014 - Humor, My Story    4 Comments

Incompetence– This Too Shall Post

I fought with my curtains last week.

I lost.

These curtains have been hanging in my bathroom for years. I’m not even sure how long because they were there when I moved in and haven’t done anything to them. But they were looking a little dirty, dusty, and in need of a thorough once-a-decade-washing.

So I wrestled with the curtain rod, which had begun to grow permanently into the drywall and finally exonerated the curtains before tossing them into the washing machine, dousing them with bleach, closing the lid and feeling accomplished.

At the end of the cycle, I went to check their progress and good news! The curtains were thoroughly de-dingy-fied! They were white and pretty again. They were also shredded.

curtains washing machine

At first I thought of hiding the evidence and saying, “This too shall pass.” Throwing out the shredded fabric and pretending I just wanted to buy new curtains, but then I thought, “No, this too shall post.” I refuse to present a picture of myself (in person or in social media) that communicates that I have it all together, that I never struggle, that my life is grand all the time.

I am also incompetent. This too shall post. 

Upon investigation the curtains said, in large bold letters, “Hand wash only, DO NOT BLEACH.” Apparently those are more rules than suggestions.

This too shall post.

I don’t have it all together. I am not always happy. I do not read labels. I can be humbled by a little beach and decade old curtains.

And that’s okay. Today I choose to share my incompetence rather than hide it.

How about you? Whats your humbling story? This too shall post! 

Jun 10, 2014 - My Story, Uncategorized    2 Comments

Lonely Lunching

I got lonely lunched.

Stood up.

Ditched.

Pranked.

With our schedules at the hospital, it is rare that my coworkers and I can eat together, but once in a blue moon, it can happen. We headed to the cafeteria. I brought my lunch and others needed to buy, so I headed in to get a table. I snagged a large table, capable of holding the 6 people who were planning to join me. I situated myself near a two tables of other friends who both graciously waved me over to join their table, but I politely deferred stating that others were coming to join me. So I sat guarding my find. Multiple people came attempting to snag chairs or tables from me and I had to shoo them away like pigeons. Repeatedly.

Our cafeteria is not always the most efficient and it seemed to be taking a while for my coworkers to get their food.

tick tock

tick tock

I was nearly done with my lunch. Checking my watch. Smiling weakly at the pigeon-people I’d shooed away, apologizing with my eyes and pleading, “Please don’t hate me. There really are people coming.”

Twenty-five minutes later, I felt pathetic. Like the middle schooler who wasn’t invited to join the cool table (even though I had been invited to eat with others!). I felt defensive. I felt conspicuous. I felt lonely.

Lonely lunch

Even though I love my coworkers and have good relationships with them and I trusted that they truly had been delayed in the food line, the loneliness crept up on me unexpectedly. I find that it is never the situations that I expect that stir my loneliness. I am always blindsided by those emotions. I was thankful that this “attack of loneliness” was short-lived, but it served to remind me that we were created to be in community. Our hearts desire to be accepted, to be known, to be loved, and to eat with others! Next time you are lonely lunched (or lonely anything!) look around and know someone else understands that feeling. Lonely lunching serves to drive me into relationships and community — and that is a good thing.

Jun 7, 2014 - Humor    1 Comment

National Doughnut Day

Want a free, sweet, melt in your mouth, ring of tasty goodness?

Me too.

Yesterday was National Doughnut Day. I made sure to celebrate. The first Friday in June is National Doughnut Day. This 76-year old tradition was first launched by the Salvation Army to honor World War I volunteers as troops returned home. But today we honor people who can parallel park and patiently wait in line to snag their free doughnut!

My roommates and I decided to celebrate this year, so we traveled, with the rest of the city seemingly, to Krispy Kreme for a fresh, hot, melt in your mouth ring of sweet doughy goodness! Yesterday, the “Hot Now” sign never turned off. It was a machine of doughnuts ticking down the conveyor belt, flying off the belt as fast as they could be replaced.

krispy kreme doughnut donut

There were a dozen workers, providing smiling service to the line of customers extending out the door and around the building. This was far from the most efficient method to satisfy my sweet tooth, but it made a memory. I went with friends. We did something out of the ordinary. We had an adventure. We celebrated life.

And we ate doughnuts! Always a good decision!

roommates, doughnut day

How do you celebrate everyday moments and memories?

 

%d bloggers like this: