Inspiration and Just Because

I should be getting my dirty laundry downstairs to sort and start washing. I should be getting into the shower because we have a graduation party to attend today. I’m not doing any of those things so now I have to type fast because right now I need to write.

I’ve kind of pushed writing aside these past few months. Last year, I created an online account with 750 Words. It’s essentially a writer website that holds you accountable to write daily using the “Morning Pages” concept from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. I participated for a year. For a few months though I began to realize that writing everyday sometimes felt like a chore. I get up at 0415 to get to my 0600-1530 shift at the hospital so I physically can’t get up any earlier than that. Morning pages out the window. In the evening I’m not always at my best to write something. I wasn’t feeling inspired anymore and I often didn’t have anything pressing to say. I used it as a journal basically. My blog posts because infrequent as well. In April I decided to drop it all together. My daughter’s track season was in full force and both kids had a lot going on. It was also in April that I decided to share my love of essential oils with others and educate them into a more a healthy life style. Thus, I took a Business Academy course with Young Living and am trying to build a business. I don’t want writing to feel like a chore to me. Ever. I want something to trigger my inspiration and then I’ll push everything aside when I have a burning urge to write, as I am doing today, right now.

Ironically this morning the inspiration returned, hence the quote I have posted. I woke up, checked my phone and there was a notification from WordPress that a person that I follow on WordPress mentioned me in his post. I read his post and the post that I’d written a year ago when I’d met him. Below is the link to his post.

https://brothersontheat.com/2018/06/09/day-93/

To summarize, June 8, 2017, my husband and I drove 70 miles from our home in a suburb outside of Baltimore to Pen-Mar County Park. Our mission for the day was to provide food, “trail magic” for Appalachian Trail Thru Hikers as they hiked through this park to get into Pennsylvania. We met some really nice hikers. We fed them, we talked to them, we wished them well and left the park smiling. I’m fascinated by the idea of thru hiking so trail magic was something we chose to do “just because”. Because I’m Italian and I like to feed people. One hiker invited me to follow her on Instagram which I did but as the summer ended I grew curious to know if the hikers we’d fed that day reached Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. I follow various Appalachian Trail pages on Facebook and was eventually fortunate to see that more than half the thru hikers we’d met and fed that day had completed their thru hikes. Coincidentally on an Appalachian Trail facebook page, I ran across one hiker’s blog on  WordPress . He’s writing now about his 2017 thru hike. Yesterday marked a year that my husband and I met that group of hikers. So this morning I discovered that he’d written about his hiking day on June 8, 2017 and referred to the blog post I’d written that day entitled, “Just Because”.

So my point of all of this is that inspiration comes from different places when we least expect it. That’s how I like to write. That’s how I always wrote papers during my academic career, when inspiration strikes me. I think about those hikers from time to time and wonder what their post trail life is like now. I didn’t forget about that day with the thru hikers but I hadn’t given much thought to the blog post I’d written to share. Reading the hiker’s post and then my own from a year ago made me realize that I still have things to write about. So, thank you Straps for that.

Now I really need to shower and get on over to this graduation party. More to come.

 

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March Books

Here I am on June 9, 2018 writing about the books I read in March. Hey, what can I say, life gets in the way sometimes. We get into a routine, something disrupts it, we fall off the wagon, we get back on and keep going. Thanks to my handy, dandy Goodreads app on my phone, I’m able to pull up precisely which books I read. For one of my followers who likes to remark about my strange ability to recall dates, yes, I have the dates.

Before I begin, I have to share something significant to March. March 1; the start of spring high school sports.  My daughter is now in the final days of her sophomore year of high school. In track she’s a sprinter and ran JV for a second year. March 28, 2018 was the first track meet of the season. I stood in the rain and watched her run her first 100M relay of the year. She came from behind and closed the gap for her team with so much finesse and grace and walked off the track having beat her time from last year, feeling on top of the world. My hands were wet and cold and I couldn’t get my phone’s camera activated in time but I don’t need a camera to remember that run. It was priceless and only the beginning of a season that she showed so much growth and potential as she prepares to run varsity next year.

Did I have my nook at the track meet? You bet your ass I did!

1. A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. This book was written by the author who wrote Orphan Train. This book takes place in Coastal Maine. The main character Christina, who’s family was descendants of Nathanial Hawthorne,  is the subject of a painting. The painting speaks of the subject’s simple yet complicated life. This book was by no means as powerful as Orphan Train was.

2. The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips. This book made my heart ache for the main character. Violence and cruelty, these things really happen in families. They did then and they do now. Although there are many more rights now for abused children than there were in the 1950’s, society still turns the other cheek. Sometimes we just don’t know what goes on in people’s homes. It takes place in rural Georgia in the late 1950’s. Tangy, an African American teenager is torn between remaining loyal to her crazy mother or taking the opportunity to change her life. A heart wrenching read.

3. Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center. Switching gears a little here. The main character Helen, with no survival skills or wilderness knowledge,  has an opportunity to spend three weeks on a wilderness hike in Wyoming. Reading books like this is always an inspiration and I’m happy I read it.

4. The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve. This book is a historical fiction about the summer long drought fires that take place on the coast of Maine in 1947. The story focuses on the main character Grace’s struggle, with the fires. Struggles to keep her family safe and endure the drama and pain her husband causes her. It was a good read and I couldn’t put it down. Days later, this author passed away.

So that’s it for March. Stay tuned for April and May.

Essential Oils: The Facts Part 1

In my previous post, I talked about the beginning of my journey into Essential Oils and Young Living. In this post, I’m going to talk about their history, what they are and how to use them.

You don’t have to be an aromatherapist or health care provider to use Essential Oils, you just have to choose to use them. All you need is that one experience, a conversation, a blog post, the scent of oils on someone else, etc to plant a seed in your mind and  your curiosity will carry into the beginning of a wonderful journey. The more you use them, the more you’ll want to learn and share your love with others as I am doing here with you.

Believe it or not, essential oils have been around since biblical and ancient times. They were considered to be, “man’s first medicine” and were used to treat illness, and were used in religious and spiritual rituals. Essential Oils are mentioned in the Bible over 1000 times. Gifts of Frankincense and Myrrh were brought to baby Jesus by the Wise Men upon his birth. Jesus and Mary were anointed with Spikenard. The Egyptians used essential oils to make cosmetics, deodorants and embalming fluids. During World War I and II, essential oils were used for antiseptics and wound healing. After WWII, essential oils were rediscovered and each year their uses grow.

So what are essential oils? In a nutshell, they are the most powerful part of the plant and are distilled from shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, fruit, rinds, resins, and herbs. To quote a fellow oiler, “They are the lifeblood of the plant”. They are not used to “cure” ailments but they are used to “support” various systems of the body including, the skeletal system, the muscular system, the circulatory system, the respiratory system, the endocrine system and the immune system. They are also useful in brain health, balancing hormones and maintaining a healthy weight. Wait, there’s more. This is actually one of my favorites about these oils. They provide spiritual and emotional support and aid in stress relief.

Essential Oils can be used three ways: Aromatically, topically and the Young Living Vitality line is ingestible. Tests have shown when inhaled, essential oils reach the heart, liver, and thyroid gland in three seconds. When applied topically, they reach the blood stream within twenty-six seconds. A normal healthy body expels the oils in three to six hours. Yes, Essential Oils are safe. When applying to the skin, some oils require a carrier oil such as Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, V-6 Enhanced Vegetable Oil or Jojoba Oil.

Are they safe? Yes. Always dilute an oil before applying it topically on a child and never put an oil near your eye.

Still curious? Keep reading. More posts will follow this one. If you want to know more right now, feel free to email me. jennycrn@comcast.net.

 

 

 

 

 

Making the Oily Choice

I made the choice a few years ago, only I didn’t know it at the time. At that time it was only a conversation between three nurses. It was very interesting but I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure how this would fit into my life. I never forgot the conversation. Every now and then I’d revisit it and still wonder.

Fast forward to September 2017. My son, a sophomore biology major in college is diagnosed with Strep Throat three weeks into the semester. He was sick and miserable and forced to carry on with his studies and extracurricular activities because he didn’t want to fall behind. So he took his antibiotics as directed and carried on. The nurse mom that I am was desperate to find natural remedies not to cure the Strep Throat, but to support his immune system and get him back on his feet.

After that the dominoes began to fall. I had been following a hiker on Instagram for a few months. I noticed that lately he’d been posting things about Essential Oils. This was now the second time I’d heard about these oils; the first being the conversation I had with the nurse I work with. So I made a comment on one of his posts and we began to communicate. I was interested but honestly I didn’t want to spend 160.00 on the Premium Starter Kit but this guy was patient with me and continued to tell me how wonderful these Essential Oils are.

On September 27, 2017, just 20 days after my 47th birthday I made the choice. I chose to use the birthday money and some other stashed cash I had to purchase a Young Living Premium Starter Kit. I had initially planned on using the cash to get a much needed massage but I was extremely interested in these oils. So this oily guy that I follow on Instagram enrolled me and became my mentor. He sent me an Essential Oils Pocket Reference Guide to read while I waited for my Premium Starter Kit to arrive and my oily journey had begun. Seven months later I am still in dire need of a massage, but still ecstatic that I chose the oils.

So I joined a few facebook groups, did some reading and I was on my way to experiencing these oils. At my enroller/mentor’s suggestion, I immediately joined Young Living’s Extended Rewards Program. Each month the member orders a minimum of 50.00 of oils and earns free products and reward points that can be used for other purchases.

Essential oils are made from plants. They do not cure diseases, they support the systems of the body naturally. They are used for prevention maintenance for physical and emotional health. The more I used the oils and the more I learned first hand how they support my health. I finally started opening up to some of my coworkers and friends about them. I realized that several people I know use these oils too. One of my coworkers was also interested and on the fence. She also wasn’t sure she wanted to spend 160.00 on a Premium Starter Kit. So, I went through item of the kit and each oil to share with her what she can use them for. She ended up purchasing the Premium Starter Kit.

The dominoes continued to fall. My coworker told me that even though I did not personally enroll her, part of her decision to enroll came from our discussions. It occurred to me that I enjoy talking to people about the benefits of Essential Oils and that I wanted to continue to do so on a more formal level. Towards the end of March I saw an advertisement on Facebook for a class that teaches members to become an enroller and get into the business. After some pondering I contacted my mentor and told him I wanted to become an enroller and mentor too.

So there it is. I’ve gone Oily. I’ve finished the Business Academy, I’ve had some business cards made and I am building my Young Living business. I am now an enroller and sponsor.  My objective is to educate on the amazing benefits of these oils and encourage their use.

If this post interests you and you wish to learn more, please stay with me and continue to check this blog. I will be posting more fun facts on Essential Oils in the coming weeks. I would love to be your mentor.

Feel free to contact me with any questions: jennycrn@comcast.net

Sunday Bliss

Yesterday I was feeling a little down. The sky was cloudy and gray. Blah. We got a late start to our day and I didn’t get as much done around the house as I wanted to. I was reading an emotionally draining book and I had housework to do. I slacked on some things I was trying to accomplish last week and annoyed with myself for it. My daughter was on her final day of an opportunity that posed itself as being beneficial to her but ended up having some negative aspects. Blah.

Today I woke up with the intention of setting positive vibes for myself for the week. The sky is a gorgeous clear blue and that was already a positive. As I was getting showered and dressed to go to eleven o’clock Mass, I decided to try enhance my spiritual experience in church with some essential oils and healing crystals.

In September, after a series of signs from the universe and at the encouragement of a new friend in the “Oily Community”, I joined the Young Living Essential Oil community. Essential oils have been used by many cultures around the world for centuries for healing the sick and spiritual use. As a nurse, I’m fascinated by the benefits that the essential oils provide for us. As time goes by I’m learning more and more about all the things these oils can be used for and pleased at their benefits to my health. More posts about essential oils in the future.

A few weeks ago, I saw something on social media that sparked my interest in healing crystals and stones and I purchased three healing stones. I have a Citrine stone to cultivate energy that is fertile for growth and abundance. I have a Hematite stone to help feel grounded and balanced. I have a Clear Quartz stone to bring clarity to the mind. Although I researched these particular stones before and after I purchased them to learn about their uses, I know I have much to learn and look forward to more.

So I put my healing stones in my pocket and I anointed my third eye with Frankincense oil, rubbed Envision oil behind my ears and neck, placed Joy oil on my feet (I don’t care for the smell of the Joy oil but I do love it’s effects) and out the door I went to the eleven o’clock Contemporary Mass at my church.

I sat in the front pew on the right side of the church because that’s the side where the Youth Band is placed when they play in mass once a month. My daughter is a member of our parish youth band and today they were playing. The church was not yet full, the youth band was setting up and I decided that moment was a perfect time to meditate with my crystals. While I repeated the affirmations I’d designated for the stones, I pictured myself, surrounded in Christ’s white light of love and protection and focused my eyes on Jesus on the cross on the alter. I held each stone in my right hand and rolled it around so all of my fingers could feel it as I went through the ritual.

As the youth band began to play and the Mass was underway felt so grateful and so much at peace. I was completely present and in a state of spiritual bliss as I listened intently to each reading, the gospel, the homily and sang along with the uplifting contemporary music that youth band was playing. In the background I could hear the gentle and refined notes my daughter was playing on her trumpet. She’s always careful not to play too loud, I think she plays perfectly.

Mass ended and we were told to go in peace to serve the Lord. I left the church with a heart filled with joy and I realized that between today’s use of oils and crystals during an uplifting mass, I once again feel centered, balanced and courageous to serve the Lord and endure what challenges life throws my way.

 

February Books

February went by like a flash because I read so many great books and one not so great one. My 2018 reading challenge is moving along at a nice pace and I am pleased. One of my favorite past times is escaping into a book. Here we go.

Books 1 and 3: The Road to Grace (The Walk #3) and A Step of Faith (The Walk #4) by Richard Paul Evans. Richard Paul Evans. This series is about a man who loses everything an sets off to walk across the country. At the end of each book Richard Paul Evans drops a literary bomb in the last few pages and leaves you hurrying up to download the next one so you can find out what happens. This series has not disappointed me. I haven’t read book 5 yet because I’m not ready to let this story go yet.

Book 2: The Address by Fiona Davis. This book was recommended to me by one of my reader buddy fellow nurse coworkers. This book is a historical fiction about The Dakota in New York City. It goes back and forth between the late 1800’s and 1985 where a young woman uncovers information about her family while renovating an apartment in the building. Wow just wow. This is a book I thought about periodically throughout my day when I wasn’t reading it. I couldn’t put this down. The ending was a pleasant surprise.

Book 4: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read probably 12 of her books over the past 14 years. I had the privilege of meeting her back in October when she gave a talk at a local university, (my BSN Alma Mater) about her book The Nightingale. The Great Alone takes place in the Alaska wilderness in the mid 1970’s, when a Vietnam Vet moves his family there to start a new life. This book was intense, powerful writing. I’d highly recommend.

Book 5: White Houses by Amy Bloom. Disclosure first. I am not in any way shape or form prejudice against the LGBTQ community. This book is a fictionalized account of the “first friend” relationship that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had with female reporter Lorena Hickok. I had high hopes for this book. I enjoy history and details about real people in history. Maybe it was a post Great Alone and The Address depression and with drawl I was in but this book just didn’t do it for me. It was difficult to follow in some parts and it dragged on too long. Sorry.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back with a review of my March books in April. I’ve got some good ones lined up.

 

 

 

Nurses and the Bigger Picture

Yesterday, as I was finishing prepping my patient for surgery, he looked at me and asked, “Have you ever had those days when something set you off early in the morning and it threw you off for the day”. I smiled, snickered and replied, “All the time”.  He told me that a night shift staff member had come into his room in the wee hours of the morning to do a quick procedure, one that he does for himself at home. He said the staff member really hurt him and that when he told her so and tried to explain to her how he does it at home so it doesn’t hurt but she was insensitive about it and didn’t want to listen to him. He went on to tell me that when he was filling out his menu order for yesterday, he ordered blueberry pancakes for yesterday’s breakfast. He knew he wouldn’t be able to eat breakfast because he was going in for surgery but said he’d look forward to warming up the blueberry pancakes when he returned to his room after surgery. He said while he was in the bathroom, a member of the kitchen staff came and took his tray, uneaten without waiting for him to come out of the bathroom to ask if he wanted to save the tray for later. He expressed to me how disappointed he was that he wasn’t going to get those blueberry pancakes. He also described to me on another occasion, during a treatment, he had to repeatedly remind a member of his health care team multiple times to be careful with a tube that was in his body.

This patient was an admitted inpatient that had come to my unit to be prepped for surgery. I’d taken care of him several times recently as he had developed a problem that required multiple surgical procedures. He always opened up to me about different aspects of his life. I liked him and I knew he’d been through a lot recently. Today, I could see it in his eyes. He was down in the dump and my heart ached for him.

Many things went through my mind as I listened to this man. First, my heart was filled with gratitude that he chose me to vent his frustrations to. To me it meant we had made a connection somewhere in the care I provided for him. From that point, I was determined to help him as best I could in this situation.

I thought about my own experience as an inpatient in the hospital and similar things that bothered me about that hospital stay. My son was born six weeks prematurely via emergency c-section because I was critically ill. Things happened quickly to deliver my son and it saved our lives. I remembered that my husband told me he could hear me screaming “Ouch you mother fuckers” from where he was standing in the hallway outside the operating room when they rammed the epidural needle in my back without numbing my skin or giving me any warning. I remembered throwing a terrible terrible phlebotomist out of my room in the middle of the night because his skills sucked and he was too rough with me. The morning after my son was born, residents coming into my room and ripping my bandage off my c-section incision, and then rolling me over, ripped the epidural bandage off and removed the epidural.

On that same day, my sickest day, I had a nurse that was a bitch from hell. There were many instances that day where she clearly lacked compassion when I needed it the most. I was sick and afraid. I was on a stretcher for 36 hours in a holding area outside of the operating room in case they had to wheel me back in to do an emergency hysterectomy. I couldn’t figure out what was more uncomfortable, my c-section incision or my neck and back from that stretcher. I tried so hard to keep my mind focused because the medication they were giving me made me feel so foggy. I can still see the look of disgust on the night nurse’s face when she relieved bitch from hell nurse and saw that I was still on the stretcher coming up on 36 hours postpartum. She put me on an egg crate mattress and in a bed and I slept six hours. It was the best sleep I’d had in days and that egg crate mattress act of kindness that will never be forgotten.

I was an RN for four years when my son was born so I understood everything that they were doing but that doesn’t matter when you are 28 with a premature newborn and both of your lives had been in danger. I had such a textbook case of Pre-Eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, that every resident and student nurse wanted to get their hands on me. I felt like a slab of meat in a butcher shop. I knew exactly where my patient was coming from. That egg crate mattress for me was like the blueberry pancakes he was looking forward to.

I told my patient briefly about my experience with my son’s birth but more about a lecture we had in nursing school that I never forgot. My instructor was trying to teach us about giving patients a little bit of control of their care while in the hospital and making sure we remember to do the little things that are so appreciated. She expressed the importance as a psychological aspect of care and always advised us to look at “the bigger picture” when providing patient care. She shared with us that once she had a spider bite, developed cellulitis and had to be admitted to the hospital. She said the moment she put the hospital gown on, she flipped out because she knew she was relinquishing control of her body to the health care providers at the hospital and that was difficult for her.

I never forgot that lecture and after I returned from maternity leave I made sure that my care reflected remembering to give them some form of control over their care and to do the little things for my patients that made them human. Every patient deserves that. As for my patient yesterday, I gave him some suggestions as to how he can verbalize his needs for his care. After he was taken into surgery I called the nurse that was taking care of him on the floor. I filled her in on some of his frustrations, a little background information on him, enlightened her on his “bigger picture”  and encouraged her to give him a little more TLC. I hope she listened.

The moral to this story is, don’t forget to look at the bigger picture. We get so tied up with completing tasks because we are busy and many times in a time crunch, we overlook the simplest things that would put a smile on someone’s face, make their day just a little better and their situation just a little more tolerable.