When your parish community disappoints you.

God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

This past Sunday, I attended 1100 Contemporary Mass at our church and listened to my daughter play her trumpet for the Lord for the final time as a member of our church’s Youth Band. My daughter is just finishing her junior year of high school and she’s been a member of our church’s youth band since 8th grade. She’s always loved it and felt honored and inspired to be part of something so meaningful that didn’t involve her school work. This year was different for her. The music director added several new choral youth musicians to the group. My daughter sensed the dynamics had changed and didn’t feel like she and her trumpet fit in anymore. There were times she’d attend weekly Thursday evening rehearsal and there was no music for her to rehearse because no one prepared her music for her. She’d wonder why she even bothered to stay at rehearsal. There were other things that happened that bothered my daughter and I could feel her growing frustration. It broke my heart a little when my daughter told me she felt like she didn’t fit in anymore and wanted to resign after the school year was over. I supported her decision immediately. This is supposed to be church. Aren’t we all supposed to fit in? God accepts us and welcomes us with open arms but the parish community? Not really. I don’t think we all really fit into the parish community.

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a small Catholic women’s Liberal Arts college. Because it was a Catholic college, the school required we take two religion courses. That was fine by me, I was there as an adult learner already 14 years out of nursing school and I was ready to expand my mind!  Plus, I’m Catholic. I attended public schools throughout my youth so it was nice to receive a Catholic education. I took a biblical studies course which focused on the bible from a historical perspective and a spirituality course. I loved everything about those two courses.

One thing that always resonated with me since the Spirituality course was what I read in The Holy Longing the Search for a Christian Spirituality by Ronald Rolheiser. Rolheiser suggests that Jesus prescribed four essentials for a healthy spiritual life; private prayer and mortality, social justice, mellowness of heart and spirit and community as a constitutive element for true worship.

So let’s break this down. I’m a baptized and confirmed Catholic. I was married in the Catholic Church, my children are baptized and confirmed, I pray every day, I treat people according to the ten commandments, my heart is at peace, I give money to the church and attend Mass but not as much as I should, twice a month.  Never in my life have I ever felt genuinely welcome by the parish community or any parish community I’ve belonged to. Do I volunteer for the church? No, I work full time by healing the sick and I volunteer for my daughter’s band program. Do I make eye contact with the Priest and nod my head in agreement when his homilies touch my soul? Always. Is it because my kids do not attend Catholic school? Is it because I don’t volunteer at the church or is it because I’m not visible to the Priest enough or in his subconscious mind or in anyone’s subconscious mind at the parish? When my daughter came to tell me that she felt she didn’t fit into a group that she once loved so much, my own frustration with the parish community returned with a vengeance.

So how are we supposed to achieve a healthy spiritual life if one of the four essentials is missing and you don’t feel like you’ll ever be able to achieve it? The answer to that question still eludes me.

After the first reading in a Catholic mass, there is a Responsorial Psalm with singing and musical instruments. This week’s Responsorial Psalm couldn’t be more fitting as my daughter’s time with the youth band comes to an end. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.

My daughter got to play some trumpet solos for that song; a bittersweet ending. It was as if God was personally telling me he appreciated my daughter playing her trumpet for him for the past four years and that it was ok for her to resign, that he understood.

After Mass we went to the basement of the church for a little party celebrating some of the recent high school graduates of the youth band. I walked away for a few minutes so my daughter could confront the youth band director to resign. My girl cried a little but she had the courage to say what was in her heart, “the dymanics have changed and I don’t feel like my trumpet fits in anymore.” My daughter felt as if the youth band director “didn’t hear” her, didn’t grasp that she was resigning and that her decision was final.

Later on, the youth band director approached our table. It was only my daughter and I at the table because the other people who were at the table when I sat down, moved. The youth band director addressed my daughter’s feelings and we spokes for a few minutes. I sensed she was trying to find a way for my daughter to continue with the band and hadn’t accepted that my daughter is finished there. As the conversation was coming to an end I began to share a recent music experience through school that my daughter was involved in and very happy about. In a split second my ability to read people’s body language and facial expressions radar alerted me that the woman wasn’t interested. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.

I left church on Sunday feeling disappointed. Disappointed for feeling like an outsider in a place that should make you feel welcome. Disappointed the youth band director never fully grasped my daughter’s music abilities and utilized them. Disappointed yes but very proud of my daughter for speaking her mind and removing herself from a situation that didn’t make her feel good anymore.

 

 

 

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Sick Pup Update

It’s been almost four weeks since I posted about my dog’s new diagnosis of Intervertebral Degenerative Disc Disease so I’ll just start where I left off on March 7.

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After I posted about my sick pup we left the house to attend my daughter’s concert. My daughter is a junior in high school now with a heavy load of honors and AP classes but she couldn’t go to school that day knowing that our dog’s neurological status had deteriorated. We were in a waiting game to see if the steroids they’d given him were going to reverse his paralysis. My husband and I came to an agreement with our daughter; we were to go to the concert providing we didn’t hear any more bad news about the dog before the concert. I emailed the band director to fill him in on what was going on. He was extremely understanding and excused our daughter from the concert if she couldn’t go but hoped she would because maybe playing music with her peers would help her feel better. The band director was right. Our band booster family was there to support us and it being with our friends as we watched our children play a concert was helpful to our own healing.

We visited out dog late that night after our son was finished with a lab class. Our dog’s condition hadn’t changed and I noticed they put a catheter in his bladder. The veterinarian said he indeed had bowel and bladder control and sensation in his limbs but it was stressful for an animal to wonder when they’d be able to relieve themselves. He was sleepy and his eyes were blood shot yet receptive to our presence. We tried to do little things to him to test his movement that we know used to annoy him. We noticed if we touched his tail he’d ever so slightly pull it away. He ever so slightly pulled his back foot away. It was encouraging.

The following morning I returned to the animal hospital to visit our dog. The catheter had been removed and this time they did not wheel him in on a stretcher as they previously had, they carried him in and placed him on the couch in the visiting room. The veterinarian came in shortly afterward and told me to go get things ready in our home because he would be discharged later.  I asked him if he wanted to come home and he tried to move his upper torso and kicked his back legs.  It had been less than 12 hours since we saw he and he’d already begun to regain function. We were headed in the right direction.

The discharge process was a little frustrating. We had so many questions and the vet tech that was assigned to help us with the discharge had not worked with our dog. Really? We learned about toileting, medications, feeding and activity. Imagine a cartoon character who gets hit in the head with a rock. He or she is stunned for a minute, shakes his or her head and proceeds. That’s how my husband and I felt in the beginning.

Our dog, Cooper had to be held a certain way to support his back but to allow him to stand up to urinate.  So before discharge, the vet tech called in some reinforcements and we went over it until we felt comfortable. Even after training, for days after it took two of us in the family stand him up outside and days of getting our timing right. Sometimes he’d pee outside, sometimes he’d have an accident. Three days later, after work and as my daughter suggested I took him to his favorite light pole, stood him up and he peed. Victory! My daughter who had just come home from school and was pulling into our street witnessed it as she was parking her car. Although the toileting process took longer to perfect, this was definitely an encouraging sign.

The medication process was another doozy. The animal hospital sent him home on six medications. Prednisone, a steroid to reduce the swelling of his spinal cord. Gabapentin for neurologic pain and function. Tramadol for pain. Methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant and sedative. Omeprazole to protect the lining of his stomach and  Cerenia for nausea. “Oh and by the way”, they told us. “Don’t feed him tonight because he threw up.” We were to give him two of the medications that evening. Here is where I had an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, anxiety, insecurity and fear. I asked myself if we’d be able to care for him. He wouldn’t take his medications in his usual way which is a pill placed in cream cheese and rolled up on a slice of ham. His tummy hurt. A phone call to the vet advised us to dilute the pills, put them into a syringe and gently squirt into his mouth. Public service announcement: my dog was in a shelter for six months from the age of two to two and one half when we adopted him. We have no idea why he was surrendered or what happened to him. He bites to bite.

The first night home was the most difficult. As usual we brought Cooper to bed with us. After all, he is our third baby and he really did need the attention. He cried all night. His tummy hurt, he vomited, he peed on himself. In the morning I called the animal hospital and they added a seventh medication. Pepcid to reduce stomach irritation and acid. By the end of the day he was holding water down. The next day our daughter got him to eat a few chunks of boiled hamburger.

Each day we noticed he was able to do more and more things physically. Rolling over, sitting up, standing, peeing outside. Sunday, two days after discharge was his first attempt to walk. My daughter filmed him stumbling off his pillow. I posted it on social media and got so many sad comments. That’s our reality though and I wanted people to know that. By Tuesday he was walking. He still had signs of neurologic deficit but his veterinarian was pleased with his progress and felt that surgery was not necessary at this time. His appetite increased gradually. By the time our son came home a week after Cooper was discharged from the animal hospital we had finally gotten him to take meds in his ham and cream cheese roll up again but then he abruptly stopped. My son suggested maybe Cooper was sick of ham so we bought some bologna and roast beef. That did the trick. No more diluting meds, putting them in a syringe and squirting them into his mouth. We alternate between bologna and roast beef. This dog eats well. I’ve also added a spinal vitamin to his meals. It contains, cow trachea, horse tail and several vitamins and electrolytes. I open up the capsule and mix it into his food.

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He isn’t allowed to go to the groomer until he’s medically cleared and he’s getting scruffy. I’ve contacted a groomer whom I know owns a has a mobile grooming service and  does multiple special needs dogs. He’s on crate rest and is supposed to be for at least 4-6 weeks. He is not allowed to go up or down stairs or jump off of furniture. That’s the challenge. Cooper has separation anxiety. He can’t just be placed in his crate and be expected to deal with it. Ordinarily he’s crated only when we leave the house.  I made yet another phone call to the veterinarian. The day after his first follow up check up, he literally paced around in the crate all day.  I fail to see how that is promoting rest for him. She advised that I could give him his anxiety meds that we use for grooming and vet visits. I have since added a natural calming chew twice daily and removed the as needed anxiety meds because I don’t want him to develop a tolerance. We have baby gates now. We allow him to be out of the crate in restricted areas of our home under direct supervision so he doesn’t injure himself. We believe in keeping him safe first and foremost but we are also concerned about his emotion health. He needs to be nurtured as he heals.


img_6971As they say, when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade. This situation definitely blindsided my entire family. My husband, our son, our daughter and I came together as a team to care for Cooper wholeheartedly with love, devotion while sticking to his treatment guidelines.

I can only imagine what it feels like receive pages of discharge instructions and a bag full of medications to bring a sick human being family member home to care for them. On May 14, 2019 I will celebrate the 25th anniversary of my graduation from nursing school. Talk about feeling like a cartoon character who’s had the rock thrown at her head. Where did the time go? I have spent half of my life as a Registered Nurse. Not only was my dog’s illness an eye opener and a life style change for us as a family, it was an eye opener for me as a nurse. There’s always room for improvement. We should never stop learning or trying to better ourselves. When life throws you a lemon, take the lemon, embrace it, make the lemonade, learn from the experience, use what you’ve learned to help others.

My sick pup

I’ve been away from this blog a really long time. I just haven’t felt inspired to write anything. I’m confused and uncertain about the direction this blog is going in. I’m not sure if I like it. During my absence, I’ve tried to follow other people’s posts, admiring their clarity and direction  and in return have asked myself the same question, “who am in in this blog?”

Today I return though.  I return brokenhearted and devastated. The world that my husband, our son and daughter live in has been turned upside down and shattered. Our dog, a nine year old male mini poodle is in the hospital with a new diagnosis of Intervertebral Degenerative Disc Disease. The vertebrae in his neck are compressing his spinal cord and he’s paralyzed.

My daughter noticed Tuesday evening that he was acting like he was in pain. I left work three hours into my shift yesterday morning to bring him to the animal hospital. His condition has deteriorated significantly since his arrival there. While I was getting him into the car yesterday to bring him, he looked like he was doing a little better. He seemed to be moving around easier and I thought he’d get some doggie ibuprofen and he’d be good to go a few days later like he was three years ago when he appeared to have back pain.

They started steroids at 0300. The night veterinarian called at 0630 to tell us he’s paralyzed and that we should come in. Surgery would cost 11K. Would he ever be the same though? Do we want him to suffer? Hell.to.the.no! The tears came, I gathered my family and off we went to the vet. It was like a death march in a parade of darkness, despair and impending doom. When we arrived they wheeled him in. He was covered up and on his side. He picked up his head when we saw us. Once again, as he has for the past 6 years and 10 months, he filled our hearts with his love. It felt so so good to see him, to pet him, to kiss him, to hold his hand, to talk to him, to bring him his favorite toys, to feed him, to touch him and to reminisce about him in our lives. We have thousands of pictures of him of simple everyday moments of life that he has shared with us. He has taught each of us to love in a way that we were unfamiliar with and he has amazed us everyday with the gifts that God has given him. He is our everything.

The morning veterinarian came in to see us after a little while. She  doesn’t want to give us false hope yet she doesn’t want to give up on him just yet though. He’s on pain meds, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxers and steroids in hopes that the steroids will take effect in 24-48 hours. We were relieved. We thought the night vet was inviting us to come put him to sleep.

The rug has been pulled out from underneath me and I’ve been hit by a train. Our happy little world with our dog is shattering and we are holding on for dear life.  I haven’t cried this much in a day in probable 10 years. I’ve seen so many people experience what I am experiencing right now with their pets. Every time I see someone go through it I always always say a prayer of thanks for my dog. This sucks. I’m a nurse. I see this all the time with humans. I hurt for patients and families when they get a shit diagnosis. I am realistic too. I know there’s no guarantee those steroids are going to work and but am I being selfish for wanting them to? The vet said IF the steroids are effective, he’ll need weeks to months of pain meds, steroids and muscle relaxers. We as a family commit to that. I just want him home. I want to nurse him. I want to love him more. We all do.

After we left the vet went for lunch, dropped my son back at school and after we got home I took a nap. I stopped by the church. It was locked so I sat in front of the statue of Mary and asked for a Divine Intervention. God has granted them to before. Now I need another one.

The paw I am holding is his right front. In September of 2016 he snagged it on the carpet, ripped it and it bled. We took him to the same animal emergency hospital where they fixed it. From then on we called it boo boo paw.

Below are the lyrics to Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work”. Although sad, I like it because it’s asking for one last chance. That’s all I want.

Lyrics
Pray God you can cope
I’ll stand outside
This woman’s work
This woman’s world
Ooooh it’s hard on a man
Now his part is over
Now starts the craft of the Father
I know you’ve got a little life in you left
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left
I know you’ve got a little life in you yet
I know you’ve got a lot of strength left
I should be crying but I just can’t let it show
I should be hoping but I can’t stop thinking
All the things we should’ve said that I never said
All the things we should have done that we never did
All the things we should have given but I didn’t
Oh darling make it go
Make it go away
Give me these moments
Give them back to me
Give me that little kiss
Give me your talking hands
Give me your hand baby
(I know you have a lot of strength left)
Give me your pretty hand
(I know you have a little life in you yet)
Ooh you have a lot of strength
(I know you have a lot of strength left)
My loved child
(I know you have a little life in you yet)
Whatever you need baby
(I know you have a lot of strength left)
Give me your hand
(I know you have a little life in you yet)
Give me your hand
(I know you have a lot of strength left)
Oh I should be crying but I just can’t let it go
I should be hoping but I can’t stop
Thinking and thinking and thinking
Of all the things we should’ve said that we never said
And all the things we should have done that we never did
All the things that you wanted from me
All the things that you needed from me
All the things I should have given but I didn’t
Oh darling make it go
Just make it go away
Psalm 34:17-18 The Lord hears his people when they call to him. 
                            He rescues them from all their troubles.
                            The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he rescues those who are crushed.

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Labor Day Special 9/3-9/7

September is my birth month and I am sharing the love. I am offering some specials. Starting 9/3-9/7, I am offering $30 dollars CASH BACK if you purchase a Young Living membership through me. After you join, I call Young Living Customer Service to get you a 25.00 credit to your account to use for future purchases. I send you $30 cash PLUS Essential Oils Pocket Reference Seventh Edition for FREE.

How to join: Go to youngliving.com. Click “become a member”. Add my sponsor/enroller number 13000369. The next screen lets you pick your Premium Starter Kit. The next screen adds your mailing info. The next screen adds your payment.

OR Click Link below and that takes you directly to page where you’ll find my enroller/sponsor number.

https://yl.pe/7qnk 

I joined Young Living on September 27, 2017. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I thought I was just purchasing a membership to have access to essential oils to support things about my health that I didn’t like and that was it. I was so wrong. I had no idea about the rest of the products they sold. Personal Care. Infant and Children Products. Nutritional Products. Make Up. Men’s Products. Animal Products, the list goes on. I order a few things each month and little by little I’m reading, learning from others and eliminating products in my home and products that I put on my body that are loaded with scary chemicals. I feel better for it and I want to lead you to the same kind of lifestyle; and investment in your health.  Young Living has supported my health in ways that I never imagined. Give it a try.

 

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Worries and Matthew 7:7-8

Do you believe in signs? I do. They are everywhere and in many different forms. You just have to open your mind and your heart to them and they will appear. When they do, say thank you.

I subscribe to multiple spirituality and religious pages on WordPress and Instagram. It is cheesy probably but I do go to Mass too. Every now and then I’ll see a post on one of my favorite sites and it speaks to me as if it’s telling me whatever is on my mind at the time is going to be ok. It could be biblical passage, a quote, a video, a poem. For example, this spring I was first introduced to Matthew 7:7-8. 7″Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door ill be opened.” I loved it immediately because it’s so simple and powerful and appears exactly when I need it; when I am feeling discouraged and alone and in need of a little voice to reassure me that God is working behind the scenes for me. It’s a reminder for me that God is indeed listening, to continue to pray, to believe in what I’m doing and to never give up.

Of course people pray for various reasons. One reason is worry. Sometimes our mind gets rolling on a certain concern and takes you on an upside down roller coaster of anxiety, fear, negative self talk and tries with all its might to drive you insane as you worry if the outcome of your worries doesn’t turn out in your favor.

That was me yesterday. In addition to the challenging group of patients I was assigned, my mind got started on something and wouldn’t quit, leaving me with a tension headache from hell. Throbbing pain that radiates from the back of your neck, over your scalp and makes your face and nose throb. Hours later after I’d calmed down I went on WordPress. What did I find? A sign in the form of a wonderful post by The Boring Bug entitled “Stop worry and start worrying”  . It was exactly what I needed at that time to help me let go of the nonsense chatter in my head.

Be sure to click and check it out. It’s well written and worth your time. Stop worrying!!

 

 

 

Healthier Options

Ningxia Red is loaded with superfoods and powerful antioxidants to support energy and wellness. I’ve eliminated my lunchtime caffeine boost of cola and selected a healthier choice. It’s a huge step for me. I’ve grown dependent on the lunchtime caffeine boost because I get up so early and often have out of the house kid obligations in the evening. My body needs the healthier stuff more than the cola though. I’ve also had to make some dietary changes to support a sensitive upper GI tract. Caffeine is a Gastrointestinal irritant. While I’m not ready to give up my morning coffee, this is a good start. It’s been several shifts since I’ve made the switch and I don’t miss the cola as much as I thought.

If you aren’t sure about an Essential Oils Premium Starter Kit, why not try a NingXia Red Premium Starter Kit? Interested in joining Young Living and taking advantage of these wonderful products? Click here.   Questions? Email me, I’d love to hear from you and get you started on a journey towards natural health and wellness. jennycrn@comcast.net

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Emotional Oils 2

Emotional oils are by far my favorite type of Essential Oils. I am so grateful for the sense of well-being that they give me. I feel what my body needs on a given day and I use the appropriate oils.

I’m shutting it down early tonight. I’m coming off a six day in a row stretch of work. I worked my 4 day work week, did one 8 hour training class and today picked up an on call shift. I’m calling in dead now. Too many days in a row of playing nurse; I’m enjoying my evening at home with my family, my dog and a new book and the idea of not getting up at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow. Tonight I’m diffusing RC to keep the snoring at bay, Inner child to reconnect with my inner self and Lavender for relaxation.