Faith Life at Work

Every Tuesday at our church (St. Anastasia), we have a Mass at 7 pm. Every First Tuesday of the month after Mass, we have Young Adult Night. We gather in Meeting Room B and typically have pizza, a talk, and some trivia (or other game).

Since Fr. Jim had forgotten to ask the Catholic Trivia guy to come out this evening, he devised a quick game of Modified Family Feud, using answers from Family Feud episodes from, like, the 70s or something. (Who replaces a TOASTER if it is not broken?)

Anywhoo, after our quick game where we never really heard who won, we heard a talk by Denis Veneziano, our resident Italian architect and part-time language instructor. His topic was “Holiness in Your Daily Work.”

20160706_092140
Disclaimer: This is the cover of a book I have sitting on my desk at work. I’ve been meaning to read it for a couple years now. There is no review of this book in this post because lazy and haven’t read yet.

I jotted down a few notes, then a few more, then decided that I had enough fodder to create a blog post and share with y’all, so here you go! 🙂 In bullet points, because my coffee is not working yet.

  • Genesis 2:15 states, “ The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  This tells us that work is not supposed to be seen as “a necessary evil,” but something which adds to the dignity of man as being in God’s plan for our lives.  Denis continues to point out that even Jesus worked for most of His life, and He is our example of what it should look like to live a perfected human life.
  • Because of this, we should ask ourselves:  What pride to we take in our work?  Do we see the work that we do in a supernatural light?  As promoting, or capable of promoting, the Kingdom of God and sanctifying ourselves and those around us?
  • Beware of “professionalism” — where your work becomes the end purpose of your life.  It can be important, but it is a means.  Your work is just one part of your life.  You certainly shouldn’t give it inordinate preference over other aspects of your life.  But don’t go to the opposite extreme either and not give it its due importance.
  • How can I use my time at work to sanctify myself and others?
    • I can pray before I start my work — dedicating my work day to God and asking His help.
    • I can dedicate individual hours during the workday for a specific person or intention.  This can make the entire day into something of a prayer.
    • I should show interest in my coworkers and try to help them as much as possible.  Before being a worker, I (and they) am a person.

What are ways in which you bring God into your workplace?

What struggles do you have in showing God’s love to your coworkers?

One final thought:

A holy person is

NOT

a perfect person,

but is one who gets up

one more time

than they fall.

First Day of 20th Grade!

20150908_154653//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I’ve always loved the start of a new school year! I love learning, and there’s something intoxicating about the smell of new office supplies. After a three year hiatus, I have returned to grad school as of the past Spring semester. Today, I start classes for Fall semester. I will be taking Synoptics and Foundations of the Christian Moral Life. I can’t wait to begin!

With me in the photo are Brandon (my co-worker, who is on his 17th year of school), and Jarrod (my supervisor, on year 24 and his 2nd Master’s degree). We thought it would be fun to add our photos to the slew of “First Day” photos cropping up on Facebook.

Peace and Panic

This is how it always goes, right?

This morning, I saw that I had some mandatory eLearning training to complete, so I made myself a tea (not coffee, shocker!) and settled into my computer to complete the modules between calls.  Since I was nice and cozy, I even played some Enya on YouTube and thought about what a nice, peaceful morning it was at work.

Then, excitement ensues.  The idea of a quiet, cozy morning is replaced with something else.  Not a bad thing, as I like the excitement, but isn’t this typical?

I was able, eventually, to return to my cold tea and finish my eLearnings.

I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.  I love my job!  🙂

Of Exhaustion and Productivity

All week, I have been feeling worse than usual: pain, utter exhaustion, and nausea. I have several different medical conditions and sometimes it’s difficult to juggle the needs of each one. And when one starts causing problems, my whole house of cards tends to go down. When I get sick, I get *really* sick. Then again, sometimes I feel bad without any catalyst whatsoever. It’s like a fun game of What’s Today Going to Bring?

I think this week’s downward spiral began on Monday evening, when I decided to do 2% of the running that my friend Brian did. He did 6.15 miles, so this translated into 0.1234 miles for me to do, which was a numerically satisfying distance. 🙂 Well, for someone with a mitochondrial disorder, this isn’t as easy as one might think. About a third of the way into it, I ran out of stored energy and began having breathing issues and pain. And I slowed down, quite a bit. I was utterly tapped out by time I made it back to my driveway and was gasping for air. I was wheezing, since my lungs tend to react to these things like I have asthma or something, so I went inside and used my inhaler. Not that that seems to do very much good. Besides irritating my arrhythmia.

Thus began my week of pain, exhaustion, and nausea. For good measure, and perhaps due to the inflammatory aspects of my disease, my blood sugar also shot up, which meant that I had to stop eating for a while and drink a lot more water than normal. I’m thinking that I really have to see about getting some fast-acting insulin to use in addition to the Lantus — this isn’t really cutting it anymore.

Exhaustion doesn’t even really describe what I experience. There’s not a good word for it. Soul-crushing, mind-numbing exhaustion that makes you feel a little bit panicky and like you want to cry inside because you cannot sleep that. very. minute. It’s very different from being tired, but I’m not really good at explaining it.

I’ve also been prone to a lot of muscle cramping and spasms this week. On Wednesday (I think it was Wednesday), I was having pretty significant muscle weakness in my left arm. If you’ve ever spent time lifting weights, remember when you are at the end of a set and you are at your limit and your muscles start shaking? You know that feeling your muscles have when you finally put down the weight? It kind of felt like that all day. Like I just might drop a pencil if I tried to pick it up, because it was just too much. Previously, I’ve had times where my muscles have run so completely out of energy that they just stop working. Literally, I would have to use my right arm to make my left arm move. That didn’t happen, but it was a close thing. As the day wore on, I began having muscle spasms in that arm. Not pleasant, and they lasted for hours. For a couple days, at night, I’d have large muscle groups (like my entire abdominal wall, or every muscle in my left leg) contract into a big charley horse-type cramp. I love screaming in pain, really. At least I wasn’t in public when this happened. How embarrassing.

On Thursday evening, I had two meetings to attend after work. I was so exhausted driving home that I was nearly in tears as I exited I-696 to I-75. There was a lot of traffic and I just couldn’t go on any further. Except I had to. I arrived at church 45 minutes before my first meeting and spent that time napping in the car, setting my phone’s alarm app to make sure I woke up. I felt a little better and made it through my meetings.

Friday was a little bit better than Thursday, although I was still significantly nauseated and exhausted. At least my left arm was doing better. I was about at my limit at 2 or 2:30, but stuck it out until the end of my shift at 3:30 pm. I hate how my disease affects me. I like being able to help my co-workers, but sometimes, when I’m not feeling well, I think, “Please, please don’t make me get up and walk to your cube.” But that’s just the pain and exhaustion talking. And I don’t like them to dictate my behavior. So, dear co-workers, I love you. Please be patient with me. I’m doing my best, even though I feel like I’m failing you.

At the end of the work day, as per usual, I walk around the office to say goodbye to everyone. It is odd working this earlier shift; now, most people are still working when I leave. It feels weird to be leaving before everyone else. Like I’m some weird sort of slacker, taking time off while everyone else continues to work. Anyways. I stop to say good night to my boss and he stops me to talk about how I’m doing (because I tend to share things — or really, because it’s nice to have someone with whom I *can* share things, and I don’t tend to share much, except with a select few, and then it’s usually an abbreviated version of what’s actually going on). He’s concerned, and I think, would prefer that I take some time to slow down, rest, and recuperate. Except. If I rested every time I felt bad, I would not do anything at all. I’m at the point that I get tired brushing my hair. For real. That and resting doesn’t really make me feel better. Sure, sometimes I’m so exhausted that I forfeit an entire day, but I don’t feel *rested* or *better* after that; I’m just able to continue functioning instead of shutting down. I’m not sure how best to describe it. So instead of trying to fix what I cannot fix, I try to focus on living as much as I can. Doing and seeing and serving and loving as much as I can. I would rather burn brightly for a short period of time than to have more time on earth, but spend most of it in bed. Not that I think time in bed will significantly prolong my life or anything. So.

After promising to get at least 4 hours of sleep this weekend (per night, just so we are clear), I head home. Or well, not really home, since I’m exhausted. I head over to OLGC, intending to rest there for a bit before finishing the drive home. I get there and spend the next 45 minutes on their couch by the mosaic of Our Lady of Good Counsel.

20150327_162706

I don’t really get to sleep (perhaps for 5-10 minutes), but spend most of my time praying. They have a Fish Fry every Friday in Lent, starting at 5:30 pm. About that time, a bunch of people start coming into church, so I get up and head downstairs for dinner.

20150327_175436

After dinner, I head home. I make it there okay, but by the time I get to my house I’m exhausted again. I put some dishes in the dishwasher and head to bed. It’s about 8 pm. Although I’m exhausted, it takes me a while to actually fall asleep. I wake up at 3 am, after approximately 6 hours of sleep. I put away the dishes in the dishwasher and start another load. I stay busy for a couple hours, then go back down to sleep.

I get up again about 8 am. So, maybe 9 hours total? Surely, way over what I had promised to do. Saturday morning. I feel worse than Friday. So, so exhausted, and I’ve just gotten up (again). At least my blood sugar’s decent this morning (for me, anyway). I was awake a little later than I had wanted to be. I have been overdue in getting my oil changed on my car and wanted to be at the dealership when they opened, instead I arrived 45 minutes later, at 8:45 am. They had a couple of people in front of me, and it ended up taking about 2 hours, which was fine. I just sat there and caught up on my blog reading. 🙂 The receptionist/clerk/greeter (Jordan) let me know that he proposed to his girlfriend and is now engaged and due to be wed in September. So, please pray with me for his upcoming nuptials and marriage. They also ordered a part which “crumbled” while they were doing the oil change and tire rotation. It was only $15 and they’ll have it in on Tuesday, so likely sometime during Holy Week (next week!!) it will be repaired. The skid plate still needs to be replaced, but I’m still waiting on a quote for that.

Next, I headed to Home Depot. Several months ago, the lever inside my toilet tank had rusted and finally broken off. So, I’d been flushing the toilet by opening the tank and opening the flapper valve myself. Yay. I picked up a new lever and handle (since they went together, although sold separately — it was just easier than try to guess what would match my existing set up). While I was there, I picked up another hammer (since mine has been MIA for a while) so I could install my holy water font, some light bulbs which I have been needing for a while, and some all-purpose cleaner. Oh, and some paint samples, so I can finally get my bedroom re-painted. As you can see, I have a lot of things which need to be done around the house! While there, I was looking at windows, since it looks like I’ll have to replace the window in my shower, and they had a guy who can come out later today and give me a quote on it.

Untitled

Being awake only a few hours, I was already about at the limit of my exhaustion. Yet. I was right by a Kroger and needed to pick up some things there. It’s amazing how I can walk through nearly the entire store and *still* forget something. I made it out with ingredients for dinner, protein drinks, dishwasher soap, but forgot the milk. Oh well.

Feeling like I was dying, I went to the drive-thru Starbucks on the way back home. Sadly, there was a long line, but eventually, I received my life-saving iced venti no-ice mocha.

At home, I replaced the lever and handle on the toilet. I was momentarily thwarted when the adjustable wrench I have proved to be too small to get the bolt apart, but I was able to twist the handle (since the lever had already broken off) and loosen it that way. Yay! Problem solved and all is now well!

Untitled

After cleaning the bathroom, I set out to make dinner. I was going to make a “real meal,” but still being super-tired, I just made soup instead. I threw some bamboo, cut-up chicken breast, carrots, garlic, and spinach in some homemade broth and called it good. I sat down, it now being about 3 pm, and had my late lunch/early dinner while watching a movie. (No, I won’t tell you what it was; you’ll laugh at my choice!)

Untitled
Chicken Garlic Spinach Bamboo Carrot Soup

I think I mentioned that I’ve been completely exhausted since waking, right? So, since I have a couple hours before the window guy comes, I thought I’d take a quick nap. (See? I’m doing so well on this rest-thing that John suggested!) However, I wasn’t able to fall asleep, as exhaustion does not necessarily mean being tired. So. I decided to write this.

And here we are… all caught up to real time. Be sure to check for Part Two, to see how the rest of the evening/weekend goes!

God bless!

Happy Birthday, Justin!

Today is my friend and co-worker Justin’s birthday. It’s also Go Live day at work, with the implementation of ASAP (for the ED) and EpicCare Ambulatory in a few areas. So, we have been trying to plan on doing something for him, as he has to work a very long day today.

I had asked him last week what flavor cake he wanted and he had said that he would prefer either vanilla or funfetti. So, of course, I had to get the funfetti! 🙂 When I was picking out a frosting, my initial idea was to just get a vanilla; however, they had a new thing at the grocery where you pick up a container of vanilla (or “white”) frosting and can add a flavor pack of your choice. They had a blue one (BOY COLOR!) with a cotton candy flavor, so I picked that one. I also got multi-colored non-pareils and some birthday candles.

Here are some pictures of how the baking process went:

Funfetti mix:
DSCN2811

I chose to use only egg whites, instead of the whole egg, so that the funfetti colors might “pop” more. I thought that if I used the yolks, the cake might be more of a yellow color. I don’t bake, but this was my thought. 🙂

Frosting, just after adding the cotton candy flavoring:
DSCN2819

Frosting after mixing:
DSCN2821

Baked cakes! I made two cakes, so that we could drop one off at UHS — where Justin was deployed — and still be able to have some back at the office.
DSCN2824DSCN2825

Frosted cakes:
DSCN2826DSCN2827

Cakes with frosting and colored candies:
DSCN2829DSCN2830

Finished cake, complete with candles.
DSCN2832

Carolyn got him a huge tub of Dubble Bubble, and changed the number on the tub so that it reads 380 376 pieces!
Dubble Bubble

The delivery of his cake to the UHS Command Center:
Cake!

We got him two balloons (Happy Face and Spiderman), a pen with his name on it, and a sign saying Justin Pl.
Spiderman BalloonHappy Face Balloon

And, finally, video coverage of our surprising him with his birthday goodies!

Nothing Like a Brand-New Baby!

DSCN2319

At work, the MiChart Cadence Credentialed Trainers are like another family to me. 🙂 So we celebrated, with great joy, the birth of our first MiChart baby!

Nick brought his wife, Betsy, and their new daughter, Madelin, in for us to meet her.

She is such a doll! I mean, just look at her!
DSCN2321

We filled a huge gift bag with lots of presents for Madelin and her new parents, and ordered pizza and soda so that we would have more time during our lunch hour[s] to visit. I got to hold her for a very long time! 🙂 She slept through it all; only occasionally pausing to stretch or sigh or squeak a little. 🙂

Congratulations to Nick and Betsy! Your life will never be the same again!

MiChart: Go Live!

The first few days of Go Live were quite exciting for the MiChart crew! We wore our magical MiChart polo shirt to signify that we were Credentialed Trainers (and were *still* mistaken for Super Users, even though they had bright orange/yellow T-shirts). We deployed to various places around the Health System, ready and willing to field whatever problems might arise!

I was originally scheduled to be in the Command Center with Noel, as Carolyn was out, and arrived at Domino’s Farms early at 5:30 am.

A couple hours in, and Irene re-deployed me to the MPB, where Peds did not have any CTs or Super Users for the entire building. It was a good thing that I went, as their templates were messed up and we needed to fix things so that they could schedule RV appointments at the conclusion of clinic. It was fun to be in Peds Multispecialty again and I enjoyed working with the people there.

Cori, one of the Administrative Assistants, showed me how very dedicated they were to being green, as she jumped into a recycling bin to squish down the paper, so that we could fit more in:
We are DEDICATED to being green!  :)

I was in Peds for a day and a half, and then was recalled back to the Command Center, as Noel was getting swamped with Remedy tickets.

The Command Center was a blast! People (like Kevin, here) had placed caution tape up on the entrances to their offices and cubes:
Caution tape in the Command Center!

For the first few days, we had yummy meals catered to us! They usually came in themes: Chinese, Mexican, etc. They fed us breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack, and there were snackies and drinks available throughout. This meant that you ate as you worked. 🙂 We knew it was going to be hard-core when they told us the location of the laundry facilities in the building, told us of the availability of showers, and that there was 2 hotel rooms nearby reserved for our use.

We even had Zombie Cake!
Mmmm...  Zombie Cake!

There was a night pantry, well-stocked for the late nights on the job:
The Late Night Pantry!
The bison toys, canned meat and blankie were special touches, as well as:

5 Hour Energy Drinks! A whole CASE of them!
A whole box of 5 hour energy!

And the DAMMIT DOLL!
Dammit Doll!
This thing is perhaps the most awesome of all! 🙂