I AM THAT I AM

One of the most powerful verses in the Bible is the verse, “I am that I am.” It encompasses so much understanding of God within such a few words. It implies that God accepts who He is and compares Himself to no other God. It says that He is enough and we need no more.

Several years back I saw written in a dream “You are who you are.” This dream has been pivotal in my life, for I grew up in a very critical and rejecting atmosphere and struggle with comparing myself to others.

In the past two months I have been mentoring another nurse who works for my company. She is in awe of me and I am in awe of her. My brain processes things very fast and as a result I skim through a lot of life at top speed. She, on the other hand, processes at a different level. She is very detailed and slow in her thinking. I am not implying that she is stupid in any way, she is brilliant, but she just processes differently than I do.

The other day I had a patient who told me that her daughter was upset with my company because somehow we should have known that her panic attacks were due to heart problems. How on earth I was supposed to know that without an MRI or EKG is beyond me but I started beating myself up over the complaint. I kept thinking if I was a nurse like my friend was, maybe I would have slowed down enough to pester the doctor to death to get this patient seen earlier. As it was the lady went in for heart surgery and is on the mend now so the volatile daughter should be taking a chill pill.

Nonetheless my nurse friend called me at 10:30 pm that night and told me, “She thought she was going over the deep end.” Apparently a patient’s daughter had torn her up from one end to the other because she had sent her mother to the ER and the hospital had said that there was nothing wrong with her mother.

I had been so stressed out for a week and a half with my company that I erupted in laughter. I couldn’t stop either. The more she told me the harder I laughed. Then she started laughing too and pretty soon we were struggling to breathe because we were laughing so hard.

I told her not to let this woman steal her joy and that is what she had told me over Christmas when the company we both work for had done everything they could possibly do to ruin my Christmas. We laughed some more and then expressed our love for each other and hung up.

I realized that God loves me just as I am and I do the very best that I can possibly do in my position as a home health nurse but I am not God and I do not have a pocket MRI in my scrubs. In other words I am limited in my ability to play God as some doctors do.

I also understand that people love their mothers but that does not give them a right to attack those of us who are caring for their mothers. I busted my ass on this case and went above and beyond for this patient in many respects and to have her daughter turn around and indicate that I should have known that her mother’s panic attacks were heart related is just ludicrous. I think that the reason why I busted out laughing with my girlfriend was because all day I had been thinking I should be more like her and she had been verbally attacked by a patient’s daughter also. So it didn’t matter what kind of nurse either her or I was, it only mattered that we were in the vicinity of two daughters who were angry.

Sometimes I don’t know how I would survive in this world without the friends that God places in my path.The gift of laughter at the end of a stressful day is like icing on a pie, a “cow pie” that is.

AN EUROPEAN LADY

The lady was bent over with age, her knees creaking with arthritis as she hobbled around the table in her apartment. Her nose was long and her wrinkles deep. I could tell she was an European lady from the accent. As I heard the lilt in her voice, I immediately became excited. I love Europe and hope to travel there one day. The more I meet of people from that region the more the hunger grows.

I started talking with her trying to get to know her better. It was apparent that she was quite poor but she said she was blessed. Her face broke into a smile when she mentioned the gift of a 20$ Kroger gift card. On one of my visits a couple from Meals on Wheels stopped by to give her the gifts that she had bought for her grandson. She had captured their heart just as she was doing mine.

She no longer drives so she has to rely upon the kindness of others for many things. There was one time when I was at her apartment and her phone didn’t work. I used my cell phone to call the phone company to get it fixed because I did not want her safety compromised. Somehow her grateful nature makes me want to always do more for her.

She said several times that her heavenly Father was so good to her. She had gotten a few gifts but only that which she needed, you would have thought she had gotten gold when you saw her smile.

I know of two other people who are not my patients. They have three luxury cars, a lake house and a beach house and all I ever her about them is that they don’t think they have enough. I wonder if it is because they are liars or if it is because they spend everything they have on themselves, never realizing the joy that comes with sharing?

The lady who is my patient is very poor in money but rich in gratitude. The other couple is very wealthy in material possessions but poor in thankfulness. I suspect that my patient is the one who knows true contentment and happiness. The wealthy couple may only know the despair of poverty because selfishness never leads to contentment or fulfillment.

AN INTERESTING CASE

I didn’t want to take the case. I had done a case similar to this before and I didn’t like it. In addition to this, the patient also lived clear across town. In home health it is smart to stay close to home in relation to your patients. That way you can take more patients and do a better job because you are not in a rush all of the time.

I read a bit of history on this patient and it seemed as if he had a problem with depression. He had lost a child several years back and understandably could not get past that. I started praying for this guy.

I finally relented and took the case but I told my agency it would only be the admission, I would do nothing more for this case.

When I first met him I thought he was remarkable. He did struggle with depression but there was no bitterness for all of the health problems he had to battle on a daily basis. He could have sued because his case had been mishandled in many ways, but he chose not to go down that path. By the end of the admit I really liked the guy. I told my agency I wanted to do more than just the admit, I wanted to do all of the visits and not to give him to anyone other than me.

Pretty soon, I got him laughing. His belly would jiggle and his face would break out into the biggest grin ever. We would joke about anything and everything. It became my goal to get him to laugh at least one time every visit. I also did my job and taught him about his medication and his disease process, so I wasn’t just a comedian. (Calm down Medicare regulators, sheesh, get a life!)

There were other visits though. Sometimes we would discuss the loss of his child and the grin would disappear. Sometimes tears would be glistening in his eyes. When you care about someone it is important to allow the tears, as well as the laughter, and to know the value of silence when you hear a heart breaking. Throughout the tears and the laughter a bond of friendship was growing.

He got over his health issue and I had to discharge him as a patient. I told him the discharge was only in regards to his patient status, from now one he was one of my friends, and I had no intention of ever letting him go.

I talked to him the other day and he says that this year has been the best he has had since his child went to heaven. He usually gets real depressed during the holidays but somehow since meeting me he feels like celebrating is a possibility. In addition to me, he has also met a lovely woman whom he has deep affection for and I am thrilled that there may be a romance blossoming for him.

I know this may be weird but one of the reasons I like this guy is because he is disabled with neuropathy. He is not a social isolate but you would think I was the Queen of Egypt when I call. He is overjoyed every time I talk with him. This guy really makes me feel like I am something special.

As we were talking the other day I found out he had a birthday in December. It was the day after Christmas. My birthday is New Year’s Eve and it totally sucks to have a birthday anywhere near Jesus’ and a double whammy on New Year’s Eve because everyone has their own party. So we made a pact to celebrate our birthdays together on a day which suits both of us and I am holding him to that pact.

Because of HIPPA regulations and because I am in the health field I can not name this person. But you know who you are and I want to wish you a Happy Birthday and send you my love. We will celebrate together soon.

You have said what a difference my presence has made in your life and I always am amazed by that because I always feel like I unlocked a treasure chest full of jewels when I am around you.


THE PRODUCTION OF CHRISTMAS

Well, Christmas is once again done and over with. The highlight of my holiday season this year was the Bible Study Christmas dinner I went to on the Monday before Christmas. What fun that was.

This year more so than ever Christmas was a production. I had my lights up in the first week of November. I had the rest of the decorating done by Thanksgiving. Then there was the baking I usually do. My daughter gave me a reality check on that this year because usually most of the sweets are thrown out after Christmas because her and I are always on a diet. So little to none of the cookies and fudge was done.

Sometime before Christmas I got a word from God about Christmas. He said, “So many people make it about decorating, when it is really supposed to be about people.”

I live in a wonderful neighborhood where most of us decorate the outsides of our homes and cars drive slowly by to gaze at the wonder. A neighbor of mine got the award this year for the best decorations so we take it pretty seriously. Last night I was trying to get out of the neighborhood but couldn’t because there was so many cars driving through to gaze at the lights. I realized that we did the decorating for others, not ourselves sometimes.

Then today was Christmas and as I was bustling about my kitchen making the delicious Holiday meal I had to keep myself in check. I was getting anxious about the food getting cold and my kids not being downstairs to eat it. I raised my voice a couple of times and my daughter chided me for that. I immediately lowered the tone and calmed myself down because I remembered my childhood and how my mother would scream in frustration when she was getting ready for Christmas.

The gifts were all perfectly wrapped and in front of my entertainment center, which was also decorated to the hilt. We had a great time unwrapping our gifts and giving thanks to each other.

My company had not handled the holiday situation correctly at all and in addition to the stress that I had making a perfect meal I had to handle a bunch of stress that they had created. Thank God I have friends in the company which I can vent to and they made it so much better for me.

When we all sat down to eat, my sweet daughter offered to give thanks for the food. She said the sweetest prayer ever and I told her from now on she had that privilege.

Growing up I know that my mother had an artistic side so she wanted everything looking perfect. I appreciate that but it always seemed she cared more about how the house and tree looked than the children whom she had bought gifts for. My daughter has a touch of that too but she is so much more competent than either my Mother or I that she can pull it off without an explosion.

When I think of Christ and how He was born I wonder why we go to so much effort to put on a production. He never did. He didn’t even have a home to decorate. He didn’t go into debt buying gifts for us, yet He gave us so much more. He gave us His life to cover our debt of sin. That my friends is what Christmas is all about.

THE FUN OF FELLOWSHIP

I am in a small group in my church. It is a group of really cool people who most may consider misfits in some circles. It is a group which I find deep fellowship within.

Today I found out they were having a Christmas dinner. I had not gone last Monday night so I didn’t know until this morning that they needed me to bring something. I had to work all day so I did not have time to cook anything. Plus one of my sons came home earlier than I expected so I try to spend as much time picking his brilliant brain as possible when I do get home.

I had made extra party mix though so I told them I would bring that plus some sweets if I had the time. It ended up with me just bringing the party mix. I felt kind of bad for only bringing that but this group is so cool that they wouldn’t have cared what I brought just as long as I brought me.

I had called my son to ask if he would go with me. He said “No, because he didn’t know anyone there.” I said, “Okay.” Then I remembered that one of the guys was going to medical college so I told him he may get some pointers on the MCAT which he will be taking next year.

I rushed home after having a busy day at work. My sweet son had made me dinner so I ate a bit of dinner before I went for a walk to work that dinner off, just to turn around and go to another dinner. As I was getting ready to leave, my son asked me what the Bible Study was going to cover. I said “Nothing, we are just going to eat.”

He then indicated that he may be interested in going and he changed into a better set of clothes in case there were any pretty girls there. (Boys will be boys)

We had a fabulous dinner and came home with a rack of ribs from the guy who heads the Bible study and supports his ministry by barbecuing. The ribs will be a blessing for the next week because I had nothing in my frig to feed my kids until the big Christmas dinner. What a great God I have.

The coolest thing about the whole night was that we had such a wonderful time. My son really enjoyed the company and said how much he liked the group of people. I told him hanging out with Christians wasn’t all that bad and I would prefer them over anyone.

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in being “church people” that we forget it isn’t supposed to be what we do for one hour in a building. It is supposed to be how we live each and every moment. Other times I feel that most people wouldn’t mind coming to church if we would show them the love of God when there isn’t a pulpit.

I am hoping and praying that this son feels the presence of God in his life because he is searching for that. I know that if he was looking for love he would have found it in the midst of us this evening.

I am thankful for the family I have within this small group and so grateful to God for my church. You can be a Christian without going to church but I would reckon you would not be as deeply loved.

THE MASK

I have known several people who have become very busy in the aftermath of being divorced. They have joined several different single’s groups and have done the internet dating scene. They work full time and spend quality time with their family. They also serve in their church. To other people you would think that they had it all together. They appear to be happy, yet it seems as if their smile may just be a mask.

I know these people because I was one of them. Someone who was running from loneliness. In my frantic run I ran right into the arms of many different men who said that they loved me but I knew better. They loved the mask. They didn’t even know me, how could they love me?

As I have matured and worked through the pain of divorce, I have shielded myself from people who want just the mask. Those people are not comfortable with me when I speak my mind and tell them that they are wrong. They have a controlling and manipulative nature. They want me to put the mask on again and again. In the process, they demand that I support them in wearing their mask.

They love what they see on the outside when they look at me but they don’t have the courage to unwrap the inside. As I gain courage to take the mask off, I find that I am drawing people to me who like what they see on the inside.

These people say I am a wonderful person who is kind and loving and they don’t try to manipulate me. Some of them are men and some of them are women. They are all my cherished friends. When they say that they love me I know they really do because they have seen the pain, despair and the corresponding healing and joy that is hidden deep inside.

As friends do, I have seen their mask drop down also. Sometimes the mask has been that of pain and I knew there was joy to be found behind the mask. Other times there was arrogance and I sensed insecurity lurking in the depths. I have seen their pain and their triumphs. My love for them deepens as I see them courageously brave the elements of life without the mask.

There is something about confession that brings to mind the dropping of a mask. When we confess our sins we are ripping off the behavior or actions that we may have done which now seem to be so wrong. It is in this admission that the process of repentance and healing happens. For if you don’t confess that you have done anything wrong how can you change it?

As our mask drops in the process of confession, being open and honest with God, I imagine He has the same reaction as I do. His love deepens and forgiveness rains down like a gentle mist from heaven.

NO REGRETS

I was talking with one of my patients the other day and she started lamenting the choices she had made in her life. She had helped her husband in his business and adored that man. She had raised an excellent son but she thought that maybe she should have been a teacher.

I told her not to regret anything she had done because there was no success in regrets. You can’t go back and change anything that you did yesterday, nor 50 years ago, which was her case. I told her she was a great lady with an amazing sense of humor. She had had a successful marriage which is something very few people can claim these days and she was proud of her son.

Then today I had to take my own advice. I have been going on little sleep lately because Santa is the nastiest slave driver ever and I am being so much more perfectionistic than I need to be.

So I pulled into the parking lot of this senior living facility and I was eating a bit of my lunch that I had packed this morning. I heard a leaf blower coming my way and looked into my rear view mirror. This cute young black man was doing his best to blow leaves into my car. The very same car I had washed and cleaned just a few days ago. I mumbled a few nasty words and then got out of my car with a glare. The glare of course was directed at him. He sheepishly mouthed “I’m sorry,” a few times and I walked past him ignoring him.

In other words I acted like a real shit and I regretted it the minute I passed him. I felt bad all day but I did confess my sin to God this evening. It is very unlike me to act like I am “all that” and it doesn’t feel right when I do. I know if I ever encounter this situation again I will respond differently.

I think that is what repentance may be. In essence,it is a way to process what may have been a regret into a change in behavior. As in the case of regrets, there is also no success in sin but there is a great reward in repentance.

Thanksgiving left over dish

I love to cook for the holidays. I love having my children at my home and feeding them as if “diet” was a word only extraterrestrials knew the meaning of. What I don’t love doing is throwing food out when they leave because I personally happen to know the definition of “diet”. So one of the creative ways I get around the left over problem is to develop new casseroles.

This year I had a winner on my hands. I had about a cup and a half of left over homemade hollandaise sauce, a smidgeon of Asparagus and some turkey. When I looked in my pantry I noticed about a half a bag full of egg noodles. I started the casserole by blanching the asparagus and then I warmed up the sauce in a huge cast iron skillet. I then added about two cups of turkey to the sauce and started boiling the noodles. As soon as the noodles were Al Dante I added them to the sauce and also put in the diced Aparagus. It was delicious looking. The creamy sauce looked delicious swimming through the noodles.

Then I made a mistake. I put it in the oven with some crushed potato chips. It was only in the oven about 20 minutes and I took it out and all of the sauce had disappeared! I don’t know where it went to, it just evaporated into thin air.

My son liked it anyhow so the entire casserole went with him to college.

So next time I try this casserole I will not put it in the oven. What I will do is just keep it warm on the stove top and maybe melt some shredded cheddar cheese on top. I am hoping to try this idea again during Christmas time with ham instead of Turkey mixed in.

JUDGES

Well, I think we have an epidemic my friends. It seems as if the insanity which I encountered in the 322nd district court of Tarrant County has spread. It appears as if the judges in Tarrant County all drink from the same water which is tainted with bullshit.

But alas, it was not the family court system which now has produced such fodder my blog. No, now it was the Municipal courts.

My daughter apparently got a speeding ticket on July 4th. She paid about $200.00 at that time and talked with someone in the court system who apparently told her that she could take a safety course also. This woman gave my daughter the impression that it was her option, not a necessity.

Last week I got a letter from the municipal court which had my daughter’s name on it. The letter stated that she had to now pay $96.00 for the ticket because she had chosen not to take the “optional” safety course.

My daughter is a nanny and she takes care of two adorable little boys, one which is two and one which is four. The four year old was in school today so she took the two year old along to her court appointment.

The poor little tyke saw someone else in the courtroom who had red converse shoes just like he had on and he had the audacity to say “shoes.” The judge told her she would have to put him outside the courtroom. Really? This kid is only two. My daughter said she was not going to do that, which got her kicked out of line and out of the courtroom. She had to wait 45 minutes before she could be seen. She had even arrived ten minutes early initially.

Something was smelling a great deal like discrimination at this point. Seriously? I would have slapped the fricking judge silly at this point.

So she finally got to be seen before the judge with the little tyke on her hip and the judge said she would still have to pay the $96.00 and she said it with a laugh. I don’t know why judges think they are better than other people but a bit of kindness and mercy goes a long way and this judge hadn’t even taken the first step on that path.

So then my daughter had to wait in line to pay the stinking $96.00 at which point the sweet little two year old tyke turned into a monster and would not listen to her. She finally paid the fee.

I hope that judge gets a flat tire on the way home and a whole lot of other horrible shit happens to her. I think she discriminated against my daughter just because she had a child on her hip.

So for those people who are protesting and raising cane in Kansas because you think you have a harder time of it because you are black I feel for you. As a single mother I have been discriminated against more times than I can count and I feel your frustration.

The judges in Tarrant County of Texas are a complete joke. They are not professional. Instead they are rude and verbally abusive. They are supposed to be honorable judges but I don’t think they know they meaning of the word, honor. Someday they will be judged and they will be held accountable for each and every act and word they have said in court. When that happens I will be the one laughing and God will be the righteous judge.