Friday, September 9, 2011

Getting out......feeling like a contributing member of society

I had a few errands to run to take care of before I start my new job. I took the camera along 'cause I knew I was going to be stopping at McKinley Park and thought I might sneak in a few photos. I forget how lovely Sacramento's Mid-Town is. I forget that although it's NOT San Francisco, it is a CITY and has a little bit of the feel of some  of S.F.'s neighborhoods do. I guess if I really wanted to 'move to the city' I could practice in a little place in Mid-Town Sac and see how I adapt. In suburbia things are so EASY and VANILLA. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to convey what I's like everything is prepackaged and nothing has any charm or flavor. Yeah, that covers it, sort of. And, in all seriousness, I'm pretty accustomed to easy and vanilla. I might find that not having ready made within spitting distance from my home is something I don't like. But, I still wonder on occasion what it would be like to live the city life. This line of thought comes from spending time in the area hospitals in the last couple of weeks on Mended Little Hearts business. Getting set up as a volunteer at two of the major pediatric heart centers had me downtown 4 days last week. Driving around down there got me thinking about maybe I would find myself needing to be close to one or both of these hospitals. I digress....McKinley Park and the surrounding area was delightful today and I took the time to enjoy it.

Have a photo excursion planned on Sunday in Downtown to capture the September 11th Memorial activity. I imagine an emotion filled day.

Have a glorious weekend,
S ♥

*on a side note, I've come to the realization that I sort of let facebook take the place of blogging and I've noticed a reaction I have when I've been out reading blogs again, I want to "like" comments and posts and "share" know, like on FB! An observation of societal conditioning, eh?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Retrospective......The Path

(The photo is merely gratuitous, but hang out, it might have some meaning before I get done with this post)

I've been reviewing the blog and reminiscing. Like the previous post says, I laughed, cried, marveled and found myself. Or, maybe I always knew myself, but had lost me somewhere along the way. I truly think God does us an injustice by letting us stumble through life without a clue. Here's my logic; if we were moderately less stupid when we start out we could accomplish soooo much more by the time we're old. I guess where I'm going with this is, if I had known 25 years ago this is where I was going to end up, more to the point, WANT to end up, I could have been this person for 25 more years. And, maybe helped more folks, myself included. Now, I'm sure there will be some folks who will use the argument that God's timing is perfect, but I just highlighted why it might not necessarily be. I guess the trip down memory lane was both cathartic and thought provoking. In 2005 I knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, I just didn't know HOW to get there/here. In August of 2009 I knew where I wanted to go and thought I knew how I was going to get there. Even when I began the blog, the very first post, talks about giving back. I guess I'm being silly, knowing everything early wouldn't have been nearly as fun, right? Reminder to self; It is the journey that matters, not necessarily the destination.

The blog really has been a source of life lessons......apparently ones I inherently knew but was too obtuse to get until I rambled on about them here. I was able to compare life to a game show and question making changes in our choices and what the new choice might look like and whether or not it would have been the better choice given the lessons we learned by virtue of our first choice.(I went to school and took an English class while I was writing and apparently learned nothing about run-on sentences). I acknowledged a very private part of myself about my dashed hopes of having a family of my own and that ONE person to share it with, this alone was worth the time I spent blogging. Maybe the ONE is still out there and now that I've found my way we will stumble in to each other. (he better be an Irish, cowboy, warrior, heart repair guy, {if I get to pick}). And, right there, one more lesson......I have not given up HOPE.......however, sometimes HOPE gets in the way of reality(another lesson).

Even more illuminating to me was that I think I might have been happier when I blogged. Or rather, less grumpy. Because a friend shared, "writing is the new praying" and on a very regular basis we all inspired each other to embrace joy, simplenessgratitude, and happiness by writing these things down. I have read my fair share of self help books over the years and I distinctly remember many of them encouraging a journal in which we wrote down things we were grateful for, right? I guess I learned that not only is writing the new praying, but blogging is the new journaling. (yes, oft times I am late to the party, but I eventually catch on).

The review also gave me an opportunity to review my writing. To 'hear' my voice. To see the evolution of my style. I truly enjoy writing and think that I am a good writer. Every once in a while I really made a splash, like my acceptance speech and twice I wrote about inspiration, here and here and thought my prose quite entertaining. But, mostly, I feel that my writing was/is honest and accessible.I could be wrong, maybe some old blogging world friends are reading and can confirm my self promoting assumption. (tongue in cheek). I guess it is okay to say I like my writing and think I should do it more. God Bless the blog review.

Well, I guess I was wrong, the photo is not tied to anything in this post.....well, maybe an acknowledgement of the 'fruits of one's labor'. What were those again? (ppsht)

Oh, yes and one last lesson about is addicting and time consuming....and I just hope I will have the time to visit my old friends, write and enjoy both processes whilst WORKING!

Ah, that felt good.

S ♥

Monday, September 5, 2011

Memory lane.......♥

(Check it out: Wine for Pediatric Cardiac support)

I felt like writing some more tonight and I wanted this post to be kind of a retrospective, but it took me so long to review the HITS that I think I'm too drained to do it justice. I laughed, I cried and I marveled at how much my life has changed. Big things, but some subtle things I didn't really notice until I began reviewing the early blog posts. Blogging changed my life. I knew this when I was blogging and even wrote a couple of posts about it. Maybe it is just the act of writing things down and being able to purge and then examine. Often times when I would write I would do it in stream of consciousness way and I believe it was therapeutic. It is amazing how much you know yourself and yet can be so unconscious about who you are and what you want. Yeah, I think it's too late to be trying to write this now.

I will say this, it was nice to have a few old friends stop by and take notice of my reentry into the bloggy world. After my review I realized how much I've missed you all.

Perhaps tomorrow the retrospective.

The wine? No I have not taken up drinking again. (Although in the case of this wine I wish I could) Check it out. The Vinter's son between the ages and 9 & 10 had back to back open heart surgeries for a congenital heart defect. After recovery the boy asked his dad if they could make a wine and give all of the proceeds to charities that help kids with CHD and their families. So, I just like to give them a plug when I have a chance. If you can, buy a bottle and drink it in my honor, it would mean a lot to me.

S ♥

THE POINT........

I set out to find something I didn't think I could. And, then, I found it. I have so much to tell and because there is so much to tell I don't really know where to start. Back in November of 2009 I wrote a post about the realization that my life had changed. I spent so many years just accepting the life that I had fallen in to that it never occurred to me that I could change it. Although I was always blessed in that life, I was directionless and not truly invested, and always yearning for something more fulfilling. And, I am back here today sorting out how things have fallen in to place. 

I began blogging as sort of an online journal and commentary on taking an active role in my own life. I worked in the same field for over 25 years, hating it and feeling like I was missing some point. You know, THE POINT. I was. I knew it, but had no idea how to get to THE POINT. You can read HERE how I acknowledge this, but that I was aware I was wasting time. There have been soooo many things that have transpired since the beginning of this blog, that upon review, blow me away as I read about the unfolding of my life. And all roads have led to THE POINT. Whether conscious or not, I have been on a trajectory that got me to a place where I truly am invested and want to be. 

In 2005, while recovering from my last open heart surgery I met a person who had lived through similar medical situations, through our mutual surgeon. God bless, Richard Mainwaring, MD. As a result of that introduction, my friend, Kathy and I connected over our 'issues' and discovered that maybe the doctors were missing an element of recovery by not connecting their patients to some kind of emotional support system. At the time I looked, but did not find any type of support system, ie; support group of folks with similar congenital heart defects, who survived to adulthood. There was a group that supported adults who had heart attacks, strokes and other acquired heart disease, but those folks could not relate to my scenario and I could not relate to theirs. I asked that group, Mended Hearts, if they had a CHD 'branch' for the adult survivors of CHD, they didn't at that time. It was then that I decided I was going to find a way to help the children and families of congenital heart defects. I did not, at the time have any idea how I was going to do that, but figured I would stumble in to it somehow. 

It would be two more years before life provided me with an opportunity to leave the field I was in and start the serious search for THE POINT. In July of 2007 I quit my job in mortgage banking and moved in to my grandmother's house to take care of her at the end of her life. The Hospice nurse who worked with us was the most amazing person and she inspired me. I also learned a lot about myself and the depth of my compassion for another person. After my grandmother's passing I stumbled around for about a year and actually returned for a short stint in the dreaded 'old career'. This return stint was the breaking point I knew I had to come to in order for me to finally GET OUT. Shortly after I started working I hunted down a resume writer and had her write me a resume for the medical field. Although I did not have a lick of experience medically related, (accept of course those pesky trips to the OR for valve transplants), but I knew that my VAST experience in the same field for 25 years could have some transfer potential. The resume writer and I clicked and she created a really great resume and I was just getting ready to paper the town with it when I got laid off......I took this as a sign. With unemployment available to me I went back to school to pursue a certificate in medical assisting. There are few posts about that, herehere and here, but once I figured out where I was going to finish, I got my certificate in February of this year. Of course, then began the long, arduous process of applying for jobs.

Concurrent to my schooling and subsequent job search I found a support group for families of children with CHD, a branch of the previously mentioned Mended Hearts and joined them in August of 2010. I attended the monthly meetings and participated where I could. I felt that this group was a place where I could do some good. I also spent some time, that fall, with my previously mentioned friend Kathy and her new daughter, Lily during Lily's stint in the hospital going through open heart surgery. It was like dipping my toe in the water of the pool I wanted to swim in and I started to feel the ripples of something big on my horizon. It would be several months before things gelled, but I could feel THE POINT was within the reach of my finger tips. 

The job hunting process was a bit frustrating and I'm not going to lie, it sucked, because I have actual documentation that I applied for more than 150 jobs in the medical field just trying to get my toe in the pool. Finally, I got the call to go down and take the test that the big medical systems want you to take to prove you actually learned something in school. Two big tests within days of each other and I passed both! Whew!  But, then more waiting for an actual call for a job interview. 

About the time all of this was going on I was invited to a leadership meeting with Mended Little Hearts (support group I joined). I reviewed the email a couple of times and took note of the invitees and wondered why I was invited, as I was not sure HOW I got included.....but I took it as a sign, the Universe was calling me out, "either jump in and participate or pack it in and go home". So, I went to the meeting with the thought in the back of my mind I was going to walk away with a leadership role in this great little organization. And, I did. I inquired about the lead coordinator position and eventually agreed to take it on. 

Within a short time of accepting the position with MLH I got a call from one of those big medical systems whom I tested for and I interviewed on a Wednesday and the very next day received an offer of employment from them to be a medical assistant! 

The next couple of days were pretty euphoric because the realization hit me that I got THE POINT and had reached my goal. I'm still trying to grasp the reality of all of it. This of course is a seriously truncated version of the long story, because there were quite a few stumbles, road blocks, missed turns, and sleepless nights wondering if I am smart enough, compassionate enough, strong enough and brave enough and not too old to be this person. To give back like I have dreamed of doing. To be involved with these amazing kids and their amazing families and to really make a difference in the world. To know what THE POINT of my life is, to leave a legacy I can be proud of. 

There were so many important aha moments over the last six years that it would take a book to share them. Maybe some day I will write those down, too. 

But, for tonight, I feel like I have collected my thoughts and been able to revel in the beauty that is the Divine. Thanks for the intervention. 

S  ♥