Archive | June, 2010

Mini Rose Bush for the Soul

22 Jun
I had a really difficult on call yesterday and last night.  I went for about 30 hours without sleep, so I was napping when Bruce got home this afternoon.  When I woke up, I looked over at the mantel and saw this … 
A mini pink rose bush to help me feel better!
Have I mentioned lately how much I love my husband?

Tune Up

20 Jun
Look who got a tune up last night … 

Ever since we bought Bruce’s truck, we have been talking about selling our little scooter.  We don’t know where we will be moving to, but I highly doubt that it will be an urban area where we can tool around on something with a 50 cc engine.
But now Bruce is having second thoughts!  It is fun, I’ll give him that (although I’m not as fearless as I used to be ever since I took a tumble back in December).  I guess it makes sense to keep it for now and make a decision when we find out where we’re going.
Anyone want to buy a scooter?

Summertime Rice & Beans

19 Jun

Throughout the winter, I love whipping up big batches of soups and chili on a Sunday afternoon for lunch throughout the week.  During the summer, however, it is just tooooooo hot to eat soup and chili on a regular basis.  So I stopped cooking a weeks worth of food on Sundays.

And started eating pop tarts for lunch.
Last weekend, I thought to myself, There has got to be something in between pop tarts and chili!
And there is.  Ohhhhhhh there is.
Summertime Rice & Beans
1 cup uncooked White Rice
1 can Black Beans
1 can Red Beans
1 can Whole Kernel Corn
1 can Rotel
2 tbsp. Lime Juice
Get your rice started.
How do you all cook rice?  Bruce uses his rice cooker, but I like doing it the old fashioned way.  Boil 2 cups of water … 
… add your rice … 
… and mix in 1 tbsp. of butter and 1 tsp. of salt.

Maybe it’s not the old fashioned way of doing things.  Maybe it’s the unhealthy way.  I don’t care.  It tastes delicious.

Anyway, cover, reduce to low and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, while your rice is simmering …

Drain and rinse the black beans, red beans and corn.

Pour mixture into pot and place on stove.  Add lime juice to the mixture and stir carefully.

Do you know how hard it is to take a picture of yourself adding lime juice to something?  Harder than you would think.  The picture was terrible, but I swear I added it.  Use your imagination.

Add Rotel (but don’t drain!).  Turn stove on Med to Med/High.

Bring mixture to a boil.  Stir carefully so nothing burns to the bottom of the pot.

When the rice is cooke, turn off the stove and add to pot.

Stir everything together.


I’m not even joking.  This fed me all week and I’ve still got some to spare.  It probably cost a grand total of $4 to make and it was so easy!  Yesterday morning I decided to grate up some cheese when I was getting my lunch ready and melted it on top when I heated it up at the hospital.  SO delicious.  I was also thinking it would make an incredible burrito filler if I had some tortilla wraps.

Does anybody else have inexpensive recipe that are more summertime-appropriate?  Help a girl out!

This One is Too Funny Not to Share

18 Jun

I was down in the burn unit this afternoon to check on a newly admitted patient and see how their family was doing (I had heard from the OC chaplain last night that there were a lot of family members milling around when the patient was admitted).

I checked in with the Sr. Staff Nurse and she offered to introduce me to the family.  We walked into the room and she introduced me to the patient, his father and his uncle as the chaplain.

The patient’s uncle looked me up and down, took a deep breath and said loudly (with a heavy southern accent):  “Well, you’re the prettiest chaplain I’ve ever seen!  They didn’t make them like that like when I was younger.”

When I got back to the chaplaincy office I told my supervisor that I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be offended or flattered.  It was 3:45 on Friday afternoon.  I chose flattered.

TGIF y’all.

The Five Year Old in Me

18 Jun
When I was five-years-old, I was part of a graduation ceremony at my nursery school.  All of the graduates walked onto a wooden bridge and said their name, favorite color, favorite food and what they were going to be when they grew up.  Most of the kids in my class wanted to be police officers, fire fighters, teachers, moms and dads.  Here’s what I said:
My name is Sarah, my favorite color is blue, my favorite food is macaroni and cheese and I’m going to be a minister when I grow up.

Tomorrow I finish my third week of CPE.  Can you believe I’m that far into it?  I can’t.  It seems like just yesterday I was getting ready for orientation.  The program is 11 weeks long, meaning I am about a quarter of the way through.

That is insane.
A lot of the reflections that I am making I don’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing right away.  I promise I will when we get a little further away from the cases I am reflecting on.  But every day I am learning so much – about myself, about ministry, about people and about life in general.  
In my weekly reflection paper that I turned in to my supervisor a few days ago, I talked about pastoral authority.  It feels weird for me to be doing CPE now, at a time in my life when I am scraping together the last couple of requirements for ordination.  Pastoral authority seems just out of reach to me right now.  I’m waiting patiently for that time-honored tradition of the laying on of hands.
And yet – in the hospital – I do have pastoral authority.  When I walk into someone’s room, I am their chaplain.  I minister to them.  I’m their minister.
Who knows if my 5-year-old proclamation about vocation was actually a call into ministry.  But it is amazing to think that 20 years later, this is what I’m doing.
And I love it.  I really, really love it.

Daddy’s Fried Chicken

17 Jun

Fried Chicken was definitely a father/daughter bonding experience in my kitchen growing up.  Because the chicken-dredging process can take a lot of hands, my dad always asked my sister and me if we were willing to help him make dinner when that’s what was on the menu.  It’s actually the first meal I think I actually attempted to cook by myself!  It’s definitely fun to have a couple of “family recipes” in my collection.  It’s simple, but delicious!

Daddy’s Fried Chicken
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, whisked with a little bit of milk
1 cup breadcrumbs (I usually use original or plain)
Vegetable Oil
Create a dredging assembly line and pour about 1″of oil into a skillet, turning it on to med to med/high heat (I cook with cast iron, so my stove settings are always a little on the low side, more towards med).
Clean and slice your chicken breasts into strips.
Dredge the strips into the flour … 
… then the eggs … 
… and then the breadcrumbs.
Nothing like a big pile of raw chicken to wet your appetite for dinner.
I’m about to state the obvious, but always use precautions when handling raw chicken.  I always take my wedding rings off (learned that one the hard way – raw chicken and diamonds don’t mix well) and wash my hands after I’m done like I just walked out of the TB ward.
Drop chicken strips into heated oil.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning constantly.
Cook until golden brown (the first couple of times doing this, it’s a good idea to use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is cooked through), remove from oil and place on paper towel.
Serve with rice and pineapples and pretend you’re in Hawaii.
Well … you can serve it however you’d like.  But who doesn’t want to pretend they’re in Hawaii?

In the Name of Whoever I Represent to You – STOP!

16 Jun
The title of this post really has nothing to do with anything, only it came out of conversation that made me giggle out loud.  This morning we were having a staff meeting and the question came up, “What is the chaplain’s role if they come across someone trying to escape from the hospital?”  Considering the fact that pastoral authority really means nothing when it comes to restraining someone (picture me running after someone waving a bible in the air, pleading for them to stop and you’ll see my point), we all found the conversation entirely more entertaining than it probably should have been.  We also try to be extremely sensitive to the multi-religious needs of a hospital in a place like Atlanta, so we never make assumptions about what God looks like when we are talking to staff, patients and their families.  Hence the part about, “In the name of whoever I represent to you,” which just kind of added to the element of humor.
Or maybe theological humor really isn’t humorous at all.
Or maybe I’m just a dork.  Jury’s still out.
SPEAKING of being a dork – let me tell you all how my morning started.  First of all, I rolled over at 7:00 a.m., 15 minutes before I usually leave.  Whoops.  I leapt out of bed, but I am pleased to admit that I was showered, dressed, grabbed both breakfast AND lunch and still had time to kiss my husband before I left at 7:20.  Impressive, right?
So I get to the hospital at 7:40 and went into the lounge.  I could see the OC chaplain’s sunglasses and iPod, but she was nowhere to be found.  I opened up the chapel and started to put my stuff away when I heard the code blue going off.  Because I didn’t have the pager, I wasn’t supposed to respond, but 30 seconds later the phone rang in the lounge.  I answered and it was the OC chaplain, asking if I could respond because she was dealing with something else that she really couldn’t get away from.  I looked sadly at my not-yet-drunk coffee, grabbed my keys and headed towards the elevator.
I got in the elevator, hit 7 and made small talk with the other people riding.  Everyone else got off at 5, so I waited while the doors closed, I rode up further and the doors opened again.  I headed out of the elevator and down the hall.  And then I realized something.
I was on the 6th floor.  Not the 7th.  The elevator had stopped at 6 and I just assumed we were up on 7 and got out.
Sigh … 
I did a 360 on my heel and headed back to the elevator.  I rode up to the 7th floor, checked to make sure I was ACTUALLY on 7 and headed towards the ICU.  I asked the staff member who sits outside of the unit if she knew where the code was and she told me which room it was in.  I headed towards the double doors of the ICU and crashed directly into them.
Like – literally.
Here’s the thing – I was trying to get into an ICU.
All ICU units are locked.
I need to buzz myself into them with my card in order for the doors to open.
Well – I forgot.
“Umm, you have to use your card to get in.” I heard the woman say.  I thought that was generous, considering she was probably thinking to herself, “What a freaking moron.
“Oh yeah, thanks!” I laughed awkwardly, then whipped my card out like the old pro that I am (insert sarcastic eye roll here) and strutted into the unit like I’m completely competent.
What can I say?  Chaplaincy should only happen after my first cup of coffee.
I think this can also safely be filed under, “Moments in my life where I would like a do-over.”

Random Musings

16 Jun

Alternatively Titled:  I apologize in advance if this post has no theme, flow or structure.  It was a long day.

My day was mostly educational today.  I’m trying to find my rhythm in terms of seeing patients on my floor for long periods of time and not having that time broken up by meetings, didactics or office administrative stuff, but so far I haven’t been successful.  I’m hoping I will kind of fall into one over time.  We’ll see.
Oh – have I mentioned that I’ve been assigned a floor?  So now in addition to being part of the medical team during a code blue, wearing a pager, having a hospital ID and having a card that buzzes me into every room in the hospital I can now walk up to the unit clerk on my floor, say, “Can I have a census report?” and get handed a sheet of paper with all of the patients on my floor listed.  It’s kind of strange to have pastoral authority.
When I get dressed for Wear a Dress Tuesday now, I have to think in terms of how my pager and phone are going to be attached to my body.  It limits me to skirts and I’m having serious dress withdrawal.  Although – after two weeks at a Level I trauma center – I realize that this is not a tragedy.  So here was today’s WADT outfit … 
I have three things to note about this picture:
1. Bruce took this at 8 p.m. while we were under a severe thunderstorm warning.  The lighting was terrible, so I had to set the ISO at 1600 and it’s kind of grainy.  Ew.
2. The past two weeks I’ve had Bruce take a picture of me in the morning before I left for the hospital.  Bruce rode his bike to work this morning, though, so he was gone before I was ready.  I’m realizing now that I’m less photogenic after a long day at the hospital.
3. I am holding Pretzel M&Ms.  Oh myyyyyyyy.  Do yourself a favor – go out and by some.  You will not regret it.
Wanna play along?  Send me your pictures!

Wear a Dress Tuesday

Wear a Dress Tuesday

My awesome sister – after listening to me cry about figuring out how to transition into hospital chaplaincy – ordered me two books and they both were delivered today!  Both books are by Pema Chodron – Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living and When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.  I cannot wait to curl up in bed and read them!
A nurse looked me up and down yesterday, turned back to her computer and said, “You look too young to be a chaplain.”  I’m not sure what to do with that – other than to suggest that she get her eyes checked since she clearly missed the ikea-sized bags under my eyes.
Actually I didn’t do that.  I responded with an awkward, “I get that a lot” and then told a story about how I never brought a bible to class in seminary.  Don’t ask.

I will tell you this.  That conversation is now filed under, “Moments in my life where I would like a do-over.”

I fear there are going to be a lot of those this summer.

The Anniversary Post With No Pictures

15 Jun

After our fun day of rafting on Saturday, Bruce encouraged me to sleep in on Sunday.  I was a little confused, because I thought the plan was to go to church, but who am I to turn down a lazy morning in bed?  We got up late and I finally got around to making breakfast around 11.  I told Bruce that since we were having more of a “brunch” we should go out for an early anniversary dinner (my mom offered to pay!).  He kind of stumbled over a response and changed the subject.

As I was cleaning the kitchen, Bruce was looking intently at something on his computer.  All of a sudden he piped up, “Okay, so we should both take showers soon and then we need to leave around 1:45.

Hmm … did we have plans?  Apparently!  He made me guess for the next 15 minutes.  It was a place we were both going where I couldn’t take pictures.  I could wear whatever I wanted, but he was wearing cargo shorts.  Cargo shorts?  Hmm …

Wanna know what we did?

We got a couple’s massage!

Remember when I went fishing last weekend?  Bruce promised to do “something girly” in exchange for my fishing – I had no idea it would be a massage!  He haaaaates massages – won’t let me give him one (he says they hurt) and doesn’t enjoy giving me them, either (apparently it hurts his hands) – so it was amazing to be able to share that with him!

After the massage I felt like I was floating – my therapist did a lot of deep tissue work in my shoulders and upper back.  It was just what I needed!

We walked downstairs into the lobby after our massage and there was another surprise waiting for me – a picnic basket!  The spa was near Piedmont Park and Bruce ordered us a package that included a picnic basket with sandwiches!  We took the basket, walked to the park and had a late lunch!  It was so much fun.

I told Bruce that I could have brought my camera and taken pictures of the picnic, but I think he liked having me all to himself – and didn’t have to share me with a camera!  It was nice to just enjoy the moment.

After the picnic, we went home and watched the World Cup.  We went out for a late dinner (thanks mom!) at Front Page News and came home for dessert!

I was back at the hospital today.  It was kind of a strange day – it was really quiet until around 4 p.m. (we usually leave at 4:30) and at that point things just kind of imploded.  I stayed until 5:30 so that the OC chaplain didn’t have to be in two places at once at the very beginning of her on call.  During that time I had a weird experience regarding life and death that reminded me that we really are all part of the circle of life.  I’ll be able to expand later when things aren’t so raw.  It was so surreal!

I have to present my verbatim tomorrow morning and then we have a didactic (educational seminar) in the afternoon.  It’s crazy how quickly the days start to fly when you start thinking about all that CPE entails!

I hope you all had a great Monday!

One Year!

13 Jun
This time last year I was running around in a flannel shirt and a tiara … 
Eventually I lost the flannel.
Happy Anniversary Bruce!  I love you!