Vacation

vacation |vāˈkāSHən, və-|    

noun –  an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling: she took a vacation to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR | people come to Lopez Island on vacation |

Bloggerbyconvincement is on vacation in August as I take “an extended period of recreation.” It started earlier this month with another inspiring residency at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (my MFA in writing alma mater) and will continue as my husband, Jerry, and I travel with friends to take in some plays in Ashland, OR.  I went to the Shakespeare Festival for the first time last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll let you know about this year’s visit—after I return from vacation.

As the song says – “See you …in September.”

The Tri-Ostolete

lopez fitLopez Fit, the new fitness center in my community, has been helping my strength-building efforts with its circuit training classes and equipment. My goal is to do a workout three times a week, but some days, my motivation flags. This latest post by fellow writer and Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA Program alum, Janet Buttenwieser, is a new source of inspiration for me. I bet her essay, “The Return of the Tri-Ostolete” will fire up others, too. And for more of Janet’s beautiful, thoughtful writing, check out Laws of Motion, recently published in the online journal, Under the Sun. Janet’s piece is the epitome of the journal’s guiding philosophy: “An essay is a short piece of prose in which the author reveals himself in relation to any subject under the sun.” ~ J.B. Morton

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Janet Buttenwieser at the finish line of Lavaman Triathlon, 2013.

Thank you, Janet, for permission to re-blog your post. I’ll keep lifting, pressing, and stretching in solidarity as you train for the Team Ostomy United Triathlon in August.

Janet Buttenwieser

It turns out that, even if you run slowly, you can mess up your foot. And even if you stop running, and cut down on other on-your-feet activities, and go to physical therapy, and acupuncture, and change your diet, and have your own plasma injected into your foot, it can continue to stay messed up. For 3 years. If your main source of exercise motivation has stemmed from racing in triathlons, what do you do?

Step 1: go for your free consultation with a personal trainer at your gym. Choose to meet with Paige. Paige is awesome, will clearly become a champion of yours even though she’s not the rah-rah type. Don’t exchange high-fives with Paige after a difficult set. That’s not her thing, and it’s certainly not yours. Instead, sign up for more sessions. Paige will get you hooked on strength training. Paige will tailor your workouts so they…

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Afterthought #39 – The Nurses

Earlier this month I wrote about coming to the end of my nursing career; a few weeks later, I posted about how my work as a writer has a healing component. This month’s Afterthought* links these two previous blogs with thoughts about two books about nurses.

nursesThe Nurses, by Alexandra Robbins, offers an in-depth investigation of the working (and personal) lives of emergency room (ER) nurses. Robbins uses her investigative reporting skills to write about hospital practices, health care policy, and research about the profession of nursing and hospital care. She intersperses real-life stories of four nurses working in different hospitals in an unnamed region of the U.S.

Some of the ER nurses’ stories reminded me of my intensive care experiences—the practical jokes to ease tension, arrogant doctors, and death. While The Nurses doesn’t focus on public health, where I practiced for most of my career, some of the hospital nurses’ frustrations about the influence of the bottom line on nursing care mirror mine. Despite the different settings, I resonated with the ER nurses’ expression of what brought them the most satisfaction in their work: caring for others, easing pain, and the intimacy with caregiving.

BecomingNext on my reading list is I Wasn’t Strong When I Started Out – True Stories of Becoming a Nurse. This anthology, published by Creative Nonfiction Magazine, includes voices from many nurses. Editor Lee Gutkind says, “What connects these stories is the  passion and strength of the writers, who struggle against burnout and bureaucracy to serve their patients with skill, empathy, and strength.”

I expect I’ll find some kindred spirits there, too.

*Afterthoughts are my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, books, maybe even bumper stickers.

Afterthought #37 Words Matter

sfm-logo-black-long

It will take some time to integrate all that I heard today at Seattle University’s 7th Annual Search for Meaning Book Festival.

BooksIt will take even longer for me to read the books I brought home, written by several of the 55+ authors who presented.

Some of my reflections and new understandings likely will make their way into future essays and blog posts. But tonight, for this month’s Afterthought, I’ll share some wisdom from Krista Tippett, the closing keynote speaker.

Krista
Krista Tippett

Tippett, producer and host of public radio’s On Being, believes we’re “in the midst of a reformation of all of our institutions.” She offered “encouragements” to do the civic, human, spiritual work she believes we’re all called to in these times:

  • rediscover generous questions (the kind that invite honesty) as spiritual virtues and civic tools
  • honor the difficulty of what we face and create safe spaces for human connection
  • develop eyes to see and ears to hear the good news that doesn’t always get through the “broken radar” of the media
  • words matter—they shape how we interpret the world and how we treat others.

Throughout the day I noted some of the words I heard repeatedly as writers talked about their work: rootedness, witness, prayer, faith, divinity, awe, discernment, transformation, mystery.

These words matter.

“Afterthoughts” are my blog version of a practice followed in some Quaker meetings. After meeting for worship ends, people continue in silence for a few more minutes during which they’re invited to share thoughts or reflect on the morning’s worship. I’ve adopted the form here for last-day-of-the-month brief reflections on headlines, quotes, comments overheard, maybe even bumper stickers.