Memory

16 Feb

He’s clearly meant to be a teacher. Mostly deaf, partially retired and bubbling with energy, he makes cold, sterile the room feel cozier. He makes jokes and talks as he goes so the resident can learn. The surgeon steps back when the time comes to perform a rare procedure and lets the almost-senior resident step in. The resident is soft spoken and has kind eyes. He appears nervous as they dance around the operating table, his ambidextrous self not sure what hand-ed he is today. He places the deep sutures with a bit of trepidation and seems to have a slight tremor to his hands. The teacher instructs with patience and clear direction. He corrects and uses poems about peter pointer and tommy tall boy to instruct which knots to throw. When the resident gets the needle just right and places the suture carefully the teacher becomes animated and proclaims, “that’s IT! You’ve got it! Perfect! Good job, very good job.” The surgery ends without fanfare, but I know that his words carried weight and have already made the resident a better surgeon.

Later.

An overweight man attempts a modification in a common yoga pose. The instructor, pleased to see that he is respecting his pace and body comes over to offer him another option. She struggles to use her words to move him into a pose. When her words and his body meet in the centre,  she proclaims, “Yes! That’s it! Perfect.” He walks out of that room a bit taller than when he came in, more because of her words than from any stretching or lengthening.

Memory

1 Feb

We drove down the Jersey shore in a borrowed car long before the Jersey Shore was akin to Snooki and reality tv. Dusk and muggy, the breeze from the ocean provided some relief from the heat of the setting sun and filled the air with that salty, ironically earthy smell. We laid a blanket in the grass, in a town we’d never been in, in a country that wasn’t our and waited for the music to begin. An impromptu adventure during a family visit, the concert didn’t disappoint. Twinkly lights filled the stage and the melancholy sound of Long December and Round Here filled the air. Everyone clapped with understanding along to “Hanging Around” because, at 2o doesn’t any amount of time feel too long? We listened to Why Georgia and Neon and I sang along because I knew all the words. I still know all the words.

Memory .

2012 in photos

6 Jan
We have a nephew! Alexander was born on April 18th, 2012. Matt was the first family member to hold him.

We have a nephew! Alexander was born on April 18th, 2012. Matt was the first family member to hold him.

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Luke and Krista got married! I was too busy crying happy tears to take photos of the bride and groom, so this photo will have to do

Luke and Krista got married! I was too busy crying happy tears to take photos of the bride and groom, so this photo will have to do

We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary

We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary

We went camping in Tobermory for Labour Day weekend. SO beautiful. Will definitely be going back

We went camping in Tobermory for Labour Day weekend. SO beautiful. Will definitely be going back

I finished the first half of my third (eighth) year of uni. This cabbage is a baby's head...obs.

I finished the first half of my third (eighth) year of uni. This cabbage is a baby’s head…obvs

Annual Thanksgiving Hike

Annual Thanksgiving Hike

Ran a marathon

Ran a marathon

And so many other photo-less moments”

-I caught my first baby

– I flew to Quebec city to visit my friend Arielle

-I had a terrible summer job- which I quit and then I had a WONDERFUL (terrible paying) summer job

– I went on a canoe trip in Algonquin park with my friends

– Ate countless dinners in our co-op parking lot

– Had a neighbourhood potluck

– Went to Hillside Music Festival in Guelph with midwifery friends

– Became an elder at our church

– Read so.many.good.books (should write a post on that, really!)

-Crocheted my first blanket

– Cuddled babies in the NICU

– Played ultimate frisbee

– Ran hundreds of miles

– Did yoga

– Wrote down almost 1000 things that I am grateful for

– Painted the kitchen

– Watched WAY TOO much tv on the internet

– Learned a lot about myself

– Came up short on lots of my goals for 2012

– Had good health and good people in my life

– Went off facebook for an indefinite period of time

You can also see more of my photos on my instagram account  Instagram is such a handy tool for capturing every day life.

Onwards to 2013!

…blue with white trim

19 Nov

So, the kitchen paint of 2012 is completed. Man on man, is painting a lot of work….and we have a SMALL kitchen. I started by clearing everything out on Friday afternoon and cleaning everything off. Let me tell you, the whole cleaning part was LONG overdue. (I think I need to wash the walls more often).

I spent 90 minutes in home depot agonizing over what colour to paint. Matt and I had already been once to check out colours and had a rough idea of what we were looking for. But alas, I spent 90 minutes humming and hawing over paint chips. Those of you who know me well know that I am notoriously indecisive over minutiae. It’s a sad, sad fate.

I came home 50% convinced I’d like what I had chosen and Matt and I put one coat on the wall. Thankfully, neither of us hated it. My mom came over on Saturday and we worked for a few more hours. And then a few MORE hours on Sunday afternoon. And then a few more hours late Sunday night when Matt and I dragged our kitchen contents out of the living room and restored them to their rightful place.

Here’s what I learned: Do things that you might have been avoiding doing because today is all you have (although maybe don’t get all YOLO on that and live hedonistically..) Doing tedious things can be bearable and even fun with people that you love. Procrastination sucks ( We could have had a cozy kitchen THREE YEARS ago). Breathe, breathe, Breathe.

Painting talk is over.

On to more important matters.

Read this post (if you’d like). It spoke volumes to me and reminded me not to confuse critical thinking with a critical spirit (something that I struggle with). I love, love Sarah Bessey’s blog and the author is writing about about Christianity and feminism and I really can’t wait to read it.

Painting the Kitchen and Living in the Moment

13 Nov

Since finishing my clinical placements for semester my days suddenly have a lot of give in them. Free time to use how and where I please. The pressing issues of my days have become “which day this week should I clean the bathroom?” and “when should I go to the gym?”

I’ve spent a lot of time at home in our very tiny (600ft) apartment. Writing emails, working on school work, watching internet tv (damn you, netflix!)

In the mornings, our kitchen has the most beautiful light. In the past I’ve taken taken photos of nothingness because I am so enamored with the light.  When I moved in more than 4 years ago, Matt and some friends helped me to paint the bathroom, bedroom and the living area. The kitchen was a yellowy-old colour but it wasn’t toooooo bad, so we left it as-is.

Now 4 years later, and countless hours spent cooking and working at the small table we have (you can see it in all it’s greatness in the banner photo) I’ve realized that it’s time to paint the kitchen. It’s time to take off the AWFUL cupboard doors that don’t close and to sand and paint them too. It’s time.

Now, the funny thing is as much as we love living here (the location, the people, the rent, the memories!) there is a very real chance that we might have to move in the spring. This is because of the lottery system for my senior year placement which if things don’t go my way, could land me in Timbuktu  Oshawa, Sarnia or who-the-heck-knows-where.

The loosey-goosey side of me feels like I might be tempting the lottery gods- to be so bold and paint my kitchen when I could very well be leaving in 4 short months (I’m already spending March in Tanzania). The practical side of me also worries that it could be HUGE waste of time and money if we have to leave. All the work for a few measly months of enjoyment.

But the part of me that I want to grow the most, that part of me is whispering, “do it”. Not because it might anger the gods or be waste but because it is a practice of living in the right here, right now.  Yoga teaches me to focus on my breath. To simply breathe in and out. My church community teaches me that if we open our eyes we can see the Goodness of God in the land of the living…right here, right now. This is all we have, folks. Any facade of control that we have is just that…a facade. So, in honouring today and in trying to better be present in the right now, we’re painting this weekend. My saintly Mom is going to help and it’s going to be a lot of work, but man I think I am going to appreciate it…and wish I had done it sooner.

 

 

A thing or two

2 Nov

I’ve been trying to post this Brene Brown video for a week. My friend Steve emailed it to a group of us a few weeks ago and then another friend from school brought up her in class today.  So, you’ll have to click the link because I’m not tech savvy enough to figure out how to embed it.

Also, this post really resonated with me this week. I like the idea of “margins” – creating them, maintaining them and honouring them. I want to create space for others.

Cheers to Fridays and getting to see family and friends and cheering at races and coffee dates and internet tv.

Words

24 Oct

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I’ve been thinking about the power of words lately. Particularly about the power of positive words. But before I get to that, I need to explain the back story.

I don’t know if you’re like me at all, but a hurtful word or cruel criticism can easily ruin my day. I can replay a negative comment in my head for weeks, and unfortunately, in some areas of my life it can really rock my confidence. This turns into a terrible cycle where because my confidence gets shaken and because of this I’m leery of taking risks and because I am not taking risks, I’m missing learning opportunities and so on and so forth. You get the point. It’s a nasty cycle.

Words have a lot of power.

So, back to strong words. I’ve been doing clinical placements at a hospital and as a student have been living in a very clear power differential. Preceptors/staff have power. Students have no power. Clients/patients have questionable power. The implications of these power dynamics are so vast and I’d need a million blog posts to explain it all. I’m just trying to give the context that I often felt like I was at the will of the “system” and had to just bide my time and learn what I could.

But somewhere during all of these placements, I had a stark realization (It’s sad how long it took me to figure this out)…my words could be my power.

It started in the breastfeeding clinic. People don’t generally come to a breastfeeding clinic to see a lactation consultant when everything is hunky dory. No, the often come when there is a concern with their baby’s weight gain, or milk production, or latch or what seems like a million other possibilities. Mother after mother (and often couples) would come in looking exhausted, confused, sore and worried. Generally overwhelmed. One of the nurses that I worked with would often tell women that they were doing a really good job (because they were!)

Then I stated to do this. I would look a woman in the eye and say, “You are doing a really incredible job. Your baby is well loved and so cared for!” Then I held the eye contact. Of course, I was saying these things because they were true.

And you know what? I could see it in their eyes. Words have power.

Then I decided to try my “kind truth speaking” to people who have power above me. I told the wonderful nurses that I was working with specific things I appreciated about their care (often these things were about how they treated clients with dignity and respect and- and mostly, how they used their words).

None of this is rocket science. But as I used my words to speak the truth that  I was seeing to people, I felt like I was regaining some of my own power that I felt was lost to the system (based on my student status).

But I am getting better at speaking words that grow souls. Jussie would call this “naming the things we see in people.”

During the marathon there were loads of strangers cheering and all of their words helped us keep going.

“You’ve worked hard for this.”

“Today is a great day for a run.”

“Enjoy it!”

“This is your day!”

Words matter.

Ann Voskamp taught me about the idea of speaking words that build up.

Enough words for now.

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