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Friday Five: Groups September 29, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives.
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1. Tell us about any group(s) you currently belong to. (e.g. book club, knitting circle, walking buddies, etc.)

I’m currently on the Retreat in Daily Life, in which we study the Ignation Spiritual Exercises. My group meets once a week in the home of my spiritual director, J. I used to post occasionally in the RevGals walking blog, but I stopped because it is all I can do to keep up with my OWN blog!

2. Do you feel energized or drained by being in a group situation? If the answer is “it depends,” on what does it depend?

It depends. Did I sign up for this group activity (energized) or was it something I was obligated/forced to attend? (could be energized if the subject under discussion is interesting, but could be draining if not) Is it a shower of the wedding or baby variety, because I HATE those unless I am a close family member of the bride or expectant mother. Note I didn’t say friend. Nope, you’ve got to be family to entice me into attending a shower.

3. Is there a role you naturally find yourself playing in group situations? That is, do you naturally fall into the leader role, or the one who always makes sure the new person feels welcome, or the quiet one who sits back and lets others shine, or the host?

I’m not sure I like to out-and-out LEAD, but I do have a knack for getting the group dynamic cooking when the leader asks a question and everyone is just sitting there waiting for someone else to answer. I like to break that uncomfortable silence with a joke of some kind, and that makes everyone relax usually. And I DO like to welcome newcomers – I know how awkward it can be to be the new kid, especially if you lean toward shyness as I did when I was young. And I LOVE hosting get togethers at my home for family and friends, as their love nourishes and energizes me more than any protein bar. 🙂

4. Handshakes vs. hugs: discuss.

Handshakes at the beginning, if I don’t know the other people in my group. I’m sorry, I just need to know something more about you than your name if we’re going to share a hug! Which means that we can hug at the end of the day after the group is finished!

5. Ice breakers: a playful way to build community in a lighthearted manner, or a complete and utter hell of forced fun and awkwardness?

Definitely depends on the game and, more importantly, everyone’s attitude about taking part. Even when I’m participating against my will, I think the time goes faster if you participate and do so with the best attitude you can muster.

Well, while I can’t tell you what or where my new… September 29, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in work.
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Well, while I can’t tell you what or where my new job is, I can at last talk about my old one. I worked for the hospital in the town my in-laws live in, in the medical records department as a privacy and release coordinator. That’s a fancy way of saying I copied medical records for anyone who needed them, and this required me to stay abreast of HIPAA and hospital policies regarding patient privacy. When I took the job a little over a year ago, it was quite simply because I needed a job, any job, and this one was available. What I’m taking away from the job is much, much more.

The hospital is a member of the Sisters of Mercy Health System. The Sisters of Mercy were founded by Catherine McAuley in Ireland in the late 1800’s, and believe it or not, this is something that all 900 + employees of the hospital know. When the health system took over this hospital 10 years ago, they immediately implemented their Mercy culture and Mercy values. Now make no mistake – it’s as “corporate” here as any other place I’ve ever worked, but even in a non-clinical area like medical records, Mercy service, mission, and ethics are emphasized daily. Yesterday, I took my lunchtime to sit down with Sister C., the hospital’s lone representative of the actual order of nuns who founded this incredible organization. She works as the director of patient relations, and I wanted to make sure before I left that I shared with her what working for Mercy has done for me in terms of clarifying my personal sense of call. I told her that being a part of this place had been given me the courage to be completely open to whatever area of ministry God is calling me to next. Surprisingly enough, she was amazed at what I had to say. When I had asked a few days ago to talk to her, she thought it was because I had a problem. It’s funny how we almost always assume that something must be *wrong* when someone wants to talk to us. Anyway, we talked a bit about my journey in spiritual direction, and she sat back and looked very pensive for a moment, and confided that as much as she loves this town, she missed the spiritual connection of being part of a community. She also asked me to put her in touch with my director to see if she would be willing to take on another directee, and so I promised her that I would do that. Finally, she asked if she could share my story with the attendees of a meeting she was about to travel to, a meeting that plans to discuss the important of “Sister Presence” in the Mercy hospitals, and I said of course she could. And so I leave this hospital feeling completely nourished by the time I spent here, and looking forward to the new job that awaits me on Monday, a job that I never would have had the courage to try if not for Mercy.

construction time again AGAIN, or "aren’t we there YET?" September 27, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in chaos, education, life, work.
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Last night as I stood on the back porch of our new house, I was looking at the sunset, feeling sorry for myself as usual, and thinking once again (as I have a tendency to do) that the chaos never seems to end for us. Here’s the rundown – these numbers include both husband and myself:

Number of years married: 4

Cities lived in: 5

Number of residences lived in: 6

Number of jobs held: 7 permanent, 3 temp positions

Number of churches joined: 4

Every time we’ve moved, we’ve sworn it was going to be the last time until….but we let the “until” trail off, because we knew that the minute we tried to tie ourselves down, our old friend Change would come roaring up the driveway ready to uproot us. Here’s the thing: we’re still relatively young, and though Change has usually been unexpected, I have to say we’ve done a remarkable job adapting. A new place to live has never been difficult to find, a new church has always welcomed us with open arms, and a new job usually follows right when we need it. But it’s only recently that I’ve stepped back to take a look at the larger picture, and I’m wondering what God might be preparing me for. I DON’T believe that my life is out of my control or that I’m a pawn in a divine chess game, but I do believe there is a purpose and a plan that I can’t perceive at this moment. I know this move isn’t the last – when husband finishes his degree, we will move again if I am sent to seminary, and then again when I finish, and probably several more times in the course of my ministry. I don’t expect that we will be in the market to buy a home of our own anytime in the next, oh, let’s say 10 years or so. I have to decide if I’m really, truly at peace with that. I *think* I am – we obviously haven’t been in a rush to get our lives settled into any type of permanent situation so far, so why start now, right?

We have both spent years laboring under the notion… September 22, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in education, marriage, unemployment.
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…that education was going to be the key to our financial success and stability, and it hasn’t worked out that way. We both put ourselves through college and had to work hard to maintain decent grades. We have not been materially rewarded, and it makes us both angry, and while we both know the other person is not the one to blame, we are each others’ closest and easiest targets. We know the right words to use with each other to cause maximum pain in minimum time. We also know it’s not healthy or productive or any of those other “therapy” words, and after the explosion of cruel words that we wish we could take back, there are always apologies and forgiveness and a moving forward. But I love him, and I love the life that we have scratched and clawed and built together out of pieces that from an outsider’s viewpoint seemingly aren’t meant to fit. Sometimes I think, “What I would GIVE to avoid these fights” but then, just as quickly, I am reminded that peace means nothing unless you have experienced pain, and so I know it is all a part of the jigsaw puzzle that we have created and will keep on creating, one puzzle piece at a time.

The unemployment claim was approved, even though the agency fought it and said that husband was terminated for misconduct and therefore not entitled to unemployment. But we provided the unemployment commission with a copy of the grievance that had been filed with husband’s side of the story laid out in full, and the ultimate decision came down in our favor – the determination said that the employer had not adequately proven that misconduct had, in fact, occurred. This was good – it means we can still pay our bills while he continues to look for work. On the less positive side, an admin who answered the phone at the grievance department for the state of Oklahoma said they didn’t receive the grievance paperwork by the deadline date, and therefore will not be setting a hearing. The packet was mailed two day priority mail two days before the deadline, but we never received the return receipt back – so we can’t prove they ever got it. I don’t accept “no” answers very well, and when I mail something return receipt and certified and priority, I’m on top of it and looking for the signature card to come back to me. But I didn’t mail it, husband did, and he wasn’t looking for anything except another job. He can’t even find the receipt that had the tracking number on it so we could maybe look online and see where it got lost. Needless to say, I’m furious.

Last night, we went to the college town about 45 minutes from where we currently live and to which we are going to be moving to look at houses to rent. We found a few prospects. We made the phone calls and are supposed to be looking at the insides this evening. I’m ready to put down a deposit and get moving, literally. Because I knew we were going to be moving so Will could go back to school, I began looking for a new job closer to the new town. I found one with quite minimal effort actually, and I am happy to say that after a process of testing and multiple interviews, they made me an offer this past Monday, which I accepted. I start on October 2, and I would like to be moved by then, but I don’t know if that is actually humanly possible.

edited 9/29/06: So guess what? The grievance DIDN’T get lost after all, because in today’s mail we received the form letter from the director of the grievance department stating that it had been accepted and forwarded on to the agency’s director of field ops for further action, action that must take place within 20 calendar days. Wheeeeee!

my hair is bothering me this morning. it’s sticki… September 20, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in dreams.
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my hair is bothering me this morning. it’s sticking straight up and every time i look in the mirror, the song “like cockatoos” by the cure comes to mind. and last night i dreamed that i rode home from the library on a giraffe.

yep, it’s gonna be a day.

I’m such a good wife September 17, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in marriage, tattoos.
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I surprised husband with a quickie weekend trip to big city northeast of here so he could get his picture taken with his latest celebrity crush – tattoo artist Kat Von D from TLC’s Miami Ink. She was in town for a tattoo convention. It’s a great pic – they’re standing next to each other, and Boy-o is sitting on husband’s shoulders leaning over and looking down at Kat. He was totally thrilled, but not very brave…so *I’m* the one who walked away with new ink.

serenity prayer September 10, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in prayer.
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God, grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with Him forever
in the next. Amen.