Sunday, August 21, 2011

Joni and Friends Camp Report

We are back! A little tired - in denial that we have to go back to work tomorrow. Loading pictures onto Facebook and looking at other's pics to relive the moments and wishing that they were not in the past already.

I have had about 48 hours to reflect on what I want to communicate about camp this year. I'll start back a few weeks. I wrote my last post (below) a few weeks before camp, knowing that we were short on STMs. I wrote about being nervous but trusting God that He's in control and why that is the best situation that we can be in - out of control. I wrote that primarily thinking of what fears that people have about being an STM and hoping to inspire confidence. Apparently I gave you all the impression that I was more nervous about being an STM than I really was, because I lot of friends commented about it.

The truth is that I was definitely a bit nervous, but my excitement about being an STM this year far outweighed my nervousness. So, on the night before camp, I decided that my new statement would be "I'm one part nervous, three parts excited."

As I thought about who I might be paired with for the week, I figured that I would get either a very small typical sibling, a child who uses a wheelchair, or possibly an adult with a disability who is more reserved. Since I already know many of the campers, I pondered the different folks I might get paired with.

One camper came to mind who made me more nervous. At some point, I definitely thought "I hope I don't get paired with Michelle". Michelle is an adult camper with spina bifida. During some illness, she had a trach and was left with separated vocal chords and she can only speak in a whisper. I had heard that Michelle was a very sweet gal, but I was worried that I wouldn't be able to hear her and we would both end up frustrated if we were paired. You see, since I'm deaf in one ear, I have a hard enough time hearing a regular conversation in a crowded room, let alone a whisper.

So, fast forward. It's Monday morning, day two of training, when we get our camper assignments. Who did I get? You guessed it - Michelle! I read her paper carefully, knowing that God had made this match and figuring He must know what He's doing. I was really happy that I got one of the adults, because that meant that I would get to attend the "Friendship Group" program and get to know all those beloved campers better.

It turns out that I was probably rather uniquely suited to be Michelle's STM. I was able to point my one good ear directly at her. Since I often miss some words in conversation, my mind is pretty skilled at searching the context for the right word to fill in the blank. As time went on, I also discovered that she sometimes will use sign language for a short message - and all her signs were ones that I knew. By Wednesday, I was getting really good at hearing and understanding her - she even said to me "you are so good at listening to me!" which was really reassuring. I became Michelle's voice when we were in group and she was talked over, when we visited with other people. I would wait to see if they understood, but if they didn't I would "interpret".

Besides the language issues, being an STM was ALL that I expected and hoped for it to be. It was so fabulous to be a participant in the programs and activities. To be involved in a family through the whole week. To get to know a particular camper's likes, dislikes, fears, interests and help her have the BEST experience.

Michelle's birthday was Wednesday during camp and she had an epic day! The whole camp sang Happy Birthday to her off key (camp tradition) at breakfast, went on a horse ride in the afternoon and was the closing act in the talent show that night.

Meanwhile, Denis and Cynthia (the nurse that we recruited) were kept quite busy this year. There were more medical issues this year than last year - but thankfully, none too serious. Cynthia had a ball and is hoping to return next year. I made a deal with her - as long as she wants to be the nurse, I will be an STM!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting ready

We are only three weeks away from the Oregon Joni and Friends family retreat, and it's kind of push time to get ourselves squared away and ready for camp. Denis and I have dragged the medical supply box into the living room, but have not inventoried it yet. Our friend who has agreed to work with Denis as the nurse this year is coming over today to look at the stuff with us. I've started reviewing the medical information from families and organized it into an easy to carry chart that we'll print out when it's complete.

One of the most exciting things for me is that I get to be a typical STM this year. For those of you new to Joni and Friends lingo, STM means Short Term Missionary, and that is what volunteers are called. Most STM's who go to a family retreat are paired up as a "buddy" for the week to a family member who has registered. That person might be a child with a disability, a typical child who has a parent or sibling with a disability or an adult with a disability. The week is spent hanging out with your "buddy", building a relationship, serving the family, attending activities through each day.

I have never gone to Joni and Friends Family Retreat as an STM, I've only been the nurse. As the nurse, I enjoyed having the freedom to rove and get to know everyone a little bit. But I know from observation that the STM experience is very different. STMs who are paired as a buddy get to know their one family very well and bond closely with them. It can be difficult, trying, challenging, but on the flipside so rewarding. STMs tend to leave camp exhausted, but overwhelmed by the blessing of being so intimately involved in an amazing family and having been a selfless servant for the week.

I have no idea who I will be paired with, hopefully someone slow - as I'm not fast myself. Not knowing is part of the situation that makes it stressful or scary to go as an STM. But, the pairing of STM to family is a total God-thing. Being out of control of that is precisely what makes it so wonderful. God pairs buddies very well. And if the pairing is hard or challenging, it's because God has a growing to do in me. Stepping out beyond my control is something that I am excited about, because that is precisely when I get to see God work.

We are still very short of STMs for our Oregon camp that is Aug. 14-19 at Rockaway Beach on the Northern Coast. We really would like 30-40 more STMs so that all of the families can be served. Aug. 14th is a training day, then families arrive for camp from the 15th to the 19th. If you know anyone who might be interested, please pass on the info.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Amos Lee

"Cup Of Sorrow"

I want to drink from your cup of sorrow,
I want to bathe in your holy blood.
I want to sleep with the promise of tomorrow,
I know tomorrow may never come.

I send a prayer out across the ocean,
To a man that?s forced out of his home.
I send a prayer out across the ocean,
So that he may not suffer there alone.

I want to drink from your cup of sorrow,
I want to bathe in your holy blood.
I want to sleep with the promise of tomorrow,
I know tomorrow may never come.

I want to sit at your table of wisdom,
So that not one crumb shall go to waste,
For if we keep down this pathway to destruction,
Oh will our children will suffer for our haste.

I want to drink from your cup of sorrow,
I want to bathe in your holy blood.
I want to sleep with the promise of tomorrow,
I know tomorrow may never come

Amos Lee's newest album, called El Camino, has several tracks with Gospel lyrics and rythm. This one is my favorite. You can listen to the whole thing for free on his Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Is it July already?!

What has happened in the last three months? Hmmm... let's see. Two main things stand out:

1. I started a new role at work - I am no longer doing the clinic-based diabetes classes and individual education. My new role is focused entirely on the hospital care. Up until this point, all of our diabetes dept. RN's have shared the job of rounding through the hospital, answering questions, reviewing charts of patients with high or low glucose as well as doing in-services for hospital staff, etc. Now, I am the one doing all of these things at the hospital here in Medford. I do rounds in the hospital 3 hours a day, Mon-Thurs. The rest of the time I spend planning, going to various meetings, and working on PI projects. This is a big change. I've been doing it for about two months now and so far, I don't miss the clinic stuff. I am quite passionate about us giving good care in the hospital, so I think this role is a good fit for me.

2. We went on a week-long vacation in Sonoma County, CA in June. Had a really nice time. We stayed in a cozy little cottage in a small town outside of Santa Rosa called Sebastopol. A former pharmacy student that did a rotation with our department and now lives in the East Bay area drove out of her way to meet up with us two days. IT was so fun to see her and to meet her fiancee. We sampled a bit of wine, ate at some slightly upscale restaurants, listened to some good music, had great coffee, saw the coast at Bodega Bay and drove home through the redwood forest. All in all, a relaxing time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mid-month report

OK, I've made it through the busy part of April and survived. It should be a downhill slide from here, but there are more events just around the corner, so I shouldn't get too cozy about relaxing.

The weekend in Portland with my coworkers was very enjoyable. The conference was interesting - great speakers and we came home with some good, useful ideas.

Yesterday was our Southern Oregon Sometimes Miracles Hide luncheon for moms of kids with disabilities. 64 people from my church volunteered to help, either cooking, serving the lunch, or helping in the carnival section. I had agreed to be the "Carnival Coordinator" which sounds more impressive than it was. I didn't actually plan anything - but I was the "check in" person who directed carnival helpers to the right spot and assigned duties. I was kind of nervous about assigning duties since I really didn't know the people I was assigning. I didn't know their personalities - so didn't know who would do well where. But it turned out well. (I actually had TONS of help from another couple in my church who were "leading games" but ended up roving with me for problem solving) I had put some kids working together who didn't know each other at the beginning of the day. As the carnival went on, I saw them working together really well, coordinating breaks for each other and having fun. Denis got to be a buddy for the first time and enjoyed having more to do.

So, next up is Easter, then our church's next respite day in early May.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

It's Spring

It's April and as usual, it seems, life is very busy this month. I seem to recall writing very similar posts in years past... what is it about April? So far:

  • I finally recorded a presentation that I've been planning for about two months to be viewed by physicians, pharmacists and nurses in my hospital. This is a REALLY big deal, because in it, I am presenting a "how to" type of instruction on Diabetes care in the hospital setting. (I actually recorded that in March, but it was this past week...)
  • had our annual Diabetes healthfair yesterday - it was a new format this year, so we were all an extra bit on our toes. I messed up part of our facilities order, so there were a stressful 15 minutes, but it turned out well.
  • I helped coordinate our church disability ministry getting T-shirts - ordering the right sizes and then handing them out today.

Still to come:
  • church disability ministry planning meeting tomorrow
  • meeting with a physician group Tuesday to explain and promote my Diabetes presentation - hoping they will want to view it for CME credits
  • planning meeting at work Wednesday - have to make a pasta salad for the potluck lunch
  • our group travels to Portland Thursday for a conference - FUN!
  • the following week is the Southern Oregon Joni and Friends luncheon called Sometimes Miracles Hide - Denis and I are volunteering

Busy April, fun April. And it really is spring here now - we have daffodils up, the sun is shining. I even took Phoebe out for a little walk - she she is one happy kitty right now.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I've been very out of the habit of reading in the last few years. I decided to pick up some of the books I've been meaning to get to for a while. So, I'm currently trying to be more purposeful in reading:
Believing God by R. C. Sproul, Jr. - contemplating the promises of God and letting them sink into my soul.
When Helping Hurts by Brian Fiklert and Steve Corbett - an in-depth look at poverty and how to effectively help, avoiding the pitfalls of creating dependence or exacerbating a problem with superficial fixes.
The Valley of Vision, a collection of puritan prayers.

And finally, I'm going to be joining a group from my church to read and discuss the 25th edition of Desiring God by John Piper. I've actually never read it, but have heard many good things about it over the years.

I'm writing these plans here in hopes that will help hold me accountable to the task... :)

New Music

I've found some cool new musicians lately that I've heard on the radio. Just added some new stuff and deleted some oldies from my playlist. I hope you enjoy it. :o) Kim said recently "your blog is my favorite radio station". I'm totally flattered. I hope the new stuff lives up to the expectations.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A song that prays

You know the number of my days
So come paint Your pictures on the canvas in my head
And come write Your wisdom on my heart
And teach me the power of a moment
The power of a moment, the power of a moment

I get so distracted by my bigger schemes
Show me the importance of the simple things
Like a word, a seed, a thorn, a nail
And a cup of cold water

Chris Rice