Thursday, December 9, 2010

ummmmm ouch

Today is December 9, 2010. Today marks two months since my grandmother passed away. Part of me still expects that when I am at my parents' house and the phone rings on a Sunday afternoon, it will be Grandma calling, wondering if we are there and if she could stop by because she hasn't seen us for a little while. It's weird how I still expect that.

People that know me, know that I have had an ongoing struggle with trying to make a pecan pie successfully. Over the years, they've mostly come out soupy in the middle. Great for serving on ice cream, very good flavor, but not how a pecan pie should turn out. Grandma even tried to teach me, bless her heart. That pie came out perfectly, but I'll be darned if I could get one to turn out right without her. As I was deciding what to contribute for the family meal to celebrate Thanksgiving, I decided I would again try to make a pecan pie. She was always the one bringing pecan pie, because hers was the best and always exactly right. I tried to figure out which of the many recipes in my grandmother's collection is the one she used, but I wasn't sure. So I searched online. Who knew you could get choked up looking for pie recipes.

I found a recipe and made the pie. Besides calling unnecessarily for a deep dish crust, the pie turned out great! The center set and it tasted pretty good, not like Grandma's of course, but still very tasty.

As I look forward to Christmas and the time for more celebration with family, I'm keenly aware of her absence. I miss her prayers (despite my constant questioning), I miss her oh so distinct laugh, I miss her attentiveness, her compassion, her deep love for all she encountered. I am very much looking forward to a good time with my brother and niece, especially since we've not had time with them in so long. I'm looking forward to going to Ohio to celebrate Christmas with my family there. Despite all of that, this holiday season also comes with sadness this year. I hope all of my friends and family know how incredibly important they are to me and that they are well loved and thought of. Celebrate the people you love, always, because as cliche as it sounds, you just never know when that time with them will be gone.

God bless,
amor y paz,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whoa intimidating!

I had supervision with my boss today, something I do pretty much every week. I've officially been a Unit Coordinator for a year past my 90-trial. Things are good, he's happy with my work, has nothing but good things to say about what I do and how I do it. I get recognition from the vice president that is his boss, and it quite frankly feels really good.

He asked me when I think about the next year, what are my goals. And I honestly didn't know. I've been very focused on the here and now, figuring a lot of things out. I'm in a long distance relationship, I want to finish my degree, lots of things. There's been a lot of grey area between my personal life and my work life in terms of attempting to move forward and what does that mean.

There are a lot of changes and restructuring going on at work right now. Oaklawn has recently acquired 200+ employees as part of taking over a portion of Madison Center. There are still a lot of kinks being worked out, decisions being made, teams being established. I'm not entirely sure what that means for my job or Oaklawn as a whole. Good things, I'm sure. I have no concern about losing my job in all of this. What I'm feeling now is my lack of degree. The position I currently have at Oaklawn is pretty much as far as I can go sans official college degree. I have continually appreciated the recognition that I have already received for the work that I do and those kinds of things, but it is painfully obvious to me that the lack of degree is seriously effecting (affecting? I can never keep those two straight) any potential upward movement in the company.

I struggle with how I want to go about completing my degree. Do I do a degree completion progam, at Goshen College for instance? It means 18 months of very intense classes going full-time to get a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, while working full-time, parenting children as a single mom, and still maintaining my relationship, all of these things very important to me. Do I look at going part-time to finish my B.A? I have 78 credit hours at this point. I'm essentially a science class and a writing class away from the credits I would need for an Associate's Degree from IUSB. And that would be an Associate's in Spanish. I don't think that allows for any advancement yet, so it's not a long term solution for what I'm wanting in terms of career. If I go part-time, which would mean no more than 9 credits per semester, if I need 130 credits to graduate, that's about 6 more semesters or three years, or some combination of summer classes and regular semesters, probably at least 2 years no matter which way it's broken down.

Or if I decide I want to switch my major from Spanish to Social Work or Psychology, how much more undergrad work would that require? So many questions with little in the way of answers. I never blog in search of answers or comments. I blog because I need to process through things in my brain and what is currently going on in my life. Here though, this time, I'm looking for thoughts and opinions. Sharing of experiences and things learned from them. I'm feeling at an impasse in many parts of my life and need some wisdom imparted from the people in my life, be you close by and talked to often, or far away and not kept in touch with enough. :)

Also, could potentially looking for alternative housing in the next 6 months, as I can't be a full-time student and live where I do. Needs to be affordable (duh), and at least 2 bedrooms, preferably 3.

Blah for blunt blogging, it's so much less pretty!

amor y paz,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank God it's almost October!

I love my job, I really do. And I'm damn good at it, too. That said, this has to have been one of the most stressful months of my life. The past two years have been filled with major life changes and they seem mild to the stress I have felt this month. It's a sad state of affairs when my last thoughts before sleep are of Oaklawn and worrying about what I'm going to come into in the morning. Six months ago things were hard on my all boys unit. Acuity was high and all day, everyday was code after code dealing with unsafe behaviors, aggression and general insanity. Even that didn't feel as stressful.

People don't work in mental health for the money. It's a passion, you often feel like you give and you give with no return, but it's one of the most rewarding experiences. I need to remember that after weeks and months like these past few. There are the kids that you have such high hopes for, that are likable and if they could just see their own potential and the support that they have could do so many amazing things, but then they make that one super stupid decision that if you could find them, you'd want to smack them upside the head and ask them what the hell were they thinking. Those are the ones that discourage and make you question your sanity.

The kids I need to think about at times like this are the ones that I've watched grow and learn those things about themselves. Two weeks from tomorrow one of these kids will be moving to a group home, something that 6 months ago seemed like one of the worst ideas ever. I have truly been with this resident from the very beginning as I went with one other staff to pick the resident up from court and to bring to Oaklawn. When I first met this young person my first thoughts were: immature for the age, looked incredibly young and was very focused on bunnies, lol. Almost the entire drive back from court I heard about lop-eared bunnies and I swore if I heard the words lop and eared again I was going to go insane. Lop-eared bunnies are still a favorite, as are pretty much all animals, but there has been amazing growth too. I'm so proud of the accomplishments that have been made and that as a whole Oaklawn has been part of the growth for this person.

This needs to be my focus, the successes... but in the midst of the stress and disappointment, it's the most difficult to see.

amor y paz,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The world is a strange place

Like that's some kind of surprise. This morning the kids wanted to go to Sunday School, so I dropped them off in their rooms and decided to spend some time outside on the college campus. I sat on a bench and thought and watched and wished I'd had my computer then to blog, I was in the mood to write.

As I sat, one of the younger Sunday school groups came out very close to where I was, under a Buckeye tree to collect buckeyes, 12 each to represent the sons of Jacob. The girls all dressed up in their Sunday dresses, the boys running around not caring, and all of them very intent on getting their buckeyes. After they left I decided to collect a few for myself (I didn't count mine) and there was something very therapeutic about it. Looking at different buckeyes, all shapes and sizes, some still in their pods. They're really quite beautiful little nuts, I guess that's what they're called.

I've felt myself be so bogged down with life lately, the negative parts of life. I don't know why I've gotten in such a funk, it's hard to pull myself out sometimes. Life is good, even with the uncertainties I feel like will always be there. Questions that are bound to be there till forever, maybe not forever, but it feels that way for them as well. I'm happy with many things in my life, just wishing I could move forward in some ways and hold on to others longer.

amor y paz,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tough times... or so they say

Last week at work brought about the announcement of (temporary) pay cuts and (permanent) health benefit increase in cost. All of that essentially means a 13% pay cut for the short term and 10% long term. It's not quite the reality of it, but that's how it feels. As I sat in the meeting with the president of Oaklawn and she announced the various measures to be taken, I was sad and worried. I already feel like I struggle to pay bills and still be able to do things with my children or even go out and have fun for myself. There's the additional stress of the need to move soon, personal life chaos, and just work and the nature of the kind of job that I have.

In addition to the concern and fear though, I felt hope... maybe that's not quite the right word. But I found I wasn't nearly as upset as I thought I should have been or as a lot of other people visibly were. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about the reduction in pay. It's scary when there are bills to be paid and all of the sudden you're not sure how the money will divvy itself out. But there's more to life than money.

Wednesday night a new chapter of life started, officially. So I came into work Thursday in a fabulous mood, so much so that not even announcements of the nature they were really bothered me. I'm feeling more focused, less in limbo, like there is finally a clear path to follow. Relationships are hard, no two ways about it, but even with the challenges of distance and various complications, this feels easier than anything I've previously experienced. I've found someone I can be completely open and honest with, whether that means sharing of my deepest fears, fighting out differences of opinion or just being silly and playful together. It's a freedom I've not felt before and it's induced a kind of euphoria, maybe that's the relief of knowing more clearly what all of this is, but I don't think so. I think it's a happiness that I've longed for and searched for for a long time. A connection that isn't something you find every day.

I sound like a sappy romance novel, but I don't care. It's nice to be needed, wanted and loved, as well as to need, want and love. Life is good, tough but good.

amor y paz,

Friday, February 5, 2010

I'm still standing...

Sort of anyway. These last three weeks have been unbelievably rough on all fronts: work, personal, hobbies, just life in general I suppose. Added responsibility at work has been a blessing and a curse I suppose. I suppose it's a compliment that they think I can do it, but then again, who else would they downsized. :) But I did get a really nice email from my boss's boss, it was nice to be recognized.

Personally... things aren't really going in a direction I would have ever thought I need be concerned about. It's opened my eyes, hindsight is 20/20 they say and I'm feeling mighty blind in the here and now. I told my boss the other day that I'd like to just fast forward about six months when everything will be calmed down. I'll know where I'm living, work will hopefully be under control, and things on the personal side of life will have smoothed out. blah!

I'm quite certain this is going to be one of those posts that I come back to read later and think, "Yuck! This is why I don't write!" Ah well, it is what it is. It'd been a little while, so I wrote, and now it will probably be a little while again. :)

amor y paz,