New traditions…

Change. It’s never easy.

christmas tree lot

(photo credit: Steven Dipolo/Flickr)

Today a BIG change in our Christmas tradition happened.

My family will probably think I’m silly and overreacting about such a seemingly minor change. But I don’t care. I’m mourning the change…despite the fact that it’s medically necessary. Yes…I’m still bummed.

Here’s the deal…we’ve always had a REAL Christmas tree. For 32 years. Beginning with the “charlie brown” Christmas tree we had for our very first Christmas in New Orleans. Seriously, it was pitiful…but it was beautiful to me. We were far away from family…in our new home and simply couldn’t afford a big beautiful tree. My sweet husband had to work Christmas Eve; he stopped on the way home and picked up a free, leftover tree. It was small with bare branches. We didn’t even decorate it. It was perfect!

Shopping for our Christmas tree came to symbolize (for me) the beginning of our Christmas celebration. Through the years we shopped at various tree lots, Boy Scout lots, commercially owned lots, “whoever has the best price” lots. We’ve shopped in in the warm and cold, rain and snow, daylight and dark. We used to be a family of 4 scouring the lot for the perfect tree. We’ve had flocked and evergreen. As the kids have grown into adulthood, we’ve transitioned back to just hubby and I on the hunt. Memories of the anticipation, excitement, temperature, sights, smells, sounds, lights, fires in metal drums, sawdust mixed with evergreen boughs on the ground hold a special place in my memory and heart.

Last year we discovered a new reality. Within just a couple of hours of bringing the chosen tree into our home, my hubby came down with what would become a raging sinus infection. He was perfectly healthy prior to the tree entering our home. He has a history of some pretty nasty, seasonal sinus infections often progressing to bronchitis. We had just never noticed it in relation to the Christmas tree before….but it was crystal clear. The tree was definitely a trigger. So out it went! Immediately!

This weekend, after some supportive, comparison shopping with my daughter…we finally decided on an artificial tree. Purchasing it in a big box…bringing it home to the garage…just didn’t have the same “holiday feel” as picking out the perfect tree on a tree lot. My son helped get it out of the jeep and into the garage; so technically, we ALL were involved in picking THIS tree and bringing it into our home.

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New traditions. I sense there are memorable new traditions yet to develop. And hopefully, my husband will NOT be sick over the holidays this year or into the future. Healthy holidays are the plan!

Disclaimer: Christmas is clearly NOT about the tree. I know that. I value that the celebration of Christmas is about the birth of Christ. The Christmas tree in our home is merely a seasonal symbol. I value the traditions which encourage us to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Thanks for “listening”…I’m feeling better already! That was a fun trip down memory lane. Perhaps some new ornaments and holiday decor will help with the transition…

YOLO!

Jan

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Coffee Date…

One of my favorite things is to have a good cup of coffee and visit with friends & family. It’s wonderful to take the time to slow down (you can’t drink hot coffee quickly) and be present, in the moment, sharing all the good in our lives.

I’d love to have a virtual cup of coffee with you! Venti pumpkin spice latte’s (with an extra shot) are my favorite fall splurge. The cost of one pumpkin spice latte (approx $4.86) will provide 18 MEALS for AT-RISK CHILDREN! Just 27 cents will provide a nutritious meal for a hungry child.

Our church – Highland Park Church is sponsoring a Feed the Hunger Pack-a-Thon on October 17th and 18th. Our goal is to pack 60,000 meals; half of the meals packed are being designated for FREM orphanage in Haiti…8 members of our church visited them last spring and discovered that they currently receive ZERO outside support and they were praying for food. HPC Haiti Relief was born.

Here’s where you come in…we NEED donations to meet our goal of 60,000 meals!

We need donations IMMEDIATELY! 

Will you please meet me for a virtual coffee date and buy me my favorite fall splurge – or two – or even three?! My life, and  most importantly, the lives of the children at FREM, will be enriched and blessed by YOUR generosity!

Donations are easy peasy: go to https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/fthdonate and donate with credit card or pay pal. Scroll down and select “Nashville Pack-a-Thon” as the special purpose to designate the funds.

I’ve already bought YOUR cup of coffee…will you please buy me one?

Haiti Relief Bucket Cover

Blessings to you!

Yolo!

Jan

Don’t let that airplane make you sick, travel with a few essential oils…

I had a pretty awful experience last weekend while traveling and was so thankful I had a few of my trusty essential oils with me.

While it seems pretty obvious that you are literally entrusting your life to strangers when you board an airplane, your basic state of health is up to YOU!

On the 2nd leg of a return flight home from a quick business trip, I encountered a filthy plane. And I mean filthy. I was seated in the rear, 1 row up from the lavatory aka “flying porta potty”. It was late in the day and I don’t know how many people that particular plane had already transported that day. Let’s just say it was lots. And lots. And if my previous flight was any indication…it’s clearly family vacation time and that translates to lots of kiddos who are innocent but notorious germ carriers.

The air vent on the side of the plane in front of me was totally blocked with dust. There could not possibly have been any airflow at all through that vent. And you do realize that the air on a plane is recycled, right? The oxygen content is already less than normal, which most healthy people tolerate and compensate for just fine. But as a nurse who has worked with plenty of oxygen compromised pts, I know the slightest additional stress on your body can lead to a myriad of problems. The stress of flying alone, compromises your immune system, we don’t need any help making it worse.

Now we’ll add in the stench I encountered. There is no pleasant way to express this…it was “eau de poopoo”…definitely not your mother’s eau de toilette. And it got worse as the journey towards home continued. And even worse when the flight attendants brewed fresh coffee…no…it didn’t cover it up. It just added another nauseating layer. My Row 31 seat mate and I had very interesting conversation about the aroma and trying to determine if it was the porta potty behind us or emanating from the front of the aircraft. Later when we deplaned we realized the entire airplane reeked of poo!!! It. Was. Awful. And just a little scary that we never knew the source.

I don’t normally experience nausea during a flight…but the “aroma de poo” and a little turbulence was all it took to bless me with a very uncomfortable tummy.

I was so thankful I’d brought a few of my favorite doTERRA essential oils with me!! Yay for thinking ahead & being prepared!

Here’s a picture of my oils recovering from a lemon spill on the initial leg of my journey. The good news? My hotel room smelled lemony fresh!

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Lemon oil is like liquid sunshine. It is a happy & uplifting aroma. On this flight I used a drop on my hands to help cleanse and disinfect them from any unseen “nasties” I may have unknowingly touched. I love to breathe in the aroma from my cupped hands. **citrus oils can make your skin sensitive to UV rays, so use topically with caution if you are going to be out in the sun within about 6 hours.

Peppermint oil is one of my FAVORITES!! I use it daily! Peppermint has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic & cooling properties. It’s great for dispelling a headache and works to calm upset tummies as well. A sniff from the bottle and a drop rubbed onto the back of my neck & my temples helped to calm the nausea & freshen the air I was breathing.

Balance is a blend of blue tansy, frankincense, ho wood, & spruce. It helps to calm anxiety & nervousness. I used a drop of peppermint and a drop of balance in my hands, rubbed them together, breathed in the oils from my cupped hands and rubbed the rest on the back of my neck & wrists. This would be a great blend to rub on anxious children’s backs with a little carrier oil.

I definitely had more essential oils with me, but lemon, peppermint and balance were my heros on this trip! I NEED to create an “essential” essential oils travel kit! You clearly never know what potential health hazards you may encounter while traveling!

Here’s to your safe & healthy travels…

YOLO,
Jan

PS – Visit my website for more information about doTERRA essential oils. Scroll to the bottom of the page and get your free e-book with more information on doTERRA Essential Oils and how they can enhance your life!

Vision…

As humans, we hunger for a vision. If we are unable to create a compelling vision for ourselves, we will latch on to someone else’s vision. With no vision for our future, ours or someone elses’s, we extinguish our powerful internal fire.

The GOOD news? You can re-ignite it at ANY time.

~Ray Higdon

Memorial Day 2014…honoring the intent of the holiday…

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the US Armed Forces men and women who have died in service of the United States of America. The holiday, celebrated on the last Monday of May, was originally called Decoration Day and began after the Civil War to commemorate they Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the war. This has since been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service.

Today, in honor of Memorial Day, my husband (US Army veteran) and I visited the Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. It is a beautiful cemetery, surrounded by the rolling hills of middle TN. There were many people visiting graves, driving through the cemetery, walking through the graves, even a group holding a memorial service by the grave of their loved one. It was a touching visit.

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. ~General George S. Patton

Happy Memorial Day and may God continue to bless the United States of America and those who serve to keep us free!

Yolo!

-Jan

May 20th = International Clinical Trials’ Day…who knew?

ilindja001p1I’m a nurse…I work in clinical research and I had no idea today was such an important day in this industry. A little bit of reading and I have learned quite a bit.

While the recorded history of clinical research goes all the way back to Biblical times (Book of Daniel); James Lind, MD, is credited as the first physician to have documented a controlled clinical trial of the modern era. While working as a surgeon on a ship, he was appalled by the high mortality of scurvy amongst the sailors. His description of the trial covers all the essential elements of a controlled clinical trial.

Lind describes“”On the 20th of May 1747, I selected twelve patients in the scurvy, on board the Salisbury at sea. Their cases were as similar as I could have them. They all in general had putrid gums, the spots and lassitude, with weakness of the knees. They lay together in one place, being a proper apartment for the sick in the fore-hold; and had one diet common to all, viz. water gruel sweetened with sugar in the morning; fresh mutton-broth often times for dinner; at other times light puddings, boiled biscuit with sugar, etc., and for supper, barley and raisins, rice and currants, sago and wine or the like. Two were ordered each a quart of cyder a day. Two others took twenty-five drops of elixir vitriol three times a day … Two others took two spoonfuls of vinegar three times a day … Two of the worst patients were put on a course of sea-water … Two others had each two oranges and one lemon given them every day … The two remaining patients, took … an electary recommended by a hospital surgeon … The consequence was, that the most sudden and visible good effects were perceived from the use of oranges and lemons; one of those who had taken them, being at the end of six days fit for duty … The other was the best recovered of any in his condition; and … was appointed to attend the rest of the sick. Next to the oranges, I thought the cyder had the best effects …” (Dr James Lind’s “Treatise on Scurvy” published in Edinburgh in 1753)

Fascinating!

Have you ever thought about how new medicines are developed? New medical devices? New treatments?

You guessed it…clinical trials! While this video has a European approval focus…the concept in the USA is the same (in fact often we are working on a trial that has already received approval in Europe but is still in the trial process in the US)…with the final USA approval being with the FDA, the US Food and Drug Administration.

Have you participated in a clinical trial? I’d love to hear your story!

~Jan

Resources:

http://www.acrpnet.org/MainMenuCategory/Membership/International-Clinical-Trials-Day.aspx

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3149409/

http://www.fda.gov/default.htm

 

Happy Birthday, Florence Nightingale!

As a nurse, Florence Nightingale is a very important part of the history of my profession.

Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing was born on May 12, 1820. Her most famous contributions came during the Crimean War; by improving sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, she played a major role in reducing the death rate of wounded soldiers from 50% to 2%. She became known as “The Lady with the Lamp” for making her nightly rounds tending to the wounded.

Here’s an interesting video I found on youtube – “Who was Florence Nightingale?”

And then I found this rare recording of the voice of Florence Nightingale.

I am amazed and astounded by the strength of this woman. Lives saved. History changed. Medicine and nursing forever improved.

Happy Birthday, Florence! Your legacy lives on…your lamp is still shining brightly!

-J

Mother’s Day…

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Mom & I with our buddy Jack!

It’s Mother’s Day afternoon and I’ve enjoyed a beautiful day already: mother/daughter night at the ballet last week, church today, brunch at our favorite after-church-breakfast spot (free box of candy for all Mom’s – too bad I’m not eating sugar…my office will benefit tomorrow!), sweet texts from family & friends near and far, phone call with MIL, a tear-jerking, heart tugging, loving email from my son who is traveling and plans for dinner cooked by hubby, daughter & SIL! My life is full of love indeed.

I’m so very grateful for my mother, who among many other things, raised me to love God; to be kind towards others & treat others as I would want them to treat me; to be a woman of integrity; to serve others; and she instilled in me her love of travel, big cities and sandy beaches! I hope that when I grow up I can be a small measure of the woman my mother is! I love you Mom!!

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of Woodrow Wilson proclaiming Mother’s Day a national celebration in the United States, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Mother’s Day quotes.

  • “Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” ~Robert Browning
  • “If you have a mom, there is nowhere you are likely to go where a prayer has not already been.” ~Robert Brault
  • “Children are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster too.” ~Lionel Kauffman
  • “A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest.” ~Irish Proverb
  • “Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.” ~Marilyn Penland
  • “There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.” ~Chinese Proverb
  • “A Mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” ~Author Unknown
  • “Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” ~Meryl Streep
  • “Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease.” ~Lisa Alther
  • “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” ~Rudyard Kipling

I am a mother only because God chose to give me the blessing of raising two beautiful children. I truly believe that is my main purpose in this dance called life. I am learning as I enter this next phase of motherhood…as my children are grown and living out their life’s purpose…that while the role of being their mother changes…the love I have for them only deepens. I can only imagine the love my mother feels for me and my siblings. Wow!

Blessings to all the Mom’s out there! Happy Mother’s Day!

YOLO,

Jan

 

 

First quarter of 2014 is in the books…

How did you do with your first quarter goals? As we begin the 2nd quarter of 2014, it is important to do a review of your accomplishmentsImage (or lack thereof) in the 1st quarter of the year; are you progressing towards your annual goals?

Historically, I set annual goals at the beginning of the year and like a lot of people I often fell short, even forgetting what my original goals were. Both personal and professional. It becomes too easy to just “wing it”…and at the end of the year you/I am often wondering…where did the time go??

Working at Keller Williams, years ago, I learned the value of setting annual goals broken down into monthly goals and further broken down into weekly goals. . This system, called the 4-1-1 (4 weeks, 1 month, 1 year) is one of the best systems I’ve used for keeping my focus on the big picture – my annual goals.

This year, I’ve added in a quarterly review; businesses (and a lot of schools) operate on quarters and this timeframe just makes sense to me. While this is still short term, it is a bigger chunk of time than the monthly review and gives me a slightly bigger picture of where I am on the road to my ultimate destination – my annual goals. I find it also holds me accountable so I don’t lose track of time and procrastinate thinking “I’ve got 9 months left to accomplish that”. The older I get the quicker time seems to fly by; I’m realizing the value of using this goal review period as a management tool of my time. Let me rephrase that…as a management tool of my LIFE!

You’ve heard it before: Plan – Do – Review – Adjust….repeat…

This would be a REVIEW session:

Don’t forget to WRITE IT ALL DOWN!

  1. Review. Look back at the past 3 months. What did you accomplish? Did you progress toward your goals? What did you do to work towards your goals? What worked and what didn’t?
  2. Evaluate. How can you change things to improve progress? Do you need to bring yourself back on track? Are you happy with your progress and just need to stay the course?
  3. Re-prioritize or verify your priorities.  Make your main focus the MAIN focus for the next 3 months. It’s ok to defer appropriate items to later in the year. Just make sure they are part of your next quarterly review.

Going through this process will help you REFOCUS! Remember – just like your mother used to tell you – you can do anything you want and DECIDE to do! It will require action to make it happen. A goal without action is just a plan. You will never reach your goals without action.

This part is especially true for me: Get out of your own way. Take the actions that are necessary so your dreams can come true! Live with the spirit of YOLO!

YOLO!

-Jan