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Christmas Angel Mole Style

The year was 2004 and it was our first Christmas at Oak Bridge Community Church. Pastor Tom spoke about a program called Christmas Angel where for 12 days before Christmas you pick someone and drop a gift off and run. On night one it was one of something, night two, two of something etc. The key was to not get caught and choose someone who was going through a rough time or needed a lift at Christmas. Our first angel came immediately to my mind and we bought all the gifts. We had a great time that year and on the eleventh day we were left cookies and a poem. The poem is in the family scrapbook. Over the years we have sometimes done two people. Twice the work but twice the reward. 
This year my Christmas angel came to me in mid July while at work. I walked into angel #19 room and I knew she was the one. It’s just a feeling I had and I looked up her address later that night.  She lived fairly close and I thought score. I knew she would need chemo therapy first and then surgery. Based on the dates I knew surgery would be close to Halloween. Her original surgery date was scheduled for a day I was off work. I had the supervisor change my schedule so I would be at work. The next week I discovered her surgery had been moved to the week of Halloween. I of course was in Disney. 
The night before this was to start I read a friends Facebook post and I hadn’t even finished it when I felt God say do her as well. I was like are you kidding this starts tomorrow night and I’m heading into work. However my after work plans got cancelled so I went to the store and actually managed to find all twelve days in one visit. This rarely happens because odd days are tough. I work with this girl so I asked our supervisor for her address. She did not live anywhere close to my other girl or me for that matter. The next night it was game on. 
I worked the first night but ran home to pick up Allyson. I needed help locating the houses. Allyson looks over at me and says what if they have a porch camera. That triggered an entire new wave of paranoia. I knew my friend would recognize me and wasn’t sure about the patient. So on the nights I did it, I wore this. 


I was not taking any chances of getting caught. The friend’s house always had something crazy going on. One day a car was parked in the driveway with the headlights on. Another day the car door was open but no one around. The best night I get out of the car and someone is calling their dog. I’m not sure if it’s them or not so I get back in. I get back out and someone comes out the door of the house and hops in the car. I get back in and try to act causal. 
The patients house was quite interesting. On the third day they put up an inflatable Christmas duck. Allyson came back and said be careful there are wires everywhere and I don’t want you to trip and fall. Also if you walked in front of the garage the super power light would flash on. I finally got smart and walked on the other side of the street and hit the doorbell from the opposite side of the porch. It was day eight that I was almost caught. As I am sprinting away I hear this “who are you?”  It scared the crap out of me and I didn’t know what the rules were so I kept running and yelled “can’t tell you” without turning around. I decided it would be nice to write on day nine note “I will reveal who I am and why you were chosen on Christmas Eve (day 12). If you are not home I will leave a note with the day twelve gift. Now according to church you are not to reveal yourself ever. However, if someone angeled me and never told me it would make me crazier than I already am. So I usually place a note on day twelve, ring the bell and run. 
Day ten arrives and it dawns on me that I don’t think my friend lives at the address I’m dropping gifts off at. So I get home that night and get on Facebook and start looking at her recent pictures. Sure enough it looks like she is living in an apartment and then I remember a post about her dishwasher breaking in a brand new apartment. So I then found her maiden name and found her parents address which matched the gift drop off location. I also looked her up by her married name and an apartment address was revealed. 
I told a couple of people about the wrong address and they asked what are you doing to do? I said I’m going to drop off day eleven and twelve like I had planned as there is a reason God told me to do this. In the meantime Allyson and I decided that we would also stop on day twelve and see my friend who we thought we were dropping the gifts off for. I sent her a message asking for her address to confirm the white pages were correct. 
So today was day twelve and only the second time I have ever knocked on the door and waited for the people to answer. I was a nervous wreck waiting for the girl who almost caught me. They invited me in and then asked who I was. So they kind of remembered me as the nurse after I dropped a few reminders. They said they eliminated all their family and friends and couldn’t think of anyone else. They did decide that mercy had way too many patients for it to be them. (Also Mercy could not do this because of the stark law, they aren’t allowed to give any thing to a patient more than ten bucks). Apparently it was driving her crazy who it was and so the day she got the note she showed her sister. She called and texted people every night about what gift she received. As I was leaving I noticed the Christmas ornament from day one hanging on the front door and she said it was there the entire time. I said I was so paranoid about being caught I never noticed. It made their entire Christmas and gave them something to look forward to. They also gave me a gift which was not expected or necessary. I accept gifts almost as well as hugs. However this is beautiful and if I would have put a tree up this year I would have hung it on there the minute I got home. 


Next stop was the apartment. I asked if she knew it was me and said not until I posted about trying to do something nice and it turning into a comedy. That made her kind of suspect me. Her parents and she wondered if it was supposed to be for her based on the gifts. She has a five-year old so I had a blast finding stuff for kids. My favorite was day one, it was a gingerbread bat cave and bat car. She told me her son would call grandma  every night and ask what the angel left. It brought her parents closer together. After we saw her we did our last drop and run at her parents house and I left them my note about who I was and the story. 
And as we were driving away I realized I experienced what this is all about. To show people love and kindness during what can be a stressful time. Yes Allyson and I would leave the house knowing we wouldn’t be back for at least two hours. All kinds of crazy stuff happened, like almost getting caught, seeing a deer on the sidewalk, driving around the block three and four times till the front was clear, getting out of work late every single time causing me to barely make it to second house before nine. However all kinds of cool stuff happened too. Allyson and I debated blonde Oreos vs chocolate. I ate these yummy white chocolate peppermint covered thin pretzels almost every night. Allyson got to meet someone she had always wanted to meet and wrote him a huge letter. She had a story to tell! But the greatest part of all was being able to see what a little bit of kindness made such a huge impact. I give up as I cannot find words to describe it. I would encourage every single person reading this to do this just one Christmas. It is the part of Christmas we most look forward to. We have family memories that will last forever. I will do this until I can no longer run fast enough not to get caught. 

Mole moral ~ If you move please notify your employer, you never know who might need your address or why.

Merry Christmas 

 

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God Friended Me

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If you haven’t seen this show, you should. I think it ranks right up there with This is Us. I started watching mostly because I am a Facebook junkie and I thought how cool would it be to get a friend request from God. Miles who gets the request is an atheist and is convinced someone is behind it so of course his Indian friend is a computer genius and is busy trying to trace who keeps sending the friend requests. It is so well written and it just keeps tying one episode to the next. I usually binge watch TV shows but this one I watch every week.

Although I am sure when the show ends they will discover a person is behind it. Someone is sending him friend requests of people who need his help. I have always felt if a person is quiet and listens (not audibly) they can hear God and things he would like you to do. My Christmas Angel yearly program has always been chosen by God. It’s hard to describe but I just know when it is the right person. I’m thinking about it because that starts again on December 14. It is one of the things I look the most forward to.

Mole Moral ~ Just like This is Us, you need to start from the first episode. Another great show is A Million Little Things and also needs to be started from the beginning. This may be the year of the great TV shows.

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A Pinterest Thanksgiving

First of all I will confess I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. It was about two months ago when my boss requested rice krispy treat turkeys for our Thanksgiving teamwork reminder. Our one word for the year at work is Teamwork between women’s health, mother/baby and labor/birth. So each month the Professional Governance committee that I am on comes up with different ways to remind the unit of the word. I had thought about the turkey request but made the mistake of getting on the above mentioned website and found these.

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They are so cute and look so easy. Looks can be very deceiving. I had to make them in three batches and I ended up with chocolate everywhere. Six hours later this was my end results.

The next issue was just exactly how was I going to get them all to work. So I decided to put them on a tri-fold science project board, folded up. That worked well, except they were heavy as all get out. I covered them tightly with Saran wrap and put them in my car. I hadn’t made it three miles from my house when there was an accident on the highway and I hit the brakes. That sent my turkeys flying into the floorboard. I thought I was never going to get to work to assess the damage.

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A few lost a leg, a few lost an eyeball and  three lost their entire face but all in all they survived pretty well. My boss loved them and the general consensus was I have way too much patience to put that much work into something. Actually by the time I realized how time-consuming they were, I was in over my head and decided I had no choice but to finish what I had started.

I could not figure out what I wanted to make for Thanksgiving when it popped into my head to look for a carrot cake cheesecake recipe. I swear you can find the kitchen sink on pinterest. So here is what I found and the article said the ingredients made the cake look initimitating but do not be afraid it was pretty easy.

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Well the way it said to layer the cheese cake with the carrot cake did not work out at all for me. And after I had the cake in the oven I realized I had forgotten to put the sour cream in the cheesecake portion. It was too late. So we finally cut into around four this afternoon and I baked in a 9×13 pan so mine looked like this.

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It tasted really good and my mother in law told me to leave it with her. Now she had made my favorite cheesecake of all,  Jello No Bake Cheesecake so I took a chunk of that home for later tonight.

Mole Moral ~ So many things to be Thankful for, I can read, I can follow directions, all of my family is healthy, I can taste, I can see, I can enjoy good food. I love my job (most days) and I have patience to do crazy crafts.

 

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Toy Story Land

As most people know my two favorite Disney movies are Monsters Inc and Toy Story. It’s been a couple of weeks since I returned from the most fantastic graduation trip with Emily. It’s been about eighteen months since she became a Physical Therapist and she could have time off for vacation. We both love Disney and Halloween so what better time to go then over Halloween. We also heard the park goes to sleep on Halloween night decorated for Halloween and awakens the next morning decorated for Christmas. That indeed is true which will be a different blog post.
Toy Story land opened in Hollywood Studios over the summer and I was so excited. The three-dimensional shooting game that was already there was incredible and major fun. I was looking forward to riding the slinky dog roller coaster. Walking into that section was like the movie had come alive. There was a giant woody greeting folks as they came in.

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Up by the rollercoaster was a giant Jenga game with Rex on top who also spoke.

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Standing in line for the ride was like being in the box the roller coaster would have come in. The attention to detail was mind-blowing including the wall of “stickers” with some missing. They had artwork of Andy’s and how the coaster would go together. I must say it was the smoothest roller coaster I have ridden to date.


It was just the two of us so of course I needed photos of us with Buzz and then Woody and Jesse.

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When the first movie came out, Emily was three years old. She refused to go to the movies to see it. I finally saw it when I bought it on VHS. It would be a few years later before she admitted she was scared of the cowboy (Woody). So to get her to be in the picture I told her she could be by Jessie and I would be by Woody. I walked up to Woody and hugged him. I was so excited, like a kid at Christmas and then I stepped on his boot. This caused me to lose my balance and I almost fell. He grabbed my arm and saved me. Although he never spoke a word, I could tell he was very concerned by his body actions which was really cool to me.

Before we started the photo’s, Jessie noted that I had a bucket o soldiers in my hand. A green army man just happened to be walking by so she waved him over to show him the bucket of soldiers. While we were busy taking pictures he autographed my bucket o soldiers. While walking around the park a guy my age asked where I found them and then proceeded to tell me he would light his on fire when he was a kid. I informed him he was just like Sid in the movie. After I got home, I opened the box and sure enough, the injured soldier that Andy’s mom stepped on was in the bucket.

Mole Moral ~ Never let a trip and near fall stop you from having your photo taken with the scary cowboy.

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Two incredible amazing people.

 

It was May of 1991 and I had been a burn nurse for nineteen months when Gary was found in a car that was on fire after the fire had been put out. The fire department did not think anyone was inside. His burns were extensive and he had breathed in a ton of smoke so Dr. Ayvazian told his fiancé Linda that he would not survive. Gary and Linda had both worked on the movie White Palace which was filmed in St. Louis about a year prior to his burn. I have never seen the movie but always remembered this fun fact.

Anyhow Gary was with us for a few months  and then he was discharged home. The thing I remember most about him was the day they were making the mold of his face for his pressure mask. They inserted straws into his nose for him to breath through and then pretty much covered his head. I was his nurse that day and had to think hard about other things as I was having a claustrophobic panic attack for him. I am pretty sure I gave him extra Valium, Versed or something to make it more tolerable for me. Hee hee

     It wasn’t too long before we started seeing him again. There was a Burns Recovered Support Group that was run by a guy who was before my time. It wasn’t long until he passed away and Gary and Linda stepped up to take over the group. I believe they met once a month and Gary would come visit patients once or twice a week during the day time.
     After seeing an article in People magazine about a burn camp in Texas, Linda felt called that  Missouri needed a children’s burn camp. After doing research she discovered we had none so she and Gary decided to start their own. The first year (1997) they had 17 campers and no child has ever paid for camp. The camp is located at the Lake of the Ozarks. Brian’s parents have a house at the lake so one summer Emily, Kayla and I made a visit to burn camp. Either Linda gave me bad directions or my lack of GPS skills were showing because I somehow managed to miss the turn and ended up driving to Jefferson City. I turned around and went back to the lake. Brian got his map out and gave me new directions. We found it the second time around. Although we didn’t stay long, I immediately knew it was a wonderful place for the kids. A week where they can be just kids and not burn survivors.
     I have had so many burn unit memories over the past couple of weeks. Linda shared my blog and I heard from a nurse friend I have always remembered and wondered what happened to her. Back in the day people would ask how I could work there. And my answer was pretty much everyone got better and went home. I never really knew how most of them did after they left. There were certainly days when I left wondering if all the torture I and the team inflicted on these patients was worth it.
     So on Friday I went and spent the evening with Gary and Linda. I had such a wonderful time that I ended up staying past eleven and the next day went to Universal Studios on four hours of sleep. I would have done it on no sleep! They are both two amazing selfless giving people. They took the support group to an amazing place and they started the camp from the ground up. I am sure at the time of the accident if you would have asked if this would have been their path in life they would have said no way. I can’t help but think God had this planned all along. I use to see Gary in the cafeteria on Tuesdays from time to time. It was always an exciting day for me. I cannot remember (even though we just talked about this) if they retired and moved four or six years ago. I do know it took me close to two years to stop looking for Gary in the cafeteria.

 

     I’ve never felt that were truly recognized nor appreciated for all they have done, especially by the hospital. However it’s as if God purposefully put these words of Jesus in my head (yes I had to look up exactly where they are located. Bible bees locations are much like patients names. I know their story but not their names)
 Matthew “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you 

These two live this every day. I’m so thankful that I decided to share my Dr. Ayvazian blog with Linda. She responded with an invitation if you are ever in the area please come see us. She was probably blown away when I said I will actually be there in three days, free on Friday. Originally Emily and I were both coming on Saturday and starting trip on Sunday. Since I’m a theme park nazi I decided we should start on Saturday and fly in Friday. She took a red-eye so she could work on Friday and the rest is history.

Mole Moral ~ Gary and Linda are my providential people. (Another church term). Meeting them changed the direction of my life and so many, many more and for the better!

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Our Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday October 20, 2018 marked twenty-eight years ago that Brian and I said we do. Ten years ago our anniversary ended in disaster with Brian saying he was never going anywhere with me again and I deciding to go to counseling so I could divorce him. I went to counseling but things did not go the way I thought they would. You can read about The Love Dare which saved our marriage here. It had quite the following on Facebook back in the day.

Any day that involves a gift from Brian is always interesting. I must admit this year he did not disappoint. Our pizza cutter broke over a month ago (he’s the only one that uses it) so you have one guess what he gave me. Not to forget nuts, this year I received soy sauce and wasabi almonds which are some of my favorites. He also managed to give me the same card he gave me a couple of years ago which had us both cracking up.

He decided we would go to Tuckers for dinner and he told me to dress sexy  I’m pretty sure he expected me to be in jeans and a T-shirt but I think he was pleasantly surprised when I came out wearing this.

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Tuckers is right across from South County mall where we ended up on our blind date. He suggested we go over there and walk around. I said let’s do it! A couple of weeks ago I managed to track down my friend that set us up on the blind date thirty-three years ago. Not too long after the double date she was in a serious car accident and broke her neck. Recently Brian’s golf buddy Dave broke his neck. Brian and I were watching TV and the advertisement for the new Halloween movie came out. After Lisa got her halo off Brian and I took her to A Nightmare on Elm Street part 2. I looked at Brian and said I’m a stalker, surely I can find Lisa  I had lost her address twenty-four years ago and she never joined Facebook but that didn’t stop me. She called today and left a message so I will be calling her back soon. She fixed us up because I liked skinny guys, none of us realized it would lead to twenty-eight years of marriage, three girls, best friends and a whole lot of fun. He told me when you talk to her tell her “thanks a lot” super sarcastic but I know he’s just as thankful as I for her!!

 

Mole moral ~ Marriage is hard work but the rewards and joy are well worth it

 

 

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Monday Night Golf League

Brian has been in the Monday night golf league for what seems like forever. He has no idea when he joined and neither do I. This past Monday he came home early and totally freaked out. I thought for sure he got his first speeding ticket of his life but his evening was way more traumatic.

Golf was finished for the night and some of the guys were sitting outside drinking beer and doing whatever it is guys do when all of a sudden Dave falls out of his chair. He lands on the ground and is unresponsive. Brian springs to action to see if he’s breathing. His chest is not moving so he tells one guy to check for a pulse and barks at the others to call 911. The other guy can’t find a pulse (I’m really not sure if I could find a carotid pulse either in that situation) so Brian says to him you are going to have to start chest compressions. The guy is like I don’t know how to do that. Just then Dave wakes up and says he is fine except his neck hurts. No one had managed to call 911 so they skip calling them. Brian drives Dave home from golf and stays with him until his wife gets home. The next day after work I make Brian text Dave to make sure he is still alive. A person usually doesn’t go unresponsive, apneic and potentially pulseless for no reason. Dave answers right away that he is fine but his neck still hurts. Sometime later that evening Brian’s text message buzzer goes off and the next words out of his mouth are something to the effect of holy shit. Well I have a nose problem and ask him what is up. The text is from Dave.

Dave decided to go to urgent care because his neck was hurting so bad. They did a CT scan and determined he broke his neck and they were sending him by ambulance to Barnes. So the paranoid nurse in me was like, he was walking around with an unstable neck fracture for 24 hours, he’s lucky it didn’t extend into his spine and paralyze him. How crazy is that a fall out of a chair can lead to a broken neck. I am also secretly thinking they will check out his heart to see what caused the episode leading up to the broken neck.

Brian heard back the next day and after 2 CT scans, 15 x-rays and an MRI they determine surgery wasn’t needed but he will be in a brace for two weeks. I of course ask what about his heart. “I don’t know” was Brian’s response. Trying to get information out of dudes is almost impossible. I do know Dave won’t be finishing out the golf season except for maybe the after golf drinking and doing whatever it is dude’s do.

I was super impressed with Brian’s take charge attitude of the situation. He has taken CPR at least three times that I can remember. It’s probably because he has lived with bossy pants me for 28 years. Also so caring of him to drive Dave home as well. I really do have an awesome husband!

 

Mole Moral ~ Guys never stop thinking they are invincible even when they are all over the age of 50!