Thursday, September 21, 2017

Elevator Pitch -

This week I've been teaching my students how to consolidate their research into a 5 floor elevator pitch. You know - when you're on an elevator, someone asks you who you are, what you're doing, where you're going, what you're presenting on, and you have approximately 5 floors to answer that question.

My students need to be able (well, anyone) to verbalize what their research papers are about, in a succinct, precise, brief, clear approach - no humming, full of confidence, and hopefully, do that in 3 floors, with 2 floors left for feedback!

As a college professor, that's been easy for me to do: "I teach Freshman and Sophomore writing and a Folklore, or Cultural Studies course." Bing batta boom, message sent, plenty of time for questions and conversation.

As a chaplain, an introduction is horrible. "I'm a chaplain, a clinical chaplain, at a major hospital. I work with those who are dying, or have received a diagnosis that has rocked their very foundation." Beautiful - but what does that mean? "When we face any major upheaval in our lives, our entire being is traumatized. My focus is to help those who are in this situation as they question their beliefs, their values, their life's purpose." Or - "I listen as others sort through their thoughts and feelings."

But I had a friend awhile back who said to me, "Ronda, who are you? What do you stand for? What's your life purpose?" Yikes! Don't pin me down! I felt cornered, caught, tied down, and then stuck in that spot until I could give an answer. And my life is not one that is static - I am constantly on the move, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and to be asked to put myself in a box just about caused me an anxiety over-dose.

Today I attended a meeting at UVU (where I teach), and while one of the presenters talked about the Inclusion initiative at UVU, my elevator pitch to my friend, and to ya'll came to me.

"My deepest desires are to make sure that every person has a place to land where they can feel safe, share their story, and be heard." "I am one of those safe places."

There you go - that's what I've worked for and toward, all my life. My academic world, my professional world, my chaplain world, my interpersonal world. These are the people I'm attracted to, and quite often, they are attracted to me. Put the message out - verbally or silently, and it will be heard.

I came home from this early morning meeting quite happy - feeling at peace. I did it! I created my elevator pitch, defined my "mission," and expressed my deepest emotions, all in the matter of 5 floors, or a lifetime - depending -

What's yours?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Circumstances -

I've been thinking about this a lot lately - while it rings true to me, I wonder if it's just a little too simplified. Yet I know that whether circumstances reveal or the refiner's fire unveils, once we're down to our essence we're pretty exposed to the realities of the world and how we work in that world.

Thanks,, for sharing this thought with me today. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Waiting -

Remember the days of dial-up internet? Waiting and waiting and waiting - for the phone line to be available, for the connection to be made, for the computer to accept, for information to load? 

My husband - he'll tell anyone who asks that he waited for me for 16 years, and that the waiting was worth every minute. After being together me for 13.5 years though, he still does a fair share of waiting. For example:

Waited for me this morning as I showered and got ready for work, prior to us eating breakfast. 
Waited for me in the car (I'll just warm the car up, hon) while I gathered all my materials for the day. 
He takes me to work (I love that time with you), which means he waits a few minutes more to begin his day. 
He'll pick me up from work, take me to job #2 (UVU), and for sure he'll wait when picking me up after classes tonight - there's always a student or two who want to talk after class . . . 
He waits for me when I stroll rather than hurry; he waits for me when I visit with someone rather than scurrying right out the door; he waits for me to check emails before he can read the latest news. 
And the list goes on. 
He usually has a book or a radio, which makes the waiting more tolerable. 
He's a patient man. 
But then, what does patience look like? 
Is it the waiting, is it the learning to wait, is it being at peace with the waiting? 

So I've always been told I'm impatient. "Ronda, just be patient." "Ronda, slow down so others can catch up," etc., but then I think about the waiting I do in a day - 
Wait for patients to arrive (often late).
Wait while patients share their stories. 
Wait with patients. 
Wait for doctors, nurses, medical staff. 
Wait for students. 
Wait with students. 
And I've learned how to be peacefully present while waiting. 
I have to be present while I'm patient. I wish I could have a book with me, but no. 

More than Scott being patient with me, and me being patient with others, I'm learning how to be patient with myself. Time - being is a good place; being present, available, aware, engaged, or not, waiting is not an evil. 

"I waited for you for 16 years," takes on a new definition, when understanding that waiting is letting the path unfold, in front of us, with no idea what the future is to bring. Being in the moment, living for today, trusting the process, having joy in the being. 

Waiting - a good characteristic. "Hi, I'm Ronda, and I'm waiting."

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Past, Present, Future - 4 Generation Pic -

This photo, today, describes who I am, more than any picture or any story could. I love these women, and this Tom.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Bugs and Lemonade -

So – Scott and I took a much-needed, 5 night, break and drove to McCall, Idaho (north of Boise) for what was supposed to be a stay in a cabin on a lake. Ha! The cabin was nice, the lake was across the street, but we couldn’t see it from the cabin because of the bigger cabins on the lake-side, the beach was a dingy dirty rocky sandy little area, the water had receded, so the dock that was so beautiful in the pictures was on dry ground, surrounded by muck! And then, to make matters worse, the area was covered in smokey haze from fires all around, so we couldn’t even see the lake or the mountains. And – Scott and I both got sick with stomach flu day 2. And – well, it wasn’t the dream mountain vacation I was hoping for!

Thank heavens Scott and I have both been through enough hard times in our lives to recognize and realize that we didn’t need to make this any tougher on ourselves than it already was. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, sometimes making lemonade is impossible, so you just have to accept that there are going to be lemony, sour, pucker up days, and roll with it, and we did: thank goodness the bed was comfy, there was a DVD player and a video store nearby, we had cold cereal to eat, and there were toilets that flushed and running water. And really, there wasn’t anything we could do but just make it through our situation.

However, last night we decided that since we have a busy week this week, no sense in arriving home tired on Monday evening, so we drove home today, using our day off tomorrow to really rest for the week. Good decision! We're unpacked, wash is happening, stomach is still deciding where it's rolling, and life. goes. on. 

I guess my “and thus we say,” or moral to my story is – sometimes you’re the windshield (or lemonade), sometimes you’re the bug (or lemon); but regardless, I've learned, and continue to learn, rolling with our circumstances, rather than fighting them, can be a good way to go!

And - we had a safe, warm, dry, happy home to come home to. Praying for those who want similar. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

This week -

Five years ago this week - whew, although I'm feeling a little anxiety today. So I'm taking the week off to "ommmm." In the meantime, I found this bit of good news -

Triple negative breast cancers tend to recur within a few years and when they recur, prognosis is usually poor. However, because triple negative breast cancers tend to recur early, if a woman survives five years without a recurrence, her chances of survival are high.

Once the five years are over, TNBC cancer rarely relapses, and a person can feel confident that they’ve been victorious over their cancer.

In celebration - this - 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Scary Story -

Once upon a time there was a middle'ish aged woman. She thought she knew what needed to be known.

Then one evening she found a lump in her breast.

That's when her lessons began.

Five years later the fear is still there - and the unknown is far greater than the known.

to be continued . . .