5 Tips to Simplify Holiday Stress

Is there anything better than this time of year? Pumpkin pie, Christmas lights and the ever-present stress of finding the right gift for everyone on our lists are enough to drive this girl crazy.

Well, I’m all about simplifying the holiday madness and I hope these tips help you too.

Church Fellowship Halls – Tired of traveling around, dragging the kids and dogs from place to place on Thanksgiving and Christmas day. If so, then reserve a local fellowship hall. My family has done this for the past three Thanksgivings and it has worked out splendidly for all. We invite all of our family on both sides and they are welcome to invite their family members also. The only rule: bring a couple of things to eat.

Potluck Dishes or Catering- If you’re tired of cooking for large crowds then have everyone bring a dish to your holiday meal. We always end up with way too much food to eat and everyone leaving satisfied. Perhaps your brood isn’t the cooking type and you’re afraid you’ll end up with nothing but ramen noodles to eat, then supply a catered meal. If you have a generous family, then they shouldn’t mind chipping in to cover the cost in lieu of cooking.

Smaller Christmas Trees – As much as I love a large, live Christmas tree, my wiser age has taught me that vacuuming up pine needles and sacrificing valuable space in my smaller living room is just not worth it in this household. Instead, we decorate two smaller, straighter trees that can be stored away in our back room with the decorations still intact. The week of Thanksgiving, I walked to my back room, picked up my two trees and carried them, already decorated, to their designated spots. Then I added touches around the room with figurines, bells, and quilted stockings. All was completed in about an hour and then I could sit back, admire the lights while sipping hot tea from my Christmas mug … stress-free.

Online Shopping – I’ve never been one to enjoy endless walking into multitudes of stores to find the right present for someone. I’m more of a “let’s do lunch” girl than a “let’s go shopping” girl. Therefore, on Black Friday, I spend the day in my pajamas with a good cup of coffee and order all my gifts online. I’ve found this allows me to really think about and purchase unique gifts that suit everyone better than settling for some bargain bin gift just to have something to wrap. Plus, I can usually find really good deals and the presents come with a box ready for wrapping.

Give back – Many people need others to help them have a good Christmas and when we help others our stress levels decrease. I’ve never regretted helping someone provide a meal or gifts for their family when they may not have the means to do so themselves. If fact, the joy that comes with giving to others is the best stress-free gift of all.

The joy that comes with giving to others is the best stress-free gift of all. Click To Tweet

I hope these tips will help us reduce the stress in our holiday season and provide more time to do what we truly love … spending time with the ones we love during the most wonderful time of the year.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and God’s blessings to all!

Summer Time Fun

Hi all,

Our summer is about to come to an end with work starting back up next week. I hope you’ve had some lovely vacation time with your family and friends and found some relaxation and peace for your lazy, hazy days.

Here are some of the things we’ve done:

Finish off your playtime of summer well and here are a few writing tips to help you get back into the swing of completing those novels!

1) Set aside time every day to write. Sometimes finding those minutes to get words on the page is difficult, but even five hundred words a day adds up to 90,000 words in six months. That’s a complete novel finished in six months. Several authors publish one book a year. At five hundred words a day that’s two books in the same amount of time!

2) Incorporate friends. I have a writing squad of amazing, talented writers, some published, some not. We meet up three times a week via web conferencing chat about our works in progress then conduct fifteen-minute sprints to get as many possible words as we can in that timeframe. We spend about an hour to an hour and a half getting our words on the page. So helpful in getting writing completed.

3) Pray for God to bless your efforts. As an inspirational author, I always want my stories to build up hope and peace in my reader’s lives. Therefore, I ask the creator of hope and peace to bless my work. Often times, I’m amazed at the lessons in life I learn as God teaches me through my own stories. I hope one day, they will be a blessing in print for my reader’s too.

For now … Step Into Story Click To Tweet

Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference

BRMCWC friends at the coffee shop at Ridgecrest Conference Center

This will be my third time attending the BRMCWC. This is the first place where I discovered I didn’t have a clue how to write fiction. For someone who made the Dean’s list in college, I didn’t take this revelation well, but alas, the truth hits us the hardest sometimes.

Anyway, I dug into the classes and began studying how to write fiction. Three years later and I finally, just now, feel like I’m understanding the process … some. The amount of information comes at you like one of those huge buckets at a waterpark emptying on your head. So what’s a first-time conference attendee to do to keep from being overwhelmed?

Try out these things below:

Bring author cards. These are little business type cards that give your information to other writers. When we all return home, we make tons of social media connections, check out people’s websites and read blog posts. The people I’ve connected with at conferences have become an army of friends, support and encouragement. Trust me, you’ll want to trade cards.

Talk to others. Some of the best-established authors, editors and agents attend this conference. This is where I met my agent, joined a writer’s group and discovered a tribe of other helpful authors rooting for all of our success. This is a very welcoming community and many are there to help along this new journey.

Be polite and kind. There is no worse way to make an impression than to chase an editor down the hall waving your manuscript at them. Thankfully, I’ve never seen this happen, but I’ve heard stories of editors and agents being approached in the restroom. Time to implement some common sense. Is that really how we want to be remembered by the one person who could make or break our writing career? Instead, let’s sign up for appointments, talk to them at the lunch or dinner tables or in the lounges and coffee shops when they are hanging out after hours. Better yet, play a game and ask them to join without any ulterior motive at all. Trust me, you have plenty of time to get your manuscript to them because this publishing journey is slow…which brings me to my next point.

Relax. I remember feeling overwhelmed the first time I came and thought I had to get my whole career secured in this one week. This journey is like an Atlanta Braves ball game tied in the ninth inning with no outs and rain clouds are moving overhead. There’s no need to rush the field. You’ve got plenty of time. Pick a few things to accomplish while there and enjoy the classes, the friendships, and the coffee.

Devote each day to God. This really should be the first point, but I wanted this to be the last thing to keep fresh in your mind. We need God’s graceful hand holding ours down the path to becoming an author. He’s the only One who can open doors, create divine appointments, provide encouragement and guidance beyond all we could ever ask, think or imagine. That’s the one thing I’m learning through all this … that I must put in the work and write the stories He gives, then release them to Him, for His will, not my own.

Kayaking with the Redmons – Lower Green River

This was a fun float on a beautiful day. We put in at Fish Top Access and floated to Big Rock. We use open top boats so we were a little concerned if we’d make it through the Class II rapids without any issues. We did get wet, but had a blast! Check out the first part of our float.

What Could Go Wrong – The Drunk Patient

For those of you who are getting to know me, I’ve been in the medical field for over twenty years and have had some interesting experiences.

Medical shows love to use imaging procedures in their episodes, but often times the scenes do not follow a realistic procedure protocol or the drama is escalated in over the top scenarios.

Everything from doctor’s running the MRI machine to using the wrong probes or technology in ultrasound, our television shows get the details wrong more often than right. Good thing most actors are easy on the eyes so we tend to forgive the script errors a bit more.

In an effort to provide positive change and help writers produce accurate material for their storylines, the What Could Go Wrong Series will reveal real-life cases witnessed by personnel in healthcare environments or realistic scenarios that could happen in a medical setting.

Real-Life Case

A man with a high alcohol level came into the x-ray department from the ER for multiple images of his arm and shoulder. He’d been in a bar fight.

Technologist positioned the man’s arm into a painful posture to get diagnostic images. The man cussed the radiographer. With his good arm, he hauled off and hit the healthcare professional, knocking her to the floor. She got back up, dusted herself off and dove back in, calling for help to restrain the patient.  

Unlike most TV shows where a slew of physicians rush in to aid the staff, our doctors remained in their radiology offices or in the ER department tending to other patient cases. If we waited for them to intervene, the attacker could inflict more damage.

In real life, other x-ray team members entered and donned lead shields. They held the man in position while another radiographer took the image from outside the room. Healthcare workers acted in the moment and moved as a team to keep the scenario under control.

If for some reason, a physician had been nearby or in the department, then they might help with the situation. However, most radiologists read from their offices and ER doctors remain in their workspace taking care of other trauma cases.

Real World Facts

Radiographers and other healthcare professionals must deal with verbal patient abuse. When things turn physical, we must stay calm and keep a clear head.

A 2017 study by the National Institute of Health determined that patient to worker assault in the healthcare setting was a serious occupational hazard with frontline staff being at a higher risk for Type II violence. (Arnetz, 2017)

These scenarios impact the employee’s wellbeing, decrease morale, and can cause depressions or even post-traumatic stress long after the incident is over.

New Storyline

Now, imagine a TV character with this storyline. A drunk patient attacks the healthcare worker, a nurse, doctor, technologist, etc. and the emotional and psychological stress impacts every area of their life for several months. Even after the patient sobers, the effects of what he’s done could provide issues in his life and or recovery.

Sounds like an episode or two with loads of drama yet realistic to real world healthcare.

References

Arnetz, Judith E, et al. “Preventing Patient-to-Worker Violence in Hospitals: Outcome of a Randomized Controlled Intervention.” J Occup Environ Med, Jan. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5214512/