Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Venturing in New Territory

When life give you lemons, make lemonade.

I don't know that that analogy is totally accurate for my situation. I'm not sure that I was exactly handed lemons, and it remains to be seen if this is lemonade we're making, or just something that makes your face pucker up and your eyes water, with the hope that a bit more sugar could turn it into something great.

Anyway…
I don't normally share much about my personal life here. In fact, lately, I haven't been sharing it much of anywhere. I dabble on Instagram, lurk but don't post on Facebook, and have seemingly abandoned this blog. I'm not sure why that is, when the majority of the blogs I love the most are ones that not only share their designs, but their lives. In the past I've lost readers when a post is personal so I'm sure that has something to do with it. But in reality, this is my space, and if what I post isn't to the liking of a reader, it's certainly their prerogative to no longer hang out in this space. Why then, should that stop me from sharing my heart? The only answer I can come up with is, it shouldn't! 
So here goes. 

Over the past several months I've been doing what most of you who know me would expect me to do. Crafting, designing, working to make my home the place I want myself and my family to enjoy. I've created signs, which sold surprisingly well, painted walls, created galleries and enjoyed my family. I've also been silently (silent to most, but to those few I've opened up to, thank you!) heartbroken.

It seems very trivial to talk about heartbreak when it comes to a job. But the job in question is one that takes heart and soul to perform, and one that has brought me amazing friendships I will forever cherish. Many of you know that I am a nurse by trade. I have been a nurse since the end of 2003, and worked for the same hospital corporation since 2002. I am a Labor and Delivery nurse. When I say that, I will occasionally hear the dreaded "oh, you get to rock the babies". Do not say this to an L&D nurse. If you would really like to know what a day in the life for us is like, I invite you to check out this post by another one of the nurses in the trenches just like me. I don't know her, but we speak the same language. Yet I digress. The point is, nursing is hard work. It takes everything you have to give some days, and then demands you give even more. And we give it. We give it because our patients are worth it, we value the care we give you, and because the nurse, tech, doc, housekeeper, and unit clerk in the trenches with us all deserve our best, as they are digging deep to do the same.

Several months ago, due to changes in the industry and healthcare as a whole, the hospital I worked for for so many years decided to make a change. I won't go into all the gory details, but suffice it to say, the change was monetary, and not in a good way. I, and nearly every other employee of the hospital, found ourselves facing a pay cut. The work load wasn't decreasing, on the contrary, with changes to the national healthcare system, anyone working in the field will tell you we are working harder than ever to be compliant with a host of new regulations. Nevertheless, a pay cut. Many took it with grumbles, many spoke out in anger, some chose to make a change, and some did all of the above. 

Through long talks with my husband, I found myself in the change category (and possibly a bit of the grumbling and angry one as well). The pay cut didn't bring us to ruin. We can still feed our family, but it started us thinking. Thinking about what could be done to allow me to do the work I've done for so long, but also allow me to, in the words of my husband "get paid what I'm actually worth". The answer for us was travel nursing. If you've never heard of that before, it's exactly what it sounds like. Traveling to different hospitals away from my home and working as a contract nurse for, typically, 13 weeks at a time. For me, it means finding a hospital that is within several hours driving distance, working 3 days in a row, then driving back home on my days off. The pay is substantial, the time away, grueling! 

I, and many others in my department, chose to make this change. Most of the others who left, did so many months ago, I decided to wait till my kids were back in school for the fall. October 1st was my last day at my old job, and I started my first travel assignment on October 6th, 3 hours from home. It's been a very long, trying month. The reaction to so many people leaving my old department in such a short time was varied. Understanding, anger, sadness, abandonment, exhaustion. I've been feeling all of these things, either personally, or in feeling that I caused them in others. It's very hard to leave people who you feel are a second family, but what I had to do, was focus on what is truly important. My first family.

I said above, that my husband wanted me to get paid what I was worth. I agree with him, but that is by no means why I chose to finally take this leap. It's a bonus, no doubt, but I see this as a means to an eventual end. I do love nursing, and I think I'm pretty darn good at it. But I've found in the last few years, that it's no longer what I have a passion for. I have a passion to create. 

Unfortunately, I also have bills to pay, a family that hasn't taken a proper vacation in quite a long time, and a life that has been lived paycheck to paycheck for as long as I can remember. Thus my means to an end. We pray, hope and plan that this sacrifice of time and distance will eventually lead to a new way of life for our family. One where money takes a back seat to a family adventure planned and executed at a moments notice. Where I can devote the extra time needed to my love of creating and the passion I have to do that full time. 

Yes, I am fully aware that spending time with family and taking adventures with them can be done even with minimal funds. We do have fun as life is now, but I want more for them, and for me. I'm praying that this change, even though it's been wrenchingly hard to drive away from my family once a week, will bring us to the long term goals that we have been dreaming for. 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained? Well we've chosen, as a family, to venture. 

I crave your prayers in all of this, mostly for my children. They are all basically teenagers, so one would think leaving for a few days of the week wouldn't be that difficult. Oh, but it is. I have been blessed with a family that I love and that dearly loves me. They hate when I have to leave, and have literally held on to me as I try to inch my way out the door. It makes me beam with joy while choking back tears of sadness all in the same moment. Prayers. 

I also crave your understanding when I go months without blogging. Please know that I think about you lovely people all the time. You who've chosen to spend just a little portion of your time to peek in on my home. I'm honored that you enjoy the bits I've shown to you, and I'll try to pop in occasionally to keep you posted as life continues to unfold. 

I'll leave you with a pic of a sign I made just a month before I started traveling. It's hanging above our back entry, the one my family uses every day when we come and go. I think it sums up my thoughts rather well.