Monday, February 1, 2010
Mike is our Director of Child Services and handles all the programs related to our students.
We hadn’t met for a couple of weeks while I was getting diagnosed and starting treatment, so I stopped by his office to check in. After a while, he asked the question he pops on me every once in a while.
“So, what’s your sense of how things are going on campus?”
I usually have a great handle on both successes and struggles.
But since the new semester started, with my illness and absence, I really don’t have that sense of what most needs attention. When I do get around campus, because staff care so much, they focus the conversation on my health needs and how I’m doing.
It takes a little more work now turning the conversation back to how they’re doing, and what we can work at doing better together. But, staff are stepping forward to address problems that arise and build on the successes we have. There’s a good sense of team here, so the ball gets carried forward whenever a teammate goes down.
When I ran out of mental energy today, I switched to a simple task – putting several batches of photos in albums. Brought back lots of good memories of the times and events we celebrate as a campus-wide community.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sometimes illness has dramatic effects; other times, it affects your life in little ways, unnoticeable to others.
When I stood before the mirror this morning and ritually picked up the can of shaving cream, I rubbed my hand along my cheek.
For the first time in about 30 years, I didn’t need to shave. My beard is back to the peach fuzz I had as a teenager.
It’s my hope the chemo that’s inhibiting my fast-growing hair cells is making an even bigger impact on the fast-growing cancer cells.
The kids see me wearing a small pedometer on my belt and will often ask, “How many steps today?” That’s always followed by a request to let them loop my pedometer in over their belt and run a lap around the playground to see how many steps they can accumulate.
I normally average 15,000 steps a day, (not counting the ones the children add) but lately I’ve logged only a small fraction of that. Today, I only needed one nap and was out and about campus more. One small step at a time, repeated over and over again, gradually adds up. One day at a time!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I hear from many people around the country who have never actually gotten to visit St. Joseph, yet it holds such a special place in their hearts.
One of the more enjoyable activities I get to take part in is our donor appreciation luncheons that we hold in different parts of the country. Meeting people face-to-face, saying thanks and answering their questions about our school is memorable for me and for them.
Next weekend, I was scheduled to go to Naples, Florida. This morning’s thermometer reading of 2 degrees certainly made me long for warmer weather. But with my treatments and recovery, I’m going to have to curtail my travels for a few months, and other staff will have to carry on the St. Joseph’s message.
Kelsey and Erin, our two high school girls who are traveling to Florida, got together with me today for some practice time.
Fear of public speaking is a hurdle, but with encouragement and practice, our students usually do a good job. I emphasize that if they can relax, be themselves and talk from the heart, people will be very interested while they respect and value what our students have to say.
When we really listen to our young people, we open doors of self-confidence and self-awareness for them.
Besides asking Kelsey and Erin to represent St. Joseph’s well, I also made them promise to have a fun time and enjoy the wonders in a new part of the world they’ll encounter.