Thursday, June 23

Be a Media Maker

"The world where we are living in now - despite having a heavy investment in technology - is still dependent on our social and very human interactions."

This quote by Barbara Glickstein, faculty of the Nurse Messenger training I'm attending, is so reassuring to me. We are often consumed by social media - it's all around us, every day, and sucks us in like a vacuum. But in reality, technology in this sense is only and added path of information, something in addition to the shoulder-to-shoulder teamwork.

Barbara is a public health nurse executive, health policy expert, and broadcast journalist. She is co-founding director of the Center for Health Media and Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York. And for the past 25 years, she has produced and hosted "Healthstyles," an award-winning, weekly program on public radio in New York City. She is extremely active in areas of healthcare advocacy, gender inequality, religious and ethnic intolerance, trafficking in women, and women's health.

Along with Barbara, Diana Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the co-founder and co-director of the Center for Health Media and Policy. Dr Mason is the Rudin Professor at the Hunter College, City University of New York. She Produces and moderates "Healthstyles," with Barbara Glickstein, a live, award-winning radio program of 25 years. She is a blogger for "Disruptive Women in Healthcare" and the "American Journal of Nursing (AJN);" Dr. Mason served for over ten years as the editor-in-cheif of the AJN, where she continues an emeritus position.

The training I am lucky enough to be a part of this week is called "Nurse Messenger Training," and I'm working alongside 12 true leaders in nursing as we develop our media presence. All nurses are naturally educators and communicators! Barbara states, "Nurses can even communicate while running alongside a gurney!" We are natural lobbyists, as our passion lies in patient advocacy. But what can we actually do with this ability?

We each have a message to share, and defining that message gives us the power to share it. YOU have the ability to share messages that are clear, concise, and powerful, and that call for some kind of action. What would YOUR message be?

Wednesday, April 20

Moving Mountains?

What an adventure.

I'm fairly certain that whether I'm trying to accomplish a lot in one day OR sitting around on vacation somewhere, it will always feel like there is just not enough time; it always feels like I'm trying to move mountains.

I have a very vivid memory of myself about 8 years ago. I was on the phone with a girlfriend during the kids' naptime - I was a full time mom OF ONLY TWO at that time - and I was in tears because I was so tired of the "mundane" challenges that consumed my life, and needed to do more to feel like I was contributing to the world... and little by little I began adding to my schedule, adding to my world, and adding to my GOALS, all leading up to where I am today. If only I could have seen the future...

Fast-forward to today: alarm at the crack of dawn, hustle out the door to work, enjoy the day as a working mom with a great job at my college, then hustle and run again gathering up the kids/playing/eating/changing and coming back for class or clinical...and goals? Not just to maintain my sanity. My goals now include bigger things that I never even thought to imagine. Like committing myself to a 3 year, full time nursing program, and putting in the time to be successful. Like running for a national office with an enormous, historical student organization. Like serving our college as President of our Student Government Organization...

What I'm trying to say is that looking back now at myself 8 years ago, on the phone and in tears, I'm amazed at how things have changed. I AM expanding my goals and accomplishing them one at a time...I AM certainly challenged now. Try looking back at yourself a few years ago...is this where you wanted to be, or are you still shaping your goals? (Maybe we will always continue to shape them.) I think we are all moving mountains in one way or another. And it's not our accomplishments, but how we handle the pressure that defines us.

Friday, April 8

Climbing the Mountain

Hello, from Salt Lake City, Utah! I can’t believe I’m here, and part of this amazing convention for the NSNA (National Student Nurses’ Association) as a national candidate. Boy, it’s a wild adventure! I look forward to preparing a presentation for you when I get back, so that I share this experience with you all! I wish you were here with me. These 3,000 nursing students that are in attendance are ALL investing in their futures by choosing to be part of this experience – they are engaged, and value these resources that NSNA makes available to us! I’m honored to be part of this group. We are all climbing, working hard in our programs to make it through, make it to the top, and make it happen!

Ok, to sum it all up:

• Tuesday: arrived in Salt Lake City, lost a bag of luggage, of course the one with my suits; met a few other national candidates for an informal dinner, a chance to get a taste of what’s to come.

• Tuesday night: baggage delivered to the hotel (thank you, Delta) and MI averted

• Wednesday: 5am alarm, 6am breakfast, 7am opening of Campaign Headquarters to set up (see pic below); find my Virginia State Board friends (VSNA) to rally for some support; begin campaigning by manning the post in Campaign Headquarters from 12-2pm and greeting all voting Delegates that circled through, and then finding all of the meeting rooms where sign up sheets are posted for the states to sign up for caucuses; plan my next 2 days of attempting to visit most of the 50 caucuses, around the other obligations; keep smiling! Oh, and sleep and eat.

• Thursday (today!): 5am alarm, 6am breakfast, 7am caucus where I started off a little rushed, a little vague with my goals as potential Imprint Editor, and with a major migraine; by the end of the morning I had been accepted as a speaker to 15 state caucus meetings and presented myself well, better and better with each one! Manned my post in Campaign Headquarters for Delegates to come through again, then visited our grand opening of the Exhibit Hall at noon. Ate some yogurt, couldn’t find lunch. Didn’t want to miss the chance to speak at the caucuses, back to those for the afternoon! I think I spoke to 30 states today. Oh, and my handwritten thank you note to each state was very impressive.

• What’s on tap for tomorrow? The biggest day ever!

o Friday is our last huge day, before voting happens early Saturday morning and then closing ceremonies. Tomorrow I will be on my feet, literally, from 5am until after midnight, and it’s the day of my hugely daunting speech. I’m ready, and have even included a reference to BSMCON and our health care system, and to Dr. Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring! My speech is not about my “plan” for Imprint as future Editor, but actually about ensuring that “caring” is the foundation of our nursing education and future practice, not just an afterthought. The art and science of caring is the heart of nursing, and it’s how our hearts touch the everyday.

o There are 2 sections of speeches Friday, and I’m in Part One between 2:30-4:30. It goes in order of rank, from lowest to highest – Imprint Editor is last of the Part One block. There is then a break, and Part Two is the VP and Presidential speeches and debates that last until dinner. I can relax and listen. Then after eating something, we actually have our last push AFTER these speeches, from 10pm-midnight tomorrow night! This gives everyone a chance to come and talk with all of the candidates AFTER hearing our 3 minute personal statement and 5 minute response to impromptu questioning.

• Saturday? Early morning voting occurs, and only Delegates vote. This year, BSMCON is not an official constituent and does not have a voting Delegate. Next year we will! We just need 10 active NSNA members by Feb. to qualify for the first voting Delegate, then we get another Delegate for each additional 50 active members of NSNA. Some schools have 20, 30, or more Delegates! I think PA has the most state Delegates this year with 78, and that’s a lot of school support!

o I will find out at noon what the results of the elections will be, new national Board of Directors members are announced, and closing ceremonies occurs.

o If I’m elected, Sunday morning there is a mandatory working breakfast for all of us, when we’ll meet, have our first official photos, and discuss the coming months, including the summer intensive training week at NSNA headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, when I would potentially meet my staff, learn the ropes, share some enthusiasm and creativity, and exude Bon Secours Enthusiasm! 

Yes, this is a long update. I’ve been so busy and so excited, and I just can’t wait to share it all with you! Here are a few photos to give you a taste of this experience, and I really hope that I’m shining a light on some of the amazing things that NSNA can bring into our lives as students…it’s all about US! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

So tomorrow, Friday, please say a prayer for me at about 5pm, which will be when I’m on stage in mt. time giving my speech. I will keep you posted, and see you next week with the scoop! A special thank you goes out to the entire College for your loving support; Peggy, for assisting me every step of the way with the planning; Dean Bodin and Dr. Green for your support and permission to attend, as both a BSMCON representative and a national candidate; and our own SGO, for having faith in me and supporting me in this amazing campaign adventure.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,


Monday, March 14

Part of the Club

Being a Student Nurse is like being part of a club...we are all tired - we are flexing our mental muscles 24/7 and often on the verge of collapse - and we can all relate to each other as we move closer and closer to graduation. It is also a somewhat exclusive club...it is difficult to get into nursing programs, and difficult to maintain success in our nursing programs.

If being a Student Nurse is like being part of a club, then practicing as an Registered Nurse must be the ultimate team-oriented profession...right? RN's have all been successful in the challenges we are facing right now (just think of the insane late-night study sessions, the time management frustrations, and sudden obstacles life throws our way). RN's have already been successful in their programs, they have passed rigorous national exams to become licensed to practice, and they have interviewed for their current positions and been chosen! As we are learning as students, the work of an RN must be performed with a caring, TEAM attitude in place, and this is essential for the well-being of our patients. So it's not only the process of becoming an RN that is like a club, but also the mindset of being an RN.

Working as an RN is a privilege. We are providing for patients and advocating for them at some of the most tender and critical moments of their lives. In order to provide the best care possible, we must reach out to our fellow nurses when we need help, and be available to help THEM as well - but have you had clinicals on a unit where it did not feel team-oriented? I have seen it, and unfortunately not all hospital units have a solid "teamwork" foundation. Perhaps one of our initiatives as we graduate and move into the nursing profession can be to focus on this...be a part of a wonderful team! Contribute to your unit in a positive manner, and be the professional, dynamic, and helpful new nurse that everyone will know. You will be known for your positive attitude! Nurse Managers have a big part in creating this environment, but we are all responsible for our own attitudes...I just read a cute quote this morning:

 "A positive attitude is contagious, but don't wait to catch it from someone else;
be the carrier!"
Visit www.facebook.com/medora.imprint for the countdown to convention!

Friday, February 25

Fun Survey

Let me take a moment to invite you to take a little survey! I'm collecting info from all fellow nursing students about what it means to YOU to be successful. Check it out here:

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thursday, February 24

Size Matters

Size matters. Yes, I said it. The size of your dreams matter, but so does the size of your wallet to help you reach them.

As I continue my forward momentum toward the NSNA 2011 National Convention in Utah, I'm pleased to say that my own SGO has decided to honor my request and help me financially. It is a huge help, but unfortunately, nowhere near the total I'll be spending. I just learned today that the hotel alone will now be almost $1,000 for the 5 nights, because the tax there is 12.73%! And due to the price of gasoline, the cheapeest airfare I can find is running about $650. With campaign materials, food, and more, it will take more than I have for me to get there.

I'm finding myself worrying about the money more than planning the actual campaign.

So my rational, realistic, earthy husband says, "Well, why do you really need to go? What are you getting out of this?" Even if I don't know what the future holds, I KNOW that this process will be one of the most influential on my future as a nurse leader. I'm excited to be an official NSNA Candidate for Imprint Editor for 2011-2012, and to represent Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing (on our 50th Anniversary, no less) at the national level. It would be an honor to serve my fellow students as our voice, bringing a fresh outlook and perspective to Imprint...if I can get there.

So my question is...how do we find the creativity to match the size of our dreams with the size of our resources?

Friday, February 18

Psychiatric Nursing, anyone?

The rotation I'm completing right now in nursing school is psych, which I hear is one of the least common areas of nursing that students plan on specializing in...When we started our lectures and were preparing for our first clinical, I was nervous. What would I say, and what would I see? Would there be violence? I had no idea what to expect.

It quickly became apparent that through therapeutic communication, nurses and physicians or psychiatrists can quickly build a trusting relationship with these patients, and help them reflect...or begin to process. It was intimidating at first, but honestly it's all about being real. They are real people, just like us! It wasn't so scary after that "real"ization.

The nursing process looks very different in a psych environment - most all of the interventions have to do with communicating. It's almost easier to learn a skill like starting an IV line, with a very specific process. With communicating, it's all spur of the moment, by the seat of your pants. But in a way, even more rewarding! By planting the seeds of hope, we can see the wheels start to turn and really get a sense that we're helping our client in an important way.

Early in this rotation I learned about ECT - electroconvulsive therapy. I had honestly never really heard of it before, and was shocked to see that it was on our report for almost half of the patients on the unit that first clinical. What in the world? I started asking questions and doing research...and learned that this treatment has been used for nearly 70 years, and while we don't really know how or why it works, it DOES. It is used primarily in patients with severe depression, and depression that is unresponsive to medication. One of my clinical instructors shared that she's seen patients so depressed that they were unable to eat or care for themselves, almost comatose, and after one treatment of ECT were up, walking, eating, and talking. While the treatment needs to be repeated every so often, it does seem to be very effective for these patients.

When first used, the ECT would actually induce real seizures, and this was extremely painful for the patients. Not fun! But with the advancement of medicine and use of various meds, we now do the procedure in the OR under sedation and is not traumatic for the patient at all. In fact, it only takes about 30 seconds for the whole treatment. I believe they are intubated to protect the airway, which would take longer than the actual treatment itself.

ECT has been controversial lately, as the safety of this procedure has been questioned. The APNA's statement on ECT concludes the following: "It is the position of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association that ECT is a proven therapy and that further clinical trials are not necessary to establish its safety and efficacy. APNA urges the FDA to classify these devices in an appropriate manner to assure that patients have access to ECT while at the same time assuring that ECT devices function safely and in manner intended. APNA believes that ECT operated by properly trained professionals and in circumstances of medical necessity offers patients with severe depression an option that would otherwise be unavailable."

Overall, this rotation has been eye-opening. I've learned so many skills in working with folks that can help not only with patients, but in all of my relationships! I'm more patient with my kids and husband, and even more aware of my body language and expressions every day. I'm especially intrigued by substance abuse and recovery, which has just been covered at the end of the course. I'm thankful for our exposure in the various clinical sites during this course, and look forward to our next rotation...on to OB!

Friday, February 11

I'm Making Time?

Happy Friday, and happy weekend!

When I started using this blog as part of the campaign process, I originally thought I'd only write something about once a week...but I've come to find that I really enjoy it! In some weird way, using this kind of media is cathartic - and helps me process my own thoughts. I think that's why Facebook is now such a phenomenon, too!

What I'd like to share with you today is a thought about the name of this blog, Medora Making Time. I have a philosophy these days, and I literally think about it every single day...We make the time for what we see as priorities, not find the time. Isn't that profound? I can't take the credit - I think I heard it somewhere, but it has definitely become my mantra over the last few years. With so many things going on all at the same time, how do we manage to cope, and actually accomplish some of it? We make the time.

Making time can also be interpreted as catching up - and that's another way to look at life, but it feels like that means I'm behind in some way. "Catching up" is a motivating idea, but at the same time feels more difficult. "Making the time" is more of a choice, and is up to ME. I love the freedom of making my own choices and prioritizing my life in the way I see fit. It's up to me! Of course, I make all of my choices with my husband and family in mind, but that is also a choice of mine. I've always been a stubbornly independent girl; the freedom is intoxicating.

What kind of daily choices are you making? Did you know that you're already Making Time, or choosing not to make the time, for the things that are top on your list? Now, we don't really need a list on a piece of paper to know where our priorities are, but recognize that in order to see the success we hope to achieve, we have to make the time to take those required little steps to get there. Are you hoping for a higher grade on the next test? Are you hoping to land your dream job? More time with family? Or perhaps hoping for something internal, such as a heftier self-esteem and self-confidence? Make the time to do what it takes to head in the right direction, and I just know that when you get there you'll be filled with love and pride.

One last thought is that another side of this freedom of choice is the freedom to change your list of priorities. Our goals are allowed to change! If a loved one becomes ill, it shifts our entire life. Or if our academic goals change, that's okay. Life is fluid, flexible, and FUN - just pay attention to the big picture and keep heading in that direction. A little bit every day is all it takes.

Today I'm working, playing with the kids, and getting ready for tomorrow's birthday party at our house! Molly will be four tomorrow, and I'll be 29 on Sunday! (For the 4th time.) And with a test on Monday (Valentine's Day??), I'll be studying all weekend as well...So what are you making time for this weekend?

Tuesday, February 8

The Juggling Act

From a 2009 blog post in the Wall Street Journal that I recently found, Naomi Schaeffer Riley states:

"'There's no such thing as work-life balance.' That's what former General Electric chief executive Jack Welch recently told the Society for Human Resource Management at its annual conference. 'There are work-life choices,' he said, 'and you make them, and they have consequences.' Mr. Welch's comments reverberated across the Web as women (and men) argued over whether it was possible to rise to a high level in corporate America and take time off to have a family."

To a point, I agree - there is a balance, but it is all choices. And as we know, all choices have consequences. Do we know where our priorities are? I love the Mary Kay philosophy of God first, Family second, and Career third. Taking care of our spirituality or our inner selves is of utmost importance in maintaining our mental and physical health, and I personally feel that Family is a priority... a tough mix comes into play, though, when Family and Career intertwine; we need the ability to provide for our Families.

A lot of my friends are just now starting to have babies, or are adding to their families these days. I, on the other hand, have gotten used to the constant gasping and surprised expressions when I share that I'm already a mom of 5 (and I'm going with "young" mom of 5). I'm so proud of my big family, and they know they are always number ONE with me...and they also know that in order for us to stick together, have money for groceries and treats, and have our lovely home, Mommy and Daddy work and/or go to school. The kids are unconsciously learning a valuable life lesson; things will not just fall into your lap in life, so if you have a goal, make it real! Make it official by setting that goal in place and start taking the little steps to get there. And just as importantly, make sure you are creating a strong support system of friends and family to help you get there. If it takes a village to raise a child, it definitely takes teamwork to reach a goal.

Just a few years ago, when my kids were babies and I was a stay-at-home Mom, I remember complaining to myself that I needed a CHALLENGE. I was looking for more in life, without really knowing what I was looking for. Never being one to follow the social norms, for better or worse, I had the big beautiful family BEFORE having the solid career.

So here I am, a "young" mom of 5, living and breathing the daily juggling act. I work full time and have amazing benefits for our whole family, wear my Mommy hat for a few hours, and then head back for lecture or clinicals as a full time student in the evenings. I often have to be in three places at once, but I know where my priorities are, and at the same time, I'm allowed to have GOALS ~ and I'm taking the little steps every day to reach them. Do I have a thousand things on my plate? Sure. And when I hear, "I don't know how you do it," I just laugh because I don't know, either. I just have a goal, and every day take a few little steps that might bring me, or us, a little closer. Just like you do.

As Riley states, "At times it is hard not to think that the 'work-life balance' is like the Loch Ness monster -- there are lots of sightings but no one has ever found it, and no one ever will. More important: Is it possible that so much agonizing and discussing may make life harder rather than easier? In short, is it possible to lose your balance, so to speak, by overthinking the work-life balance?"

I "think" yes...no pun intended.

Sunday, February 6

State Convention Reflections


What a great event. I was impressed with first, the sheer number of nursing students that attend - record numbers for VNSA - and second, the caliber of the speakers that participated!

Stephanie and I, both members of our school SGO Honor Council, decided to make the drive together in the morning before the event. We got up and ready at 4am, and met to ride together at 4:45! It's been a long time since the alarm went off THAT early. We made a coffee run (even Starbucks isn't up that early!) and headed out.

The drive was foggy and rainy, and we weren't sure where we were headed. I didn't bring the GPS from my hubby's truck, thinking that my mapquest printout would be all we needed. Looking back, it's kind of a metaphor for our careers, isn't it? We are dressed for the part, prepared, and excited about what the future might hold, but at the same time we were going 60 miles an hour in the foggy drizzle, with only a vague idea of our destination. Silly comparison, but the further we drove down those long, dark, narrow roads, the more I wished I knew where I was going.

Well, the drizzle subsided and the roads opened up, and before our deadline was up, we made it to Lynchburg to Liberty University! VSNA had done a great job placing small signs directing us to the correct building, and once we found a parking spot we headed on in. The foyer of the large building our lecture hall was in is breath-taking. Tall grand columns, large portraits hanging on the walls, and the vaulted ceiling all made it feel like we were in for something great. Once we were registered and signed in, we grabbed bananas and scooted on in for the opening session, and we were right on time for the 8:15 start.

Throughout the day we were treated to speakers from all different parts of the healthcare and education industries, and we were able to choose which "breakout sessions" we wanted to attend. I was very happy with those that I chose - including a Critical Care lecture with the Dean of Nursing at UVA! And an amazing Nurse Anesthetist lecture with the Chief Nurse Anesthetist from DUKE! I just couldn't get over the caliber of the speakers at this convention. GREAT JOB to all of those who helped put this together.

We had a large exhibitor's hall with rows of tables from colleges and universities around the country, as well as health systems vying for new nurses. Our own Whitney Malone and the HR department from Bon Secours was even there! We were treated to lunch in the dining hall down the road, and dessert halfway through the afternoon.

I learned a lot, but honestly the most powerful message was that the hospital systems here in our country truly NEED us. They NEED quality graduates to join them in the hospitals and help care for their patients. They NEED new Nurse Practitioners to help them open their new ICU beds. They NEED us to be successful, and they are there for us now if we need help or motivation.

It's not about how perfectly we can start an IV or hang a bag of fluids, it's about doing these skills well while we CARE for the whole patient. We see the big picture and help everyone work together. And this is why we need to keep pushing forward to get our careers in gear - it's time to get out into the world and CONTRIBUTE!

If the nursing community is desperately ready for us to join them, shouldn't we?

Thursday, February 3

Let the games begin!

Hello, fellow multi-taskers! Regardless of your personal story, if you are in nursing school, you ARE a multi-tasker. If you are a mom, you ARE a multi-tasker. The list goes on and on, but you get the idea. Welcome!

Let me take a moment to share with you what I'm doing these days - Work is going well here at the College of Nursing, and the kids are doing well, too. In fact, Elijah was just notified that he was chosen for honors courses when he gets to middle school this fall! The little ones are wild and doing just fine. We are about to have a princess birthday party just before Valentine's Day, for little miss Molly, who will be 4 already!

As a nursing student, I've decided that having a voice in the community is not only acceptable, but necessary if we are to help guide the field of nursing into the future. My own nursing career is off to a good start, and I'm feeling confident in classes - even though it is an extremely demanding schedule, I can envision myself at the end, as a Registered Nurse! It's a great feeling. And while I don't know exactly which way I think my nursing career will go, I do have a strong connection with pediatrics...I've even started preparing for the possibility of continuing school beyond this program! Whew, it's hard to imagine...but just in case, I'm adding a few things to my plate to help me prepare. What would help make the foundation for a wonderful Pediatric Nurse Practitioner? It's the combination of everything that leads up to that moment.

In light of all of this, I've been active with our own Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing SGO over the last year, helping represent the Honor Council as well assist in other capacities. As a member of the National Student Nurses' Association (NSNA) I'm able to take advantage of discounts and other benefits, and enjoy the publication IMPRINT that is the only nursing-student-driven newsletter today. If you know me well, you know how much I love desktop publishing, and all things creative, so when I learned that the national positions with the NSNA are elected annually, I was immediately curious! I gathered my confidence, completed a long application process, and lo and behold, I've been officially added to the slate...

...as a Candidate for IMPRINT Editor 2011-2012 with the NSNA!

My national "campaign" will be now through April, when I will travel to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend the NSNA Annual Convention - a 5 day, whirlwind experience that will be like nothing I've ever done before!

I'm so excited to share all of this with you, and to drum up YOUR excitement about the coming months. Even if you have nothing to do with the nursing community, healthcare affects us all, and we all have a voice. Running for this national position is just one way I can share my views, expand my knowledge, and gain leadership experience as I use my voice...How would you use yours?

In the coming posts, I plan to talk a bit about what IMPRINT is, what the Editor does, and why I'm running for the position. What does it have to do with me? I'll share! And of course, the funny tidbits will be there as well, as I figure out how to mesh a national campaign with an already overflowing schedule...Speaking of which, I think I have a parent-teacher conference today at 3pm...

Sunday, January 2

Detox Day 2

Good morning. It's my Day 2 of the Detox, and I'm going through some major withdrawls, and swimming in toxins. At least that's what it feels like.

Yesterday, it occurred to me just how important it is to go into a fast with preparation - I had eaten normally the day before, so my stomach was still in "eating mode." I added a few foods during the day, just to ease in, and it seemed to work - one slice of quesadilla at lunch and 2 slices for dinner, with the tons and tons of herbal teas and lemonade mixtures. I'm also drinking a green drink every so often to get a few calories.

The benefits of a safe cleanse are great, and worth the effort right now. I've been so used to calming my stresses with food and drink, but stretching myself academically. To stay on track, I need to think of this as a challenge to change that...

Saturday, January 1

New Year Detox, anyone?

Welcome to 2011!

I'm not much for resolutions. In fact, I didn't even stay up last night to see the ball drop on tv. My celebration included a little champagne with my mac 'n cheese and steak for dinner, getting the crazy girls to bed before 8pm, and watching House until I couldn't keep my eyes open.

Resolutions seem like half-hearted goals, so what about actual goals?

Now that I'm a mom of 5 (with 3 girls under the age of 6), and I'm working full time and in school, my goals for the past 2 two years have really just been to push through - to do whatever it takes to keep going. We're talking caffiene/coffee/soda, vending machine snacks, fast food lunch, skipping meals, and cup 'o noodle dinners (or no dinner). I feel exhausted most of the time, hungry a lot of the time, and although my weight is fairly normal, it's mostly fat.

So, what to do? I'm doing well in school, doing well at my job, and trying to do well as a mom (though they try my patience like nothing else in my life). If I can handle all of this, why not push ahead and add a strict "intake regimen" to jumpstart a little weight loss. Once I see some results, I'm banking on it being easier to get myself to the gym and to keep making healthy eating choices...maybe I'll even feel better.

So here's the plan: I'm starting with a 10-Day Intense Detox, returning through a 7-Day Cabbage Soup Diet. Ha! Sounds fun, right? I think success really just depends on your level of MENTAL preparation and discipline... and I'm giving myself permission to make "alterations" to the plan as needed, for safety, function, and health.

Today is Day 1, and I'll be updating as I go. I've mixed up my first gallon of spring water/organic lemon juice/Grade B organic maple syrup/cayenne pepper, and I've already had it for breakfast and lunch today. My herbal teas are on the counter, ready to go. More details to come!