Wandering Down a Crooked Road

March 12, 2019

Funny how breathing is so automatic that it is taken for granted until suddenly it takes effort. My recent experience with pneumonia has given me a new perspective on the luxury of a deep breath.

Scripture says that God breathed life into the first humans. The breath of God is a common concept related to nature and life, both physical and spiritual. Breathing is as essential to physical life as God is to spiritual life, yet both are so easy to overlook and ignore.

Waking up with a tight chest and shoulder pain was not pleasant. “God, I don’t have time to be sick. You know I have a very full schedule this week.” It makes me smile now at just how self-important I considered myself to be. Me, a tiny speck of dust created into a daughter of the God of the universe, so totally focused on the work tasks before me that I was telling God how things were going to be without a second thought. Obviously, God has a sense of humor in addition to being indulgent and very tolerant. “Just breathe.” was...

February 3, 2019

“Wandering Down a Crooked Road” is the perfect title for my blog. I don’t ever seem to find a straight, well-marked path on my journey through life. I suspect that is probably a blessing-in-disguise as I tend to become bored when everything is perfectly smooth without turns or hills or surprises. Thanks for coming along with me as I continue my adventure. Three years have lapsed since the last post, but I promise to include you much more often in the future. Blessings on your journey. I hope our paths cross often as a journey shared is much more fun!

March 12, 2017

I teach self-care so I know the worth of Sabbath rest and taking time for self-care...unfortunately, I also tend to work long hours and forget to give myself a break. Today was a day of rest. Other than answering emails, I rested in the morning and enjoyed time with family. My Aunt Hope has been house-sitting while Katie and I were out of the country so it was nice to have time to visit.

I have promised myself to slow down someday, but this isn't the day! I spent the afternoon packing for the Caring for the Human Spirit Conference in Chicago. I will be presenting on how faith community nurses, clergy, chaplaincy, and other healthcare providers can work together to provide wholistic care. This is my first spirituality conference since becoming a spiritual director so I am very excited. My friend and colleague Nancy Durbin is attending so we will have time to catch up. I hope to find other FCNs are also attending. We provide intentional care of the spirit so our voices need to be included...

March 11, 2017

We made it home from England about 6 p.m. and restarted the adventure at 4 a.m. the next morning. Katie got to stay at home while Katora Campbell and I headed to Nashville for a Tennessee Nurses Association meeting. Fortunately for us and the other people traveling on I-40 East, Georgia Oliver was driving.

Sharon Adkins, the President of TNA, was our hostess. The presenter was from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). SHe was very helpful in explaining the ins and outs of continuing education for nurses and how to set up a CNE provider unit. I am very excited that Katora and the leadership of Church Health have approved my request to set up the Westberg Institute as a provider unit. It is a lot of paperwork and planning, but as a result, we will better serve faith community nurses with our courses, the Westberg Symposium, and future webinars, and courses by following the ANCC/TNA guidelines for quality, unbiased, evidence-based continuing education.

March 10, 2017

We left the parish nurse conference and Coventry in a cab this time. Katora Campbell and I were not as skilled with wrestling luggage onto the train as Katie was. We arrived at the Ibis Hotel Birmingham Airport. It is actually attached to the airport  so we could walk to the ticket counter. Interestingly enough, the lobby was full of dogs! Not pet dogs; dog show dogs! It was fun to watch the different breeds prance through the lobby.

Went to bed early because our flight was early. Katie and I had a comedy going on for awhile because my cell phone rang at 10 p.m. I was deeply asleep and thought it was the 4 a.m. alarm! I got up, took my shower and got dressed before Katie looked at the clock and informed me that the alarm was six hours in the future...I went back to bed clothes and all.

When 4 a.m. did arrive we marched from one end of the airport all the way to the other to the ticket counter, to our gate, and then the adventure really began. Amsterdam Airport was fogged in. Our flight w...

March 9, 2017

50+ parish nurses and clergy began the morning with words of welcome and a worship service lead by the local Bishop. I presented the Advanced Spiritual Care Module and discovered that I say "y'all" more than I realized. Fortunately, the UK parish nurses seem to enjoy our accents as much as we enjoy hearing theirs. They did decide that Katora's accent was more southern than mine and more "musical." It made my day when one nurse told me that I should do relaxation tapes because she could listen to my voice all day. I had to laugh when her next sentence was "Oh, I don't mean that you put me to sleep when you were talking! I meant that I like the sound of your voice."

Katora Campbell introduced the new booklet on transitional care which has great cartoons drawn by her daughter that add to the comprehensive content. Katie, our ever working assistant, ran to the printers (literally) to pick up Katora's booklets, collected evaluations and passed out our materials, certificates, and flash drive...

March 8, 2017

Coventry is a pleasant place where almost everything is within walking distance of the hotel. Katie and I found a pub where the locals eat lunch and had a wonderful meal with a huge cup of hot tea (Now, why doesn't my hot tea at home taste as good?

We had a short time to visit a few historical sites. Coventry was destroyed from bombing during the World war so a new cathedral stands beside the ruins of the old one.

Katie visited their museum and told me a large number of people were killed in the attacks. During one air raid, an enemy plane crashed. The local people tried to save the crew, but their injuries were severe and they did not survive. Prayer beads were found in the wreckage and are housed in the museum.

To find forgiveness, compassion and God in the midst of the destruction and devastation of war speaks to my heart that there is always hope for a peaceful future for all of us.

The evening found us at the Welcome Center with Helen Wordsworth, Ros Moore and our wonderful colleagues...

March 6, 2017

Once again, we started the day catching a train in Coventry to Milton Keynes.

Helen and Robert Wordsworth met us at the station and drove Katora Campbell, Katie and me to Farnham. I still have not become comfortable with driving on the left side of the road, but Robert was an excellent driver so the ride was enjoyable. The countryside was beautiful! We drove past Windsor Castle and the fields where the queen enjoys horseback riding.

The University for Creative Arts was our destination. Katie and I met her professor for a tour of the school while the others enjoyed exploring the shops in Farnham. (Katora enjoyed her first British scone with cream and jam and as always the tea was delicious.)

The school's labs and facilities included glass, ceramics, metalwork, jewelry, textiles, everything imaginable including bronze casting. It was fascinating watching the excitement of possibilities brighten their faces as Katie and her professor talked about opportunities and options. This must be how w...

March 5, 2017

Katie and I were guests of parish nurse Lesley Austin of Queens Road Baptist Church, Coventry. Lesley picked us up in her car and of course Katie and I both walked to the right side to get in... we all had a laugh when we realized that the driver sits on the right! It was a mind-bender because they drive on the left in the U.K. I felt like I was on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road!

Lesley is a good driver, and pointed out sights of interest along the way. Coventry was bombed during World War II, but the church survived. It is very lovely and we felt welcomed.

Lesley and I went up during the service so that I could extend greetings on behalf of the Westberg Institute and all of our faith community nurse colleagues worldwide. It is always fun to visit other parish nurses and be reminded that we all serve God in our communities and congregations in a way that impacts the entire world. I am honored to be a faith community nurse to faith community nurses worldwide!

March 4, 2017

Katie and I took the train from Coventry to London Euston Station after breakfast. It was a grand adventure! The train station is a very interesting place full of shops and food vendors and people from all walks of life speaking a wide variety of languages. Many were standing in the middle of the station as though they were waiting... we found out when it was time to find the train home that the platforms for each train are not posted until the train is arriving (much like when the gate is changed at the airport) so as soon as it is posted there is a mad rush of people headed down the ramp to the platform gates. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Helen found us at the station and taught us how to purchase passes that were good for the tube and the buses and then we were off on our adventure. I have not ridden on a double-decker bus before; it was a great way to see London. Helen is a wonderful tour guide and walked us around explaining about the history and buildings in the city. We ende...

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Dr. Sharon T. Hinton

Dr. Sharon T. Hinton is a published writer, expert in Faith Community Nursing, and international speaker with a love for adventure. 

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