Intentions Review for April 2019

My Star Word for this year is “Empathy”. The internet defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Merriam-Webster says, “Empathy is similar to sympathy, but empathy usually suggests stronger, more instinctive feeling.”

Here are my intentions for 2019.

Physical Health

  • Continue to eat real food, and, hopefully, lose about 20 more pounds this year. – I was doing really well, and then Easter came along, followed immediately with a trip to Detroit on the train. I have no idea what the final weight for April was (I wasn’t where I could weigh myself) but I think it was probably the same weight I came into the month with.
  • Continue to average 150 miles a month on my Fitbit. – Riding on a train from 4/23-4/25, followed by day-long meetings from 4/26-4/28, followed by a spell in the hospital from 4/29-5/1 left me with not a lot of month to work with.
  • Continue to work with my personal trainer for strength, balance, and endurance. – Again, me being out-of-town, and her being ill got in the way. I intend to return to gentle exercise until I get clearance from the doctor to get back to more strenuous exercise.
  • On Sunday, April 28th as I sat down to breakfast in Detroit, I had a really strange feeling in my lower abdomen, kind of like a pop. I didn’t think anything about it, so I checked out of the hotel, took an Uber to the train station and got on the train to Chicago (5 hour trip). I got to Chicago the middle of the afternoon, and I was beginning to hurt, back and abdomen, but I checked into my hotel, washed enough clothes to get home, went to dinner with Ray, Kathy and Kyle, and went back to the hotel. I didn’t sleep well – I couldn’t get comfortable and my stomach was really hurting. Monday I had zero appetite, but I ate a croissant, and drank some orange juice and tea, and went to the train station to wait for my train back to Seattle. By 10:30 or so, I felt so bad that I took a cab to an Urgent Care place several blocks away. While I was there I threw up (nothing in my stomach, but dry heaves). The PA came and examined me and told me I had an umbilical hernia, and I should go to an emergency room at one of the local hospitals. She checked with her supervising physician, who told her to call an ambulance and have me transported. The Chicago Fire ambulance came and took me to Rush University Medical Center emergency room. I called Ray and he was able to retrieve my luggage from Union Station and bring it to the hospital. There the attending physician was able to reduce the hernia externally, (thank God for morphine) and then I had a CT scan, and a consult with a surgeon (by this time it was 5:00 pm). The surgical resident admitted me to keep me overnight for observation. The pain was significantly less once the MD reduced the hernia, and I had a good night’s sleep (except for being waked up every 3-4 hours for vital signs). I intended to check out of the hospital, go to a hotel, and take the train home on Wednesday. The hospital let me stay a second night and I was able to get some rest, begin to eat normal food (although I wasn’t very hungry, at least I was no longer nauseated). Wednesday morning (May 1), I was released from the hospital with instructions to find a surgeon when I got back to Tacoma. I took an Uber to the station, and got on the Empire Builder for Seattle. I realize I’m now in May, and will leave the rest of the story for next month.

Emotional Health

  • I AM trying to remember “empathy” in my interactions with people I meet.
  • My spell in the hospital reminded me of how necessary kindness and empathy are when someone is ill. I can’t say enough good things about Rush, and Chicago Fire. They really took great care of me. Also, I thank God for Medicare and TriCare (military retiree health care). No one mentioned money to me from the time I got to Urgent Care, to today. And I had all the services I could have asked for at Rush – social worker, two physicians, several interns and residents, nurses, patient care techs, x-ray techs, etc.

Intellectual Health

  • Expand my leisure reading from fluff mysteries to more substantial novels. – Books read this year.
    • The Library Book by Susan Orleans – finished
    • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – finished
    • Becoming by Michelle Obama – finished
    • Womanish Midrash by Wil Gafney – finished
    • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – finished
    • The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor – finished
    • Entering the Passion of Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine – finished
    • Silent Night by Danielle Steele – finished
    • Autumn by Ali Smith – finished
    • Winter by Ali Smith – finished
    •  A Good Year by Peter Mayle – finished
    •  Magnolia Nights by Ashley Farley – finished
    • The Tale Teller by Anne Hillerman – finished
    •  Wife of Moon by Margaret Coel – reading
  • Continue to read the Washington Post and the New York Times for reasonably non-biased reporting. – I scan the headlines and read articles that interest me.
  • Continue to watch the Rachel Maddow Show to feed my angst and resolve. – Check
  • Keep writing midrash poetry, as I’m inspired by the Sunday sermon or weekly Bible study. – I’m working on one about the Daughters of Zelaphahad.
  • I’m also writing things for the Poetry class that meets twice a month. This quarter we’re working on short poems – one stanza or haiku. I’ll have 3 haikus ready to go for the next class.

Spiritual Health

  • Continue to participate in weekly Bible study, and weekly Worship. – Check. I’m a regular at the 9:00 o’clock service.
  • Try to carve out time daily for intentional prayer and meditation.
  • I just returned from a trip to Detroit for General Assembly Nominating Committee Retreat. The training focused on cultural proficiency, and we were fortunate to have Jessica Vazquez Torres as one of our trainers.

Social Health

  • Tend the relationships I have at Franke Tobey Jones. – I still regularly attend the Gazebo Group (the folks who meet on Monday evenings for Happy Hour.)
  • Tend the relationships I have at Bethany Presbyterian Church. – I also regularly attend Bible Study. Coffee Hour is between the services, and it was held upstairs (adjacent to the Sanctuary) this month instead of on the lower level. I’ve been going pretty regularly and continued as I was Lay Reader at 9:00 am.
  • Tend the relationships I have on Social Media. – I try to keep up with people I call my friends on Facebook. I’m trying to post “Five things that made me happy today” every day on Facebook. It really helps me to concentrate on things than make me happy instead of feeding my angst.


  • Keep up with People Power as an Admin. – A new group of people has become very active as admins, and I’m allowing them to take the lead.
  • Participate in Town Halls and face-to-face meetings with elected officials.
  • Attend GA Nominating Committee meetings, both face-to-face and virtually. – See above.
  • Support #BlackLiveMatter, #Me,Too, #ThePoorPeople’sCampaign, #ClimateAction, and other social justice movements. – I donate regularly to MoveOn, the ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I attend rallies and marches if I’m available.
  • Al and I will be attending a Community Iftar in May.


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