A Little Space to Breathe... - 5/29/2021
…both literally and figuratively. As a Nation, the CDC’s official recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals is that they may go back to mask-less life as usual provided it doesn’t violate current laws, including policies set forth by local businesses. I’ve never been happier to live in Texas, where this new guideline is truly the gift of freedom. The grocery store, the gym, the coffee shop, the restaurant or bar, and even some larger events like music and sports are returning to a level of normalcy not seen for far too long. It’s amazing what human interaction can do for the soul.
In a bit of a trifecta of awesomeness, two drastic changes in my personal life have coincided with this drastic change in public life. First, I have finished my Bachelor Degree in Nursing which has resulted in an extra 25-35 hours of free time every week. Secondly, I am finally on day shifts at work. This last piece of awesomeness is perhaps the one that I am most excited about as I can begin to build back some of the healthy daily habits that have served me well in the past such as morning and night routines, regularly scheduled sleep and exercise times, and many others.
Room to breathe has a true meaning for me at this moment, as I feel like I’m living a different life than I was just one month ago. I can now rise and fall with the sun for the first time in eight months, participate in activities around town for the first time in 15 months, and have enough free time to get back on social media and put out the show for the first time in twelve months. It’s tough to put into words how grateful I am for this trifecta of awesomeness, especially given they all happened within two weeks of each other.
Hard work and patience do pay off, although I’ve always been better at the former than the latter. But the past couple of years has been a powerful lesson in the value of trusting that life will get better if you do the right things. So stay positive, stay reasonable, and keep working hard; have faith that things will improve, and the patience to let them.
Hoping to talk to all of you very soon.
Restless to a Fault- 1/7/2021
I've certainly neglected these posts and this entire podcast more than I have wanted these past two years. Due to a combination of my own decisions and a pandemic, life has been fairly difficult, and I've been forced to prioritize once again.
After getting my feet wet at Penn Highlands in DuBois, PA, I decided it was time to finish up my Bachelors Degree in nursing. Since the summer of 2020, I have been a full time student at Lock Haven University in their online RN to BSN program. During this past Fall semester, I worked full time, took 15 credits at Lock Haven, accepted an ICU position in Austin, Texas, and moved back to the state I had moved from to begin work at St. David's North Austin Medical Center in November of 2020. It was a decision I struggled with for months, but with civilization virtually shut down and a hospital administration that I vehemently disagreed with, I knew I needed to make a change.
I suppose the inability to settle for anything less than passion, happiness, and purpose can be a double edged sword; it's made me restless to a fault. It's also found me having far too many irons in the fire, to continue with blacksmith analogies, in the hopes that the next one will be the key. This podcast is something that I truly love, but I couldn't put it ahead of school or work, and certainly not ahead of paying bills.
Of course it also goes without saying that working on a time-consuming creative project focused on positivity during such a negative time in history, not to mention your own life, is virtually a nonstarter. But I am still pushing, I am still working hard to make progress and find better days ahead. I am still confident times will get better, and circumstances will improve. I'm trying to find the 400-500 hours it will take to properly release my second tour, and can't put into words how much I am looking forward to a third. I hope this finds you all well in a time of such sickness, and I hope you all continue to use reason and logic to come to the hard truths that are unpopular, and have the courage to stand up and stand strong on them.
Going Home - 11/4/2019
When I moved back to Pennsylvania, it was to be closer to my family. Since I was 18 years old, I never went home to visit or spend any significant time with them more than a few times per year, and some years were even less.
As I've grown up, I've realized more and more the importance of family and spending time to get to know them. That being said, I have accepted a job working a Penn Highlands DuBois Hospital in DuBois, PA. This hospital is located 'one town over' from my home town of Punxsutawney, allowing me plenty of time to get to know the family I virtually left nearly 20 years ago. It will also be my first time working as a nurse in a medical hospital, which I am nervous about. However, I'm very excited to gain the experience I know will come with the job.
Gearing up for Podcast Movement 2019 - 8/4/2019
The biggest annual podcast convention in the US takes place in just one week, and I am even more excited than last year. This trip will kick off with a 20-hour drive from Philly to Orlando with my good friend, fellow podcaster, and upcoming guest Dave Kanyan of Dumbing it Down with Dave.
Before the convention officially kicks off on Tuesday the 13th, Dave and I have been chosen, along with 20 other participants, to spend all day Monday at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. We will tour the facilities where NASA astronauts left earth for space and safely returned, and will have the opportunity to interview the staff who sent them there. This will be my second trip to a NASA facility and I am just as excited as the first time.
Podcast Movement is sure to offer just as much excitement. Last years conference truly changed my life and started me down a path with my show that I am still on. I can't wait to see how it influences me this year!
A Whooole Bunch of Updates - 6/19/2019
As the title implies, a lot has happened in a short amount of time. Over the past 9 months I have graduated from nursing school, bought a new car, completed a second tour of over 10,000 miles with Heather and her pets, moved from Austin to Philadelphia, passed my licensing exam, and began my first job as a Registered Nurse. But, I had some serious setbacks that I can now say are behind me.
Before graduating, school gave me a well-needed bump up against reality. I failed my first exam because I wasn’t studying enough, nearly missed some deadlines with the ADNSA (student nursing association), and in turn had to stop putting out my podcast episodes. It seemed with the high of my first tour and the start of my podcast, came the low I deserved from being over-confident and under-prepared for my final semester of nursing school.
But I quickly reoriented and reprioritized. I put the podcast on hold and managed to graduate from nursing school with a respectable GPA, and with the highest award Austin Community College gives to students. I was also able to hand off leadership of the student nursing association to my successor, Jared, with the confidence that it was in better condition than I had inherited it, and would now be in more capable hands than my own.
Less than 24 hours after giving my speech at graduation, I was in my new car with my mom driving from Austin back home to Punxsutawney with everything I needed to live for the next two and a half months. My second podcast tour was only two weeks away and was far more ambitious than my first. This time, I would be responsible for my photographer Heather, her dog Murphy, and Murphy’s cat Sylvia. We would also be covering twice as much ground as the first tour. This was another bump up against reality with which I could have done a much better job.
A great big special thank you goes out to Heather, who was not only behind the camera on every picture you’re likely to see of me, but was my copilot, without whom there would have been no tour. Everyone will get their fill of details as the pictures and podcasts come out, so I’ll simply say we all made it home safe and sound and to stay tuned for the details, cause they’re awesome.
When tour was over, I arrived in Philadelphia to start my new life and my new career as a nurse. But this last domino seemed to be glued to the table, as I received a major setback when I learned ACC had made a clerical mistake resulting in the PA State Board of Nursing receiving transcripts which were missing my graduation information. This small clerical error cost me two months of my life. I will leave out the specifics of the dozens of phone calls I made attempting to correct this error.
With a new degree as a nurse, perhaps my greatest accomplishment thus far in my life, I applied and was hired as a barback in what was no doubt my lowest moment in my working life. I spent the next two months taking out trash, washing dishes, and stocking beer. Having started my business the previous summer, completed my first two tours, and paid for nearly four years of college, money was tight to say the least. I took two steps back not only in industry, but in job title within that industry. Some saw it as admirable to do what was needed; I was humiliated to my core.
However, the clouds parted before too long, and ACC sent out the correct transcripts. I was cleared to take the NCLEX which is the licensing examination to become a Registered Nurse, and a week and a half after passing, I was hired at Friends Hospital. Friends is the oldest private psychiatric hospital in the United States, and I am one of the nurses in their Crisis Response Center, which is an ER for psychiatric emergencies.
So that’s where I’m at in life! Because of my slacking off, this entry has far too much length and far too little detail.
PS – I have to take one moment to direct everyone’s attention and all of my gratitude to the faculty and staff of Austin Community College’s Nursing Department. If I named one name, I would be a fool for not naming all of them. From the Professors and Clinical Instructors to the Administrators and Directors to the secretaries and custodians; you all changed my life for the better. You helped turn me from a confused child into a confident and knowledgeable adult who now has the skills to not only improve the lives of my patients, but my community as a whole. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU ALL, and I couldn’t have done it without you.
A New Outlook
As my last semester of nursing school kicks into high gear, there are precious few hours for editing and other tasks which are vital to the podcast. To a degree, I knew this would happen, and I must prioritize my education.
I will continue to work tirelessly to keep up, and I thank you for your patience and understanding!
As The Dust Begins to Settle
As my tour and the summer both come to an end, I have several big announcements for the show!
First of all, Heather Lemon of HelloPhotoLA.com, and Andy Wilkerson of PodPub.co, have both assisted me in finally putting a professional touch on my website and social media. Launching this site, my Facebook Fan Page, my Instagram, and my YouTube page all within three days was a challenge, but we pulled it off and I'm happy to have them up for you!
Stay tuned for more announcements as we continue to improve.
Podcast Movement 2018
Attending Podcast Movement 2018 in Philadelphia, PA has been nothing short of life-changing. I've made countless friends who are on similar journeys, and the general vibe of wanting to leave the world a better place than we found it is palpable.
One such friend was Gene Mikulka, host of Talking Space. Gene was kind enough to invite me on his reserved time at the Podcasting Table. This impromptu conversation was fascinating, and will be released on both of our shows!
Find Gene's Podcast, Talking Space, HERE.
The Podcast Goes Live!
The moving parts are all in motion. Challenges, solutions, and opportunities for improvement are popping up left and right. I feel better about what I’m doing every day; and I hope you all find these conversations valuable, because I’m working non-stop to bring you them in the best way possible.
The tour has launched and travel dates are posted. Find a full list of guests, cities, and dates on The Tour page. New and future dates are being added as fast as they can be scheduled so stay posted for more.
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