Thursday, June 28, 2012

Asking for Bragging Rights

Hello, everyone! Allow me to brag about my company a little. We're a small team, but we do big things, and I'm proud to be a part of it as my company's marketing director. My company, Home Care Pulse, is the first to set standards for home care. More and more, seniors are choosing to age in their own homes rather than in a nursing home or assisting living complex. Home care makes this choice possible, and, honestly, I hope I have that same choice in 50+ years (although, after hearing about SCOTUS today, I'm not sure what I can expect...).

But, how do you control the quality of care when the caregivers are in the home "unsupervised?" And how do you make sure that those caregivers are confident and competent in their jobs? How do you hold everyone accountable, not for regulation, but for the right reasons?

Well, that's where my company comes in. We monitor the quality of care for hundreds of home care providers all over North America. At our research center, we call individuals receiving care (clients), their families, and caregivers on a monthly basis, then report their feedback to supervisors. We report on trends, progress, and problem areas to help every provider improve and grow. Most importantly, we enhance the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of seniors who want to stay in their own homes, even after losing the ability to live independently. We're constantly humbled by the gratitude and compassion directed our way by those we've impacted.

Home Care Pulse also gathers national research on home care to identify "benchmarks" for home care businesses, like wages, costs, new specialty areas, and growth. We're leading the way for entrepreneurs to build successful home care businesses, which enhances their prosperity and quality of life not only for themselves, but also for their families and their employees. That's the vision of America!

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I really believe in my company, and I want you to know what I spend 80% of my time doing these days.

Also, I want you to believe in my company for at least 10 seconds (after the 180 seconds you took to read this), and vote for us RIGHT NOW! We're competing for a $250K grant, which we'll use to reach more providers in need of quality assurance. We need just a few more votes to get to the next round.

Go to www.missionsmallbusiness.com right now, click "Login & Support," use Facebook to login, then search "Home Care Pulse," and click "Vote." It takes 10 seconds, and, who knows, you could be helping your own grandma or elderly neighbor down the street!

If you're still reading, thank you for humoring me! I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to support me and my company.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Celebrating Four Functional Years

The other day a coworker of Ben's said she'd like to ask me what it's like to be a woman in a functional marriage, since she'd just been through a rough divorce. My heart went out to her, and immediately I was grateful for Ben. He's a big part of making our marriage "functional."

Then, a few days later, my cousin mentioned to me how it's interesting to see how different things work in different marriages. Some couples plan their week together. Some schedule time to talk. Some share a hobby they both enjoy. She wondered how to know what works for you, when you get so many different suggestions and ideas from other couples. A thought came to me that I shared with her: It's not so much
what works for them or for you, it's the process of figuring it out. Sure, you might figure out "what works," and it might make your marriage easier, but it's never going to be a perfect solution. The important thing is that both of you are committed to figuring it out, and I think it's that process, not the end-solution, that brings you closer together.

I know this has been true in my own marriage. I feel closest to Ben when I see him making an effort to understand my needs, and when I try to understand his. Eventually, we'll come up with a solution, but again, it's the process that brings us together.

So here's my "four year" theory on maintaining a functional marriage, not because it's brilliant or earth-shattering, but because the question deserves an answer: A functional marriage requires both a husband and a wife to make each other's happiness their first priority. It's easy to let yourself come first, but that's just not what marriage is about. 

When you fall in love, your feelings are strong, but they're mostly about you: " I feel so happy," "I feel so good about myself," "I've never felt this way before," "I want to be with him/her all of the time!" It's good to have these feelings in marriage, too, but the longer you're together, the more you think about the other person, "I want to make you happy," "I want to take care of your needs," "I want you to feel loved," or "You don't listen," "You never take out the trash," "You make everything difficult."
 

I think the more you direct a positive, loving attitude toward each other and try to meet each other's needs - physically, emotionally, financially, etc. - the more functional your marriage will be, and you'll actually be happier and more content than if you put your own needs first. As they always say, it's not easy - especially when kids come along - and it takes an effort on both parts, but if you're both committed to the life-long process of "figuring out what works," your marriage will grow stronger and stronger, even when life gets harder and harder.

Well, I'm sure this perspective will never make it into a magazine or anything, but I hope it will make a difference to someone, somewhere today, especially if that someone is my husband, Ben, on our four year anniversary today! I hope he knows how much I appreciate him. In his own words (from a text I received last night):


"4 years down, 4 ever to go. I am so excited to spend it with you."
 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Upside of Infertility

"Mom, where do babies come from?" 

It's a question most parents dread. Fortunately, for couples like us, the answer is much simpler:

"Well, the doctor, of course!"  

Or for adopting couples, the answer might be:

"That big office building across town" 
"Arkansas"
"China"
"The Internet"

Where else would babies come from...for couples like us? Really, it's not much different than the "stork" story. If only it actually happened that easily. At least it's easier to explain to a child how babies come from the doctor than to explain "the birds and the bees." No need for any awkward hesitation or beating around the bush...Oh, don't you envy us now? :)


Well, in case you're wondering exactly where babies do come from for people like us, here's one mom's explanation from Still Standing Magazine at http://stillstandingmag.com/2012/06/the-talk/. I'd have to say, this is the condensed version (the real story takes months and years, and more than a couple of awkward doctors visits, shots in the rear, and hormonal freak-outs)...But, it's so true, I can't help laughing!

"...When two people really love each other, they get in the care, drive down to the clinic, and meet with a nice doctor to discuss their options. The doctor will then take the woman into a room with several students awkwardly watching, and use a large magic wand to look inside her belly, while the man tries not to pass out from embarrassment. Later, the man will be given a large plastic cup and told to go to a room at the end of the hall...While she is waiting for [the man] to finish, the woman gets the joy of reading as many out of date magazines as she wants in the waiting room. After that, every day at the same time, the man will show the woman how much he loves her by shooting her in the rear with a large needle...and the woman will try not to [go absolutely crazy and bite his head off for every little thing]...A few months later, when her rear end is black and blue, her ovaries are the size of grapefruits, and her arms are covered in enough track marks from the daily blood draws to warrant an intervention, the man and women will get back in the car, drive to the clinic, and see the nice doctor with a magic wand who will put a baby into her belly, making her a mommy...

"And that is where babies come from."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jellystone (minus Yogi)

I'm sure you've all been on the edge of seats since I announced in my last post that my brother and I were planning a trip to Yellowstone....No?

Well, I was! I was more excited to see him than usual, which is saying something, because Robbie and I are really close, and I'm always excited to see and talk to him. But I've been pretty homesick lately. It's kind of a new thing for me. Even as a little kid I was always comfortable being on my own, but maybe living on the other side of the country from my family for 7 years is finally starting to take its toll. My mom is probably thinking "It's about time!" Well Mom, I've got a fail-proof plan for the future, which will guarantee that I always get to see you at least a few times a year...It's called grandchildren. :)

Anyway, I took my brother Robbie and a few of his friends to Yellowstone on Saturday, where it was a free day...you can't beat that! More than anything else - more than the hot pools, or Old Faithful, or friendly Asian tourists - we wanted to see a bear. We saw the widest variety of wildlife I've ever seen in a single day at Yellowstone - including 1 yellow-bellied marmot, 1 woodchuck seemingly contemplating a 500 foot jump off Yellowstone Falls, 1 moose, 2 coyotes, 4 or 5 female elk and 1 adorable baby elk, over 100 gigantic bison, 1 bald eagle, and a herd of antelope - but we did not see a bear. I've been living in Idaho for 7 years, and I still haven't seen a bear! Maybe one day I'll pay to go to Bear World, which I pass on the highway every single day, but I think it would be more exciting to spot a grizzly in the wild...Don't you?


So, it was a little disappointing that Yogi was a no-show (even after we broke out the picnic), but of course we still had a great time
at Yellowstone. Those multi-colored hot springs and bubbling geysers are always remarkable, no matter how many times I've seen them. And, as a bonus on that chilly Saturday, the hot steam pouring out of the ground every three feet was like a big, warm blanket. We drove a lot, walked a lot, saw a lot, snacked a lot, joked around a lot, and listened to a lot of...um..."music" is what I think Robbie's friend Jared called it...and then we ate a lot of greasy food at the famous Big Jud's to top it all off! My heart and stomach were full.

By the way, Robbie realized why the famous park is called "Yellowstone."

Photo by Brianna Hatch (our official photographer for the trip)
Last but not least, we made some tasty shush-kabobs in the backyard Friday night with my in-laws and cousin Emily, and then we all relaxed and talked by the fire. Now that's my idea of "home."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Normal is good...I like normal

Well, it took a lot longer than I expected, but I'm feeling back to my normal self after my surgery (i.e. my pain-free, non-medicated, healthy-eating, dinner-cooking, house-keeping, hard-working, full-time-marketing, active self). According to our doctor the outlook looks very good, which in our experience doesn't exactly mean a good outcome in the end, but we're hopeful that things we'll work out sooner rather than later with starting our family. So, we'll see what God has in mind this time. But hey, Ben will be done with his pharmacy rotations in almost exactly nine months, so what could be better timing...?(hint hint, God!)

Anyway, with all of the medical issues and mind-altering medications that have become a part of my life over the past few years, I've had to find a new "normal" for myself. I'll never be my 17-year-old self or 21-year-old self again, and thank goodness I'll never be my 13-year-old self again (WORST awkward phase EVER...as you can see, I'm still recovering!), but at least I can accept my (almost) 25-year-old self as my new version of "normal" and be happy with it...most days...

...Especially days when my brother comes to visit me and we take a fun trip together, like this Friday! Yellowstone, here we come!

an original, low-quality infographic about me