Have you ever worked for a religious organization?

My surgery last week was done in a Catholic hospital. I didn’t choose it. It just happened to be one of the hospitals my surgeon uses. His office is in a secular medical building not affiliated with the hospital. 

It was a good experience. The nurses and staff were very nice, and most importantly, the surgery was successful. Nobody pushed religion or prayer on me, but there was a rosary hanging over the registration desk and a wooden cross over the doorway of my pre-op room. It’s a smaller hospital but fairly busy. It is one of several Catholic hospitals in the city.

I’m just wondering about the staff at the hospital that go there to work day in and day out; do they really think about the religious values of their employer? Do you think that’s important to them? Or is it just a job like any other job? Is religion ever pushed on the employees?

I’m curious. I just don’t know much about it.

To be honest, I applied for a marketing position at a religious organization right after college. I thought I could just go in and do my job and not think about it. The main thing was getting a paycheck. I had an interview but wasn’t offered the position. Looking back I’m glad I didn’t get it. My husband was like, what were you thinking? I think I was just desperate.

I’m sure there are many people like me – desperate for a paycheck – but do you think employees at religious organizations really care about their organization’s values? 

Have you ever worked for a religious organization? Was religion pushed on you? Was it just a paycheck? I would love to hear some experiences.

Writer’s Block and Paint Chip Poetry

It’s been a week since my knee surgery and I’ve pretty much stayed camped out on my living room couch. I’m hooked up to a DVT pump and ice machine. I only get up to use the bathroom and to shower every other day. Obviously, I’m a little bored.

It’s hard for me to find things to write about. I very rarely write fiction; everything’s based on my life and when I’m not leaving the house and doing things, there’s not much to write about. 

But this is NaPoWriMo and I am dedicated to writing poetry every day. Enter the game Paint Chip Poetry. Paint Chip Poetry is a game where you use color names to write poems. It comes with prompt cards and then you draw your colors. You know how you can get those free paint sample cards at Home Depot with the fun color names on them? That’s basically what you are using. It’s a lot of fun. Sometimes my poems turn nonsensical but I’ve noticed the color names are great for developing similies and metaphors. It’s really just great practice when I can’t think of anything to write about.

It’s day #9 of NaPoWriMo and thanks to Paint Chip Poetry I’ve written nearly fifty poems. It’s keeping me going when the rest of my life has basically come to a halt. 

If you are interested in Paint Chip Poetry, you can purchase it here. I was bummed when I bought the game two weeks ago because the price had gone up. I first purchased this game several years ago for work for ten dollars. I decided before my surgery that I wanted to buy my own copy since I was going to be spending so much time at home. It had gone up to seventeen dollars! I really shouldn’t complain. I don’t have much money but it has been well worth it to have something to do during my recovery.

If you decide to give Paint Chip Poetry a try, I’d love to see what you come up with! 

Next Monday, I have my follow-up appointment and return the DVT pump. Hopefully, then I can start driving again and get out of the house. I will be on crutches for six weeks which is frustrating, but I am definitely looking forward to getting my butt off the couch.

NaPoWriMo Day #8 — “Hometown Girl”

Hometown Girl

I’m not your cookie-cutter
small-town girl.
I waffled between expectations and freedom.

Your Jesus doesn’t save –
he divides.
Frosty images and sharp tongues
over here,

me over there.

Generations of hometown girl misfits –
I’ve lived here for years;
you know me but not.
You denied me my purpose, my curiosity,
and your asses in pews never made it right.

Forty acres in the dappled sunlight –
you never made me a home.
Home isn’t a physical place –
it’s love,
it’s belonging,
it’s acceptance –
and it isn’t with you.

I finally chose freedom.
I escaped and I survived.
I celebrate by making my own home.

NaPoWriMo Day #7 — “I Flourish”

I Flourish

Break me.
Knock me down.
Every heartache is a stepping stone
and my future is under construction.
Pick me like tulips in spring
and watch me wilt.
I come back every year
stronger, steadfast.
I’m grounded in my roots,
nourished by the storm,
and at dawn, I flourish again.
Remember my beauty
in the long winter months.


This surgery has been painful but I’m doing okay. I’m just lying on the couch filling up journals.

“Blooms” Art Show

I’m so excited! A drawing I completed just last week was accepted into “Blooms”, an art show with the Rhode Island Watercolor Society for any 2D media. I have to quickly get it framed and shipped because the show opens later this month!

It’s so hard to put yourself out there as any kind of artist, and I just want you to know that I am so grateful for all of the support you guys have shown me.

Update…Pain Poetry

Hi guys! My surgery was successful. My doctor was able to repair my knee. Unfortunately, I am experiencing some pain. I didn’t want to take my pain medication, but I broke down and took it. Before my surgery, I knew I really didn’t want to take something so strong and addictive, but I just didn’t know what the pain would be like. I just have to remind myself that this is temporary and I will be better off in the end.


The Other Side

Everything stops.
Distractions no longer work.
My body is stiff,
my breathing shallow.
I’m heavy —
wounded by the weight of the world.
The clock ticks slowly
as I wait for a release.
This recovery seems daunting
but my loved ones are near.
It’s temporary.
The other side is waiting.

Tomorrow (Pre-op Poetry)

Pain —
what stirs us to change.
Tomorrow I’ll arrive
but won’t leave on foot.
It’s time to rest,
Regenerate the old,
breathe in the new.
Tomorrow everything changes
but life’s demands.


NaPoWriMo day one was good! I wrote so much! In fact, I wrote extra just in case I don’t feel like writing tomorrow after my surgery. 🙂

More weird drawings…distractions

I’ve been a little emotional the past couple of days. I guess I’m a little more nervous about my upcoming surgery than I thought I was. Drawing has been a nice distraction. I did these two drawings yesterday.

My surgery is Tuesday and I have no idea how I’m going to feel, so if I disappear for a little while that’s what’s going on.


Were you allowed to question things growing up?

I really struggled as a teenager. I knew from a young age that I wasn’t a Christian, even though everyone around me was. I was naturally skeptical and it was just too far-fetched for me. My family didn’t attend church like other families in our small rural community, but I think they still felt the pressure to conform. 

I knew I was different, and that was incredibly difficult. I did a lot of “soul searching” as a teenager trying to find something – anything – that made sense. You can be skeptical and still have big questions about the world around you. I went through a Wicca phase as a teenager, and when I tried to discuss it with my parents, my stepmom flat-out laughed in my face. It really bothered me. Here I was with all this inner turmoil over spirituality and my parents wouldn’t even take my struggles seriously. I felt as though I wasn’t allowed to question anything, and that was extremely frustrating. I was a smart kid with lots of curiosity but I felt like everyone was just trying to shut me down. It was hard not to view my family as small-minded after that, but I think more than anything they were just concerned about their image.

You can’t blame them. It’s hard living in a small town, and to be honest, I was an angry teenager and thought everyone in that town was small-minded. But deep down, I think a lot of people questioned things back home but they wouldn’t dare admit to it out of fear of ridicule. Conformity was the name of the game and I wanted out. I didn’t fit in, but thankfully as I got older, I didn’t care.

Fast forward twenty-five years and now I’m an atheist…and a mom. My daughter is seven and full of curiosity. We really encourage her to explore. She asks questions (lots and lots of questions) and my husband and I give her straightforward answers trying not to push her one way or the other. We stress common sense and she will eventually come to her own conclusions, and we will be there to support her every step of the way. I don’t ever want my daughter to feel the frustration I felt growing up. “Soul searching” is allowed and completely normal…even encouraged. There are so many things from my childhood that I want my daughter to experience differently. Growing up, I just wanted someone to hear me. I never want my daughter to feel like she doesn’t have a voice. 

I think all parents want their kids to have a healthier childhood than they had, and we all learn from our parents’ missteps. 

I am curious…were you allowed to question things growing up? We are all familiar with religious indoctrination, but if you grew up in a secular home, were you pushed in that direction? Did your parents have discussions and answer your questions? Were you allowed to make your own conclusions? If you were raised in a religious home, how did you finally break free? If you are a parent, are there things you are doing differently than your own parents did?