Being a Mom Makes You Tough // more thoughts on healthcare

I’m a klutz.  Certified, tried and true — I am reliably injuring myself in some emergency room-worthy way at least once a year.  Someday, if you should hear I have tragically died, be sure to get the story because it’s bound to be something dumb like me running into a doorway or something silly like that (of course, I hope that doesn’t happen, but let’s just say if it did, I wouldn’t be surprised).

So today, in an effort to take an epic photo of the baby in a pumpkin (thank you, Pinterest, for raising the standard so high that this was my #1 priority today), I sliced my left index finger nice and deep.  [sidenote: I’m currently marveling at my ability to type with 9 fingers… outstanding!]  I realized a few things over the past few hours that seem blog-worthy:

  1. Being a mom has made me way less of a wimp than I used to be.  Having been a life-long klutz, this is not the first time I’ve sliced my finger with a knife.  Every other time something like this has happened, I have been a hysterical mess.  The reality is, it’s usually not the pain that sends me into hysterics, it’s the shock of seeing my body opened up and bleeding.  When I was 19, I got stitches for a similar cut and cried for nearly a day over the ordeal.  This time, however, I haven’t shed a tear and handled it like a pro – a big step for me.  This calm rationale has swept over me telling me, “The body heals.  You’ve been through way worse than this and have come out just fine.  It looks bad now, but this is the worst it will be.”  I guess after healing from childbirth, a cut just seems like no big deal.  Cool.
  2. I probably need stitches, but I’m not getting them.  For me to go to the ER and get stitches will mean at minimum a couple hundred bucks, and that’s with our terrible private insurance.  So, I went to the CVS on the corner and bought some butterfly closures and first aid tape, cleaned the wound and closed it up.  I chose to avoid the hospital in order to save the money.  In this case, probably not a big deal – if the wound doesn’t start looking better in a couple of days, I’ll go to the doctor… but I think decisions like this are the motivation behind healthcare reform, but on a much bigger level.  When someone like me, who could probably find the money to pay the outrageous bill for a few stitches, chooses to avoid seeking medical care because of an exorbitant expense, this is the system failing.  Why should stitches cost hundreds of dollars to get?  Why should health care ever be cost-prohibitive?  Doesn’t that seem evil and wrong?  Shouldn’t we place such a high value on human life that health care is something we just get as citizens?  If a privatized system is resulting in people choosing less-than-adequate healthcare in order to avoid financial collapse, we have a big problem.  (For more of my thoughts on this, read my post about my friend Ron).

Anyway, I hope that when the baby wakes from her nap I can ultimately get that epic pumpkin photo, but for now I feel tough and a little bit angry.

EDIT: Totally not worth it, but the photo is hilarious.

hysterical, but not worth it.
hysterical, but not worth it.

How You Can Save the Arts in 30 Seconds


Photo by DAN GLEITER, The Patriot-News

Make a difference and help save government funding for the arts without spending any money OR taking more than 30 seconds:
CLICK HERE: Advocate for the Arts

The Problem:

(All Information from Americans for the Arts)

Today, the U.S House of Representatives Appropriations Interior Subcommittee passed its initial FY 2013 funding legislation and proposed a cut of $14 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This budget proposal is disappointing. The arts community recognizes the challenges our elected leaders face in prioritizing federal resources, but funding for the NEA has already been cut by more than $20 million over the past two years, and this additional reduction is counterintuitive to the national call to help grow jobs and fuel the country’s recovery. Americans for the Arts recently released the Arts and Economic Prosperity IV economic impact report, which provides overwhelming proof that the nonprofit arts industry generates $135.2 billion in economic activity every year and supports 4.13 million FTE jobs annually.

Why is the NEA important?

The NEA contributes to the development and economic growth of communities nationwide.

  • NEA grants to organizations and local arts agencies help them maximize their economic and social contributions to their communities.
  • The nonprofit arts industry generates $166.2 billion annually in economic activity, supports 5.7 million full-time equivalent jobs, and returns $12.6 billion to the federal government in income taxes. Measured against direct federal cultural spending of about $1.4 billion, that’s a return of nearly nine to one. (Figures from Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity III study).
  • Nationally, there are 686,076 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts. These businesses employ 2.8 million people, representing 4.20 percent of all businesses and 2.04 percent of all employees, respectively. (Figures from Americans for the Arts, Creative Industries 2009)
  • The arts attract new tourism dollars. Sixty-five percent of U.S. travelers include cultural events on their trips, spending an average of $38.05 per event in addition to the cost of admission on event-related items such as meals, parking, and retail sales.
  • America’s arts and entertainment are leading exports, with estimates of more than $30 billion annually in overseas sales. Public spending on the arts helps position the United States to compete globally.
  • From the work of nonprofit arts agencies to the impact of cultural tourism, the creative sector is important to state economies all across the country. The creative industry in Arkansas, for example, employs nearly 27,000 individuals and generates $927 million in personal income for Arkansas citizens. Creative enterprises are the state’s third largest employer—after transport and logistics and perishable and processed foods. In North Carolina, the wages and income of workers employed by creative industries infused $3.9 billion into the state’s economy in 2006. And in Massachusetts, the 17.6 percent yearly growth of the cultural sector contributed $4.23 billion to the state’s economy (National Governors Association, Arts & the Economy, Using Arts and Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development, 2009).

The NEA supports lifelong learning in the arts, through grants, partnerships, research, and national initiatives.

  • Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade point averages in core academic subjects, score better on standardized tests, and have lower drop-out rates than students without arts education (Critical Evidence,www.aep-arts.org/files/publications/Critical%20Evidence.pdf, published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in collaboration with the Arts Education Partnership).
  • NEA grants support a wide range of projects, including educational programs for adults, collaborations between state arts agencies and state education agencies, and K–12 partnerships between arts institutions and educators.
  • The NEA funds school-based and community-based grant programs that help children and youth acquire knowledge and understanding of and skills in the arts. Projects must provide participatory learning and engage students with skilled artists, teachers, and excellent art.

The NEA supports artistic excellence and improves access to the arts by granting funds to nonprofit arts organizations.

  • In FY 2008, the NEA awarded nearly $122 million of appropriated funds through more than 2,200 grants reaching all 435 congressional districts.
  • Forty percent of all NEA program funds—approximately $47.8 million in FY 2008—are re-granted on a formula basis through the state arts agencies, ensuring that federal funding has an even greater reach.
  • Through programs like Challenge America, the NEA supports artistic activities that reach underserved populations.
  • On average, each NEA grant leverages at least seven dollars from other state, local, and private sources, magnifying the impact of the federal investment.
  • With more funding, the NEA’s core programs could better bring the best in the arts to all Americans. Inadequate funding has caused a decrease in programs available to the public.

The 5 Things You Learn on a Roller Coaster in a Tornado

That’s what the last few weeks have felt like.  So much has happened and changed over the last few weeks that, honestly, I’m not sure if my feet have even hit the ground yet.

Rather than list out the tedious details and relive the highs and lows and twists and turns of the past few weeks, I’ll list the 5 things I’ve learned over these past few weeks:

1. Every human will disappoint you; recognize and accept it, and then move on.

Someone I respect and have a relationship with did something that really disappointed me over the past two weeks, and I was angry… and then I was hurt.  At the same time, I was surrounded by a person who had not accepted this lesson and held grudges about every disappointment in his/her life.  This was exhausting!  It is natural to hold grudges about disappointments, but it is not easier.

2. Professionalism is 70% social and 30% politics.

The past 3 weeks have included more highly “professional” experiences than any other concentrated time in my life.  When you think of the factors that make up professionalism, one thinks of suits, formalities,  business cards, etc.  But if I learned nothing else, I realized that people are people are people.  And, if you really want to win someone over to your way of thinking, you’ll be nice, ask them about themselves, and you’ll play their game.

3. Your entire life and everything you call normal can change in a single breath.  Be thankful when those changes are minor, and treasure the breaths they don’t.

In the past three weeks, several of my friends have suddenly and unexpectedly lost people they loved due to preventable acts.  In total contrast, I was up for a job that would would have required a complete and total change of our daily life and we were doubled over with anxiety.  Change is the only constant… keep it in perspective and expect that it will come.

4. You aren’t actually more productive if you don’t take a break, you’re just leading up to a crash.

I haven’t had a lot of choice over the past few weeks about whether or not to take a break.  So, when I sprained my ankle right before I got two days off, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Nor should I be shocked when looking over what I’ve actually accomplished over the past two weeks: I’ve alienated a few people I care about, I’ve given several projects I’m committed to less attention than they deserved, and I’ve been an absentee wife to the greatest husband in the world.  Stupid.

And most importantly…

5. Being obedient to God can be tough, but it’s way tougher to be outside of his blessing.

Since I wrote about our obedience financially in my first blog post, 3 separate full-time jobs have been put in my path.  One of the concerns before we started our budget was that we wouldn’t have enough money long term to sustain.  And the next day, job offer #1 came in.  God is waiting to bless us- we just need to position ourselves under the faucet of his blessing.  This is about obedience, repentance, and submission.  While it’s way more fun to spend as we want and worry about it later, it is not more fun to be outside of His blessing.

{do tell!}

What are your 5 lessons of the last month?  What has been your greatest lesson from stressful times?