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So I was chosen to take mental health first aid train the trainer from work and I was really excited as well as a little nervous about this task before me.

I believe the only time I have went somewhere on my own is my trip to the hospital and I guess that isn’t even true.  Jimmy drove me there.  Man, I can’t believe I am 50 years old and never been by myself on a trip before.  I always get a little anxious driving in St. Louis (but don’t tell my parents, they always ask me to drive) but if I have someone to navigate for me, I am good.  Well  I have my sweet little nav system on my phone that brought me right to the hotel on Sunday night and then on to training class Monday morning.  No problems at all!!  Not sure I could ever live without one again.  Don’t believe I will use it going home, that car can find its way home from anywhere I tell you.  Kind of like Knight Rider, only not as sporty and doesn’t usually talk to me.

So I go to class a little apprehensive because “Me, I don’t know nothing about Mental Health First Aid”.  BUT I am bound and determined to do the best possible job I can.  Class starts off with introductions and they mix it up a little, Name, organization, where are you from and (here is the mix) two truths and a lie/wish.  And as the week progresses, we are supposed to be listening for clues about which ones are the truths.

Mine are: I went back to school when I was a grandmother, I love to travel all over the world, and I am excited to be in the class even though I have never worked with Mental Health in a professional capacity.  Can you guess which one is not true?

The two instructors are very good and the have the whole class engaged in activities, one was nonjudgemental listening.  It was fun to see what everyone came up with after that exercise.  We have complete role plays, one about anxiety going over a bridge.  We were laughing because the person was such a good actress, she made it so real and we have all witnessed those things.  We played a game with questions and points and found out some of us in the class are super competitive!  We have people from Missouri, California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois

So I have now passed the Mental Health First Aid part of the class.  On to becoming an instructor!  I have turned in the test they require and presentation day is Thursday and Friday (I get to go on Thursday!)

So wish me luck and when I pass the course, contact me so I can include you in a class that I will be presenting at!

More after I get back home and Easter is over.

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In my line of work, you get to do all kinds of things, some great and some not so great!!  I love my job because it is interesting to me and there is something new every day.  As I sit here listening to people ask questions at the front desk, it is amazing to me things they ask.

Phone calls are the best, asking what the county takes care of, what is DNR’s responsibility, what does the State Department of Health and Senior Services do/require us to do.  I even had someone ask me about something and he said the rules constantly are changing, I had to tell him they hadn’t changed in over 7 years here on that specific subject and he was surprised about that.

For those of you that don’t know, I work in the Environmental Services of our local County Health Department.  We do many things, check childcare facilities (which we have many good ones in Callaway), food establishment inspections (I love visiting with these folks), lodging inspections (haven’t had the opportunity to do that yet, but soon), truck wrecks that involve food, drugs or cosmetics (worked the first one a week ago! very interesting) sewer inspections (yes we have our own county ordinance) and my stance on that is, no one wants raw sewage draining on them or their neighbors so please work to clean it up!  And we get very involved in emergency preparedness planning.

When I started college (what was it, back in 2008?!), one of our professors sent us to the FEMA website for a paper we were to write.  Little did I know, during my research for this paper, I would stumble upon the FEMA training website, which has many FEMA related classes you can take (some for college credit) and I started taking some of them.  I think I have taken somewhere around 20-25 classes at this point and have enjoyed learning about all the different aspects of disaster preparedness.  Tonight we are going to a class put on by our local county on “Emergency Shelter Food Safety”.  Sound like something a food inspector would need to know, right??  Well, I am dragging the hubby along because I am sure I will be busy doing other things during a disaster and he is an awesome cook as well and can be in charge of food if needed at a shelter.

Which leads me to the whole reason of this post!!  Late last week, we were given the opportunity to apply for Mental Health First Aid Trainer classes.  We discussed it in our department and I was chosen to go!  This is something totally new to me (well training people is not, but the mental health first aid is) and I am starting to get excited about it.  It is a week-long class and starts next Monday (April 2nd).  I know my Grandmother is very proud of me because she worked in the mental health field for some time as a psych aide at the local Mental Health Hospital.  So once I pass this class, I will be able to teach others how to deal with issues they may encounter.  Asking for prayers for this class to go well!  I will miss my family and will probably be on the phone a lot next week, checking on everyone, having them talk to me and tell me how I can do this!  Then on to schedule trainings with other instructors.  I am very excited and nervous about it.

Will keep you up to date next week!

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Since I started this journey into the blog world, I have learned one thing about myself. Wish I had known this when I was taking all those writing intensive college classes a few years ago.  This is my 110 blog entry since I started writing.  Who would have thought I could write that much with very little thought or research?  Do you know how easy it is for me to write 500+ words? I can whip that out in about 15 minutes if something is really on my mind or about 30-45 if I have to research it. 
My husband will tell you I USED to be a shy reserved person until he started driving over the road (boy am I glad those days are over), then I had to stand up for myself and my children when he wasn’t around. I sometimes wonder if he could rewind his life and not do that again. Not that he didn’t like his boss/company, he remains friends with them even now 19 years later. He sometimes has trouble with me being a strong willed, vocal person, because that is normally him.   But that is for another post.

There are so many things that happen on a random basis in our house and community, I think it is no wonder I always have something to say.  Our community is very active and we get to see a lot of friends on a very frequent basis.  Our house always seems to have someone coming or going, the girls, the grandkids, family members or friends.  And we enjoy it, don’t think we don’t.  On Tuesday night, no one was here or came by and Jimmy made the comment, it was just us and it was kind of quiet.  The dogs were asleep on their rug, he was on the computer, I was sewing, no TV on and it was pretty quiet (well except for the sound of the sewing machine) except once in a while he would play a song on YouTube and it would startle me.  Many days, when I am home by myself, there is absolute silence, either I am reading or studying, no radio, no TV, no telephone.  I know many young mothers that are envious about that but sometimes it is overwhelming and I just turn on the radio and sing along and feel the house growing with all my friends.  And then there are days like Wednesday, the phone rang probably 30 times before I went and got the kids.  Several times it was an “out of area” according to caller ID, don’t answer those anymore because a couple of weeks ago, they would call 4 or 5 times a day and when I answered, there would be no one on the other end!  Computer generated calls that leave you hanging drive me crazy.   My mom came out so I could help her with some computer things, a church member called and we talked forever, the preacher called a couple of times, the girls called, went and picked up the grandkids took them to KFJ, Jimmy’s brother and kids stopped by so it was a crazy busy day yesterday.  But it was all good and I actually got some housework completed as well. 

So with all that being said, I guess it is no wonder that I can whip out 500+ words on any given blog entry, I just give you a short view of my life on a daily basis.  I hope you are having a wonderful week and are filled with joy, no matter what live brings your way.

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Remember when I told you my resolutions and the first one was to make a schedule every week of what I want to accomplish that week.  So school starts on January 11th and I need to start working on that schedule.  I think if I allow myself 3 hours every day for school work, I should be great, then on to other things.

Since Jimmy leaves for work around 7:15 every day and gets home around 5:30 that gives me just a little over 10 hours to get school work and projects done each day.  Of course, on Mondays I have the kids so my time is a little limited for my projects, we go to story hour in the mornings and if I am lucky, they both nap at the same time so I can study then.   So that will just leave me an hour left to study on Mondays. 

Tuesdays I will probably start the day studying and by 10 am or so, I can work on other projects.  Maybe Tuesdays need to be dedicated to scrapbooking after school work, since I am sooooo far behind.  I have Jimmy working on  a couple of shelves for my scrapbooks (that is step two of getting organized) so I will need to fill them up. 

Wednesday will start out the same way, studying until 10 am, then on to sewing.  Hopefully I can get many projects finished for Christmas early and not have to stress over what to buy later in the season. 

Thursdays, more studying (man I should be really smart!) and who knows what I will do, hopefully more scrapbooking or sewing, maybe a little housework and grocery shopping, eating lunch with friends.

Fridays, study, study if I don’t have it done already, then laundry and all the rest of the housework.  Prepare for the weekend.

Hopefully the weekends will be reserved for things Jimmy and I want to do.

This schedule should see me through the first part of March when the semester ends (I have 8 week semesters) and I will have to revise my schedule because somewhere in there I will have to add mowing and yard work to the schedule.

Pray that I at least try to follow this schedule.  And my life gets a little more organized and I don’t get further behind. And most importantly, that I meet these goals and by writing them down,  you all will hold me accountable.

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As most of you read in my last post, our son-in-law spent from Friday night to Tuesday in the hospital for “semi-elective” surgery and his parents and Papa and Nan took turns taking care of the babies so Mommy could be his protector. For her version check it out at http://manysleeplessnights.wordpress.com

So now it is Thursday and the house is almost back to normal, laundry is pretty much caught up, dishes are washing as I type this.  The floor has been swept, still need to clean up the table, dust and all that other fun stuff that has to be done.  But for a while this morning, I just wanted to sit and listen to the calm.  You see, school starts back Monday and I am taking a math class (that the teacher says takes quite a bit of time) and environmental ethics.  Of course, I am excited about the ethics class, I have missed it the last two times it was offered because it filled up too quickly or I had other obligations I needed to take, mainly because this is my field of interest but it will be very interesting I think to see other people’s opinions and what they believe environmental ethics are.  I don’t want you to misunderstand, I do like math and will enjoy the class, I always find something interesting in classes, especially the teacher and students!

So while I am studying linear equations, factoring expressions and quadratic equations, I will be anxious to get to ethics.  One of the subjects we will discuss is animal ethics (hummm, may have to discuss Humane Society of the United States??  Pray for me if we do), are natural resources infinite, future generations, wilderness preservation, pacific timber.  And you wonder why I am excited, maybe you have to be an environmentalist to understand.  As I have said before, I am not a radical environmentalist, there are many little things we can do to protect the environment, recycle, reduce, reuse has been the slogan for many years (and we need to follow it, but it should be reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle).  I could tell you many things to reduce our impact on the environment but that is another post for another day (possible as I work on ethics and tell you a little about that). 

BUT JUST FOR TODAY, I am going to enjoy puttering around the house, quietly listening to the radio, staying at home, cook my husband a good meal, tidying up a little more and letting the fall breeze blow through the house, giving it a fresh smell before the storm begins the next week with the much cooler weather they are predicting (high of 60s BURR!!) and class work begins.  Enjoy the beautiful weather today if you are in our neck of the woods (BTW, the leaves aren’t pretty here yet!), listen to the farm equipment running almost nonstop to feed our nation and the world, open your house and listen to nature if that is possible where you live.

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I have been toying with the idea of buying an e-reader for about a year now.  Started with the Kindle on Amazon.  So I started researching these things, worrying all the time that as soon as I bought something, it would be outdated.  You all know what I mean, right??  I hate that about technology, don’t you?  Well and the price of this so called outdated technology.  So since I couldn’t actually hold a Kindle, that concerned me, I like to make sure things feel comfortable when I use them (one of the reasons I now own a 17″ laptop, I had to have the 10 key on the side, I am so dependent upon this little tool).  I checked out the Sony e-reader and no one could really talk to me about it, they had very little knowledge or experience with it.  I had walked by the Nook at B&N several times (that store and any home improvement store are my weaknesses) and never tempted myself by picking one up.  Last Friday, I was going to meet Shawna at her new house so decided to go early and check out the Nook.  I have to tell you, Barnes and Noble have no idea who I am and that I am writing this blog about their customer service and the Nook.

Went to customer service to see if anyone could help me and the guy there said he had received one at Christmas and absolutely loved it.  I asked him all types of questions, how many books will it store, what if you go over that number, how does it read in the sunlight, how easy is it to download if you don’t have 3G, how long will it hold a charge, how does it charge (car, household or computer).  He politely answered all my questions and offered some more information such as there are over 960,000 free books, B&N downloads when you are in their store, how easy it is to carry with you, the importance of a cover (His opinion only! he said), how durable they are.  I asked him if I could hold one and see how it works, you see I am reading all the time and love the feel of a book in my hand and turning the pages.  Just to give you an idea, I have read almost 60 books since November.  He said, “Sure, let’s go play with one.”  So he gave me one and showed me all the features of it.  The quasi instruction manual is written by Dave Berry.  So it is a pretty funny manual, unlike most others.  After I held it, I had to have it of course.  I think the guy had me pegged when I started asking questions and knew if he could get me to hold one, I would be lost forever.

Just a couple of things I like about the Nook.  First of all, there are no paper books to buy anymore.  That means I won’t be wasting trees and all the energy and water it takes to make paper and all the waste created and pollution either.  I can buy 4 books and have them read before it is time to go back to town for me and I usually only read a book once (exception is Gone with the Wind, oops, have to get that one downloaded as well).   Second, most e-books are cheaper than a paperback or hardback book.  A brand new release that I have been waiting for was only $9.99 instead of the $12-13 dollars it would cost in print.  I downloaded the entire King James Version of the Bible for $0.99 yesterday and Bad Girls of the Bible (I have read the other one Slightly Bad Girls) for $0.98 which has cost anywhere from $9-$15 in paperback when I wanted to buy it in March!  I even found a John Muir book (for all you e-sceince majors!) for free!  Third, you can lend your books to other Nook holders for a period of time which means you don’t have to buy all the books either.  Fourth, it supports EPUB which you can check out from our local library, which means more free books.  Fifth, it reads PDF files, which most of my FEMA manuals are formatted in so I can take them along and read wherever I go.  Sixth, I love the feel of it in my hands, it feels so much like a paperback book and turning the pages are super easy.  It remembers where you stop reading so you can pick right back up where you left off! 

I have 18 books so far on my reader and only have paid $12.00 for books so far.  In another week, I will have saved enough money by not purchasing books that I will pay for my Nook.  Oh, yeah, that is one of the best things, it was $199 and the Wi-FI and 3G are included in the price.

Even though I don’t like to go to the Mall in Columbia, I have a feeling I am going to be visiting B&N more to get the weekly free book download, probably not every week but more often than my required twice a year trek.  I have to thank all my friends that gave their thoughts and suggestions and especially questions to ask the salesperson.  I love this little gadget and would recommend it to everyone that likes to read.

Happy reading to you all my internet friends.

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Every time the TV is on at our house, something is mentioned about the blown out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.  It never fails to get a reaction from me.  I talk to the TV telling them to stop talking and do something to help the people and environments that are affected by this tragedy.  On further discussion with Jimmy about this, it seems that we are all affected.  Look around your house and see how many things are made using petroleum.  From the fuel used in your car (unless you are one of the lucky people that drive electric vehicles), the plastics used in your automobile, the carpet in your house, disposable dishes you use, upholstery and even some of your clothes, petroleum affects all our lives. 

Most people are outraged at the amount of oil being pumped into the ocean and washing up on the shores around the Gulf of Mexico.  While this does make me angry as well and concerned for the ocean ecosystem and how much it will affect this environment for years to come, it lead me to think about how we dispose of petroleum products.  How many of us make a real effort to recycle plastics?  How many demand our community passes mandatory recycling laws and pressures them to accept more than #1 and #2 plastic?  In our county, there are no recycling requirements and for us living in the country there has to be some serious effort on our part to recycle.  I take my recyclables to Kingdom Projects in Fulton which is about 25 miles from our house.  I wish our county government would understand how important it is to protect our environment.  Last week in one of the local papers, they were warning people that lived near the landfill to be aware of the high levels of methane.  Do they not know about capturing methane and turning it into energy?

Now for my rant:  Are you still using plastic bags when you shop?  If so, do you recycle them  or just throw them in the trash to take to the landfill to blow around, ending up in some body of water to be consumed by aquatic life?  Do you throw your plastic bottles out the window when you are driving?  Same thing happens to them if you don’t recycle.  So are you one of the small oil consumers that are polluting the Gulf of Mexico just like the big oil company that’s oil well blew out just two short months ago or is your pollution going farther than the Gulf of Mexico.  Have you heard of the garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean?  Well, there is one almost as large in the Atlantic Ocean.  Wanna bet American’s are the biggest contributors to both of these patches of garbage??  Take responsibility for your own actions and purchase responsibly reducing your petroleum usage and recycle as much as you can.  Encourage your local government to take an active part in cleaning up our environment.  Make them aware this is very important to you.  As important as plugging that well in the Gulf of Mexico and cleaning up the disaster that has occurred.   Most of all, when you go to the store and they ask paper or plastic, say neither, I have my own bags.  You can use these at any store, I have taken them into clothing stores, grocery stores, and anyplace they try to give you a bag to carry out your goods.

Thank you for taking at least one small step.  Please let me know what you have done to help our environment.

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