Thursday, October 20, 2016

My Attempt at Authenticity Online

Over the years I (Lisa) have struggled with social media and comparisons to what I see posted online.  I know I'm not the only one who has spent time on Facebook and then whines to my husband, "Why don't we ever do XYZ..." Spending time on social can bring out that green eyed monster and make yourself pretty miserable.  I have to say the worst was when a friend told me she'd been feeling down about her life based on what I was posting.  Everything looked so happy and upbeat all the time.  Ugh.  Never in a million years would I want to make someone else feel like I felt sometimes.  The quiet truth is - when things aren't going well or I'm upset with something, I don't post.  Or, I try to post something happy to make myself feel better rather than share the truth.  Believe it or not, life isn't always a pitcher of Friday Night Margaritas!
Quote - Life Isn't Always a Pitcher of Friday Night Margaritas from Lisa Jones

So, in the interest of showing my authentic self on social I posted a picture of my messy upstairs hall closet on Facebook and Instagram over the weekend.  It was bad.  I couldn't get the door closed without pushing the stacks back and quickly shoving the door closed.  Cleaning up this closet has been on my to do list since Spring.  But really, it's upstairs and I'm mostly downstairs, so I just avoid it.  The closet issue finally came to a head while trying to find gift bags for my nephew's birthday presents.  All the wrapping supplies and gift bags are in that closet.  I almost bought new gift bags at the grocery store for $6 each rather than fight through that closet.  But seriously, buying new gift bags when I have a bazillion upstairs is just crazy.

I found three gift bags in the closet - well, in truth, I asked my son to find them cause I didn't want to deal with the closet.  He succeeded, but made an even bigger mess in the process, or that's what I'm telling myself as the reason I couldn't get the door closed any longer.  So, Sunday afternoon...  I trudged up there with my earbuds and lots of podcasts to listen to while cleaning and got to work.   Three and half hours, some sweat, several bags of garbage, and piles of frustration later I got it cleaned up.

In the meantime, my friends were having a field day over my sharing the picture of the closet mess.  Some were horrified, some  had similar spaces in their homes, but most expressed shock and surprise that I had a closet that looked like that. HA!  Nice to know I can still surprise people.  So, here it is.  My before and after picture in all its messy glory.
Being authentic online means sharing my messy closet before and after pictures

Now, if I want to be really real and authentic, I would show you a picture of the state of my home office at the moment.  A closet is one thing, but to acknowledge my office is that out of sorts is a little too much for me.

Well, maybe I should....  in the spirit of being real...

Looking at it makes me want to cry... That table doesn't belong there, there are stacks of stuff on the right that are difficult to see,  stacks of papers on the left just out of view, and a chair I can't ever seem to sit in due to the books.  Just forget about getting through the minefield to play piano.  But I sit with my back to it all when at my desk and can avoid looking at it.  One day it will be clean again and pretty. A girl can hope...

Ok.  Your turn.  How are you your authentic self online?

Life Isn't Always a Pitcher of Friday Night Margaritas - Quote from Lisa Jones

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

10 Tips To Prepare for a MRI

10 Tips to Prepare for MRI

After having severe pain in my left hip, my orthopedic doctor suspected a torn labrum and ordered an MRI with contrast for the hip joint. Going into the MRI I (Lisa) wasn’t sure what scared me more, the injection of the contrast into my hip joint or the actual MRI experience.  When I scheduled the test, the nurse asked me if I was claustrophobic. I nervously laughed and said, "Not sure, I guess we'll find out!" I was silently freaking out about having an MRI, which you know is bad ‘cause I rarely do anything silently!

Overall, the experience wasn’t horrible. The needle in my hip did hurt and the contrast dye burned as it went in and for a while afterwards. But, the anxiety of not knowing what to expect was the worst part of the MRI for me.  I wish I’d read some realistic tips of what to expect rather than the well meaning horror stories I encountered on social media and the web. 

To be helpful, I’d thought I’d share my experience with you by offering a few realistic tips.

1.    Don’t share on Facebook, Instagram or Anywhere – Seriously, don’t post on social media that you are nervous about having an MRI or that you are even having an MRI.  Every one of your friends will see this as an opportunity to tell you their horror story.   (Kind like moms telling pregnant women their labor and delivery stories.) Just don't do it.

2.    Review the paperwork or online information for your testing location.  Because I was having a contrast MRI which required a needle to be inserted into my actual hip joint guided by an x-ray my test was scheduled at a hospital located imaging center.  The hospital website gave me more information about what to expect before/during/after the MRI than the one-page paper I received from the scheduling center.

3.    Leave your valuables and metal items at home.  Don’t even bring it.  You don’t want to worry about where to put it during the test or if you remembered to take it all off.  Rings, earrings, belts, barrettes, or ponytail holders… leave it at home.  It's so much simpler.

4.    Wear comfortable clothing without metal for a chance of leaving your own clothes on.  While I had to exchange my clothing for a hospital gown during the injection and x-ray, I was allowed to wear my own clothes for the MRI.  It lessened my stress a little to wear my own t-shirt and shorts and not a gown that opens in the back.  (Ladies, don’t forget about wearing a bra without an underwire or metal clasps.  A cotton sports bra is best.)

5.    Take a minute to lay down - Understand that you will be laying very still for a while so take a minute when you lay down to get comfortable as best you can.  Lying flat on my back was a bit painful so the tech allowed me to put a small pillow under my knees to help lessen the pain. Not moving during the test was the absolute most difficult part for me.  Since it was my hip, my whole body was immobile during the testing.  I could open and shut and eyes, lick my lips and wiggle my fingers since they were near my head, but all I wanted was to shift or move during those 45 min.  I kept reminding myself that if I moved, I’d have to start over again.

6.    Get Comfy – I am naturally a little cold, especially when air is blowing on me like it does in the MRI machine.  As I laid down, I asked to be covered in blankets because it was cold in the room and also because I find the weight of blankets comforting.  The one thing I wish I’d had was chapstick.  My lips were dry from the fan blowing on my face during the MRI and it drove me batty to keep licking them.

7.    Listen to the noise – They gave me ear plugs, but you can still hear the super loud noises coming from the machine.  I found the repetitive cycle of the noise comforting after a while.  It reminded me that time was passing and we were closer to being done than we were a few minutes ago. 

8.    Close your eyes / Open your eyes – I received advice to not open my eyes in the machine, however, as the test got started keeping them closed freaked me out.  I HAD to look around and check it out. What I was picturing in my head was way worse than it actually looked. Inspecting every inch of the inside of the MRI machine helped keep me busy.  Do whatever works for you.

9.    Keep your mind busy – Other advice I was given was to come up with repetitious mind games to keep myself busy. Picture a happy place, run yourself through a memory, dream of a great experience or tell yourself knock-knock jokes.  I’ve had friends pray their way through a rosary or count things, like how many states you’ve visited.  One friend told me he listed items related to his work alphabetically.  Personally, I organized my favorite list in my head – my massive to do list. 

10.    Relax – You have to have the MRI test, otherwise you wouldn’t be in the machine. It’s not a harmful test.  It’s just uncomfortable and long. I had a few moments in the MRI machine when the pain from my hip and the stress of not being able to move were seemingly unbearable, but I knew I had to finish the test. I DID NOT want to start over or lengthen it.  It was simply uncomfortable and stressful. I forced myself to take a deep breath and relax.  Once I accepted the situation and relaxed, the loud noises lulled my mind and I began to think I could fall asleep.  Of course, that’s when the technician started talking to me to tell me we were almost done.   

How was my hip?  Good news, not a labral tear.  It was a torn muscle near my hip joint instead.  Still painful, but easier healing and recovery.

What is your experience with MRI tests?  Any tips to help make it more manageable?  And PLEASE, no horror stories.

10 Tips to Prepare for an MRI

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Back to School Discussion... and Lisa Cries

Lisa and Shelly discuss Back to School in Video

Now that we've been back to school for about a month it's time to reflect. New schedules, new schools, and new routines mean big changes for us with plenty of ups and downs.  I (Lisa) have three kids in three different schools this year for the first time. Shelly and I both have one starting high school and one each who are entering their "last" years. My youngest is in her last year of Elementary school while Shelly's oldest is a senior in high school!  How are we handling these changes?  Are we saddened at the thought of all these "last" experiences or looking forward to the possibilities?

Check out our video where we discuss all of this and more. Be sure to stay till the end to see me (Lisa) cry!

How has your Back to School been going?  Are you in a "last" year for a child also?  What advice do you have for settling into this new year and schedules?

Back to School Blog Posts mentioned...

The5Jones at Brennan's in Houston
The5Jones at Brennan's in Houston

Did you stay to see me cry?  Brian and I celebrated 18 years of marriage last weekend with a big family dinner and enjoyed a few more Mad About You tv episodes. We are very blessed to have strong role models for marriage and look forward to many more years of wedded bless.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Being a Catechist: Is it Your Vocation?

Being a Catechist is a Vocation.  Is it yours?- A discussion on teaching the faith

Faith Formation class are beginning for the school year all across the country.  Are you teaching religious education?  If not, have you ever considered becoming a Catechist?  Shelly and I (Lisa) discuss our experiences as Catechists in the video below. 

*At the 4 min mark the audio and video get out of sync.  So sorry.* 

Please prayerfully consider volunteering at your church to teach or assist in Faith Formation classes.  Even if classes have already begun, it is possible they are still in need of assistants or substitute catechists.  (I know our parish is still open to new volunteers).

Volunteering as a Catechist will change you! 

How Volunteering for Edge (Youth Ministry) Changed My Life

Joe Paprocki's Catechist Journey

6 Tips for Teaching Religious Education to Children

Do you teach faith formation to children? How did you get started?
If you don't volunteer as a catechist, why not?  What is holding you back?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Searching for Coppini's Victims of the 1900 Galveston Storm

UT lost statue of 1900 Storm
Shelly: Today, September 8, marks the 116th anniversary of the 1900 Galveston Storm, the deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States. Last year I spoke about the 1900 Storm at Houston area libraries in support of the Gulf Coast Reads program, highlighting the excellent novel, The Promise

This summer I've spent time corresponding with John Bernardoni about the possible location of the 10-foot heroic statue Victims of the Galveston Flood created by Italian-American artist Pompeo Coppini. 

In 1997 when I started work on Through a Night of Horrors: Voices from the 1900 Galveston Storm, I tried to discover what happened to Coppini's magnificent statue, created in 1904, donated to the University of Texas in 1914, and not seen since 1920. When my research in Austin hit a brick wall, I resigned myself to the probability that the piece had been accidentally destroyed. 

This May, John contacted me with a burning desire to uncover the truth, so I shared all my earlier research and photos, caught up in his fresh enthusiasm and excitement. Perhaps he has the local connections and perseverance to do what Coppini couldn't in the last years of his life - find out what happened to the heroic piece. John's received some publicity about his search from various news online as he spread the word about the search with the idea that someone, somewhere, knows something. 

 Austin American-Statesman - The case of UT's lost Pompeo Coppini statues

UT Exes Alcalde - The Great Coppini Caper: One UT alum's search for 24 statues that mysteriously disappeared from campus.

KUTX 98.5 FM - Coppini's Vanished UT Statuary with John Bernardoni

Galveston Daily News - Search is on for vanished sculpture of victims of 1900 hurricane.

I honestly believe that if the statue still exists on campus, our best hope will come if the UT President will commit to allowing John and his team systematically search the cavernous expanse of storage facilities (over 100 buildings) on the UT campus, primarily at the Pickle Research Center. 

If you'd like to know more about Pompeo Coppini, please check out the Handbook of Texas,  the Coppini Academy of Fine Arts, or Texas Escapes.

1900 Galveston Storm
A thriving neighborhood swept clean to the beach.
Bishops Palace and Sacred Heart Church at 14th and Broadway are visible in background.
Photo courtesy of the Rosenberg Library, Galveston TX

Searching for Coppini's Statue "Victim's of the Galveston Flood" Last seen at The University of Texas
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