As my life post-WWOOFing unfolds, sometimes I just have to step back and marvel at everything that has come across my path to lead me where I am now. In this post, I’ll share a glimpse into just one aspect of my life that I cannot help seeing God’s plan and direction in.
Never thought I’d see myself in scrubs!
April 25, 2018
Last spring, I experienced some sores on my face that got me really worried about my health. After getting reasonably stressed from quick internet searches, I eventually stumbled upon some information that suggested a connection to poor digestive health. I then realized, after a little reflection, that there was also this link in my own condition.
Well, this eventually led me to discover the research of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and her gut-healing GAPS nutrition protocol. Not too many days had passed before I was sold on the value of what she was sharing and bought her book “Gut and Psychology Syndrome” to understand her research more thoroughly. Her highly educated background and successful clinical experience helping others in major ways certainly did a lot to establish her credibility. But beyond that, I was most impressed by how her research was all motivated by a mother’s desperate love for her son, who was diagnosed with autism. She is promoting no products or partnering with any industries. Instead, her protocol is simple. It takes major discipline to follow(!) since it is based on a specific carbohydrate diet. But the foods recommended are all the closest things to nature that one can find. -Non-processed foods, animals raised naturally and away from antibiotics, produce grown without harmful pesticides. It seemed that everything Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride was sharing lined up with God’s design and tied together only the true aspects of all the other healthy diets/health ideas I’d heard about in the past. In fact, this woman’s message was so close to nature and something she so freely wanted to share with others that she has her own farm/homestead in England and invites WWOOFers (just like me!) to live with her and learn!!
WWOOFing trip almost called off
After learning about GAPS, I, of course, tried it for myself. But because it was spring, and the first violet flowers were blooming… when I saw the first violet, I just couldn’t keep myself from plopping it in my mouth (though the GAPS protocol calls for no raw food for at least several weeks). Though I stuck with it for only a week, I saw and felt noticeable improvements in my health, and adopted many of Dr. Natasha’s recommendations longer term.
I was so impressed by the healing potential of what she described that I had this desire that all of my friends and acquaintances struggling with the (many) issues linked to digestive health could finally find healing and relief as well. In fact, just over one month from my planned journey, I remember telling friends that I was really considering the possibility that my time might be more worthwhile spent just finding several women who were struggling with their health, who would be willing to let me live with them and cook healing foods for them -but also to teach THEM how to cook for themselves and eat in a way that would allow their body to heal itself. I was on the lookout for willing women, feeling sure that I’d find fulfillment in that mission. I’d continue working as a freelance musician on the side, and spend what extra time I could around the woman, building relationship, trust, and introducing healing practices into her life. The idea excited me. But, time was running out. Though I reached out and even asked a friend to reach out if she knew of anyone that could use the help, it seemed that God did not want that path for me. Doors did not open. And so, instead, I continued preparations for an extended life on the road…
Many farms, home visits, and life experiences later…
May 10, 2019 in Oklahoma
I had just left my last farm in Oklahoma, and was spending several last weeks with a dear family in the same state, to get to know them a little better before heading home to Wisconsin. One morning, Abigail, a girl about my age, was visiting. We all passed the afternoon together weeding some flower beds around the property. As we were working, conversation made its way around to Abigail, and I tried to learn more of her story. After telling how she works at a nursing home, she casually made mention that she had gotten her CNA certification following two weeks of training.
Just Two weeks!?!
I was shocked. Having turned down nursing school to study music in college instead, I was under the impression that anything related to nursing involved intense and prolonged training, with extensive clinical experience. But two weeks? – This seemed like something completely manageable. My thoughts returned to some special people I’d met in a nearby under-staffed, underfunded nursing home in WI. Though it would undoubtedly be difficult, I still thought it would be purposeful to get to work in an environment like that. And to think, I could get a job like that after just two weeks of training!
That evening, I sat in the family living room with my laptop and researched training opportunities in Wisconsin for the month of June when I would be back home. Though there were definitely options, no good fit stuck out at me right away. HOWEVER! My training search somehow led me to a job search website. MyCNAjobs.com had a bunch of ads posted for caregiving jobs, I noticed. And strangely, many of these were saying “no experience necessary” or “no certification required.” Hardly believing that these were real job avaliabilities, I used the website’s one-click apply for caregiving with at least 8 different companies.
Well what do you know, the next morning, I got a call from one of them, and I was able to set up an interview for the day after I was set to return to WI. That all happened quickly!
May 22, 2019
I had hardly gotten used to seeing WI license plates everywhere again before I found myself in an office, going through an interview (that could not have gone better, by the way), and was accepted the next day. Also, right after the interview, I got a surprise call from another company I had applied at in OK. I set up an interview with them for the following day and was also accepted. (Thankfully, because it is the company I ended up with.)
June 5th – July 5th, 2019
From my first day on the job, all I found was fulfillment in the work that I had gotten into. And looking back over my past year, I could see how God had used all of my farm experiences to make caregiving such a natural thing for me.
I had spent a year always showing up on the doorsteps of strangers, learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortableness of entering another person’s home and life and routine. -Learning to find ways to make my presence helpful beyond just the farm work, through cleaning up the house, doing the dishes, or splitting cooking duties. I picked up many interesting cooking and housekeeping tricks, as well as learning how to be at ease with the unfamiliar and to make conversation with just about anybody.
And so, stepping into an elderly person’s life and home to become almost like family to them felt like the most natural thing in the world to me. Aside from the more personal, close-up care involved, I felt completely at ease just jumping right in. And what’s even better – I never dreaded going to work when my 24-,48-or even 72-hour shifts would roll around. I even often would leave work with a deep contentedness and fulfillment. AND, I would find myself thinking over my past shifts throughout the week, with satisfaction and pleasure.
After a trip back to Oklahoma in July and August, I went right back to work with caregiving as soon as I got back to WI.
A rerouted vision
I can’t help going back and marvelling at how God held in check my desire to help women through living with them and sharing the GAPS nutritional protocol way back in April of last year. And now, with much more diverse and rounded experience, He brought me across the right girl in OK to spark a search that led to a wide open door in caregiving –something quite similar to the vision I had earlier of how to help people through close relationship with them. Now, I get to show the elderly care and encourage them towards healthy decisions, and cook nutritious meals for them, if they are willing.
September 21, 2019
…finds me having just begun CNA classes to better know how to care for people in all types of situations. Here is just one more area that I can’t help seeing God’s direction and blessing in. Though training opportunities weren’t available during my short stay in June, I was able to find a great option for fall classes while back in WI that would leave me, still, with enough time to work and visit with family and friends on my days off.
Just two days in, and I have discovered that my instructor is an amazing person! Not only is she a believer, but she also is an RN who believes in a more holistic approach to medicine and health, openly questioning the effectiveness of many established medical practices as well as the motives behind the major health and pharmaceutical industries. In addition, she is just a joyful, interesting, loving, but firm person. I think partially because she is a believer, she’s been flourishing her powerpoint lecture discussions with personal stories and examples of how to go above and beyond the requirements to show patients/residents extra care and help them feel loved. I so appreciate her experienced perspective!
And today, I was so happily assigned to be part of her lab and clinical group in the days to come (rather than being split off with the other half of class to work with someone brand new to teaching). I am really looking forward to everything I will be able to learn from my teacher’s experience these next few months.
What an interesting and rewarding journey this has been. A year and a half ago, I could not have anticipated what I’d be doing with my life now. In fact, I don’t think I would be nearly as prepared, had God not directed my steps in the way He has. I am thankful for all of the experiences. And, seeing His guidance in the past and present, I am looking forward even more to what is to come!