Monday, August 14, 2017

Habitat For Humanity Build #7: Reedsburg, Wisconsin

We are back on the construction crew after an eight month hiatus. This time RVentures took us back to familiar stomping grounds ... the Baraboo, Wisconsin area where we did our second Habitat build last year at this time. 

The amazing beauty of ...

and Pewit's Nest Natural Area brought us back for another build.

This time, however, the local affiliate had finished one Habitat home and not yet started on the next. But happily, we were to work once again with "Super Joe", the Habitat construction supervisor on similar homes financed through a USDA rural housing program. Five of these homes are being built down the road in Reedsburg, Wisconsin.

The hope was to give the five future home owners a "boost" and help them enclose their houses before ol' man winter decides to make his cold and snowy appearance once again.

Despite some challenges of working on five houses all in the early stages of construction, six Care-a-Vanner couples came together to raise trusses, sheet and foam two of the houses and raise exterior walls on a third.

When working on a construction build site, there are three important priorities to consider: 

Safety: The #1 priority! Habitat for Humanity volunteers need a knowledge of proper use of ladders, scaffolding, harnesses, power tools and hard hats. I was able to graduate from hammer to the power nailer after passing "Power Tools 101" ... skillfully taught by Doug and the other knowledgeable team members!

AccuracyHabitat for Humanity volunteers need to build homes with straight walls, secure roofs and well insulated rooms to keep the future homeowners safe, dry and warm.

Speed: Habitat for Humanity volunteers come from all aspects of life, therefore, speed in construction is usually the 3rd priority. Construction sites and tools, to amateurs like me, can be new and mysterious. And I have to confess that sometimes there is just too much fun taking place on the sidelines. 

How long does it take these women to sheet and foam a small section of a house? All day ... especially when laughter and side discussions get in the way of finishing the job any faster!

But during a discussion between my husband and another experienced volunteer, Doug presented another priority that is somewhat unique and very important to Habitat for Humanity builds ...


Habitat for Humanity volunteers need to work together to not only build houses, but to also build community.

Community is shown through
dedicated team leaders like
Joe and Cherilyn!

Community is shown through collaboration
of great engineering minds!

Community is shown through the willingness
of volunteers to try something new.
We were happy to work with our good friends,
Joanne and Gary on their first Habitat build.

Community is shown by neighborhood
children sharing their harvest of
beans, broccoli and tomatoes with us!

Community is shown through the teaching
of new skills ... like how to operate
the gas-powered truss lift.

Community is shown through
amazing local volunteers
like Amber ... giving up
her free time to help a friend!

Community is shown through all the
future homeowners who work
not only on their own home, but also
on the homes of their four neighbors!

Community is shown by the future
homeowners both building with us
and preparing us lunch that included

delicious Wisconsin brats!

Community is shown through the
love and hugs of our Care-a-Vanner friends
whom we look forward to working with
again somewhere down the road!

Until next time ... build up the community around you ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Mayo Clinic: The Art of Caring

I have been fortunate to be able spend my career as a nurse working at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. I love taking care of patients who come from all over our country and the world seeking medical help. Hearing the stories of their distant home city, state, and country sparked my interest in travel.

Paul Granlund's
"Constellation Earth"

The relationships that I formed with these patients, family members, and co-workers showed me how we as humans have a special interconnectedness with each other.

I am grateful for the chance to renew these special relationships when we return to Rochester during the summer months. 

The smiles of my co-workers quickly put me at ease as they welcome me back and help me catch up with the most recent changes.

During one shift, my patient commented about all the lovely artwork that adorns the clinic and hospital buildings. Being an artist, he "educated" me on some of his favorite pieces like ...

Dale Chihuly's
blown glass sculptures
dancing from a clinic ceiling

Andy Warhol's
"Endangered Species"
brightening a clinic corridor

Ivan Mestrovic's
"Man and Freedom"
welcoming visitors in search of healing.

My patient's art lesson sparked my interest, so during our time in Rochester, I took my own tour and discovered Mayo Clinic's "Art of Caring" evident in both the art and people that I encountered.

The history of Mayo Clinic begins with a devastating tornado in 1883. When Dr. William Mayo arrived in Rochester to help care for the victims, he solicited the help of Mother Alfred who provided a facility and staff to care for the patients.

The collaboration resulted in the building of St Marys Hospital in 1889. With the help of his sons, Will and Charlie, and a number of other skilled clinicians, the integrated medical practice known as Mayo Clinic was formed in the early 1900s. 

As I found out during the past few weeks, whether I'm with my Francis 5C work family or walking around the medical center campus, Mayo Clinic's "Art of Caring" surrounds me.

The "Art of Caring" is evident ...

the moment you drive up,

or walk the halls.

This "Art of Caring" is reflected in the ...

unique architecture, 

peaceful gardens,

quiet meditation areas,

or the reassuring messages on the walls.

But I found that the "Art of Caring" is also evident in the actions of the people around me ...

like this cute service dog calming a nervous pediatric patient,

or this talented patient filling the atrium with his beautiful music,

or the smile of this cutie who ... for the past four years ... has greeted the patients and families as they arrive on my nursing unit. How, you may ask, does this stuffed drop of blood signify the "Art of Caring"? Well, he is the "trophy" for the winning unit in Mayo's annual Blood Donor Challenge. Through the caring actions of my co-workers, Francis 5C had 101 blood donations to capture first place for the FIFTH YEAR IN A ROW! So happy that he will be there to greet me next summer when RVentures bring us back to Rochester!

Until next time ... Let your "Art of Caring" shine ... and enjoy the adventures in your life!

Time to head east and south ... starting with a Habitat for Humanity build in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Hoping that my "Art of Construction" will shine ... with A LOT of help from Doug!