Creative Pay it Forward


I’m not the chain letter type, but this year I got sucked right in.  A friend of mine posted this on her facebook and I couldn’t resist:

“Creative Pay it Forward!  The first five people to respond to this post will receive something from me during 2013.  This gift can be anything: something crafty, a book, a homemade treat…whatever it is, it will be a surprise that  hits when the mood strikes!  There will be no warning, it will just be there.  The catch?  The first five responders must post this on their own page and do the same for five of their friends.  You up for it?  Let’s do this!”

So I posted that at 0551 one morning (I know right, why the HELL was I awake?)  By 0752 I had my five:  A girl I don’t TOO well, the wife of a far away Army friend, a former coworker, a friend from high school and…a BOY!  None of these people were necessarily the people I thought would reply and none of them has ever received something from me that was intended solely for them.  

My friend from high school went to college with me too, but we weren’t studying for the same career so we drifted a little.  She has since moved back to our hometown, started studying to be a nurse, and started working at the same hospital as me so we see each other every now and then.  BUT I only like to see her when she’s on her break and she comes to see what’s going on in my neck of the woods.  Otherwise, I see her when my patient needs a STAT EKG…and those shituations ain’t fun for any party involved.  Anyway, she’s almost done with nursing school and she’s going to work in cardiology.  If you’re reading this, congratulations girl!

Now, I have often claimed that I am “emotionally unavailable” and called people dumb when they get all sappy and cry.  In fact, I think I did that when I left Nashville after the bachelorette party.  HA!  But  D says that’s all a big fat lie, and he knows better than to believe that I’m not sensitive.  Truthfully,  I am sentimental, way more than I would dare let on.  So since I’m tapping into my thoughtful side, I was pretty inspired to start my first gift.

Nursing is highly rewarding and insanely stressful.  Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I had done something differently at work.  I mess up the schedule.  I say the wrong things to the wrong people at the wrong time.  I remember at 0300 that I had a 2300 medication to give. I disappoint someone that trusts me to deliver care.  I make mistakes every day, and it literally hurts my feelings.

But I do things right too.  I can be the reassurance you need when you have a “feeling” something is wrong with your patient.  I can stick by your side when you have to troubleshoot something unfamiliar. I have been the hand to hold when you’re scared of what lies ahead in your treatment course.  And I have been the person you shed a tear with if things don’t go the way we all had hoped.  Its up and down all the time and it’s easy to get discouraged.  But every now and then there are bright spots that should be celebrated:

a nomination from your peers for the hard work you thought went unnoticed, 

an “I love you” spoken by your patient when you’ve done something they thought it was impossible,

a promotion you worked hard for,

a visit from a former patient with a full head of hair, a smile, and a sincere “thank you” for your care,

a letter from a patient or their family that names you specifically for something you did right,

a certification you thought you would NEVER achieve,

a box of warm Krispy Kreme doughnuts delivered to you by your boss just because…

please don’t EVEN pretend you wouldn’t be pulled to that polka-dotted box like a moth to the flame

Most of those things are only fondly recalled memories but some of these things you can protect and revisit when the time is right.  When I feel the emotional weight of my job I go straight to this box full of cards, letters, photos, certifications and other mementos.  I can hold these things in my hands, know that they are real, and remind myself that even at my worst, I am NOT a crappy nurse.  It’s a nice thing to have when you need to remember WHY you chose this profession.  I can look at those tangible things and say, “this is why.”  I want my friend to have that too.  I want to remind her that she is valuable and capable even if she doesn’t feel it right at that moment.  I want her to  be able to take the lid off of that box of keepsakes and KNOW she is doing what she is meant to do. SO I went shopping, collected all these supplies, and went to work.


For the top of the lid:  I used my fancy edger cutter to make the strips of paper a little more fun and I also ripped the chevron paper by hand for added texture.  I used Tacky Glue to glue everything down.  I had some of those flower shaped paper punches so I used those and then placed self-adhering pearls in the center.  I took the paper doilies that I got from the baking section of Michael’s to make things look a little shabby chic.  I got the spigot knob from Hobby Lobby; it’s perfect!



For the inside of the lid:  I used all the same papers and materials from the top of the lid.  I also got the fabric flower from Hobby Lobby.  It was intended for hair…but I do what I want.  I also took the opportunity to write my friend a message.




For the outside of the box:  I used a stencil I purchased for another craft ages ago.  I stippled dark blue paint all over using that stencil.  I decided the sides of the lid were too plain, so I made polka dots.


And that’s it!  I gave it to my friend and she loved it.  Apparently she’s been showing it to her friends and they love it too.  If that’s not a win win then I don’t know what is.  Happy crafting my friends, and if you’re feeling squirrely maybe you should Pay it Forward too!


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