Sunday, August 18, 2013


When you start a countdown or a pie chart or fill in your calendar for the grand total of 487 days or 70 weeks, or 16 months or 1 year and 4 months or whatever, you make it your business to tick off the days.  And I did.  To the chagrin of most of my nursing school classmates.  It was, in it's own way, a life vest for me.  My obsessive counting gave me a way to feel like I was actually accomplishing something, especially on the days I was just so very thankful to have survived. Sometimes making it through the day WAS the accomplishment. But now that 108 days have passed since my pinning day, I cannot believe that it went by so fast! I graduated on May 3rd.  By June 10th I started my first job.  Now I am having to count BACKWARD to keep track of where the time has gone!  Eight years of study, prayer, work, prayer, crying, complaining and more study (with lots of parenting, wifing and familying mixed in there) the final goal has been accomplished. Wearing a big fat RN badge feels pretty darn amazing. There is still so much new. Going to school to earn your RN is very different than actually being one.  In fact, there are days when I wonder just exactly what I DO know. It's good, satisfying work.  My heart still leaps, even in the middle of a terrible shift, at the fact that God has granted me this amazing gift.  I hope that never stops.

What's my next countdown? 47 days until my first medical mission trip to the jungle of Honduras to work alongside my dear friend Erin in Clinica El Arbol de la Vida.

It's a good year.

On the day of my graduation an extraordinary thing happened (as if the day itself wasn't extraordinary enough). While I stood at the podium waiting for my turn to be pinned I stared across the stage at the man without whom I could never have survived RN school (my husband, in case anyone was actually curious who that man may be). Suddenly I heard my nickname shouted from the audience.  Not just any nickname.  One that belongs only to me given by only one person.  While I turned to find the face that matched the voice, a switch took place. As I waved to Dannielane in the audience, blown away that my dear friend flew from Washington to be at my graduation, I turned around to see that my very best girlfriend was standing where my husband had been.  All the way from Honduras!!  She actually got to pin me!  It was, as they say, a dream come true.  God is so generous.  The days that followed were filled with celebrations, family and friends.  The four amigas (Erin, Dannie, Sonia and I) got to spend quality time together doing crazy girlie stuff and just cramming in as much talk/tears/laughter as we could manage in the days allotted.

See what I mean? Extraordinary.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Just a little update...

Only 81 days left.  Total.  That includes weekends and holidays between now and May 3rd.  I can do almost ANYTHING for 12 more weeks.  Except go without peanut butter. I am always thankful when I leave the hospital for the week and haven't experienced anything that makes peanut butter unattractive to me.   But I digress.  

We are busy.  All 5 of us.  It doesn't seem so crazy until we have a moment to breathe and are standing there like "What just happened??" A constant stream of school, work, study, repeat.  Not that I am complaining.  Just like anything, you put one foot in front of the other and git-er-done! But it catches up every now and again.  

This week brought big change in a blink of an eye.  Let me just say that God answered deep, longing prayers  for my family.  He brought home that which was lost and restored a sense of whole again.  The best parts are the ones that took place behind the scenes.  I've said before that it shouldn't be a big fat surprise when God does grand things.  He is after all, God. While praying for the return of that which was lost, I asked that God would place Christians all around and in the way.  In my mind that looked like the obvious things...friends, co-workers, church members.  But that is not at all how it happened.  It was through a stranger that took a shine to the lost one and prayed. I never would have known about this except that the story was shared with me today because their paths crossed while each was on an errand of their own. The two talked and shared current news.  The stranger said that she had been praying every day for some time.  She had been speaking into the life of that which was lost for months and it culminated today in a prayer, right there at the bank, at a time of need.  I love my family so much, every single one.  I am fiercely protective.  To a fault.  When you wrong them, I have to pray REALLY hard for grace.  But when you love on them, especially in a way that matters for eternity, you have won a place in my heart.  For this stranger, I thank my creative, loving and faithful God.  May He bless her socks off and may he raise up others like her to pray for her in whatever way she may need.  And may it start with me. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Now THAT'S what I'm talkin about!

This week was like coming home. I was nervous and hopeful, excited and fearful. The moment I took report from my RN I felt a sense of belonging.  It wasn’t like I had it all down pat or anything but it was a groove.  A feeling that confirmed again THIS is what my heart wants. All throughout the two days I had moments of sheer panic but they were teaching moments.  Honestly, I hope I never stop having those moments when my heart rate sky rockets and I have to stop and remember that these are souls I am tending, not just bodies.  Somebody loves them and they are in my charge. Sobering, but delightful. I walked away from clinicals feeling joy. Even though I had to hold my breath almost every second I was around my very smelly, but sweet, patient.  Even in the face of 6,000,000,000 things to learn and study.  Even though I have an exam on Tuesday looming. Even though I failed my med test. Even though….joy.

Thank you God for this privilege.  All I want to do is praise you. 

" cup overflows" Psalm 23:5

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What care plan...

I am supposed to be working away on one right now.  But I am suddenly distracted and need a minute.

Its a funny thing to realize a dream. On one hand it is pure bliss. I mean, whoa, this is what I have been working for. On the other hand, it is so. so. so. hard. Wait, let me say it different. Its not hard like oh man I can't go on. Its hard like, oh man, my senses are assaulted and I'm exhausted. My life is not my own and I miss my family-even though they are about 50 ft from me in the other room.  As always, God is good.  He has guarded me from the enormity of the situation by allowing me to take in only parts at one time.  In the past 6 months I have started RN school, we have sold our house, uprooted our children from their home and moved to a completely new environment, Chad has planted a church, our oldest has gone away to college (all the way on the other coast), I left my job of 6 years and just yesterday our Emily passed her Driver's Ed class. Now, a permit test and another driver. Yeesh.

Life seems to swirl on about me.

I was reading in Mark 11 today and hearing Jesus tell me, "Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt it in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." So I pray for this faith. I pray that as my little family walks this road of change that Jesus will be our constant companion and best counselor. When the mountain of doubt and fear, discord and exhaustion, anxiety and frustration seems insurmountable I pray that He reminds each of us we have only believe in our hearts that what we ask will come to pass and boldly cast that mountain into the sea.  And I pray that for you too.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One week down, 68 to go...

and I have already learned a valuable lesson.  I can NEVER EVER NEVER practice any patient care on my husband.  While trying to move him from a bed to a chair he proceeded to sniff my hair, grab my fanny and offer to take me home. *sigh* So much for the finer points of safety while ambulating. I almost broke my back avoiding his advances. :)

Hopefully when I do my skills check off tomorrow, I don't have a patient that is quite that friendly. Ha!

I do adore him though.  He is the most incredible support and makes me feel like I can do this for reals. What a rich and undeserved blessing he is to me. And even though it gets said by lots of people about lots of spouses, Chad truly is the best and I am eternally grateful that he is my other half.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Life is full of them, changes.  I don't mind a change or two.  In fact, I elicit change sometimes just to shake things up a bit but only the kind that can be changed back in a matter of a few weeks or even months.  It's the times when the change is permanent that I get a little wound up. By my way of thinking, if I am not controlling how it's happening then it just shouldn't be. Period. But God always works in a way contrary to my ideals.  And his kind of change truly changes me.

This week I am packing my house. There are probably 50 boxes in the garage already (30 of which contain books). Now, I am deciding what things can be lived without for the next week and a half.  That means that the 45 coffee mugs I simply CANNOT part with are now safely tucked away leaving roughly 5 to get us through the next few mornings. The decorative plates with a 1/4" thick layer of grime came down and were carefully wrapped without cleaning them first. Not sure why there was a ceramic eye glasses holder taking up any amount of space in my cabinet but it was there.  That one...Goodwill. For every article I pack it seems there are 10 more.  At times all I can think is, "Oh man, this is just embarrassing! What is my mom going to think when she sees how much junk I have and that I haven't cleaned the grout behind my utensil container since...EVER!?!"

It would be so much easier if things just stayed the same. Though I suppose no one ever grows when they do.

With so much happening out of my control, the temptation is to panic.  But God has so graciously replaced that with peace and even excitement. Taking these huge leaps of faith have been a profound object lesson in trusting God in all things.  And therein lies the blessing. Whenever the enormity of leaving our home of 11 years or the vulnerability of church planting or the sheer terror of starting nursing school - all at the same time - begins to overwhelm, I think of Isaiah 43 and "fear not for my God has redeemed me and I am his. When I pass through the waters he is with me and through the rivers they will not overwhelm me; when I walk through fire I will not be burned and the flame will not consume me. For He is the LORD my God, the Holy one of Israel, my Savior."

Are you walking through a season of change?  Maybe you are having to develop a new normal because of all that is happening in your life right now.  If so, Jesus cares about your weary heart and delights to be your source of strength. Let him lead you to the Rock that is higher than you and take refuge there.

Monday, October 17, 2011

North of Here

A few years ago when the housing market "bubble" was at the point where it was just about to blow, we put our home on the market.  We wanted to move closer to family.  In 6 months we had a grand total of 2 realtors show our house. It was obvious that we were not going anywhere.  Mind you, had we sold our house then we would have had a significant amount of money to put down on another one with quite a bit left to pay off debt, decorate a new place, etc.

To be totally truthful, I never felt free to move.  But I really really REALLY wanted to.  I wanted to be near my sister and my mom.  I wanted to have instant access to my nieces and nephews.  I wanted to be in on the spur of the moment stuff, like coffees and mani pedis. You know, the important stuff! I, I, I, I ay ay ay!

But God knows my heart. He had something better than leaving here right then - this home of 11 years, our church and friends, the kid's schools and their circle of friends.  So we took our house off the market and just settled back in.

Again, I would be a bold faced liar if I tried to pretend that I didn't still want to move "home".

However, I resolved myself to the fact that Chad's call to the pastorate would likely lead us further away, not closer. So instead of stomping my feet I buckled down and prayed for grace to trust in the One who always does what's best for me.  Since God is infinitely more creative and endlessly resourceful it was, at times, really exciting thinking about the possibilities of where, when and how.  Exciting and terrifying. Very often those thoughts consumed me and after a while I was convinced we'd end up in Scotland or even San Diego. Ha!

Since God rarely does things according to my brilliant ideas -ok, never- it was no surprise that Chad and I were each separately approached by different individuals asking us when/if we were going to church plant just north of here. ON THE SAME DAY!

Just north of here??  Really?  Not Stockton or Barstow?

You know, we had this expectation that God would drive a bus through our front door with the name of wherever he had called us emblazoned across the front. He was way more gentle than that. Phew!

So I asked, "yeah Chad, are we? and when?"  He said, "let's start praying". We did. Then we started sharing our hearts with some people we trust and they started praying.  With every step in that direction we have reminded each other that, "the heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." Proverbs 16:9

The biggest step so far, besides actually beginning the study, which we did.- has been putting our house back on the market. And we did that too.  This past Friday.  It's now Monday and we have had 4 offers on our home in less than 72 hours.  My dear friend said it best, "I love that God doesn't believe in half measures!"  And I couldn't agree more. Not only is Chad being called and confirmed in the pastorate but we are actually moving "home".  That's where just north of here is.