Sunday, January 7, 2018

I did this thing called the Year Compass to ring in my 2018. I spent beautiful, difficult time reflecting on 2017 and what I accomplished and where I longed to grow. I settled on a word to frame 2018.


I saw that I can be successful in reaching my goals... but I've also had goals sitting around for years and years and what's stopped me from accomplishing those? When I'm wholehearted, I stop for nothing. This year year is about living life wholeheartedly. And that doesn't mean being perfect or flawless, but it means embracing what I have and working without excuses. It means being messy and brave and vulnerable.

This is one of my favorite ornaments. It stands out on my tree. Sometimes I wish I'd grabbed one for Gert, but I'm okay being the only one with an initial on the tree, for now.

I'm a highly-sensitive, emotional person. Today I was in the midst of an emotionally-charged conversation and the other person offered to change the subject. In that moment, I knew who I was. Wholehearted. I reached down inside myself and thought, "I know what this is. I know pain and I know loss, and I know I am someone who looks into it and doesn't back down. I've done this before and I can do it again."

And while it's not enjoyable to work through these things, there's nothing like knowing who I am and what I am capable of achieving.


I write boring blogs.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I keep telling myself that I need to blog.

I turned 28 which means I perpetually have bags under my eyes. 

But my life mostly consists of going to work, coming home, watching netflix, going to sleep, and going back to work.

I thought my life would consist of more than that since I graduated nursing school, but it doesn't.

I'm used to setting goals and crushing them, especially educational goals. But when it comes to relationships, things don't seem to be so black and white. I don't know how to put in the work to get someone to fall in love with me like I know how to study to get an A in pharmacology.

I tried to tiptoe into dating but I ended up belly flopping and I can't seem to stop treading water and climb out of the pool.

The dating pool feels small. As an educated woman full of insecurities I teeter from telling myself that no one is good enough for me to telling myself to lower my standards, and then to lower them again. If you've followed my blog for some while (which, why would you?), you know that I used to work at Panda Express. When I worked the drive through I used to dream that someone would ask me out as I gave him his food, and we would start dating and it would be so great.

But in 21st century America, I think dating is dead. Certainly asking people out in the traditional sense seems to have disappeared. So I joined a couple dating sites, and I hop on and off of them. After being off for some while, I hopped back on a couple weeks ago. I feel like nothing has changed in my life since the super-serious relationship I was in some 9 years ago. Everything in my life is different but when it comes to dating, I feel the same. I still feel unsure of myself and insecure and willing to change my interests or my plans to fit delicately into someone else's life. And why?

I think I'm so used to being too much or not enough. Too loud, too bossy, too smart, too big, too lazy, too religious. Or not smart enough, not skinny enough, not organized enough, not a good enough Christian.

I've lived alone for so long, and I've been so accustomed to my own routines and habits. It's hard to know how I would jive with someone else and which habits are okay to compromise on and what things truly are enough to decide things probably won't work out.

When it comes to dating do you have a list of musts or mustn'ts?

How Gertrude and I decorate


Sunday, October 29, 2017

As always, I feel like I've completely abandoned this little corner of the universe. Gert and I made it through nursing school and the NCLEX and now I'm plodding right along through my orientation which I should finish sometime this century.

I've caught myself saying it many times but I'm not sure that I've said it on the blog. I am really enjoying my family these days. There were many years that my family wasn't my priority or that I felt really connected, but I've grown and my brothers have grown and these days are fun days.

As we tried to figure out birthday plans, I was saddened at the idea that James and I weren't having a joint birthday party like we'd had growing up (when I did not like sharing parties!). But James sent me a sweet birthday text and Nick took me out for a special breakfast and I spent my birthday with the rest of the fam at dinner and then hanging. When I was little I never knew I was an introvert. In retrospect I probably didn't have enough alone time or emotional intelligence to deal with all my feelings. Now my brothers and I have similar interests and they are some of my best friends. I never thought I'd move back here and I really never thought I'd be happy here. But these days are good days.

Summer Lovin'

Monday, July 31, 2017

It seems as though I've only been writing boring blogs. So here is a summer update.

Wedding season was good to me! I was able to go to Georgia for Emily's wedding.

Isn't she a beautiful bride?? When I was a missionary at Southern, Emily was a nursing student! Then I became a nursing student, and I swear she evangelized me. (Can't you tell I'm no longer adjusted to the South?! Head sweating and everything.)

Jess graciously accepted my request to be my plus one! 

Margaret (on the left) was another one of my students at Southern... after graduation she became a missionary and now she's off to nursing school... sensing a theme here?  No clue why God brought us together to teach us about Jesus and how to love His people through nursing.  

I hadn't seen Margaret in two years! 

Margaret, Helen, and me after breakfast the day after the wedding. 

Margaret and I had a fancy coffee date where she asked about the undertones in the different roasts. She's the ultimate hipster. #goals

Helen in front of her family's new and developing home...  *swoon* 

Besides a Georgia wedding, I hit up a family friend's reception. I may have had a couple too many drinks which can be evidenced by my loud speaking, increased need for selfies, and my determination to stick up for my sister-in-law even when unnecessary. 

All these blurry photos. A few more years until Nick can drink with us! 

Family events remind me of how thankful I am for Brooklynn. 

Love this pic of James and me but it makes me want to trade my glasses for contacts. 

That crazy reception was just the break I needed from studying for my licensing exam.  Between starting a brand new dream job and studying for the biggest test of my life, I was definitely stressed. My parents took me to St. Louis on a Tuesday to take my exam. The exam can be anywhere from 75 to 265 questions and can take up to 6 hours, with the ability to pass or fail at any number. I took 75 questions in just 45 minutes (a typical pace for me) and felt sick to my stomach. 

That night I was able to go to adoration (Jesus not in this picture) and pray. 

Exactly 48 hours after testing I found out that I PASSED!! I literally almost threw up when I read my results, and I wept for thanksgiving and relief. 

My cousin Isaiah and me at his graduation party after we had BOTH passed our NCLEX! We have a lot of RNs in the family, and we are the two newest!

Apparently I did not do much fun in July because I don't have many pictures to show for it. I did switch to working nights, and I got certified in neonatal resuscitation (think advanced CPR for newborns).

My cousin and his wife had a sweet gender reveal and if you look closely you can see that blue paint.

So excited to welcome a little BOY to the family around Thanksgiving!

This weekend some sweet college friends came in from Kansas City to visit! We went to Hannibal and did touristy things, since they weren't very familiar with the area.

Alyson and Ceci are so sweet. Although I am NOT in love with this picture of myself, I love these women, and I want it remembered. 

A stranger seemingly graciously offered to take pictures of us, but they caught me moving my phone out of the way and perhaps attempting a certain hand gesture? Again, not crazy about me but it's the only pic with the four of us! 

Finally, one of my favorite parts of summer. My sweet garden has done well. Handfuls of tomatoes that I quickly gobble and more basil than I know what to do with. Simple joys. 

30430: A Detailed Update

Thursday, July 13, 2017

We're approaching almost three years since I made my "30430" (think 30-4-30) list. I thought I would bore you by going through and detailing successes and fails that I've made since then.

30 Before 30
  • pay off student loans
Now that I've graduated and acquired even more student loans, I'm finally hitting this one with full force. Luckily, I have best friend who gets way too excited about budgets so I'm living like no one else now so I can live like no one else later. 
  • take guitar lessons
I  started taking guitar lessons about a month ago! I'm learning my second song! It has been challenging but practicing helps me grow in discipline. Learning an instrument is growing parts of my brain I don't really use. 
  • graduate college round 2
Miraculously completed, on schedule, in May!
  • master a signature eye shadow look
I got a Naked palette a couple years ago and love it. 
  • get my BMI below 30
Further away from this one every day.
  • fall in love
And this one.
  • make a quilt 
Nope. Hoping to schedule a weekend with my aunt to convince her to teach me things. :) 
  • visit Yellowstone
Budgeted for to complete late next spring/early summer!!
  • go to an Auburn game (ideally with my friend Brittany!)
Was hoping to do this in the fall... we'll see what happens with my work schedule. 
  • become a morning person
I gave up on this because it turns out I like nights so so much better. 
  • run a marathon (I'm crazy. I know.)
Double no. 
  • move back to the South
Still on my wish list! Applied for a couple jobs in the South, but ended up staying in the Midwest (landed my dream job so no complaints!). I feel like it's going to be years before I'm experienced enough to move to new job. We'll see what happens. 
  • have visited at least 30 states (50 States before 50 goal)
Pretty sure this has been accomplished. Although I'd already driven through part of Texas, I loved my trip to El Paso last year. 
  • learn to drive a stick shift
  • be a godmother (again)
Hoping a normal patient will choose me for a best friend.
  • do a 30 day clean eating thing
Did the Whole 30 and I loved how it kicked my butt. Don't worry, I just finished a Mt. Dew slushie. 
  • master Helen's guac recipe
Completed this one a little over two years ago. Still hoping my future husband will someday try my guac and fall in love with me. 
  • learn to make iced coffee
Learned the Pioneer Woman's recipe a couple years ago! Now I go in spurts of drinking coffee or not drinking it entirely. Turns out I actually love energy drinks. The more you know.
  • scuba somewhere cool (ideally with Margaret and Emily)
Hasn't happened yet... 
  • acquire a colony of bees
Not yet, but my brother has bees so maybe he'll teach me everything my heart desires to know. 
  • take my family/brothers to Disney World
I have a feeling this will turn into a trip involving me, one of my brothers, and my sister-in-law
  • visit Maine in the fall with my Mom
maybe next year. 
  • grow a garden and start composting
Yes! Planted 8 tomato plants and 4 basil plants this summer and things are going great. 
  • finish reading the whole Bible
  • build a bookcase or some furniture
My dad and I built a white board that was 4 feet tall and 6 across so I feel good about crossing this one off the list. 
  • learn to change my oil and replace my brakes
Learned both of these. I'm convinced it's more expensive for me to change my own oil. To replace my brakes I would need a lot of fancy tools that I don't have. 
  • be able to do T25 without modifying
  • help someone have a baby (did I mention I'm crazy? #aspiringtobeL&Dnurse
I've seen a total of 18 deliveries since I made this list! I have held a couple legs :)
  • get really good at walking in heels (or find a pair of heels I can really walk in)
Payless wedges this winter for the win! Wore them alll day for a wedding and walked like a champ.
  • register at a parish
I did this a couple years ago but I'm considering switching to a different parish. Who knows. 

SO  it looks like I've achieved 14/30. Not a passing rate, but I have completed a lot!

On Singleness and Openness to Life

Monday, June 19, 2017

I have long been an advocate for life. It has been part of our family's culture. We've celebrated pregnancies and births, planned or unplanned. We've mourned when friends and loved ones haven't got to hold their little ones this side of heaven.

I've been to Washington, D.C., to speak for those who have no voice. My passion for life has permeated my professional decisions, as I felt that working with laboring women may help decrease fear surrounding birth.

But you know what?

It is hard to be open to life

(You probably already knew that).

I recently moved across town. The neighborhood is not one I'd even imagined choosing for myself. But the house and yard is great, and I really do think it is safe. The neighbors are friendly.

BUT GUYS. The kids in the neighborhood challenge me! I never would've thought that about myself. It's been humbling. I can hear kids screaming and playing and yelling, and sometimes (like tonight) singing sweet lyrics from Frozen. Probably challenging my love for quiet and control "LET IT GOO!" Initially when I began hearing these children, I was thankful that they were playing outside and not inside watching nonstop television or video games.

But the Lord has stretched me and challenged me. Am I really open to life? Doesn't that mean across the spectrum? I love the quote attributed (is it true? I'm not sure) to St. Mother Teresa who said, "How can you say there are too many children? That is like saying there is too many flowers..." I always agreed but now I'm realizing that I can't say I want the flowers over in someone else's garden!!

When I was growing up, I lived across the street from five of my cousins. We'd play football and hockey and cops and robbers and other culturally inappropriate games, I'm sure. We'd be sure not to run in our neighbor's yards, but I'm sure the noise level was still high!

Living in a neighborhood as an adult is showing me my frustrations with society... Our focus on independence and individuality. Lack of community. This is a thing.

BUT I'M THE PROBLEM! How many neighbors have I introduced myself to? (zero). How many times do I sit on Facebook and listen to the neighbor kids yell? (usually).

And how often do I think about sharing Jesus with these people, His children?

Delivery and the spiritual life

Friday, May 26, 2017

If you get a cupcake cake and don't blog it, did it really happen?

Today I saw my first delivery at my new job.

Can I just say that it's crazy that I have a job doing this? I don't understand.

I went into the room just as the patient was getting ready to deliver. I'm not sure how long she'd been pushing, but the OB was all set up and the bed was broken down for maximum positioning.

Before the patient started pushing for this final stretch (terrible accidental pun), the doctor said to her, "You are going to be pushing, and you are going to feel so much pressure, and it will make you want to stop and back away from it. This is when you have to push even harder."

And DANG! If that's not a description of the spiritual life, I'm not sure what is. How many times have I felt that "pressure" in some capacity and wielded to it when I was supposed to lean closer to Jesus? How many times have I felt that desire to skip prayer or finish early when I should have pressed on in my commitments?

I wish I could take my own advice and press on deeply in the faith, but small steps are good starts.

Photo spam.

The crew and me at my brother's graduation

My mama who taught me the beauty of birth.

unrelated obligatory nitro coffee pic