Thoughts

Ah, writing!

December 17, 2016

Ah, writing….what a gift it is! It takes you to greater depths of meaningfulness in life. We are forced to think below the surface when taking time to synthesize words into ideas. We must slow down, create, explore, and analyze as it sharpens our senses and gives us a greater understanding of ourselves. 

With writing comes great freedom, responsibility, and imagination. I don’t write enough. But when I do sit down to write, letting the words pour from my heart and fingers, I feel as if a wall were broken down and the jumbledness of my subconsciousness and thoughts is brought to light and understood in a brand new way.

Do write. It’s balm to the soul, even if you’re not a self-proclaimed “writer.” Goodness, I’m not a writer in any grand sense of the word, but let me encourage you to use words to express your thoughts. What do you delight in? Write it down. What baffles you? Write it down. What heightens your senses and makes you keenly aware of the world around you? Write it down…for yourself and for others. You have no idea how by merely sharing what’s on your mind could affect another person for good. Don’t write merely for recognition or acknowledgment from others, but know that it is never a waste of time.

For you, my friend, are a masterpiece of one. You were made uniquely by our Creator with a fresh perspective – a brand new angle that is distinct from all those around you. Only you can view the world exactly as you can….to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel your surroundings as you do. We each have a perception of one. Only you can take those perceptions and use them to capture words into sentences as you choose, creating a work of art – yours alone to share – with those around you.

So there you are! Blank pages are waiting. The canvas is yours to paint! The document is yours to type up! Today is the day. Start with a few sentences of your perception from your day, be it the smallest of details to the overshadowing theme, and let that be your guide.

As I reflect on my life and set new goals for 2017, writing more often is one of them. Let’s embrace the adventure! Will you join me? :)

Thoughts

Now In Flesh Appearing

December 13, 2016

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I might quite possibly have the best job in the world. I get to witness the birth of brand new lives, listen to their tiny hearts, put a first hat on their cone heads, which are often bruised and battered from the tumultuous nature of delivery, wrap them up in soft zippered snuggies and place them in their daddy’s arms for the very first time. Sometimes I get to feed them, change their diapers, and just snuggle them. Ah, sweet baby bliss…

….now before I get all carried away, I promise this ties into what I’m about to write. This Christmas season, when you sing “All Come O Ye Faithful,” remember the part where you sing “now in flesh appearing”? Let’s mull over this for a while. Let me share with you a quote our pastor used in his sermon today by J.I. Packer:      

‘The Word became flesh’ (John 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child.

And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation.

This reality of this truth hits home in a unique way for me as I have the privilege of witnessing one of the greatest miracles and mysteries on earth: the birth of a brand new fresh life. When I think of Jesus appearing in flesh, born as a baby boy, something in me is thrilled to the core. Nearly every week, I watch as babies fight their way into this world, 50 lbs of pressure squeezing their little bodies as they emerge, small and warm and helpless into this cold, harsh world.

How can it be, that our Savior and Creator, the King of ALL, chose to be born of Mary – not bypassing the helplessness and vulnerability of infancy, fully human, yet still fully God!

If you’ve held a baby in your arms, you know you’re holding a something special. There’s something awe-inspiring about a small human who will one day be big like us. Who will he become? What will she look like? What things are in store for this new life? Taking these little bundles in our arms, we are mystified by how small a person can be, that WE were once as tiny as they are, yet how hard to comprehend as we watch them curl an entire fistful of fingers around one of our own. Reminds me of watching first-time daddies put T-shirts on their new son or daughter. How much cloth there is and what tiny hands and even tinier fingers to navigate through the seemingly endless length of sleeve! Babies are tiny. Fragile. Vulnerable to the difficulties of the world around them.

Friends, this was Jesus, too.

Let me encourage you to take a few moments this Christmas to ponder the mystery that Jesus Himself, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, came into this world as an infant.

I am struck by the mystery. Overwhelmed by the reality – OUR reality that Jesus came and because of Him, we are made new. Oh praise His name this Christmas season and rejoice!

Come let us adore him, He who is Christ the LORD!

Homemaking, Thoughts

Fall 2016 Update

November 17, 2016

Good afternoon from the Minneapolis suburbs!

It’s a gray, overcast Minnesotan afternoon and as I sit here in a new little bungalow, the house cleaned and laundry done and caught with a moment of serenity, my mind wanders back to my blog and I think it’s high time I wrote a bit. So pull up chair and brew some tea and let me catch you up on some of the happenings around here.

My last “life update” post included the fact that I was interviewing for a job and not sure what the next months would unfold. Well, guess what? They did indeed unfold and with them, much change and blessing. I accepted a job offer with a hospital in the women’s center, which includes labor and delivery, postpartum, and OB/GYN post-op surgical patients. I oriented for 2 ½ months on day shift with an awesome preceptor, then I switched to nights. It has been an adjustment for sure and I fight brain fog and fatigue on a regular basis. One of the most challenging parts is that I mix up my days and have a hard time keeping track of which day of the week it is, since it changes when I’m at work and I wake up as the day is ending. But overall the switch has not been as difficult as I’d anticipated. I love getting to work with laboring moms, postpartum moms and babies, and with their families. The birth process never grows old or ceases to amaze me. It is different for every woman and getting to be that person to come alongside them and help them during that time is an unspeakable privilege. This job has pushed me in many ways – to think critically, to be able to calmly deal with stressful situations, to communicate effectively with patients and family members, to let my ego crash and burn as I ask basic questions and clarify medications/assessments multiple times in a row. I can sometimes be too hard on myself as I learn and think of a thousand ways I could have done something better, but I am trying to strike that balance and seek to be a learner for life. I never want to stop learning and growing in whatever capacity I find myself in. I have found much support in my co-workers and appreciate everyone I work with. The team as a whole is supportive and encouraging. I am thankful to have my questions answered, as well another nurse to bounce things off of when I don’t feel sure about a particular situation.

As far as my housing goes, God faithfully provided a great situation that seemed to drop in my lap. I’d done a bit of apartment shopping, but nothing too serious yet when I received a message from a friend who knew someone looking for a roommate to share a duplex with. It is spacious and homey, WITH A GARAGE, and 20 min from work and 15 from Minneapolis, both of which I frequent multiple times throughout the week. I was thrilled and we moved in around the beginning of October. We repainted, cleaned, nested, hung up pictures on the wall, bought cheap furniture from Goodwill and Craigslist, etc. It has been quite a process and I quickly learned that I needed to take it one step at a time and not get too overwhelmed by everything I want to do. :) Suddenly, the “home improvement” section of stores takes on a whole new meaning and I’ve learned a lot about homes that I’ve always taken for granted (utilities, air filters, lighting and heating, caulking, hanging pictures). I remember that first grocery haul to start my new little kitchen, cart overflowing with home staples such as eggs, flour, spices, paper towels, dishwashing soap, and pantry items. Since then, I’ve developed a routine for cleaning, meal planning and cooking, laundry, and just keeping up with “homey stuff,” which I find mostly relaxing and enjoyable. I appreciate my roommate and we’ve found each other quite compatible, which is a blessing. My family is about 20 – 25 minutes away and I come for dinner at least once a week. I love going “home” to see them and having them come here as well. It is so good to be back in their lives after living over 500 miles apart for over a year. My brothers have a lot of change ahead of them: Austin is a senior and looking at colleges and Jonathan is a freshman in high school.

So there’s work and housing. The other things I wanted to tell you guys about is church, extra activities, and community. I moved up here with a desire to be purposeful in plugging into a church and getting to know the people around me. Having left a wonderful church in Springfield I attended with my brother, I wanted to have that same spiritual encouragement and support where I was at here. My dad suggested Hope Community Church in Minneapolis, which I visited and appreciated right from the start. The music is incredible (look up Hope Hymns on Spotify if you have it) and the teaching is rich, applicable, and gospel-centered. I am thankful. There are also many other people in my same season of life (college, post-college, young adult), which has been refreshing. As with anything, getting to know people and deepening friendships takes time and patience and certainly does not happen overnight, but I am thankful for the lives that have intersected mine during this time I’ve been here. I’ve been able to plug into a small group, volunteer for child care and hospitality, and be a part of various group activities.

As far as the “extras” go, when I moved up here, I decided to try swing dancing, which is quite popular here in the twin cities area. I have been taking lessons at a studio for several months now (lindy hop, including 6-count, 8-count, and charleston) and LOVE it! I think swing dance is a wonderful, classy, social activity for people of any age and life season. It helps you learn to count rhythm and stay in time with music, learn to follow as a girl and lead as a guy, and it’s a skill that will prove useful in many different scenarios. It’s fun to at least try even if you’re just remotely interested. I have gotten to know many of the people in my class, as well as having a weekly carpool there with several of my friends from church. Definitely a highlight of the week!

I’m also using this time to push myself physically and set new goals. I’ve continued to strength train and do weekly classes at the YMCA, but I also want to look into swimming and skiing this winter. I plan to do at least 2 mud runs (Spartan Sprint and Tough Mudder half) in the spring/summer of 2017, which I’m super pumped about. Burpees and pull ups, here I come, haha. ;) Cooking has been another creative avenue for me. I love taking raw ingredients and making something truly wonderful with them. Is it weird that melting butter and sauteing chopped onions in a cast iron skillet gives me such pleasure!? Little by little, my plan is to invest in good quality kitchen utensils and tools. I want to expand my knowledge of cooking meat beyond that of just chicken and ground beef and learn the art of seasonings and cooking without a recipe. I’ve been very inspired by the book “Bread and Wine” by Shauna Niequist. She puts things so eloquently and her philosophy on hospitality, homemaking, cooking, and life is challenging.

I do plan on getting my Bachelor’s degree in nursing at some point. My plan is to continue working, saving, and wait until sometime next summer/fall after I’ve gained more experience at my job. I will choose a course I can do online while still working. There are many solid options available, so I do plan to revisit school soon. Can I just say, though, that the break has been a-m-a-z-i-n-g and I’m thoroughly enjoying not having to deal with tests, deadlines, studying, papers, research, clinicals, etc.

I turn 21 in a few days. Hard to believe and truly a mystery how time flies so fast and where life takes you. As I was reflecting with a friend a few days ago, this year has been one of trust and change. The Lord has hemmed me in, behind and before, and placed His loving hand upon me. Apart from all this “stuff” I’ve spent time writing about, my identity is fully in Christ. Apart from Him, I am nothing. He has shown me in great love and compassion where my worth lies and that in Him there is fulness of joy to be found. Wherever I am and in whatever I do, God has promised to keep me and sustain me.

So there, my friends, is my life in a nutshell. Before I go, I’ll show you a few pictures and snapshots of my life:

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Our kitchen.

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The dining room area.

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We have a nature center and park with trails about 1/4 mile down the road from us, which I frequent. It helps to make up for living in town now, although I do miss the country and hope very much to live in it again someday.

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My roommate, Kelly. She’s a sweetie. :)

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My bedroom. I’m still in the process of purchasing bedding, haha.

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My very favorite room, which Kelly refers to as “my baby.” I spend much time here and happen to be sitting on that comfy couch right now.

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Tennis date with this handsome guy.

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A scene from my window on my way home from work. It’s rather odd to be finishing my workday as the sun is coming up, but I enjoy getting to see the sunrise.

Until next time, my friends! XOXO