Monday, August 25

I Love Liz Too


Just a quick note...

I feel so blessed. I have the most amazing friends in the world. I've had so many people call me today/tonight to talk to me and to encourage me. If you were one of them, thank you. It has made a huge difference, and it has helped to settle my nerves. Especially your prayers with me and for me.

I was especially glad to talk to Liz. She was a nurse in Chad last year, and has been one of my good friends for a few years. I called her tonight and asked her a myriad of questions and caught up on life. It was so good to talk to her. Everyone has been a real encouragement to me, but talking to someone who's been there was really helpful.

Best of all, I feel peace. God is so good.

PS Another blessing- I was worried because my nursing license needed to be renewed in November this year, and I wasn't sure if my parents would be able to do it. I went on the website tonight and I was able to renew my license!

Sunday, August 24

I Love Dogs


This morning, I woke up and was absolutely sick to my stomach. I could hardly even force myself to eat some yogurt. I still feel really nauseated, which is a pretty good indicator that I'm getting more nervous.

Dogs are cool. As soon as I walked out of my room, our dog came over to me and started circling my legs and wagging her tail as fast and hard as she could. So I pet her, and picked her up (she's a miniature dachshund). She immediately began trying to give me kisses on my face, which she attempts often. So I pet her for a little while, and then set her down. This usually calms all the wiggles out of her. Not so today. She kept on jumping up on my leg and whining because she wanted me to hold her again, so I picked her up and went through the routine again. We did this about 3 times before she was okay.

It sort of made me feel better to hold and pet the dog. I wonder if she knows that I'm leaving. And I wonder if she could sense that I was upset. She gets really upset whenever I bring a box or a bag out of my room though, because Stephen did that just before he left, and she doesn't like people leaving. In any case, she made me feel a little better.

Ok, back to packing....

Friday, August 22

No Theme, Therefore, No Title


Are you ready for some randomness?

Yesterday I went to the bank to get something notarized. I love my bank. I was talking to the lady who was notarizing my document, and she started asking me questions. When she found out I was a nurse and that I was going to Africa, she became even more friendly (which, I didn't think was possible), and began bragging to the others in the office about me (which was funny, because she had just met me less than five minutes ago). By the end of my visit, all three of the ladies gave me big hugs, and made me promise to come back in 9 months and show them pictures. It was actually kind of nice, because they were telling me how much they appreciated nurses, and they even began to tell me that they thought that God had blessed me with a special gift. It was encouraging.

I kind of like driving. Unless it's in big cities because they terrify me, and I'm absolutely certain that I will get lost within 5 minutes of driving. But I like driving. I had always wanted to learn to drive stick, and a few years ago, I had the opportunity because we got a manual car. It still makes me nervous. I must admit, I've been in one car accident while I was driving, and it was while I was driving stick. It wasn't my fault, but I've been a little bit afraid of it ever since. In fact, I don't think I drove stick again for almost a year. Since Stephen's taking my car, and my parents are taking the van down with him today, I'm stuck with... the manual. Pray for safety

We were just together as a family for the last time for a long while, and I've never wanted less to go to Africa. I'm going to miss my family so much. I just need to remember to leave them in God's hands. They're safer there anyway. More later... I'm late.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kevin and Kanella decided to come to the house, so I'm not late. I'm now waiting on them.

I've been wearing skirts a lot more recently. In Africa, when I'm not wearing scrubs, I have to wear long skirts. This is not a problem for me, because I actually like skirts. I think they're fun. I've learned a few things about skirts in the past two days that I find slightly amusing.
1. When riding in convertibles at high speeds, wind is not your friend no matter how long your skirt is.
2. Piggy back rides don't go so well when skirts are involved, again, no matter how long your skirt is.
3. Getting in and out of cars is more of a challenge.
4. If you walk quickly down any set of stairs, your skirt will flair out, and it's terribly fun. Almost as fun as twirling in a skirt.

Simple things for simple minds? Perhaps.

Wednesday, August 20

Another Wave

For the greater part of this summer, I have been mostly numb. Nothing felt real, and therefore I didn't feel anything, for the most part.

However, there have been random waves of reality that tend to crash over my head. I get caught in the undertow, tumbled around for a bit, and when I break the surface, numbness regains control.

Today another wave hit. Saying good-bye to Matt and Beth-Anne at the airport, it still didn't feel real. But as soon as I got in my car and began to drive away, life was suddenly real again. And it hurt.

Good-byes should be outlawed.

Tuesday, August 19

Still Growing

I was searching for something in my old emails when I came across a chat conversation I had the day before I turned 17. I was painfully reminded of how absolutely ridiculous I was in high school, even in my Senior year. In fact, you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you what I was like back then. Sometimes I look back on the way I used to be, and I wonder how on earth anyone was able to put up with me, much less like me.

That was a little less than five years ago. It makes me wonder where I'll be five years from now and what I'll be like. In some ways, I almost hope that I can look back and think the same thing-- how on earth could I have been so ridiculous. Because then I can see in a tangible way that God's not done with me yet, and He's still helping me to grow. Praise God He's not done with me yet, foolish girl that I am.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Edit: Perhaps I should add something for clarification. I guess I might have sounded a little harsh on myself. It's not that I don't like who I am or who I was. I am quite happy to be me. It's just that when I look back on my past I realize how far I've come, and I hope that in the future I can look back again and see that my distance has more than doubled.

Cherokee

Alright, so this is rather late, but I realized that I haven't posted pictures in a while. Besides, I haven't had the motivation to actually blog about Camp Cherokee, so I figured that a few pictures would be good enough for now. Haha, although, Andrew might be upset with me since I still never blogged about our hikes last summer...

In any case, I'm posting a few pictures from one of my days off this summer. I have some other pictures, but it's not likely that they'll be posted before I leave. And I'm still trying to collect some pictures.

So, these are pictures of our hike to Mt. Colden, which was really exciting for me! Last summer, I did 4 of the high peaks in the Adirondacks: Algonquin, Iroquois, Esther, and Whiteface. I remember standing on the top of Algonquin (second highest peak) and I spotted a mountain that looked amazing. There were these three sheets of rock face coming down the side of it, and they looked sort of like large rock rivers flowing down the side. I asked Andrew which peak it was, and said that was one that I definitely wanted to do. It was Mt. Colden. So when Andrew told me that they were going to do it this summer, I really wanted to go.



Left to Right: Andrew, Shama, Me, Emily (poor Andrew, he always gets stuck with all girls)



Us again


Avalanche Lake


Shama climbing on the rocks


At the top. Note to self: get some shorter friends so I don't look quite as short.

There were some more pictures with prettier views, but I think Emily has those...

Sunday, August 17

Before It's Too Late

Turn your gaze from the moon,
For her beams are bewitching.

Don’t stand beneath the stars,
And watch them sparkle,
Or they might light a gleam in your eyes.

The charms of the night
Are beguiling,
But enchantment never lasts.

So set down your glass,
Don’t drink in the night,

For when you wake,
The spell will be broken.

Friday, August 15

Sermon

Some of you know that I preached a sermon at North River church. Some of you probably didn't know that. In any case, I'm finally getting around to posting something about it.

My sermon was recorded, and I had hoped to get a copy of it to share so that you could hear me preach the sermon rather than read it. Unfortunately, the sermon is slightly stuck on the computer it was recorded to. The computer won't recognize flash drives and won't burn things to a CD. For now, I have given up trying to get an audio copy.

The alternative: post my sermon notes online. If you really care to read my sermon, you may do so here. I will warn you of two things:
1) It is long (this should be a given by now)
2) It is unedited

It's probably better this way; I don't think that public speaking is one of my spiritual gifts.

Wednesday, August 13

Oreo Logic

We have Oreos on our counter. Here's a conversation I just had with my mother:

"Oreos are good for you," I said in jest.

"Of course they are," she replied. "Because 75% of it is vowels, and there are less vowels in the alphabet, and less is more."

"Oh. I was just thinking that Oreos make you happy, and being happy is good for you."

I think I definitely got my logical reasoning skills from my mother.

Tuesday, August 12

Song of Solomon 8:4

My heart is a piece of glass—
Delicate, exquisitely hand-crafted.

I am
All too willing
To place it in your hands.

It’s been held before, this heart of glass,
And it’s been shattered too.
Once smashed on a careless whim,
Once broken by an untimely end.

It’s mended now

(Or mostly so)
The jagged scars can still be seen,
And some shards were never found,
But it is mostly whole.

And now, I am
All too eager
To place it in your hands.

But you could
Break my heart;
It has been done before.

So instead
I’ll place it in my Maker’s hands,
And I will wait on Him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I've placed myself in quite the predicament. You see, I've decided that I don't ever want to initiate anything when it comes to romantic relationships; I want to be pursued. Unfortunately, my desire to be pursued stands a great chance of being ousted by my impatience and my fear of allowing opportunity to pass me by. But God is helping me learn that not all opportunities should be taken.

Like many girls, I'm all too ready and willing to give away my heart. I keep trying to place my heart in God's hands to give to whomever He chooses when the time is right. I keep trying to repeat to myself Song of Solomon 8:4-- "Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires."

This has become one of my daily struggles: to dampen the desire to love and be loved that God has placed in my heart, because it is not time. And to trust that God will fulfill that desire in His time.

It is much easier to say that I trust God than to live my trust in God.

Step Aside, Darcy

So, this is random, but I've pretty much decided that Gilbert Blythe is the number one hero of all times. Forget Mr. Darcy and Captain Wentworth. Gilbert Blythe has them beat hands down.

Why? Because Gil's character really gets love. He understands the sacrificial and selfless nature of love. Beyond that, he pursues with persistence, is honest, and is genuinely sincere. And, he's a big enough man to put aside pride when necessary. There's my brief and somewhat vague account of the virtues of Gilbert Blythe. I have more thoughts on this subject, but won't bore you.

I'm such a hopeless romantic (not in the Wordsworth sense of the word romantic). And yet, still somewhat hopeful, if a little discouraged.

Tuesday, August 5

A Silly Tale

This is a silly tale of how I lost my voice. I recorded it yesterday. If you can imagine, today I have even less of a voice...

But I feel quite a bit better now.


video


Perhaps I should cross reason #4 off my list... With a voice like this, maybe I could sing bass after all :P

Monday, August 4

Worst Enemies

It is 2 o'clock in the morning. I went to sleep a little over 3 hours ago. Why am I blogging now, you ask?

I'm blogging right now, when I wish to be sleeping soundly, because germs are my worst enemy. Evil, invasive little bacteria have made it their personal mission to see to it that I get no sleep. They are quite committed to their mission, and have been successful thus far tonight.

Yesterday, I drank 3 liters of water and two glasses of orange juice. I thought perhaps I could flush the little vermin out of my system, but alas, they persist.

In any case, I am going to attempt to get some more sleep now. I just hope that this time around I can sleep for more than 3 hours... I also hope and pray that I start feeling better. I had to call in to work sick on Sunday, and I'm supposed to work Tuesday and Wednesday...

_______________________________________

Edit: It is now 12:30 am the next day/night. I have a few things to say:

1. At least last night I could sleep for 3 hours at a time. Tonight it has been every hour that I've woken up.

2. Vicks vaporub is pretty cool, except that it leaves an awful waxy film on your skin.

3. It's pretty sad when you don't even have the energy to blow your nose anymore.

4. I think I'm pretty much immune to medicine.

5. You'd think that being a nurse would make me less of a baby about being sick. You would think...

Saturday, August 2

Yet Again...

Yes, I am blogging about work yet again (so if you're tired of hearing about work, read no further)... Recently that seems to be all that's happening in life, so it's a little bit hard to blog about anything else. In fact, I thought about how much I've been working lately and decided to do a little bit of math for curiosity's sake. Here are some figures for you:

On days that I work, I spend 4% of the day in the car, 54% at the hospital, 25% sleeping, and 17% at home awake.

Last week I spent 57% of my days working, which, by hours, is really about 31% of my week (which might not seem like a significant figure, but it sure feels like it).

In any case, I wanted to write specifically about what happened on Friday with work.

Friday morning I woke up feeling sick to my stomach and with a headache. I was highly tempted to call in sick, especially since it would be my 4th day working that week. But it's odd what stopped me from doing so, and I believe it was a God thing, silly as it may seem.

When I woke up, I had been dreaming. I can't recall exactly what happened in my dream, except for this: Something unpleasant had happened, and my last thought as I looked at a piece of paper with some significance was, "This is your opportunity. You can use this to witness for God, to show his goodness and to be a blessing."

With that as my waking thought, I struggled with what to do. I didn't feel good, so it didn't seem likely to me that anything about work could be good, but I couldn't ignore the thought that maybe God had given me that dream as an encouragement that today I could be a blessing.

I decided to take my chances and go to work. Thankfully, I started feeling much better as the day went on, although the headache kept recurring.

I'm so glad that I went to work on Friday; it was the best day I can remember having in a long, long time. There were definitely challenges, but it was one of the first days in a long time that I can remember specifically feeling God's presence with me. Not to mention, I had a lot of the same patients I had had earlier this week, and almost all of them had told me by the end of the day that they were glad to have me as their nurse, and that they appreciated what I'd done. I truly felt like a blessing; I felt like something I had done made more of a difference than just handing out medications, which has been a rare feeling lately.

Beyond having a good day with my patients, I also had a good day with my co-workers. It's funny, a lot of them didn't realize that I was leaving until very recently. On Friday, I got to eat lunch before 3 o'clock in the afternoon, which was nice. I ate with Tabitha and Tisha, and they started asking me all kinds of questions about Africa. It was really fun; I haven't had a chance to really talk to any of my co-workers lately, and I've missed it. I really love the people I work with, and I'll be sad to leave them. They wanted to get my updates while I'm gone, so I'm going to leave my blog address for them. It was really nice to feel like they actually care what happens to me after I leave, especially since I haven't been working with them long, and I'm not exactly the most outgoing, easy-to-befriend person in the world.

Praise God for silly dreams. I now have 3 days left of work, and I don't know what they'll bring, but I hope and pray that whatever happens, I can feel like God is with me.

Thursday, July 31

Life Lessons with Anaya

Today Anaya was looking at my computer. She asked me, "What's that?" while pointing to my memory foam computer case.

"It's a case to protect my computer. That way if it gets dropped, or if I take it somewhere, it will be safe, and it won't get broken."


"You know that's kind of like people," the four or five year old Anaya said gravely. "When they drop their love, they get all filled up with sin."

Saturday, July 26

My List

Reasons I Should Get Married One Day** (in no particular order):

1. Cooking for two is just more fun
2. Talking to myself could get old fast
3. I might need someone to drive me to the hospital if my clumsiness persists
4. I don't sing bass or tenor
5. Houses creak in the night
6. I'm curious to know if I snore
7. How else will I have kids?
8. Playing Bananagrams with myself has become too predictable
9. A human GPS seems like the perfect solution for a directionally challenged girl
10. It's not quite as satisfying to laugh at my own jokes
11. Thomas is not the most interesting name on the face of the planet (No offense to my family...)
12. The position of "Chief of Spider Removal Services" is currently vacant
13. I fix broken people, not broken machines
14. The top cupboards are so very high up
15. I'm tired of winning arguments against myself
16. A wedding ring would deter people from inquiring if I am 12 years old
17. I can have company on my walks, and guys will not stare at me out of their car windows as they pass me by
18. When I've lost my mind, I may need help finding it again (as well as my keys...)
19. Broken down riding mowers are heavy
20. Broken down cars are heavier
21. It is not good for woman to be alone either
22. It's hard to have family meals by myself
23. Peanut butter jars are difficult to open
24. Holding hands works better than mittens

**Disclaimer: The above list is sheerly for entertainment purposes; all reasons listed were included with the intent of making you laugh. Please do not think me so shallow... And please, feel free to add any reasons you might come up with

Thursday, July 24

For the Strong of Stomach

If you care to read about the "unexpected bedside procedure" that was mentioned in a previous post, you can find it here.

But please, don't read it unless you have a weak imagination or a strong stomach. Although, I tried not to be too descriptive.

Wednesday, July 23

More on Work

If you read my "Venting" blog, you know that work wasn't so great on Sunday, and I was feeling maybe a little more than slightly discouraged.

Monday morning when I got up to go to work, I was determined that it would be a new day. I had some really good prayer time in the car on the way to work.

When I got to work, not only did we have a unit clerk, but we also had four nurses and an assistant nurse manager. Yay for not being short-staffed! This meant that I would have five patients instead of six, and they were the same patients I had had on Sunday, which was also nice. I like to get to know my patients, and all of my patients had been good despite having lots of stuff going on.

I guess I'll start with how God answered my prayers. I prayed first of all that I would have a good attitude no matter what, even if I was falling behind. Amazingly, I felt really peaceful all day long and was quite cheery. I also prayed again that I would be able to be a blessing to at least one person. It was really cool how God answered that prayer.

There was one patient I had who was supposed to have a test done where we draw his blood, then give him some medicine and draw his blood again in 30 minutes. It was supposed to have been done on the night shift, but it got missed because for some reason the lab computers still had him listed as being in the ER, despite the fact that he had been on our floor for over 24 hours. What this meant is that all of his lab slips printed out in the ER and not on our floor, so no one ended up drawing his labs. I managed to get the mess straightened out and he was able to be discharged that afternoon. When I was giving him his discharge papers, his wife thanked me for all that I had done and told me that I had been one of the best nurses they've had.

Another of my patients had some of his family around, and his wife and daughter kept asking me a lot of questions. So I got to spend lots of time talking to them. When I was about to leave to give report for the next shift, his wife said to me, "Thank you so much. You've been such a good nurse."

Close to 5 pm I got a new patient that transferred from another hospital. He was such a sweet old man, but he was horribly confused. I asked him if he knew where he was and his response was: "Well of course. I'm just sittin' up here on top of the mountain." I asked him if he knew what year it was and he said, "Yes, well, it's sometime after 7." I clarified that I was wondering if he knew what year it was, not what time it was, and he replied that it was "773." Again, he was pleasantly confused.

His daughter came a bit after he arrived on our floor, and she was a flurried mess. I felt so much for her. She explained that she really didn't trust the people at the other hospital and had been trying to get him transferred to ours for a long time. As I got together his medications and asked her some more questions, I realized that the other hospital had really not taken good care of him at all and things were a mess. She kept saying to me, "Please, you guys fix him. I know you can help him." When I was getting ready to leave, I got to talk to her some more, and she thanked me for everything I had done.

It was just really nice that I had three out of six patients that day who appreciated what I'd done (whether it was big or small) and that took the time to thank me. It was neat that God helped me to feel like I'd made a difference.

Work was still insane. I had five patients to start with. Things went crazy around 4 pm when we had to have an unexpected bedside procedure, and then I got discharge orders on 3 of the 4 patients I had left (one had been discharged earlier in the day), and a new patient came around 5 pm. Unfortunately, none of my discharges were simple, they all had issues that really needed a case manager to work on, but since she had already gone home, the assistant nurse manager worked on doing all of the discharges (apparently we attempted to send half the floor home, I think there was a total of something like 11 discharges on a 21 bed floor). She jokingly said to me, "Kristin, next time I work with you, I'm going to make the case manager stay until you leave."

Anyway, I ended up getting out of work an hour late because I was trying to catch up on charting, and I stayed to help Mitch finish discharging one of the patients. But despite all of that, I felt good. I was exhausted, but I was happy and didn't get frustrated or discouraged.

God is good.

There is one more thing that I'm not sure if I'm going to write more about later. The unexpected bedside procedure. I'm actually kind of worried about what happened, and I just pray that nothing bad happens to my patient. Anyway, I may write about it later. I just don't know. It was more than slightly disconcerting.

Tuesday, July 22

A Note on Fruit Flies

In a recent post, I mentioned that there was a swarm of fruit flies co-inhabiting the Parker's house (mainly the kitchen) with Kelsey and me. I tried the fly swatter and the veggie wash spray, but to no avail. I thought I was out of ideas.

Then Kelsey came home last night. Both of us were exhausted from work and were highly irritated at the flies. Kelsey had a new idea. Forget fly swatters, why try those when you have dish towels? And thus began our violent killing spree. Who would have thought that Kelsey and I would in any life be considered heartless murderers?

After some time of violently thrashing dish towels at cupboards, the sink, the trash can lid, doorframes, walls and the air around us, we had managed to diminish the swarm to a mere horde. It was, I'm sure, a sight to behold. Had anyone happened upon us, I'm positive they would have considered us quite mad.

This morning and afternoon had been much more bearable with the flies, yet their presence was still quite noticeable. I decided to vacuum the living room, and as I was using the cleaning tools to rid the windowsill of cobwebs and other such things, I had a brilliant idea.

Very quietly I sneaked up to the trash can where a gathering of flies was perched contentedly upon the lid. With vacuum cleaner hose in hand, I paused before hitting the power button. Would they scatter at the noise of the vacuum?

I readied myself in a stance of attack, hit the button, and began to suck up as many little fruit flies as I could. I moved throughout the kitchen, scouring it for the rebel bands. Much to my surprise, the little flies did not fly madly about at the noise of the vacuum. From this, I have drawn two possible conclusions:

1. Fruit flies are deaf.
2. Fruit flies are not well acquainted with the rumblings of a vacuum cleaner and thus did not suspect that its roar was sounding their demise.

After my rampage, the kitchen is much more still and less black-speckled. By no means have I completely rid it of all the fruit flies, but I would definitely have to say that the number of fruit flies in the kitchen is quite possibly countable now.

When Kelsey comes home, I shall inform her of my victories and possibly plan another attack at a later hour. The age of the fruit fly soon shall pass.

*Closing note for Thomson: I attempted your stunt with blowing at the flies, but found that at the time there was only one fruit fly buzzing about my face and a small congregation of flies already perched on the edge of my computer screen. It was amusing nonetheless.

----------------------------------------------------

Edit: Kelsey came home and I shared my success. She tried it too. She said it was quite satisfying to suck up the little insects. Then she proceeded to vacuum up cobwebs, pregnant spiders, and other such creatures lurking about the house.

Then she decided to try one more thing.

"Kristin, do you think we could use this on the hornet's nest on the porch?"

"I don't know, Kelsey..."

She tried. The first time, she almost got two of them, but then got scared (understandably so) and we both ran inside the house behind the screen door, abandoning the vacuum cleaner that was still running on the porch.

We decided to try again, and this time I decided I would have her back. If it looked like they were escaping, I would smash them with a broom.

Unfortunately, the hornets clung to their nest for dear life, and Kelsey and I decided to give up. They are safe for another day.

Point of Indecision

My policy was one of silence;
A muteness that sprung from
A fear of rejection.

In silence I waited, and I watched
As opportunities passed me by.

So I broke the chains of speechlessness,
Spoke my mind
And grasped at possibilities

Only to have myself broken
Like the chains that once bound me.

Silence smothered,
But speaking shattered.
Either way I lost.

As I sink into silence once again
I find myself questioning:

Is silence as golden as they say?

------------------------------------


I have much more to post. About work yesterday, my sermon, and camp. Hopefully I'll be able to write soon, but for now, just another poem.

Oh, and lest anyone wonder... This poem has absolutely nothing to do with me preaching my sermon.

Sunday, July 20

Venting

If you do not wish to read something rather negative, please, read no further.

I'm highly irritated. Partially at myself, partially at the swarm of small fruit fly bug things, and partially at work.

I'll start with myself: I am not super nurse. Sad, but true. Maybe one day I will be, but for now, it's a struggle to catch up by the end of the day. And my neck is killing me. I think it's just rather tight from all the stress of today.

There is a medium-sized horde of fruit fly/gnat things buzzing about my head and the kitchen in general. And I'm not sure what to do about it. Before I left Tennessee, there was a small collection of ants that were inhabiting the kitchen. But the reign of the ants has passed and in their place are these annoying flying bugs. They're too small for the fly swatter (I tried already), the veggie wash spray doesn't seem to kill them instantly as it does ants, and I'm all out of ideas.

As for work... Work is stressful. For whatever reason, management has decided that we really don't need all of our staff and they have purposefully been short-staffing our floor. Why? To save money. This is all very noble, but unfortunately, patient care is suffering. Greatly. Having six patients is bad enough, but it makes it worse when we don't have a unit clerk to take orders off the charts, answer the phone, and answer the call light. It also doesn't help when you page doctors 3 times with no response, which actually happened twice today with the same doctor.

But really, I think what frustrates me the most is feeling like I'm just surviving the day. This morning on my way to work, I was praying that God would use me today. That no matter how hard my day was I would be able to have a cheerful attitude and be a blessing to someone. Anyone. There were even a couple of times during the day when I felt myself getting more stressed and upset and I prayed right then for God to help me change my attitude. And He did, but it didn't seem to last very long.

I don't know. I know that God was with me today, and I know He answered my prayers. But somehow, I feel like I was just barely keeping my head above the water today, and I really question how much of a blessing I was to anyone. And that's what irritates me most.

Soon I shall be off to bed to wake up and try again tomorrow. The nice thing is that tomorrow is a new day. Despite the fact that I will have the same patients, it will be a different day.

Saturday, July 19

Tennessee Again

I feel kind of bad. Since I've been back in Tennessee, I've had several people tell me that they're really glad that I'm back. I never know how to respond because I'm not particularly happy to be back.

The exchange generally sounds like this:
Friend: Kristin! I'm so glad that you're back!
Kristin: Yeah... Well. I'm... glad to see you again.

It's not that I'm unhappy to be here. And I'm glad to see my friends that are down here. But Tennessee is definitely not home. And I don't know that it ever will be again.

Anyway, I need to get some sleep. I have to work again tomorrow. Hopefully soon I will post something more interesting and more worth your time to read, but lately I have been rather unmotivated to write. It was a huge struggle for me just to finish writing my sermon late last night.

But more on that later...

Saturday, June 28

Inspiration

You view the world
Through innocent eyes—
Eyes that see
The good in all.

Yet you are blind to
Your own virtue.

You feel for others
With a pure heart;
Your compassion
Moves me.

Yet you are content
With so little love.

You esteem so many,
Yet don’t perceive
The respect
Reflected in my eyes.

So readily inspired,
Unaware the inspiration you provide.

Thursday, June 26

Feeling... Loved?

Just a quick note for amusement:

On my drive home today, I only had two brief strange encounters. And they were not life-threatening.

While driving merrily on my way, I looked at a car I was about to pass and noticed a small child's arm hanging out the window. As I drove up next to them to pass them, the little boy (probably about 6 or 7) in the car stuck almost his entire upper body out the window and started waving frantically at me with a huge grin on his face. So of course, I smiled and waved back. How nice of him.

I made it home at about 1:15 in the morning and had already gotten one of my bags out to take inside. I had to park on the other side of the street from my house, and as I was getting ready to cross the road, I noticed a car coming. So I waited patiently for them to pass. As they passed me by, I heard one of them call out the window, "I love you!"

Hmmm... Well, what else is there to do at 1 AM but call out the window at random people that you love them. That would definitely be my activity of choice.

Tuesday, June 24

Paradox

Sunshine is never so bright
As her smile,
Nor storm cloud as dark
As her eyes—

She lives the extremes.

As open
As a prairie field,
Yet closed
To the world—

A revolving door that never stops.

Bold and confident
In a crowd,
Diffidently silent
Alone.

She is
The harmony and melody at once.

Monday, June 23

Puzzle

With time and concentration,
I put together pieces—
An attempt
To create a picture.

Silent, not distant;
Pensive, genuine, considerate.

With no box top to view,
No direct explanation,
I assemble
An uncertain image.

Shy, not insecure;
Mischievous, clever, candid.

A whole begins to take shape,
But with all my pieces in place,
I’m still left
With mostly empty spaces.

Saturday, June 21

Home Is Where the Heart Is

Three posts in one night is crazy, I know. But I'm not sure when I'll get another chance for a little while and I felt like I needed to unload my thoughts. Although, there are still plenty tossing about in my mind.

Matt and Beth-Anne's wedding was wonderful. Everything was beautiful, things went smoothly, and the ceremony was so special. I don't think there could have been any doubt in anyone's mind that God is at the very core of their marriage and has been through their whole relationship. I love them so much, and I couldn't be happier for them.

I had one of the most awful feelings today. When I got back to Tennessee, I decided to stop by the post office. As I got out of my car and looked around me, I had this horribly indescribable sinking feeling and I sighed. I was back. And it has never felt less like home.

It doesn't really make sense, but I felt more at home up in Pennsylvania this weekend than I feel in Tennessee right now. I know, it sounds ridiculous; I've never been there before, and I was only there for a short while, but I think that being around so many people that I have been missing so much made me feel at home again. And I hated leaving.

Recently, I've been feeling more and more that home is not a place. Sure, I have my home in Virginia where my family is, but to be completely honest, it only feels like home because my family is there. I think that's why we can be homesick for heaven even though we've never been there. Because our home is not in this sin-filled world, but with God-- in His presence. And even though we've never been to heaven, we have been in God's presence. In a limited, not face-to-face kind of way, we can experience God's presence in our lives here, and it makes me want so desperately to be at home with Him and to be able to see him face to face.

I'm beginning to realize that home really is where the heart is. And right now, I feel like my heart is being torn. Within the past year or two, I've come to love my friends and family more deeply than I ever have before, and lately I've felt like I keep leaving little pieces of my heart strewn about as the people I love go their separate ways. I don't know why, but I feel such a sense of loss right now. And I can't help but feel that things will never be the same as everyone parts ways.

A lot of my friends are going to different places around the world. Some will stay where they are, and my family will still be where they are now, but I'm leaving. I can't help but feel that I'm going to be so far from home, not only literally, but also in the sense that I will be far from the ones I love, the ones my heart is with. I know that I'll be coming back, that it's only temporary. But I'm seriously beginning to have some doubts about whether or not I'll be able to handle it.

I know God is calling me. I know that I want to go. But I feel that I'm lacking strength. Please pray for me. I need it.

I Am

Like lightning,
You pierce the sky

Of my soul—


A brilliant flash

To leave me breathless,

Awestruck.


Once again

You’ve proved

Your supremacy—


A split-second revelation

Of authority and

Reassurance.


And as lightning,

You become

Visible to me—


A fleeting tangibility

To remind me that

You Are.

The Great Commission

I think it's been quite a while since I've had as much time to reflect on things as I have the last couple of days. Perhaps that's good and perhaps not. I don't know. Unfortunately, reflection has not made anything clearer. In fact, it may have just further muddied the water. I feel stuck.

Meanwhile, I think all this reflection did help me to overcome some writer's block. I ended up writing three poems and a short thought on the trip back to TN today. So I thought I'd post some of them. I'm still not sure about one of the poems though, so I won't post it just yet. Anyway, here's the thought and the first poem:

When I think about the word commission, my first thoughts are of a command being given—an order, a charge.

Today as I was reading a little bit about the Great Commission and how it is equivalent to our marching orders from Christ, I had a new thought concerning the word commission.

I was writing a poem, and while I was typing the word commission, I noticed something. Have you ever noticed that the word commission looks suspiciously like co-mission? I hadn’t before today.

As I took notice of the striking similarity between the two, I thought that it seemed very fitting to me. By giving us the Great Commission, Christ was inviting us to become a part of his mission, the work that he began in coming to this Earth. He didn’t just give us our marching orders and send us off unaccompanied, he didn’t just command us to go; but like a king who charges out to battle at the front of the lines, he calls us to follow his example and join together with him in a co-mission against the lies and injustice of the Father of Evil.

Promises (The Great Commission)

Kill this temporary flesh,
But see if I don’t
Raise to immortality
In three days.

I will come back
For you, my love.
So spread the news
Through all the world.

But remember this:
Just as Satan’s shackles
Could not hold me in the ground,

Your apathy
Will not keep me
Parted from my Beloved.


I’m still not completely satisfied with this poem. I think there’s a big gap between the first two stanzas, and the second stanza is a little weak. I wanted to show that the Great Commission is an invitation to join Christ’s cause, but that God’s promises are not dependent upon our actions or cooperation. Anyway, I’m still unsure of the whole poem. Suggestions are more than welcome.

Tuesday, June 17

Weddings

Like most of our community of friends, I am EXTREMELY excited that Matt and Beth-Anne's wedding is in just a few short days! I can't wait. And I finally got to talk to Beth-Anne!! That made my day. Not to mention the fact that today I felt like super nurse at work. God is amazing and I really feel that my prayers from this morning before work were answered.

Anyway, I decided that I would post the link to the wedding pictures from my brother's wedding that happened a little over a week ago. I don't actually have any of the pictures yet, but I thought that this way, anyone who cared to see the pictures could. Just a warning: there are literally hundreds of pictures. So, happy browsing for those who care.

Kevin and Kanella's Wedding
Login: KenyonThomas2

Monday, June 16

Even at Shechem

God's amazing. In the very recent past, I'd been rather irritated with myself and my personal failings. I get discouraged when I don't succeed as well as I would like to.

Point in case: yesterday I worked at the hospital. Everyone else had 5 patients, and I was the lucky nurse who ended up with 6. This is not a horrible problem because I have been able to take care of 6 patients before. But yesterday was absolutely insane and there were several times when other nurses had to come to my rescue and do something for me, like give a few medications or hang blood. It was very frustrating to me and I honestly felt like somewhat of a failure as a nurse.

Sometimes I feel like a spiritual failure as well. God, why do I keep getting stuck in the same mud puddles over and over? Sometimes I get discouraged and wonder if I will ever be where God wants me spiritually.

Thankfully, God knows exactly what I need, and this morning's worship was just it. I thought I would share a few quotes* from worship this morning. The things I read this morning really helped me to refocus and encouraged me.

"The hope lies not in the deviations but in the vision, the plan, and the ability to get back on track."

"You cannot stay where you are, and go with God... You cannot follow God and remain in the same place."

"This place (Shechem) where Jacob's family nearly failed is linked with rich spiritual imagery and decision... We can make decisions for God even at Shechem. The place of near failure can be the site of new resolve no matter how off track your family has gone."

"The God of Jacob is preeminently the God of the second chance to the Christian who has failed persistently... even failure can be a stepping stone to new victories. God wastes nothing, not even failure."

*All of these were taken from Wrestling With Angels: In the Grip of Jacob's God by Larry L. Lichtenwalter.

Saturday, June 14

Brave

The scripture reading today was Philippians 1:4-6. Kelsey and I had a really good substantial conversation this afternoon, and I'm afraid it has stirred up my thoughts sort of like a wading foot stirs up mud in still, clear water.

In any case, I started thinking more about Philippians 1:6 and its relation to myself: "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

I wonder if God knew what He was getting Himself into in promising to continue working on me until the day of Christ's coming. That's silly. Of course He did. Man, God's awfully brave.

Friday, June 13

On Our Side

I find it interesting that often the things that we are most afraid of, or the most reluctant to do, end up being some of the biggest blessings. At least, I've found this to be the case for me.

This summer, since I was going to be down in Tennessee, I offered to help with the kids' Sabbath School program at North River. It's something I had wanted to help out with for a long time, but for various reasons, hadn't. Oddly enough, even though I wanted to help with it, I was very hesitant and scared.

What if the kids don't like me? I don't think I can tell the stories as well as others might be able to... God, I don't know about this... what have I gotten myself into?

I don't know why I worry so much, although, God is helping me. Anyway, Sabbath school has turned out to be a big blessing for me. And I can see that God is using me, which makes it even more worthwhile.

A few weeks back, I went up to the Sabbath school room, and there were no kids. At first, I was relieved because it meant that I didn't have to be nervous about anything. Then, Terry walked in the door.

Terry is an 11 or 12 year old girl who has grown up in downtown Chattanooga. She started coming to North River when the church had an Evangelistic Seminar and Kid's Evangelistic Program a little more than a year ago. Most of the kids who came to the meetings were from bad home situations. It was really challenging to work with them because they rarely sat still, frequently got into physical fights with each other, and were just in general a little out of control.

At one point during the Kid's Program last year, there was a lot of debate over whether or not to ban some of the kids from coming back because they just couldn't be controlled and things had gotten a little out of hand. After much prayer, pleading, some re-organization, and a lot of God's help, we were able to finish out the program without banning any of the kids.

Like I said, Terry was one of the kids who first started coming to North River for the Kid's Evangelistic Program. To be completely honest, she was actually one of the worst of the kids behaviorally. She would constantly be hitting others, threatening them, and causing strife.

When she came into the Sabbath school room, she sat down and we talked for a little bit. Then she asked if we could color, and I said, "Sure, why not."

We were coloring and she started talking to me about what was going on in her life. After a few minutes, she looked up at me and said, "It's so nice to have someone who listens to me. I don't really have any friends who listen."

We must have talked for a good half hour. I was able to talk to her about dating, God, and some other life stuff, and it was a really good conversation. We also sang a couple songs while we colored. Then I realized what time it was.

"Do you mind if I tell you the story for this week while we finish coloring?"

"Sure."

The lesson that week was on Elisha making the axehead float and how God blinded the Aramean army and sent His army to protect Elisha and his servant (2 Kings 6). I told her about Elisha's servant being scared because the Aramean army had surrounded the city they were staying in, and how Elisha told him "Don't be afraid... Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." I told her about God opening the servant's eyes so that he saw the armies of God, the chariots of fire, surrounding them with protection. I finished telling the rest of the story- that because the King of Israel listened to Elisha's advice and fed the enemy and set them free, they stopped raiding Israel, and that God has ways to sort out our problems and fight our battles for us that are better than our own solutions.

"Man. I wish God was on my side like that. I wish he would help me fight my battles," she said as she looked up at me from her picture.

I know the Holy Spirit must have helped me out because I didn't know how to respond to that. I haven't often gotten such an open invitation to share about God. I told her that God desperately wants to fight for her, to work things out for her. I told her I knew this because I had seen God fight battles for me; I had seen God work in my life.

"Like when?" she asked.

So I told her a few stories of how God had intervened in my life, mostly recent stories from this summer. Then we prayed together and she went downstairs to the sanctuary while I put away the coloring things.

As I was putting things away, I prayed and thanked God for the amazing opportunity I had just had to share. It was a huge blessing for me. I began to think about Terry and how much she had changed in just one year. She comes to church regularly, doesn't hit or terrorize other kids, and now she's openly stating that she wants God to be on her side. I was truly in awe at the power of God and the Holy Spirit.

You know, Terry was one of the kids that was supposed to be banned from coming back to the meetings. I can't help but think, What if she had been banned? We were willing to give her up as a lost cause because she was too far gone for us to reach. I'm glad that God's arm is never too short, and that He doesn't give up on even the toughest of souls.

I guess Terry's wish was answered even before she asked: God's already on her side.

Thursday, June 12

Oh Me...

I oriented on the orthopedic floor today. It has made me oh so very thankful that I am an employee of the oncology floor. Today was absolutely insane as we discharged 5 patients and had a myriad of other challenges and grumpy people to deal with. In any case, my brain is fried and I have a headache; these two things are quite possibly connected. So as I stood in the kitchen getting ready to move to the living room, I had an interesting exchange of thought with myself out loud while on my way to read my book and my Bible.

"Oh, I still haven't had a chance to call Beth-Anne," I started walking to the dining room en route to the living room.

I turned around for no apparent reason and my eye caught a glimpse of a pen on the counter. "I need a pen!" I started for my room to get a pen (the pen on the counter would not do; I wanted a particular pen so I could mark in my book when I read).

As I walked on, I saw my vitamins in my peripheral vision. "Oh! Vitamins!" I did an immediate 90 degree turn and got my vitamins out.

I think this is the closest to ADD I have been in a long time. Then I said something that amused myself. I looked at Kelsey and said, "Oh dear. Life is short and so is my memory."

Maybe I'll blog more about the ortho floor versus the oncology floor later...

Tuesday, June 10

Surprise!

I can't remember when this happened... It was probably about three weeks ago, but I didn't get around to writing about it until now. This should be yet another of the more amusing posts...

A short while ago, I was taking a French class and working night shifts. This was quite challenging mainly because I never seemed to be able to find a good time to sleep. My general schedule was something like this:

5 pm: Get up and get ready for work
5:45 pm: Leave for work
6:30 pm - 7 am: Work
7:45 am: Get home and take quick power nap
8:15 am: Wake up and get ready for class
8:50 am: Leave for class
9 - 11:30 am: Class
12 pm: Eat
1 pm: Sleep until 5 pm (if I was going to work again that night)
If I wasn't going to work again, I would try to stay up until later that night so I could get back on a day schedule.

As you can see, there wasn't a whole lot of time for sleep. One day, the inevitable happened: my body boycotted my schedule and refused to wake up for my alarm clock. Unfortunately, this meant that I slept through class! I've never done that before...

I woke up at about 12:15 pm, and after getting over the initial shock of sleeping through my entire class, I called Ansley. I explained what happened and asked if there was any way that she could bring me notes from class because we had a test the next day. She agreed and said she would be over at 2 pm.

Still in my scrubs from the night before, I decided to work on some homework and such in the living room. A little bit before 2 o'clock I heard the garage door opening and then the door from the garage into the kitchen opened as well.

That's odd. Ansley doesn't know the combination to the garage. And Kelsey is at work today.

I got up and walked toward the kitchen to see how Ansley had managed to get in. Much to my astonishment there was a guy standing in the kitchen! I was more than slightly startled, especially because I didn't have any idea who he was. I think I may have jumped a little and possibly let a small gasp escape.

The intruder also looked startled.

At this point I would like to say that I was not only startled, but slightly embarrassed. Not only was I wearing my scrubs from the previous night, I was also in my glasses and hadn't brushed my fuzzy morning hair. I comfort myself with the thought that I will most likely never see him again.

"I'm sorry, I didn't know anyone would be here. Dr. Parker left a book here for me," he stumbled through an apology.

"Oh, that's alright. I was just a little surprised. Who are you?"

He went on to explain that he was one of Dr. Parker's theology students and that he had been in South Carolina with the group doing evangelistic seminars. He had come back to see his sister's graduation and Dr. Parker had left a book in the living room for him.

I helped him find the book, and he went on his way. And that is the tale of my surprise visitor. This summer has been full of amusing incidences, and I am sure there are more to come... There will be another one quite soon, although Kelsey has already posted a blog about it. I'm just planning to post my side of the story...

Monday, June 9

Random...

Maybe this will amuse you all as much as it amused me.

Today at work, one of the ladies that works in housekeeping asked me a funny question. I was in the locker room because I had just finished lunch and had just hung up the phone from talking to my mother. She looked at me and said, "Sweetie, do you know that you have black features?"

I laughed. Hard. "You mean my lips?"

This was not the first time that I had gotten a comment like hers. Once in high school at SVA, one of my friends asked me if I was mixed. I laughed at her too.

She went on to tell me that from the first day she saw me working she thought that I had black features and wanted to ask me if I was part black, but she was afraid she would offend me. Not sure why I would be offended... but whatever.

Anyway, it all makes me laugh because I am just about as white as they come.

Meanwhile, I'm a little nervous. I talked to my work supervisor today about the fact that I can't afford to keep living down here if I'm only going to be able to work one shift a week. She said she was going to recommend me to two other floors. One is a med-surg that gets a lot of trauma step-down patients and the other is an orthopedic floor. Both of these intimidate me. I hope I can handle it...

I guess I just need to remind myself that God will get me through. And that He will help me be able to handle it. But it still scares me a little....


*Edit: One of the nurse managers on another floor called me this morning. I get one day of orientation on Thursday and then I'm going to start working some nights. *Sigh* It really kills me to work days and nights. Oh well. God will just have to keep me running, and He's done it plenty of times recently, so I should have nothing to fear.

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." ~Psalm 28:7

Saturday, June 7

Nighttime Adventure

I worked night shifts Tuesday and Wednesday, slept some Thursday morning and began to drive home Thursday evening. I was planning to be home late-- around 1:30 or 2 am. Little did I know what awaited me. I find it ironic that as I was driving, making good time, I thought to myself, Wow, I'm surprised; usually by now I've come across something odd, or something crazy has happened. Because the drive home for me is almost never uneventful...

I was getting off the phone with Emily as I noticed that there was a small host of red brake lights.

Oh, man. It looks like there was an accident.


Sure enough, there was an accident. And it was very recent. I came to a stop and watched as the police cars kept filtering in one at a time with their flashing blue lights. Eventually a fire truck came and parked next to me (I was very near to the accident, there were only about 6 cars in front of me).

I sat there for nearly an hour before a firefighter came to my window and said, "You might want to turn off your car and save some gas. It's gonna be a while."

"Like how long do you think?"

"About 2-3 hours probably."

Oh dear. At the time, I was less worried about the delay this would cause me and more worried about the fact that I'd been needing to use a bathroom for the last hour. Why did I decide that drinking lots of water on a long trip was a good idea?

I got out of the car to assess the situation. I was in the middle lane. On the left, there was a guardrail and a bit of a grassy ditch between I-81 North and I-81 South. On the right side, there was a cement ditch, a fence with barbed wire across the top and tall grass on the other side, and a small service road. There was also a little house across the service road.

I called my mother for some advice because I wasn't so sure about climbing the barbed wire fence (especially since there was a cop car on the other side and I was afraid of getting "talked to"). After talking to her for a while, I decided I'd take my chances.

With purse in tow and special climbing flip flops on, I jumped the ditch and began to climb. My first thought was: If this barbed wire cuts me, they're going to have to take me to the hospital and give me a tetanus shot. Very shortly after this, I thought: I hope there aren't any snakes in the tall grass I'm about to jump into. Not sure why, but for some reason, I really felt a little bit like a criminal as I climbed a barbed wire fence in the middle of the night.

I made it over and crossed the road with no problems (and no snakes or cuts). I ran down the small hill and up to the house. Now, lest you think me completely reckless, I will say something in my defense. I looked around the porch and observed the following things: a porch swing with a quilt on it, potted plants, and a flower bush growing on the trellis. After noting these things, I decided that the house was probably safe and knocked on the door.

No one came, but I noticed lights on at the back of the house. I trekked around the house and just as I began to ascend the stairs of the deck, I found myself face to face with a large dog. Needless to say, I was more than slightly startled. It walked quietly over toward me, as I prayed that it would not bark or bite. I started petting it and went and knocked on the door.

A man and his mother came to the door, looking a little bit scared (it was 10:30 at night after all and there was a stranger pounding on their door), and as I explained my plight and asked if I could use their restroom, the woman said, "Are you alone? You don't have any guns do you?"

"Um, yes. I'm alone, and no, no guns. I just need to use a restroom really badly."

"Do you know how dangerous this is?"

"Yes, but I prayed before I knocked," I said while laughing.

She led me in and let me use the restroom. When I came out, I was talking to her about the accident and I told her about climbing the fence and her dog scaring me. Then she told me, "I was just telling my son that it's a wonder you didn't get bit!"

"Oh. Really?"

Hmm. I guess my angels were working overtime. We parted ways as I thanked her profusely and she gave me multiple admonitions to be careful and lock my doors when I got back to my car.

I walked back across the service road and climbed the fence (nearly ripping my shorts). Unfortunately I hadn't thought about where I was going to land once I got over the fence because the cement ditch was right next to the fence... So as you can probably imagine, my second trip over the fence was not quite as graceful as the first.

When I got back to my car, I locked my doors, laid back my seat, and decided to take a nap. But alas, the flashing blue lights were reflecting on my windshield, especially now that another police car had parked right in front of and to the right of me. I finally managed to sleep for about 30 minutes and very confusedly awoke to the sound of my alarm and a policeman knocking on the passenger side window to tell me that we would be moving again soon.

Thankfully, I made it home by about 4:30 with only one other slightly odd observation. At one point, there was a truck in front of me, and I was quite surprised to realize that there were people staring back at me from the bed of the truck. I guess I've just never seen people riding in the back of a truck on the interstate... I mean, on dirt roads, yes. But on the interstate? Anyway, it was slightly disconcerting because they kept staring back at me.

So there is my nighttime adventure for this trip. I hope you were entertained

Tuesday, June 3

Memories Forgotten

I have really been in the mood to write lately. You couldn't tell by the volume of posts recently, could you? Anyway, I wrote this poem two ways, and I couldn't decide which I liked better. They're the same to begin with, but the endings are different. Anyway, I thought I would post both. And I'm working on, well I have an idea of what I want to do for the second prompt Kayla gave me. So... be looking for that in the future :)

Memories Forgotten

I search the frozen faces
And see smiles of laughter,
Eyes full of joy.

These pictures breathe contentment.

I close my eyes and reminisce,
Thinking back on memories forgotten,
And I smile.

Those were happy times.

Lost in thought, I wonder,
Do my eyes still dance with laughter,
Still convey contentment?

I am still content with life;
Is that the picture I project?


Memories Forgotten (take 2)

I search the frozen faces
And see smiles of laughter,
Eyes full of joy.

These pictures breathe contentment.

I close my eyes and reminisce,
Thinking back on times together,
And I smile.

Those were happy times.

Lost in thought, I wonder
If you still remember that joy,
Still recall those times.

Or are they simply memories forgotten?

Monday, June 2

Bye Bye Birdie

This morning as I was doing my devotions in the living room, I heard a loud thump and looked up just in time to see a bird fall to the ground after flying into the window. I quickly ran outside to see if it was alright.

It was alive and just sitting next to a bush where it had fallen. I reached out to see if it would fly away, but it just sat there silently. I pet it for a bit and then picked it up to take it inside. Did you know that if you look in a bird's mouth you can see its vocal chords? Well, you can. And its little vocal chords were moving, but there were no sounds coming out.

I took it inside and made a little makeshift nest in a box. Then I called my mother. My grandma and my mom both have quite a bit of experience with raising baby birds that have fallen out of their nests (some of you may remember Einstein, who actually turned out to be a female...). In fact, they're raising one right now that they have named CeCe (which is apparently the ugliest baby bird they've ever seen and they're not sure what it is).

Anyway, I called her and asked her opinion on what to do. She wisely told me that it would probably be best to try to drip some water in its mouth and then take it outside and sit with it because it was probably just stunned and would fly away in a few minutes. We talked for a bit longer and then I decided to take her advice. I went to the box to get the little bird out, but when I reached in to pick it up, it chirped and flew away! Inside the house!

It flew all over and each time it ran into a cupboard or wall, I would cringe as I tried to think of how I could help it find its way out. I spent the next 30 minutes or so attempting to catch it or coax it out of one of the doors (I had turned off all the lights and opened every door) without giving it a heart attack. Ironically enough, I didn't catch it until it flew into a window and was momentarily stunned. I took it outside as quickly as possible and it anxiously flew away.

In the aftermath of this exciting event, I saw a very interesting parallel. Countless times, we run into obstacles in life that knock the wind out of us. We sit there stunned as God reaches out to hold us and help us. But once we finally recover from the shock of life gone wrong, we try to fly from the hand that wishes only to help us. We refuse his aid and often hurt ourselves more in the process of trying to find our way.

Got Muscle?

It's times like these that I seriously consider the benefits of weight-lifting on a regular basis.

The first reason is because yesterday at work I had a patient who was well over 400 pounds. It took 3 nurses, a nurse tech, and the transporter to transfer him to a stretcher to go down to x-ray because he couldn't move much by himself. Later on in the day when I walked into his room by myself, his mother said, "He needs to be moved up in bed." I'm afraid I may have given her a look that said "you are absolutely crazy if you think that I can move this man up in bed by myself." I hope I didn't... I tried to tell her with as little irritation as possible that I could try to get some people to help re-situate him. I asked Jessica to come help me, and between the two of us, I think we may have pulled him up a couple of centimeters.

The second reason I've decided that weight-lifting might not be such a bad idea has to do with today's activities. I decided that I was going to mow the lawn. I got out the riding mower and tried to figure out how it worked. You see, my only previous experience with riding mowers is sitting on my grandfather's lap while he mowed the lawn when I was probably about 6 or 7 years old.

However, I learn fast and it's apparently not that difficult to use a riding mower. As I was getting started, I thought "Kelsey just used this the other day. I wonder if there's enough gas." I brushed the thought away and continued mowing. A short while later, the mower shut off. The truly unfortunate thing is that it stopped at the very bottom of the slightly steep hill of the front yard. I attempted to push it in neutral and got about 2 feet before realizing that there was no way on earth that I would be able to push this mower that probably weighs much more than I do up the long steep hill. I went to plan B. I pushed the mower over under a tree and prayed that no one would bother it.

I found the gas can in the shed and much to my dismay, it was empty. I got in the car, took the gas can to the local gas station, drove back and got started again. I was feeling pretty good about life when the mower decided to cut off yet again. Thankfully, I was near the top of the hill this time, but I still had to push the mower up a slight incline. I think I must have pushed it for a good 20-30 minutes before I got it onto some level ground a few yards away to check the oil. Sure enough, I needed to add some oil.

I checked the shed, the garage, and anywhere else I could think to look for some oil, but found none. I grabbed my keys again and headed off to Wal-Mart. When I got back, I added the oil and tried to start it again. No luck. I adjusted the throttle and the choke and tried again. Hurrah! It worked. I finished the lawn, except for a few areas where I was planning to use a weed-eater.

Due to the inadequacies and general ridiculousness of the electric weed-eater, I ended up knocking on the neighbor's door (a landscaper for Southern whom I had not ever met before) and asking for help. He very kindly offered to get a gas weed-eater for me and bring it up. I went back to the house to wait.

After a while, I heard buzzing outside and realized that he was weed-eating for me! I just thought he was going to let me borrow one... Anyway, I thanked him a great number of times and gave him cookies that I had made.

After all that, I feel very satisfied with having mowed the front lawn. However, I ended up with some bruises on my legs from trying to keep the mower from rolling down the front lawn while pushing it, and my arms are slightly sore.

As I said before, it's times like these that I very seriously consider the benefits of weight-lifting. I was feeling slightly weak and helpless. Although, there is an alternative to weight-lifting to solve my problem...

Sunday, June 1

Enchanted

Kayla gave me a prompt to write a poem with a reference to a fairy tale.

Enchanted

The moonlight must have enchanted you,
Because you were captivated.

Your eyes sparkled
With sheer delight
When you looked into mine.

Your laughter danced
With amusement
At the words that I spoke.

The moonlight must have enchanted you,
Because in the morning, the glass slipper didn’t fit.

Prison Walls

Within my walls
I have held many faces
Of haunted men
In dark places.

Their hearts as hollow
As my empty cage
That binds their souls
Full of violent rage.

Through my bars
Shines piercing light
To banish darkness
Of deepest night.

Likewise will Light
Pierce the black
Of their souls
As my confining walls crack.

Thursday, May 29

A Day With Queen Joy



Yesterday, Kelsey and I babysat for our good friends Anh and Vanessa.


This is their darling baby, Reyna Joy, and she is by far one of the sweetest, most laid-back babies in the world.

I love her.


Isn't she darling?


Oh, and for those who don't know, her name (Reyna) means queen. Hence the title of this post.

Wednesday, May 28

Resilience

I recently realized that there was a poem from Creative Writing that I meant to post, but must have forgotten. There's a real story behind it, but I also wrote it with a deeper meaning as well.

Resilience

Deep purple petals
And thick green stems,
A bouquet of fresh tulips
Bright-eyed stands.

Thrust into a pair of hands,
Passed roughly to the next;
The once firm flowers bend,
Their stems have now gone limp.

The purple tulips lie—
Tossed carelessly aside—
Upon the wrought iron table,
And look as though they’ve died.

A loving hand gathers the blooms,
Takes them gently home.
A vase prepared, and water drawn,
The tulips placed inside.

With water fresh to soothe the hurt
The purple petals liven up,
And stems grow strong once more—
The flowers soon revive.

Listerine: Kills 99.9% of Germs! And... Mosquitoes?

I don't know what it is... perhaps it's my blood type (B+). But for whatever reason, mosquitoes seem to have posted a universal notice that I'm good for eating. I say this because it is not unusual for me to get 15 or so mosquito bites in one day, even if no one else with me is getting bitten at all. This makes summer camp all the more interesting.
My dear mother has been extremely concerned about my welfare and the outstanding probabilities that I will get malaria when I travel to Africa. I suppose her fear is not unfounded. In any case, when I told her that I would not be taking the medicine to prevent me from getting malaria (trust me, there are many good reasons), she was a little bit upset. I guess she must have done some research, and this is what she emailed to me one day:


Kristin,
You will be taking some Listerine (no, not Windex) with you to Africa. Read below...
Mom E

Okay...I just received this e-mail and actually read it before I deleted it. I'm glad I did - I think this is worth a try for all of us who are especially sweet and plagued by mosquitoes during the summer months...Here's what the message said:
*******
I was at a deck party awhile back, and the bugs were having a ball biting everyone. A man at the party sprayed the lawn and deck floor with Listerine, and the little demons disappeared.
The next year I filled a 4-ounce spray bottle and used it around my seat
whenever I saw mosquitoes, and Voila! It worked at a picnic where we sprayed the area around the food table, the children's swing area, and the standing water nearby. During the summer, I don't leave home without it.....Pass it on.
------------------
OUR FRIEND'S COMMENTS:
I tried this on my deck and around all of my doors. It works - in fact, it killed them instantly. I bought my bottle from Target and it cost me $1.89. It really doesn't take much, and it was a big bottle, too; so it is not as expensive to use as the can of spray you buy that doesn't last 30 minutes.
So, try this, please. It will last a couple of days. Don't spray directly
on a wood door (like your front door), but spray around the frame. Spray around the window frames, and even inside the dog house.


Listerine anyone? I think I'm going to test this out during my visit to the Adirondacks this summer...

In Case My Unspoken Words Should Find Your Unhearing Ears

This post and the one before it are attempts at writing prompts that a friend posted.

In Case My Unspoken Words Should Find Your Unhearing Ears

I want you to know
I respect you
And the person you’ve become.

I respect you
For the difference
You’ve made in my life.

For the difference
You made
Saved my soul.

You made
Your mark on my life
And helped me grow.

Your mark on my life
Will remain,
A reminder of God’s love.

Unexpected

Unfortunately, this poem is not what I hoped it would be (ironically enough).

Unexpected

I searched for
Sunshine to heal me.
Your rain purged my soul.

I thought I’d welcome
Joy unsurpassable.
Your love sustained me through pain.

I tried to rekindle
Flames turned to ash.
You sent fire from heaven.

I sought You
But in the end,
You found me.

Through the Screen Door

This didn't turn out as I originally intended, but I figured I would post it anyway. Perhaps I'll fix it later. Perhaps not.

Through the Screen Door


I see the world

Through black mesh squares.

Lush green grass beckons

To my stationary feet

Planted on cool, firm linoleum.


I feel the breeze,

Though muffled by the screen.

Carelessly tossed leaves invite

My smoothed hair

To be tousled by the wind.


I hear the birds

As though on distant hills.

Charming notes of harmony tease

My delighted ears—

Accustomed only to empty echoes.


I reach out

To accept the invitation,

Only to touch

A not quite absent shield

That smothers life.

Friday, May 23

If You Were Here

I miss people; hence this post. Here are some things that I would tell you if you were here.

Unfortunately, my already directionally challenged self has recently become more confused. I have now moved temporary homes once again. When school got out, I moved in with a friend for about 2 weeks, and every time I came to the intersection where I used to turn left to go to Southern Village, I would have the overwhelming urge to turn. This makes perfect sense as it was the direction I went for 10 months to go "home." However, my friend's house was most definitely not down the same road.
Just this week, I moved again. I am planning to stay here in this house for the rest of the summer, except during my planned escapades up north. Funny thing is, it's down the same road I used to turn on to go to Southern Village. So now, I'm all mixed up again; I had just gotten used to not turning left at the intersection, and now I must if I plan to get "home." I hate moving.

On my recent visit to Dairy Queen with my friends, I found a sign on a door that I think is highly amusing. Perhaps it's because I'm vegetarian. Usually doors that are meant for employees only say "Employees Only," or something to that effect. Not so at the local DQ. What does it say? "Grillers and Staff Only." Life amuses me.

Today I went shopping. Currently I hate shopping as well as moving. Clarification: I like shopping if I don't have to get something specific, but if there's something that I need to get, I generally cannot find it. Anyway, moving on.
I had taken my water bottle with me on my shopping errands, but I left it in the car while I was in the stores. When I was finally finished shopping (not because I had found what I needed, but because I had run out of time and stores), I realized how very thirsty I was and took a drink. It's finally beginning to get hot down here, but I was still quite shocked at how hot my water was! So as I was driving home, I thought of a wonderful idea that I want to try. I thought to myself, you know, this water is just about the same temperature as hot apple cider when it has cooled enough to drink. I wonder if I keep a packet of hot apple cider mix in my car and leave my water bottle in the car, could I possibly make hot apple cider without ever having to heat up the water myself? Not that this plan would be any faster or easier than simply microwaving some water, but I just wonder if I could... Perhaps I'll see if I can dig up some mix.

Well, those are some of the random happenings and thoughts of my daily life at present. Wish you were here for me to tell, but for now...

Ice Cream Date

On Thursday night I went on an ice cream date with Kelly and Lorrie, and we met up with Kelly's sister, Missy. It was really fun, and we had some great conversations about life and hand sanitizer. Yes, hand sanitizer. Among other things.

In any case, it was great. On the ride back, Kelly, Lorrie, and I were talking about a host of things and somehow got onto the subject of feminism.

Apparently we all share a very similar view about the whole feminist movement, and I would just like to quote Lorrie because I found something that she said to be highly amusing. Here is my direct quote (with permission):

"I just wanna go churn some butter and have some kids."

Monday, May 19

Love Hurts

*Warning: this is an excessively long post. If you intend to read it, best set aside a chunk of time.*

It’s funny how when we allow ourselves to question God, He starts providing answers. Maybe there are tons of things He wants to show us, and He’s only waiting for us to start searching.


There’s something that I’ve been struggling with for the past two years. How can a God of infinite, unfathomable love
intentionally lead people into painful situations, and how can we honestly say and believe that He does it for our ultimate good? I’ve had a lot of painful growing experiences in my walk with God, and every time they happen, I try to satisfy myself by reminding myself that God knows what is best for me, and He loves me; He would never do anything to hurt me. But how do we reconcile those two pictures? How can we put together the God who would take my place to keep me from death with the God who led the Israelites into captivity and desert places? I’ve often wondered, “If God can do anything, couldn’t He have found a way to grow me in a way that is not so painful?”

For a long time, I had confined these questions to the recesses of my mind. Somehow I would always come up with a feeble attempt at an answer to satisfy myself enough to keep trusting God, but there was always a lingering uncertainty. Recently, the questions have forced themselves forward again and demanded an answer once and for all. And wonder of all wonders, God has been bombarding me with what I believe to be answers that will truly satisfy my questioning soul.


I was mulling over my questions this past Sabbath, when a song that I haven’t listened to in ages popped into my head. Relient K sings a song called “Let It All Out,” and the lyrics are relevant to this topic—especially the chorus:

And You said, I know that this will hurt
But if I don’t break your heart,

Then things will just get worse.

When the burden seems too much to bear,

Remember, the end will justify the pain it took to get us there.


I continued to listen to the sermon while attempting to wrestle my thoughts away. The pastor was preaching on the Holy Spirit, and he was just beginning to talk about Jesus’ words to his disciples about leaving them. Here are some things that really hit me hard:


“But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” [John 16:7] My first thought when I heard this was,
“It must have been painful for Jesus to have to leave behind all the ones he loved most dearly. And he must have known how much it would hurt them to have him leave.” But Jesus went to the Father anyway; despite the pain it would cause the disciples, He knew it was the only way for humanity to have a closer connection with God. How, you ask?

Listen to what Ellen White has to say in Desire of Ages:

“The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore
it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.” [DA 669.2, emphasis supplied]

Then, in John 14:18, Jesus says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Even though Jesus was leaving the disciples and he knew that it would cause them pain, he left them with a promise of hope and love. God never abandons, even in the painful hours.


Saturday’s sermon gave me some food for thought. But God was not done with me. I had another thought that came out of the blue. I was thinking about times in my life when I really felt that God was leading me, and it seemed like He led me right into a brier patch. Immediately, I thought of times when God led people in the Bible. My first thought was,
“God led Jesus to Gethsemane.” Ouch. What a thought. God led his one and only Son, a part of Himself, into the darkest, most excruciating hour of history. How could a God of love do that? Because He is the God of love.

God led Paul to Jerusalem. God led the Israelites to the desert. God led Joseph to abandonment and slavery in Egypt. God led John the Baptist to his ministry and death. God led Jesus, like a lamb to the slaughter, to Golgotha. Each of these and many others were
led by God into painful situations. Why? Because God is willing to play out this Great Controversy, to put Himself and the ones He loves through heart-wrenching agony so that we can experience a oneness with God beyond our comprehension.
But why does He have to lead us through the painful places to get there? Why can’t He find another way?

There’s a verse in Hosea that revisits my thoughts at random. It’s Hosea 2:14 where the Lord says, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.” I’ve always thought that this verse seemed slightly paradoxical to me. Generally, the words “allure” and “desert” don’t exactly seem to be adjacent puzzle pieces. Why does God have to have to lead Israel to a desert to woo her? Because Israel chose to be self-sufficient. God had to take Israel to a place of famine and drought to teach her dependence on Him and to ultimately make the connection with Him stronger. Here’s another thought that hadn’t occurred to me before: When God’s loved ones (all of us) hurt, He hurts too. Then the implication of this desert calling is that God loved Israel so much that He was willing to put Israel, and therefore Himself, through the agony of painful famine.


The final spiritual blow for me came today when I began to read a book that I bought on a divinely appointed whim. I was in the ABC and found a book on sale that looked somewhat interesting. I bought it, and began to read it today. It’s called “Wrestling with Angels: In the Grip of Jacob’s God” by Larry L. Lichtenwalter.


In the introduction, Lichtenwalter talks about how Jacob lived a life of wrestling matches—against his brother, against his uncle Laban, and eventually against God Himself. He says it better than I can:


“Ultimately, Jacob is the story of the conquest of self . . . Interestingly, with God, when we lose, we win. Hosea tells us Jacob beat God. In spite of the limp and the surrender, he won! When Jacob surrendered and God
threw him, he won. Jacob took the gold because God took the heart. Whenever we give in to the grip of Jacob’s God we too, will win . . . When through life’s inner struggles and painful turns you find yourself in the grip of Jacob’s God, may you too no longer wrestle.”

Jacob may have won, but don’t think that he didn’t come out with some painful battle scars; Jacob retained his limp throughout the rest of his life. Sometimes, maybe even oftentimes, our walk with God and our growth in Him is painful, and we retain the scars of those painful encounters.


I think that part of the reason God sometimes has to take us through painful paths and dry deserts is because in order to win our hearts, He has to break our selves. Note the word “break.” Breaking hurts. But that only accounts for some painful situations. What about the times when we are willingly following God, holding His hand all the way, and we still end up in the brier patch? Well, I guess I still don’t have the answer to that. All I can do is point back to some of the examples I mentioned before. God is willing to do whatever it takes; He is willing to put Himself and each of the ones He loves through whatever pain is necessary to reach the end goal of love and unity with Him. But I would be willing to bet that God doesn’t ever needlessly put us through pain, because it hurts Him so badly to see His loved ones suffer.


“Remember, the end will justify the pain it took to get us there.”