Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Tree at Rockefellar Plaza!
John and I at top of the rock

pretty cartier store
me in central park/wolman rink in the background
beautiful central park
me being the statue of liberty :)
sisser and i at tiffany and co
firemans uniform at st pauls chapel across from ground zero
st pauls chapel across from ground zero...this is a beautiful church
It was a great great weekend, the city was beautiful!










Monday, December 6, 2010

Sweet Sister...

Today is my sweet sister's, who I affectionately refer to as 'sisser', birthday. In her world, it is her 6th anniversary of her 21st birthday (aka...her 27th birthday!). I love my sister. She is my best friend, she gets me in a way that no other person gets. Too bad she lives 3ish hours away from me and I can't see her that often! Today, I hope that she has the absolute best day possible. I cannot wait to see her this weekend when we venture to NYC together! A cosmo or two will be had in celebration :) Don't you worry.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

its all part of the experience, honey....

I love the movie Christmas Vacation, and prior to leaving to go up to the mountains to get our christmas tree I thought about the line when the Griswalds have found that perfect tree and are standing there marveling at it in the snow, the mom looks at Clark and says "Audrey's frozen from the waist down, Clark." to which Clark Griswald replys "...its all part of the experience, honey."

Last year the hubs and I made the trip to the Biltmore Estate a couple weeks before Christmas for our something memorable to do as our first holiday season as a married couple. They were calling for snow, but it wasn't supposed to start until way later in the day so we figured we could get up there and back before the roads got too bad. Well...we went, we saw, and we conquered. and what took 1.5 hours to get to, took nearly 7 hours and a closed Interstate 40 to get back home.

This year we set out to get the perfect christmas tree ever, and yet again they were calling for "FLURRIES"...nothing that would stick to the ground. So we figured, okay we can do this...we'll be back before the roads get bad. So we followed my mother in law, neice, brother in law and sister in law up the mountain to the tree farm....Here are some pictures of our adventure....



Everyone setting out to find the trees...notice the flurries that aren't sticking to the ground...




Sweet Neice...love her :)



Us with our Christmas Tree- :)

Hubster hard at work finding a tree for my sister in law (his sister)...notice the flurries that still aren't sticking and getting heavier and heavier.... At this point hubs keeps saying "We've got to GO..." I think he was having Biltmore trip flashbacks...
Me and sweet neice...she doesn't look at cameras.


Sister in law, Neicey, and Brother in law finally found their perfect tree and snapped the annual photo.


Just flurries still....right? Not sticking at all...right? Right.
Wrapping up the tree...we had to get goin!
The scene as we were pulling out....beautiful! But the roads were bad, and we definitly left at a good time. Now back to my original Griswald reference....I think I've just come to realize, that all of our little adventures never quite go as planned...and that's quite alright. Because, its all part of the experience, honey. :) And they are some of the sweetest memories I will have. Hope you and yours are as blessed this season as I am to have those unplanned experiences that make life so much better.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Gratitude 115-130

Wrapping up Thanksgiving, I figured it was time for a gratitude post...or a thankful post. In a season that brings so much joy and love I feel its more than ever necessary to reflect on the blessings that we're given each and everyday.


115. shutterfly- I know I've said it before but this little website rocks my world...and it makes me so excited to put together a christmas card to send out to all our friends and family this year.

116. Celebrating our second holiday season as Mr and Mrs. This year I really felt MARRIED. like we were settled into our new roles and life was grand.

117. Our season of unemployment being overwith- the holidays were really hard last year knowing we only had one income- and this year I realize what a blessing it is to have two.

118. Josie- she has brought so much joy to our lives. I cannot imagine what it is like to love a child, because I am filled with so much love for this puppy. We recently found a small tumor on her neck- and had it removed, so please pray that it is not cancer, as I wouldn't know what would happen to our family if we lost our sweet girl too soon.

119. Good food- man I love enjoying thanksgiving meals- it is just COMFORT. at its best.

120. Making my home cozy- I love to decorate, and especially at the holidays making it warm, cozy and inviting during an NC christmas.

121. Christmas lights- seriously, why can't I leave them up all year?

122. My grandmother's handmade crochet snowflake ornaments- they, to me, are a family heirloom- and I am so proud to put them on my tree each year.

123. My patients at the hospital- for reminding me what a blessing it is that I get to spend the holidays at home instead of in a hospital bed.

124. Good books.

125. Good movies

126. NYC at Christmas- and our first trip in a little less than two weeks!!

127. NC Christmas Tree Farms- they are BEAUTIFUL.

128. my health- The hubs and I have been under the weather for the past couple weeks (first him, now me) and man- I am grateful that I have good health 99% of the year-

129. Christmas Songs...in particular my favorites O Holy Night and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

130. Christmas movies on tv....no better way to spend a day off than cuddled on the couch watching movies!

Thats all for now...as always its not a full list, but just some off the top of my head. What are you grateful for this holiday season??



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Hedge of His Love

Its funny...I've always enjoyed the changing of the seasons...I love winter to spring when flowers bloom and everything turns green. I love spring to summer and the trips to the beach, feeling sand in my toes, and the fourth of July. I love summer to fall...coziness, warmth, and the start of the holiday season, and fall to winter- the christmas season, decorations, and the start of the new year. As much as I enjoy the changing seasons, the changing seasons of life are often much more difficult to go through, and I don't enjoy that kind of change.

Lately I've felt restless- like I'm ready to settle, have a home, and finally have some peace about the current season that the Lord has me in (or has had me in for the past year and a half). I'm ready for fellowship, a home church, a hometown, connections and that comfort of knowing "this is where I belong." For a year and a half my life has revolved around work. We haven't lived anywhere long enough to truly establish ourselves as "residents" and that is so very hard. I don't really even know what to say when people ask "where are you from?" because I don't have a place that resonates as yes...that is my home.

I was encouraged by this post on girltalkblog.com about the seasons of our God- and trusting that He's still completely working in every detail of my life.


God of Our Seasons

Scripture provides ample evidence that God sets the boundaries for each season. God determines when one closes and a new one begins. He is in complete charge and sovereignly rules over every season of our lives. And his purpose for our lives in each season ultimately cannot be frustrated.

Proverbs 16:9 declares, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

Nebuchadnezzar said about God, “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Dan. 4;35).

The prophet Jeremiah professed, “ I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not man who walks to direct his steps.” (Jer. 10:23).

All too often, we arrogantly think we are in charge. We imagine that we’re planning and deciding our life’s course. Who are we kidding? We need to humble ourselves and acknowledge, “God you are in charge. And I humbly accept your plan for the changing seasons of my life.”

We can trust this God who is in charge because we know his purposes are always directed for his glory and our good (Rom 8:28). As author Elisabeth Elliot insists, “
Everything that happens to you has come through the hedge of His love.”

What comfort and rest this brings to our hearts!

As we seek to make the best use of time in every season, we can be confident that God’s divine wisdom and perfect love direct his purposes in our lives.

I hope you're as encouraged as I was by reading this and knowing He's the God of Our Seasons- and we simply need to enjoy the ride, trusting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

a shutterfly christmas

Last year was my first year as a married lady, which meant it was my first christmas to send out christmas cards! I love shutterfly, they've made my life so much easier to print wedding pictures, and to document all the memories that the hubs and I have had since our wedding day. So shutterfly was where I turned when it came time to create the perfect Christmas card. Here is my card from last year:


I couldn't upload the version with our pictures in it...but thats the template I used- and loved.



This year I'm loving these styles- I just need the perfect picture of our little family to put in it!






You can find your own shutterfly christmas card here:
http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-cards

Your own personal gift tags here:http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-gift-tags

And lastly- make your own canvas wall art!
http://www.shutterfly.com/home-decor/canvas-wall-art


To make your Christmas just a little brighter- Shutterfly is offering this great deal for bloggers- Just click the link and follow instructions on how to get your free holiday cards- what a deal!Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly, http://bit.ly/sfly2010

Now if this doesn't put you in the Christmas spirit- you must be scrooge.

Happy Shutterfly-ing!

Gratitude 98-114

Its been a while since I've sat down and made a gratitude list...which is sad- because there is SO much to be grateful for, especially with the upcoming holiday season.

98. A new friend- because God knows I needed it.
99. The wedding of Lindsay and Jeremy, even though we weren't able to attend I am so excited for these two to share in the goodness of marriage- and I hope they are as happy as John and I have been.
100. Pumpkins, cozy blankets, all things fall (see previous post for the specific list.)
101. dalmations- not, I just couldn't resist putting that with this number.
102. Planning a weekend getaway to NYC with the hubs, my sister, and her bf. Christmas in NYC- yes please :)
103. Hearing the sweet voice of my first YL leader, Mary, for the first time in probably 5 years.
104. Planning a reunion with said YL leader before she up and moves to CHINA!
105. Being reminded of how blessed I am to have her in my life, and all that she has taught me about what a woman of Christ looks like over the past 8ish years.
106. Using the doppler/ultrasound machine to look at a coworkers 16 week old baby- amazing. AMAZING.
107. a day trip to the mountains with john
108. music- kind of generic, but I really have always loved music and that I can enjoy it.
109. cuddling with my puppy in the mornings when John leaves for work
110. open doors
111. hope
112. emily giffin- just started reading her books and love them.
113. netflix...
114. having my family around me for homecoming at ECU- a family of pirate alum!
115. ikea
116. and lastly...for now, enjoying my cup of coffee curled up on the couch watching the today show- probably my favorite way to start my day (on my days off.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Well the truth of the matter is that in roughly six months, I will be in Kolkata, India. I won't lie, I don't think it has truly sunken in the magnitude of the trip I'm about to take. I haven't taken time to just let it wash over me and let the Lord prepare me for this- as bad as that sounds. I've been so distracted by other things around me and my own concerns and life issues that I've neglected the way the Lord will be working in me over the next 6 months.

Sadly, the one thing I HAVE focused on is the financial aspect of this experience. I'm terrifed of the money this will take. I'm terrified that I won't have it, that John and I cannot afford it, or that because of it we are taking a chunk out of our paycheck that we cannot afford to. In my heart I'm perfectly aware that my God that has called me to GO, will be the same precious God that will be my PROVISION.

So let me get down to the heart of the matter- my fears of going to India, that are completely overtaking the excitement.
1. I'm terrified of the money obviously- 2500 dollars is a MASSIVE amount of money to a newly married couple that is trying as hard as we can to be smart with our money and invest and save to hopefully own a home one day.
2. Traveling- it is by far the farthest I've traveled. a full day of traveling, a 12 hr flight- I'm not sure if I can handle it. I've been to Paris/London when I was in middle school and vaguely remember how an 8 hr flight was torture....well...Paris is JUST MY LAYOVER!
3. Getting someone to switch weekends at work with me so that I can go....
4. Language barriers- when I was in high school, I traveled to Mexico several times and was fearless- I would speak my broken spanish like I knew exactly what I was saying and doing. Now, I find that my hispanic patients make me frustrated and I cannot communicate with them at all despite the FEW words I still remember. How will I manage in a country that I don't know a single word of their language?
5. Leaving John for 10 days with no phone contact...that thought terrifies me, will I be homesick? Will we be okay? Only the Lord will give us the strength to get thru those 10 days apart....
6. Health Saftey- will I get sick from the food...and be miserable the whole time.
7. General Saftey- is the country safe? will we be protected?


Thats just off the top of my head....and the more I think on them the more I realize how silly they are. My God is in perfect control and is working in every detail of this trip...why would I worry??

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, " Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." "
Ah, Sovereign Lord, I said, I do not know how to speak, I am only a child.
But the Lord said to me, "Do not say I am only a child, you must go to veryone I send to you and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, " declares the Lord. - Jeremiah 1: 4-7
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why for Christ's sake, I delight in my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
Hebrews 11:40- God had planned something better for us, so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gratitude 84-97

84. hearing the story of a woman who survived the earthquake in haiti.
85. Josie in her new lifejacket
86. going on walks after dinner with john and josie
87. a weekend at carolina beach to celebrate my dad's birthday
88. britts donut shop
89. craig woolard band- yay for live beach music
90. wandering wilmington with my hubby
91. sitting at dockside watching the boats go past
92. a great day with my husband
93. the book "Coaching Third" by Bethany Bradsher- great story of an amazing coach and man
94. Habitat for Humanity
95. Football- and that fall is almost here
96. cute photo albums for really cheap
97. a catch up phone call with my sweet friend Adrienne
98. leaning on the promises.
99. learning to be content.
100. still learning patience.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

For the past few weeks, since I paid the deposit to go to India, I will be honest- I've been scared. I spend my 45 minute car ride to work mulling over if I have made the right decision, if it is truly what the Lord wants for me....I've been praying saying 'Please, give me a clear answer, tell me I'm doing the right thing' and I haven't gotten any sort of response (that I've been willing to see) until today.



Today John and I went to my parents church in Mooresville, to hear a special speaker. The speaker is the pastors wife at Providence UMC in charlotte. She was in Haiti when the earthquake hit, and survived. The earthquake in Haiti hit on my birthday, so while I was celebrating the big 23 she was fighting for her life, and for her family to get back safely to them. She had the whole place in tears, moved by her story of courage and fear, and ultimate faith. Being so brave to say 'If this is Your Will Lord, let it be' when she felt she surely wouldn't survive. She ended her story by saying if the Lord is calling, just say YES. and Go. and for once, in all of my fence sitting- I felt a pull to 'yes...go.'



After the service I introduced myself to the missions minister at the church who is helping lead the team to India, and I was so moved- she informed me, that when they found out I was a nurse- it opened doors for them to consider healthcare missionwork while we are there- PRAISE!

So I'm praying that this journey continues to fall into place and that I continue to grow and learn and trust most of all that the Lord has prepared the way.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Well, its pretty much almost official. March 6-14, 2011, I will be in Kolkata, India. Home of Mother Teresa. Home of where she worked, prayed, and loved on the people of India. Home of her orphanages, infirmaries, and schools. Home of a church that my team will be going to serve and work alongside through Compassion International. Can I tell you how excited, nervous, scared, and completely shocked right now? Missions are something that are a huge part of my heart, and for the past few years I have been a little out of touch with- not for lack of trying, but due to life's changes it wasn't a priority and wasn't my immediate focus. I really felt like over the past few months God was saying 'Katie- its time again....' And so here came my open door- India.
Now I'm excited about it don't get me wrong but I'm also a little terrified- when I think missions and me...my goal and heart has always been in Africa. So when it was India, not Africa...I was a little apprehensive. Secondly- it is not a medical mssion trip- something I have also felt called to. After a lot of soul searching, praying and conversations with friends and family- I came to the conclusion that I don't need to question the doors that the Lord opens for me, I simply need to say "Yes. I will go."

So I'm going! Pray for my team, that we build each other and strengthen each other rather than tear each other down. Pray for the people we encounter in India and their hearts that they are prepared for us and ready to learn and be loved. Pray for safe travels. Pray for financial provision to get us there. Pray for my heart- that it be prepared and open to the people of India and what the Lord is ready to teach me. PRAY! :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Today I went to work. I clocked in, I got my assignment of rooms 1-5, I got report from the night shift nurse, and I started my day.

My patient in room 1 is a mid 50 year old woman who has AML a type of Leukemia and is in remission. She began running fevers and came to the hospital because she was neutropenic (meaning her white blood cell count was dangerously low and she was at high risk of infection). She had a good day today.

My patients in rooms 2 and 3 are both AML patients who are in for chemo treatments, they are also in remission, doing well and coming in for 'maintenence' chemo to keep the cancer at bay. I discharged my patient from room 4, who survived the first round of chemo and successfully put his cancer into remission for now- and then got a new patient late in the afternoon.

My patient in room five however was not so fortunate today to find out his cancer was in remission. He does not have leukemia. He is 39 years old, married to a wife of 11 years with two children ages 8 and 5. He was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a brain tumor in his frontal lobe. A couple years ago one formed, they did a craniotomy and were able to successfully get the tumor out with minimal side effects and a great recovery. His main side effect was personality changes and mood swings- but overall was able to live a great life. Until this March- when he found out that a new tumor had grown and the glioblastoma was back.
He has spent the past week at Baptist Hospital waiting for doctors to decide how they will save his life. Waiting for his miracle. He stays 24 hrs a day in a pitch dark room because he is so sensitive to light and sound it is painful due to his tumor. How do you explain mood swings, anger, personality changes, and the fact that dad can't come out to play to an 8 and 5 year old? At 1830 this evening, the neurosurgeon came in to see him and his wife and discuss the options they had of tackling the tumor.
Option 1. is to do the surgery again. which will be very difficult, will not be successful in relieving any of the symptoms of photosensitivity and sound sensitivity that he is experiencing, will require a very extensive recover of up to 8 weeks, and will not give him back his life he had before. It will not cure him. The risks far outweigh the benefits. And in the end they will be back to the original issueThe neurosurgeon is completely against the surgery. He does not want to do it but says he will do it if it is truly what they want and believe is best for their family.

Option 2 is Gamma Knife. Which is very focused radiation on the tumor itself that will shrink the tumor, alleviate some of the pressure and pain but also, will not cure or fix any of his symptoms. It is less invasive and has a much easier recovery.

The doctor explains all of this to the patient and his family, to which the wife promptly responds 'We disagree with you, we believe that the surgery is the option, it will get the tumor completely out and he WILL be back to normal without any suffering from the symptoms.'



This debate continued for a good thirty minutes. I was asked to be there with the family by the wife of the patient. And I walked out emotionally spent. How do you tell a woman that there is no best option- there is no cure, her husband will never be the same again and will never live the way he did 3 years ago. I'm not even sure I can convey the emotion that was in that room.



As much as the neurosurgeon tried to tell the family that the surgery would not give them their miracle- it would make his life much more difficult, assuming he survived the surgery, they would not listen. They needed to believe in their miracle. They needed to believe that dad could be the same again. The wife herself said "The man I married died 3 years ago and this person is totally different, if you do the surgery there will be a new person." What guts it takes to say something like that infront of your sick husband. She also said that due to the mood swings and personality changes from the brain tumor, her kids were afraid of their father, they did not understand what was going on or why he was so hateful towards them. What a sad situation.

As I sat there and listened, part of me was frustrated. The nurse/science mind that I have wanted to scream "LISTEN TO THE SURGEON!! HE'S RIGHT! There is no cure, there is no possible way the surgery will 'fix' your husband, it will just get worse from here" The other part of me, my heart I guess, was amazed at the belief and faith that the surgery would give them their miracle. How does someone have that much conviction that they will not back down from their belief? Is it denial of the actual situation? Or is it truly a belief that she has?

At any rate, I came home exhausted emotionally and sitting there saying 'how in the heck did I get put in that situation.' It amazes me what I encounter on a daily basis....and I am so thankful I am just the nurse, not the patient or family. SO thankful.

Monday, July 12, 2010

here's to vacation...

so...just to support the fact that i feel like summer should be one big vacation- here's an article from self magazine to further my sentiments :)


Why Not Taking a Summer Vacation Could Jeopardize Your Health
Monday, July 12, 2010 at 4:24 PM | posted by Jenny Everett
This week, the Healthy SELF blog is being written from the beach, as we are taking a much-needed vacation. Like most Americans, we have a hard time letting go of work -- according to a study by the Families and Work Institute, less than half of us take the full vacation time available to us (on average, 12 days per year in the U.S.).


Thing is, health-wise, vacation is as much a necessity as it is a luxury. Here's why we're taking a week to chill, and why you should too:

Believe it or not, there are scientists whose job it is to study the health of vacationers vs. non-vacationers. According to the experts, vacationers:


* Are more satisfied and find more meaning in life
* Are more spiritual and have a lot of support from family and friends
* Have lower blood pressure
* Have lower levels of stress hormones
* Have smaller waists
* Outlive non-vacationers
* Are more satisfied with their marriage
* Suffer fewer mental illnesses -- and are just much happier in general!


And the list goes on.

Gratitude 56-83

56. learning, constantly.
57. my job- and that i get to take care of such incredible people
58. being there to help a woman and her family as she passes away- what a precious moment.
59. a day with my parents
60. Pie in the Sky pizza
61. jeeps- namely my dad's new one!
62. the new boat John and I bought, Pirate's Life
63. a few days away at the beach
64. the provision company- the view, the food, the laid back atmosphere that does my soul so good.
65. driving the boat over to bald head island for the day
66. bald head island
67. a lemonade stand
68. the carolina coast
69. my in-laws keeping my doggy so we could go away.
70. the means to travel
71. a good book, beach chair, ocean breeze and incredible view
72. blue skies
73. 2 days of rest before going back to work
74. my sweet Josie dog- I missed her so much while we were gone!
75. Getting to snuggle with Josie in the bed this morning after John left for work
76. John- and how excited he gets about things in life
77. pictures and a website like shutterfly to help me document all our memories
78. an unexpected email from my former Young Life leader
79. a great deal on ebay
80. planning a camping trip with friends on the lake
81. a cool cloudy day today so i can get things done inside and not feel like i'm missing something outside
82. a summertime baseball game- and 4th of july fireworks
83. my health- and that i don't have to spend the holidays in the hospital

Sunday, June 27, 2010

india.

So...I have an opportunity to go to India in March for 8 days through my parents church. They are teaming with Compassion International and their sister church in India and going to serve in Calcutta. Secondly, if I being sponsoring a child now through compassion international, they will pair me with one in that community and I will MEET yes MEET the child I am sponsoring. Incredible, right?

So let the praying begin, because while this is the answer I've been looking for I want to make sure I'm going for the right reasons, not because 'hey its india.'

There is another potential option to go to the Dominican Republic with a local doctor on a medical trip (no religious affiliation) but I have no real info on the trip and a deposit for India is due by July 15.

I'm praying that God shows me which way He wants me to go- be it medical because I am a nurse, or India- because thats where he says to go. I know either place I will be blessed and either place I will grow...but ultimately its not up to me, and I know that. So hopefully He'll let me know soon which way that is!

Friday, June 25, 2010

So today I read the second chapter in 'Crazy Love' by Francis Chan. And let me tell you- considering the past few days this was exactly what I needed to read....it put the feelings I had in my heart right onto paper and made sense of them....he says it better than I could so I'll quote the first part.
It is easy to think about today as just another day. An average day where you go about life concerned with your to do list, preoccupied by appointments, focused on familiy, thinking about your desires and needs.
On the average daywe live caught up in ourselves. On the average day we don't consider God very much. On the average day we forget that our life is truly vapor.
But there is nothing normal about today. Just think about everything that must fucntion properly just for you to survive. For example, your kidneys. The only people who really think about their kidneys are the people whose kidneys don't work correctly. The majority of us take for granted our kidneys, liver, lungs, and other internal organs that we're dependent upon to continue living.
It is crazy to think today is just a normal day to do whatever we want with. To those of us who say 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money,' James writes "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow, What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (4:13-14).

That's just it...tomorrow is not guaranteed and here we are living as though we are invincible and have the "rest of our lives" to do this or that. Maybe that is why work affects me so much, is so that I realize how precious each day that I have with my family, and loved ones is. But more importantly so that I live a life that brings glory to the Lord in all that I do. That is our sole purpose, not to have the best house, nicest car, most money- but to use what we are given and use every breath in our being to bring glory to our Heavenly Father. When I am dead it will not matter how I dressed, what car I drove or how much stuff I had, but it will matter the life I lived, if it was loving, giving, compassionate and reflective of the love and grace we recieve from the Lord each day. None of it matters in the end except how we lived and loved....

Because of Calvary I'm free to choose....

My sweet friend Adrienne posted this on her blog, and I just loved it- I've read it so many times over the past day or so and so I decided to repost it on my blog to share as well....
From When God Whispers Your Name by Max Lucado

" IT’S QUIET. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.
In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.
For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.
I choose love . . .
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose joy . . .
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical . . the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose peace . . .
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I choose patience . . .
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I choose kindness . . .
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I choose goodness . . .
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I choose faithfulness . . .
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.
I choose gentleness . . .
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
I choose self-control . . .
I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.


Thanks addygurl :) I love and miss you tons!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today I went into a patients room to help her back to the bed from using the restroom. She wasn't one of my assigned patients, but I knew her because she was diagnosed with leukemia shortly before I started working on the unit, and has been in and out over the past year with treatments, infections, a bone marrow transplant, and finally a relapse. Last time we saw her, she had relapsed, and was not a candidate for the last ditch chemotherapy that we use. She was sent home with hospice, given two weeks to live, and two months later came back to the hospital because she was running a fever, which is a pretty serious situation when dealing with leukemia patients.

I have seen someone pass away. I have seen someone in their very last moments of life. And I have seen death probably more than the average person has dealt with it before. While I am working, I am focused, I have a job to do and my instinct takes over my emotions- I take care of my patients. I get them back to bed, I try to calm them, and ease their breathing. This particular patient was so winded and was struggling so hard to breath just getting up to use the bathroom. She looked me dead in the eyes as I told her 'Relax, take deep breaths, breathe thru your nose so you get the oxygen we put on for you, you're okay, just breathe.' And eventually after a few minutes she calmed down and was breathing easier, along with the help of our friend morphine. And I went about my business.

This is how things typically go for me, I do what I'm trained, and I go about my business- but on the drive home is when I being to think about what I really just encountered. I encountered a woman fighting to live, every breath she took in was effort, and the look in her eyes told me just how exhausted she was from fighting this cancer. When she looked me in the eyes- I was looking at a dying woman...and that never. ever. gets easy.

I sometimes cannot believe the things I deal with at work...and then it hits me on the way home just how real their situation is, to me it is a job that I do three days a week that I love. To them, this is their life. They stay in the hospital for months, it becomes their home, and when the time comes- they turn to us to say 'this is okay, you are okay, no more chemo, no more blood drawn, no more tests...you can rest now.'

How in the world am I, a 23 year old girl, given such great responsibility as to lead people to the next phase of their life...death. And to help them deal, and their families deal with the situation that they face- How in the world? I hope that everytime I take care of one of my patients it affects me like she did today and that I never ever forget how precious life is, how scary cancer is, and how much they go through.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Gratitude 44-55/crazy love

44. going to see my grandparents

45. cuddling with josie in the mornings after john leaves for work

46. dinner with tyler and bryson after their wedding

47. planning beach trips for the summer

48. summer thunderstorms

49. sunshine- and the beauty it brings to everything

50. my two hibiscus plants- especially the yellow one, its beautiful.

51. the reminder that i have been called to something greater- something far more than i could plan for myself.

52. the promise that the Lord will fulfill his plan through me without any issues- and that all I haven to do is sit back and let him work through me.

53. christian music

54. the places that i have been able to travel for missions over the years- and the impact they had on my heart

55. the book 'crazy love'



So I started reading the book Crazy Love as I mentioned, and so far- its great. I love how the first chapter talks about the greatness of our God, that we are so small compared to the creation he has made in our world, solar system, galaxy, and all of space. I was always fascinated by space as a child (even to the point that up until 10th grade I was going to work for NASA) so I really appreciate and understand the picture that Francis Chan gave me of how great our Lord is that he created everything around me. It simply leaves me to sit in awe of this beautiful life He's given me- and how quickly I get caught up in little things, but how small they are in the grand scheme.



" Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God." - RC Sproul



I really relate to the part when he beings to talk about how quicky we forget the beauty of our Lord. 'no matter how many pictures we see of His galaxies, no matter how many sunsets we watch...we still forget.' I find myself constantly distracted by worldly things, and then find myself so frustrated when I realize they offer me nothing but temporary satisfaction. Why do I need the latest and greatest, to have the best clothes/house/things. THEY ARE JUST THINGS. They are fleeting- they offer me no great satisfaction, at some point they will wear out. But the Love of the Lord never wears out and yet it is never enough for me. "In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.' (pg 29.)



I'm glad to know this is human nature, that while yes there is something wrong with me- there is not at the same time- I am normal. It is my nature to focus on the things I do or do not have, compare myself to everyone else, and to feel the need to have 'things' to fill me up and make me feel better. I so quickly forget that the Lord provides it all for me already, and so much more than what I could want.



So let me remind myself- who is my God? My God is Holy, He is great, he is the one who has lifted me from some of the saddest times in my life, protected my heart constantly, brought me to the John, my perfect match and best friend. He took me to the DR, Tennessee, and Guadalajara to show me his people, his land, and everything great about Him. He has shown me his incredible beauty in sunsets, in babies, in the ocean (my favorite). He is so perfect in all He does. He is unwavering, and eternal, never ever will He not be enough or be available to me. He is in every detail of my life from the time I wake up to the time I lay my head down and go to sleep. He is in every hospital room of the patients I take care of as they battle leukemia. He is here, and he is across the world in Africa. He is in the mountains, He is in the valleys. He is in my heart and my being. He knows me deeply, inside and out, and knows my weaknesses, my strengths, my inmost thoughts and feelings. How precious that someone could know me that well...


Psalm 139

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake,
I am still with you.
If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
and abhor those who rise up against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Restless.

Lately, it has been weighing on my heart that I have an intense calling, that in my opinion is not being filled right now, and on the other hand I have an intense calling that is completely being filled right now. Let me explain.
When I was in middle school, high school and even college, I began going on mission trips inside the country first, and then outside the country, and my heart fell in love. My heart and my soul was made for mission work. Which is pretty much the sole reason I became a nurse. What better way to serve the Lord than while helping give medical care to those who cannot recieve it. In college I persued my career in nursing following what I felt the Lord was calling me to do.
In that time I met John, fell in love, and we got married. Part of me says that if I was not married, I would be living in Africa- but I'm not in charge, and my God knew the other passion of my heart- which was to be a wife and eventually a mother. What do you do when it seems that your two callings cannot co-exist together? It has been over 4 years since I have done a mission trip- and it seems like all around me people/friends/coworkers are going on their adventures, serving...and I am here, in North Carolina. Maybe the Lord is preparing me for something greater- maybe my opportunity has not come along yet- but can I tell you how frustrating it is to watch everyone else come and go and me to be still here? Then I think, well, maybe there's a way to serve here- but for whatever reason those doors have yet to be opened, and I cannot get my feet back into missions no matter how hard I try.
Dont' get me wrong- I feel like I have an incredible life- I have a sweet husband who loves me so much, a great home, a great job with great patients that I get to love on everyday to the best of my ability. But there is something that is missing. There is that part of my soul that was called so many years ago to GO and SERVE. And I cannot help but be heartbroken that my chance has not come yet for met to do that. I am restless, and unsettled- and just know deep down that I was meant to do more than just work three days a week at Baptist Hospital and be 'comfortable' in my life, spending my money on only things that bring me better, nicer things- I took up this career for the skills that it gave me, the schedule flexibility, and the sheer fact that I knew, the Lord would use it to further his kingdom. And I know he is in Baptist Hospital- but I sure wish he would in the Dominican, in Africa, in Mexico, in the US, anywhere. I guess I just need to be reminded that He's still fulfilling his purpose and plan in me even when I don't necessarily feel it or see it. I just need a reminder.

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."
Proverbs 16:3


"If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and
satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

"Jesus answered, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" Matthew 19:21


On that note, I've began reading the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan...and so far so good. I've had several friends read it and quote it and decided maybe it was something worth picking up- so I'll let you know. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

the month of may...

Sorry for my lack of posting lately...things have been so busy! May has been a great month for John and me. First, John started his new job with Pulte/Centex homes in Charlotte. So...we moved into a new house in Lexington. Its a great little house, we've been here two weeks, so we're still in boxes but- its coming together and I think it will be great for us for the next year or so of our life.

At the beginning of May, my sister graduated from ECU with her MBA. We're so excited for her- it has been a long hard process, but she worked her tail off- and we were glad we could be there for her big day.











Then began the wedding festivities for one of my closest friends, Tyler, and her fiance Bryson. Tyler and I met day one of nursing school when we were put in the same clinical group, and the rest is history. The truth is I wouldn't have made it through nursing school without Tyler and she is truly one of the best friends I've ever had- I'm so grateful for her and am so excited for her and Bryson and the start of their lives together. Their wedding was BEAUTIFUL. and I am so blessed to have been a part of their day.













Gratitude 28-43

28. warm weather
29. summer thunderstorms
30. my best friend getting married
31. weddings
32. switching to day shift in a week
33. dinner with my husband
34. peach margaritas
35. my sister
36. shutterfly- and how easy it makes it to preserve memories
37. my husband- and his sweet heart.
38. laughing.
39. meeting new friends
40. and spending time with old friends
41. the fact that i live in such a beautiful state like NC
42. the fact that God provides for John and me exactly when we need it, and how much.
43. having a two income household- and understanding what a blessing that is in these times.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Saltwater Cure







I love this editors column in our state magazine because it just completely engrosses the feeling I get when thinking about the North Carolina Coast. There's something about that part of the country that just draws in the soul, and leaves you in a little more peace than you were before you got there. And today....it is very much on my mind. So here's my tribute to my favorite place in the world- Southport/Oak Island, NC.

The Saltwater Cure
When I was nine years old, jumping around in the old woodshed behind my grandmother’s house, I took a splinter, two inches long, right in the toe.

I ran inside in tears, hopping and holding my foot so she could see the jagged shard deep beneath the skin.

It wasn’t my first splinter. Or my last. But this was different. It needed something more than tweezers.

My grandmother ran warm water in a wash bucket and poured in about a quarter of a box of salt from the Morton’s container.

She told me to sit there, on the edge of the kitchen chair, with my foot immersed in the bucket for about a half an hour. I was fidgety, focused on the pain in my toe. “Be still,” she said, “and let the water do its work.”

Before long, the water had not only numbed my sore toe, but also the splinter had worked its way out. The next time I looked down into the salty water, it was drifting to the bottom of the bucket.

It was my first lesson in learning about salt water’s capacity to mend.

I’ve used this trick ever since to remove splinters, soothe a sore throat, wash out a cut. I have no idea whether this treatment is medically sound, but it seems to make things better, and that’s good enough for me.

A few years ago, I was reminded of the restorative power of salt water during a trip to the beach.

After what had been a long and weary drive from Greensboro, I landed at the Yacht Basin Provision Company, a seafood shack in Southport.

Here, the salty sea air had taken its toll, seasoning the wooden structure and adding a patina of rust to the propane tanks that sit outside the door. Inside, I ordered a yellowfin tuna sandwich off the chalkboard menu and walked out to the open-air deck overlooking the waterway to eat it.

Strains of Willie Nelson singing “Sitting on Top of the World” played over the sound system. Pelicans dipped in and out of the water from the dock, and boats skimmed nearby, a reminder of the omnipresent fishermen, who, on their daily journey of ocean and sky, make their life from this salty sea.

I sat here for a couple of hours and thought about what it means to be connected to the water, to the ocean. I thought about its immense history. About its power to restore, to heal, to mend. About how, as Carl Sandburg said, “it must know more than any of us.” More than anything, I think, it knows how to calm and soothe our souls.

When we are still and let it do its work.

Elizabeth Hudson
Editor–in–Chief









Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gratitude List #18-27

18. celebrating our first anniversary

19. fresh flowers- pink tulips and daisies to be exact!

20. homemade cards

21. our puppy's first birthday!

22. seeing how excited and happy our puppy is when we take her on a walk...if only we were all that excited about the small things in life.

23. finding a possible new home to move into

24. re-eating our wedding cake- because i only got one bite on the day of our wedding!

25. beautiful weather

26. a day at the minor league ballpark (and my neice saying that bolt the mascot had to 'poopy in potty' when she couldn't see him anywhere.)

27. grilling out with my family

Sunday, April 25, 2010

one year!



Well we made it...our first anniversary is here! It is so hard to believe that this time last year we were caught up in the excitement of our wedding...and now a year later- its amazing to look at what we've done. This year has brought its share of struggles with unemployment, jobs, and financial things, but it has brought so many great memories and moments for us- and I truly cannot wait to see what the rest of our lives hold.

Happy Anniversary John- I love you so much!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gratitude List #9-17

9. John got the JOB!!!! Our year of unemployment is officially over!
10. Vacations- no matter how short/small they may be
11. great friends- and traveling with them
12. beautiful places- we just got back from the bahamas
13. baseball season- i know college season has been going on for some time- but now the minor league team is playing!
14. warmer weather
15. my sister- i love her and her sweet self.
16. sweet patients that teach me, and make me laugh.
17. seeing the perfect way that the Lord makes life fall into place...exactly when He wants to.

What a beautiful past few weeks John and I have had. The day before we left on our 3 night bahamas cruise, John got the job offer and of course, accepted. It is such a relief to know that that trying and stressful time in our life is finally over. After such great news, we were celebrating! Our cruise left Friday and returned Monday- and we spent two great days in the Bahamas with some of our great friends, Sarah and Aaron. It's just fun to travel with friends. The weather wasnt' perfect- but we really all had a great time and both celebrated our first anniversaries, and John's job.
Coming back to work has been hard thats for sure! John and I are currently looking for a new rent house inbetween where his job and my job are, starting to pack up our little house (which I already miss...), and getting excited about all that the Lord is doing in our lives. His plan fell perfectly together for us- and we are just so grateful and blessed by all of it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blessings

So...a few days ago John and I were riding in his truck and he got a phone call from his former-boss who is now located in Charlotte, NC. After some time, John hung up, looked over at me, and said 'well, they want to set up an interview'. Two more times that day John got phone calls related to potential job opportunities. These are the only 3 calls he has received in this year of unemployment. I cannot tell you what a blessing, and what an answered prayer these calls are- finally, some light at the end of a very dark tunnel. There is hope, there is a chance, we might just have employment here people.
After all of this excitement, came the questions- well, what do we do? where do we move? do i start looking for new jobs too, for a new place to live? what happens if this job acutally happens for us? Our entire life is potentially about to change...again.

So here's my request- John goes tomorrow morning for his interview with his former boss. So pray for him and his boss, that things go smoothly, that if it is meant to work out it will and it will be a blessing for us. If it is not meant to work out- then let our hearts know that and find peace with that.
If a job does come of this, pray for the decisions we will face regarding living situation/my job/etc.

One phone call and everything changes! What a blessing :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Husband


Today is John's 26th birthday! Happy birthday to him!! This morning I am busy making a cake- yellow cake, cream cheese icing, and strawberries on top- to celebrate tonight once he gets home. Pictures to come later :) I'm so lucky to have such a great husband that supports me, encourages me, and loves me no matter what- so I hope is birthday is perfect!!


note: i stopped writing this blog temporarily because teh cakes finished in the oven...lets just say cake decorating is not my calling and it was somewhat of a fiasco.the cake fell apart and i tried to salvage it best i could-but then little crumbs got in the icing so its hideous. i tried to hide some of the imperfections with strawberries but its still not the prettiest thing...oh and then the lid to our cake dome wouldn't fit around the cake...so how am i suppose to store this creation?! i even left him a note saying he couldn't laugh at the cake because i tried really hard. oh dear.
note to self- never open a bakery and expect to make a living.
i think its bedtime.
katie

Sunday, April 4, 2010

by His wounds...we are healed.

So its Easter Sunday, its almost 8am. I've just gotten home from work and in a little while rather than going to church, I will be crawling into bed and heading back to the hospital tonight. Its a little odd not going to a church service this morning, because I feel like of all days it is one meant to be spent worshipping and remembering the true reason for this day. Not the bunnies, candy, and easter egg hunts, but the love of a Savior who died for me, and rose again for me, that I may live.


In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand


Happy Easter everyone- hope it is a beautiful, blessed day!
Katie

Friday, April 2, 2010

Gratitude List #1-8

"The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought, is that you are never where you are." You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in this moment. It's something like the habit of my dear friend Susan, who-whenever she sees a beautiful place-exclaims in near panic, "It's so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!" and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try and convince her that she is already here. If you're lookinkg for union with the divine, this kind of forward/backward whirling is a problem. There's a reason they call God a presence- because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time."

-Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.


I have been thinking about a post for some time now, and just couldn't get my thoughts into place to actually write it. Until tonight. I have been trying to finish the book 'Eat Pray Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert for some time now(try like 3 months actually)...and am slowly making headway. It never takes me this long to read a book and while I don't find that it is the absolute best book ever written, I for some reason feel the need to finish what I started...however long that may take me.

Tonight I read this part of the book where Elizabeth was talking about how her mind wanders constantly- how she thinks of what was, what used to be, what may come, all the what ifs possible, replaying her life and dreaming of the future. She says she has a hard time basically just being in the present. I think I find this hard a lot of the time. I'm constantly thinking in past or future tense- like missing the days of college, missing summer and freedom, missing breaks from school, missing friendships. Or future- wondering about jobs, moving, money, constantly wishing for more. I find it difficult to just enjoy the moment I am currently in. Part of this feeling is why I started the blog in the first place- learning to be happy where I am, find the beautiful where I am, and just find peace. Part of that I believe, is finding the everyday simple things in life that make it so incredible and blessed. Which brings me to the next part- while recently reading several things I ran across 1. an article on yahoo that listed 101 everyday pleasures- and it made me think about my own list. and then 2. a blog that talked about "gratitude lists" and finding 1000 things in life that you are blessed with/enjoy/love/etc. Things you are grateful for. So to combine all of this together...I'm going to make my own gratitidue list- 1000 things that make my life beautiful. And in this I hope to learn to enjoy the presense of God, not the before or after...but the right here, right now.

1. my sweet husband, and all he does for me.
2. my sweet puppy- because every morning she flops her ears, wags her tail, and lets me know she's glad to see me.
3. warm, sunny weather
4. daffodils
5. getting bridal shower invitation for my friend Tyler- because it makes me grateful for her friendship, that I get to be a part of her big day, and I just love weddings in general.
6. fresh fruit
7. holy week and the renewal it brings
8. finding a great church to go to- and a sermon that reminds me how passionately my God loves me.

thats all for now...hopefully each day I can post a few, and remind myself of all the blessings I have in life, and learn to enjoy being with God right where I am.

Monday, March 15, 2010

4 years ago...

Four years ago this week, I was on a mission trip working at the young life camp in the dominican republic. And four years ago today I wrote in my journal these lyrics from a song based off the verse Isaiah 43, not knowing what an impact it would have on me.

When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and the waves they will not overcome you.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, You are mine.

Little did I know that while I was writing that verse, God was telling me and preparing my heart for some of the hardest news I'd ever recieve.
When the week was over, and I was on my way home, I called my mom to tell her that our flight had been delayed, and I got the news. There in the atlanta airport I was told that Griff, a guy that was like a big brother to me, had passed away in the atlantic ocean, ultimately dying of hypothermia.

Four years ago today the world lost a beautiful soul, Griff Lyerly. He had a smile that lit up room, a laugh that was incredibly infectious, and a love of life that was so pure. Four years ago tonight, Griff and some of his friends decided to go fishing off the coast of Ocean Isle, NC and although being raised around the water and being taught how to be safe in rough seas...it was not enough to save the lives of those boys that night. Griff and three others passed away that night, and went to be with their heavenly Father. I know that he is watching over us, I know that his heart aches for us and all of those that lost him, and I know that time brings healing.

Griff you are a beautiful soul, someone who fills a multitude of memories of my childhood, and someone I truly looked to as a big brother I never had. The world is not the same without you, our hearts are changed for ever and we are all blessed by knowing you. Rest in peace, rest in His keeping. And know you are so very special and loved and missed. I am comforted knowing that that night while you were in the waters- you were not alone, God was with you, holding you in His hand, Loving you, and there was nothing to fear.


I thought about you with love today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday and days before that too.
I think of you in silence, I often speak your name.
All I have are memories, your picture in a frame.
Your memory is my keepsake, with which I'll never part.
God has you in His keeping, I have you in my heart.
I work night shift, for those of you who don't know. And for someone who doesn't enjoy staying up all night, and really enjoys sleeping normal hours- it has been a year of yet again something out of my norm. But I have to say that in the stillness of the middle of the night, I get to see a different side of my patients. It is then, that all of the doctors and staff have gone home, and they have time to truly digest their day- the good the bad and the ugly. And that is when you see them as more than a patient, more than a disease, but a person with a heart, with a life outside of Baptist Hospital, with children, spouses, parents, and friends who are all rooting for them. It is humbling, and reminds me what a blessing it is to have your health.

Tonight, I am so excited- because one of the sweetest patients in the world found out that not only has his bone marrow biopsy come back clear (means no signs of leukemia in his blood), they have found a perfect match for his bone marrow transplant! These days of good news are few and far between on my unit...so PRAISE THE LORD! Words cannot express how happy my heart was when I heard their news tonight. This patient and his wife exude love...you can see in their smiles how truly in love they are with each other- and it is so refreshing to see, when the majority of what we see is heartbreaking. So, congratulations to them...what a blessing.

On another note...when I leave in the morning and the sun is just peaking over the horizon- there is a sense of peace that usually comes over me. A thought of "you made it through the night, you did your best, and you can rest now." Its as if God is saying "I'm right here...I never leave you." It is beautiful. And then I drive home, drive in my driveway, and see the daffodils! YES! The first sign of spring, I'm so excited! (I do not enjoy cold weather at all....) He makes everything new...each morning the sun rises all over again, the day begins again, the flowers bloom and open, and miracles happen.

Because of the Lords' great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions NEVER fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Comfort

Prior to writing this I feel like I should say I'm sorry if my posts seem to say the same things, or discuss the same issues I am facing in life currently- but all that to say this is a process, and a journey, and while it is a different day with the same struggles, the Lord is teaching me different things each day about my outlook on life and the current situation I am in. While previous posts may have said similar things- this post is different to me. My heart finally gets it. You know those moments where your mind and heart finally click? This is it.

I think that my entire life I have been a child that very much liked to stay in my "comfort zone." I like routine, I like the same things, I like my friends and family and I like to be comfortable. I come by this naturally to say the least, not only is my mom this way, but I think that generally speaking- the American population lives this way. And lets face it the past couple years in the United States have been nothing but uncomfortable.

For whatever reason, over the past year of my life I have had nothing but change as you know. And while my outside world is completely out of my comfort zone, my insides are screaming and thinking of everyway possible to get just a hair closer to "what my life used to be like." Well lets face it, when you sign up for marriage, adulthood, and life post-college it pretty much means you've signed up to say goodbye to the way it was. In my mind moving back east, John getting a job, us having a nicer home, yada yada yada...all of these things would make me more "comfortable", more at ease with life.

I have been reminded tonight that when I decided to be a Christian, that is when I signed up to live my life uncomfortably. That God would continue to mold me and make me into His own and that nothing in my world would ever reflect that which I had envisioned for myself. Because no plan of my own would come close to the one He has written for me. (Why I find this surprising I don't know, because all of my life has been this way to this point....all one big journey that I didn't plan for.)

I read a blog called "the Journey" which is written by a girl named Katie, in her early 20s, who was called to move to Uganda, and adopt 14 children. Talk about uncomfortable. But that is what following the Lord means, it means giving up everything, letting go of everything and saying that no matter what, I will go the way He leads.

Over the past few weeks, I have become increasingly frustrated with the fact that we are approaching the one year anniversary of John's unemployment. And to be honest, neither one of us ever thought that we would see this day. We thought we'd be a two income household months ago. But the fact of the matter is that we are not, and as much as I tell myself that "oh we're okay, we have enough, we are fortunate compared to the rest of the world," and as true as all of those sentiments are, my heart just hadn't believed it yet. It was a facade, an act to pretend like I was okay with this situation I was living in. When the truth of the matter is I was frustrated, some days angry, some days resentful, and somedays depressed about it. I wanted to live more comfortably.

But tonight, as I read a post on Katie (in Uganda)'s blog about her emotions and the story of her being called to Uganda, I think it finally connected with my heart where I am in life right now. Exactly where I need to be.

Although I do not understand it yet, and I may never, John and I are exactly where we need to be. And as hard as it has been, there is a peace in realizing that finally. I was called to be a nurse. I was called to care for people. I was called to be a wife. and I was called to be a daughter of my Heavenly Father. Where I do these things is not the issue, and having money is not the issue. Following the Lord is the issue. And for the most part, everytime I've followed Him, it has made me go outside my comfort zone. So I am considering this stage a blessing, because my feelings of inadequacy, awkwardness, and uncertainty means that I have done one thing right in my life- I have followed the Lord when He has said to go.


As John and I approach our first anniversary of our wedding, I pray that we find encouragement in each other when the world around us is rather discouraging. I pray that we find contentment in knowing that we are being provided for in every aspect and are perfectly cared for by His Grace. I pray that we keep our eyes on the ultimate prize- and that we grow and learn through this stage. I pray for our attitudes that we are not easily discouraged or frustrated by the situation we are in, and that ultimately, we are happy (John 10:10 happy) with all that we have.



I also pray for Katie in Uganda, who my heart goes out to. For anyone interested in reading her blog it is
kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com and I highly recommend it- it is amazing what she is doing.

I will praise the Lord, o my soul; all my inmost being, praise His Holy Name
Praise the Lord, o my soul and forget not all His benefits
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.
-Psalm 103

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of His grace. And Your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's Grace. Everyday should be a day of relating to God on the basis of His Grace alone. - Jerry Bridges

Monday, January 18, 2010

Enough.

So, today has been a wonderful day that has ended in a slightly discouraging way, yet slightly encouraging, if that makes any sense....
I enjoy rainy, Sunday afternoons, and in all the time that John and I have been dating, I've woken up absolutely thrilled when I see it raining outside. I think its good time to spend just relaxing, under a snuggly blanket, doing absolutely nothing in particular but spending time together. So today, thats what we did. We slept in, woke up to rain, and spent the day in our pajamas. I looked at cruise details, because yes! we booked a short 3 night cruise for our 1st anniversary, and we are so excited. It is John's first cruise, and he's like a little kid asking all sorts of questions, which makes me happy to see him excited.

Tonight, I started looking at houses, why I don't know, other than that I enjoy looking at real estate. When the thought occured to me, 'Well Katie, how bout you spend time looking for a job for John first.' You know, do things in logical order. We are coming up on a year of John's unemployment (March). And lets be honest, neither one of us ever thought we'd see 2010 and still be living off of one salary. It has been a blessing, and the source of discouragment for both of us. So I started searching....and within about 30 minutes I was discouraged. I'm not sure anyone really realizes how bad the job market and economy are right now, until you're the one looking for the jobs. My heart absolutely breaks for my sweet husband that he spends time daily/weekly online looking for jobs, when in just 30 minutes I was down in the dumps. Imagine what he goes through each time he begins job hunting. No, it is not ideal. No, we don't have the money we wish we did to afford the things we'd hoped for ourselves in life.

But yes...we have enough. We have enough to eat 3 meals a day, have a puppy, and have a house with an EXTRA bedroom. (so technically, more room than we need). We have hot water, heat, a cute fireplace, two cars, and clothing. We have coats in this cold weather, and shoes for our feet. So what is it that I'm wishing for? Why is it, that we feel the necessity to have anything more than what we have? Why are we not satisfied?

While on one hand I find myself having a pity party, and wishing for a larger home, one day a new car, and hopefully the ability to go back to school....right now, I have enough. Which is so much more than some.

Which brings me to Haiti, I consider all this, and then I feel so very selfish and shallow. The people of the Haitian nation are devestated. They have LESS than so many of those we consider 'poor' in America. They have no means of clean water, no cars, no food. They are searching for family members, searching for healthcare, or praying for rescue. I read an article the other day about how they are having to control the masses at the hospital in Port-au-Prince because the medical teams there cannot handle all of the injuries that are flooding in. It talked about a lady who's leg was broken from the destruction and anesthesia was not an option, can we say pain...unimaginable pain. Not only does my heart ache for the people injured, but it aches for those making the trip there to lend a hand- I'm not sure anyone of them know what they're heading into- and yet they go anyways. After all this, after all the devestation happening in the poorest nation in the Southern Hemisphere...remind me again, why is it that I feel the need for anything more than what I have? The Lord is my provision. Why would I want anything else than what He provides. I know, and I believe, that He gives me exactly what I need, no sooner than the time that I need it...and in His own time He will provide. In His own time John will find another job. We must simply wait on the Lord (seems to be yet again something He's trying to teach me...)

When I think about all of this....I realize that it suddenly puts everything into perspective and I pray that I find contentment in what the Lord gives me each day, and know that it is all blessings, never forgetting those less fortunate than I am. Its all about perspective. And doesn't He always find a way of putting it back into perspective for us...

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty!
At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
2nd Corinthians 7-10

Relying on God has to start all over everyday, as if nothing has yet been done. -CS Lewis

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Like the Mighty Mountains...




This was a picture John took on the way through Tennesse coming back from our trip to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. Compared to the warm sunny beach, I don't enjoy cold weather, the mountains, or snow nearly as much, but it always reminds me of the greatness of the Lord and always reminds me that He's there. I feel like scenes like this are His way of saying "Hey" in such a powerful way.

Your love, oh Lord Reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness stretches to the sky
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains
Your justice flows like the ocean's tide
I will lift my high voice
To worship You, my King
I will find my strength
In the shadow of your wings
-Third Day

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

a decade passed...

It's hard to believe that 2010 is here. And to think back on the past decade of my life is even harder...but the truth is that the past decade has been huge. As if the past year wasn't big enough (see previous post), I wanted to spend some time looking back at the things I've done, places I've seen, and blessings the Lord has brought to me over the past 10 years: here goes nothin!
In the past decade I have gone from being 12-22 (almost 23!!).
I finished middle school, graduated from high school, was accepted to ECU, and then ECU's College of Nursing and graduated successfully in 2008.
I was involved in Young Life, and then went on to become a YL leader in college.
I went on mission trips to St Louis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Guadalajara Mexico, and the Dominica Republic (YL Camp).
I traveled to the Bahamas, London, Paris, St Lucia, Jamaica, Haiti, and other islands in the Caribbean.
I lost a great friend way too early.
I played softball for half the decade on a traveling team.
I went on a cruise.
I worked in an orphanage and church in Mexico.
I moved away from home, to a new home- Greenville NC.
I had my first real boyfriend.
I moved to Pigeon Forge, TN for a summer with a bunch of YL leaders.
I worked at Dollywood.
I was a lifeguard.
I made some of the best friends ever.
I passed my boards and became a RN.
I got my first 'adult' job- an oncology nurse at Baptist Hospital.
I moved to Winston Salem.
But the biggest part of my decade was meeting, and then marrying my best friend.

Its been incredible- its been blessed. And I am so very thankful for all of the experiences I was given over the past decade...so here's to the next!

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