Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bless their hearts...

A true Southerner once told me you can say anything about someone as long as you end the rant with "bless their hearts..."

So here it goes. I apologize now for my complaining and rambling.

I am seriously losing my patience and compassion. People are often demanding, difficult, and neurotic. What honestly makes people think they are the center of the universe and that the need to rearrange their bedside table is so much more important than excruciating pain, delirium, death, etc....? Do people honestly think they have rented my personal attention out by the hour? Maybe I should educate them about our premium suite unit where they can pay $500 extra dollars a night to have personal nursing attention and a private chef? Do they think that I have nothing better to do than find Wheel of Fortune on the tv for them...for the third time in an hour? That I have unlimited narcotics in my back pocket? That I run Mayo Clinic and can change the system that serves over 100,000 patients a year in 20 minutes just for them? That I can devise a shorter route to get to x-ray across one of the biggest hospitals in the States because they don't feel like taking a ride for 10 minutes?

Hospital nursing makes me want to drink much more than the single bottle of delicious Merlot my roommate gave me for Christmas. I yelled at a dying man today. I don't really feel bad about it because he yelled at me in confusion and restlessness for 12 hours. He had a reason to yell, because he's fatally bleeding out through his scrotum. (Yes, wince greatly, guys). But I had had enough of the yelling and all my other patients and the non-nursing staff freaking out because they could hear him screaming.

I flat-out laughed at another man to his face today. He had big-time pain too, from multiple weeping sores in his tree trunk sized legs. One leg was bleeding all over the place, open without a dressing to catch the myriad of nasty bugs that can be found on almost every surface in a hospital. So I attempted to dress it, like a good nurse should. He yelled. He cursed. He told me to leave him alone. That he couldn't believe that in the best hospital in the world (that is debatable) with the best nurses in the world (probably untrue) that he couldn't believe we would do such a thing.

I laughed in his face. And kept dressing his gross wounds while he belittled every aspect of my professional practice. He called me his angel later in between breaths of yelling at his doctor because I brought the almighty pain meds. Oh, how the tides turn...

I got a new admission in the middle of morning craziness. I put him in his room and didn't talk to him for 4 hours. I just looked in on him as I walked past the door. I made the judgment that he was ok and could wait until I got everything else settled. I talked to him for 15 minutes to get the necessary paperwork done, and barely saw him the rest of the day. Screaming dying guy, cussing leg wound guy, along with teary diarrheal grandma were enough to fill the rest of my day.

Not one of my patients could walk by themselves. Only one could actually turn himself over. All but one is diabetic, which means frequent blood sugar checks and subsequent insulin shots. 3 had multiple IV meds. Dying guys gets pain and anxiey meds every hour (yet still screams). 2 had diarrhea (remember, they can't walk...) One can't pee at all. One pees constantly. 2 are bleeding. 2 were crying. One guy is detoxing from alcohol and pot.

Oh, and it's Christmas, so every family member from here to California is calling and wanting to talk to their loved one. The phone is right beside them, but, alas, they can't turn over to pick it up. So who gets paged to talk to their family on the phone, go down the hall to look up the room phone number, come back to the original phone, transfer the call in the room, then run down the hallway to go pick it up? That would be me. And me again. And again.

Did I mention that all the other patients on the unit are just as intense and 50% of our staff for the day were not our regular nurses (i.e. they don't know where anything is, how our systems work, that we are a pilot unit for a whole new computer system...)? I felt worse for them than I did my own situation. So to keep those nurses from crying, I tried to do what I could for them. And it seems respiratory therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, lab techs, iv techs, and catheter techs all had a magnetic attraction to me with random questions as if I held the magical answer concerning every problem for every patient down the whole 36 bed hall. Chaos.

So we have this classification system that determines our nursing/patient ration that we fill out several times a day. 1-6, with 6 as the most intense care you can get. A 5 usually earns you a nurse to yourself. Today my patients classified as two 5s and two 3s. And it was just me.

Even the medical staff recognized what a ridiculous day it was. I had one resident seek me out to give me a high five for the way I handled crisis #23 of the day and a consultant praise me in front of his whole team for my suggestions concerning meds and a feasible plan for leg wound guy. Two families thanked me for my care, one calling me the best damn nurse they'd had in all their husband's hospitalizations.

Oh, my dear, smelly, messy, demanding patients. Bless your hearts...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Winter Fun

The international community of Rochester recently gathered at my apartment for the first ever
International Buffet Celebration.

The collaborative menu:

Goat meat (Nigeria)
Austrian pancakes
Kung Pao chicken (China)
Potato dumplings (Germany)
Baleadas (Honduras)
Churros (Mexico)
Bangers and mash (London)
Mexican casserole
Pop (Canada, lol)

And the first winter storm came. My home silently and quickly turned into a beautiful yet slippery snowglobe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No Regrets

You don't typically see homeless people in Rochester. They are here, no doubt, but you don't normally see them with their signs sitting on a corner asking for help. But one was here recently.

There was this guy sitting on a corner near my apartment yesterday. I thought to myself, "I should help him." But I stalled. I was already late.

I came home down the same highway, and he was still there. "I'll fix him something to eat and give it to him!" I thought. I had another commitment just an hour or two later, and I would be coming back this way again.

A few hours passed and I hopped in the car to go. I was happily oblivious as I drove, then I came to that corner. He was still there. My heart sank.

I had forgotten about the sandwiches I was going to make.

I would have stopped at a nearby Arby's and picked something up really quick except I was cutting it close to be on time to meet my 1st grade friend that I mentor. So I drove on, resolving to stop on my way back. I'd only be gone for an hour, surely he'd still be there.

I came back, searching for him. He was gone. I prayed that God would give me a second chance.

Today, I went somewhere and on my back back, he was there again! Except he was on a weird corner and I couldn't get over fast enough. I was excited as I drove the few blocks home, planning what kind of lunch I would pack him. And I thought I'd call the homeless shelter in town to see if they had an opening and would take him in for the night. I'd give him a ride!

(Do not insert your concerns about my being 'safe' here unless you want a kind lecture from me telling you why I am not going to buy into that).

So I came home, pulled out the peanut butter and bread and my phone rang. I talked and laughed as I took my time making sandwiches, packing apples, and looking up social service contacts online. I got back in my car, and drove to the corner.

He was gone. I sank again. What a hopeless sinner I am. Why had I stalled? Why did I not called my friend back later? Why had I forgotten about him the first time I saw him?

I recently heard a speaker talked about living a life worth living. My take-home message: No regrets. Live like the person you always wished you were, loving people into God's kingdom.

I failed. Jesus waved to me from a corner, and I waved back, wishing him well, but not doing anything. I'm going to carry those sandwiches and apples in my car for a day or two just in case I run into him. And there will be no regrets next time.

Lord, forgive me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Girly Post

This has the potential to be very girly, so beware...but I want to share a few fun things from the last couple of weeks.

My dear friends Kim and Rob were married a few weekends ago. Prior to the wedding, we had an English Tea themed shower for Kim. Everyone was invited to wear a hat, with prizes going to the most beautiful, most creative, and most unusual.

I won most creative by sewing a ton of old fashioned buttons on a straw hat. I inherited a Mason jar of buttons from my great-grandma, and I'm finally putting them to use!

Here's the whole crowd.

Girly Event #2-I Love My Booty Party
(I still can't say that without laughing)

So I'm super-proud of my roommate for this one. Lately, several of her friends and relatives have seriously struggled with eating disorders. More have dangerously low self esteem. It is a very real, very damaging problem. So she decided to do something to spark some healthy attitudes and behavior. In her fun-loving spirit, she threw a party, inviting a small group of girls who live with these issues to have fun together, talk honestly about this, and encourage each other in developing healthy attitudes.

This is what greeted you on the door to our apartment last night.
Posted all around our apartment were inspiring quotes and anecdotes that people could read as they wished. Each girl was given a notebook with their name on it, and throughout the night everyone was given the chance to write in everyone else's book something beautiful about them, physically or about their personality. Each person was encouraged to keep that notebook and continue adding to it more things they found beautiful about themselves or about life. Apparently someone thinks I have cute ears. Who knew?

After some dinner (pizza and salad, its all about balance...), we had a trivia game that included questions about current statistics of eating disorders, self-image, etc. The three competing teams were the Hotties of 26th Ave, the Buttless Beauties, and Tres Amigas. (Lol). A few shockers from the game: 80% of 13 year olds have attempted to lose weight and 5-10% of anorexic women will die within 10 years of the onset of the disease.

After trivia, we had a craft. Each woman got a pack of letters and a pretty stationary paper with the goal of unscrambling the letters and creating a positive phrase. If they wanted, they could write a little contract with themselves on the back about having a positive self-image. Here's a few finished products.

Then we watched a funny movie that dealt with having a healthy self-image, during which I had to leave to go to work. All throughout the night, anytime someone started to say something negative about themselves, they were immediately cut off and others replaced their words with positive comments. It was really encouraging, and I have no doubt it will make a difference for the gorgeous women, even if it is the first step towards health.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

100 Things about Me

1. I'm a registered nurse.
2. I am currently in grad school to become a family nurse practitioner.
3. I'd also really love a master's in public health.
4. I used to not like kids.
5. Now I really like kids.
6. I help teach the 1st-5th grade kids at church on Sunday mornings.
7. I am starting a one-on-one mentoring program called KidsHope in a few weeks.
8. I volunteer at the Salvation Army Medical Clinic when I can.
9. I love serving people in need.
10. I get the biggest kick out of meeting basic needs: food, water, shelter, love.
11. I want to move internationally in the semi-near future to do that.
12. I love learning about different cultures and languages.
13. If I was doing something other than nursing, I'd work for a Christian non-profit agency helping people in crisis.
14. Or I'd be a photographer/reporter for National Geographic on human rights issues.
15. I like being really cheap.
16. The reason I try to be cheap is so I can give more away.
17. I became a Christian when I was 13.
18. I was baptized by my top role model.
19. I was scared to talk to my role model/mentor until this last year.
20. I become more amazed by God all the time.
21. A lot of people say I look like Natalie Wood who played Maria in West Side Story.
22. I've been a little self-conscious of my weight since college.
23. It's pretty silly that I am considering I am a big 112 lbs.
24. I've never said I've felt that way in "public" before.
25. I would live outdoors all the time if it never got hot or cold.
26. I really like running. I think I am physically addicted to it, though I'm just a casual jogger now.
27. I ran a marathon my senior year in college.
28. I don't have the itch to do another one yet, but I'd like to do a half marathon in the spring.
29. I did an internship in Minnesota in 2005 and moved here in 2006.
30. It still strikes me funny that I live here.
31. I love the down-home cabin feel of the rural parts and the trendy-green loving feel of the cities.
32. My friends know me better than my family.
33. I miss my grandma who died last year.
34. I learned to knit last winter, but have only done a lot of scarfs and one hat.
35. I don't think I've ever seriously been in love.
36. Though there are people I admire greatly from afar.
37. I have a really bad sweet tooth.
38. I like doing creative arts and crafts things.
39. I make my own stationary.
40. I love singing.
41. One of the few things I miss from Harding is singing with other believers.
42. Just about the only other thing I miss is the people.
43. I guess I miss some of the activities too, though I have different things going on now.
44. I tend to sing alto when there is not instrumental music, and soprano when there is.
45. People ask me to giggle for them sometimes because apparrantly my giggle is pretty funny.
46. I used to have a variety of nicknames, but nobody here uses them.
47. I love to read.
48. I used to get in trouble when I was a kid for reading too much.
47. I also got in trouble for talking back.
48. I'm better about that now.
49. I always wanted to have red curly hair like my sister's.
50. As I get older it is getting curlier, but it is still just brown.
51. Fall is my favorite season.
52. I like it best because of sweatshirts, colors, and pumpkin flavored everything.
53. This last winter in MN wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.
54. I tend to be an optimist and see something good about everything.
55. Patients ask me all the time if I am old enough to be a nurse.
56. I get asked if I am in high school on a regular basis.
57. My favorite color is green.
58. My birthday is on St. Patrick's Day.
59. That's not the reason my favorite color is green.
60. I have a bad habit of eating unidentified berries when on a hike.
61. I'm not scared of dying.
62. A big part of my heart is in Honduras.
63. I spend exclusive time with God every day.
64. My faith has changed in incredible ways since I started doing that.
65. I used to play piano, but I haven't seriously in years.
66. It makes me really sad when I think of how I let my talent go.
67. If I could play another instrument besides piano, it would be the fiddle.
68. I really do like a small portion of country music.
69. One of my weaknesses is jealosy.
70. I love change.
71. I love surprises.
72. I used to be pretty strict about my shoes to matching my outfit, but now I don't care.
73. I love to wear skirts and chacos, sometimes together.
74. I think it is sad there are such things as rich Christians in a world of need.
75. I have a dream of living in a house in a poor neighborhood with several others.
76. I want it to be a safe place where we could get to know people and become involved in their lives.
77. I want to share possessions and live simply so we'd have more resources for outreach.
78. I want to help struggling people in that neighborhood.
79. I want to become friends with the kids.
80. I want to learn from those people who have a better idea of what community is than I do.
81. If I could take 3 types of items out of this world, they would be drugs, alcohol, and guns.
82. I am addicted to chapstick.
83. I don't like tv.
84. I am extremely picky about movies I like.
85. I am dependent on the internet.
86. If I had a super-power, it would be that of instant transportation.
87. And anybody who was touching me could go with me.
88. I've picked up enough of the MN accent to sound funny to people in TN, but not enough to hide my Southerness here.
89. I'm glad I grew up on a farm.
90. When people ask me where I want to live when I leave Rochester, I have a hard time answering.
91. In a rural area of some yet-to-be-determined underdeveloped country?
92. But then you have to explain more.
93. It's easier to just say Seattle or Denver or some other cool city.
94. But I usually end up telling the whole story.
95. Because I want people to know me.
96. I went for a long time where nobody really knew me.
97. That was years ago. I'm done with that now.
98. And I really want to deeply know other people.
99. I hope this post strikes you as funny and thought-provoking and not too self-centered.
100. I truly am grateful for the life I have.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Return of the Camera

Well, my duct-taped ghetto camera finally meandered its way to Rochester from Honduras where I left it this summer. It was abandoned in my favorite place to lose things: in the pocket on the back of the seat in front of me. I never used to be this forgetful.

Nevertheless, some pretty decent photos came back to me. The ones of buildings are part of the new children's home that opened just a few weeks ago. Amazing. God has prepared a place of paradise for these children who have been through hell. The rest are dear friends who live and serve full-time in Honduras.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

Bayfield, Wisconsin with its Apostle Islands is possibly the best place in the Midwest I had never heard of. At the last minute, my friends Amy and Kate and I set off for the 5-hour drive to this charming little town on some friends' recommendations for the long Labor Day weekend. Here's some of what we found...

A few boats...

The biggest lake in the world....

Some sea caves pounded out by the previously mentioned lake...

Lots of charm....

and a few funny trees.

It was gorgeous, pristine, relaxing, and fun. Pretty much perfect.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jesus Loves Me

I cried for the second time ever at work Monday. Not a big all-out sob, but just enough tears welled up to call it a cry. It didn't help that I was on hour 16 of my shift and physically and mentally worn out.

I just got done assisting with a procedure with this patient where I give her enough drugs to make her loopy enough to not feel us taking two samples of her bone marrow from her hips while keeping her awake enough to follow directions. I was sticking around to take one last set of vital signs and her husband came in after the bone marrow people left.

Now this lady is not all with it. She knows who she is, but she talks nonsense most of the time and says the most hilarious things. Some weird virus is making her this way. We're working on figuring out what it is and what we can do about it. But until then, she basically acts like a 90-year-old Alzheimer's patient instead of a normal mid-50s woman.

So she keeps talking while I'm standing there, just like she has all through the procedure. Except she makes sense for a few minutes. She's talking about how hard this disease is, how sick she is of being sick, how she wishes they could find answers....but that she still has to praise God. "Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me, Jesus loves me" she says over and over while starting to cry. "Jesus loves me and my husband loves me and Jesus loves me....."

Her husband kneels on the floor next to her bedside, puts his head in her hand and silently starts crying himself. Neither of them are paying a bit of attention to me, but I just take her other hand and let my own tears and prayers come.

Life is hard. But Jesus loves me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

For Obang

I had dinner tonight with a friend whose English I have to struggle to understand and whose story I can barely comprehend. Obang is his name and Ethiopia is his home country. He's been here in Rochester for 8 years, 12 in the States, I think. Long story short, his people are being persecuted and killed off by his government. Many of his people, the Anuak, have fled to go to Sudan. Talk about a place of refuge. Many are in Kenya, like his fiance.

But before I get too serious here, Obang made some good food tonight. I'm not even going to try to spell it, but it was this spongy bread/tortilla thing you use to scoop up a stew-like mixture of meat and veggies. He told me where to buy the yummy sponge-bread, and you can be sure I'm going to get some real soon.

Obang didn't go to school when he was little. He never went until he was 12 or 13 because the government physically blocked the way and set up insurmountable barriers. He has recently started to learn to write his native language through a church in the Cities that hosts tutoring on Sundays. There are only about 100,000 Anuaks to start with, and roughly 400-500 live here in Minnesota.

He doesn't really know for sure how old he is now. By my estimates, he's got to be close to 30, but looks much younger. His skin is the darkest of dark, which make his white teeth stand out so much you have a hard time not staring at them. But you have an excuse because if you stare at his lips you will catch more words. Somehow he and his brother came over here before this pre-genocide started. His brother got sick and needed a kidney transplant. Obang gave him one of his.

The main incidence of genocidal killings started in Dec. 2003. Several other skirmishs and persecutions have happened since. And now Obang has a fire in his body to help his people and raise awareness about what's going on there. He's networking with everyone he can over here to get support, money, and awareness to do something. He and another person want to raise enough money to go to Africa and find some responsible, dependable people who will accept whatever funds/supplies Obang and his stateside community can muster up and do good things with it. Education is his first priority. There are not many schools, and they don't have supplies anyway. Today he went to the Kiwanis group and they gave him $42. It's a start. Besides education, they don't have adequate food and water either.

With all the atrocities occuring in Sudan, the crisis in Ethiopia has been overshadowed. But it's real and it's affecting my brothers and sisters. And it's causing Obang to lose a lot of sleep.

If you want to read a little more, check this out

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Quiet Night

Many times people ask me what kind of hospital unit I work on. The answer is: General Medicine/Nephrology. That translates into kidneys and everything else. Here's the breakdown of my patients tonight:

#1-Male with left groin abscess and a history of pelvic cancer and chronic kidney failure
#2-Somalian male with a joint infection of his ankle-speaks no English
#3-Woman recovering from multi-organ (kidney, liver, respiratory) failure after going into shock from an overwhelming infection
#4- Male with GI bleeding and acute kidney failure, history of heart failure
#5-Woman with some serious stomach bug or possibly ulcerative colitis
#6-25 year-old male with bone changes in his hips causing great pain, plus extensive psych issues including drug dependency, bipolar disorder, and multiple suicidal attempts.

And I have little to do. Its a quiet night on Domitilla 3D. And I'm relishing in that fact.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


In July, I left my home to visit home on my way to what feels like home.

Let me explain.

I left Rochester, MN, (which is where I would probably consider home is), to go to Lebanon, TN (which is where other people would consider my home is). I said hi and bye, and then left to go to a place that really feels like home: Honduras, Central America.

What a strange feeling—to travel who-knows-how-many-miles with one carry-on suitcase and feel like you are really home. I told a few people that. Some looked at me like I was crazy and others said “I know exactly what you mean” before I had even finished my sentence. But Honduras felt like home much more than my middle-class suburban life in Lebanon or my single adult professional life in Rochester.

Maybe it’s the lifestyle. When I try to describe what I feel when I’m deliberately serving and loving people in a developing country, I usually say, “I am more like myself when I’m there.” What I mean is, when I’m there, I am who I want to be and who I believe I am really deep down. I don’t care about materialism. I care about people. I don’t care about fancy food. I want to make sure others are fed enough to live. I don’t care about the latest high tech expensive surgery. I care if people receive basic healthcare. I don’t care that my shirt and pants may not exactly match. I care that others have enough clothes to survive.

Maybe Honduras felt like home because I’d been there before and I recognized places and people more so than the people I was with. But I think it was more than that. While we were working, someone said to me “I can definitely see where your heart it.” Whoa. Did they mean Honduras? I don’t know. I took it as if they meant serving people who desperately need it.

You always hear people say you should find something you’re passionate about and make a living out of it. I’m passionate about helping people in need who don’t have much. It keeps me up at night. I lose sleep and shed tears and skip meals struggling in my mind and in prayer for those struggling in this world. And by them not having much, I mean more than food and clothes. I mean hope. And faith. And a relationship with God. It just so happens that God told us to go to those in need and help them. To feed, clothe, shelter, and teach them.

Honduras isn’t the only place where there are people in great need. I don’t know where God will send me. I also don’t think it really matters now. But I’m listening, soberly.

Monday, July 23, 2007

To the Frimily

To those soulmates scattered near and far:

I've written and erased this opening sentence probably a dozen times. I started naming some of you but kept thinking of more to add to the list. I don't know how to express how grateful I am for people like you--people I can dream with, laugh and cry with, love with. Though months may pass between the times we speak, there exists a sweet, sweet bond that is not easily broken. Thank you for having hearts soft enough to hear both God's shouts and whispers. Thanks for caring passionately about people. Thanks for challenging me and encouraging me. Thanks for sticking through the insecure and indecisive times. I'm excited and sobered by what tomorrow brings. I know you'll be there in spirit no matter what. And I praise God for all of you.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sometimes when I read books or hear about events or witness awful things occur, I get kind of discouraged. Like tonight, when speaking with a new friend from Ethiopia pleading for attention for the genocide occurring in his country. Like last night at work, with the woman with obvious signs of physical neglect whose stories just don't add up. Like this morning when I'm reading a book that talks a lot about materialism, community, and how far the normal philosphopies of Christianity are from what Jesus actually talked about. Like today, when I'm packing up my apartment and embarrased that I have so much stuff when there are others who have so little.

Discourage: "to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit." (dictionary.com)

Then I came across this quote tonight: “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

Take courage, my friends. Make some changes, keep a little esperanza in your soul, and keep trying.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

It took 'em a year, but they finally came

So this week, my family came all the way from Tennessee to come see me. That is, minus my sister, who was working and being a bridesmaid for a friend. We went "Up North"--what Minnesotans call the North Shore of Lake Superior, the largest lake in the world. Here are some highlight photos.

This is Gooseberry Falls, a really wonderful state park.

This is Split Rock Lighthouse.

A barge on Lake Superior in the chilly early morning

Superior from a distance at Gooseberry.

Check out facebook for lots more. The week also included a lot of corn fields, elk farms, a lot of driving, a huge park in St. Paul, the Farmer's Market, a nature center, wild blackberries, and a tour of Mayo. I believe a good time was had by all. My new goal is to get them here in winter.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Geez louise, life has been busy lately. I'm going to sum up the last month or so just to give an update, but these blogs end up sounding so self-centered that I'm going to try to make it quick.

I went to a Caedmon's Call concert, one of my favorite bands. I had planned on meeting people there, but they were going to be late There were these people on our row saving 4 seats, and everybody and their brother asked us if they were taken. We weren't saving them, so we deferred the question. There were very few seats left in that church that seats about 2000 other than those four in our row. Lo and behold, right at the beginning of the concert, our friends walk in, greet the people saving the seats, and sit down next to us. We were all looking for the same people. What are the chances?

That's a question I've asked quite a bit lately. What are the chances? I'm in a 6-week bio- statistics course, and it's taken about 80% of my spare time. We're nearing the end and I am grateful for that. I just am not a math person, though I think I'm holding my own in this course. Just trust me when I say that most stats that you hear or read are trash. I'll be grateful for July and the beginning of August when I won't be in school AT ALL.

Speaking of July, it is going to be one wild ride! I'll be in Honduras with the College Hills youth group for a week, and spend a split-week in Lebanon on either side of that. I'm working almost every day I'm in Rochester, and sometime in there I'm going to pack and move into a different apartment. My current roommate Amy is leaving me. Sadness. I'm not going to think about it now, other than to cherish the few days we have left together.

I started working with a nursing intern at Mayo last week. She's doing the same internship I did two years ago. TWO YEARS AGO?! Madness. I'm so pumped about working with her. SO much fun to have someone to work with, to teach, to become friends with. We'll be working side by side all summer.

Backing up to May, I went to Searcy for a week. I am blessed beyond belief to have so many good friends. Not just acquaintances, but life-friends. Not just one or two, but many. I say this just to give God praise for letting me associate with such wonderful people. I love my friends. I also love my professors. One of them told me she prays for me by name every day. She said she had a little list of special people who had stuck out to her over the years. I was on that list. The honor of that act and the sincerity of her commitment to prayer brought tears to my eyes.

Flipping back to Rochester, I've become seriously attached to my small group here in Rochester. We meet every two weeks, and I just love it. Amy and I are the youngest people by a good 15 years, but they treat us like complete equals. I'm so sad when I can't be there.

I've also become quite attached to my church. After many difficult months of searching, I've found a home. Though most of Harding would just DIE if they ever came to this church of Christ, I love it. Definitely took some minor adjustments on my part, but I'm so grateful for the challenge, acceptance, growth, and excitement about God that I've found there. Hallelujah.

My family is coming to visit in two weeks. The North country calls us, I believe. However, reservations of any kind (other than plane tickets) are still lacking.

I went to Dallas last weekend and met with the Rwanda team. That's a whole separate entry in itself. Maybe tomorrow.

Yay for MN summers! I am relishing in the wonderfulness of this place every day. The sun rises at 5am, sets after 9pm, and southern heat and humidity is far, far away. Everything is green, the lakes are clear, and the bike paths beckon. A couple of friends and I conquered a 25-mile stretch of bike path yesterday.

So this turned out to be pretty self-centered anyway. My apologies.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I stole this idea

What's on my desk:
-Admission packet to grad school
-APA manual
-a Mother Teresa biography
-random alcohol swabs
-my paper on preventing medical errors

What's in my fridge
-frozen fruit for smoothies
-peanut satay sauce
-chick peas

What's on my floor
-my running shoes
-dirty and clean clothes
-scarves I made for an orphanage

What's on my mind
-going to see the frimily (i.e. friends who've become like family) in Searcy
-my upcoming trips to Dallas and Honduras
-my family's trip to come see me
-Rwanda and the Rwanda 08 team
-joining a committee at work and if I want to transfer units to get a different experience
-finishing my papers on medical errors and dehydration/cholera
-finding a new apartment for when Amy leaves


Today I hit a chipmunk.....with my bike. Let me paint the picture for you.

I was cruising on my bike for the second time this season. It could not have been a more gorgeous day--70 degrees, sunny, a few white puffy clouds in the sky. I'm riding on a bike path parallel to a road, soaking up the beautifulness. Then, I notice this chipmunk start to run across the street, in front of traffic. I think, "Oh, no! I'm about to watch this little guy get hit! I might get splattered!"

But alas, the chipmunk makes it safely across after skillfully dodging through menacing tires from the passing cars. In his haste to get away from danger, the frantic little chipmunk kept running. Unfortunately, despite my swerving into the grass, he ran right into my wheel. The chipmunk went airborne, almost brushing my ear. I screamed. Screamed like a little girl.

I scream even when I hit small animals in my car, where I have no chance of bodily coming into contact it the injured animal. You should have heard me on my bike.

The chipmunk landed back on the same side where he went flying, then scurried across to the other side of the path. I guess he'll make it. I almost didn't.

After I finished screaming my signature high-pitched scream, I thought about how funny that must have looked to passersby. It is spring in Minnesota-EVERYONE is on the sidewalks. So I laughed at myself. Laughed like a schizophrenic who just opened a new 64-pack of crayons.
I bet that was pretty funny looking too.

Later, I was dive-bombed by two crows. I don't know what the animal kingdom has against me today. Be careful out there, folks.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

How time flies...

So I'm not the world's best blogger. To serve as a recap of fun things from the last month....

I went dancing with friends....

...earned a few bruises attempting skiing for the first time.....

....gained a new cousin (Ann)....

....had two wonderful birthday parties....

....and worked a 16-hour shift.

That's all that's documented by pictures. Everyone likes pictures better than words, right?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Ok, I know I complain about being SO TIRED of people asking me about the weather. But it is kind of cool, and I wanted to share these pictures. I've enjoyed having a real winter. But I enjoy my springs and summers just as much!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Let's be honest here

I'll be honest. I haven't had the world's best attitude about work lately. It was bound to happen. I haven't been thinking evil thoughts or wishing death upon my patients, but I can't say I've been real happy about going to work. People are....(sigh)....inconsiderate, rude, mean, ungrateful, needy. Don't get me wrong--I like being needed--most nurses do. We thrive helping people.

So what's the deal? I want to help people, but there's a limit to my help?? That doesn't make much sense-as a nurse or a Christian who proclaims to love people and be a servant. Bingo. There's my problem.

While eating lunch with a friend the other day, I shared some of my recent sentiments regarding work. This was after I told her I wanted to move to Africa to be a missionary. (Yes, you can go ahead and smirk at my inconsistencies.) She shared a real pearl with me. She said, "You know, love is painful." And it hit me.

Love is painful. Yes, that is right. It fits right in there with "love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs..... It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails" (1Corinthians 13:4-8)

If I am truly going to love people-be they friend or enemy-it is going to be painful. If I love and expect nothing in return, it is going to hurt. I am called to love, to pour out all that I am until I have no more and expect to never be filled back up again by the words or actions of humans.....
So bring on the pain.

I have a lot to learn. Lord, teach me to love.

For those of you who wondered....

This is what I've been up to lately.....

Being amazed at coldness

Watching a best friend
get married

Helping the sister move

Hanging with the Honduran interns

That's all I've got pictures of. More stuff: surprising the family with a visit, hanging out with friends, going to church, repairing my car, starting classes, cooking, and working. But mostly praying and researching about some future opportunities and decisions. That's life in a nutshell for me.

Some things I've learned recently:
-how to knit
-people in handcuffs can still spit on you
-friends can offer priceless words of encoouragement
-friends can also offer priceless words of wisdom
-what a -30 degree windchill feels like
-that I'm pretty well acclimated to MN
-just because it's not your fault doesn't mean you don't get yelled at
-I really do like kids
-I don't really want to work in an American hospital much longer
-I've got a lot to learn about loving people (see next blog)