Saturday, December 19, 2009

Need gift ideas?

I love this idea. And these people. And Mission Lazarus. :-)

Mission Lazarus Gift Ideas

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Snow Day!

When the flakes first started to fly....

To when they were pretty much done....

...somewhere around 16 inches of snow, with a few more to be added today. Snow day!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Thanks for Thanksgiving

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

My Mom is Famous

Here's the story: Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Walk set to Honor Teacher

And in MN a few days later....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Life Right Now

I went to bed last night at 8:30pm, and stayed there till shortly before 8am.

And I still felt like I was drowning.

And I was going to take a 15 minute break and get on here and tell you all about it, but I completed the day instead.

I was going to tell you how I've been late on 2 assignments this week because they slipped my mind... how my parents came and went too quickly because Mother Mayo didn't have any good it's cold and I'm drowning in a sea of information that one day I'm going to have to be responsible I have no idea what I'm supposed to do for half the patients that walk into I didn't make it to the Medical Missions Conference this weekend where all my Honduras comrads are plotting I'm missing the Blanshan girls' Iowan getaway next there's no food in the I haven't seen my friends in the deadlines are approaching faster than I can handle and I'm drowning and there's tears and I can't keep up and...

Deep breath.

cup of coffee....homemade breakfast with my love...

six hours in front of a computer and one paper from Hades done....

date night to celebrate five months of happiness.....steak for with scary parts so I can hang on his arm....

early in the morning....nowhere to be tomorrow afternoon....

Another deep breath. And life goes on.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

An observation

Normally at this point in my shift, I would have 6 hours left. 6 down, 6 to go. But, alas, not tonight. For tonight we fall back an hour, letting sugar-filled children have one more hour of sleep after gathering their goodies and letting some nurses earn some overtime in the dark.

And, as the case often is with a well-sedated and ventilated patient, I have extra time on my hands. The last two nights I've entertained myself by reading other people's blogs....people I know, people who know people I know, people I don't know from Adam, etc. Little glipses of lives scattered all over this circle; never-ending commentary on the mundane and the earth-shaking. I switch back and forth between "Man, I have an incredibly boring life" to "Seriously, people, get lives." Either way, it makes me want more words. Words that don't end in -ology or -itis. And I find myself reading on and on. With very little to say.

That's all.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bucket List, Revisited

Back in April, I wrote this post on a slow night shift. It's been over six months, so I figure it is worth an update to see how I'm doing. Though I have to admit, checking things off a list and getting things done have seemed a lot less important lately. I'd much rather snuggle up to my love, watch the leaves fall, or call my parents. But anyway...

*Start a compost pile. No, but I contributed to the neighborhood one.

*Finish painting the few places in my house that need touching up. No, the touch-ups are undone, but I repainted the office.

*Tile the backsplash in my kitchen. Done! And the floor!

*Successfully grow one tomato plant and one pot of basil (the extent of my garden this year) I planted the tomato plant and then forgot it. I zapped the basil with Miracle Grow and it died in hours.

*Read a book about Uganda and try to get a grasp of the history of that country. Nope

*Finish my college scrapbook. (I only have the graduation portion left, and it's been that way for 2 years!) Nope

*Finish my thesis (goal of Nov.). It is DONE! Defense is set for Dec. 3.

*Become a nurse practitioner (planned for May 2010). I'm at least passing right now...

*Play the piano for patients/residents and families at St. Marys and Madonna Towers. Can't tell you the last time I touched the piano, except to dust.

*Make it back to Honduras. No. (sniff).

*Sew something. Nope

*Learn to make decent espresso on my new machine. I have once or twice.

*Winterize the house better so my heat bill improves next winter. Does it count if my husband did it?

*Assume my newfound role as an aunt and get the birthday calendar figured out. Failing miserably.

*Get completely checked off so I can perform blood and marrow transplants and administer chemotherapy at work. Done, even though I really don't like doing it.

Not too bad, huh? If I did it over again, I'd probably make a very different list. Maybe one day I'll get to it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yes, I will go out of my way to step on that crunchy looking leaf

Two people + one afternoon off together= three truckloads of leaves

Our poor postage-stamp yard has recently been bombarded by the mutinous leaves quickly shedding from our pretty trees.

And despite already having three snows, there's still a lot of gorgeous-ness left.

We ended up taking three full truckloads of leaves to the community compost. It was so fun to see half of Rochester out raking their leaves all on the same perfect day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Words heard too soon

You plan for some things.

You think about car wrecks, and you wear your seat belt.
You worry about stairs, so you put the baby gate up.
You stay away from such things as bungee jumping, sky diving, and motor cross.

We plan and we worry and we try to prepare.

And still it's usually the things that happen on any idle day that knock us to our knees.

Last Friday, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Cancer, oddly enough, is not usually a word I am automatically scared of. We have so many good treatments; I've seen too many people come through. But this type is different. If you need to read more about it, go here. We (the medical community) feel like a complete failure when it comes to this disease.

But in the midst of the shock and the tears and the worry and the words heard 30 years too soon ("You don't have very long..."), lots of gifts and things to be thankful for have come forth. And that's what I'm holding on to right now.

86. a thoughtful father who had my husband tell me so I would have someone to hold me when I found out
87. a family that takes care of each other
88. finding cheap tickets on a next-day flight
89. a uncle who visits two days in a row
90. numerous phone calls, cards, and emails
91. Johnny Markham's office
92. hugs
93. late night conversations
94. hearing my mom say "I'm not buying skim milk anymore."
95. a teenage brother who wants to help
96. finding out at least 10 churches and prayer groups prayed for us 2 days post-diagnosis
97. a fill-in preaching father-in-law
98. a quick replacement for my mom's teaching position so she can be free
99. flowers
100. realizing just how far our circle of friends extends
101. far-off relatives who decide to stop by
102. a Jennifer Allen hug
103. having all the family together
104. four-part a capella harmony
105. a minister who's been through this to support my dad
106. understanding professors
107. a friend who will get up at 3:30am to take us to the airport so my exhausted dad doesn't have to
108. coming home to a warm pot roast from the Schulz's
109. looking for waffles the next morning and finding a freezer full of good stuff from my sneaky friends
110. candles
111. my ever-loving, ever-supportive husband who completely lights up my life
112. hope of a better world where this is no cancer
113. pictures
114. land where you can see the stars
115. Cracker Barrel apple crisp with ice cream
116. the comfort of Sunset Restaurant
117. a tiny cousin on a scooter who knows the difference between a tractor and a backhoe
118. four hour naps
119. my Jesus
120. my mom

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The mixing of the Seasons

First snow of the season, before most of the leaves have had a chance to fall...

There will be more to come. 1-3 inches tomorrow. You came too soon, Winter.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

In Thankfulness of Fall

71. the turning of the leaves
72. my ever-so-perfect long, blue fleece robe
73. the warmth of a hot shower
74. a closetful of blankets
75. hot tea
76. brilliant colors the sunrise casts on the fog
77. snuggling under covers
78. casseroles
79. homemade zuccini bread
80. pumpkins
81. Sunday afternoon lunch at the in-laws
82. visiting friends from TN
83. squishing on the couch with my girlfriends
84. installed insulation
85. sweatshirts

Monday, September 28, 2009

Signs by Andrea

3 cheers for entrepreneurship!

Head over to to check out a new business started by my friend Andrea Steed.

Spread the word for a chance to win your own personalized sign!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Earlier this year, I completed the Beth Moore Bible study "Believing God." I was too cheap to buy the accompanying video at the time. I thought the study was great without it. But when my friends decided to buy access to the 9-week series online, I chipped in a few bucks and started backtracking through the videos.

She's quite hilarious. Her content is as serious as it gets, but her presentation is just something else. She, with her big hair and her thick Arkansan accent and almost constant outburts of "Glory!" or "Halleluah!" draws me back to past years spent in the thick Tennessean and Arkansan humidity. But she knows her stuff, and she's excellent at making the Word of God come alive and at presenting new dimensions I definitely would have missed.

In the video I watched the other day, she pulled out a concept that hit me right between the eyes. It may not have hit you, had you seen it, but this is my struggle and it's what spoke to me that day.

Demoralization-when Satan figures out who we fear most that we are. And he sets out to confirm it.

What do you fear you are most?

For me, it is incompetence. I hate it. I fear it. I fear I am not good enough. I fear I can't compare to so-and-so. I fear I might fail.

And he uses it, that angel-turned-liar. He convinces me I will try and not succeed, of course I'm not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, tough enough, etc. And I usually crumble, paralyzed in my fear of imagined reality.

But in the video the other day, Beth was saying how she was afraid she'd fail God. She'd try and fail. And then it hit her: that all-encompasing strength that renews broken spirits and heals past wounds and gives gifts to the ungifted.

God will not fail you.

That's right. Of course. What was I thinking?

And I peel myself up once again, trusting in One who is and will always be enough.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


56. warm, homecooked breakfast with Bob
57. a whole weekend off together
58. news of a pending new niece or nephew
59. new life for a church sister through liver transplantation
60. Sunday afternoon lunch with the in-laws
61. apple crisp with ice cream
62. a little boy in Honduras staring back from a cardboard picture frame
63. late evening walks hand in hand
64. meeting friends unexpectedly on such walks
65. Sunday school kids belting out songs with all their heart
66. a new computer
67. a morning rain on parched earth
68. calls from cross-country friends
69. being a nurse that the "difficult family" likes
70. being just a little bit ahead (maybe just caught up) in school

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Congratulations, John and Emily!

Friday, September 04, 2009

on my way to 1000 gifts

46. a gifted diagnostician for a preceptor
47. Pandora on the Blackberry at the gym
48. low-lying fog covering the tops of corn stalks on my Austin drive
49. audio books for my 1.5 hour roundtrip commute to clinical
50. the Blanshan invasion of Valleyfair
51. an infant niece falling asleep on my chest
52. the two laidback professors I serve for my grad assist position
53. two friends who find their life-partner in each other
54. the chance to stand up for them at their wedding and beyond
55. fields of peaceful, mystical windmills as far as the eye can see

Monday, August 31, 2009

I try to be cool, but it just doesn't work.

Last Thursday was my first day of clinicals in my nurse practitioner program. This was an important day, my first encounter with the professional I'll be working with all semester, seeing and treating patients. And I wanted to make a good impression.

So I wore make-up.

Now you have to understand, I rarely wear make-up. Sometime since Bob and I started dating, I became more comfortable with myself and lost the need to cover up my imperfections. Love changes you like that. But that's a different post.

The point is-I just don't wear make-up that often. I used to, so I have a little routine and I'm comfortable putting it on. But, you see, I got a new mascara for the wedding a few months ago, and I haven't used it since until last Thursday.

This mascara is a little different. First you put on this white protein layer, let it dry, then put on a dark layer. The first layer is supposed to make your lashes longer, somehow.

So I got dressed up in my new professional clothes, put on some make-up, took my coffee mug in hand and headed out the door.

And the day was busy. We hopped from room to room, seeing all kinds of patients. My mind was reeling from all the new knowledge I was absorbing. Finally, at noon, I went to the bathroom. And I looked in the mirror.

And my eyelashes were white.

In a split second, my mind was racing with the possibilities as to what might make my eyelashes turn such an unnatural color. And it quickly hit me--I had never put on the darker layer of my mascara.

Now what? I can't get it off--I need mascara remover. I didn't want to leave the bathroom and look stupid--it is my first day! Have I already been looking stupid all morning? It wasn't tremendously noticable if you weren't looking right at me...but surely someone had and wondered what strange albino condition I had that made my hair and eyebrowns dark brown and my eyelashes white.

Sigh. And this is what I get for painting myself up.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Pet. 3:3

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ok, just a few more for today

26. Singing in the car with Polly, Peggy, and Bob
27. playing a song on the piano and singing loudly when I'm by myself
28. my salt and pepper grinders
29. An employer who pays for grad school
30. Friends who call me for favors
31. Plants that perk up when you open the blinds
32. Dishwashers
33. Red juicy tomatoes in the backyard
34. the farmers' market on Saturday mornings
35. the funny lady who plays the accordion at the farmers' market
36. decent health insurance
37. finding I can throw a pizza in the oven when I first turn it on and it will be done by the time the oven warms up
38. best friends who live 30 yards away
39. the hymn "Be Still My Soul"
40. Singing Fridays in chapel at Harding
41. the chance to hold a dying man's hand
42. the chance to hold a mom while her first child neared death
43. Kutzky Park volleyball court
44. Little friends who run to greet me every Wednesday night
45. Pryor 109

Give Thanks

I love lists. I usually have at least one hanging around. Today I saw this idea: making a list of 1,000 things you are thankful for.

That's an awful big number. It could take me a while. But I think it may be a fun and rewarding way to combat the pressure that is going to come...and last....for the next few months. So here goes nothing. Over the next little bit I'll be counting out my blessings one by one-until I hit 1,000. Steal the graphic and join me!

1. I have been saved from my sin by the grace of the Lord!
2. I am surrounded by friends who constantly challenge and encourage me (i.e. "The Community")
3. I had a healthy childhood
4. Patients who come back to visit the ICU--healthy
5. I have never had to struggle with a chemical addiction
6. Parents who have been married 31 (I think?) years this week
7. Growing up under the influence of Johnny Markham
8. Walking home on my lunch break to see my husband
9. An 8-minute walking commute to work
10. A job that lets me make a difference in lives of children
11. Being able to buy my cute old house
12. Having a husband who is handy at fixing things
13. PB&J
14. Burt's Bees Chapstick
15. Becoming friends with Jennifer Allen
16. Ice cream
17. my Bible(s)
18. a husband who studies Biblical principles in his spare time
19. the engraving on my wedding band
20. the current Honda
21. Harriet the Hatchback Honda
22. mornings
23. a good cup of coffee
24. my rockin' thesis partners-Jenn & Kristina
25. children laughing


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Washington Weekend Adventure

I'm always looking for a good excuse to get on a plane and see what adventures wait for me on the other side of the runway, though this time I was not excited about leaving my weekend-working husband behind. Even so when BenFriend (explanation-he's called BenFriend because we were such good friends in college that everyone thought he was my boyfriend, but we were just friends) told me he was getting married in Washington State, I knew I was going to be there.

It was extremely fun and convenient that one of my best friends and her husband just moved to Seattle in June. So I had a place to stay and people to hang out with while waiting for the wedding festivities.
Amy and Matt picked me up from the airport of Friday, and we took the ferry across the Puget Sound, then continued driving up to NW Washington. We found some pretty things on our way there.

We stayed at a real home-style bed and breakfast, complete with llamas, hummingbirds, and a home cooked sprawling breakfast, all for $50 for the three of us.

We went up north to see the temperate rain forest Washington has, where more than 12 feet of rain falls each year.

We stopped at Ruby Beach on the way back to say hi to the Pacific Ocean and marvel at the huge amount of driftwood, smooth as glass by the battering of the sea.
We found this delightful waterfall on a detour looking for the "world's largest spruce tree".
And after passing it twice, we finally found the mammoth tree.
On Sunday, the wedding was beautiful, going off with only one hitch.

I caught a red-eye flight back to the Midwest and was more than happy to see my wonderful husband waiting for me at 6am at the airport. A lovely weekend, but there's no place like home.