the waiting game.

22 Sep

often i find myself responding to peoples questions about how i am doing in life, going something like this, “well this is what i am doing now, just kinda waiting for the next _________(insert here with: job opening, semester of school, phase of life, housing situation move, relationship status change, career move, door to open to whatever… blah blah. you get the picture).

sometimes i think it is a very healthy thing to be looking forward to the next thing. i pray that i hope more for heaven everyday rather than being wrapped up in this world. (see Romans 8: 19,23) BUT, if i really keep asking myself why i answer the way i do to those type questions, i discover something that i don’t like.

discontentment. kinda hidden, but it’s there. If i am always wanting to be on the other side of where i am, what about where the Lord has me now? sometimes i’m so focused on what is next or worried about what that will look like, I forget what i am supposed to be doing now. what is the Lord teaching me in my present situation?

“BE WHERE YOU ARE”- my mother. a lot of times it was used in context of- “we are on family vacation, so put your phones away and just be here.”

means so much more to me now though. reminds me that i am where i am for a reason. the patients i have each day are assigned to me because God put them there. i am working on my floor right now because that is where i am supposed to be serving. i believe God is sovereign and wise and good. in all circumstances of my life. i just need to be reminded daily of it.

“whatever your circumstances, and however difficult they may be, the truth is that they are ordained by God for you as part of His overall plan for your life. God does nothing, or allows nothing, without a purpose. And His purposes, however mysterious and inscrutable they may be to us, are always for His glory and our ultimate good.” -Jerry Bridges (in Respectable Sins)

so yes, i am in a sense waiting for the next whatever the Lord has for me, but also praying that my eyes will be opened to the present and see the Lord’s hand in the now. hoping that i wont pass up opportunities to serve Him where i am now. so thankful for His grace to me in teaching me that He is God and I am not, cause I am a slow learner.

a verse i need to meditate on every day:

“rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”   -1 thessalonians 5:16-18

colors. and stuff.

24 Mar

Imageyesterday was Color me Rad a colorful 5k to raise money for Blair E Batson childrens hospital in Jackson. it was a blast and so laid back there wasn’t even a clock to time you. lots of good photo ops.

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and after…

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my hair still is showing some blue today, but other than that all of it washed off. seeing all that color yesterday made me thankful for color in this world. how boring would it be without so much color. I am loving that spring is starting to show itself via all the pretty flowers (not loving the pollen though).

i am a day shift nurse now. and sleeping at night is wonderful. 8 months on nights were a good thing but I am grateful for the change and all that I will be learning during the day now.

my small group started this book by Tim Keller, which i have already read, but I am excited because it is one of my favorites. very convicting and a good reminder of what I love more than God. We are all worshippers of something. sometimes we dont even know what it is till we stop and examine our hearts and our thoughts. that is what this book forces you to do. Stop and examine what drives you, where do you spend all your time, what makes you most mad… it is very interesting and convicting once you start asking yourself those why questions. I am glad I am gonna go through it again because I am sure that there will be more to uncover then was uncovered 2 years ago when I read it.

since it is palm sunday some lyrics of a hymn (written by Charles Wesley) that was mentioned today in church. i was gonna try to post one verse, but i couldn’t pick just one. rich words to reflect on this week.

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

 

isn’t that amazing?

2012.

31 Dec

otro ano.

What a year.

2012. Started it off with passion conference in Atl. Finished MC nursing school. Graduated. Passed my nursing boards. (the big nasty NCLEX) Got a job at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson on a med-surg floor-night shift. (PRAISE THE LORD!!!) Went to Cajamarca, Peru for a medical/dental/VBS mission trip for a week. Came back refreshed and ready to start my job. Moved Sarah and Paul Dean to New Orleans. Was in 2 friends weddings that I have known my whole life and went to a billion others plus all the showers. Took an adventure to New York to see Katy Hartman and Ruth Ann came too. (see previous post about the trip) Lived at home.( and loved it. And saved some money) Never fully cleaned my room like I really should do. Learned how to pay bills and my health insurance- ya know just adulty things. Got to go watch my best friend graduate from LSU. Got my first speeding ticket. (boooooo)

The good Lord has been teaching me so much over the past year.

To trust Him more.

That He is enough.

That I bring nothing to the table and can add nothing to the Gospel.

I have seen some very ugly parts of myself that I don’t like and wish weren’t there. No one likes facing their sins that they thought weren’t there and figuring out insecurities that I didn’t know I had.

I have struggled with loneliness and depression. Tried to feel sorry for myself. You know the post college-what am I doing with my life-everyone is getting married- I don’t know how to best spend my time- my job has weird hours-stuff.

I have felt pride in being a nurse and then jealous of others that seem to have an easier job.  I have felt left out of a lot of things because of my schedule. Half way committed to things and I don’t like that. Since my schedule is different every week. I’m learning to not let my attitude be ruled by my circumstances, which is easier said than done for me.

I have survived being a nurse for 5 months now. I have watched patients take their last breath. I have been yelled at. Cursed at. Physically hit. I have shed tears of hurt when no one was watching. I have been frustrated over not being able to do everything for 6 patients all at one time. Cause no one can. I have prayed with some patients who had lost hope and needed some encouragement. I have read scriptures to the restless and anxious. But really it was this anxious and restless one that needed to hear it the most.

I have cried on days when I don’t understand life and don’t feel secure and in community like I used to. I have hungered and thirsted for Church. For the gospel. For the people. For the community and fellowship. The rich words of the hymns that sometimes make me cry. It has never been so sweet to me and for that I am grateful for this state I am in. people tell me it will get better. it is a phase. Yes. I wont always be a new-overwhelmed nurse. I won’t always be a fresh out of college young adult. But I feel like to some degree I will always feel a little restless. A little homesick. And I think that is okay. In Romans 8, it says that we grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for redemption and adoption. This world isn’t supposed to feel so comfortable and easy to us-it doesn’t say that in the bible. We should be a little homesick cause we were made for something better. As Augustine said, “Restless till we find our rest in thee.”

So as this year closes I am humbled by my own brokenness that has been coming uncovered by his grace. I am in awe of His faithfulness and goodness to me despite my apathetic spirit some days towards him. I am looking behind and thinking wow I am so needy, but also I have such a loving and patient heavenly Father. I am excited what this new year will bring. Hope to discover more about Jesus that makes me love him and others more. Hope to choose joy over sorrow in hard times and discouraging situations. I hope to trust Jesus more and be sharpened by his word and by the people he has placed in my life around me. I am looking forward to 2013 with this verse in mind-that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion at the day of Christ Jesus. –Philippians 1:6. And that even though I am changing and sometimes inconsistent my God isn’t and I can rest in that. (hebrews 13:8)

new york.

26 Nov

last weekend, I arranged my work schedule so I could travel to New York to visit one of my best friends and take a break from what I have been doing here. I love love to travel and experiencing new places especially when that means that I get to visit a friend on my adventure as well. New York was absolutely breathtaking with all the fall trees in the parks and some christmas decorations out.

There was so much about New York that reminded me of my time living in London. I almost expected to hear british accents when I first got there and used the public transportation underground. That was one of my favorite parts of London. taking buses and tubes everywhere and walking and wandering through out the city and finding new places and parks to experience.

stuff I did: people watched. alot. Katy took me to all her favorite places to eat in manhatten, brooklyn, downtown.(one of my favorites was Gran Electrica in Brooklyn) we went running in Central Park(see above pic). saw elf the musical which was actually really cute. (we were trying to see Once the musical, but it was sold out). we did some shopping at some of my favorites: H&M, forever 21, urban outfitters, MadeWell, Anthro. Ruth Ann joined us on Saturday night which was so fun for me to have two of my best friends together in New York. I got to spend time with both and Ruth Ann and I went shopping and ice skating together while Katy worked on Monday.

Ruth Ann and I in Central Park about to go ice skating

it was magical

this is a “popover”. at the popover cafe. so good. and the waiter was so nice he gave us extras to take with us since we were so fascinated by them and how to make them.

On sunday I got the pleasure of worshipping and taking communion with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ at Redeemer in NYC. so refreshing to visit other churches and be encouraged that the gospel is changing hearts everywhere and God is at work even in New York though it seems to be like a dark place spiritually.

Ruth Ann with the help of some of her fav bloggers found the best chocolate chip cookie in New York at a cute little place called Levain Bakery.
so delicious.

the beautiful city

It was a beautiful trip and so refreshing to be in a new place and experience what Katy is doing there. to get to meet her friends and see where she lives, shops, eats, etc. I love showing people where I live and what I do. I like to see where people live and what they do if they have moved because then I can understand more about their life and know who they are talking about when they talk about the important people in their life. SO blessed to have such sweet and solid friends to visit and travel with. This was actually the first time I had flown by myself, but I survived and made friends with everyone I sat by. (two new Yorkers on the way there and two ladies who had been helping out with Sandy relief work for the red cross on the way back.)

im thankful for planes. for adventures. new places. changing lives (although it is hard for me sometimes), beautiful cities where you walk everywhere. for Katy and Ruth Ann and the wonderful long weekend we shared together. for a home to come back to. a family that loves me. a job where i can learn and grow. for days like today when i can rest and journal and be still for once. and most of all for knowing that I am His and that will NEVER change.

birthdays.

12 Nov

Birthdays. (I actually wrote this the day after my birthday but somehow it never made it on here.. oops. better late than never)

They come every year. In my family they are kind of a big deal. I realized this: I am kinda a birthday diva. But I wouldn’t take back celebrating so much on birthdays in my family cause it is just fun. I like to make people feel special on their birthdays, because growing up I was always treated special. As I am growing up though, I am realizing that the world doesn’t stop on my birthday anymore..hence me having to work a 12 hour night shift on my birthday, but that’s okay.

When I say we do birthdays big. Let me expound. There is always a birthday sign. Homemade of course and it usually stays up until we have something at our house that we take it down for or until the next birthday comes around. There is birthday breakfast with a candle in whatever we have and singing in our best morning voices. Gifts from all the sisters and parents. At school growing up my mom would make a cookie cake and bring it to school at lunch enough for everyone in my class to get a piece. This continued throughout highschool cept then I brought it instead of her. Then we either go out to eat somewhere as a family or we pick our favorite meal for my mom to make for our birthday dinner, which of course will come with a birthday dessert.  Growing up I had the best birthday parties whether homemade like a backwards party or mystic bowling or a luau in my backyard playing in our hot tub. I have a lot of extended family that live in Jackson and we celebrate everyone’s birthdays in our family but usually group them together since there are so many of us. For instance a few weeks ago we celebrated the 5 people with October birthdays. And we all had our own cake. (Go big or go home.)  In college there were always birthday parties or birthday dinners with friends. Freshman year I bought a few tiaras that I made my friends wear on their birthdays if I remembered. So now you can understand why I am kinda a birthday diva at times.

Yesterday (oct 30) I turned 23. Whoop. Whoop. It was a different birthday for sure. I am not in college anymore and people have jobs. I went to pilates with my mom at the ymca. Then went on a walk/run (started a birthday run tradition in college with my roomie…determined to keep it up especially since it is usually a lovely fall day on my birthday) A dear family friend and precious saint in our church passed away this weekend unexpectedly, so I went to the funeral at my church on my birthday. I bawled like a baby. It was very sobering for me to be at a funeral on my birthday and be reminded of what is really important in this life and that it is not our home. You can learn a lot about someone at their funeral by what people say or remember about them etc. This lady was one special gem that really made everyone she talked to feel so special and loved no matter who you were. She loved Jesus so much and loved her wonderful family. She was just such a blessing and understood the gospel- her need for a savior and his grace poured out on her life. There were sad and sweet things said and there were funny stories shared where everyone was laughing, but the most important was that the gospel was preached (1 John 5:13) and that is really what she would have wanted. This kinda snapped me out of my feeling entitled on my birthday mode of thinking and thought about what people would say about me or remember about me whenever it is my time to see leave this world and see Jesus. Lots of questions swarmed my head. What kind of aroma do I leave people that I am around? Do I care more about giving the Lord glory in my conversations and life or what people think about me or what I look like. Ouch.

Then I had to work on my birthday.  I sound so pathetic even complaining about this. But remember this was my first grown up birthday. It was kinda sad to not get to see all my family and friends on my birthday and have to be at work with people I don’t even really know. I made some pumpkin muffins when I was home and Ruth Ann came over to visit for a bit before I went to work then some sweet friends met me for twenty minutes at the coffee shop before I walked into work. Overall it wasn’t too bad and I am glad of the reminders of what is really important. I hope this next year of being 23 brings just as much growth as the last year has brought. I hope and pray that I will grow in wisdom and humility in this next year and that I will know more about my precious savior than I have known before. (colossians 1:9-14 is a solid prayer that paul is praying and I have ben praying through that for myself and my friends lately)

wedding weekend

18 Oct

Anna Kathryn Clarke and Chris Brown got married on October 6 a few weeks ago. Here are some pictures from the beautiful wedding and reception which was at our church First Pres Jackson.

at the rehearsal dinner at the art museum.

This was my first rehearsal dinner of two friends. I was so nervous because I wanted to say something, but I don’t like being the center of attention or talking in front of people. I decided to write down what I wanted to say and just read it no matter how lame that was. and I am glad I did. There was so many people there because of big families, but I had several people thank me for what I said. That is the reason why I decided to say something. I remember at my own sister’s wedding rehearsal dinner, I was so blessed by what her friends said about her and Paul. I learned more about them and how much of a blessing they were to their friends that night. so I decided since then, that if I feel like I have something to say then I will say it no matter how nervous or shaky I am while reading it.

waiting for pictures with the bride

getting ready for the bouquet toss

one of my best friends

Anna Kathryn had babys breath in her hair, then we decided to put it in ours also. turned out to look very pretty on everyone and it was very Anna Kathryn.

so excited for our friends new marriage together!

It was such a lovely weekend. from the bridesmaid luncheon, to the rehearsal dinner, to the wedding ceremony, to the reception. to even some of us going to the state fair later that night cause we hadn’t enough of each other yet. So happy for my friends and for new marriages. I love them both and know that they will continue to love each other better each day because they both love Jesus more than they love each other. They understand their desperate need for Jesus and want to please him and serve like him in their marriage, so I am excited. I have seen them both grow and mature so much in the past few years and I can’t wait to continue to observe them as they get to display God’s glory and gospel in one of the most sacred ways- in marriage.

In a few weeks I will be in another wedding for Jackie and this weekend I am attending 2, although I am invited to 4.  Yes, it is wedding season for my friends and really cool to see how the Lord brought each couple to each other and hear their story.  I love weddings and confess that in most ceremonies at some point I cry or have tears welled up either in my eyes or they softly flow down my cheeks. It isn’t always the same moment that I get emotional, but probably when I get touched the most is when I am reminded of a wedding that is coming one day. As beautiful as all these weddings are that I am going to and as beautiful as I dream mine will be someday, it doesn’t even touch and I can’t even comprehend something as beautiful as the wedding that will be one day– of Christ and the church. (Isn’t it so cool that God starts out the bible with a marriage and ends the Bible in Revelation with a marriage!)

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” –revelation 19:7-8

the story of my cucumber-lemon muffins.

10 Oct

I love to bake. and the other day my co workers requested me to bake them something the next night I went to work and we were talking about the zucchini muffins. so I agreed that after I woke up from my nap when I went home (cause I work the night shift) I would make some muffins to take to work for them. I had all the stuff out and ready and had sent my mom to get a few things while I was sleeping.

I started making them quickly because I didn’t have much time. at one point when I had poured what I thought was vanilla extract into the bowl, my mom said, “you know that is lemon right?” oops. no, I didn’t know. I had only put one teaspoon and I was doubling the recipe so I thought, “oh well, a little lemon cant hurt it”.

my mom had several brown bags from the farmers market because she was making vegetables that night for dinner. I reached in one bag and pulled out the green things and began to grate them hard and fast for my muffins. I finished all the measuring and mixing part and put them in the oven. Then.. my mom is frustrated cause she can’t find her bag of cucumbers she bought. then she discovers a bag of zucchini. yep. I had totally put cucumbers in my recipe instead of zucchini. and Its not that I don’t know the difference. I was just in such a hurry that I didn’t notice what I was putting in. at that moment when I realized what I had done, I just wanted to cry. I was so mad, because I had spent all that time and I just wanted to make those muffins for my co-workers since we had all talked about it the night before. I was tired from work and frustrated at myself for not paying more attention. and all my family could do was laugh. Eventually I did laugh, because it was hilarious. but at that moment it was not funny. needless to say the cucumber lemon muffins turned out not to be too terrible and some of my co workers liked them, but honestly they weren’t my favorite.

I think I learned alot from this baking mishap though. I will always double check the vegetable or fruit I am grating in a recipe and I will never assume that if it looks like vanilla it is. but more importantly I realized that most of the reason I was so upset is because of what my co workers would think of me or my muffins. I am a new nurse on the floor and I want people to like me naturally. sometimes this is an idol for me disguised in the form of me trying to please others, but really if I am honest, it is all just to please myself ultimately. approval of others. to look like I have it all together. so people will like me.

how pathetic. when I decided that I should just bring them anyways to work, it was hard on my pride because they weren’t going to be as good as they were supposed to be. but it turned out that they all thought is was hilarious and they still make fun of me and laugh with me about it because I laughed at myself when I told them the story of how I really messed up that day. I realize that it is so much better to just be myself and not try to appear put together when I am not. that isn’t helping my witness either when some people around me aren’t believers because christians definitely don’t have it all together. Christ died to save sinners, not people who have it all together on the outside. cause we all know we don’t all have it together on the inside. I’m thankful for making mistakes because of the lessons I learn, and I am so thankful for the reminder of God’s grace to me as I stumble and learn more each day. He is so faithful and gracious. He sees me in robes of righteousness, which is ridiculous because I am anything but righteous on my own. So amazing.