Stop Crying and Run

There are exactly seven days between me and the Family Nurse Practitioner board exam and I can honestly say I have never been more nervous about a test in my life. It’s been a gradual onset of anxiety. Call it insidious if you like. I’ve taken a fair few standardized tests in my day without wanting to throw up. I do pretty well on tests. I even sort of like studying. This one has been different. Studying for this one has made me want to puke on an at least daily basis for two weeks now. I think it has something to do with the fact that our cross-country move hinges on my ability to answer 150 clinical questions. 150 giant questions that stand on a hill mocking me, like some computerized Goliath. Today, instead of just feeling a little sick, I kicked it up a notch and broke down crying. That’s right. A nauseated, ugly cry fest on the back porch. I stopped snuffling just long enough to call my husband at work because he loves when I call him at work for him to fix my problems.

Roger: “Hey babe, how you doing?”Me: [bravely] “Well, actually…not that great. [un-bravely] I just failed a practice exam and I’m afraaaaaaid and I’m paaaanicking and I’m cryyyyyyyying and this is the woooooorst feeeeeling ever. Ever. EVER.”
Roger: [kindly] “Let me pray for you….[awesome prayer]….”
Me: Snuffle snuffle snuuuuuuuufffle
Roger: Stop crying and go running. NOW.
Me: Snuuff-
Roger: NOW.

At which point I decided my husband didn’t know what I was dealing with and a run wouldn’t make me know everything and solve all my problems. But whatever. I’ll go because the alternative is to break things or crawl in bed and cry till my eyes swell shut. So I ran. And ran. And didn’t stop until my legs felt like they’d fall off. It only took about a mile to realize my husband is BRILLIANT. And about two miles to remember how good my God is and how much he loves me. Around three miles I wanted to lay down on the sidewalk but then remembered how I am supposed to be strong and courageous. I remembered that God did not give me a spirit of fear or timidity. He has given me power and peace and joy. He has not brought me this far to leave me puking and crying on the back porch.

I ran for an hour and returned home ready to kick some giant exam butt. Our future absolutely does not hinge on my ability to answer 150 questions. It hinges on a God who is big and good and has an awesome calling on my life. If I truly believe that, then I can fight this Goliath with my bare hands and a sling shot. My God has come through in every other fight I’ve been in. If he helped me slay those lions and bears then he’s got this one covered too. If you’re crying on the back porch today, stop it. Go do whatever you gotta do to get your head on straight and remember who the heck you are.

And go kick some Goliath butt.


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Back in August of 2010 I began the three year adventure to Nurse Practitionerhood. I am extremely pleased to report to you that this morning, with a swift click of the ‘send’ button, I have completed my program. On time. Two weddings and a funeral did not halt the march toward this goal and I think Mom would be proud. Sure I cried, kicked, and screamed at times but for the most part my way was paved pretty wide and easy. My National Health Corps scholarship enabled me to decline some hefty loans and be a full time student and my husband has paid our way through the last year. Thank you, sir.  I got to volunteer, study in a rural clinic across the country, and take on extra clinical hours. And now I am so ready to report for work.

After I pass the board exam, get licensed, and move to FLORIDA.

A smidge to the east of here.

That’s right. We are adventuring back to the motherland. Well, my motherland anyway. It’s time to repay Uncle Sam with two years of service in a medically under served area. Although Hawaii is sorely under served, God in his sovereignty shut some doors here and flung open the doors in Florida. It took some attitude adjustment on my part to even begin the interview process but after visiting Florida with Roger and receiving a few job offers, we fell head over heels for the idea. I will be working in a fantastic community health center in Brevard County (AKA, the Space Coast, previous home of the space shuttle and me!). I was thrilled with their orientation program for new graduates and the team they have serving the Brevard area. We have extended family all over Florida and Roger has been day dreaming of boats, fishing, wildlife, and about ten different jobs that he is perfectly suited for. We couldn’t be more excited about this new adventure.

All that stands between me and earning my keep is one more (huge) exam. I like to think of this whole process like American Gladiator. I’ve done the pyramid, I did the hang tough stuff. I got through the snapback and the joust. Now it’s time for the gauntlet…it’s time to break through and conquer baby. Final season, final event. Just wish I had the awesome leotard because I think it would really help on exam day.

I might need this soundtrack for studying.

I hope you are living your own adventure today. God is good and he has exciting plans. If you need a leotard or a soundtrack to remind you, go get it.

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Just Keeping It Real

I started this blog to share life and encourage myself to do it bravely. I hope it encourages you to do it bravely too. But I have a confession to make. Something came up in my life that scared me and I couldn’t write a word. Roger and I want a baby.

We thought that’d be pretty easy. I mean, first comes loves, then comes marriage, now all we need is the baby carriage. We agreed before we got married that we weren’t getting any younger and we wanted an average to above average size family so why wait too long? Sure, I’m in full time graduate school and about to start full time work. Sure, finances are tight. But we put it entirely in God’s hands anyway. Wasn’t that nice of us? And as a month or so went by, I planned my adorable baby blog. I’d announce it with something akin to the photos flooding Facebook these days: baby shoes and chalkboards and what-have-you. But as the next couple of months went by, I got anxious.

I told my sisters and a few friends but didn’t broadcast it because I didn’t want friends to awkwardly avoid the subject of children. Hearing about babies and pregnancies brings HOPE and JOY. Keep those baby shoe photos and chalkboard announcements coming! But honestly, who wants to hear that a couple is “trying”? Ew. And then there is the uncomfortable feeling that as soon as someone knows you want a baby, every day you aren’t pregnant you are failing at being a woman. Pleasant conversations about starting a family and having babies suddenly sound accusatory and insulting.

Loving Friend’s Actual Comment: So are you two going to start a family soon or wait a little while?

What I Hear: Is there something wrong with your 30-year-old uterus or are you too selfish to have children?

Twisted. I know. But I have a feeling this may resonate with someone out there. I have the wonderful blessing of being in a community of loving and supportive friends and family who ask loving and supportive questions.  But when it comes to producing what an entire community is waiting and watching for you to produce, the pressure can be a little mortifying. Just keeping it real.

So as the months have clicked by, I have had several panicky prayer sessions. My husband came to the rescue. He told me in no uncertain terms that we would have a family because that is one of the main reasons God brought us together. He also reminded me that God was entirely in control and knows the timing of our family perfectly.

He helps me stay brave.

He helps me stay brave.

And a few amazing things have changed over the last year. First, I have grown to love and respect my husband more than ever, due in large part to the way he has led me out of fear and into faith. Secondly, the Lord has sharpened our calling as a couple and deepened our desire to serve the Lord in any way he calls us. And I have deep peace with the plans He has for us. Lastly, I have been convicted to write about something pretty tough.  I realized that while I can write about mom’s cancer and death, my struggles and fears, love, engagement, and marriage, when it came to this, I was terrified. I didn’t want to share such a vulnerable fight of faith, a fear of failure in an area that should be so natural. I mean, just take a look around, babies happen! But they aren’t happening quite like we thought they would for us. However, I named the blog eb does life. Not eb fakes life. I can’t shut it down because I’m not producing the perfect results here.

So, let’s be real. Life doesn’t unfold the way Pinterest pins it, the way Instagram chronicles it. It unfolds the way God Almighty says so. If you are fighting to believe today, I am right there with you. If you are afraid to tell people that life isn’t going according to your Twitter feed, just remember what this pastor’s kid just told the whole world.

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Save The Chickens

I’ve never really thought of myself as an animal-lover. I figure those are the folks that wear screen printed T-shirts of endangered species and send monthly checks to PETA.  They love animals en masse. The nameless, the herds, the hungry, the hunted.

You know the ones….

I am sure I would love them too but I would need to give them names. As soon as it has a name, I get kind of emotional about it.

We bought some baby chicks a few months ago. There were about 30 little chicks running around at the feed store, cheeping and pooping on each other. They were pretty cute but smelly. Nothing to get attached to. We picked out a few that we were assured would be “good layers” (chickens are a whole new world, let me tell you) and then they threw in a couple wild ones for free. Ok, we said, why not. Three chickens are good, five is better. More eggs. We took them home and gave the “layers” some unfortunate names: Drumstick, Beaker, and Chicken Little. Not our finest moment but the names stuck. The “wild ones” took longer to name because we didn’t know if we would keep them but eventually were called Chilli and Left Eye. Hopefully they are female and sound just as pretty as their TLC namesakes.


They enjoyed staring at one another. Drumstick’s the gutsy one.

And now that they are all named, I love them. I talk to them, I make sure they have poop-free water and nice food and turn on their heat lamp on cool nights. They are bigger now, more chicken then chick, a little less cute, but I am quite attached. I had to leave Jasper at Dad’s place in Kona because we have some travel coming up and I refuse to leave him long hours for someone to let out twice a day (PETA would be proud), so in a teeny tiny chickeny way, they fill the animal void.

Let's be real, no bird could replace this guy. He really wanted to come with me.

Let’s be real, no bird could replace this guy. He really wanted to come with me.

Hopefully they’ll start being “good layers” and Jasper will get used to having them around when he returns but regardless, they will stick around. Because they have names.

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Return of the Nerves

Well it’s been somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 weeks since I last wrote which likely means that it’s been about 6 weeks since I had anything freaking me out to the point of writing about it. But, never fear, I am back and armed with some nerves. I am preparing to take my Board exam in 6 months and start working as a Family Nurse Practitioner. I am thrilled. But there have been days recently when I listen to the wrong folks, read the wrong articles, and start fearing the start of the best career I can imagine.

So, here’s what you can do. Pick something you are scared of today. Or worried about. Or mulling over. Or crying in the rain about. And let’s talk through the Who, What, When, and Where of this.

Who are you listening to?
Listen to the people that know you, love you, or encourage you. Sometimes that’s not all the same person. But if it can be, listen up. They are the good folks. They may not say easy things all of the time but if all three of those things are in place, it’ll be worth considering. If you are listening to unhappy people, bitter people, or jealous people, you’ll be afraid. Or crazy trying to live up to some sad standards. But don’t blog about specific people that get you down. That would be gossip. So I won’t do it. Oh man, it’s so hard.

What are you doing with your time?
Let’s be real, if you’re worried about an exam, study. If you’re still worried, stop studying. If you are worried about exercise, go running. If you are still worried after a few miles, stop running. We need to figure out the right way to spend our hours and commit time to the work God has given us. Excellence takes time. But we also need to commit to rest. Because sanity takes rest. Work and rest. And repeat.

When are you doing your meltdown, worry-fests?
Figure out your patterns and commit to praying and reading some Scripture when you feel it coming on. I had a great guest lecturer this week talk about kidney failure. “You’ve got to prevent the onset or you’re chasing your damn tail.” So, in his brilliant words, let’s not chase our damn tails.

Now what?

Where are you looking?
Google is like today’s crystal ball. If you ask The Google every hour if your stomach ache is cancer or your salary is competitive or your house is depreciating, The Google will probably show you that you will die of cancer poor and homeless. Don’t look at The Google. Or the people who are better or worse than you. Stick your gaze straight in front, pick yourself up, and carry on (unless it’s time for a rest, then that’s fine). If you can’t see your way, stick to the last known direction until the fog clears. It will.

In summary: listen to the good folks, work and rest, don’t chase your damn tail, and don’t ask The Google.

I hope this helps you be brave today.

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The Margins

I am presently a full-time graduate student. This means that I am taking four graduate level classes and am in charge of my own schedule. I don’t have a boss telling me when to take a lunch break or anyone looking over my shoulder to make sure I use my time wisely. This is both marvelous and dangerous. Marvelous because yesterday I learned how to suture wounds and I have the time to volunteer, keep a sparkling home, and study my heart out.

My new favorite thing.

Not actually my house. But sparkling.

Dangerous because I also have time to lie on the couch and watch fulls seasons of Castle.

Which I haven’t done. Yet. But the danger lurks. And sometimes I am frightened by my free time. Like it’s out to get me.

This week’ sermon out of Living Stones Church was an exhortation to live life with forward motion – to get UNSTUCK. The all-star pastor included this statement that is still ringing in my ears:

The space between your current pace and your absolute limits is the margin of your life. It is in the margins that you will see change. Without margins, you are stuck.

Now, this goes against everything my inner over-achiever believes. It is certainly anti-Crossfit ethic and even the opposite of how some Christians have told me to live. “Go, go, go! Get up, you can do more! If you aren’t beat up and puking by the end of the day, you haven’t sacrificed!” And now I am supposed to believe that wide margins effect change? Ok, I am listening. And as I listened, it made sense. If I live in a flat-out run, when do I digest what God is doing? The things that I am supposed to absorb?

Don’t get me wrong, I know full well that there are seasons of life that require a break-neck pace. I don’t have to try very hard to remember that season just a couple of years ago. I was working, I was going to nursing school, and I was helping to take care of my mom with the rest of my family. There were days that included 8 hours of clinical on one floor of the hospital and then sleeping in my mom’s room on another floor of the hospital  before waking up, washing my face and going to class before I worked that night. Mom had crisis after crisis in her last year and our family learned to live with zero margins. I remember days of concentrating on things like breathing, scheduling when I could cry, and running for miles to feel something other than that all too familiar wicked cosmopolitan of emotions – selfishness, despair, anger, overwhelming grief, and fear. And through this season, we were sustained. I was sustained. We did what needed to be done and we loved each other through it all. Mom came home for a peaceful last two months and now she is really home in overwhelming joy. And my life has margins again. And over the last year I have absorbed what I was learning during that break-neck pace.

I am no longer running flat-out and I am grateful for my margins. I am grateful that I can take time to learn – to learn how to be a wife, how to be a Nurse Practitioner, and how to practice what God is teaching me. I know that there will be times coming up that my margins will narrow. Eventually I will work full time. Hopefully we will have children one day. These things will pick up the pace. But I will need to do what I can to maintain space to absorb. If we don’t have margins, we are stuck. We are running and going nowhere.

If you are flat-out today, I hope you can find some margins. Then we will really be running…upward and onward!

The Rebel’s Guide to a Good Day

It took me most of the week to make yesterday a good day. That’s right. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were pretty much swing and miss days. Thankfully I think I got a piece of Wednesday so I wasn’t a complete strike-out and had another chance. Thursday was no Babe Ruth home run but it got me on base.

On Monday I began the first sermon in a series by Mark Driscoll called The Rebel’s Guide to Joy. There’s ten or twelve of them and I figured I would do well by learning about joy this week. I was very brave and kind to people on the bus and to people at Crossfit and to my classmates. And then Roger and I went home and made dinner, joyful and kind. And then I started a fight and joy did not matter. And kindness did not matter. And logic certainly did not matter. This was war and I was going to win. Wars aren’t joyful! Wars are serious. So I pulled him into battle and regretted every second of it the next day. Swing and miss.

On Tuesday I stayed home and studied and worked on the Great Nurse Practitioner Job Hunt. I also decided that one sermon hadn’t done the job and apparently I needed more so I listened to The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Poverty and the Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Humility. Now I don’t think I am impoverished but I could still relate. The humility part just kicked me in the pants. In fact, I was so inspired that I cooked a beautiful dinner and set a romantic table to make amends for Monday’s miss. It was a decent day but since we were still licking our wounds and doing a careful war dance around one another, I can’t call it a win.

Wednesday hobbled along with the help of The Rebel’s Guide to Joy in Suffering and in Death. There’s a one-two combo for you. But I have to hand it to Mr. Driscoll, he pulled it off. Once again, I was grateful in a crazy and weird way for the suffering I experienced through Mom’s cancer and death. I’m not grateful for the actual suffering and death. I’m thankful for the way I found joy in Jesus when there was no joy to be found anywhere else. These sermons reminded me to look back and then look forward with joy and bravery. Which I did until I decided that I missed my Mom an awful lot and decided that being grouchy and sensitive and overreacting to minor events would distract me from this. In all humility, let me tell you, this is a false idea. Another miss.

Thursday dawned with the regret of the irrational wife. But the Rebel’s Guide to Anxiety was on the playlist and I decided it couldn’t hurt. But it did hurt a bit. It crushed my pride, convicted me in a major way, and opened my eyes to a lie I have believed for a long time. Anxiety is not a condition to be managed. It is a sin to be repented of. Now, Pastor Mark admitted, and as a healthcare provider, I wholeheartedly agree, that there are chemical imbalances and true disorders that are conditions. But your average, run-of-the-mill anxiety that leads to your(my) above average, burn-down-the-mill freak-outs is a sin. Jesus tells us to let our gentleness and reasonableness be evident to all as we refuse to be anxious about anything but instead lift our requests, give thanks, and rejoice. When I am anxious, it takes a tiny event to send me into freak-out mode and if I am there, I can say and do what I want because I am ANXIOUS. You want me to be reasonable?! Gentle?! Are you kidding me?! Just wait right there, I am going to freak out and then I can be reasonable. But this is so wrong. And I want to change.

So I meditated on this over the course of the day. I shelved anxiety and chose joy on purpose. That evening Roger and I had a long beach walk and a long talk over picnic dinner about the future and God’s goodness to us. We both did some repenting and some changing. We both had a win. We even saw five satellites. Those are better than shooting stars, right? And we made a plan for the weekend to choose joy and to create change. We don’t want the run-of-the-mill. We want the extraordinary.
Crazy little rebels.

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Dawn Driving and Staying Brave

The Aussie and I share one car. We drive approximately four thousand miles a week but it’s ok. We figure that one car keeps our minds sharp. Like doing a crossword puzzle every day.

“I need to go from point A to point B through K today.”
“Ok, I will drop you at A and you walk to points B to C. Then I can meet you at D and catch the bus to points E through F.”
“Perfect, then I’ll drive the car to point G and we can go to H through J together before I go to K.”

We will never get Alzheimers.

If I want the car for the day, I wake up at 5 am and drive an hour west to take Roger to work. Actually he drives and I finish waking up by talking a lot. He must miss me when I don’t go with him. Poor guy. However, if you know anything about Honolulu traffic, the LAST thing you want to do is drive east between 6 and 8 am on a week day. So, instead of wasting hours of my life and an excessive amount of gas idling in traffic, I don’t go home immediately. Instead, I go to Starbucks. There are some interesting folks at a coffee shop just before 6 in the morning. But I probably fit right in since I am usually still wearing my pajamas. I read my Bible and my textbooks. And sometimes I write blogs. And I have realized that these early morning hours are FAR more productive than the late night hours. So, for now, I am pretty happy with this situation.

This morning I have been contemplating yesterday’s sermon at The Mission. Pastor Tripp encouraged us to consider the places that Jesus would go and the people he would engage with. No place is too scary, too dark. No person is too unlovable, too sinful, too lost. I consider myself a pretty friendly person but I can also be fearful. I try to be brave. But all too often my excuse for not going somewhere or doing something that Jesus would do is that I am just plain scared. I don’t want to be this way. Jesus stood in a really scary place a couple thousand years ago and told his disciples that his church would be built in these kinds of places. But he assured them and us that the gates of hell will not prevail against his church. Gates don’t march at us, we march at gates. And those gates won’t stand up to us. I think that loving purposefully and sincerely is a form of bravery.

So, today I determine once again to be brave. I will be brave at Starbucks and at Crossfit. I will be brave in classes and in the clinic. I will be brave at church and at home. And those gates won’t prevail.
Have a brave day.

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30 Ways I Plan to Make 2013 Superb

Photo: Love my twin:)

We had our first twin birthday party in years.

Happy January. Christmas is behind us and the new year before us and most importantly, I am now 30 years old. Ok, maybe not most importantly but this is the part of the holiday season that sticks with me the rest of the year. My new age. At this time last year, I was fresh off a break-up, decided to cancel a big move, stayed home and made my dad listen to me cry into my coffee cup every morning. My dad loved January last year.

Oh how much can happen in 365 days.

This holiday season was joyful. It was the first married merry Christmas for both the Beasleys and the Mitsudas. Sister Megan and I both enjoyed showing the husbands how the Barley family does Christmas. We aren’t big during-the-year-gift-givers but when it comes to Christmas, there’s no Secret Santa business. We’d rather spend less on each person than limit our shopping to one person. It’s a whole lot of fun. I also experienced more joy this year than last as I remembered Mom and missed her in a less overwhelming way. But there was still a giant missing piece and that will really never change no matter how many spouses and kids join the family.

Now, back on Oahu and jumping into work and school, Roger and I are looking forward to 2013 with hope, joy, and love. And, in honor of our mutual age of THIRTY, this is a list of 30 ways I plan to make it a superb year in big ways and small ways.

1. Learn to love those around us and each other in purposeful and practical ways.
2. Grow a hydroponic garden (that’s mostly Roger but I’ll be helpful)
3. Read the entire Bible.
4. Make new friends.
5. Show Roger around Florida.
6. Move to the North Shore.
7. Run.
8. Begin a saltwater fish tank (again, I’ll be helpful).
9. Graduate as an official Family Nurse Practitioner.
10. Pass the boards as an official Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner.
11. Work as an official Nurse practitioner (Yikes).
12. Do something at our new church besides show up.
13. Go see our Australia family.
14. Spend at least a week with Lindsey Evans somewhere on the globe.
15. Save someone’s life.
16. Get a puppy.
17. Stop white lying (I told a cashier yesterday I had been married 4 months when I’d been married six because I thought it sounded better. Why did I do that?!)
18. Collect handwritten recipes.
19. Assist with a birth.
20. Go to every wedding I’m invited to…in Hawaii.
21. Go to every funeral (It means a lot and I never ever knew that until last June).
22. Read a lot of books.
23. Talk about Jesus to friends and strangers.
24. Save someone else’s life (I figure I could do that twice).
25. Think of new ways to be an awesome wife.
26. Host dinner parties (I have to throw in a few easy ones, right?)
27. Go to the beach once a week (That one’s hard. Really.)
28. Pay credit card bills on time.
29. Vacuum (I hate it).
30. Enjoy every day of being thirty and look forward to every year after it.

Happy 2013 everyone.

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Being Merry and Bright

Since I have finished my semester, I have been able to fully embrace Christmastime. I am not sure what will happen when I am no longer finishing exams and papers right before Christmas. I think when I am working as a Nurse Practitioner in the grown-up world, I will expect everything to come to a halt around December 14 so that I can focus on decking the halls and strolling the malls. I’m pretty sure that won’t happen though so I better enjoy it while it lasts.Here are a few photos of the merry-making around here.


We bought our very first married people Christmas tree. It is very small. But spirited. The little guy is already loaded with ornamental memories.


We lit up our little cottage with all kinds of festive things scrounged from Dad’s garage over Thanksgiving….

The Aussie toured his first Honolulu City Lights. I LOVE the City Lights.


I’m practically a Dremel spokesperson these days.

We are obviously having a very Merry Driftwood Christmas. ‘Round about the day after Halloween when I began to get the holiday gleam in my eyes when I passed anything tinsel in the stores, I saw Roger get nervous. So I  promised him I wouldn’t buy a single Christmas decoration. All those long walks on the North Shore in the fall yielded some pretty great driftwood hauls.


Roger even did some decorating of his own.



And we, of course, hosted a White Elephant gift exchange party. This little tradition is something Roger sort of married into. I believe I have hosted one every year for about 6 years now and this Christmas was the first time I stopped and asked myself if I was the only one who liked these things. The answer was maybe and I did it anyway. Every year there is a good story. There was 2009 when Darren proposed to Stel with an engagement ring wrapped in the last present (It took skills to organize that one). Then there was 2010 when a certain unitard was received…and fought over…and tried on by some very merry men. Then of course, I can’t leave out 2007, the year in which I received Joseph Zephaniah the Beta Fish and best friend Lindsey and I began a year-long saga of beta replacements. So, the White Elephant tradition will continue.


We also decked the dogs with ribbons and bells. That little guy is Bear. Jasper’s only dog-friend here on Oahu. He’s a bit of a grinch when it comes to making friends.

I hope you are all making merry, loving your friends and family, and worshiping the Savior who is constantly merry over his children!

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