Tag Archives: God

Panic and Promises


It’s been a whirlwind of a week with school projects, settling into the idea of staying in Kona, realizing some wonderful reasons for staying, and a host of emotions that I have ignored for seven days. Apparently it all caught up with me.

First I got sick. I did what every good nurse does. I pumped some vitamins and went on a run. Instead of feeling invigorated by fresh tropical air, I felt like I’d been pummeled in a boxing ring. So, I gave up the exercise for a couple days and buried myself in books. I seem to have quite a few PowerPoint presentations in my nursing school repertoire written on a Dayquil high.

I was pretty proud of handling a variety of life changes with my awesome fortitude until last night. I woke up almost every hour in the middle of some kind of panic. And realized I needed a lot more than my fortitude. And what fortitude I do have is certainly not awesome. I need more Jesus. I prayed myself to sleep and woke up to do some thinking.

God is  is opening new horizons as I do my best to follow his voice. But there’s always a crushing sadness to keep at bay. The sadness that Mom is not here to celebrate scholarships, advise on relationships, speak prophetically into my life, and go get a latte and a pedicure. But God’s word comes alive in this moment.

He is a father to the fatherless, a defender of  the widow. Psalm 68:5

I know God means he can give me the love of my mother too. Sometimes God’s word becomes real when we need it most. In the happy moments we still might need it the most. So hang on in the panic. God’s promises are real and he WILL do all that he has said. I’m seeing it more each day.

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The Eve


The eve of most big events is marked with some sense of excitement and preparation but there are only two Eves that seem to have merited Capitalization. However, I would like to propose a few more Capital Eves.

Thanksgiving Eve: This one is crucial. There is no other Eve that requires as much work as this one. Pie fillings, potato peeling, last minute run to the store for curly onion fried topping, turkey brining, football scheduling. We need this Eve.

Easter Eve: This would be a great one. There’s not really much work to be done (unless you make outrageously awesome Easter baskets which my mom typically enjoyed doing) but getting up for a sunrise Easter service requires a leisurely day in which to rest up, cook some breakfast ahead of time, and contemplate the glorious reason that we get up at the crack of dawn to celebrate.

Wedding Eve: I don’t have direct bride experience but I do have sister and friend experience. This Eve is huge. There are bags to be packed, last minute seating charts to adjust, transportation to arrange. I’m going to stop the list here because it is making me realize that June 1 is going to be hectic for little sister. But happy. It needs a Hallmark card for sure. Happy Wedding Eve to the happy hectic couple.

And finally, Birthday Eve: We celebrate New Year’s Eve with a countdown for the world, why not give everyone their own personal new year countdown? The eve of another year older is a good day. It’s the day to look back on what you’ve accomplished in one age and think about your plans for the next age. Every year, we get better, wiser, and closer to who we are meant to be. It’s true, get excited.

If you are like me, you may be teetering on the edge of holiday emotion today. It’s the Eve of a big day with lots of memories and lots of pressure. But guess what? Today is just another day to face fears, rest in God’s goodness, celebrate his faithfulnes, and live bravely.

We are on the Eve of something great…every day. Let’s live like it.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

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What are you waiting for?


These are a few of the things that kept me busy this week:

Foam and wood block!

With all the hip blogs out there, I still find the best ideas in Living Magazine. Hard copy baby.

Sister's engagement party!

 

They're so great.


Last week I kept myself busy with all kinds of crafts and baking and even threw an engagement party for sister. Being a stay-at-home mom without a husband or kids is super easy! But then on Wednesday, I baby-sat my two-year-old niece. Zoe is awesome. She didn’t pitch fits, cry, or get injured. But I still once again stare at my twin sister in hero-worship awe and pray that one day I will be able to brush my teeth and take care of children.

During these un-busy transition seasons in life, I sometimes get cranky waiting to figure out my next step: where do I live, where do I do my next clinical location…but if I didn’t have to wait, when would I listen to God? When would I exercise my faith? It’s in the wait that the process happens. It’s in the wait, that I sit down on the inside and trust my good God.

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus’ birth and didn’t see the fulfillment in his lifetime. Anna and Simeon waited in the temple of Jerusalem until almost the very end of their lives before they saw the Messiah-child. But they all waited and they all believed because it was going to be EPIC. God still has epic plans in the works and my little life weaves into that somehow. Totally worth waiting for.

If you are waiting for something, maybe something that didn’t happen for you this year, keep your head up. Your life weaves into God’s epic plan too. Stay busy but sit down on the inside and trust our good God.

 

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For the birds.


The Christmas season has been going well. They say the first year of grief is the hardest because you go through each “first” with your new big empty space. I say whatever. Maybe it’s true. But that is about as helpful as the grief books I still haven’t read. Grief isn’t an emotion. I didn’t wake up yesterday feeling grieved. Grief is a giant magnifying glass for the normal feelings.

Yesterday I woke up mad. And since Mom isn’t here, I woke up furious. I swam for a mile in the ocean with my friend Carol and that slightly improved matters. But then I hit a too-slow pigeon with my 30 mph Cavalier. I realized when I burst into tears after parking that it probably wasn’t the pigeon death that started the tears. It was probably the fact that every day I decide to be happy about Christmas and that means I have to make a lot of little choices. Turn the radio station to a different channel when Amy Grant starts. Don’t hang that ornament. Buy a new tree topper. Don’t light that cinnamon candle, light the pine candle. Don’t make the spritz cookies, make the gingerbread men. Every day I decide what part of Christmas I can do and what part will turn me into a mascara mess. We pulled out just the right amount of decorations so that we weren’t a Bah Humbug house but not so much that every end-table told a story of a past Christmas. And it has been working. We are enjoying the season. But the wrenching sobs over a pigeon reminded me that it is a bit tenuous.

So, yesterday, I did the only thing to be done when the tear ducts go rebel, I went to the movies with sisters and girlfriends. We went to see New Years Eve featuring just about every star in Hollywood between the ages of 20 and 70. Let me tell you, they got their money’s worth out of me. Every sappy line, every broken heart, every reunited family got me. The sisters vote cheesy. I vote heartwarming. See it for yourself.

As Megan and I drove back up to the house, we spotted a Christmas-presenty looking thing by the door. We may be 24 and 28 but we might have gotten a little excited still. Turns out it was only a cracker box but it was tweeting. Dad had trimmed the palm tree and had trimmed two baby pigeons right out of their nest. Dad’s a tender guy so he left them on the ground for a few hours hoping the mother bird/cat would find them. But finally he made a box nest and gifted them to his daughters. I’ve done the baby bird thing before so I knew what I was in for. But this time I resented it a little less since I had just killed a member of the species a few hours earlier.

Each time I have fed the little helpless things, I’ve thought how completely dependent they are on a caregiver. They eat until their eyes close and they sleep little pigeony sleep. And I remember how fragile I am in God’s hands and how carefully he takes care of me. A bird-lover friend is coming to pick them up this afternoon so the analogy ends there. God’s got me for keeps…from my first Christmas to my last.


 

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Gulches, goatcheese, and gifts


Without being too melodramatic (just the right amount of melodramatic), I would like to tell you that I had a harrowing experience and I need you to fully appreciate it. Yes, yes, see the last blog post.

I am a cautious person by nature. Okay, I am a fearful person by nature. But, like the sidebar says, this blog is about leading a brave life. God is using the scary things of life to teach me and giving me risks to take to train me. There is a difference between what God uses and what God gives. It’s fairly simple: He uses everything and he gives good things.

Let me use two examples.

Example #1.

This weekend little sister and I drove to Hilo. Originally it was for the purpose of going to see her coach a soccer tournament. This was cancelled due to flooded fields (which you would think happens every other weekend given the location. The rainiest city in the U.S). However, since we had already planned to visit the Farmer’s Market and the mall, we decided to drive the 250 miles anyway. I went to college in Hilo and I felt due for a little blast to the past. There is also a very nice Starbucks in the beautiful ranch town of Waimea at the halfway mark. So, that kind of sealed the deal.

It poured rain the entire day but we loved it. Even the Farmer’s Market downtown was a fun memory lane experience. We bought these for way too cheap.And some stinky Puna goat cheese for way too much. But it’s delicious.

We then spent the rest of the afternoon in the mall eating junk food, shopping, and watching Tower Heist. I recommend it. Junk food and the movie.

And then we got on the road, heading home to the dry side. Now, between Hilo and Hamakua there are three horseshoe turns around some rather high gulches. Somewhere in the frightening neighborhood of 500 feet. I drove around these gulches countless times when I was in college and every time my palms would sweat. It was worse if I was the passenger peering down to the waterfalls below. We were happy to see that the state has begun installing mesh over the rock faces due to years of rockslides and boulder damage. Check it out here.

On Saturday we cleared all three gulches when all of the sudden, coming out of the last turn, our truck started to fishtail. This startled me. And then the truck slid completely sideways into oncoming traffic. This scared me. And then the truck turned around and slid towards the gulch drop off. This terrified me. We hit the rock wall once and bounced back and then hit the one section of wall that was already gone. In its place was a temporary barrier filled with water. That thing busted open, spilling water everywhere. And then we stopped, without going over the edge. We were done screaming by that time and hyperventilated some prayers out as we crept up the road and over onto a shoulder. The police came, the report was filed, and we were able to drive the mashed up truck to Waimea going approximately 30 miles per hour with every muscle in our bodies tensed for action. Megan’s boyfriend-worship-leader-barista (baristo?)-hero met us in Waimea and drove the rest of the way home.

And that is something scary that God USES. Because now I am not scared of the gulches anymore. Because I will never drive around them again.

Example #2.

I don’t know where I am going to live in January. But I have to move back to Oahu for a class. Home is comfortable. Home is easy. Home is great. But I gotta go. I’m making plans and I have no job and I have no apartment. Just a storage unit full of stuff and a registered nursing license. And a God that has good gifts for me if I just keep moving along.

And that is an example of a challenge God GIVES. Because I am not afraid of being homeless or jobless.

So, take stock of the scary things in your life today. Any harrowing experiences you need us to fully appreciate? God will use it. Any challenge you are avoiding? God may be giving it.

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Type Bee in New Orleans


Well, I said it before and I’ll say it again. God Bless 1972. I’m on a plane leaving New Orleans heading for a week with best friend Shayla. I won’t be posting this until Monday but The National Health Service Corps just got done rocking my world by telling me for 48 hours that I will rock my community’s world. They told me with videos, speakers, government representatives, free stuff, one-on-one conversations with amazing clinicians and future clinicians, and, did I already say free stuff? There were approximately 200 future physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, nurse midwives, and physician assistants all corralled together in the brand new Hyatt Regency (that’s right, first person in that hotel bed. Nice.)New Orleans for the purpose of being completely encouraged, inspired, and pumped UP to be Primary Care Providers in a community that needs us most. I haven’t made up my mind about whether I am more inspired to be an awesome life-changer or more scared stiff about the amount of work I have to do between now and being that life-changer. Actually, I know that it is both. And I need it because I am a Bee. Let me explain.

I have never put much stock in the “Type A” vs “Type B” descriptions but if I gotta choose, call me a Bee. Bees need some scared stiff. One of the keynote speakers was a very inspiring, extremely talented, intimidatingly successful former scholar and he told us that perfect is not an option but a mandate. Likely Type A Response: “Oh, good, I knew it was worth it to memorize the cranial nerves when I was 12 years old.” Real-life Type B Response: “Oh crap.”

Now, there were many other speakers who told us to achieve balance in our lives now because this will carry over into our professional lives. They told us to spend time with our families and to keep up with friends. That sounds great, but let’s get real, I can do balance. I exercise. I hang with the family. My friends don’t ever forget what I look like. I need some scared stiff.

Case in point: I worked my tail off to get all assignments finished before I took off on my trip. Except for the one paper that I completely overlooked. Likely Type A Response: Cry a little and then immediately compose the paper without so much as a potty break. Type Bee is sitting on an airplane writing as much as she can without having the internet to research and giving up and writing a blog instead. Don’t worry, she will finish it tonight.

I learned many wondrous and challenging things this weekend. I learned that I can do clinical rotations in far-away rural or urban American places. I learned about new models of healthcare that got me legitimately excited and I learned about professional opportunities that all of a sudden seem much more achievable. I met dozens of fellow scholars who were equally excited and scared. And get this, TONS of them follow Jesus. I’m talking 6 out of 10 kind of statistics. It makes sense that so many kids wanting to serve the unreached would be doing it with a sense of divine calling. This is pure and undefiled religion to care for the widows and orphans in their distress…and now we are getting generously funded to do so. I think we all walked around with the same dazed look of stunned gratitude as we listened to the conference staff talk about the resources at our disposal. Thank you Jesus.

So, God has lifted my head. Joy is coming in the morning…though there are tears on the airplane as I long to share every conversation, every quirky New Orleans moment with my mama. But my eternal purposes are many. And I am eager to accomplish them.

Starting with this paper. Call me a worker Type Bee.

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EB, RN


I have some new initials! That’s right, I passed the big bad NCLEX. I know most of you thought I had it in the bag and were not worried for a second. I wasn’t worried either until the moment I finished the exam. It was a bright and sunny day….

…And I had done all of the correct test-taking things. I started with sleep and nutrition. I have recently begun a nutrition plan with our friend Carol of Carol’s Cafe. She has me eating lean, vitamin-rich, and delicious. This healthy heroine packed me a pre-exam dinner and breakfast and post-exam lunch that I brought with me to Oahu. I booked a room at the Ala Moana hotel. I adore hotels. I also camp. But hotels and I have a special bond. So I slept like a champ and had a short little walk to the testing center.

I wasn’t nervous when they took my mug shot, scanned my multiple forms of identity, checked my person for cheating materials, and led me to the Cubicle of Truth. I also wasn’t nervous when I answered the questions. But then the computer went blank. I could have gotten anywhere between 75 and 265 questions for the Super Smart System to determine if I had what it takes. I answered question 75 and the Super Smart System either had had enough of me to know I couldn’t hack it or I had proved myself a lot more quickly than I thought possible and they booted me off with a “Thank you for completing the exam, please fill out this survey”.

And that’s when I got nervous. The shaking, eyes burning with tears, holding back the vomit kind of nervous. I got out of there as fast as possible and headed for the closest security blanket I could find, Starbucks. After I steeled myself with a few shots of liquid courage, I proceeded to shop for six hours straight.

If I stood still for too long contemplating clothing, I panicked about question #32 or yelled at myself for guessing. The good news is, I didn’t do too much damage for a marathon shopping trip, because I stuck to the cheap stores with the loud music so I couldn’t hear my panicky thoughts. The soundtracks at Forever 21 and PacSun are also great for covering the occasional outbursts of “Of course! Diabetes! Stupid!” Expensive stores are much quieter. Have you ever noticed that Nordstroms only has player piano music? Who knows what Nieman Marcus does since I only buy one Christmas ornament a year there. They probably have mimes.

I am not sure how Registered Nurse candidates of yore handled waiting for old-fashioned paper envelope test results. I logged on to the Quick Results website approximately 500 times even though it said to wait 48 hours. Hours?! How dare they call that QUICK? If I had to sleep the restless sleep of Post Traumatic Exam Syndrome for two months, I would not be fit for registered anything. At 6:30 am Saturday morning the website showed my results. I had passed. And as quick as the relief settled in, a billion more anxieties rushed in. Job, school, family, boyfriend (?!), travel. And I think it goes without saying but I will say that I wished with all my little stressed out heart that my mom was on the other end of a phone line to tell me how excited she was. So I had to make a conscious effort to enjoy the moment and thank God for his never ending goodness, his awesome blessings, his perfect grace. And I’m still choosing that.

EB, RN. Sounds good.

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God Bless 1972


Yesterday I received an e-mail informing me that I had officially been awarded a National Health Services Corps Scholarship for the remainder of my graduate schooling. This scholarship sends me through school, all reasonable expenses paid, in return for two years of service. That’s right, military style. Minus the boot camp, uniforms, and scary things. In explanation, allow me to give you a brief history lesson.

             

Some of you may remember the 1970s. I do not. I think my memories kick in around 1986. But I do have a good appreciation for things from the 70s including macrame belts, paisley shirts, Carole King, James Taylor, and the Emergency Healthcare Personnel Act.

This last item was signed into law in 1972 when healthcare professionals began realizing that they could make a whole lot of money by specializing and joining HMOs and practicing in big cities or generally urban areas. If I were practicing in the 1970s and the HMOs became a thing, I very likely would have followed the trend. So, no hard feelings. In fact, thank you 1972. Because of the way you turned out, the government allotted a certain amount of money to entice hard-studying future doctors, dentists, and nurses to stay in the world of primary care, particularly in rural areas. Since then, Congress has given varying amounts of money to this program based on healthcare shortages or surpluses. Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment in the last few years, the program is expanding again. And I have joined the ranks.

Basically, the two years of service will be doing exactly what I have wanted to do since I started nursing school – work with the under-served, rural community. The only catch is that it may or may not be in Hawaii. Apparently, it is quite the hairy process to become an approved site. There are only a handful of them in the state and there is no way of knowing if they will have a vacancy with my name on it in two years time. But I plan to work my tail off to find that vacancy.

But I’m not worried. God turned my attention to nursing five years ago when Mom needed nurses. He made me think I could be one of those nurses one day when I was on Ala Moana beach listening to someone I barely knew discuss her new career. Two years later, I got through all of the prerequisites for this insane program, finished the insane program, and have jumped in with both feet to Nurse Practitioner graduate classes. And right when I start asking God if he really meant to pick me, he throws this scholarship at me and says “what now!”. So even if I end up in the middle of the desert in the middle of the country serving the least of the least, I will still be sure that he meant to pick me.

Hey, he thought of me in 1972.

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TDV…it’s not a disease.


I have a date. With a tall, dark, and handsome licensing exam. September 29. Mark your calendars for prayer, fasting, sack cloth, whatever. I made the decision on Wednesday and ran away to Oahu for a weekend of “Septoberfest” with friends, naps on Kailua beach, fancy brunch with girlfriends, and long conversations under the stars. It was amazing. It was not studying. Today I looked at drugs and IVs and side effects for eight solid hours, interrupted only by sister forcing smoothies on me. About the time I needed an IV hooked up with some straight happy infusing at maximum speed, Dad got me out the door for a walk.

Me: “I hate this. I’m going to fail. Too many knowledge gaps. Bad stuff. Crappity crap crap.”
Dad: “Can you re-take it if you fail?”
Me: “Not an option! I can’t fail! Crappity, say the opposite of what I just said, crap.”
Dad: “You are on the path you are meant to be on. God put you here. Wise stuff. Dad stuff.”
Me: “I hate studying for this thing.”
Dad: “I took the Bar exam and felt the same way. You will pass.”
Me: “Ok.”
Dad: “Make a schedule. Exercise. Trust. The End.”

Dad’s voice almost always trumps the lying voices in my head. The sermon this Sunday was about the community we cultivate and the voices that determine the trajectory of our life. Theoretically, we have five Trajectory Determing Voices that we listen to. Let’s call them TDVs. Well, one of my TDVs is absolutely my dad (surprise). And his voice usually tells me to exercise. Not because I am fat. I’m not…really. But because he hears the irrational edge in my voice when I’ve sat on my butt all day. Break up with a boyfriend? Dad, I’m neeeeeevvvveeerrrrrr getting maaaaarrrieeeed. Exercise. Queen of the World. Works like a charm.

Obviously, Dad says other things to me. That’s what TDVs do. All this nursing studying is making the abbreviation TDV look like a terrible disease. It’s not. He and Mom shaped me and set me on course with the things they said. Good, bad, and neutral. Dad is going to continue to be one of my main voices but as I progress in life, who else will I allow to speak into my decisions and my development as a person? We need to choose wisely…I’m pretty sure we can start listening to people by default when we really need to purposefully point our ears at the right words. The right community is essential.

So, figure out your TDVs and if you don’t know who they are, go get some. And exercise.

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Everything’s gon’ be alright.


As I have mentioned before, my mom was a prophetic voice to many. Her spiritual fingerprints are all over the thriving church on the water. She was a modern missionary to this place and her blood, sweat, and tears were not in vain. There is goodness going on because of her. But she had many voices to me. This week I have missed them more than I can describe. I have missed her singing voice, her snort-laughing voice, her encouraging and complimenting voice, and even her you-better-straighten-up-right-this-second voice. That last one was usually accompanied by The Neck Stretch. Side to side. Slowly. Scary.

I have missed her prophetic voice. It was special. I’m not sure if I ever realized how incredibly blessed I was that my mom listened to God on my behalf. This week I’ve been reading and praying and freaking out and trusting and trying to hold normalcy together as each day brings something else new that is only happening because she’s not here. And the only thing that helped in these type of crazy days gone by is Mom holding my hand and shaking it until I looked at her and stopped the stupid crying. And she would say something. Something profound or comforting or corrective or totally off base and I would get mad. Because let’s get real, she wasn’t perfect. But it would still help because she was praying for me and listening to God. For me.

Yesterday was bad. I was cranky pants to everyone who looked at me. I even called Police Dispatch on the idiot doing, I kid you not, 95mph, down our street. Yes, I used my radar gun. Why? Because I was Captain Cranky Pants. After a full day of trying to keep my wrath to myself, I started taking it out on my unpacked room. I finally got things looking livable. Which means I organized my jewelry and displayed some Martha Stewart Living magazines on the side table. Lastly, I stacked my old journals and a letter fell out. Yes, just like the movies. And it was from my mom.

Are you crying yet?!

It was a letter she had written on New Year’s Eve, heading into 2011. She listened to God for me. She told me I would feel overwhelmed by 2011. That it was “looming large”.  She said all I needed was to draw near to the Lord. He knew my anxieties and my fears and he had it all under control. It ended with..”Relax, my darling. Everything gon’ be alright.” She knew me, she knew my God, and he was speaking about things to come. She also knew God would speak southern to me. So I cried my crankiness out and then decided that, yes, everything IS gon’ be alright. Not today, and probably not tomorrow but eventually. The cares of my heart have been many, but God’s consolations have cheered my soul (Psalm 94:19) . Especially consolations in southern accents and Mom’s handwriting.

 

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