Tag Archives: Musings

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.

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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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Hopes Raised


Well, we are still married. Just in case you were wondering. I mean, I think my grandmother still wonders sometimes. During those few minutes when Roger and I were dating, I would get a Grandmomie Voicemail once a week. “Hi Erin, just calling to say hi and I love you. So, are you still dating that Australian? Just checking. Love, Grandmomie.” You always wait for the sign off because she always signs off and that’s how you know it’s authentic. So I try to keep her updated regularly now that we are indeed still married. And since my blog has gone woefully silent, I thought I should just let you all know too.

The past month has been a rough one in some ways. Jobless, car-less, and bordering on hopeless on the worst days. I kept trying to think of ways to put a cute spin on it but would inevitably circle back to the fact that we still had no jobs, our car was smashed on the curb with threatening neighbor notes attached, and sometimes entire days were used just trying to remedy those things. But after stressful days of studying, job-hunting, and car shopping, we have still been having fun. We walk the beach, we play with the dog, we cook, and lately, we have been enjoying our new favorite show, Raising Hope.

My childhood friend, Kelly Metcalf Wilkes, recommended it to us and it couldn’t have come in a better season. The Chance family, struggling to make ends meet, dealing with their collective idiosyncrasies, and loving each other fiercely, has us belly-laughing every time no matter how many lemons we test drove that day. When Burt Chance struggles with understanding politics, I sneak glances at my Aussie husband. And for some reason when the demented MawMaw dances around the house with her clothes on backwards, Roger sneaks his glances. Which is weird. Because I don’t do that often. The thing we love most about the show is how much Burt and Virginia Chance love each other. Through it all.

So we’ve been trying our best to love each other fiercely but sometimes we just remember the fiercely part. These little life hiccups of not having a car or a job kept leading to arguments. Our arguments have been pretty spectacular as most newly wed spats probably are. My parents did their best to train me out of my temper but sometimes I take the attorney part of my father and the spitfire side of my mother and take arguing to legendary levels.  Thankfully Roger hasn’t learned too many arguing strategies beyond keeping his cool and ending them reasonably (amateur) and I wear myself out pretty quick and learn valuable lessons. Monday was a great example.

We had just pulled our borrowed car into its rightful garage to return it to our friends after a month long loan.

Roger: [Turning hose on inside of garage] Let’s give it a quick spray.

Me: [With frantic look] No, no, no! Don’t wash it in the garage!

Roger: [In a slightly more irritable voice than I deemed necessary] Ok, move the car then and hurry up.

Me: [With a haughty silence that we both know I can never keep up for long] You can wash the car yourself! Something unreasonable! And rude!

Roger: [Manly silence that we both know he can keep up for as long as it takes]

Me: [While dumping soapy sponges down his back in a more Angry Housewife way than Desperate Housewife way] And wash this! I’m going to study at Starbucks.

Roger: [After washing and drying the car by himself and coming to find me and buying me my favorite Green Tea lemonade]: Reasonableness. Unnecessary apologies. Good husband stuff.

And that’s the kind of guy I am dealing with here! I know, so hard. He makes me better every day. But our difficult times have made it really hard for me to translate into cute blogs. I’ve been discouraged that my prayers for an extraordinary life that changed other lives had been reduced to “let us get through the month” prayers.

But this week we have had our Hopes Raised. We found a fantastic deal on a beautiful little 2003 Jetta and we bought it on Saturday. Which is the reason we returned the car and then after our Car Wash Explosion, Roger was called in for a job interview. He starts next week. God answered our prayers. And this morning I had a conversation with someone very important to me about God’s plan for her life. We talked about Jesus’ fantastic love for us. And she lifted my eyes to see the goodness of our Savior in the good and the difficult.

So here’s my encouragement to you, whether you are newly married, oldly married, or single: Take Hope. It’s not always about looking extraordinary to the onlookers, it’s about never losing hope that the extraordinary will happen. Despite of tempers like mine.

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Have Some Pride. Or Don’t.


Yesterday I learned a thing or ten about pride. Ok, so when someone talks about struggling with pride and how we can get better, I usually tune out. Even if it is my dad/pastor/best preacher in the world. I tune out because I don’t think I am prideful. I may not be the most humble person, but “struggle with pride”? Nah. Let me explain.

In a room full of people, I don’t think I’m the coolest. No ways. The models and the doctors. They are the coolest.
In a line at the grocery store, I don’t think I’m better than the clerk. I served shrimp for four years at a restaurant with a movie theme. With trivia. And ping pong paddles.
In a conversation, I am fascinated by people’s stories. I want to know why they are in Hawaii, where they work, what their parents’ names are, and if they have ever gone sky diving. Others first. Or insatiably nosy. I mean curious.

So that means I am not prideful, right? Not according to the irritatingly awesome sermon. Here is the simple test presented at Living Stones Church yesterday.

1. Do you long for a lot of attention? Um, yes. Who doesn’t? I may not be the coolest in the room, but I better get some attention.
2. Do you become jealous or critical of people who succeed? The models and the doctors may be the coolest but the models are starving and the doctors have no lives. Pssh, who wants to be them anyway.
3. Do you always have to win? No, if I know I won’t win, I don’t play. That’s not competitive…is it?
4. Do you have a pattern of lying? No. No, really.
5. Do you have a hard time acknowledging you were wrong? No,  because I’m never wrong. Easy.
6. Do you have a lot of conflicts with other people? Only when they are dumb.
7. Do you cut in line at the store, airport, on the freeway, etc.? I try not to but sometimes I am more innovative than the people in front of me.
8. Do you get upset when people do not honour your achievements? No, I just make sure I mention it in my blog more.
9. Do you tend more toward an attitude of entitlement or thankfulness? In all seriousness guys, I can say I feel overwhelmingly grateful for and undeserving of  the good things in my life. Finally, one that I can check the box NO on.
10. Do you honestly feel you are basically a good person and superior to others? Not every other.

So, I think I scored a 9/10. Which is a 90%, which is an A. In Pride. Awesome. I guess I can work on it a little more and tune out a little less.

How do YOU score?

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Roger


It has been almost five weeks since the magical sushi day and they’ve been good weeks. In honor of 33 days of knowing him, I will use his name in my blog.

Roger.

Ok, now we are official. Due to the rather speedy nature of our meeting, falling for, and dating one another, I have hesitated to wax eloquent. But this is a big deal and if I can write about my mom dying and my family fighting for faith, my fears, my dog, my studies, and my dramatic fallings apart, then I will write about Roger. Because that’s his name.

Roger is from Australia. That is all of the sudden a really amazing continent. I’m sorry I never wrote a blog dedicated to Australia. Now I know better. Roger has approximately 317 job skill sets. He is one of the most capable people I have ever met. He comes from a family of four kids and everyone knows that families of four kids are amazing. He’s not a twin but I won’t hold it against him. His family has two dogs, one of whom resembles the Porky Terrier Jasper, so Roger may be the first male who has successfully pretended to prefer Jasper to the Black Lab Ben. I actually believe him.

Aside from being the kind of straight-up cool that makes friends everywhere he goes, he fits me. Yes, in the cheesy, romantic, all-the-songs-make-sense-now kind of way. If that can happen with someone from another hemisphere, another culture, another career…you know it’s fairly super-natural. This means that as happy as I feel about this whole situation, I am pretty sure that God is happier about it.

Like everything awesome and worthwhile, it won’t always be easy. But that’s the great thing, God’s already been with me for times that are not easy. Life is awesome and worthwhile and crazy hard. But God is singing over all of it.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

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Speechless


I haven’t been able to find a really good way to say this.

I have met a man that I want to spend every day with. Good thing he seems to want that too.

I can’t explain it. The timing has amazed some, stunned others, confused all. Definitely me. In a super fun way.

I don’t deserve the favor that the Lord is showing me. I wasn’t patient or good or “satisfied in singleness so God can bring someone” like the perfect married authors seem to insist upon.

God just busted out his big gracious love.

I can’t wait to see where this adventure goes. It’s scary, like most things are to me. But I’ve gotten braver lately and there’s a crazy peace that’s following me around. So I think everything will be all right.

Ok, so I guess I’m not ever totally speechless.

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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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Clinically Impatient


I’ve always been somewhat impulsive. Or very. There are goods and bads to this character trait. I’ve talked about this before. (Choice Paralysis). But with this character trait, comes impatience. At six years old it manifested in convincing sweet twin Sara to get into all kinds of impulsive trouble. As a teenager it was more of an asset and displayed itself in making friends quickly and as a college student, I was very good at making plans and getting a bunch of indecisive people to thank me and come along.

But today it means that I want to be working in the nurse practitioner clinical setting like yesterday.

I know I need way more school, I need lots of hours and I needs lots of guidance. But gosh, I just want to be there. I did a mock health history and initial patient visit today and visions of infections and injections danced through my head. Ew, gross. But also awesome. I don’t miss the insanity of nursing school but I do miss the patients. I miss learning their stories. I miss the challenge of caring for them. I miss the questions they asked me even though I had STUDENT emblazoned on my little scrub shirt.

I miss it and I cannot start clinical rotations until May.

So I will patiently learn to adore my textbooks and remind myself of the need for excellence not impulsiveness.

Happy Tuesday everybody.

 

 

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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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My Bestfriends and the Airhorn


In these times of transitions, challenge, and general world-shaking, I have a couple of friends that have been an absolutely necessary part of my life.

They don't typically get decorated.

Inspired by a recent blog that I have started following, I would like to introduce you to the kids I talk to most. The short one has been mentioned a few times as the porky terrier. Jasper. The tall guy is Ben.

Jasper sleeps in my room when he feels like being social or I have a load of clean laundry in jumping distance. He listens when I’m crying but the emotions need to get pretty high before I am more interesting than sticking his head between the rungs of the back porch and watching over the yard. He does a million tricks for a treat so sometimes when I really need some company, I just lace the conversation with “treat”. He’s selfish. He is human like that. But I see him struggle against his little sin nature when he knows the right thing to do. Good grief he reminds me of me.

Ben is the dog that everyone writes books about. He’s as regal and humble as he looks. He takes care of the family. Don’t get me wrong, he has his favorites. He will lay outside of Megan’s door for hours if necessary if he gets shut out. But he sniffs out that neediest member of the family and sticks close until he feels that things are under control. That’s right, he was in Mom’s room at all hours when needed. He kept watch over her like it was his job. Now, whoever is sick or crying, gets the big black ball curled up in what he deems the most convenient place for us. If that happens to be the bed, he is willing to oblige.

Both of the dogs sense happy real quick. If there is a celebration going on, they are running in circles and Ben does the jealous dance. Try it next time you are at our house. Choose someone to hug. Say their name real loud as you hug them. You’ll hear a big Ben noise and he will leap to get in on the action. He usually goes for the person getting hugged which makes me wonder if that’s the best instinct should one of us be getting attacked.

Bennie and the Jas (sing the song…you know you want to…) have one fault that they share. They bark at the door bell and the neighbor dogs on occasion. The neighbor dogs bark at the flies, and the grass, and the cars on every occasion. Which, on some particularly fun evenings, prompts another neighbor to blare an airhorn. Yep. He has explained from his backyard that this is payback. Sometimes it is a quick blare. Sometimes it is a loooooong loud blare. In either case, the dogs seem to get pretty excited about the newest noise making member of the community. “Yay yay yay! Bark! Noooooise maaaaking! Hooooowwwl!!”. To which the airhorn replies “Blaaaare. Bl-Bl-Bl-aaare.” It’s an awesome cacophany and such good payback. I usually crack up laughing in my living room as I try to keep my dogs from going totally apoplectic

I suppose this blog makes me a crazy pet person. But I’m pretty sure that carrying Jasper around for 3 weeks after paw tumor surgery proved that. But, come on, who doesn’t like rambunctious greetings at the door, a consistent happy good morning every day, and a reason to roll around laughing on the living room floor?

Have a very Merry Tuesday everyone.

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