Tag Archives: School

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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Health Snob

So as I have mentioned before, the Aussie and I have jumped on the Crossfit bandwagon. Our new crew of fit friends are taking part in a 9-week “Look Better Naked Challenge”. While we won’t be getting naked, we will be taking before and after (mostly-clothed) photos and setting fitness goals. This includes eating Paleo for nine weeks. Cringe. Up to this point we have been resisting the Paleo plunge. Most definitely Non-Paleo. NP for short. Don’t get me wrong, the food is good and we love the idea of going healthy. It’s just the snobbery of fads that I can’t stand…but it’s so alluring… I start doing something that I find cool, and feel the inner snob start to come out. It’s happened before. I just can’t keep up with what I am supposed to be snobby about!

Elementary School: “Oooh, you eat American cheese and white bread? With cheetos? AND a Squeeze-It drink? With Twinkies for dessert? My mom packs me peanut butter and jelly on BROWN bread, sometimes with  raw veggies. And snack crackers and Capri-Sun. And Sweet-Spots for dessert. But that’s ok. You can still come to my birthday party…and maybe bring some of those twinkies.

Middle School: “Ooooh, you eat McDonalds Big Macs and Li-Hing Mui powdered gummi worms? I eat Wendy’s Quarter Pounders, SO much fresher. And PLAIN gummi worms. Let’s go get dropped off at the movies.”

High School: “Ooooh, you eat anything? I eat air. And sometimes ice. I’m so full today from my celery stick. Let’s go for a run.”

College: “Ooooh, you eat hot meals and fresh vegetables? I’ve totally been living on Cheez-Its and Stagg Chili. Isn’t it so fun to be super poor college kids? Let’s go shopping at American Eagle!”

Five years ago: “Ooooh, you eat meat? I guess that’s good for people who are big-boned. Have you tried this tofurkey? It’s Ah-mazing.”

Last year: “Ooooh, you know that’s not actually organic right? You might want to grow it yourself to be sure. Can’t ever trust that USDA stamp. Let’s go churn some butter.”

Now: “Oooooh, you’re NP? That’s ok. Let’s go lift something.”

Being healthy is GOOD. Being snobby is BAD. I have definitely been guilty of both.

Thankfully, we have found a Crossfit with very un-snobby Paleolyths so maybe my inner snob will stay reined in. Our challenge begins in a week. We have been easing ourselves into it but have this loaf of incredibly delicious bread and this stick of really yummy butter that just needs to be taken care of. So, this morning I made the best toast of my life, smothered in the Aussie’s favorite spread: Orange Marmalade. Now, I have never been a marmalade fan. Some fourth grade snack experience involving a Paddington Bear skit and saltines with marmalade ruined it for me a while back. However, there is something about someone else’s extreme enjoyment of something that makes you give something a second try. I have fallen hard for Marmalade. I can’t believe I convinced Roger to buy the cheaper brand. Because if there is something that could improve the orange heaven sitting on this slice of bread, I would gladly spend another dollar to find out about it.

I hope you all have a healthy, unsnobby day. Encourage someone who needs it!

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Bugs and Buying Things: How to Feel Successful

I have my study all set up in the Ohana garage apartment. It’s comfortable and conducive to taking practice NCLEX exams. Apparently it is too comfortable because I started Diagnostic Test 1 with an above average score and by Test 4, I had plunged to well below average. About the time I viewed my miserable results yesterday afternoon, I began to feel a lone mosquito buzzing around and feasting on my calves. Now when a lone bug gets into the ohana unit, it’s really got nowhere to go. And my porky terrier makes it his doggone mission to get that bug. Jasper and I made 15 minutes of valiant bug smacking attempts before I decided that not only can I not pass a practice version of How To Start My Nursing Career, I can’t even smack a bug. A bug sluggish from a calf feast. So I slammed the door shut on everything unsuccessful and went to buy something. Anything. At least I can be successful at Ross. Turns out I needed some really pretty lemon handsoap for the bathroom.

This morning I woke up feeling moderately more capable. I spent some time with Jesus and felt even better. Psalm 130 told me to wait for the Lord with my whole being…as a watchman waits for the morning. I can do that because I have seen it work before. When life is completely out of control and I can’t do anything else, I can wait. Morning does come. My prayers are pretty simple these days: God please help. With everything. Amen. Well, I try to be more specific. But that is the basic theme and I don’t feel guilty. A friend told me a few weeks ago that he had trouble praying for himself. It felt selfish. People, we gotta get over that one. If we can’t pray for ourselves, we aren’t going to be much good at praying for others. That’s my preach for today.

So, I marched back into the study today, heard that freaking bug and didn’t sit down till I squashed him dead. He was quick today after being starved out all night.

But Jasper and I were quicker.





The porky terrier doesn’t rest until I show him the insect carcass.



He is now sleeping the peaceful sleep of a victory won. And I am fixing to hit the books. Success will be mine because I am waiting for the Lord. I am giving him my family and their grief, my friends and their problems, my hopes and dreams, and my fears and failures. Life is out of my control but firmly in God’s control.

In the meantime I will buy household goods and squash practice exams.

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Vacation from my Problems

Every family seems to have their quotable movies. My family has an inordinate amount of quotes floating around in our interactions. So much so that at times you may need some kind of decoder ring to follow along. The art to quotes is weaving it into conversation in an appropriately subtle way. I don’t do subtle but little sister is really good at this and cracks me up all the time. Some family standards: My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Man Who Knew too Little, Princess Bride, Goonies, You’ve Got Mail, Miss Congeniality, and What About Bob. Bill Murray has provided a lot of quotable fodder for conversation. Lately, I’ve been thinking about taking a “vacation from my PROOOOOblems” just like Bob.

When I have a mainland trip approaching, I save up decisions and things I need to pray about. I always think of the plane flight as a forced 10 to 12 hours to be alone and think through life.  I will arrive in the motherland with issues resolved and decisions made and ready to relax. What really happens is right around the point in the flight where the plane starts taxiing down the tarmac, I remember how nervous turbulence makes me and I watch four movies in a row to forget that I am 30,000 feet in the air. So, this time I am being realistic. I will solve all of my problems by the pool and on the beach in Daytona.

Really, I do like getting away during transitional times like these. It’s like getting a bird’s eye view on my life. I can look around and see where God wants me to invest my time and what I am going to do differently when I get home. It doesn’t solve my problems. It just makes them not so problematic. I get a strategy going. I give myself a pep-talk. I say things like “You ARE going to pass that NCLEX exam without vomiting. You ARE going to pay your loans off with a great Nurse Practitioner job and it will be before you are 72. Maybe even 42. You ARE going to run that half-marathon. But you might vomit. You ARE going to make good choices. You ARE going to raise a family like your mama did. Now, turn over and tan that tummy, stat!” It’s a great way to vacation from my problems.

So, if you need to get away, face your fears, or just get some perspective, do it! Even if you have to tie yourself to the mast of the boat like Bob did, it will be worth it. God will meet you there with pep talks and encouragement that you CAN do life and you can do it bravely. “You’re sailing!!!”

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Ready, Set, Relax.

It was a sprint-marathon-long-jump-discus throw to the end but today I finished with my very last day of clinicals. I am all set for a weekend of festivities and two weeks of vacation. If I can get off the couch. But that will happen because the alternative is sitting here looking at a strategically packed mess as the temple next door celebrates Bon season with PokeMon karaoke into the wee hours. I’ll get off the couch.

After Moving Day tomorrow, I get to dress up with little sister as my date and go to a graduation dinner. It’s not a real graduation since there will be no degree conferred until six semesters of graduate work is completed. But we have earned registered nursing licenses, so that deserves a party. On Sunday, we will celebrate Sister Style with all three Barley girls at Kailua Beach Park. If you didn’t get an invitation, it was lost in the mail and you should come anyway. There will be candles and food and other pretty things as we celebrate the grace of God and the love of family and friends bringing me through this year.

But with vacation coming up, I have a very serious decision to make. I need good books in my life. Please advise! What was the last great read you experienced? Please see the guidelines below.

YES List
-Cute children
-Good books
-Current events

NO List
-Nursing text books
-Boring books
-Grief counseling
-Comic books
-Anything by Danielle Steele

All suggestions will be taken into serious consideration.

I am going to get ready to leave the couch now. Let’s have a good weekend.

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I’m in the homestretch. Thank you for every form of encouragement that has come my way in the past two days. I must have worried a few people with my last post. I’m doing okay, folks…make-up intact, hopes high, and in the homestretch of this academic adventure of a year.

It doesn’t seem like long ago that I got a voicemail calmly congratulating me on being accepted into the University of Hawaii’s Masters Entry Program into Nursing. I very uncalmly called my mom to tell her I knew exactly what God wanted me to do for the next three years and I couldn’t say it without crying. Of course. I had to walk back into a Biology lab all happy and snotty.

And today I had my last lecture with my great little cohort of future Advance Nurses and current world-changers.

These 28 people are pretty amazing

In three weeks we will all go our separate graduate class ways. My way will lead me back to Kona for six months.


What is it about this tropical little town of Kailua-Kona that calls for periods in the wrong places in my sentences? Well, let me share.

Photo by Eric Franke. Check out more Kona shots and other amazing work at his website. http://www.efrankevisuals.com

The Top Ten Reasons I.Can’t.Wait. for Kona

1. To share a room with my sister again…complete with sundeck, garden, and room AC. Yes.

2. To do all of the things my four-year-old niece lists on the voicemails she leaves me…”when you come back from Wahoo, we can color and play and eat candy and bake cookies and watch movies and go to the park and eat hot dogs and pizza”…basically we will eat.

3. To go on twin dates (with my twin. Not dates that are exactly alike)

4. To stop downloading sermons and hear Dad for real.

5. To see faces I’ve known for more than half my life. Including the bank tellers that hug me, the grocery store clerks that ask about the church barbeque, and the one lady at Costco who always remembers my name.

6. To go to the drive-through Starbucks.

7. To have a porky little terrier named Jasper follow me everywhere.

8. To come home from church and fill up the couches with people, put on a DVD, and do a crossword puzzle.

9. To go to the Kona Brew Pub (best beer and ranch dressing you’ll ever find) , Jackie Rey’s (I seriously feel like an important person there), Peaberry and Galette (click gallery, featured artists, scroll almost to the bottom. But the crepes are also good), and  Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.(all those good looking people in the ads are my friends and family. No really. Go look.)

10. To work and play in the place my family calls home. Together.

You can come home to Kona too, if you want. I will share Living Stones Church with you and the drive-through Starbucks, maybe even park days with my nieces. But the porky terrier probably won’t follow you. Sorry.

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