Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lovely Colorado and New Home Montana

I made it! After putting 5500 miles on my trusty Impala and visiting 14 states, I am finally settled in Billings and working at St. Vincents Hospital. Colorado was amazing... I will refrain from elaborating at this point but I met some really great people there and had a fabulous time! A definite highlight was when Emma flew down for the weekend so that we could go to a LIVE taping of Adventures in Odyssey. We have both been fans of this radio show since we were kids, and you would have thought we were meeting the most famous people on the planet considering how excited we were about getting autographs!! Emma got to give Jimmy Barclay a hug, and I got to hear Eugene say "Greetings and salutations" face to face. Yes, it was a perfect day.

Ah Billings. The NICU here is great! I enjoy the nurses I will be working with and love my job as much as ever. The most difficult thing to get used to has been their computerized charting, but now that I'm adjusting it's really nice! As a travel nurse a fully-furnished apartment is provided by the company. Mine is much nicer than I would ever need, so I am very thankful for this blessing even while I feel guilty for living in such extravagance. Instead of focusing on the latter, I am praying that God would help me to use my little home to bless others. I'm reading 'The City of Joy' currently, and it will most definitely end up on my list of all-time favorites. The setting is Calcutta and it is a beautiful book.

Being in a new city has its pros and cons. My adventure-loving side is having a blast exploring and learning about my new stomping grounds. My people-loving side is just needing a hug. It's strange being in a place where not one single face is familiar! Struggling with this, I brought it to the Lord this morning. Isn't it crazy and wonderful how no matter where we are we can go into God's presence and find that we are... home. So, all is well.

Less than two weeks until Sarah and Justin's wedding! I plan on collecting as many hugs as I can from as many people as possible:).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This lone road-tripping is interesting to say the least. I'm used to having something to do and plenty of people to see every day and now I find myself... alone. It's good for me. Keith, AJ and Tyler were my three adventure pals the last couple of days, and they just left to head back to Texas. We had a great time! I did manage to do a face plant off my mountain bike yesterday and injure my arm. It hurts a lot... but considering I'm between health insurance I'm not too keen on the idea of going in for xrays. No bones are sticking out so I think it should heal nicely. Some nurse, right:)?!? The plan was to go white water kayaking today, but we were all too beat up and exhausted for that. Maybe next summer. I swung by the Grand Canyon on my way up here and it was GORGEOUS! I'll post some pictures of that soon. It's quite a hole in the ground.

With the boys gone, I'm feeling the silence. My job in Montana doesn't start until the 25th, and I can't move up there until the 22nd (the apartment opens for me then). Needless to say, I've still got a good amount of time to hang out in Colorado. Please send me any prayer requests that you may have... I'd be delighted to pray for you!

The midwifery school in the Philippines continues to excite me, and I've begun to think in that direction. Since it starts in August, it would give me another year to work and save money before making a two year move. If you want to check it out, the website it

I'll be on the road again today, so give me a call!

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:4-5

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Travels - Arizona

The drive to Phoenix was beautiful. I had purchased the soundtrack from my all-time favorite movie, "Once", and sat back to enjoy the view. Wandering along the Old West Scenic Highway I found myself gasping and blurting out "WAY TO GO GOD!!!" as mountains of rock and colors of sky converged solely to take my breath away. The most stunning places were always strategically located so that there was no place to pull over and take a picture, but I'm quite sure it couldn't have been captured on film anyway. Stepping out of the car at the end of the road I was blasted with heat that reminded me of Africa, and I was immediately thankful for air conditioning. Seeing Megan again is amazing. She has a depth, humor and honesty about her that both refreshes and challenges me. We made each other laugh late into the night until I, of course, fell asleep first. It's always special to be able to see a dear friend's home, meet their family and friends, and put images to stories that I've been hearing since we've known each other.

Today we talked again about future plans, about what "God's will" actually means, how to make our love for Him translate into more than an hour spent with Him in the mornings, and how fear so often prevents us from following Him recklessly. I mentioned midwifery school again and the resulting intense conflict between that desire and my longing to be back overseas. She calmly asked why I wasn't looking into midwifery schools abroad. Third world midwifery schools. That touched one of those deep fears I hold. I've always assumed that when I went back overseas for any length of time it would be with someone. That someone can't be Sarah, since she is getting married next month. To be perfectly and painfully honest, I've been holding onto a need to be in the States, even though I don't want to be. I've felt that it would be helpful if I gave God time to introduce me to someone fabulous who wants to follow God recklessly... together. But I can't hold that expectation, so I'll stop.

Already I've discovered a midwifery program in the Philippines that makes my heart beat faster. How will I know if it's right? Maybe I won't. But I can look at the passions and talents that God has given me and get clues. In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the story of a master who entrusted his servants with talents of silver. Two of the servants took risks and the amount of talents they received were doubled. But a third servant was filled with fear. He didn't want to risk losing his talent, so he buried it and the master was very displeased. He took the third servant's talent away and gave it to the one who had risked the most. So should I sit around waiting for God to reveal His "perfect" location and school for me, or maybe what He wants for me more than anything is to take a risk. Stick my neck out a little bit. I'll be praying about that during my long drive to Durango, Colorado tomorrow!

A sign we saw in downtown Phoenix. AWESOME!!!

Megan at work!

Stuck in the boot.

Didn't quite make it in time!! :)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Travels - North Dakota to New Mexico and everything in between.

I am seated at a tune-up shop in El Paso, Texas, just miles from the Mexico border. The past week has been full of randomness and wonder, and I am amazed by God. The interviews for California nursing jobs never did happen, since both positions were filled before I could even compete with them. No matter. When my siblings and I left for vacation in Texas, I had no idea where I'd end up. We made it to Kerrville just in time for Sarah's dad's 50th birthday party. It was such a raucous event that we secretly hoped the police would show up! I was delighted. After a day of rest (and a good amount of belly flops in the pool), eight of us "younger" people piled into two cars and headed to Big Bend for an overnight camping trip. Who knew such rugged beauty lived in Texas? We saw three tiny baby bears and their mama as we drove that night, and the most stunning starry sky I've seen in the Northern hemisphere. An obnoxious snorer in a nearby tent thwarted our sleeping efforts late into the night. This, however, was a very good thing as our bag of coal caught fire and we were still awake to put it out before things got ugly. During a long hike the next morning we met a different baby bear and its mama... directly in front of us on the trail! A strange mix of excitement and fear tingled all over me and I was thankful for the four men in our company all being 6'4 or taller. I could hide:) We also had the privilege of spotting a snake, a roadrunner, a jackrabbit (HUGE ears), and a deer. Not to mention a "mountain lion" that turned out to be a squirrel. It looked scary from a distance, trust me:).

It was time to go west even farther to Bloys Camp Meeting... an odd, once a year tradition that has been taking place since 1890. Sarah's descendants helped start it, and today 1200 people pack out tin cabins for a week of family time and rich tradition. The rules have been in place since the start and include such gems as "hold all applause during church services" (optional chapel was held three times a day) and "no taking photos on Sundays". I was thrilled with the whole rustic affair, from chasing the spiders out of our cabin at the beginning of the week to wiggling through hardly touched caves to hours of volleyball to sitting on the front porch watching my mom learn how to knit and listening to the men debate politics and religion. With hardly any cell phone service, the job search continued, and I was offered positions in Denver Colorado and Billings, Montana. I accepted Billings and start on August 25th. Yesterday my siblings flew home with my parents and I was left with my car, two weeks before starting my new position, and lots of country to be explored. While falling asleep last night with fiddlers in the background imploring Ol' Dan Tucker to "git oudda the way" I excitedly planned. Today I'm making my way to Phoenix to see my dear friend Megan. Just as soon as the kind mechanics here are finished prodding, filling, balancing and rotating, I'll be back on the road. 2500 miles and 6 states down, LOTS more to come!

Our cabin

Porch sitters!!!

Preparing myself to squeeze through a tiny hole into a very dark unknown.

If Keith can do it, I can do it!!!