Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Steve turned 28 on the 24th, and I got to be in Colorado Springs to celebrate with him! It was fantastic (of course). Besides the obvious reason being in Colorado is so enjoyable, I also have loved getting to know Steve's friends. They are GREAT! I am planning to take a travel nursing position in Colorado Springs starting in January, and will move in with Alecia... with whom there is never a dull moment (right up my alley)! Being separated from family and friends for the last couple of months has taught me a lot about the beauty of fellowship. I need relationship. I need to love and be loved. I can't wait to have a roommate again and also a group of friends that gets together to watch football on Sundays, make meals for each other, encourage one another, laugh together and build each other up. And Steve and I will be in the same city at last!! It really can't come soon enough.

Steve loves superheroes:).

Pikes Peak at sunset!

Being swept away into a giant dust pan in front of the Denver Art Museum

Steve and Matthew's birthday party at Rock Bottom

Birthday cupcakes!

Oh Matthew:).

My soon-to-be roomie, Alecia

About to get ice cream...

Steve thinks he looks like Casper the ghost in this picture:)...

Josh and John's ice cream is the BEST!!!

Drawing me a picture with crayons...


Monday, October 27, 2008


I've been tagged by both Cassie and Liesl, so it's time for me to participate! I'm supposed to list seven random tidbits about myself. Hmm... here it goes!

1. Both of my thumbs are double jointed in two places. Truly! The result of this is that I can bend them both back in a very awkward way. This is my one and only stupid human trick.

2. I have been known to laugh, talk and yes... even walk... in my sleep.

3. I played the flute for 7 years when I was younger, and can still pick it up and play a decent tune. I noticed that Jen Price is a fellow flautist. Jen, we should really perform a duet at some point:)!!!

4. Though I hail from North Dakota, I've NEVER been to Canada. How is this possible?

5. When I was a little girl I was absolutely convinced that someday I would be an Olympic gymnast. The problem was, I was completely uncoordinated. Beth, Emma and Cassie can all affirm this. My gymnastics career lasted all of 6 months... but I must admit, I've secretly hoped since then that the needed skill would suddenly just arrive. Maybe 2012?!?

6. I've eaten worms, termites and many other "delicacies".

7. I love to climb trees!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Train yourself..."

I ran it for Chelsea. It was, after all, her first marathon and my fourth. When the going got tough she would need me to reassure her that she could do it. Right??? 26.2 miles later, Chelsea was dragging my dehydrated and completely shattered body across the finish line. I learned hard lessons on Sunday. That 4 hours and 48 minutes was the most excruciating of my life.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I did not train very well for this marathon. Oh, I had plenty of excuses for that. I just moved. I don't have time. I don't know where the good trails are. It's too hot. It's too cold. The air is too thin. I'm tired of running! My joints hurt. On and on. I also had plenty of reasons why, regardless of my lack of preparedness, I would run splendidly on race day. It's all mental. I'm still in pretty good shape. I just ran a half marathon in a good time. I know what to expect now. I'm skinnier than last year. I eat the right foods. On and on. Anything to keep from admitting that I just had not put in enough training runs.

What I was lacking in actual preparedness I was certainly not lacking in confidence! Oh brother. At the starting line I felt great and breezed through the first couple of miles only concerned about pacing ourselves so we could pick up speed at the end of the race. Around mile 3 my stomach started letting me know that all was not well, and by mile 5 I was just plain miserable. Thus began the battle. I had never experienced this before! Where was the runner's high? The feel of floating along with the cheering of the crowds? Today the throngs of people on the sidewalks were just plain irritating. Why was I running and they were watching? Why, oh why, wasn't I with them instead of with the crazy runners? At mile 6 I told Chelsea the truth: I felt completely horrible and frankly there was no way in the world I was going to be able to finish that race! I told her to run ahead and she said no. I told her again to go and run her best, but again she said no. She said we would make it, one mile at a time. By mile 10 I was dry heaving on the side of the road as we ran. This continued for about two miles, with nothing to show for it. I had felt so sick the first few miles that I wasn't drinking very much at the water stations. By the half-way point the sun was baking us, the temperature was in the mid-80s, and I was in big trouble. I realized that I had stopped sweating and was starting to feel very dizzy. At the next water station I forced myself to drink water and Gatorade to avoid collapsing, but damage had already been done. I had to hold on to Chelsea at one point and she was consistently asking me questions. "Do you need to sit? How are you feeling? I don't want to have to find a stretcher for you!" Sometimes she just continued on in a determined silence. I knew she had made up her mind that she was not only going to get herself to the end, but she was bringing me with her. What selflessness! We passed a med tent and I looked longingly inside at the several runners getting iced and being treated for dehydration. It looked like heaven and I wanted to join them. "We're going to finish," Chelsea said. I wanted to ask how she was doing but I just didn't have it in me. All I had was the occasional moan and grunt of... "AH, HOT." What a day.

Crossing the finish line I didn't have tears to cry. But Chelsea put her arm around me, a huge smile on her face and said, "We did it." Not only had we done it, but we only finished 18 minutes slower than our goal time! Not too bad considering the conditions. I thanked her over and over again for staying with me, and promised her a faster marathon next year. I promised I would train hard for that one, and I will keep that promise as long as my body allows me to do so!

Looking back from where I sit now I can see God's hand everywhere. He used that miserable Sunday to teach me some valuable lessons. Marathons are not the only thing that require training.

"Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." 1 Timothy 4:7-8

Sometimes I hit the streets in life like I hit the streets of Chicago. I haven't been training. I'm overconfident in my "spirituality" and think I can follow God with excellence, even when He is far from my first priority. But that is a deception of the mind which allows me to grow sluggish in my pursuit of Him. Godliness does not come easily, and drawing near to God absolutely must be a priority that I simply cannot afford to brush away. The results of training to be godly are too valuable to miss.

Another lesson. At times in the past several years when I have faced crises of life and of faith, I've needed "Chelseas" to drag me along even when I've felt defeated. Even when I've wanted to throw in the towel. Friends and family have faithfully stood by me and said, "You're going to make it. Look to Jesus. I'm right here with you." Again I find myself in awe of this deep love, shown to me by so many, and wanting desperately to be that voice of loving endurance for others. That is, after all, what following Jesus is all about: loving Him and loving others selflessly.

After 48 hours the many blisters on my toes are starting to heal and my legs are not quite as sore. Steve came to see me yesterday during my short layover in Denver (so sweet!) and I managed to run from my gate to where he was with no problem:). I also met his sister, Cathleen, this weekend! She met me for the World Vision banquet on Saturday night, and it was fantastic getting to know her a little bit. What a sweetheart! It was SO nice that Josh and Sarah drove down from North Dakota as well. The final blessing of Chicago was getting to see a dear college friend, Sarah Johnson, for several hours before going to the airport. She and her husband moved to Chicago not long before I moved to Africa and it has been well over two years since I saw them. What true gifts from the Lord they have been to me over the years! The whole weekend was a blast and will be remembered fondly...

...all except Sunday morning. But from it I have learned.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's New?

Autumn is without question my favorite time of the year. When autumn comes around I will go more than a little out of my way to jump on crunchy-looking leaves, and I have been doing just that as much as possible for the past two weeks. This is the time when the trees radiate beauty and originality. They are tired of being green and instead burst into unique combinations of golds, yellows, oranges, browns, and reds. There is a crispness and a joy about autumn that is simply captivating. Thank You, God, for this. Another blissful reason to celebrate the arrival of fall is, of course, football season.

To this I raise the purple and gold and say with gusto, "GO VIKINGS". They may only be 2-3 thus far, but it's still early.

Tonight brings the arrival of a not-so-beloved season, winter. Tonight the wind is howling, a blizzard is forecasted, and I'm wondering if my flight to Chicago tomorrow will be delayed or not. Somehow marathon time is back! This time I will sheepishly admit that I have not trained as hard as I should have, but running with two friends will definitely keep me from stopping. Really I am only nervous about how much pain I will be in come Sunday afternoon. "Why do I keep putting myself through this?" I wonder. I can't explain it completely, but the rush of finishing is just so entirely worth the agony of getting there. I find many spiritual parallels while I run, and experience God in a very deep way. I simply cannot give that up. My brother and sister-in-law are driving down for the weekend thanks to some rain that is keeping them out of the fields. I know I should not be happy about the rain which slows harvest, but I will admit I am a selfish creature... so thankful for the rain I am. I can't wait to see my sibbys!!

Sarah Irish is now Sarah Moline!!! Two nights before the long-awaited event we lay in bed as we had done so many times before... talking. I read to Sarah one of our favorite Psalms and we rejoiced. We prayed. I cried (of course). We talked of this beautiful and mysterious thing called love. And finally we dozed off, delighted. God had heard our prayers and had blessed Sarah with Justin. Pictures from the wedding can be found by clicking the 'My Snappies' link. As for a newlywed update... it is wonderful to hear the joy in my friend's voice as she speaks about her new husband. All is well for the new Molines! For me one of the best parts of the weekend was having a very special someone fly in from Colorado to be my date for the wedding. More on that later in the post... :)

I am adjusting to life in Billings, although I must say that I'm still learning how to cope with days off.
They really can be incredibly lonely! My solution for this is simply to work as much as possible. St. Vincents NICU is really fantastic (yes, those really are light-up trees over the isolettes!!) and I just plain love being a NICU nurse.

For me it is a perfect combination of the tense, the calm, the chaotic and the humorous. One minute I can be rocking a baby to sleep and the next minute an alarm will send me running down the hall to a delivery. That is always a nice adrenaline rush at 3:45am! A few nights ago while I was changing her diaper a sweet little girl shot a stream of poo so far that it soiled a curtain 2 feet from her bed:). Nice shot!! She got a swift dunk in the tub and the rest of us got a good laugh. I love my coworkers. I love seeing babies grow from under a pound to 8 pound, healthy newborns who are going home. It's awesome getting to know the families of our babies, and helping them feel comfortable and bond with their premie. Yes, I love my job. It's not Africa but it's where God has me and I am thankful. He knows what He is doing and everything He does is good. There is so much peace in knowing that!

Hmm, while on the subject of God's sweet goodness, I think this would be a good time to introduce Steve:). Steve is... well... fantastic. I hesitate to try to explain him too much because I just wouldn't be able to do him justice. He is sweet, hilarious and loves Jesus to put it simply... and I could go on and on about the strength of his character and the way he embraces life. He makes me feel like the most special girl in the world. I don't deserve it, but you won't hear me complaining:)! Here are a few photos. Guaranteed he will be included in stories in future posts, so now you can get an idea of how adorable he is in advance:).

I don't know about anyone else, but this election business is really starting to drive me crazy. Still, I can't help but glue myself to the news and the debates and wonder what the decision will be come November. I watch as the rest of the world watches us... knowing full well that the person we elect will directly affect them too. It makes me sad the the #1 issue at the front of our minds is our own economy. The fact that we are having to tighten our belts a little bit is absolutely unthinkable to us as Americans, even to many of us who follow Christ. Yet we still are so slow to see the rest of the world who struggles... not with making mortgage payments or putting gas in their car because those things are unfathomable to most of our brothers and sisters around the globe. No, what many are thinking about his how they will feed their starving children. So I watch in the debates for signs that the candidates care about poverty. I listen to rally speeches where the chant is a resounding, "USA, USA, USA..." and think, hmm. As a citizen of the Kingdom of God that is not my chant. Indeed it cannot be if I truly want to follow Him. His chant is for the world... for the poor.

My whole being will exclaim, "Who is like you, O LORD ? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them." Psalm 35:10

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

I realize it is idealistic of me to expect a presidential candidate to seek good for all the countries of the world rather than just one country. But it is not idealistic to expect and pursue that as Christ's body. There is no time to lose, and it delights me straight to my bones as I watch so many of my brothers and sisters pursue that very thing. Take the Shervheims for example, who with 5 young children of their own recently adopted two eastern European little girls with Down Syndrome. Or the Kellers, on the road to adopting a child from Ethiopia and with the vision of helping 100+ families in the Fargo area to do the same. Or Collette, who recently stepped out in faith and purchased a home to be used as a haven for international students on the NDSU campus. Alone in a foreign country, at her home they find love and acceptance. And of course there are our brothers and sisters abroad, in countries of desperate need but full of people with incomprehensible resolve and endurance... and faith. I learned recently that Carlos and the team in Mozambique is expanding to two new, very needy communities. My heart swelled with joy at this news! I am so proud of my Mozambiquan brothers and sisters, as well as my Canadian, Irish, South African, English, Dutch, Zambian and American brothers and sisters who continue so diligently to love their neighbor as they love themselves throughout southern Africa. I am humbled and often shamed by their servant-hood... their selflessness. God bless you all.