old towne

I drove through the town of my old high school today and I had mixed feelings driving through it. The pizza place with the tasty onion rings is still there. The corner lot that saw a bazillion businesses fail in the 4 years I was in high school – it is now a small medical center. The old high school itself is now a daycare, a metal welding shop, a tanning place and a few other businesses. But the track’s still there, and the old baseball diamonds where I watched my brothers play countless games and I practiced for marching band. The softball diamonds where I played so many games and got the nice scar on my leg. They finally after nearly 8 years, built that walkway from the new school to the diamonds. Some things the same, some things changed.

But somehow I felt like I was looking into someone else’s memory. The town is only fifteen minutes away, yet I hadn’t visited for longer than driving through in…three years? I couldn’t help but think that my life is so different from what it was then. Sure, life was easier and simpler then. My biggest cares were if I was going to make it to the bus on time and if I was going to pass my anatomy exam.

Now – I have thousands of dollars of debt (well worth it though); I pay for my own gas; I have to coordinate what social schedule I have with my work schedule, along with everyone else’s; I have to choose my words more carefully because they seem to carry more weight and often have greater consequences. I struggle to know how best to serve and support my family – what to do or say or not.

And the biggest yet – I find it harder and harder to remain spiritually disciplined in a time when it is so crucial to me (and somehow, to those around me as well). How do I keep myself disciplined enough to keep diving into my spiritual life and staying connected to God when I’m the only person my age in my church, it’s a struggle to even get to church with my work schedule, and, compared to college life (where I was constantly being spiritually fed and was surrounded with godly peers, investing in me and challenging me) I feel alone and malnourished. I keep finding ways to occupy my time: TV, movies, music, reading, sleeping. Those things are entertaining, but also numbing. I keep falling farther and farther “out of practice” with my spiritual life.

I don’t mean for this to be a debbie-downer post. Is my life going the way I had planned? Not really. But is my life still very good and blessed? Yes! I’m happy with my life and the years I’m in now. I talk to so many friends who don’t like the job they’re in or they miss their family and God has blessed me enough to have both a wonderful job and be near family. I just feel like I’m not making the most of this time. There so much potential I’m missing, but how to get it? How to live the life of purpose I know God’s called me to? What do I do in the here and now?

I found this post by Allison Vesterfelt encouraging as well as this post by Allison, writing at Prodigal Magazine; and finally this post by John Hanan at Prodigal Magazine. Anyone have any insight?

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I work in the NICU

So I love my job. Love, love, love it. Which is saying a lot considering a year ago at this time I was dreading doing anything nursing and hadn’t really considered NICU ever. But times change, and here I am only months away from being a NICU nurse for a year and lervin’ it. I’ve been thinking about my job a lot lately, and how it’s so hard to describe my work to people sometimes. When I describe the things I do, people usually react one of three ways: sad, in awe or nauseated. Sometimes when I stop to think about the things I do…and with tiny babies…I’m blown away!

Anyway, so I’ve seen lists like this before, but this is my own personal list of things I’ve said/thought/done in the past 9 months. All true stories. NICU friends, ya’ll will appreciate this list I’m sure : )

I know I’ve become a NICU nurse when:

-I’ve carried a container of poop through the breakroom.
-I can change a baby’s bedding with one hand while holding the baby with the other.
-I’ve touched a cheese head with my bare hand. And I ain’t talking about the Packers.
-I’ve caught poop with my hand as well.
-I smell that baby’s poop wherever I go, dang it.
-My nightmares consist of things like taking care of conjoined octuplets with one of them only being able to breathe underwater. Totally a true story.
-Chest compressions are done with 2 thumbs or one finger. Any other way seems incomprehensible and cruel.
-Any medication given that’s more than 3 mL is considered a huge amount.
-News that a term newborn is coming makes me more nervous than a 30 weeker.
-A preemie’s eyes are fused closed for a week and when it finally opens them, you shove medicine in them. “Yeah, my first time seeing the world and this nurse jammed something in my eyes!” Welcome to the world, little one!
-The amount of fluids I’ve spiked in one shift has to be counted on 2 hands.
-I see pictures of my friend’s pale newborn and all I can think is, “Oh, I bet she has a low crit…”
-I’ve cared for a baby that weighs as much as a bottle of water.
-I’ve, um, broken wind in a baby’s room and blamed it on the baby.
The worst thing I can do to a patient is take their temperature and blood pressure. Torture.
-I hear alarms of every sort on my way home and when I wake up.
-I can’t feed a baby the normal way – it has to be side-lying because what if they aspirate?!
-When an adult tells me their heart rate is in the 150s, I think, “So? That’s normal…”
-Sometimes I cheer when a baby poops.
-Bubble wrap is not only used for packing – it also keeps sick babies warm.
-I’ve put an intensive baby in a swing. Or a wagon.
-When I see a normal blood pressure cuff, I’m astounded.
-I think of baby weight in grams.
-Most used words or phrases: cute, burrito, hot mess, he’ll bring himself back up, and she just needs to poop.
-When I see a feeding tube in an adult, my mind is blown at the size of it.
-IVs in the umbilical cord seem natural. So do scalp IVs.
-Kangarooing? Doesn’t have a thing to do with kangaroos.
-If I say something like, “It’s been a good night” or “It’s quiet in here”, I automatically regret it and wait for something bad to happen.
-Feedings on a pump over an hour? That’s a great night. Breastfed baby? Worst night ever.
-When a baby weighs more than 2000 grams (about 4lb 6 oz), it’s considered a big kid.
-I want to kill whoever set that noise as the alarm for the carseat monitor.
-But whoever made the silence button is a saint.
-The baby’s crying a lot? Obviously he needs Versed. Or Ativan. Maybe Fentanyl.
-The phrases “carseat trial”, “I’m sorry…I didn’t understand you”, and “the parents are staying all night” make you shudder
-When a friend told me she was pregnant, I cheered and congratulated her then stupidly said, “Let me know when you get to 23-24 weeks because that’s when they’re…erm…that’s when we’ll take them in the NICU…” Biggest fail yet.
-And the classic sign: I examine every child under the age of 2 for good veins in their head. To be honest, even my nieces and nephews.

For my NICU pals, check out a few more at this page and this page. We live in a weird world, us NICU nurses…

Friday Favorites

Now…I realize it’s not Friday, but seeing as I’ve had a real funky work schedule, I feel like I haven’t had a Friday in a while, thus…I’m choosing to see today as a Friday! So here are a few articles I’ve enjoyed this past week or two.

Choosing Wonder Over Worry – a great blog at Prodigal Magazine article by Stephanie Spencer about intentionally choosing to enjoy the wonder of life over the worry.

The God of Cigarretes – an article by David Bibee on Relavent’s website about how easy it is to only enjoy the creation but forget to focus on the Creator.

Farther Along – great entry written by a friend of mine about a great Josh Garrels song and about how we may not understand what’s going on in our lives (now…or ever), but in time, God will reveal His plans to us.

musings on post-graduation life

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted anything of my own on here. Life has been full, empty, rushed, slow, routine, and change all at the same time. March was a blur of a month – a few roadtrips to see friends, the arrival of spring (which seems to have retreated in recent days), lots of quality time with family, workworkwork – and suddenly April arrived.

Thoughts I find myself thinking lately:
-I get paid to do this?
-Is it weird to not own any perfume as a girl?
-I love lighting candles…and not being afraid of getting caught.
-I have money?!
-I can buy this shirt full price if I wanted to…because I can afford it (but I won’t, just for the simple fact that it is full price).
-I have time to read…this is wonderful.
-I can watch TV.
-I need to forget my cell phone at home more often.
-I need to exercise.
-I can’t just eat anything I want anymore?? Sad day.
-I think giving gifts is one of my favorite ways to love people.
-I can braid my hair! Yessssss
-How do we take Christ’s example of love and apply it here on earth?
-Am I making a difference?
-How in the world am I supposed to approach this situation/conversation? Am I supposed to say something?
-Where do I start if I want to buy hiking/camping gear?
-How do I say this without screwing it up?
-Why is it so hard for me to stay focused when I’m praying? Why is it so hard for me to pray in general?
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

[A few thoughts on life after having been graduated for a year]

 I am an adult. I am no longer a college student who lives in a bubble of college life, I can’t have my parents pay for gas, nor am I able to avoid certain situations which I previously labeled something the “adults” would handle. At times I find myself thinking, “You’re too young for this. Heck, you’re only 23.” “You haven’t experienced enough to be able to give your two cents.” But the reality is, I am an adult. I do have to pay attention to the events happening around me, I do pay for gas, I do need to care about this situation and not just leave it for others “older than me” to figure it all out. But I wasn’t really prepared for some of those things. So while I have to embrace all these responsibilities of  the adult life, I often feel ill-equipped for the job. I don’t feel like I am 23 1/2 and I’ve been graduated for a whole year.

And I will say, college was a great place to learn and discuss a menagerie of subjects, light and heavy. And that is probably one of the few reasons I miss college. I don’t feel challenged anymore. I rarely have to articulate my opinions about things, and I rarely have the kind of discussions I had in college, which is mostly due to a different (but certainly still good) circle of people. Plus you rarely have deep conversations with people you’ve just met. Relationship building takes time, and I haven’t really had to do that in four years.

But don’t get me wrong – being an adult has also been great! I have paid off a few small loans, I make my own schedule, I am utilizing my degree (and loving it), I have spent lots of time with family, I have a solid job with great co-workers, my job is very rewarding, I have been able to make roadtrips to see friends, and the simple fact that I am a college graduate and a real adult : ) That is just great to say!

So to wrap it all up, it has been a whirlwind of movement and change in my life since I walked across that stage a year ago. And while there have been times I’ve wondered what God was up to, it has all been worth it and it has all been a wonderful learning and growing experience. And to all my peeps who graduated today: post-graduation life is good. It’s stretching, changing, and difficult, but it also rewarding, fun, and just a plain old grand adventure!

And don’t have schwellenangst:

before thirty gets me…

Inspired by my friend Jill’s post here, I decided to write a “Before thirty” list as well! I’ve already decided to make a “Before 25” list as well. But here’s are a few from “30”:

1. Go white water rafting
2. Go backstage at a concert
3. Travel to another continent
4. Take a coastal train ride
5. Visit 5 new states
6. Witness a miracle
7. Run a 10k
8. Learn to swim
9. Buy a new computer
10. Have a veggie/fruit/herb/flower garden
11. Fall in love
12. Hike a national trial (I’m gonna say Pacific Crest or AT)
13. Pay off loans!
14. Go skiing/snowboarding
15. Learn (re-learn?) Spanish
16. Take a photography class

#4 Take a coastal train ride

#3? #5? #12?

the adventures of turtle face

Last weekend, my friends Tamara and Rachael and I took a trip out East to see our friends Josh and Abbi. Tam, Rachael, Abbi and I had a few adventures in PA, NJ, and NY. It was a fantastic trip – so cool to see so many historical and famous buildings and places

Philadelphia Excursion:
-Liberty Bell (!!!)
-Reading Terminal market and a philly cheese steak
-the original Macy’s with the world’s largest pipe organ [watch this video of the Opera Company of Philadelphia singing the Hallelujah Chorus in this same Macy’s! Beautiful!]
-Mütter Museum – kind of like the Body Exhibit but smaller
[Favorite part: listening to the organ in Macy’s…although the colon the width of my torso in the Mütter Museum was pretty incredible]

Princeton Jaunt:
-the beautiful campus of Princeton University – so much history in those buildings!
[Favorite part: the University Chapel was simply gorgeous with its stained glass windows]

NYC  Expedition:
-Carlos’ Bakery
-Bryant and Central Park – beautiful!
-Chrysler Building
-Grand Central station
-Trump tower(s)
-Rockefeller Plaza/Center
-FAO Schwarz Toys
-Times Square – ate some fantastic pizza and cheesecake!!
[Favorite part: stopping in at a church in the middle of the city and finding beautiful peace and quiet amidst the hustle and bustle of NYC]

Here are some pictures from this fabulous trip:

Philadelphia Macy's - super classy inside!

Reading Terminal Market, Philly

Me and ol' Liberty

Tam, Abbi, Rachael, and I in Grand Central station

Oh, just laughin' it up in Central Park

Of course I got a picture of the huge New Girl billboard and me in Times Square!