Thursday, October 29, 2009

If you have to take a midterm...

Pajamas and hot chocolate is the way to go.:o)  Aren't online tests the most amazing invention?

Two midterms and one 70 questions "quiz" down.

One midterm next Tuesday.

 By God's grace, another round of midterms is almost behind me.:o)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's raining here today...

and I was given the day off from work.  So that means,

cinnamon vanilla candles

trying out a new oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe (yummy and warm!)


studying and listening to classical music

and just enjoying the much needed rain!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Speaking of Undeserved Blessings...

Over the last couple of weeks I have been eating really well.  A little too well maybe. Which is part of the reason why all recent pictures have been of my surroundings, and not of me.:o)

Last week I made Mexican Rice Casserole (recipe complements of my wonderful friend Kristen!).  She made it for Rebecca and I when we were in Seattle and we really enjoyed it.  It was a big hit here as well, and we finished off all leftovers last night.:o)

I had a really fun time making it, but right about the time I finished I began to remember why I typically try to clean up as I go along.

Thankfully my aunt was out working in the yard for most of the time, and by the time she came in she said, "Wow!  It smells delicious and the kitchen looks great.":o)

Then last Sunday Rebecca and I had our first "official" Sunday Sister Afternoon.  (We'll come up with a better name eventually.:o)  We made yummy banana muffins and then topped them with some cream cheese frosting and fall sprinkles.  Nutritious and delicious!;o)  Then we sat on her couches and talked, laughed, and ate our muffins while sipping chai tea.  Did I mention this was the absolute highlight of my week???

And last, but not necessarily least, I made scones yesterday.  I got out of my psych clinical early and came home ready to bake before going to a friend's high school play.  This particular baking adventure may not sound overly significant, but it was.  For whatever reason I've always been intimidated by scones.  They just seemed too challenging to attempt.  It turns out (like many things in my life) all the apprehension was for nothing.  They were incredibly easy, and delicious.  We had them with breakfast this morning, and the consensus was that they are a keeper.  What has the cooler weather inspired you to bake recently? 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Undeserved Blessings

I have frequently referred to the exciting and surprising joys which fill my life as "unexpected blessings," and without a doubt they are.  Last night, however, I was challenged to reclassify them as something else: "undeserved blessings."  At the recommendation of my wise older sister, I decided to attend a children's ministry Biblestudy which meets on Friday nights.  One of the couples who lead the study are close friends of my sister and brother-in-law, and I have enjoyed getting to know them as well.  The group has been reading through "A Simple Christianity" by John MacArthur, and last night they discussed a chapter titled "In the Likeness of Men."  I've known (I think) since before I could talk that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He came to earth as a man to die on the cross for the sins of the world.  In spite of this knowledge, I rarely pause to reflect on how much He gave up to come or the sinfulness and unworthiness of the humans He came to save.

The leader pointed out that His overwhelming and incredibly undeserved gift should alter the way in which we live our lives as Christians.  The fact that Jesus gave up the comforts of Heaven and His face-to-face relationship with the Father to come to earth and die, should radically change our worldview and force us to reconsider what we "deserve."  The word deserve is defined as to "be worthy or deserving."  Psalm 103:8-12 says:
     "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse,
     nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to 
     our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
     as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (emphasis mine)

The reality is that we deserve death (Romans 6:23).  We deserve eternal punishment, and are instead given eternal life.  God sent His Son to die an unimaginable and horrific death on the cross so that we might spend eternity in Heaven with Him, and all we must do to receive this free gift is place our trust in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).  So the next time I'm tempted to respond with "righteous" indignation toward the person who has dared to pull into the gas station slot I "deserved" because I was there first, I pray that I will remember that I am a sinner who actually deserves death and was instead given life, and that this remembrance will allow me to smile graciously and settle back into my seat.  The God of the universe saved me from what I deserve.  And I can wait.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'm off to work, but before I go...

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Well it is now 9:00am on the first day of school, and I am finally admitting to myself that perhaps summer vacation has come to an end.:o)  I started out working a few extra days at the hospital, then flew up to my parents house, and then spent my last week with friends in Seattle.  What a blessing each of these experiences were, and I returned to Southern California feeling refreshed and ready to start another quarter.  This time next year I will be starting my last quarter of school!  So exciting to think about, but my prayer is that I won't wish away the next 15 months.  I have such a tendency to anticipate what is ahead to the neglect of my current surroundings.  I pray that God will give me the courage to boldly proclaim the Gospel to my fellow nursing students, professors, and patients.  And I pray that my quarter in a psychiatric facility will not be full of fear or a desire to "escape," but rather compassion, patience, and love for the people God places in my life.  May God be glorified through all I do and say!

A pictorial glimpse into my vacation (more pictures from other cameras to come...):

Those of you who know me well will be surprised to know that I woke up early
enough to watch the sunrise almost every day of my vacation!

I watched my incredible little sis play competitive soccer and volleyball.

Enjoyed another "Gold Rush Days" with my parents in Old Town Sacramento.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Summer in September

So this morning, I slept in.  We're talking SLEPT IN!  What a wonderful feeling.  No alarms, no school, no work, no finals.  No finals.:o)  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  On a side note, I don't think my body handles finals quite as well now as it did four years ago when I was a freshman.  I know all of you older readers will get a chuckle out of that statement, but when my alarm would go off after a couple of hours sleep, I wasn't exactly springing from my bed...  Yes.  Finals are indeed over, and I am a free woman!  (At least for the next 2 1/2 weeks...)  I had quite a "to do" list for today, as I forced myself to write things down as I thought of them rather than doing them when I was supposed to be studying.  Anyone who I've lived with can tell you I become quite the chef, cleaner, organizer, etc. during finals week.:o)  Anyway, I wasn't as productive today as I'd planned to be, but I did get quite a bit done and even managed to scatter some fun in along the way.  I mentioned to my aunt that I really wanted to bake something, and she recommended a cake recipe they have.  The recipe is actually on a trivet that sits next to their stove.  That sounded good to me, but to be honest it was the first time I'd ever made a cake from scratch.  Sad I know, but the boxes are just so easy.:o)  It turns out, making a cake is actually pretty easy, and tasty too.  It was even educational, as I learned for the first time that you can make buttermilk from milk and vinegar.  Ah.  Learning finds me even on vacation.;o)  So I'm including the recipe below.  Give it a try.  It honestly took me very little time, and the result was delicious! 

Hershey's Chocolatetown Special Cake


  • 1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup shortening (I used margarine)
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cups buttermilk or sour milk*
      * To Sour Milk: Use 4 teaspoons white vinegar plus milk to equal 1-1/3 cups.


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
(I used a 9x13 pan and it turned out just fine.  I baked it for about the same amount of time too.)

2. Stir together cocoa and water in small bowl until smooth. Beat shortening, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to shortening mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended. Add cocoa mixture; beat well. Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely: frost.  8 to 10 servings.

Monday, August 31, 2009

So my left eye is twitching...

This won't be a long post as I really should be studying for finals, but I wanted to give you a quick update/ask for your prayers.  Tomorrow I'll be taking two nursing finals (one worth 40% of my grade), and then I'll be on vacation for 2 1/2 weeks!  I am so looking forward to the time off, but for the next 12 hours (ok minus a couple hours for sleeping:o) I desperately need to study.  I'm reaching the point where it seems each thing I learn pushes something I learned earlier out of my brain.  I'm also coming to the point where I know there is more to study but would prefer to just take the tests right now and get them over with.  However, since I don't foresee my instructor sending out an invite to come to campus at 9:30pm to take the final:o), I need to get back to the books.  I'm in the home stretch, and at this time tomorrow I'll be done!!!  And with that little pep talk out of the way, coffee pot here I come...  

Sunday, August 30, 2009


*A special thank you to my brother-in-law for this amazing and incredibly accurate image:o)*

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Sermon

A friend of mine asked me how God's been working in my life recently, and last night I finally replied to the e-mail.  I won't put my actual response up, as after I read it again at a time other that the middle of the night when I wrote it, it actually made very little sense.  Sidenote: I really need to learn that e-mailing people at midnight before I go to bed is generally a bad idea.:o)  Anyway...the gist of what I said revolved around God's faithful reminders in my life that loving Him and loving those around me should be a central priority in my life.  I saw firsthand my own sinfulness and selfish nature last week when I worked two twelve hour shifts, and God opened my eyes to thoughts and heart attitudes which were far from glorifying Him.  By His grace (and only by His grace) I didn't verbalize any of what I was thinking to those around me, but my heart was sinful.  Unfortunately, my failure to be continually in prayer during those shifts was a major factor in my failings, and my prideful arrogance which motivated me to believe I could get through those days by my own strength was my downfall.  However, our great and gracious God allowed me to fail miserably and have a couple of really terrible days, and as a result He convicted me and showed me that in those shifts I loved myself more than I loved my patients, co-workers, and most importantly, more than I loved my Savior.  This lesson is one which I often think, "I should have learned that by now!"  And then I remember.  I am a sinner, saved by grace.  Until I die I will never fully learn lessons or achieve perfection in any area of my life, much as I may want to.  So all of that leads me to today.  Rick Holland preached the message this morning, and when I walked in I looked at the bulletin to see the title of his message.  Can you guess what  passage he was preaching on?  Yes.  Matthew 22:34-40.  Verses 37 through 40 say:

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." that means I need to love those people in my life who love me, as much as I love myself.   I suppose that's doable.  But does it mean I need to love the doctor who swore at me and the nurse who pointed out my errors?  Yes.  Especially them.  What an incredible challenge.  Can I do it on my own?  Absolutely not.  Can I do it by God's grace and through His strength and power?  Absolutely.  I am without excuse.  So there you have it.  The God of the universe loves me enough to let me fail miserably so that I may be reminded of my inadequacies and sin, and of His perfection and power.  What a great God we serve.
If you're interested, I can highly recommend this morning's message.  It's not up quite yet, but I believe they'll post it here in the next couple of days. I start my last week of class for the summer quarter tomorrow, and then on to finals next week and two weeks of vacation!

Kate and I went to Santa Monica this weekend to celebrate her 19th birthday.  She wanted funnel cake.:o)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Fun Monday, Minus the Scrubs

This morning my alarm went off as usual at 4:30 am. I squinted my eyes while looking (ok scowling) at the clock. Then I remembered. I'd stayed up late last night to finish up a paper that was due today. Then of course the calculations started. Ok, if I eat breakfast in the car, fly through the shower, shift my devotions to this evening... Yep. I'll reset my alarm for 5:00 am. I don't actually think that the extra half hour was particularly helpful, but at 5:08 am (about the time I was actually making movements toward prying myself from my bed) I received several text messages. It's amazing how quickly good news spreads.:o) My instructor was sick (no that's not good news!) and my clinical was canceled for the day. Ah, I thought. Amazing!!! Now back to sleep. However, I had gotten up to go to the bathroom and glanced outside. The sun was just beginning to show its first rays, and there were clouds! I know that might not sound too impressive for some of you, but around here in July that's rare. And clouds meant an incredible sunrise. (The lack of clouds make those rare also...) I glanced over at my bed and back outside, and it was decided. I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed my Bible and headed outside to the front yard. And may I just say, it was totally worth it!

These pictures do not begin to capture how beautiful it was, but I kind of like that. It reminds me that our Creator has fashioned our eye in such a way that it is far superior to any man-made devices.

The remainder of the day included a nap:o), cleaning up my room and then doing some much needed vacuuming and dusting, cleaning my bathroom, sending out some overdue e-mails, paying the additional tuition due after the recent fee increase, painting my nails, mailing off a rebate, finishing an assignment due at midnight for my online class (before 11:59 pm:o), and various other odds and ends which seem to pile up in the midst of the quarter. I have said it before and I'll likely say it again, few things are as productive or relaxing as unexpected days off, and our all-knowing God knew just how much I needed this one! Now, off to the kitchen to make some yummy chocolate chip cookies to share.:o)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thank You Lord...

...for bronchitis! As you can see I am back to blogging. By God's grace, after 10 days of a powerful antibiotic, I am also back to breathing, sleeping through the night, standing for longer than five minutes without needing a two hour nap, and a myriad of other seemingly simple activities. During this latest illness I was made aware of many blessings which God showered on me. I can't remember all of them now, but I wanted to share a few that I can recall with you.

*It created a thankful heart. I am never so thankful for my usual good health (that I too often take for granted) as I am when I'm sick.

*It reminded me of how many wonderful people the Lord has placed in my life who encourage and support me. From taking me to the doctor, to midnight check-ups, to uplifting e-cards, friends and family met so many of my needs.

*It provided another reason to be thankful for my current living arrangement. I distinctly remember being sick in the dorms my first year in college, and how miserable it was to go through it on my own. My aunt and uncle were amazing! My aunt was literally in and out of my room the whole first night, and she even stripped my soaking wet sheets off the bed after my fever spiked to 104.5. If that isn't love...:o)

This was the make-shift sick bay they set up in my room. Let me just say, it was wonderful!

*My nursing instructor allowed me to miss a day of clinical. Not my first choice, but definitely necessary at that point.

*This is a bit of a random one, but I had ordered a few "fun" books a little while before I got sick. I had had some recommendations, and decided to check them out despite my limited time for reading. They were a little later than expected, but that made their arrival precisely during the time I was laying in bed. Time and rarely those two things coincide!:o)

*I had wise family members who suggested I visit the doctor. Those of you who know me know how bad I can be about doing that, but I am quite certain the bronchitis would have drug out much longer without the prompt treatment.

*The two midterms I took right as I was starting to feel a little better went really well. (My uncle suggested that it was because I was taking "performance enhancing drugs"...;o)

*At the advice of those wiser than me I took some time off of work while recovering, and that allowed me to spend time with my aunt, uncle, and another family member who was visiting. We even took a trip to the Reagan Library, which is always a treat.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I cannot possibly remember (and likely was not even aware of) everything. I mostly wanted to share my experiences of God's faithfulness and sustaining grace in the midst of a few tough days. My prayer while I was sick was that above all God would be glorified, and He certainly provided for all of my needs and more. I am excited to be healing and feeling a million times better, but am so very thankful for all that the Lord taught me through it. If nothing else it reminded me of how thankful I am that this world is not my permanent home, and how eagerly I am anticipating an illness free eternity with my Savior.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Joy Filled Chores











Friday, July 10, 2009

Random Things Which Make Me Smile :o)

1. Mint chip ice cream.
2. The smell of fresh cut grass.
3. Doing my devotions outside early in the morning.
4. Seeing sunshine through rain.

5. Having air conditioning in my car. (I think having a car for several years without air conditioning when I was growing up has helped me not take this for granted.:o)
6. Cold seedless watermelon on a hot summer day.
7. Having mornings when I don't have anywhere to be and can sleep in and then linger over a cup of coffee and God's Word.

8. Getting mail from friends.
9. Looking back through my prayer journal and praising God for His faithfulness as I see how He has answered prayers.
10. Spending time with my sisters and brother-in-law.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fun Scrubs Monday: Wednesday Edition

So here we are on Wednesday and I have not yet gotten around to posting about my "Fun Scrubs Monday." I suppose it's a good thing work canceled me today, as a Thursday Edition would have just been ridiculous.:o) I had a wonderful weekend, with some time spent with family on the holiday and even some working in there somewhere. I worked a 12 hour shift on the 4th which ended up being so wonderful, and a terrific learning opportunity. When I started this job I was terrified of the ICUs, but I have to say that the surgical/transplant ICU is now one of my absolute favorite floors to work on! Sunday was a wonderful church service in the morning and some studying in the afternoon. And then Monday.

I knew before I went to clinical Monday that I was scheduled to go to the operating room. And I remember even thinking to myself at one point, "Maybe I'll see an open-heart surgery." And then of course I laughed.:o) And I was wrong. I saw three!!!!! I arrived at the OR desk and was looking at the surgery board. There were some dental surgeries, appendectomies, etc. And then I saw it. A surgery with a heart drawn next to it. (Yes, believe it or not, we draw cute hearts despite our knowledge of what an anatomically correct heart looks like. The real thing just isn't quite so cute.:o) Before I could even mention what I was thinking, the scheduler said, "I have you in the heart room." Of course doing a little victory dance in the hallway would have been somewhat less than professional, so I just calmly said, "Ok. Sounds good." But on the inside I was doing cartwheels!

Because I am aware that not all of you have a love for medicine in the same way I do, I shall spare you the details. I'll simply say that it was incredible! As they were doing the surgeries and explaining the procedure and the radical alterations they planned to make, I stood in awe. Not of the surgeons and the surgery (though they were pretty great), but in awe of our Creator. The heart in our textbooks astounded me, but watching a heart beat overwhelmed me. In Psalm 139 David says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." You may already know this, but just in case you'd like the opinion of someone who has stood about 10 inches from a beating heart: YOU ARE FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE!!! Thank you Lord for the privilege of having a front row seat to observe your handiwork!

Ok, so these scrubs aren't too fun, but after wearing all white for a year they look pretty exciting.:o)

Watching televised fireworks with my aunt and uncle on the 4th.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Random Things Which Make Me Smile :o)

I've decided (at least for a while) to make Friday posts titled "Random Things Which Make Me Smile." (In case you were wondering I am indeed thinking of getting a trademark for that clever and original title...;o) Not sure how long this will last, but here are the first ten!

1. Pulling into a parking spot and finding leftover minutes in a parking meter.
2. Feeling the ocean breeze through my sun roof as I drive home from a long day at work.
3. Sunrises and sunsets. (With my current schedule I see plenty of both...:o)

4. Singing as loud as I can in my car with the windows all rolled up.
5. Learning something new about a Bible passage I've read many times.
6. Phone calls and text messages from friends.
7. Having class only two days a week.
8. Baking (and sharing) chocolate chip cookies.

9. Successfully running all the way up the big hill on my run.
10. Discharging patients from the hospital. (Especially new moms who smile in amazement at their precious little ones all the way to the car.:o)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Moving Other People

After having the pleasure of taking part in several of my own or my family's moves, I've decided that moving other people is much more fun. For example, you show up and pack a few boxes when convenient and then return to your (hopefully) clean and tidy home. You wake up in the morning and find your shampoo and conditioner right where you left them while showering, rather than running around with wet hair muttering to yourself, "Why did I think that 12 labels which said 'miscellaneous' were a good idea?" Basically you can have as much or little adventure as you choose.:o) I had the opportunity to help my sister and brother-in-law move into their new condo last weekend. I really did very little, but it was a lot of fun! Their new place is great, and we even managed to get everything at their old place into boxes before the day of. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself. Here are a few candids I snapped in the midst of the excitement!

I think this was officially called the "staging area."

The kitchen was our last hurdle the night before, and our need for sleep motivated us to finish it quickly. (Amazingly enough all of the dishes arrived in one far a I know...:o)

Rebecca handled the whole thing remarkably well.

As did Justin. His answer to everything was saran wrap.:o)

Boxes, boxes, everywhere.

Still smiling in front of their new place at the end of moving day. Remarkable!

Remember how I said hopefully in the above paragraph? Here is a picture I took of my room when I was attempting to organize it in preparation for a new quarter after returning from my summer vacation.

(And I can't even use the excuse of "moving.":o)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fun Scrubs Monday

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but I have begun a new clinical rotation for the summer in pediatrics. What a blast! Kids are a truly special patient population. One of the new and exciting changes that comes with peds is our ability to wear fun scrubs for the first time. No more boring and painful to look at white scrubs which basically function as a giant billboard proclaiming, "I know nothing and will probably get in your way!":o) Apparently those scrubs also scare small children, and thus the transition to exciting and colorful patterns. Here is my selection for week one.

I've had this top for a while, but this was my first opportunity to wear it. Pretty exciting, huh?:o) Today I was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. We had a trauma case come in and things got fairly intense for a while, but by God's grace I learned a lot and was able to (for the most part) stay out of the way of those who knew what they were doing. The nurse I was shadowing was awesome, and totally willing to teach me every step of the way. What a difference that makes! Well I'm off to read another chapter in my textbook before lecture tomorrow, but I'll leave you with the verse I was working on memorizing while walking during my morning break today. Let's see how I do... "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will." - Romans 12:2 NIV (Ok so I had to peek once. Guess that means I'll be working on it during my break from work on Wednesday!:o)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Favorite Little Guy

I tried to include this in my post yesterday, but it wasn't cooperating with me. I wanted to share this with you so that you could catch a glimpse of how special this little guy is, and what a huge blessing it was to be able to spend a week with him! (Sorry about the video quality...I was attempting to video while holding him, which proved harder than I thought.:o)

I hope that this has brightened your Sunday a bit, and pray that you are rejoicing in this day that the Lord has made!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Adventures

Well I'm back from my summer vacation. Wow! It seemed like only a week. Oh wait, it was a week.:o) During finals week our wonderful friends the Waites came to California and then some of us headed to Palm Springs for the Resolved Conference. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's basically a short, intense weekend full of wonderful sermons from some of my favorite pastors and a lot of fun in between. My head felt so full by the end I thought it might burst, but I came away with so many Biblical truths and convicting concepts. Some things were new, and some I'd heard before but deperately needed to be reminded of. If you're interested, you can listen to the messages here. I can highly recommend every single one of them, and if you're ever able to go the conference, DO IT!

After a few days at Resolved we headed up to my parents house for the next week. I'm not sure how to summarize that week, but I suppose I'll just say it was one of the best weeks of my life. I miss all of them SO very much now, but it was certainly worth it. Probably the best way to tell you about it is through pictures (of which I have plenty...).

The group in front of In-N-Out.

Waiting for Resolved to begin.

The hotel we stayed at had a wonderful pool which we frequented.:o)

Sara and I.

We did a lot of driving while they were here. They were pretty amazed at the length of California...

We celebrated Father's Day while they were there.

Peter volunteered to help me "drive."

Esther has the most contagious smile and laugh.

Luke and I.

The girls.

Several of the Waites write music, so we spent much of our time learning their songs.

Bethany and I toward the end of Resolved. A little tired but still smiling.:o)

Well I think that just about sums it up. I have many more pictures, but hopefully you have something better to do with your day than spend it all on my blog.:o) Just a quick note, two of the Waite kids are heading into the military in the next few months and anticipating boot camp/basic training and all that that entails. The oldest is currently stationed in Iraq and will Lord-willing be headed back to the U.S. soon! So if you think of it please be in prayer for them. I'm sure they'd greatly appreciate it!