Brisk me away

Sunday, November 11, 2012

final thoughts (for now) on ethiopia.

so i've been home for a little over 2 weeks.  i am still trying to process all that i saw and learned there.  hands down this trip was one of the most impactful experiences of my life.  i have looked at my pictures no less than 50 times and prayed countless prayers for the staff and kiddos at onesimus.  my heart was moved and perspective on this "easy" life i live was given.  since i have been home, i have constantly been asking myself (and the Lord), "so what now?" it is impossible to go on a trip like this and not have it stir some kind of emotion while there, but now that i am home, what do i do with all that i saw and experienced?  what changes do i make in my daily life to show that i love Jesus with my whole being?  how can i be the hands and feet of Jesus without traveling half way around the world to hand out antibiotics and rub ointment on infected little cheeks and foreheads?  am i willing to love the least of these in a tangible way here in NWA?  what does this look like everyday?  what can i give up in my everyday life in order to give to others who have less?  all of these questions have been floating around my head since i've been home and honestly i don't have clear answers for any of it yet. 
here is what i do know.  i want this life that i am living to be about something more than me.  i want others to know that i love Jesus with all of my heart and i want to live so they can see it everyday.  at the end of my days, i want to know that this life i have lived impacted others for the Gospel and made a difference.  my tendency is to self-focus and i do not have this all figured out.  i am not good at these things, but i want to be better.  prior to the trip, i prayed constantly that the Lord would not let me leave Ethiopia unchanged.  now i am constantly praying that this stirring in my heart for those who have nothing will not go away and that i will be driven to do something about it. 
micah 6:8 has been on my mind a lot lately.  "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." 

ethiopia post 2--the pics

get ready for picture overload. i tried to narrow it down to just a few.  i really loved everything about this trip and could sit and look at these pictures daily.  as i said in a previous post, our team went to ethiopia through the james initiative, which is a local organization seeking to raise awareness and support orphan care.  they partner with an ethiopian organization called onesimus which is kind of like a christian boys and girls club for street children.  this ministry amazes me.  not only do they provide a safe place for these kids to come and be loved on by people who love Jesus, but they also reach the community around them in several ways.  the social workers at onesimus make home visits to see the parents (for the kids that have them) and provide support to them.  they have 3 halfway homes where some of the street children live.  they also sponsor a number of children to go to school because all education requires a fee to attend there.  the staff and volunteers at onesimus are some of the Godliest people i have met, pouring out daily on these kiddos that would probably otherwise not receive love in a tangible way.  they sacrifice their time and their personal living situations so that they can be a part of this organization.  they spend and are spent each day loving on these kids, but you would never know it the way they come each day with a smile on their face and a joyful spirit.  they are the hands and feet of Jesus.  i cannot praise this organization enough for the work they are doing and the way they are doing it.  i loved working alongside them for a week and hope that one day i will get to do it again. 

the joy of these kiddos was CONTAGIOUS.  please let me be joyful no matter my circumstances just as these kids are
these ladies are the BEST.  i loved working alongside them for the week.  sidenote: i was more nervous to travel half way around the world with people i barely knew than i was about any other part of this trip.  thank you God for these new found friendships!   

so much beauty in this picture. 
lots and lots of fingernails were painted after the girls saw the doctor...even some of the boys wanted their nails painted!  at first we said no, but how could we even resist the sweet smiles and "please?" they would give.  we drew the line at giving them pink polish though haha
dr. daniel on the far left and nurses getamesay and tigust on either side of me.  what a privelege to serve alongside others in my profession half way around the world

"chew this up and take a drink"  (insert ridiculous motions that i acted out to every child because i don't speak amharic. half of the fun of working in the pharmacy was laughing with the kids at how i tried to communicate with them.  charades has never been a game i'm good at)

one of my favorite pics of the week.  this sweet boy did this through our van window as we were loaded up to leave the church at Korah.  melt my heart.  the feelings were mutual.

as soon as we arrived at the church at Korah on sunday the kiddos latched onto us.  korah is a community located near the local dump.  the people who live here are very poor.  this sweet thing was my buddy for the better part of the morning.  i was in love with the full heads of curly hair on these little girls.  so precious.

ethiopians eat meals slowly and end with coffee.  so much is centered around relationships.  i loved this.  i wish our culture allowed for more sitting with others and less go go go.  also i will never complain about the opportunity to drink really great coffee after every meal.  :) did you know that coffee originated in ethiopia?  when in ethiopia, do as the ethiopians do right?  so i drank LOTs of coffee.  all things to all people right?  haha
i think i left my heart in this city.  praying that i get to return one day.

ethiopia part 1...because all of my thoughts cannot be contained in 1 post...

well i have been home from ethiopia for 2 weeks now so i think its time to do a trip update.  i have put this off a little because i feel like i lack the words to put together a post that coveys my feelings about the trip.  the short of it is that it was such a good trip.  for 3 of our days there we helped them put on a clinic for the street kids they reach.  we saw roughly 140 kiddos each day.  this was nuts!  by the 3rd day though we were like a well oiled machine, moving the kiddos through the stations fast!  the doctor who worked with us is an ethiopian who's specialty is in public health.  part of his job through the hospital he is employed by is to work clinics like the one we put on.  it was fascinating to talk with him and learn about healthcare in ethiopia.  here are some of the things i learned. 

-there are approximately 38,000 people to 1 doctor in addis ababa
-for preventative treatment, nurses make home visits.  2 nurses are responsible for making visits to approximately 5000 homes.  they are also responsible for the follow up from these visits.
-nurses working in the hospitals make approximately $125 per month.
-the infant mortality rate in addis (which is one of the most civilized areas of ethiopia) is 700 babies for every 100,000 born
-the top killers among children in addis are tuberculosis, complications from HIV and nutritional deficits

some of the main problems among the kiddos we saw were intestinal parasites, fungal skin infections, and infection related to rotten teeth.  all of these problems are related to unsanitary living conditions and nutritional deficits.  it was so sad to me to see this, knowing that the fix we gave them would most likely be short term only since we weren't fixing the source of the problem.  this was really hard. these kiddos have never known what its like to go to the doctor when they are sick let alone go for well child check-ups.  the luxury of being able to afford to go to the doctor when i am sick is something that i know i take for granted.  throughout the week we passed out lots and lots of vitamins and worm medicine.  going into the trip, we didn't take many supplies with us, with the intention of buying what we would need from local pharmacies.  i loved that we did this.  it allowed us to pour into the local economy and bless some of the local business owners.  we made fast friends with the pharmacist across the street from onesimus and made several visits to her throughout the week as we ran out of supplies.  it was so fun to see her beaming as we walked through the door!  business was booming for her that week!  i also really liked that we did it this way because it ensured that we were using supplies that could actually be available to them later on since we know they carry them locally. 

i am really thankful to have had the opportunity to use the skills i learned in school to help others where medical care isn't readily available.  i can't tell  you how fulfilling it was passing out vitamins, rubbing ointment on sweet little faces and giving drinks of water to these kiddos.  if ever you get the opportunity to go on a trip like this, GO.  it changes your outlook on life and shifts your perspective. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

ethiopia or bust

haha not a very fitting title for this post but i couldn't resist!  i am really excited to tell y'all that i am going on a medical mission trip to ethiopia in october!  i am pumped.  i have wanted to go on a medical trip ever since i graduated from nursing school.  in haiti last year, it broke my heart to see kiddos there with long standing medical issues that have a really simple fix here in the states.  i feel blessed to have earned an education that allows me to help others everyday.  i know that education is a privilege that not everyone can receive.  i am challenged by the parable of talents in matthew 25.  because i have been entrusted with much, i feel that it is my responsibility to use this knowledge to help others who could not otherwise help themselves.

i am going with a group from northwest arkansas and we will be partnering with the James Initiative.  The James Initiative is an organization started by a few Christians here who felt compelled to care for the orphans of the world as we're commanded in James 1:27.  i believe in the work this organization is doing for several reasons.  here in the states they work to inform people of the realities of the orphan population and their need for care. they do this by mobilizing groups to go and supporting adoption.  in ethiopia they are doing much of the same thing.  equipping and encouraging Believers there in the local Church to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these kiddos.  i love the way the James Initiative is coming alongside the ethiopians to allow them to show their community that it is the local Churches job to reach their community.  it would be easy for americans to step in, take over and provide.  however, this creates a need for dependency.  so instead, they are coming alongside and teaching them how to run effective outreach ministry so that the local church can essentially be the hero.  this allows the lost there to know that the local Church cares about meeting tangible needs along with the spiritual ones.  i think this is a beautiful partnership.  for more information you can go to

while my group is there, we will be working with local doctors and nurses to help run a clinic for the orphans the james initiative is reaching.  one day this clinic will hopefully be able to provide ongoing check ups and medical care to these kids.  i am beside myself that i get to be a part of this!

more to come as the trip gets closer!  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

some thoughts on babies

i am 3 weeks into my new job and loving it.  starting over is humbling and refreshing all at the same time.  it's definitely weird to be the new girl.  i have to ask for help no less than 50 times every day.  i can no longer anticipate what the doctor will order for a particular problem, because well i don't know much about babies just yet.  asking where something is kept in the nursery and being told "over there" has quickly become one of my least favorite things to hear because i haven't learned where "over there" is in most cases.  thankfully, my co-workers are helpful and willing to teach.  honestly, the change of pace and environment has been a breath of fresh air.  there is something so sweet about new life coming into the world.  i love getting to be a part of the special time in families lives of welcoming a new baby.  i like to learn and am learning new things each day i am at work.  This has been exciting and fun. 

now i have always been that girl that really just loves babies.  i will oooh and ahhh over any that cross my path.  i've loved holding and rocking them since i was barely big enough to not be held and rocked myself.  let me just say though that there are a few basic things that i never fully got until the past few weeks.  i'm sure many of you mommas out there already know all this, but to this single girl, some of it has been almost mind blowing. 

1.  never under estimate the power of a good swaddle.  baby's love it.  like they will stop crying almost immediately (most of the time) if you wrap them up real tight.  i feel like i can accomplish big things now with just this tiny piece of knowledge. 
2.  breastfeeding is not something moms and babies just naturally know how to do.  i won't elaborate on this too much because frankly i'm not sure most of my bloggy audience wants that kind of information.  let me just say though that i have never in my life considered how important the latch, suck and flanged lips could be.  who knew??! 

3.  babies are resilient.  when holding a baby the phrases "use two hands" "careful" and "be gentle" always came to mind.  while these are important, the ways that we wrap, tuck, poke, prod and lift babies in the nursery is a pretty good reminder that God created them with little bodies that are ready to be handled by the outside world when they are born.      
4.  when you take a diaper off to change it, that will inevitably be the time the baby decides to go again.  i am happy to learn though that i have cat-like reflexes i never even knew about in these instances. 

there is still so much that i don't know and i have lots to learn in the coming weeks.  overall, i think this job change has been a really good thing for me.  i hoped and prayed this would be the case before i started.  i am thankful now to be able to say that it was a good decision.

until next time, buh-bye. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

she loves Jesus

the other night a friend and i were texting back and forth.  she was describing a person who i had never met, but will soon work with.  her description about this girl ended with, "she loves Jesus a lot."  in the moment i thought, this girl sounds great, i should be her friend.  but later as i kept thinking about it, i wondered, would people say this of me?  would my friends, family, co-workers and church family describe me to others as someone who really loves Jesus?  sadly, i know from my actions that i am not always worthy of this description.  i am thankful for the grace that He continually shows to a sinner like me who messes up everyday. 
i really do want to be so intentional with my actions though, that people know i love Jesus.  i don't want to do the right thing because i think it is what's expected of me or i'm afraid of who will see me doing the wrong thing.  i want to do what is right because i love the Lord and desire to obediently follow His commands.  i want to love God with my life.  To live in such a way that what i do in my daily life at home, work and church can bring glory to Him.  what a noble compliment for someone to say, "she loves Jesus a lot." 
i pray that i will live in such a way that people could say the same of me. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

a time for change

now anyone who knows me well knows how much i hate change--like to the point that it's almost a four letter word to me...  i just love my routine.  im a planner and don't always do well with the unexpected.  i've been this way my whole life.  i'm not kidding when i tell you that my parents used to have to wait until i was out of the house to re-arrange the furniture.  i just loved coming home to the familiar.  haha

so i was surprised to say the least when i started feeling like i needed some change in my life last fall.  after graduating 2 1/2 years ago, i stayed in my college town and took a job as an ICU nurse at a local hospital.  it was an easy choice.  i already knew that i loved the city and the church i was attending.  i had friends here and my parents were just a short trek across the arkansas-missouri state line.  working in the ICU was never my original plan, but it proved to be a great decision.  i learned a ton right out of school and was forced to speak up a little more and be confident in decisions that had to be made everyday in my job.  i have been happy in this job, but just started feeling like i should at least try working in the area that i always thought i really wanted to be.  as soon as i started feeling like it was time for a change, i began praying that the Lord would lead me to what would be next.  not only this, but i prayed that God would make me willing to do whatever He had.  this was huge for me because i am not the type to go looking for change.

fast forward to this spring.  at the recommendation of a friend, i began reading a book by kevin deyoung called "just do something."  the premise of this book is that so often Believers pray intently for God's will and what they should do next, but don't ever step out in faith and do anything.  deyoung makes the point that God's Will is for us to obey His Word and make much of Him.  how we go about doing this can sometimes be left up to us.  does God care what job i have and where i live?  sure.  but can i walk in obedience to His Word and bring glory to Him wherever i am, for the most part yes.  when i finished reading this book i was challenged to go ahead and just start applying for new jobs (both locally and in other places), instead of waiting around and continually asking the Lord, "what should i do next?"  i knew that He would provide for me since i felt so strongly that it was time for something different.  as i applied for jobs, i prayed specifically for 2 things.  1.  that it would be a day shift job.  i worked nights for a year right out of school and it was ROUGH.  and 2.  that the pay would be right.  i wasn't looking for big bucks, just something comparable to what my current job paid. 

well, He definitely provided all this and as of next week i will officially be a NICU nurse.  (for all you non-nursey people that means taking care of the tiny babies) :)  i am so excited for this opportunity and i am just thrilled to be staying here hog country. it will be weird being the new girl all over again.  i had become very comfortable with the kind of patients i was caring for in the ICU.  now, its a whole new ballgame!  in some ways i think this will be really stretching, but it will be good! 
more to come on this in the next few weeks as i start.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

a weekend away

A few weeks ago i went to minneapolis for a long weekend to see this little cutie and her parents.
it was such a fun weekend with the perfect amounts of going and relaxing.  sonny and anne took me to see all of the tourist-y things you have to see in minneapolis like the mall of america and ikea (not a minneapolis exclusive, but it was my one request of places to go there).  we also did plenty of this.
doing this everyday would just be the life.  now you can't tell from the pic because my hand is in the way that little girls shirt says "i have the best auntie" as if she needed any more help being my favorite niece... :)
on saturday morning we ventured downtown to the farmers market.  now there is nothing i would rather do on a sunny saturday morning than go to the farmers market.  while walking around downtown we discovered this cool trail right by the mississippi river with great views of the city.
the brother and i at the sculpture park. apparently no tourist trip to minneapolis is complete without a trip to the sculpture park to see the cherry on the spoon.  (i actually didn't even know this was there until my momma added this to my must-do list for the trip...thanks mom)

at the end of my time there we all agreed that it was one of the best weekends we'd had in a while.  it was so good just being together.  sonny and anne were the best hosts showing me the sites and cooking yummy dinners each night.  we spent lots of time outside during the day (probably because it was a breezy 78 degrees everyday i was there...i can't even remember the last time it was that cool here...probably in march...) and watching movies at night snuggled on the couch with avery girl.

i'll admit, there were a few tears on the drive home just thinking about how big lil miss would be the next time i see her.  too bad minnasota and arkansas can't be just a little closer.  :(  after hearing a few swaying comments over the course of the weekend of moving to minneapolis, i may have looked at a few job postings listed there when i got home.  then reality hit about 2 seconds later and i remembered that i am a sissy about cold weather.  in my ideal winter the temperature would never drop below about 48 degrees.  let's be honest, there's no way i could do a minnasota winter haha! i guess minneapolis will just have to remain a fun weekend getaway spot.  looking forward to many more trips north! april-early october of course...
...just kidding!
well kind of   :)    

Monday, July 2, 2012

2 weddings and a shower

i'm still playing catch up a little from the past few months and mostly just trying to hit the high points.  the weddings of 2 dear friends and a baby shower for another dear friend could certainly be considered just that. 
early in may one of my very best friends, kristin married heath.  it was such a special day for the two of them and i was so glad to be a part of it.  i appreciate these two so much and love how they are a beautiful picture of serving the Lord better together than separate.  the whole weekend was a blast with lots of college friends in town.  i love how weddings these days are another excuse for best friend reunions.  so so good. 

 one of my very favorite pics from the weekend.  so many people i love this this picture.

mani hands

the centerpieces

(the next two pics are courtesy of the lovely xuan huynh)

we sure love the sass in pics together. 

the ceremony was beautiful and the reception is currently in my top 3 all time favorite wedding receptions i've been too.  there were good friends, yummy pie, hoppin' music and we danced the night away.  most fun night i've had in a while.  i'll spare you the pics from this though.  unfortunately lots of people dancing in a smallish space makes for a HOT (in the most literal sense) party.  we were all looking a little rough by the end of the night.  that's the mark of a good dance party though right??

next up the wedding of this pretty girl. 
leah is the bestie 's sister.  i have watched this girl grow up.  not having any sisters myself, leah has always been "that little sister i never had" to me.  she is spunky and creative and funny.  i just think she is great.  this wedding took place at ashley and leah's parents home.  it was super simple and had so many sweet little details that just made me so happy.  wedding in a field and dessert reception under a homemade canopy in the trees.  loved it all. 

and last but not least, a baby shower for jen and sweet baby kennedy on the way any day now!  jen and i co-led a k-life small group when i was in college.  you know that friend that you can just say anything to and know that she will understand because she just gets you?  jen is that friend.  she had such an impact on my life and is still a dear friend.  i only wish that she still lived in fayetteville :(

we opted for cupcakes since it was on a sunday after church.  tissue paper pom-poms are a little tedious to make, but i do love how they look. 

small groupies all grown up!  i can't even believe they are almost done with college.  they are such Godly girls and i am so proud of the way they live today. 

well the girls pulling in right now for the bach.  gotta run.  bye now. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

sweet summertime

anyone who knows me well knows that i am a warm weather girl.  i hate being cold and almost everything that comes along with winter weather.  the summers i spent working at kanakuk in my college years conditioned me to not just tolerate the heat, but to love it.  there is something about summertime that just takes me back and makes me feel good.  i love the carefree spirit of just going with the flow, spending lazy afternoons poolside and taking a break from busy schedules during the school year.  i love the excuse to go get ice cream because it's too hot to do anything else and that it is still light outside at 9pm.  i just love it all. 

this is what summer has looked like for me so far...  
hanging with some of my favorite kiddos

crafting on rainy afternoons.  i do love a good project.  thank you pinterest for helping me channel my creative energy. 

baseball with the family. 

evening walks on campus.  seeing my name on senior walk has yet to get old.  love my alma mater.  woo pig.

 enjoying fresh flowers on my kitchen table from grandmas hydrangea bush

outdoor concerts with fun friends.  lets just say that we definitely stood out with our chaco feet among the cowboy boots at the luke bryan concert.  comfort and practicality always win.  haha

more to come later on my summer adventures as i play bloggy catch up, but for now
peace out. 

hey there, remember me?

hey remember that one time i was a blogger?  yeah, me too.  consistency with this has not been my strong suit.  whoops!  so to the two of you who actually read this (shout out mom and grandma) a new post! 

you may remember back last fall i posted about a new little addition coming to our family.... well on march 27, this beauty made me an aunt for the first time.  we could not be anymore in love with her. 
meet avery anne.  you should expect to see more of her in the upcoming posts.  ps: such a sucker for a baby in ruffles.  seriously, how can you not swoon when you see this babe?!
 here we are in our first picture together.  it was clearly love at first site on my end and if you look closely at those little eyes, i think the feelings were mutual... :)

thats all for now.
one happy auntie

Sunday, January 1, 2012

christmas re-cap

well december was a whirlwind and now its 2012!  wow-o-wow!  i haven't been a very good blogger these days :(  instead of christmas re-cap, this could really more appropriately be called december re-cap.  december was fun fun with so many christmas festivities but BUSY.  it was full of christmas parties with fun friends, family get togethers, trips home to see out of town friends and even a wedding for some dear friends.  so here we go!  the entire month highlighted in iphone pics!

one of the christmas parties that i went to this month was an ornament exchange with some girls from work.  somehow i managed to end up coming home with this one!  what a score!   love those hogs and this green sparkly ornament was cute cute hanging on my tree this year.

our tree this year with all sparkly ornaments!  i never grew up having a themed tree and actually didn't intend to have one this year.  sometime last year my mom let me sort through all of the christmas ornaments that we had growning up and pull out the ones that were mine to put on my own tree.  hello rite of passage.  well over the course of the year, the room they were in was re-arranged and the box of ornaments couldn't be found in time for me to use them on my tree this year. bummer.  i found a great deal on this huge pack of ornaments on black friday.  all of them were sparkly and matching.  next year i will use my ornaments that i always remember having on the tree growing up (such a sucker for sentiment).  this year, it was kind of fun having a matching tree though! 

my cutie lil goddaughter cuddling up for some dora stories.  since i worked on christmas day this year, family christmas' happened with back and forth trips home over the course of a week and a half.  sure do love this little girl and had fun spending an evening with her family.

  goofy brother.  i'm not sure which he enjoyed more, the presents...or the wrapping.  crazy to think that the next time i see him, he will be a DADDY.  i'm so happy for them!

so annie and i got these mathcing "warm suits" for christmas.  i believe they are called forever lazies.  anyway, we clearly had to try them on once we opened them.  and don't you even worry, these treasures have a zip down hiney flap.  here we are demonstrating how it works.  you're welcome for that.  

so there it is.  merry christmas 2011.  

ps: i started out this post with my margins being in normal paragraph form.  halfway through they somehow changed to centered.  i'm not sure how this happened. my track record with losing nearly finished posts on blogger is not in my favor.  i'm afraid that if i try to fix it i'll lose the whole thing so i'm deciding that a post with poor margins is better than no post at all!  sorry!  maybe i'll be better at this in 2012...