Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Noc Shift

I arrived at work tonight at 11 pm, a little tired, with a coffee in one hand and my name badge in the other. The feeling brought back numerous memories beginning two years ago, when I was hired into my first full time position at PeaceHealth. I was blessed to extern at a fairly ideal time, also known as, the opening of a new hospital. RiverBend celebrated it's grand opening in August of 2008, providing me with a job right after graduation. My hours would prove challenging: an eight hour day shift, then a twelve hour night shift, and two more ten hour night shifts, over the weekend. I would spend many weekends sleepless, experiencing a myriad of aches and pains my body used as an alert system to the lack of rest I was getting. Migraines being the worst, I was relieved to board the plane for Rwanda and leave the night shift behind me. Or so I thought... A couple of weeks ago the opportunity arose to have weekends off with my husband. The catch: back to night shift. This time the hours would be Monday-Thursday, but nonetheless, working whilst 'normal people' sleep. After talking it over with Landon, I decided to put in my resume, not knowing whether I'd get the position. But here I am. Back on nights, and strangely enough, extremely excited for it. I love the feel of the hospital at night, the culture of the staff. It has more of a feeling of a team, and there seems to be more patience for each other. There also isn't a lot of management. I consider our department blessed with the supervisors and managers we do have, but there is a simple joy in doing my work and not because someone is watching every move I make. I also am excited to learn more. I believe that this shift will afford that more, in different ways than just x-ray. So here's to all those night shift workers out there! I'm back in it with you and I admire your strength.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Number 18

Over the weekend we joined some of Landon's friends in Maupin, OR, for a raft down the Deschutes River. I would assume that my grandparent's might call going through Box Car a little nuts, so I am saying that this float fulfilled Number 18 of the 25 before 25 list.

Friday, August 27, 2010

One Year Ago

One year ago I had just arrived in Kigali, Rwanda. I had purchased a plane ticket, stepped down from my position at the hospital, said goodbye to loved ones and began a three day long mirage of flights and airplane food that would finally bring me to Rwanda once again, hugging on ones I had missed for the better part of a year. It would be the beginning of a three month long adventure that would not only humble and break me, but also encourage, strengthen and grow me in more ways than words can express. I would learn how to cope with a huge language barrier, wash my clothing by hand, and not only survive but really live in a country not my own. Only one year ago this was all beginning, and now, to see what has transpired since then... I'm speechless. The past few days have found me wondering when I'll return. The longing on my heart has not waned, and the desire has only increased. As I've said before, I know that I am here on purpose and for a season, but it doesn't make the want subside. I am not discontent where I am, but I am not content either. I am learning, growing and plowing ground while I am here, which is all needed in its own right, and is teaching me far more than immediately being gratified. But it doesn't make it any easier. My husband told me recently that "God hasn't forgotten about this," as he tapped his finger on my chest, indicating my heart. "He hasn't forgotten." I nodded in agreement, but still couldn't keep the tears from rolling out of my eyes. It still hurts, but I know it will be good.
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. Ps 126.5

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nine Months Later

I have these really incredible friends. A group of women, all around my age, passionate about following hard after Jesus and loving on people. We all came to know one another through a college group we were going to, and bonds began to form, the ebb and flow between them changing, but nonetheless present. We've cried with each other, laughed with each other, and shared. They've supported me in my greatest adventures, and invited me to support them in theirs. Its a group of women I am incredibly thankful for.
This past weekend Erin got married. We all came together to once again offer our love, prayers and support, and as I looked at the picture of us and one exactly nine months earlier, I was amazed. Nine months ago, on November 21st, we had all convened in Bend, OR, for a getaway weekend. I was fresh off the plane from Rwanda, heart in shambles and jet-lagged. These women were each going through their own things, but as we got together there was encouragement. I was allowed to 'be', seemingly always apologizing for my social awkwardness, but gently told it was nothing to apologize for. We rested, laughed, played games, window shopped and had numerous conversations, ranging in topic from the incredible win the Ducks had pulled out to the deepest longings of our hearts for the next part of our lives. Providence brought us together that weekend, and I am forever grateful for it.
Since that November weekend, numerous events has transpired for us: weddings for two of us; travels to the likes of Kazakhstan and Australia; decisions to return to college; and much spiritual growth through various circumstances. It is amazing to me what can occur in a nine month period, and yet I am reminded through these pictures that relationships last, and are worth every effort to strengthen. So blessed by these women...
November 21, 2009 in Bend, OR
Nine months later, August 21, 2010, in Junction City, OR. (Missing Bec)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hospital Hallways

I sometimes think I have it down. I perform my job duties adequately, interact with other staff well, and leave after my shift in good spirits. I have it down, I can do it. But then things happen that challenge my prideful ego. Little faces badly hurt, young bodies broken and mangled, and elderly patients trying to hold on. Their vulnerability hits deep and lingers, bringing up memories of others like themselves I have attempted to adequately serve. My job is only a small piece in the whole puzzle of wellness, but it is also within my control. It is within my control to offer softness instead of rigidity, to speak kindly instead of harshly, and to maintain their dignity while completing the task I have been charged with. I look around at those I labor with, and I am humbled. Each incredibly different, but setting those differences aside in order to serve the one in front of us; the hurting, broken, and sick one in front of us. Sometimes I have it down, but some days I walk these hallways and tears fill my eyes to the brim. Its humbling, beautiful, challenging, and wrecking, all in the same overwhelming moment...

Numer 21

Yesterday with the company of my husband, our friend Scott, and Scott's dad, Jeff, I checked off number 21 on my 25 before 25 list: mountain bike on the McKenzie River Trail. It was a beautiful day for it, and the trail was amazing. Though extremely technical and more advanced than my limited expereience is ready for in some parts, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, even after realizing I bent my rear disk brake. Darn lava rock.
The crew, with all four bikes piled on the Mazda. Inspecting the 'damage' after flying over the handle bars.
Enjoying this.
Clear Lake beauty.
Scott and Jeff tearing it up. Crossing above Sahalie Falls.
Waterfalls are incredible to me.
Fashioned precisely for each other.
"And I'm spent!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Numer 25

Done at 1 pm, August 19th, by a guy name Erich. 'Suubi', in my husband's handwriting, means 'hope' in Lugandan, the national language of Uganda. The sparrow represents provision, protection, and freedom, inspired by Matthew 6.25-27.
Her name is Patsy, she's 75 and got her first tatoo today at the same shop I was getting mine done at. Said she's wanted one since she was ten and she saw the one on her uncle's arm. It was a picture of a girl and when he flexed, the tattoo 'danced.' You're never too old...

Slow Down a Bit

Convenience. Lately I have felt an echo in my soul to refrain from immediate gratification, remain for a moment, smell the breeze. It has been an interesting journey, one that began sometime at the beginning of last year, but it is creating some new realities in my life, for which I am grateful: the microwave in my house is under boxes in the utility room, I'm selling my car, though an air-conditioning unit is available to us it's not in use, commuting on my bike has become more and more prevalent, cooking from scratch is the new norm in our kitchen. I don't know what sparked all of these changes, but I am so thankful because these physical changes are also paralleled by spiritual ones as well, and though more difficult to explain, the effects are just as real and life-changing.
"The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. It is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast-flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar. The tragic results of this spirit are all about us: shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, the preponderance of the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit. These and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul." (P64-65, The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer)
These words from Tozer challenged me today. I am realizing there are no immediate results in things that matter the most (namely relationships) and I am learning that diligence is a beautiful characteristic to possess. I would like it said of me. Those things I have waited for mean the most in the long run. I want to work hard for things, little by little building on a solid foundation. When I helped build the house in Rwanda, the foundation was sure. It had not been rushed. The builders knew that the foundation was vital to the life and stability of the home. How true of life and relationships. Longing for more, I'll wait. Give me the lasting, not the immediate.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer Breeze

There was a certain feeling on the breeze. Opening the front door I was caught off guard by it, wondering what was different this time. The trees swayed as the mid-summer wind blew through them, and the sun was breaking through the clouds in a fashion I had seen before, though not on this continent. Walking onto the porch I was immediately returned to a country some thousand miles away, my heart and mind racing as I remembered what it had felt like there. Something about those brief moments yesterday returned me to Rwanda, and I felt a deep longing rise up again. It has never vanished, never waned. I crave the return like a baby craves his mother's embrace. The culture, the people, the land... I remember all the hardship and all the joys, equally as important and welcomed, and I again lift my eyes Heavenward. I am not in control of my life, it has been submitted to my Lord. If it is His good pleasure, wonderful. But if it is not, I stand content in Him, not in any earthly dwelling. I trust His plan and rest peacefully in it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Like Men Who Dreamed...

When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Ps 126.1-2

I read this passage today and found it captivating. Being released from captivity had given these men the space to dream, laugh and sing. No longer was their future unknown, nor their time preoccupied with worry. They were free; set free by the King and brought back to a refuge, Zion. It was beautiful as I pondered it, and then watched as God made it relevant to my life. Worry, stress and 'captivity' keeps me from laughter, singing and dreaming, yet He is faithful to bring me back. To set me free, and allow me to be like those who dream...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

That Honey Sweetness, Again

For some reason, I am slightly more emotional right now than normal. Maybe its the thought of my older sister traveling far away and not staying at our house anymore. Maybe its the fragility of life I continue to witness at work. Maybe its the deep longing to return to a couple countries in East Africa. Maybe its the humility I witness in my husband each day... Whatever it is, pausing to sit gives the space and time to reflect and that in turn sometimes brings watery tears to my eyes. Its not that life is difficult right now. Quite the opposite is true, in fact. The last year of my life has been incredibly sweet and thick. I liken it to honey on cornbread. It just soaks in, covers and completely saturates the bread, and there is nothing but sweetness that is tasted afterwards. That is how the last year has been. And in honesty, I don't understand why. I have been so blessed and I don't understand why. I'm not boasting, I'm baffled. Who am I to receive this? And in moments when I stop and meditate on it all, I am overwhelmed. Absolutely and completely. My Father's grace, love and mercy is something I am daily in awe of and ruined by. Goodness. Thick, sweet and saturating. That's how good it is...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

25 before I'm 25

A while ago an acquaintance of mine decided to make a list similar to this one. I thought it was a good idea and have been working on my own for a while. This is the final product, and the challenge. 25 things to do before I turn 25 years old on September 18th, 2011. Wish me luck!
1. Pierce my nose (Done: December 23, 2009)
2. Read all the Chronicles of Narnia books
3. Experience God in another culture
4. Celebrate my Grandpa's 80th birthday with him (Done: January 27, 2010)
5. Run a half marathon
6. Make a quilt
7. Climb Mt Thielsen
8. Learn how to make holiday walnut bread
9. Read Grandpa OJ's book
10. Go to Seattle (Done: with Jodi, February 5, 2010)
11. Introduce Landon to The Cabin
12. Visit the Jenkins in Los Angeles
13. Fly fish with Tyrell
14. Visit Gloria in Coure D'Alene
15. Learn how to ride a motorcycle
16. Visit with Jenny L. face to face (Done: June 16-19, 2010)
17. Learn how to kayak
18. Do something my Grandparents would call 'crazy'
19. Meet all of my second cousins
20. Start a blog and post on it regularly (Done: July, 2010)
21. Mountain bike on the McKenzie Trail
22. Get outside of the United States
23. Go bungee jumping
24. Go backpacking with my husband
25. Get another tattoo

Drink It Up

I've been working as an x-ray technologist for a couple of years now, and as time goes on I become more and more curious about other aspects of health care. In fact, this curiosity has more than once almost had me registering for more classes and going back to college. But that isn't where life has me right now, so instead I have decided to take advantage of every opportunity to glean knowledge from the people I work with at the hospital. From the ER to the Operating Room, I've been listening a little closer, asking a few more questions and keeping my attention focused on where I'm at for that moment (for a wonderer like me, staying 'in the moment' can be quite challenging sometimes).
Today gave me the opportunity for one such learning experience. I was called to the O.R. to help do a retropyelogram for a woman who was going to have a ureteral stent placed. Because I can already see my husband rolling his eyes at those words, that basically means that the doctor was going to inject some x-ray dye up into the patient's kidney through the tube that normally dumps the urine from the kidney into the bladder, and then he was going to reinforce that tube with a fake one that theoretically would work better. The woman also had kidney stones (like the little white dots pictured in the abdomen x-ray) which the doctor was going to use a laser to break up, eventually allowing the woman to urinate them out of her body. I think I began the conversation by asking if the laser was strong enough to cause damage if not used correctly (to which the answer was yes), and then was given a bunch more information about kidney stones. In one of the papilla (a part of the kidney where urine is secreted) there was what looked like lint, to me. Yes, lint. Little white specks that looked like belly button lint. Not quite. These were actually small calcium deposits that could potentially become large stones, like the nasty blackish-brownish-yellowish ones the doctor was eradicating with the laser. I asked if everyone has those. The answer was not necessarily, and that drinking water would help keep them away. Really? Water? Yes. Simple answer, drink more water. To combat kidney stones avoid high amounts of salt and protein in your diet and drink more water. For as much as I've heard kidney stones hurt, you don't have to tell me twice. Bottoms up!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gravel Road

Down an old gravel driveway I return to childhood. Memories flood back, overwhelming my senses and softening my edges. Guards are dropped as I come back home, back to familiarity, back to family. Always welcomed by a warm smile, giant hug and those piercing eyes, I am "half-pint" again. I am invited to rest, allowed to laugh and permitted to unload every hindrance that has kept me from remembering the girl I once was and still very much am. No need to put on a front but instead offered the space to be real, to tell of new adventures and newborn dreams. Its served as my home, my refuge and my playground. Down this gravel road is Grandpa's house.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I never could have understood the joy these two would bring to my life when their's began, but I am eternally grateful for their laughter, smiles and the people they are both becoming.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Few Favorites

Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. It represents the epitome of summer, to me, and is comprised of a lot of my favorite things: family, fun traditions, good food, and lots of smiles. To my surprise, my mother-in-law also loves the fourth and Landon's family has more traditions surrounding this day than any other in the year. Needless to say, our first 4th of July together was wonderful.
Enjoying the festivities and awaiting the parade start.
Manzanita, Oregon 4th of July parade. Loved his smirk.
E-man just being himself at one of his favorite places: Ama and Bapo's house.
The guys getting some remnants from the wedding keg.
The beach with Neah Kah Nie Mountain in the background.
Wonderful way to celebrate: together.
Perfect ending.