Monday, November 25, 2013

Be Still & Know

I'm having trouble processing the fact that I haven't even been in Indianapolis for three weeks yet; it feels like I've lived here for months already.  The past few days have been filled with restlessness for me.  Scott would laugh if he read this; I keep telling him my legs feel restless, and he responds that this is not really something your legs can "feel."  Nevertheless, they do; my soul feels restless, too.

I was raised in the microwave generation; when we pursue things, we expect to have them now.  We are that way with food and even with information-- think about how Google has changed how quickly we are able to obtain information about something.  Just enter a quick word into your search engine and you've immediately got a million hits to sift through regarding that topic.

I think we're that way with most other parts of life, too.  Or at least, I am.  I'm particularly that way right now with jobs.  When I planned for my move to Indianapolis months ago, I was so optimistic about jobs.  Scott and I drove around back when I visited in May and marveled at all of the hospitals in the area.  For months I kept an eye on job sites and stalked each hospitals' website for RN postings.  I refused to apply for a job until 3 months before my move, though.  I thought that would be a good window.  In August I was extremely happy to have received my license to practice as a registered nurse in Indiana.  That was my golden ticket to search for jobs!  And so it began.

I was dismayed to find that there weren't as many postings as when I had looked over the summer.  Jobs that I had flagged in my job cart were closed or cancelled.  Cancelled? What was that all about? I had several phone interviews, one of which sticks out the most because it is still the job I most desire.  It was with St. Vincent's, a large teaching hospital in Indianapolis, on a floor very similar to my own back in North Carolina.  Though I interviewed while driving to Florida with my mom to visit my grandmother who had just been placed on Hospice that week, and though I was an emotional wreck at the time, it's the best interview I've had to date.  I loved the nurse manager and ate up everything she had to say about the floor.  "It's realllllly busy here, very chaotic.  It takes a lot of teamwork to get through a shift, and my nurses have that." That's a done deal.  I'd rather work on a crazy busy floor with great teamwork ANY day over a floor that's got a slower pace with nurses that eat each other alive.  Nurses really do eat their young, that's not a lie.  I've been blessed to work amongst some of the very best nurses on 3 West for the past few years and I will tell you they are the kindest nurses you'll ever meet; but I have friends on other floors who tell me the stories of older nurses eating up as new grads.

Back to the cancelled status of the jobs, I promise this is all related.  I received a call from the manager of this unit at St. Vincent's, and she told me that she wished she was calling with a job offer, but unfortunately, the hospital had been put on a hiring freeze while budgets were being evaluated in light of Obamacare going into effect in January.  She said that she didn't want to lose me as a potential nurse on her floor but that she just wasn't able to hire at that time.  This was back at the end of September.  She told me that I was first on her list as soon as she could hire, and she assured me that my application would remain on her desk every day until she could hire me.  To my knowledge, she has stayed true to her word.  We've spoken a few times since then and she has assured me of these same things, though she is still not able to hire.

Another major hospital up here just cut 800 jobs.  800.  Not all nurses, but wow, that's a lot of staff.  One hospital that is opening in a new facility had prospects of new jobs becoming available with the new hospital; this has not held true thus far.  Most hospitals up here are on freezes or cut-backs right now.

Yet, I've still had interviews since I've been up here.  I had a very promising one last week with a follow-up today, and I don't really know what will happen with that one.  I had an interview with the Chief Nursing Officer and the nurse manager last week and it was incredible; today, I had an interview with nurses who work the floor who seemed to be very disinterested in everything I was saying.  I'm still hopeful for a job, but I just have a bad feeling about it.  Another thing that has been discouraging is that though I have applied for day shift positions, in each interview, they throw in that they might not have any day shifts available and that they may have night positions open instead.

And so the interviews continue.  I have one tomorrow and another next week.  Through it all, through all of my fear and feelings of disenchantment, I'm remembering Psalms.  I'm remembering David as he writes Psalm 46, where it says, "He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth.  The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress.'" (Psalm 46:10-11)

Be still, and know that I am God.
Be still, and know.
Be still, and know.
Be still.

Oh, restless heart, be still.  And know that Jesus is Lord of all and that He has purpose in all He does.  My tiny human brain does not comprehend this; I sit here wrestling with God and asking Him why I have not found a job.

And it's only been 2 weeks and some change since I've moved here.  Isn't that just silly?  When I take a step back to look at the bigger picture, I find it to be very silly.  When I even step back to look at my CALENDAR, I see it's silly.  Oh right, I just moved here two Fridays ago.

I'm going to focus on surrendering my restless heart and on thanking God for the blessings He has showered upon me.  Just to have interviews in an economy like this is something to be thankful for.  I have a warm place to sleep, people who have reached out to me up here in Indy, loving family back home, the man I am going to MARRY in 4.5 months eating dinner with me every night.  So many things to be thankful for, and I focus on what I don't have.

So it's time to be still.

Grace & peace,
C.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Oh! The Places You'll Go!

I've spent my Saturday morning thus far doing lovely Saturday morning things: making brunch with Scott (scrambled eggs with sauteed veggies, fruit salad, and orange-glazed cinnamon buns), drinking TWO cups of coffee (not even out of necessity, but desire), cleaning the kitchen, taking a leisurely shower, and looking up places I'd like to visit near Indianapolis.  Though I haven't had the opportunity to travel often, I do enjoy it very much... even if it's just a small trip within NC or traveling to a new place for a friend's wedding.  I've started to devise my list of places in the midwest (or NEAR the midwest) that I'd like to travel to, and here's what I've got so far:

1. Chicago, IL: This is a trip that is about as far from Indy as Wilmington was from Raleigh... so I think this would be a simple trip! My friend, Lindsay, and I briefly discussed a girls' trip there for a weekend (or random mid-week trip when we're both off from work) which I would LOVE.  I also hope to go with Scott once we're married for a fun getaway when he needs a break from school!

2. St. Louis, MO: This is more of a 4-hour weekend kind of trip, but St. Louis is another place I've always wanted to visit.  I'm thinking this will be another weekend trip once we're married, but it's fun to dream about :)

3. Red River Gorge, KY: Scott has camped here with friends before and the pictures from his trip are really incredible.  I'd love to go camping here with him next fall sometime, we'll see if I can become an outdoorsy, camping kind of girl up here!

4. Louisville, KY: I've been here twice, actually, to visit Lindsay, but I'd love to go with Scott sometime just to do something different that's not too far from home.  This could be a quick day trip and maybe we'd even be able to meet Lindsay and Landon for lunch or dinner while there.  We'll see!

5. Bloomington, IN: This is supposed to be a super fun college town just a little ways up the road; it's also supposed to be quite beautiful for a college campus (I'd love to compare it to UNC's, to be honest!).  This is where Indiana University's main campus is, and I just think it'd be neat to make a day trip out of this to see what other parts of Indy are like.  

6. Cincinnati  OH: I don't know if this is technically considered the midwest, but it's not very far from here at all and would be another fun day trip.  I really like exploring new cities and finding good eats... I'd be excited to take a little trip down the road for some fun in Ohio! 

7. Detroit, MI: This would be another weekend trip to be sure, but I've always been interested in Detroit for no apparent reason.  My best friend has family there and visits every so often, and I think it would just be a fun place to check out so I can mark it off my list!

8. Minneapolis, MN: This would definitely be a longer trip, maybe would need to stay for a few days.  It's about 9 hours from here, so drivable for sure but maybe not such a pleasant drive.  I have a few friends who moved here after college, and I just love their pictures that the post of this city.  I'd probably want to steer clear of it during the winter months, however!

9. Lexington, KY: Scott has a good friend who lives in Lexington and he has actually visited once (and maybe has seen a horse race? I can't quite remember), and I've just always thought this would be fun! 

10. Southern Indiana: Scott walked in and found me looking up places to visit and just suggested this because of the caves they have down there.  I've never done much cave exploration before, but why not? 

Anyone have any suggestions of drivable locations around Indianapolis that we should check out during our time here?  I'd love some suggestions, and if you know of any good restaurants or places to visit in any of the places listed above, I'd love that, too!

Happy Saturday :)
C

Friday, November 22, 2013

Small Joys Volume 9

I'm going to make an attempt to post Small Joys on Fridays once again, like I used to do back when I first started them.  This has been a fairly busy week in Indianapolis for me compared to last week!  Can't wait to share the joy that's been part of my week :)

No. 1: Job Interviews!  This week has been fairly fruitful on the job front.  I've had two phone interviews and one in-person interview.  Both resulted in secondary interviews, so I'll have one next week for a smaller hospital up here (but very close to my home :)) and another at a slightly bigger hospital that's about 20 minutes south of here the week after Thanksgiving.  I got a really great feeling about the one today and think that the organization would be an incredible one to work for;  I also think it's a job that I would learn a ton from!

No. 2: Visits from good friends.  One of my dearest friends, Lindsay, drove up from Louisville yesterday to spend some time in Indy and to see my new apartment! I had such a lovely time with her around the town.  We went shopping and even added some things to my registry so that we could play with the registry gun some more :)

No. 3: A beautiful Kitchenaid mixer! So, Lindsay walked up with a nicely wrapped box that she said I could open inside.  After chatting a bit and catching up on different things going on, I opened the gift to find the gorgeous aqua Kitchenaid mixer that I had registered for.  I am overwhelmingly grateful to her and her husband, Landon, for their very generous gift and I really can't wait to use it.  I have lots of holiday baking plans to use all of this down time for (assuming I don't get a job before then!) and hope to use it for many years to come in baking adventures.  Lindsay wrote in the card that many memories were associated with her own Kitchenaid from her mom and that she hoped I'd have fun with memory-making as well.
There she is!

No. 4: Christmas decorations.  I've joked for months about putting up my Christmas decorations as soon as I moved to Indy, but for some reason, I just hadn't quite gotten around to it yet.  Lindsay commented on this as soon as she walked into my apartment yesterday, so after a bit of shopping and lunch together, we came back here to put up my Christmas tree.  I'm sitting next to it right now, fully lit, and am SO happy that we did this.  It brings a whole new element of "small joy" into my week.  

No. 5: The gym.  I'm so thankful to have a gym right downstairs in my building-- definitely the closest I've ever lived to a gym before! Most days I try to go to do a few interval workouts on the elliptical or the stationary bike, and lately I've just been coming back to my apartment to do abs and arms.  I'm always self conscious about weight training in the gym for some reason, and this gym has a window that opens into a very open area of the apartment complex, so I prefer to do that sort of thing unobserved! I've already lost a few pounds since moving here, whether that's from eating healthier with Scott or working out I cannot say!  

No. 6: Friendsgiving.  Last night Scott and I went to a Thanksgiving dinner at the dental school with a bunch of his classmates from third year; we almost didn't go because he wanted to study instead, but I'm SO glad we went.  It was so fun to see some familiar faces of friends I've met on past visits here, and it was equally nice to meet some new friends.  I'm a huge fan of friendsgiving; we actually did this last year but called it Asian Thanksgiving, and maybe you'll remember that Scott made a giant turkey that was served bedsides plates of sushi at his friends' house.  Here's the pic if you've forgotten what that Friendsgiving looked like






No. 7: Facetime and Skype.  Oh, these have quite BIG joys lately, allowing me to keep in touch with family and friends while giving virtual tours of the apartment as well!  I'm ever so thankful for technology.  The same technology that helped Scott and I to make it through almost 8 years of long distance dating will now help me to keep these long distance friendships and relationships with family going strong!  

No. 8: City lights.  One of my favorite things to do at night is to just leave my blinds open to watch what's going on outside of my window.  It's nice to sit inside to watch rush hour traffic instead of actually sitting in it!  The lights on the buildings outside are mesmerizing, and though I much prefer natural God-created beauty, I can appreciate the beauty in something made by man as well.  

No. 9: Working heat.  When I first moved in I couldn't figure out what was going on with my heat, but finally, all has been fixed and I can sleep through a night without piles of blankets on.  I know so many are not able to find a warm place to sleep at night, and I know for that reason that I am to be very thankful for this warmth.  

No. 10: New Girl.  Can't. stop. watching.  I've seen all of the episodes at least twice, but while I've been home cleaning and organizing, why not watch a little Schmidt?  I tweeted a favorite Schmidt quote and the official New Girl twitter page tweeted me back the other day-- small accomplishment in fame-hood in the social media world. :) 

Aside from these things, I've still been enjoying cooking and baking, daily quiet time (stemming from Romans this week, loving wisdom from Paul!), appreciating the quiet moments, and making this apartment feel like a home.  

Lots of love and hope you all have a beautiful weekend! Hope you find moments of joy in the little things as you head into the holiday season.  

Grace & peace,
C

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It Takes a Village

When I was setting out to make my move to Indianapolis, I kind of had the mindset that I would do as much as I could on my own... which I did.  But I'll just tell you that a cross-country move isn't easily done alone, so though I tried to be as independent as I possibly could, it took an entire village to actually get me up here.  And I'm so thankful for my little village.

My apartment is basically completely furnished because of the generosity of other people.  I'm writing to you from the Chancey couch right now (the absolute most comfortable couch in the world), which was given to us so kindly by the Rouse family.  I ate breakfast this morning at a table supplied by another former roommate, Rachael, using dinnerware and utensils given to me by my grandmother and mom at my bridal shower.  Most of what fills my kitchen and living spaces were generous gifts from family and friends, and I am ever so thankful for them.

There she is, the Chancey couch!


Moving the generous gifts was another task that I have to thank family and friends for.  My mom and sweet friends Alex, Claire, Susan, and Shannon helped me with most of the packing that I wasn't able to do on my own.  My mom, Alex, and my roommate Jessica helped with moving all of the items to the garage to prepare for the moving truck's arrival.  Weeks before the move, Scott's dad came to deliver some furniture that I wasn't able to move on my own, weathering through a flat tire on the trailer in the process!  A dear friend, Jared, came to help move the furniture into the house after a long day of studying.  Shannon, my dad, Alex, and Chancey were the main contributors to getting items from the garage into the moving truck (and my dad actually drove the truck from its pick-up site to my house in Durham!).  Chancey helped with de-cluttering and organizing the last little bits that were left towards the end.  Scott travelled from Indianapolis to Raleigh by plane and then drove the truck for most of the way to Indianapolis; my future brother-in-law, Chris, drove it for the remainder of the trip.  Scott's sweet Aunt Linda and Uncle T were gracious in offering a place to stay for us in Pilot Mountain to break the trip up a little bit; Scott had been insistent on us staying with them even though it didn't cut that much time off of our trip, and I'm SO glad that we did.  We were able to enjoy a family dinner with his family, hang out with his cousins and their sweet twin boys, and enjoy the mountain air and fall leaves in Pilot Mountain as a way of relaxing before the big trip.

My brother spent countless hours journeying from Chapel Hill to Durham with me to help me move furniture throughout my moving process, and he allowed me to use his truck several times to transport things on my own between Durham and Wilmington.  He came the night before I moved to help with the final heavy lifting, and I'll never be able to thank him enough for that!  My sister visited me the weekend before the move and provided some relaxation time and sanity for me, and my mom brought some sanity with her as well (though, she brought our puppy Gracie Lou, which maybe contributed to some INsanity as well while we packed!) that weekend and was such a huge help in getting things organized for the move and in helping me make the decision to get a larger truck (SO glad we did this).  My dad also travelled from Wilmington and was a huge help with his packing technique, driving skills, and the famous "R.Poveromo MY DOLLY" that made it possible to transport the heavy items onto the truck.  

Sweet Shannon supplied coffee and company for me when I was feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, and she even showed up post-practicum in her fancy work clothes to put in some manual labor on the truck.  Countless friends spent time with me that last week and brought sweet going away treats with them-- thank you to Claire, Susan, Shannon, Jordan, Alex, Jessica, and Chancey for a combination of quality time and sweet treats before the move.  

There's numerous ladies I'd love to thank for the appliances and items currently filling my kitchen-- I won't be able to name them all, but thank you to everyone at my bridal shower for the sweet gifts that fill my current apartment and the apartment Scott and I will one day call our first home :) 

I've already given my shout-out to Ashley and Chris for their amazing help and servant hearts during our move, but I just want to thank them again for all that they did.  For prayer, I thank everyone in my family, Scott's family (shout out to Mama Cris!), all of my friends, and any strangers who reached out and prayed for us during the craziness of the move.  I can't forget to thank G.Diddy and Mama Joan, Chris's parents, for driving out to meet us between Raleigh and Garner to get my car!  Ashley and Chris drove my car from Garner to Pilot Mountain the Thursday of the move, and G.Diddy and Mama Joan were kind enough to meet us in a parking lot to get my car so we didn't have to drive all the way to Garner in the moving truck!  

I fear that I have somehow forgotten someone, so if I have, please know that your love and labor was not under-appreciated in any way.  I know that it took a whole village to get me here and I am forever thankful for my North Carolina village.  You are the people whom I have loved for years and who have loved me in return.  Thank you for pouring out your love and blessing on me, and know that I appreciate it and am more thankful than you could possibly imagine.  

I call on my little village for continued prayer during this journey-- it's not yet over! Our wedding is quickly approaching and I am on the hunt for a job to continue funding our wedding and my life up here.  I have an interview at a smaller long-term acute care hospital on Friday in their ICU and am hopeful for either this job or the one I have long desired at St. Vincent's to work out in the coming months.  As stressed as I was in my last job and as burnt-out as I felt, I've realized I love nursing and love serving others in that way so much.  I can't wait to resume working in healthcare and taking care of people again!

Lots of love to you all and thank you for your prayer and all you have done to get me here.  November has certainly been a month full of thanksgiving for me.  I'm surrounded by all of the loveliest people and am so thankful for God's faithfulness in placing you all in my life.  You're incredible beings with huge hearts, and I'm blessed to know you all.

Grace & peace, sweet friends.  Happy Tuesday from my little corner of Indy :) 
Cristina 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

From My Side of the World (and Small Joys volume 8!)

Hello from the Midwest, dear friends!  After months of planning, anticipating, losing sleep, stressing, packing, etc., I have finally arrived in Indianapolis and am writing to you now with my trusty Earl Grey tea on my coffee table from a mostly unpacked and organized apartment.  There's still a stray box here or there, mostly filled with those things that I knew I shouldn't have brought with me but did anyways.  My brain is so all over the place that I'm not entirely sure how to start this post, but I suppose to start I'll just say that for the first time in many months, I feel at peace.  

It's kind of weird to say that, considering that I only know a handful of people up here and considering that I have yet to find employment, but I can honestly say to you that my soul feels an overwhelming sense of peace and my heart feels full.  The move went smoother than any move I've ever done in state or in the same city before, which is amazing.  As usual, God has been faithful and has crushed every fear that I had regarding this move.  My sweet future sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Ashley and Chris, made the trek with us last week with the Budget truck and my Honda civic; we arrived in a timely fashion, unloaded the entire truck that night, and returned the truck Saturday morning with not a single issue.  I am so thankful for Ashley and Chris and how they just poured out their love on us during this move.  They witnessed a few tense moments between Scott and I as we snapped at one another over silly things, but they were so gracious and loving in their interactions with us and were so enthusiastic to help with unpacking and putting furniture together.  I don't think I'll ever be able to thank them enough for their help and servant-attitudes that they displayed.  

I've spent most of the past week unpacking and putting things in their new homes, and I think that the apartment is finally starting to look like a home.  If I had to pick my absolute favorite part of it, it's hands-down my view.  Here's what I see when I wake up each morning outside of my bay window (this looks like a night-time picture but it's actually as the sun was rising the first morning that I woke up here):


The view at night isn't too shabby, either.  I've been blessed to have Scott over for dinner every night so far since I've moved in, and I have insisted on leaving the blinds open during dinner even though it's dark out just so we can see the city lights.  He's busy studying for his boards for dental school, so it works out that I can use my spare time during the day to cook yummy meals for us.  Our dinners together are his main study breaks during the day; he resumes studying pretty quickly once they plates are cleared from the table.  It's actually kind of funny that I ended up with this view; it's not what I had originally wanted for our apartment (though, had I known what it looked like, I would have requested it from the very beginning).  I was looking for an apartment on the other side of the building that was a little bit less expensive since its view was of another building; but for $50 more a month, I think I got the better deal.  They did not have any of the less expensive units available for a November move-in, and I'm ever so thankful that they didn't.  I actually have this same view from my bedroom window, so it's nice to wake up in the morning and see this as soon as I open my blinds.  

The city itself is quite fun.  I've visited before and enjoyed different aspects of the downtown Indy area, but as a resident, it seems quite different.  For my first weekend here we went to a Colts game in Lucas Oil stadium with Ashley & Chris.  Unfortunately the Colts lost to the Rams (and we were seated by an obnoxious Rams fan for the whole game, quite to our dismay), but I still had a great time soaking up the NFL experience.  

Since I haven't done a "small joys" post in a while, I think I'll toss that into this post and share my small joys from life in Indy so far.  Here's what I've got.

No. 1: Nightly dinner dates with my fiancĂ©. I already mentioned this, but it's amazing to me that we went from seeing each other once every 2-3 months to seeing each other on a daily basis.  It took 7.5 years to get here, but we are finally in the same place! I always joked that we made long distance look easy, but probably wouldn't survive when living in the same city.  I think I might have been wrong on that one!  I've been a little hard on him lately because he's the main person I know here, but he's been very good to me and very helpful with things around the apartment and with helping me navigate the city.  I'm so thankful that he is living right down the road and will soon be sharing this apartment with me as our first home together.  

No. 2: Nesting.  I don't really know if you can call it nesting when you aren't pregnant (trust me, I'm not. It'd be the second immaculate conception if I was!), but I feel like that's what I've been doing lately-- putting together our home and making it feel cozy.  There's still some clutter here and there, but mostly it's looking lived-in.  

No. 3: New restaurants! I never used to think of myself as a "foodie," but I'm starting to realize that I very much am.  I love trying local restaurants and new dishes that are specific to the region I'm in.  I've already found several restaurants here that will be staples for when friends and family come to visit!  Scott was good to me and took me to a good old BBQ joint last Monday so I could get my taste of home in.  I even found some sweet tea up here which is a rare find in these parts of the country :)

No. 4: New friendships.  Don't misread this: I was by no means sick of my OLD friendships (to be truthful, I have either FaceTimed, Skyped, or talked on the phone with at least one friend every day since I've arrived), but I'm thankful for being included in Scott's group of friends and that people have been reaching out in friendly ways to me so far.  I was kind of nervous about only knowing a few people up here, but everyone has been so lovely to me so far and I can already feel deep bonds forming with some of the people I've met here.  I've even been able to reconnect with friends from NC-- a sweet friend, Kayla, who is from Wilmington AND went to Carolina, was my lunch date yesterday and showed me around the city a bit.  This week I'm planning to meet up with Marissa who lived in my neighborhood junior year and who is good friends with some mutual friends of mine.  I'm so thankful for these two ladies and the fact that I can have people in Indy who can relate to North Carolina life as well.  

No. 5: Down time.  For the first time in a very long time, I have time to do quiet time every morning, read books for fun, write letters to people, take my time getting ready, and drink my coffee slowly in the morning.  It's been so nice to have this down time, though truthfully, I'm already starting to look for other ways to fill my time.  I've realized that my down time is very me-focused, and I need it to be focused on other people and their needs.  I'm still actively searching for a job and plan to continue this job search, but I'm also looking for some volunteer opportunities to fill my down time with while I look for a job.  More to come on the job search below, it's a major struggle and something I'd love your prayer for. 

No. 6: Snow! I know that at some point I'll look at snow as the obnoxious thing I have to scrape off of my car early in the morning before work, but for right now, it's fun for me.  We had one little snow sprinkle last week that lasted from late one night until mid-morning the following day, but it was fun to be able to sit inside and watch without worrying about how I was going to get anywhere in it.  

No. 7: Home-cooking.  This is something that I slacked on in my last few weeks/months in NC.  I was so busy and stressed with packing and working on moving details that I barely cooked a thing.  It's been so fun to have time to spend in the kitchen again thinking up what I want to create for the week.  I know once I start working I'll miss the time I had to put into this, but cooking meals at home is something I hope to always find time to do.  It's so under-appreciated in our society now, but it's one of those joys that eating out will never be able to fulfill for me. 

No. 8: A church home.  I was so happy to be able to attend church with Scott this weekend for the first time in months.  He has recently switched churches (I didn't actually know this until today!) and the church he currently attends seems to be rooted in the Gospel and with their hearts on being intentional, missional Christians.  Scott and I will likely do some pre-marital counseling through this church to supplement the counseling we will do with our pastor, James, via Skype before the wedding.  This is the first time I've not had to church-hop in my life and it's just lovely.  Scott said we could try other churches if I wanted to, but I am very happy with the church he's going to and the message, worship, and fellowship that is cultivated there.  

I feel like I'm reaching an end here with Small Joys. Usually I like to do 10 but this week I think I'll stick with 8.  My brain is starting to shut down and I'm thinking it may be bed time for this funemployed girl.  Speaking of funemployment, it's actually only fun for so long and I think my "fun" time is expiring.  Please keep my job search in your prayers over the next few weeks! I'm by no means in a desperate situation for one, but would very much like to be back in the nursing world with challenges and goals to aspire to reach.  I'm not the kind of person who can sit around for too long without something to do... so I'm realizing work is good for me.  I've contacted the nurse manager who gave me a halfway job offer a few months ago to let her know I am here now, and I am hoping to hear back soon about if some of these hiring freezes are almost over! My prayer request is for me to find a job where I can serve those around me with love and that until I find such a job, that I would steward my time well and make it all about others and not about myself!

Lots of love from the Midwest.  Can't wait to talk to you more soon!
Grace & peace, 
Cristina