Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Small Joys: volume 13

Happy Wednesday, friends!  I hope the week is treating you well so far, and if not.. it's almost finished!  I woke up a little while ago after sleeping post night shift today and decided to toss another volume of Small Joys your way; it's super gloomy out, and I was planning on venturing out to Wal-mart today for groceries and Frozen, but I think that will all have to wait until tomorrow.

An interesting thing happened this week after work one morning.  I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, but my mind was still going.  I decided to check Facebook to see what was happening with my friends, and I discovered that one of my Facebook friends also has started blogging about Small Joys.  At first, I was a little taken aback; the style and formatting and even title of them was very similar to how I write my own Small Joys post every week.  Then, I decided to be excited about it.  A lot of bloggers out there do posts like "High Five for Friday" or some sort of top 5 or 10 list for the week.  Small Joys were my way of doing that in a little bit of a different way, and it looks like someone else liked the idea, too! So I've decided to celebrate that someone else out there is finding small moments of joy in the midst of the seemingly mundane.

In any case, I'm rambling now.  Onto the celebrating of small joys for the week.

No. 1: The end of orientation.  Actually, I have one shift left technically.  But last night was my off-orientation meeting at work and I just can't believe that 6 weeks flew by so quickly.  I feel like I just walked onto the floor and started learning where things were; now I'm a week away from taking patients on my own.  I will say, it's a very different feeling from my last two orientations.  My orientation at my last job was the biggest joke in the world and lasted for two weeks; I came off of orientation feeling like I knew nothing.  By my second shift in orientation, I was expected to take care of 6 patients, and when I wasn't doing this well, my manager was concerned.  That all ended poorly anyways, another story for another day.  My previous orientation on 3 West at UNC was fabulous (just as fabulous as my current one), but when I got off of orientation, I was a terrified new grad who has memories of her first day flying solo involving a lot of rapid responses and sending patients to the MICU.  I think that day was indicative of what was to come in nursing for me.  Since then, I developed a reputation for picking up on minute changes in patient condition that ultimately result in quick transfers to progressive care or ICU and many rapid responses to ensure patient safety.  One nurse on 3 West always joked that maybe it all meant I was destined to be an ICU nurse.  I don't see ICU nursing in my future anytime soon, but I'm now on a progressive care unit which has been very good learning so far.  In any case, I think I'll feel much more prepared after this orientation than I have been in the past, mainly due to a little bit more experience and knowing where to go for resources.  I hope I won't have that deer-in-headlights look I did at the end of my first solo shift back in NC, wondering if everyday as a nurse was going to be like my first one there.

No. 2: In sickness and in health.  Obviously, Scott and I aren't married yet.  But this week gave me a beautiful picture of Scott's heart to serve even when I'm not at my best.  I came down with a weird cold or virus or something this week and just felt down for the count.  I didn't do my weekly grocery shopping or even think about meal prep for my week of night shift.  I called Scott one day to tell him I wasn't feeling well, and a few hours later he showed up at my apartment with a brown paper bag filled with Trader Joes goodies.  Everything from soup to orange chicken filled the bag; he then spent time this week helping me to prepare meals when I wasn't feeling well before work and just reminded me that I am marrying a man who lives a selfless life.  I am so thankful for him and for his willingness to meet me halfway this week.  I take pride in cooking and preparing meals for when he is over at my apartment (and not because he asks this of me, I just seriously love cooking), and it's a hard thing for me to have to ask for help with this.  Sometimes you just have no choice, and it's so lovely to have someone who is willing to share the load with you.

No. 3: Gerbera daisies. I call them Gerber daisies.  Regardless, my plant just celebrated its one month anniversary of being alive.  I've never kept a plant alive for this long, so this is a rather large accomplishment for me!  Scott gave me the plant for Valentine's Day this year and I've watched it seemingly die and come back to life about three times in that month.  I think I was over-watering it at first.  Then, because of that, I stopped watering it so frequently to the point where I forgot entirely about it.  Now, it's back to life and has a new flower that bloomed this morning.  I don't know if gardening is in my future at all (I don't do well with bugs or snakes), but I think this is a start for now!

No. 4: Frozen.  Yep. I'm 5 years old.  Frozen came out on DVD today and I was planning on picking it up after work, but after the night we had last night, I was ready to get home and go to sleep! I'll pick it up tomorrow when I do my grocery shopping.

No. 5: Mason jar shot glasses.  I'm not one to take shots very often, I much prefer a fruity, girly drink (I think this is an appropriate time to insert one of my favorite New Girl moments about fruity drinks. This is when Nick says he won't make a fruity drink for Winston because he "gets weird" with them.  This is him getting weird).

My whole kitchen is filled with southern charm and mason jar madness for drinkware, so these finds at Paper Source in Indy were a treat for the kitchen.  

No. 6: Post night shift breakfast dates.  Last week when I got off of work I had a text from Scott asking if I wanted to meet him for a breakfast date after my shift; he lives right near the hospital I work at, so I scooped him up and headed to Le Peep for a delicious breakfast and super fun date.  We were there for probably an hour and a half chatting about future plans and work and school and honeymooning and everything in between.  I hope for more dates like this, I quite enjoyed the spontaneity of it all.  

No. 7: More drinkware for the kitchen. Compliments of Emily and Jessica, both former roomies and dear friends.  I wasn't expecting anything in the mail but received these last week and was super excited to add them to our bar area. 

No. 8: Visits from friends.  I think I told you last week that I was expecting a series of visitors.  This past weekend, my old high school roommate, Lindsay came to visit.  We had a fun day full of Three Wise Men (one of my new favorite restaurants), shopping, the Easley Winery, Monon Food Company (my official favorite restaurant in Indy, ever since the weekend I moved in), shopping at Keystone, and watching Frozen while drinking wine.  This week, I'm looking forward to SIX days off and spending 4-5 of those with Susan and Claire. Can't even wait for them to arrive.  I'm thinking about taking a day trip to Chicago with them... any tips on where to go in Chi town?

No. 9: Last minute wedding details. I've decided to view these as joys rather than stresses.  Let's see what's left on the to-do list, shall we?

             ☐ Call the caterer with final numbers
             Finish wedding programs
             ☐ Submit song list to the DJ
             ☐ Pick up wedding dress
             ☐ Pick up flowers fromTrader Joe's
             ☐ Pick up wine from Trader Joe's
             ☐ Finalize numbers with tent rental company
             ☐ Start wedding diet?? Just kidding. I don't do diets. At this point, what you see 
                 is what you get!
             ☐ Meet my groom at the end of the aisle on a sunny spring day. Oh, be still, my 

No. 10: Pre-marital counseling.  Who knew I would learn new things about Scott through this? You think you know someone after dating for 8 years, but I'd be lying if I said we didn't learn something new about each other through this.  

And I think that's it for the week, friends! We are nearing the end of an era-- the end of my singlehood and days of living with girls.  I'm quickly approaching the days of being a wife and living with a boy.  I wonder what that will look like-- should I expect dirty laundry strewn about the house and toothpaste all over the bathroom counter? Or maybe I can expect more days like I had this week with sharing meals together, cooking together, watching How I Met Your Mother and laughing at Barney's crazy antics.  I hope for more of the latter.

Have a great rest of your week :) Hope you can find small joys in the midst of all the crazy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Small Joys: volume 12

It's been a minute since I've shared Small Joys on the blog.  Every time I write such a post, I proclaim that I will be better about posting on a weekly basis.  And then it's two months before I post one again.  I'm going to blame wedding planning for this one, and my crazy night shift schedule.  But alas, wedding planning is almost finished and I will be walking down the aisle in a big white dress a month from tomorrow.  I'm excited not only for the wedding but for the whole week of the wedding. At work, I have graciously been allowed to have the week off so that I can travel home and tie up last minute wedding details.  I am also hoping for lots of beach time (even if it's just a few early morning runs at Wrightsville Beach), Port City Java coffee (on my wedding day, this is what I demand.  Not Starbucks with "bride" written on the side.  But PCJ), snuggles from Gracie Lou (though, I need to be careful because she gave me a bruise that was about a foot long the last time I was home), and tasty treats from some of my favorite Wilmington restaurants.  I guess I'm spending a lot of time telling you about things I'm looking forward to, when really I should be telling you about what is presently filling my cup with joy.

No. 1: Hints of spring.  Oh man, I have never been happier for spring in my entire life.  This may seem like a large statement to make, but I am so serious.  After the winter we have had here in Indianapolis, I am ready for spring weather, bright colors, spending time outdoors, and refreshing runs through the city.  A few weeks ago, 30 degrees felt like the beginning of spring to me.  Then, yesterday, it was 60 degrees and I actually was HOT on my run.  Oh, I love it.  I can't wait for more of spring.

No. 2: Making a house a home. Or, making an apartment a home, I suppose.  I've spent a lot of my down time over the past week or so making little adjustments in the apartment to make it seem homier.  Last week I took a trip to Hobby Lobby (THE BEST) with my friend Marissa and bought some crafting supplies and some already made items to decorate my home with.  Marissa gave me a great idea for a door decoration that took about five hours to make, but I am majorly in love with it, so definitely worth it in my opinion.  Here's a sneak peak at some of the new things:

From the top, we've got a wine rack from Shannon & Bryan that I am IN LOVE with (though, it was entirely frustrating to get it properly hung on the wall.  I thought you just stuck some nails in, game over.  Nope. It involved a stud finder, some fancy plastic piece going in the wall, a drill, leveling.  Good thing Scott helped/did it all.), my yellow picture frame over the peephole just like in Friends (I can take no credit for the creativity here.  I totally stole this idea from my old roommate, Chancey), crafted twine-covered jars (an old pesto jar and sun-dried tomato jar) in an attempt to "style" my coffee table, Marissa's door decoration idea that I also stole, and a welcome sign that I couldn't resist from Hobby Lobby.

No. 3: Running.  After a long, harsh winter, I have taken to hitting the streets in my running shoes once again.  It has felt REALLY good to run, and it's kind of fun to run in a big city.  I haven't made it to the true heart of downtown with my runs yet, but the little neighborhood I run through has glimpses of the tall buildings every so often, so I get the big city feel without having to stop for traffic lights at every corner.  I'm by no means back up to my old speed or distance, but I'm at a respectable 2.5 miles for now and I'm ok with that.

No. 4: Memories of home.  I took a quick trip home to surprise my mom a few weeks ago, and though I was sleep deprived from working a night shift and immediately traveling home, and though it was a brief stay, it was so lovely.  It felt like spring in North Carolina.  I had some sweet tea, snuggled with Gracie, celebrated my lovely mom for her birthday, and had lots of family time, with both my current family and the soon-to-be family.  

Me & Gracie waiting for Mom downstairs on her birthday

No. 5: My new job.  Oh man.  Can I be honest with you? I actually love my new job.  It's similar to my job on 3 West, yet the floor I'm on now is more of a progressive care unit, so I'm learning a lot of new things.  I love the people I work with on night shift and my manager is amazing.  Also, I recently found out that an old friend from my first job up here (the job I loathed) is coming to work nights on my floor, so I am quite excited for this!  I still have the same frustrations with nursing that will always exist, but I'm in a place where I feel well supported and where I feel that I can safely take care of my patients.  

No. 6: Study breaks with the soon-to-be husband.  So Scott has pretty much endlessly been studying since I moved up here, but we've managed to find a few moments here and there to take a study break and actually hang out.  I love those moments and am happy for more of them once his boards are over.  Yesterday was the year mark from when Scott had proposed, so we did a little celebration at Scotty's Brewhouse downtown as his study break.  I just want to say that I did not declare this to be an official anniversary, though, Facebook did.  Scott got me a surprise gift that I am way too excited about and cannot wait to find a frame for. I'm just going to go ahead and declare Scotty's Brewhouse as one of my favorite Indy restaurants; I know it's a big statement, but I seriously love it.  That and Monon Food Company. Mmm. So good. 

No. 8: Girl dates.  A few weeks ago, I was reading the book MWF Seeking BFF, which was a true story about a girl who documented a whole year of girl dates in order to meet a new best friend.  I am definitely not on that sort of mission, but I do enjoy hangouts with friends.  I don't have many in Indianapolis yet, but I have two sweet ones from back in NC that are up here and one who is native to Indy that I enjoy hanging out with.  This week, in the span of four days, I managed to see all three of them.  Thursday night I had Lindsay over for a home cooked meal, lots of wine (too much wine, really), and hilarious conversation (compliments of the wine).  I love nights like that and hope for many more in the future.  Friday I went to Hobby Lobby with Marissa and also had a fabulous time with her just looking through things we wanted for our homes and making crafting decisions.  Sunday, post night shift, I had coffee at my favorite local coffee joint, Mo Joe's, with Kayla; we chatted about work and life and friends and dreams.

No. 9: A clean home.  Nothing beats this, in my opinion.  I spent a snow weekend a few weeks ago getting rid of a bunch of clutter and organizing my apartment (in preparation for the boy moving in-- gotta make some space!); my task since then has been maintaining the clean/organized space.  It got out of hand from this past weekend and I spent about an hour pulling it all back together last night, but I think I've made it so that it will be easier to maintain than it was before.  My heart is full when my home is clean.

No. 10: Anticipation of visitors.  I have the privilege of anticipating TWO upcoming visits in the next week and a half.  This weekend my friend Lindsay will drive up from Louisville to visit for a couple of days.  She & my friend Kirsten were supposed to come a few weekends ago when we had a huge snowstorm up here, so I'm glad to at least be able to reschedule one of the visitors!  And next weekend, my dear friends Susan and Claire will travel from NC to spend 4-5 days here in Indy with me.  I'm SUPER excited to see them both as I haven't since the day they helped me finish packing for my big move back in November.  I am so excited for these visits, and am even going to go out to purchase Frozen when it comes out to prepare for Susan & Claire's visit.  I'm picturing lots of nights watching that along with Tangled, baking tasty treats, and laughing until our faces hurt.  Can't even wait.

I think that's all for now friends! Lots of love to you all and hope to hear from you soon!  Maybe I'll see some of you next month when this whole wedding shindig goes down in Rose Hill.

Lots of love,

Monday, March 10, 2014

The One My Soul Loves: One Year Later

March 10th, 2013

I'm sitting on the Chancey couch in my apartment at 1AM, attempting to get back on a normal sleep schedule after only 3 hours of sleep post-night shift today.  You'd think that a mere 3 hours would have been barely enough, that my lack of sleep today would have afforded me ample opportunity to sleep tonight.  Yet here I am, clicking away at an hour when most of the world is deep in slumber.  I laid in bed for about two hours trying to sleep, and realizing it was futile, I hopped out and ran to the kitchen for Cheerios before sitting down to write this celebratory blog post.

You see, today marks one year since I said "yes" to Scott when he proposed by sunset at our favorite beach spot in Wilmington.  I'm overly sentimental about most things; if you follow me on any form of social media, you probably know this.  I overshare.  But I love finding little moments of joy in the midst of the seemingly mundane, and I absolutely love to share those moments with others.  So it should come as no surprise that I'd dedicate an entire post to celebrating one year of being engaged to the the sweetest, quirkiest boy I know.  You might remember this post from last year, written a week after we got engaged: The One My Soul Loves. I decided my one-year-later post would have the same title, but with our one-year-later updates.

I remember a lot about where I was that weekend in March last year.  One year ago from this very moment, I was lying in bed with sweet Brooklyn Stephens, chatting about life and love and dreams and Jesus on a pull-out couch in Kure Beach.  I'm pretty sure we were awake at this time, I remember chatting way past when everyone else had fallen asleep around us.  We were celebrating the oh-so-lovely Katie DiIanni (now Douglas) for her bachelorette weekend, and we had enjoyed a beautiful weekend at the beach.

I was antsy.  By March of last year, Scott and I had been dating for almost 7 years, most of those years long distance.  Our distance had grown longer when he was accepted to dental school in Indiana.  I was tired of the distance, weary from all of the airport goodbyes, and a little frustrated as I scrolled through Facebook week after week to see new pictures of engagement rings and announcements of friends getting engaged.  I was struggling to be content with where God had placed us and I was wondering what his plan was for our relationship.  We had joked when we started dating at 16 that we would probably date for 10 years before getting married (we're pretty darn close to that now, as we come up on 8 this year); but were we really going to do that? Would we just date forever and ever and finally get married when we were 40?

I read through my prayer journal the other day, the journal I kept for 2012 through some of 2013.  From about November until March, my daily prayer was for God to help me to be content with where I was and for me to not pressure Scott with moving forward in our relationship until we were ready.  I begged for this in my prayer journal.  In fact, I feel comfortable sharing this excerpt with you from the morning of March 10th, 2013.

God, thank you for Scott and his safety this week in getting home.  Keep him safe this week and help him to experience rest and peace.  Lord, my heart is restless.  I desire to marry him so much but know if I do it on my own timing and try have control that it will be all wrong.  Help me to find comfort in you, Lord, if it is not yet our time for this.  Give me patience, Lord.  Help me to wait on you and on him.  I trust you, God, and I trust your timing and plan.  I know that you are good.  I know that Scott has my best interests in mind and that he loves me.  Help me to find rest and peace in that, Lord.  I love you and pray for your grace, Father.  

Hours later, Scott was before me on one knee asking me to marry him.  That night, as I tried to fall asleep, I wrote another entry in my prayer journal, dated "March 10th, again."

Lord, thank you for today and for the outpouring of love we have received.  Thank you for our families and the joy there is in this day.  God, bless our marriage and bless our decisions we make as we go through this process.  Make this Your's, and not our's.  

I hope I keep this prayer journal forever.  I hope I can show it to our children and grandchildren someday.  I read it, and all I can think is "great is Thy faithfulness."

My word that I chose at the beginning of 2014 was present.  I think part of why I chose this word was because I was able to remember back to last year before we were engaged, and I remember how miserable I was always living for what was to come.  I think we are called to this, in some ways, to live in expectation of what is coming.  But it can become consuming, overpowering, parasitic, and that's when it becomes a dangerous way to live.  I decided that I was going to focus on living in the present this year, and I have been immeasurably blessed by this decision so far.

If you had told me a year ago (pre-engagement, while I was lying on the pull-out with Brooklyn) that by March of 2014 I'd be sitting on the Chancey couch in my downtown Indianapolis apartment at 1AM writing a blog post about my wedding that was to take place the following month,  I would have said that you were a mean joker and that I did not appreciate those lies that you were telling.  Yet here I am. Great is Thy faithfulness.  I'm a registered nurse in this state; I pay bills here and drive down the crazy one way streets and shop at hood Kroger and can tell you where all of the malls are within a 20 mile radius.  And I'm content.  I'm not in a rush for the wedding to get here, and I'm not in a hurry to figure out what the next life adventure is once we are married.  I'm not in a hurry to buy a home or figure out where we'll be when Scott finishes dental school or adopt a puppy or anything at all.  For once in my life, I am just waking up and living the day before me without wishing it away.  As one of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist says, "live the life in front of you, no matter how tempting it is to press your face against the glass of other people's lives." Beware of social media and how it will propel you out of living in the present.  It's so important to be intentional about the day before you and the life that each day brings.

I think I'm running out of random thoughts to share with you, and I might even feel a little itch of sleepiness heading my way. So here's to celebrating one year later.  I will forever have the fondest memories of Scott's proposal.  I'm so thankful for the photos to remember it by because it was all a blur for me that night.  I know our wedding will be no different.  I'm looking forward to enjoying that day and cherishing it as the beginning of life together as the Davises.  I hope April 12th isn't as blurry as everyone says it will be.  I'm going to focus on each moment as it comes, to take mental snapshots of each part of the day.  And until then, I'm going to focus on preparing for our marriage.  Not for the wedding, though there are things to tie up there, too.  But I'm going to immerse myself in books that I read months and years ago about marriage.  I want to be a wife who loves her husband like Jesus would, who encourages and forgives and strengthens, and most of all, who lives with extravagant grace towards him, just as I have been shown such grace.

Grace & peace,

Monday, March 3, 2014

Fake Days Off

Though you may wonder if I'm writing from the grave this morning after a month and a half hiatus from writing, I am in fact sitting in my sunshiney apartment that is freshly cleaned, organized, and styled, coffee cup in hand.  The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of working night shifts, fielding questions regarding our upcoming wedding (NEXT MONTH?! It's already here?? This is wild), traveling, and trying to make my house look like less of a disaster in the midst of it all.

So today I'm relaxing a bit, finally having a "me" day, even though it is a fake day off.  You may wonder about fake days off, thinking there could be no such thing.  But thanks to my dear friends Susan and Claire, fake days off are ironically, quite real.  I remember when Susan first used the term "fake day off," and I kind of looked at her funny until she explained it a little bit.  OH yes, I know about fake days off.  I know them WELL.  You see, night shift workers have a lot of fake days off.  For example, this week I will work Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday nights.  Today, Monday, I am just kind of hanging around the house.  Maybe I'll watch some movies, drink a little bit of decaf or half-caf coffee, nap at some point, spend some time reading my Bible, read a book for book club, etc.  But nothing too exerting.  Because technically, this is supposed to be nighttime for me.  I should be asleep right now, since I'll be awake all night.  Since I slept last night, however, this is tricky.  So today is a fake day off.  My next fake day off this week will be Wednesday.  I'll get off of work early Wednesday morning, race home, and crawl into bed.  Technically, I don't work Wednesday.  But I'll be sleeping all day, and when I wake up, I'll just have a few hours left until it's bedtime again.. so Wednesday is a fake day off, too.  Making sense now? I'm telling you, Susan and Claire are brilliant.  I love having nurse friends who coin terms like these and make me feel like my wacky schedule is actually kind of normal.

I had to do a lot of preparation for this fake day off.  Like I said, life is has been a little bit busy and a little bit crazy the past few weeks.  After a quick trip home (to surprise my sweet mom for her birthday) and working several nights in a row, followed by another quick trip to Louisville to work on our wedding bands, I walked into my apartment feeling defeated.  I was supposed to be having friends visit for the weekend (this didn't end up happening due to the never-ending winter up here and its super horrible mean snowstorms), and I looked around wondering how everything would get done before they arrived.  The cancelled plans gave me more time to declutter and organize my apartment without thinking about entertaining guests (though, truth be told, I love entertaining guests.  There's a special place in my heart for being a hostess and I just get giddy over having people over and taking care of them and feeding them.  Since my move here, I do this rarely as I know so few people here).  Coats have been stressful in my apartment lately.  When Scott comes over, his coat ends up somewhere on the floor, which he says is because I have too many coats in the coat closet.  Quick solutions: I'm giving away some of my coats AND I used one of our gift cards from Bed Bath & Beyond to purchase a very cool coat rack (I have ALWAYS wants a coat rack in my home.  Can't believe I actually have one now).

So instead of a weekend exploring the city and drinking margaritas with friends and laughing until our faces hurt, I sat on my apartment floor trying to understand an impossible instruction manual (no words, just pictures.  Yet they provided it in three languages. Because pictures are different in different languages?).  At one point I threw it all back in the box and pouted in my room.  Scott came to the rescue and helped me put it together around midnight on Saturday after he finished with his studying for the night.  I'm so thankful for him, he does things like this just when I've reached my tipping point with frustration.

I also recently made a decision to spend about a gas tank of money per month on a storage unit downstairs in my apartment.  Now this has truly been my saving grace; I have had SO many boxes accumulating from various things (wedding gifts, wedding items, random impulse buys), and I know I will need them when we one day move out of this apartment.  There's also the issue of my bike taking up too much space and me just feeling closed in by clutter.  So the storage space has been for my sanity, and it is definitely for the better.  Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the boxes, I just pack them up and take the elevator down to the basement to stash some boxes or random items that I don't know what to do with yet in the apartment.

Well, I'm feeling that I've exerted myself enough for the morning and it's perhaps time for another nap.  Don't hate me for the fake day off, I promise I would work an 8-5 schedule if I could.  But that's not in the cards for this nurse anytime soon.  Lots of love to you all and I hope you have a beautiful Monday! Also, check out this post if you get a chance.  My dear friend Lindsay recommended it to me the other day and I just love it.  Scott and I spent way too much time discussing wedding bands on Friday and this post puts that in perspective a little bit for me.  (Note: we may have also spent longer at the jeweler's because the jeweler, Dallas, really wanted a blizzard from DQ and Scott decided to go make the purchase so we could eat them with him.  It was my first blizzard experience and it was quite tasty!)


PS: Special birthday shout out to one of my favorite people today, my younger brother! Hope you have the most amazing day, Christian.  You are so deserving of it.