Saturday, February 28, 2015

Small Joys: volume 20

Sorry for abandoning you all week-- I set my 2015 goal for blogging at one post per week, but I was honestly hoping I would get to write way more than that!  This week has been a busy one, and I'm hoping that after crossing a few more things off of my to-do list today that I'll be able to rest easy and write a little more on here (and in Small Joys, the book).  I hope your week has been lovely-- I know many of my friends back home had lots of snow days, so I hope you were able to find rest and cozy things to keep you warm (and to my nurse friends at home-- I hope you found a warm place in the hospital to sleep and a safe way home by the end of the week!).

No. 1: Attaining my CMSRN certification.  Oh man.  You all know after months of reading about this that I am relieved! The test was more difficult than I expected (even after studying for it since August??) but I apparently did just fine on it.  A lot of the things that I was expecting to see on there weren't, and there were an equal number of items that I was surprised to see on there.  In any case, it's done and I will never have to take that exam again unless I let my certification expire without renewing.  Thanks for all of your prayer and encouragement as I prepared for this exam! I'm thankful that it's over and that I am able to move forward now with fun things on the horizon.  My instructor for the Med/Surg review course told us to buy something we really wanted when we passed or to do something fun afterwards.  I haven't picked out what I'm celebrating with yet (there's a Kate Spade bag I've been eying for a while but can't quite bring myself to buy), but we'll be in Tampa next week and maybe that will be enough.

No. 2: Christmas music.  Judge away.  I've been listening to Christmas music a lot lately.  A lot.  Like every day when I'm studying or cleaning or writing grad school essays.  There's still snow on the ground here and I still have to dress like I'm heading out into a Russian tundra every time I leave the house, so I'll continue listening to my Christmas music with my earbuds in, lest the rest of the world label me crazy.  The Ella Fitzgerald holiday Pandora is my favorite, and I'm so glad that Pandora allows me to listen to holiday music year round.  

No. 3: Books for fun.  Currently reading: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.  I simply adored Gone Girl when we read it for book club a few years ago and figured that Gillian Flynn may have some other gems in store.  My friend, Mariah, and I are working our way through this list throughout this year, and this is one of the books on there.  This list has a lot of books that are also recommended by two favorite writers/bloggers of mine, Shauna Niequist and Annie B. Jones. I haven't met my goal of reading a book a month so far, so I'm going to make up for it by playing "catch up" this coming month.  After Dark Places, I'll be working on Scary Close for long-distance book club, I am Malala (also for long-distance book club), and Big Little Lies, which I must return to my mom when I see her in Tampa next week!

Image source: Amazon

No. 4: Writing with my favorite pens.  I have quite a few favorite pens to write with, and I just bought some new ones last week that I'm way excited about.  Here's the current list of favorites and their various purposes I use them for.

Bic Mark It Ultra Fine Point
I use these ones for writing my book ideas on card stock or index cards.
They're a little too heavy for use on thin paper-- they bleed right through
on my planner.  I wish they made a non-permanent marker version of this that
I could use daily for regular pens, but I'll have to stick to these for now!

Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Permanent Marker
These are new favorites for me, recommended by one of my
favorite authors for book-editing.  I love these, but once again, wish
they didn't bleed through paper.  The colors are amazing. 

Papermate Flair Pens
These have been my classic go-to pens for studying, school,
journaling, work, etc. for years.  These ones don't bleed through paper 
as easily and aren't incredibly expensive, so I tend to buy these often.

Uni-ball Vision Micro Pens
Not as colorful, but a good go-to black pen.  I used to use the
colorful version of these in high school, but they are kind of expensive,
so I stopped for a while.  I re-discovered them for wedding invitations and
have not been able to keep enough of them in the house since.  These
don't bleed through paper and are just good all-around black pens, but can
also be great for fancier writing needs. 

No. 5: Lavazza Coffee. My dear friend, Brooke, from work introduced me to this coffee a while ago and now I can't stop buying it.  It's a little bit expensive, but you get a decent-sized bag for the price and it's one of the smoothest coffees I've ever tasted.  They have a shop in Chicago that Scott and I stumbled upon when we visited in November, but I've found Kroger selling it here in Indy, too.  I highly recommend this one to coffee-lovers if you can get your hands on it.

No. 6: Kate Spade bags.  This is the aforementioned Kate Spade bag that I'm currently eying.  Way overpriced and sadly I haven't seen it in the colors I really want (coral or Tiffany blue), so I'll just keep looking at it online every so often.  

No. 7: Burning candles.  Ever since Shauna Niequist wrote this post back in January, I've been indulging in all of my favorite candle scents, even if not season-appropriate.  For example, I've discovered that Wal-mart sells AMAZING 3-wick candles that are so much cheaper than Bath and Body Works' candles (and they last SO much longer), so every time I go to Wal-mart for groceries now, I'm sure to pick up a pine-scented candle or their Apple Pie one, which is a fall favorite.  Something about candles feels so relaxing and lovely, turning any day into a better one.  

No. 8: Afternoon hot tub visits.  We're fortunate to have an indoor pool and hot tub downstairs in our apartment right near the gym (always reminding me that I should work out before going in the hot tub), and lately I've been using the hot tub as my decompression time.  After exhausting shifts at work that leave my body sore and stiff, I've been taking a book down there and sitting in the hot tub for a good half an hour.  It's both relaxing and helpful for my muscles.  As I'm writing this, I'm now thinking I will go work out today and indulge in a hot tub visit post-gym.  I love you, Saturday.  

No. 9: Saturdays at home.  Speaking of Saturdays, I've come to love having weekends off from work every so often.  My favorite Saturday routine involves sleeping until 8:45 or 9, cooking breakfast with Scott, drinking 2-3 cups of coffee, and staying in my PJs for far too long.  Saturdays are days that I like to go to the post office to buy pretty stamps (if I can remember to get there before they close at 1) and when I feel ok about going to our Wal-mart Neighborhood Market (so much better than the big Wal-mart when you just need groceries and candles!).  They're the days I relax if I have no laundry to do (I better not have any more laundry to do for a year after doing 5 loads last night), and the days when I'm ok with not getting very much accomplished at all.  

No. 10: An impending vacation to somewhere warm.  I've got some overtime ahead of me at work this week and my first string of four days in a row in years-- I really think the last time I did this was as a new grad on 3 West when I was working a combination of days and nights.  But after the string of four in a row, I'm hopping on a plane with Scott and heading to Florida where my grandpa lives, right outside of Tampa.  We're meeting my mom, brother, and crazy dog (Gracie Lou) there for a few days.  I simply cannot wait.  Temperatures in Tampa this week are in the 80s, and I've already dug out my favorite bathing suits for the trip (even though my body is no where near bathing suit ready yet!) and set aside all of the books I hope to read.  

I hope your week has been lovely and that you are having a relaxing weekend!  Lots of love and hope to be writing to you again soon (once I get through those 4 shifts at the beginning of this week I may be up for some writing therapy!).


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Small Joys: volume 19

I'm supposed to be studying for my CMSRN exam right now (it's Tuesday, yikes!) but am instead writing because that's my therapy when I'm stressed.  Speaking of stress, my hair has almost gone all gray and there are little blemishes popping up all over my face this week.  I keep snapping at Scott during conversations this week that normally wouldn't  bother me.  It's all in the name of stress and I am so so happy that in 3 days I'll be done with this exam (hopefully forever).

No. 1: The Fringe Hours.  I have been seeing this book all over social media lately, especially via Shauna Niequist, and I have been very much wanting to read this.  I'm not into self-help books generally, but between working night shift, applying to grad school, and trying to juggle my new responsibilities as a wife, I feel tired all the time.  I feel like I never have time for myself, whether it's working out or reading a book for fun or writing or just going to get a hair cut (hence my attempt at cutting my own last week).  This book supposedly talks about how to use the little time that you already have in your day in the most efficient way, and how to do things for yourself during those moments.  Yesterday, while studying at Barnes and Noble, I searched the store twice over to find this book.  I found one of two copies they had left and breezed through the first few pages to make sure it wasn't too self-helpy.  It's not.  It's so honest and life-giving.  Tuesday, you can't get here soon enough.  I may even start reading it before then if I decide that I'm totally over studying.

No. 2: Bluegrass Bites.  One of my dearest friends and former roommates has started her own food blog after thinking about it for quite some time.  I'm so excited for her, she always pins awesome things on Pinterest and I know she makes a lot of the meals, so I am so incredibly excited that she's decided to start a food blog.  You should definitely check out some of her recipes-- she's only just begun but I already purchased all of the ingredients for her BBQ Chicken Chili to make for dinner this week!  Check it out here

No. 3: She Reads Truth's Lent study.  Besides the fact that they always have super beautiful study packs, I love the She Reads Truth community because of its ability to keep me reading Scripture and focusing on the important things in life.  It keeps me grounded when I'm feeling lonely, uncertain, fearful, or confused.  I'm reminded that there is purpose in whatever I am going through and that the greater picture isn't just about me, but a greater story.

Lattes and Lent

No. 4: Apples and chocolate.  I've recently started on a journey to get in shape again (I didn't start in January when the rest of America did.  I needed a little more time to figure things out for myself), and my go-to dessert lately when I'm craving brownies or pie or cupcakes has been apples dipped in melted dark chocolate.  It takes care of my desire for sweetness and chocolate without adding too much to the waistline.

No. 5: Pretty stationery.  A side note before we begin: paper is stationery; the act of standing still is stationary.  This is important.  I'm obsessed with all things Kate Spade yet own not a single item of her's due to price.  I can't handle paying so much for pretty things, love them as I may.  Target has started carrying two lines that remind me very much of Kate Spade without breaking the bank.  Sugar Paper and Mara-Mi are two lines that have beautiful journals, cards, planners, etc.  I saw that one of my friends from work had the Sugar Paper planner and instantly wanted it, so with her permission I copied her and went out to purchase it this week.  The notebook from Mara-Mi was one I'd had for a while but never really used.  The two together are just darling.  

Planner: Sugar paper.  Notebook: Mara-Mi

No. 6: A new blog home.  You heard it here first: Grace Like Rain will be moving soon to it's very own webpage, and it will no longer be under the same name! I've been playing around with this idea for a while, and my husband recently looked into pricing and domain names for my blog so that it wouldn't be associated with Blogspot any longer.  I have loved Blogspot and it's been great for me as I've started off my writing career, but I'm looking for something a little more professional.  With my book in the works, I want my own space for my writing on the internet.  Other than my AP Computer Science class (where I used to speak of ripping out my eyeballs and throwing them at my teacher), I have little knowledge of building a website and will likely be working on this for a few months before the new blog is ready for use.  But I am excited about this project and hope to work on it more once my CMSRN exam is over and once I finish up my last grad school application!  Stay tuned, you'll be the first to know when the new site is coming.  

No. 7: Space heaters.  Scott and I recently purchased a space heater as our older apartment in the city isn't very well insulated.  Not only has our electric bill gone down significantly, but I've enjoyed the constant warmth and coziness that comes with having the space heater nearby as I read, write, and study.  If you live in an area where it's super cold in the winter, I'd highly recommend one.  Our's was no more than $40 and has been very well worth the money.  

No. 8: Crockpot meatballs. This was maybe the most successful week I've ever had with meal planning.  I can't say the things I cooked were overly healthy, but we did have good comfort food to last us the entire week.  There were crockpot meatballs (a new favorite in our house),  hamburgers (cooked with BBQ sauce, a dash of soy sauce, Montreal steak seasoning, and parsley), and my mom's chicken tetrazzini.  

Amazing meatballs and sauce in my mini-crockpot

No. 9: DIY haircuts.  I love going to the salon to get my hair done, but lately I've been finding very little time to do this (hence my reading of The Fringe Hours listed above).  On Valentine's Day, I took scissors to my hair and started cutting little pieces off until it looked the way I wanted it.  I shaped it, gave myself some angles and bangs, and had Scott work on the back of my head so that it was all even back there.  I don't think I'll be DIY-ing my haircuts often, but this one has been very lovely for the time being and has definitely saved me from horrendous split ends and mangey-looking locks.  

No. 10: Shauna Niequist's book signing! Oh man.  I am SO excited about this.  I'm still looking for someone to roadtrip to Wheaton, IL with me next month (March 14th) for this.  Wheaton is outside of Chicago and the book reading/signing makes promises of tea and bundt cakes, which I am very excited for.  I've already decided that I'll make the trip even if I have to go solo, but if you're looking to get out of town for the day and to meet an incredible author and person, I'd be happy to have the company!  Her book Savor is released that day and promises to be as good, if not better, than her others (Cold Tangerines, Bread and Wine, Bittersweet).

Hope you all have the most beautiful weekend and week ahead!  Please keep me in your prayers as I take my CMSRN exam on Tuesday.  Everyone says I'm over-preparing, but I've never known any other way to do things in my life.  

Lots of love!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best though by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.  


I sometimes find comfort in singing or listening to old hymns.  Their lyrics seem universally true, and often are based off of passages in the Bible, Old Testament psalms that David wrote long ago. When life seems engulfed by loose ends, by things that keep unravelling until there's hardly anything left at all, I think of this particular hymn.

When Scott and I got married last Spring, I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of this song by David Abramsky.  I wanted our marriage to be grounded in truth and in Jesus.  I wanted Christ to be the vision for our marriage, and for the lyrics at the end of this hymn to stand true throughout our life together.  Heart of my own heart, whatever befall.  Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.  Whatever befall, whether arguments or disagreements, illness, financial troubles, disappointment.  Whether happiness, joy, new life, victories.  I wanted to affirm that no matter what lie ahead, Christ was still ruler and still at the very center of what we were seeking in marriage.

I've fallen a long way from that in my own life lately.  I've fallen away from the Gospel and its truths.  I've been almost grieving the loss of my community of believers back home and have used that as an excuse to keep my guard up in my new home.  I've allowed my night shift schedule to consume me in such a way that I'm lucky if I find myself able to make an appearance in church once or twice a month.  I haven't joined a small group or Bible study since moving here and instead just keep to myself in my own personal studies of the Bible.  I don't share thoughts with people or listen to another person's perspective on a certain passage or discuss what the true meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words are.

All of this leads me to the season of Lent that is upon us, starting tomorrow.  I look forward to Lent every year, to the forty days of focusing on Jesus and His great sacrifice.  Forty days of saying no to the things that tempt me most.  I want to refocus my heart during this Lenten season.  I want to be near to the cross and to feel the depth of the Gospel.  And I want to refocus my vision so that Christ is at the very center of everything I say and do.  

Be Thou my vision.


That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-18



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Small Joys: volume 18

It's been a hot minute since I wrote a Small Joys post, and I don't honestly have a good reason for that! Maybe I've been collecting things to write about? I guess I should insert the obligatory "Happy Valentine's Day!"  My husband and I have never celebrated Valentine's Day in the 9 years that we've been together (today was a little bit different, stay tuned for that below) as we have always believed that love should be celebrated and shared with those you care for every day of the year, not just on one holiday.  In any case, I hope you feel loved today and that even if you aren't celebrating with a significant other, that you realize love can be celebrated with friends, family, pets, and especially Christ.  Onto the joys? I think so.

No. 1: The flat white. Have you tried Starbucks' new flat white coffee drink? It's delicious.  It was described to me as "like a latte from a smaller local coffee shop," and I think that was spot on.  It's super yummy and a nice break from their overly sweet coffee drinks that they usually have at Starbucks.  Flat whites have been keeping me warm while studying for my Med/Surg certification exam for the past few months.  They're yummy, try one.

Flat white in the flesh.  So good. 

No. 2: The book of Esther. She Reads Truth has been doing a study on the book of Esther for the past couple of weeks and I have been loving every bit of it.  Esther and Ruth are two of my favorite Old Testament books and She Reads Truth has done studies on both of these this year.  I had fallen out of reading my Bible for a while and She Reads Truth has been lovely encouragement to be in Scripture daily.  Favorite verse from Esther?  "And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14. I've read this chapter and verse many times when seeking purpose and promise in my own life.  

Image source: She Reads Truth

No. 3: One Tree Hill.  That's right, the show I loved in middle and high school is now the same show I've been obsessively watching when I need breaks from work and studying.  I'm currently on season 3 and can't believe I forgot how much I love this show.  This show was filmed in my hometown, Wilmington, NC, and I recognize so many people and places whenever I watch it.  It's a little piece of home I can have right here in Indiana.

No. 4: Breakfast in bed.  Like I said earlier, Scott and I have never been ones to celebrate the ever-cheesy Valentine's Day, which is why I was shocked this morning when he came in with breakfast in bed, flowers, a Starbucks' flat white, and a sweet Valentine's Day card.  He's fun little one, I think I'll end up keeping him around for a while.  

No. 5: Girls' nights.  In the past month, I've been fortunate to spend time with friends from work watching movies, painting nails, drinking margaritas, etc.  A year ago I was dying for friends in Indy.  I would have given almost anything for a girls night.  I feel blessed and thankful for friendships I now cherish and people I can laugh with.  


No. 6: Submitting graduate school applications.  As of yesterday, I've officially applied to grad school as an adult nurse practitioner!  We'll see where this goes, I'm definitely not tossing all of my eggs into this basket but am hopeful for what may come.  I knew it was in my future to pursue a master's degree at some point so that I can eventually work as a nurse educator or a professor in a nursing school, but  I never imagined it would be at this point in my life. A lot of the best things in my life have taken place at a time when I least expected it, though, so I keep reminding myself of this.  The story is to be continued on this front! So far I've only submitted an application to IU but will soon be submitting one to Purdue as well.  

No. 7: One year at my job.  This month I celebrated one year of working at St. Vincent on 5 South.  It's been a beautiful adventure and one I wouldn't trade for anything.  At the time when I accepted this job, I was feeling lost and disheartened at the job I was working at the time.  I had interviewed for this job months before and thought that their hiring freeze would never end.  I accepted a position on nights, though I wanted days, and I haven't looked back since.  I have been so challenged in my year there and have recently had opportunities to precept newer nurses, start in the role as charge nurse, and learn SO much about myself and about nursing along the way.  As I approach 3 years of being a nurse, I'm glad I'm able to practice in a place where I feel safe and encouraged to be a great nurse.  There are really hard days and days when I wish I could walk away, but that's the nature of nursing.  It's learning to care for people in complex and vulnerable situations that makes it all worthwhile.

No one looks good at 4AM. I mean, no one. 

No. 8: Travel plans.  Scott and I are currently planning two trips at once.  We went from not having any big travel plans for 2015 to having two fun trips develop-- one to Tampa for Scott's spring break to visit my grandfather, and one to L.A. for the wedding of one of Scott's lifelong friends.  We'll be heading to Tampa in less than a month and are hoping to take a day trip to Harry Potter world from there (can this be done in one day? Anyone have experience there?).  L.A. will be a longer trip we take in June/July, and I'm considering that to be our fun "Scott's-done-with-boards-and-I'm-done-with-med/surg-and-it's-our-anniversary trip.  A lot of my friends do fun anniversary trips, and it didn't seem like that was really in the cards for us this year with finances.  With going to Los Angeles for the wedding in June, I am hoping we can make it to San Francisco and Yosemite as well.  I was planning on surprising Scott with a Cali trip when he finished his boards, but this works out better because we can plan things together that we want to do while there.  I'm pretty excited that we get to take these trips this year!  They're not Italy, but I think we'll have just as much fun exploring new places together.

No. 9: Books for fun.  The time is coming when I am picking up reading books for fun again.  I am just a week away from taking my Med/Surg Certification exam, and assuming I pass, I have big plans for reading in the coming weeks.  A week after I take my exam we'll be jet-setting for Tampa, and I have a polka dot bikini that needs to see sunlight and a giant stack of books aching to be read.  On the agenda first? Dark Places by Gillian Flynn,  I am Malala for traveling book club, and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.  Shortly after returning, I'll be waiting in line for the release of Shauna Niequist's Savor devotional and will develop a new list of books to accompany that one.  Any good book recommendations from you guys? I'd love to hear them!

No. 10: Skype dates with the village people.  This week I had the opportunity to Skype with two of my dearest friends, both also nurses and lovers of books and all things lovely.  I got finished with Skyping and felt like I had just hung out with them for the evening.  I love that technology affords this sweet gift of being able to virtually hang out with friends who are miles away.  I'll be seeing Claire soon when we travel to DC to visit sweet Shannon, but it may be awhile before I see Susan again.  But for now, I feel like we had a super fun girls' night over wine and decaf coffee, and that's enough for me, even if it was hanging out via a computer screen.

Lots of love to you today, friends.  I hope you all have a beautiful day and a beautiful week ahead.  


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Feet First

Have you ever been to the beach? From the time that I was 7, our family lived ten minutes away from one of the most well-kept, beautiful secrets of the East Coast: Wrightsville Beach.  I grew up spending summers at Wrightsville Beach down by the Oceanic restaurant, I learned to love running at the Wrightsville Beach loop, and Scott asked me to be his wife over a March sunset in the sand dunes by the jetty at Wrightsville Beach.  All this to say that I love that beach.

There's a few things you learn when you live at the beach.  You learn how to get out of a rip current. Don't fight it, be calm and swim parallel to the shore.  You learn the difference between a shark fin and a manatee fin.  One swims parallel to the shore, the other swims perpendicular.  And you learn how to deal with a jellyfish sting when the jellyfish swim rampant in the ocean in the warm August waters.  Just pee on yourself.  No, really.  You have to pee on it.

One of the things that I've learned from the beach is that it's ok to go feet first in the water.  In fact, it's really the only way to get into the water at the beach unless you're jumping off of a boat, pier, of cliff.  In pools, you can go head first by diving in, or you can choose feet first.  You can jump or cannonball, you can pencil dive.

I used to have an extreme fear of the ocean.  One summer I attempted to learn how to surf with a friend.  I was paddling out and was trying to get out past where the waves break so that I could wait for a good wave to come.  As I paddled over a huge wave, I saw no less than eight jellyfish riding the wave and going past me.  I immediately got out of the water and decided that I was done for the day.  Though I had little experience with being stung by a jellyfish, I didn't want to start then.  A friend of mine had recently been stung by a Portuguese man o'war (weird way to spell this, I never knew this word was spelled that way) with tentacles 150 feet long.  The body of the man o'war can actually sit that far out from the shore, yet its tentacles can reach that far in to sting you.

For a few summers after that, I was very afraid of the ocean.  I'd put my beach chair down on the shore so that my feet could feel the cool ocean water, but I wouldn't submerge my body in the ocean. And then one day, I was sick of sitting on the shore while everyone else surfed and swam and played Marco Polo in the water.  I did the calculations and the worrying in my head about the dangers of the ocean and all of the fears I had about going back in.  And without warning, without telling anyone, without trying to plan it all out in the perfect way, I just ran in, feet first.  I ran all the way until I was out where my friends were, and then I put my head under the water, fully submerged.

Running in feet first is a funny thing.  I'm not talking about slowly walking in, getting your toes wet and then your ankles, knees, etc.  I'm talking about running like a wild person into the water until you're fully soaked in salt water.  On those hot days when the water is so cold it stings, when it takes a minute for your brain to register just how cold the water actually feels.  That's the kind of feet first I'm talking about.  When your body experiences something before your brain even has the time to register what's going on, what it's sensing.

Maybe you can relate to this in some small way.  I recently find myself in a place where I've abandoned all of the "what ifs" and the calculating and the planning, and I've run in, feet first, to all that is before me.  I was unsure about telling a lot of people about this a few weeks ago, but I've recently realized that I've always lived very transparently for those around me, with little to hide in the way of secrets or how I'm feeling or what I'm thinking about.  I wear my heart on my sleeve and leave very little to the imagination.  So why would it be any different with the current situation I'm in?

Within the past month, I've decided to apply to graduate schools in Indiana to pursue a degree in an adult gerontology nurse practitioner program.  My husband will read this and think, "I thought you weren't telling anyone?"  But in the spirit of being true to who I am, I'm oversharing once again.  I always thought of graduate school as a "maybe" sort of thing in my future.  I wanted to do it, but then I got married and moved away from the nursing school I would have loved to attend, and I kept getting deeper and deeper into the bedside nursing world.  I told myself, "maybe someday.  Not now."

And then Scott and I started talking one day and we both decided, "Hey.  Why not now?"  Without much thinking, I made the decision and decided that the worst that could happen would be not getting accepted.  And even so, I would continue to have a job in a profession I love, where I work with great nursing staff.  Nothing would necessarily have to change if the answer is a resounding no.  And if it's a yes? Then I would welcome the new opportunity with open arms and embrace higher education within my profession.

So what's there to lose?  I'm running with abandon, feet first, to see where God takes me.  This was not part of my carefully laid out plans for 2015, but some of the very best things in my life have happened in the midst of forsaken plans and broken rules.  I've grown most in those situations where I've allowed myself to do something outside of the ordinary, the expected.  I don't doubt that there's a journey ahead this year, and maybe it's in a classroom or maybe it's continuing with life as I know it.  But nevertheless, I knew I had to at least make the effort.  I knew I had to get my whole body in the water before my brain had time to do the calculations and figure out what was really going on.

I hope you've had chances to experience things feet first in your life.  Or I hope that you'll have the opportunity sometime to do it.  It's kind of scary and weird and makes your stomach lurch a little, but it's also beautiful and exhilarating in its own sort of way.  It's maybe reckless, but it is also life-giving; it's standing out on a ledge and trusting that God will see you through the decision, and it's knowing that no matter what happens, He is faithful and good, and His plan is perfect regardless of what you have done to try to plan and calculate.  He knows the end result before you even have the idea to put your feet in the water.