Friday, April 26, 2013

Life Lately

Friends, it's been 25 days since I wrote a blog post, almost a full month.  April has been a tough month for me in more ways than one.  After a long stretch of night shifts, I've finally transitioned back to days for a little while.  I'm thrilled to be on a normal sleep schedule but am taking longer than expected to readjust to the flow of the actual day shift.  I feel slightly more anxious and neurotic when I work day shift, but when I work nights I'm grumpy when I'm not at work because I don't sleep well during the day.  I've noticed I snap a lot at people when I work days because there are just entirely too many demands.  Your work phone rings off the hook with individuals needing to coordinate some part of your patient's care, family members calling, people calling who have called the wrong number, patients requesting medications, etc.  It's hard to establish a true flow to your day because there are so many things pulling you away from what you're trying to accomplish.  I'm learning a lot from day shift and trying my best to stay organized.  I had hit a point with working nights where I was feeling more confident in being a nurse, and I wasn't feeling like such a newbie anymore.  Now, back on days, I feel like I'm back at the start of my career again when I had just gotten out of orientation.  It's good to learn how to manage chaos, I think.

As for our wedding, I've been slow-moving.  The week we got engaged I quickly jumped on so many things and was really excited for everything that was accomplished, and now I'm slowing down and not dealing with big important things that need to be decided.  I've experienced a lot of turmoil over certain decisions regarding the wedding and have had to learn to take others' opinions into consideration.  There have been many tears shed over wedding planning so far which is why, as of late, I have pretty much stopped dealing with the big decisions and have only done the smaller tasks.  I've been doing a lot of crafting for our centerpieces, bought my wedding shoes (which I've been wearing around the house with my PJs.. it's a good look), bought fabric/brooches and commissioned my dear friend Hannah to begin the fabric flower bouquets (check out her page here if you're interested in them, she's a true artist), and have bought a few items for ceremony decor.  We're on a tight budget (more because we want to be, we don't think an extravagant wedding would be a reflection of our personalities or relationship at all.  We're going for low-key, Southern, family/friend oriented affair).  So those are the "small" things I've been working on to avoid the bigger decisions that seem to be causing turmoil.  Engaged life is interesting.  It's not at all what I thought it would be, and all of my friends have told me it's so fun and to just enjoy it.. but my fiancé lives 10.5 hours away from me. So we're not able to do a lot of the fun things involved in engaged life.  I've enjoyed being more open with him and free to talk about certain topics that before we were more guarded with, but mostly it's different than I imagined.  I'm excited to visit Scott next week and am hopeful that things will feel different when I can actually spend time with him in person.  It'll be the first time we see each other since we got engaged back in March, so I'm just a little bit excited about it :) 

The weather is finally changing and for that I am happy.  The sun is out, warm weather is starting to break through the harsh cold of winter, and my toes are freshly painted and ready to be buried in the sand at Wrightsville Beach.  I just want one good beach day so I can lie in the warm sun with a good book, a cold sweet tea, and let my mind run away for a little bit.  Yet it seems every time I come home, despite the fact that there were beautiful beach days just a few days earlier, it's not quite beach weather anymore.  I can't wait until summer when it's guaranteed to be warm and I will just have rain to fight off for a good beach day.  I have my bathing suit home with me this weekend just in hopes that it will be nice enough to get started on my tan lines, but so far it seems that it's a no-go.  

So that is life lately.  My sister posted something the other day on twitter that really resonated with me in the midst of all I've been going through lately.  She posted (not sure where it's from): " The Bible never once says, 'figure it out,' but over and over again it says, 'Trust God.'" I need to learn this. I need to stop running around trying to figure everything out for myself and instead just learn to pray, surrender my worries to Him, and learn to trust that He has things under control even when I don't (ESPECIALLY when I don't, which is most of the time. Slash all of the time, because He should ultimately always be in control). I'm missing church community lately and feel very far from God; my self-absorbed nature is taking over and I have tried to play God with my life lately. Oh, if I could just let go of things and let Him work in my life. This is my prayer and this is what I ask you to help me with (through prayer and encouragement). I need rest for my weary soul, and I know true rest and peace in this world can only be found in Him. All other things that provide temporary relief or rest or false gods and will never last. I really like these song lyrics from a song I've heard on K-Love a lot lately, and I think they are something I need to take advice from. 

"Come to the river, oh and lay yourself down, and let your heart be found. You say come to the river, drink from the cup I pour, and thirst no more. My restless heart led me astray. To my selfish pride I became a slave. But you placed a thirst in me, with no drink in sight. Cause I could not see, till I saw through your eyes." -Rhett Walker Band

Grace & peace to you all,

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Small Joys (volume 4) Warning: Lots of Wedding Talk. Be Warned.

Hello beautiful friends! Sorry for the delay in sharing joy with you the past few weeks.  It's just been one crazy thing after another, between night shifts (and random day shifts sprinkled in there?), beginning the wedding planning/marriage preparation process, and trying to get some spring cleaning done, it's been wild around here! Regardless, there's a lot to be thankful for a lot of joy to share.  If you missed my post on our proposal (probably the greatest joyful news I've had to share... ever!), catch it here.  And now, for the joy.

No. 1: Getting engaged to my very favorite person and beginning the wedding planning process. Sorry to those of you who are sick of hearing about it.  I used to struggle with all of the weddings and engagements going on around me, so I can really understand where you're coming from.  I was once there (perhaps as recently as 3 weeks ago, actually).  But I'm having trouble holding this one in, so I have to share.  Wedding planning is exactly as stressful as everyone says it is.  Despite my smalltown Southern wedding aspirations to keep things low budget, everything has blown up and become giant.  My budget has gone awry after getting several quotes from different vendors, my guest list has grown by 25% and is still growing, and extravagance is overpowering the simplicity I once desired.  I'm working hard to make sure that this day is more about the covenant we are entering into and not what people are going to think about flower arrangements or font on my invitations, but the world we live in has taken weddings and made them this giant commercial thing that barely reflects any sort of life covenant between a man, woman, and God. So this one goes down as a joy, but also something I'm in constant prayer about.

No. 2: Cooking.  This may seem like a chore or something annoying to some, but I quite enjoy cooking and have really enjoyed being able to do so lately.  During the beginning of engaged life, I felt like I was eating out all the time with family & friends, and I had never craved a salad so much in my life!  I've been enjoying cooking at home and trying out new recipes (some found online, others thought up with what's in my refrigerator).

No. 3: Warm weather.  We've had some teasers of spring here and there-- though it's technically spring now, North Carolina hasn't been informed.  I have faith that it's coming soon and I'm anxious for cookouts, long runs outside, fruit salads, and homemade sangria.  Come on, NC spring!

No. 4: Crafting.  I have fallen a bit behind on crafting lately, but with our wedding now a year away, I'm starting on all the DIY projects I want to do to save money for our wedding (and add a little personal touch to it :)).  I just ordered 6 cases of mason jars to begin on some of the crafts.  I am so excited for this!

No. 5: My future in-laws.  I can't even tell you how blessed I am to have such wonderful family, and NOW I am even more spoiled to have the opportunity to add even more wonderful people to that family.  I love my future mother and father-in-law and am so thankful for their love and support.  Also, Scott's sister, Ashley, is my soon to be sister-in-law and I am so excited to announce that she is newly ENGAGED and will be marrying Chris Banker.  So now I'm even MORE spoiled because I'm getting a new brother-in-law, too.  I can't wait for their wedding, marriage, and future together.  It's so fun to be able to walk beside them in this process of wedding planning and marriage preparation.

No. 6: Duck Dynasty.  Ya'll.  Say what you want about me. Say what you want about the South.  But I am in love with this show and these people.  Yes, they are redneck.  Yes, they do absurd things.  But they are hilarious and good southern people.  They drink sweet tea out of mason jars and share family dinners once a week with their extended family.  I do love the South.

No. 7: The Resurrection.  It's no small joy, friends.  I am forgiven because Jesus died, and I have new life because He rose from the dead.  I had to work nights all weekend for Easter, but I didn't forget the meaning behind the holiday despite my inability to celebrate it in church.  I read about Jesus in Matthew on Easter as my worship before going into work.  I'm also typing this as I watch The Bible on the History Channel and can't begin to count how many times I've cried so far.  It's the episode that includes Jesus' life, crucifixion, and resurrection, and His sacrifice and mighty power move me in inexplicable ways.  I'm reminded of the simple call to follow Jesus and to love like He loves.  I think I make my faith so complicated sometimes by getting caught up in religion and different to-do lists with God.  But the simple truth is that He lived, He died for us, and He rose from the dead.  He walked this Earth as God in flesh and lived a selfless life.  On that note, here's a video if you want a simple but truthful explanation of the Gospel.  I had seen this a while ago but a friend from work told me this weekend that it was this clip that actually brought her to believe in Jesus and God, and my heart was filled with joy for her.  I won't mention her name to avoid embarrassing her, but I can't help but be joyous when I get the chance to welcome someone else into God's kingdom.  It's another face I'll be excited to see in heaven one day.  In any case, here's Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty on his testimony.

No. 8: The South.  Ok, my wedding is going to be a southern wedding.  A true, down home country, southern wedding.  Not a redneck wedding. But classy and southern.  I've also realized how much I value sweet tea, southern accents, North Carolina, country music, southern cooking, etc.  The South is a good place to be.  I'm a happy girl here and will always have a special place in my heart for it even when I have to move out to the Midwest for a bit.

No. 9: Puppies.  There are so many puppies in my life right now and I'm loving it.  My roommate just brought home an adorable golden doodle, Penny, and my mom just adopted Gracie Lou, a golden retriever.  I've never had puppies before so I'm loving the energy, learning what all is involved in their upbringing, and enjoying every moment of snuggling I can get.  I can't wait to meet Gracie Lou when I go home next week but I know she's going to be a snuggly mess.

No. 10: Coffee.  This might as well be on the list every week.  I've had a bizarre work schedule this week and as a result, have been drinking coffee like it's my life blood.  I want some now but considering it's 2AM, I'm thinking it'd be more beneficial for me to sleep tonight.

Ok, and to end this, I have to just share the verse they just quoted on The Bible.  Ya'll, I'm not joking.  I'm a tearful mess watching this show and remembering how blessed I am and how loved I am by a great God who rules over everything past, present, and future.  Why He chooses to love me, I'll never know.  But I'm so glad He did and I'm so glad He doesn't give up on me.

"'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." -Revelation 1:8

Oh my.  God is incredible. Love to you all and I hope you are finding April to be a particularly good month.  Grace & peace.