Ten Things I’m Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope that you guys are having a blessed day with your families and have lots to be grateful for – today and everyday! Here’s ten things I’m thankful for this season:
1 – My relationship with the Lord. I fail Him daily, yet He has never failed me. I am grateful to have a Heavenly Father who loves me abundantly when I don’t deserve it. He cares for me, and best of all, He desires a relationship with me in return. I’m thankful that the King of kings laid down His life so I could have life more abundantly in Him.
2 – My husband. In the past year of pregnancy and parenting, my husband has shown me grace upon grace. I am so grateful for the servants heart he has shown me time and time again. He works so hard for us. My love for him grows daily and Drew has truly been the most amazing partner, friend, and father I could have asked for our family. I‎t is a blessing to love and be loved by him.
3 – My son. I don’t think I understood how deep and wide the depths of my heart was until I met the tiny human I call mine. I am so grateful for his smiles and I want to bottle up his little baby laughs and squeals so I can always remember their music. I am thankful for every single beat of his heart and I love that the Lord lets me be his momma.
4 – Our armed forces. I am so grateful for the dedication and commitment of the American soldier. For protecting us and our freedoms while sacrificing time with your own family, thank you.
5 – Chick-Fil-A. Do I even need to elaborate? Hearing the sweet voices of the kind employees saying “my pleasure” feels like coming home. There’s nothing better than a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and waffle fries in my book. Can we just skip the turkey and have Chick-Fil-A instead? 
6 – Coffee. This delicious nectar of the gods has been giving me life these days. In a “gotta have it, can’t stop, won’t stop” kinda way. Thank you, Sweet Jesus for coffee with creamer!
7 – Sleep. Since being a new mom and a night shift nurse, sleep is a luxury that I feel like I never appreciated. This year, I am especially thankful for sleep because I’ve been guilty of taking it for granted in the past. 
8 – FaceTime. FaceTime has allowed me to better communicate with our friends and family while living in Texas. I’m so grateful that technology helps us stay in touch and still see each other, even virtually. Definitely better than nothing!
9 – Pretzel and Pepper. Our little cat and dog can sometimes add more things to our already full to do list, but honestly, I wouldn’t be “me” without them. They’re sweet and snuggly and cheer me up when I’m sad. I’m thankful that our son will grow up with a dog best friend and learning about responsibility, love, and kindness.
10 – Friends and Family, aka YOU! I’m so thankful for the network of love that Drew and I have. Love, laughter, and support are priceless and Drew and I have an abundance thanks to our family and friends. Y’all are loved.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

To My Newborn Son

Welcome, little one. This world is not perfect, and neither are we. There’s not much in this life I can guarantee, but I can promise you’ll be loved as long as you breathe.

See, you were born in our hearts long before your existence was spun into creation and hand knit by the same God who hung the moon and painted the stars. You are the son of the Master of the universe. You are fearfully and wonderfully made; designed with intention and purpose. Son, you are so small now, but I know the Lord has big plans for you. I pray that as these plans are revealed in your life that you will be a soldier for the King of Kings. I pray that your light shines brightly and never waivers. I pray you are a man after His own image. As you grow now, I pray for every drop of milk that hits your tiny belly and every molecule of oxygen that fills your lungs. Son, I pray that you grow big and strong and beautiful. 

As your momma, I’ll also be your warrior. I will slay your dragons and chase your monsters. I promise I will hold your hand when you’re afraid, but more importantly I will illustrate bravery and teach you to be your own hero. We will learn together, side by side, and will probably teach each other a new thing or two. You will teach me strength and no doubt will test my patience. You will teach me to let the little things slip through my fingers so I can grasp the entirety of your childhood with both hands. I will teach you to read and give every character its own voice. I probably won’t teach you to throw a football, because that’s your dad’s area of expertise, but I will teach you to have fun while you perfect your skill. I will teach you it’s okay to cry when it hurts. Most importantly, I will teach you to love fiercely and without limits. 

But for now, you sleep soundly in my arms, with your tiny fingers twisted around the collar of my shirt. I pray these hands will grow to help others. I pray that your hands will be soft enough to comfort others but strong enough to protect them. I certainly hope that as your hands grow to take up more space in mine that they will forever reach to find comfort with me.

You are my Tender Heart, my little one, the absolute joy in my life, my sweet son. And though I may have only met you a couple months ago, I feel like I have always known you, like you have never not been a part of me. As I watch you learning about the world around you, I’m learning more about you and more about me. I love myself most in this new chapter of being your mom. Who could love you more than me?

Being your mom is my greatest adventure. Together, we will write the most beautiful story. I love you, sweet son, with a love I did not know was possible until our eyes met. 

“O Lord, how great are thy works!” Psalms 92:5

Love,

Photography by Shelby Blick at http://www.shelbyblick.com/

My Best Tips for Pregnant Nurses

My Best Tips for Pregnant Nurses from a new mom and med-surg RN.

During my pregnancy, I worked up until the very last minute. Literally. My water broke at 38 weeks, 6 days while in a patient’s room! The shift before my water broke, I was performing CPR in order to save a patient’s life! It was exhausting, both mentally and physically, but I feel like I had a healthier pregnancy because I continued to work. Of course, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before following any advice because each and every pregnancy is unique!


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small commission. But I’ll always give you honest reviews on products that I’ve tried. Pinky swear.

1 – Rest on your days off. Pregnancy makes you so exhausted and nursing is a physically demanding job. Don’t worry about a clean house and get some extra rest! I used my days off to lay around the house, and once at 37 weeks, spent the evening floating in the lazy river at a nearby water park! Seriously, your body needs to recover from working long hours with the extra weight of your baby, placenta, and all those fluids that keep your little one healthy in utero. If you’re determined to work until the end of your pregnancy, take advantage of those glorious off days to rest and relax!

2 – Don’t wait to get maternity scrubs. When I was pregnant I put off buying maternity scrubs because I felt they were an unnecessary expense until I was popping out of my regular scrub tops. So instead, I waddled around the hospital with my bump busting at the seams of my scrubs. When I made the switch to maternity scrubs, I was so much more comfortable! It even made doing my job easier. The expense of maternity scrubs was definitely worth the extra space for my growing belly. I felt like I could bend, breathe, and stretch so much better in my new scrubs. I really loved this maternity scrub set. The bow around the top of the bump was so cute to accentuate my changing belly! I also bought an extra pair of scrub pants so that I always had comfortable pants clean for work. Trust me on this, the sooner you switch, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Maternity pants are the best!

3 – Wear compression socks! My feet and legs would ache after a 12 hour shift! I remember getting in the car after working all night and feeling like my toes were throbbing. At the end of my pregnancy, my feet also became very swollen. Compression socks made a huge difference with the swelling and gave my tired feet some relief after long shifts. My sweet husband bought me these compression socks as a Mother’s Day present. They are a little expensive, but I plan on wearing them when I return to work after maternity leave to prevent varicose veins and protect my feet, so I think they’re worth it!

4 – Tell a coworker you trust. Before you feel like the time is right to formally announce your pregnancy to your supervisor or manager, consider telling a trusted coworker. That way if there is an emergency, someone is aware of your situation. One of the charge nurses that I work with realized I was pregnant even before I had told my parents! I was a little self conscious that she had found out so early in our pregnancy, especially because she found out when I became really nauseous at the nurse’s station. Looking back though, I’m glad she knew so early. If I had become injured or ill while at work, someone knew that I was carrying our baby and would be able to advocate for me if I was in a position where I couldn’t advocate for myself.

5 – Ask for help. Nursing can be a physically demanding job! Nurses who aren’t pregnant should ask for help lifting and moving patients, but you should be especially careful to request help with heavy lifting while you’re pregnant. You definitely don’t want to injure yourself or put your baby at harm.

6 – Bring extra snacks. I was so hungry throughout my pregnancy! It always seemed like I would be especially hungry in the middle of the night while documenting my patient assessments. There is always the temptation of splurging on something from the vending machine, but those salty snacks aren’t great for pregnancy because of the risks of high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. I highly recommend bringing a variety and an abundance of foods from home. This will save you money and be much healthier for your pregnancy.

7 – Avoid contagious illnesses and avoid administering unsafe drugs. This one is a little harder, but some patient illnesses aren’t safe for pregnant moms to care for. Shingles is a big one, as well as patients who are receiving radiation treatment. Some drugs are unsafe for pregnant women to handle, so be careful around those as well. I know Coumadin is one drug to be cautious with, as well as chemotherapy drugs. Like always, talk with your doctor about their specific concerns, what to avoid, and your pregnancy.

8 – Stay in close touch with your doctor. My doctor knew I was a nurse and the demands that my body was going through at work during our pregnancy. Her and her staff were phenomenal about answering my questions and addressing my concerns, especially at the end of our pregnancy.

Congratulations and good luck, Nurse Mama! Take care of yourself while you’re taking care of others!

Just before my very last shift, 38 weeks, 6 days.
What advice would you share with pregnant nurses?

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
-Psalm 139:14

Love,

God’s Grace in a Back Brace

God's Grace in a Back Brace

Long before I ever dreamed up the possibility of the letters RN following my name, I was a little girl with another dream. A dream rooted deeply in personal experience and passion driven by frustration. Before I began chasing this dream, I dreamed of becoming a pediatric orthopedist because this girl was on a mission to fight the object that angered me most: my back brace.

I was prescribed a back brace for my kyphosis in the 7th grade. I remember I hated my brace, but not more than my momma hated it for me. I recall being an adolescent, desperate to fit in, which was sometimes hard because my back brace literally stuck out 3-4 inches right between my shoulder blades. Once, in the heat of an argument, my sister called me ugly because of my brace (don’t worry, we’re cool now). And another time, I remember my dad threatening to ground me because I hadn’t worn my brace in a couple hours (He was the compliancy police when it came to that back brace). I remember a kid in my class that used my back brace as a set of drums with his pencils when his assigned seat was behind mine. And I remember my little cousin being born and not being able to snuggle him as a sweet baby because the plaster I was encased in was the very opposite of gentle. I’ll never forget my collection of maternity jeans as a 7th grader because the elastic fit over my brace better. Or the time I woke up in the middle of the night to rip my brace off because I couldn’t sleep comfortably with it on.



But when I look back at my time in a back brace, I don’t remember those challenges as specifically as you would think I would. In fact, I really have to make myself dig deep and get to the hard stuff to reflect on those moments. Instead, I remember grace. Sweet, beautiful, unmerited grace that I didn’t deserve.

At the time, I don’t think I fully understood the impact that brace would have on me. To this day, not a day goes by that it or my scoliosis doesn’t cross my mind. At the time, I don’t think I could have grasped the platform that my brace was going to have on my future. I don’t think I realized that I would one day use it to speak to groups of high schoolers about pursuing careers in medicine and leadership. I never could have predicted that wearing that brace for two years would lead me to lifetime in healthcare.



You see, that’s how God’s grace works sometimes. During the challenge, we don’t always see the way the Lord is working in us. We only see the hard parts, the parts that make us go home and cry and tear off the orthotic devices our dad says we have to wear. While the Lord is working on us, we only see the construction zone that looks more like demolition. And we forget to read the sign that says “Please excuse our mess, construction in progress”.

But friend, even when it’s messy and challenging, and just plain miserable, God’s grace is still in action. He’s cooking up something amazing for us during our time of weakness. I have to believe that those two years in a brace were shaping more than just my spine. Those years spent wrapped in shiny metal and hard plaster would soften my heart for my future patients.

I saw God’s Grace in a back brace. I still see it every day in my life, how He challenged me for two years to mold me into the person I am today. I saw God’s Grace in a back brace with the outpouring of love and support from a classroom full of preteens and my compassionate teachers. I saw God’s Grace in a back brace at every single doctor’s appointment when I met children with diagnoses that had as many words as sentences.

I see God’s Grace in a back brace when I can look back at a difficult time in my life and use it to help others and glorify our Lord. This is exactly what grace is about. In fact, the Lord Jesus teaches about grace in one of my favorite scripture: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 Check out those words in red, y’all.

God’s grace was exemplified during my time in a back brace. Probably the weakest part of my life as an adolescent, but I will boast all the more gladly about that weakness so our Lord can be glorified by it. And that’s God’s Grace in a Back Brace.

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,” 2 Peter 1:2

Love,

An Open Letter to My First Year as a Nurse



To my first year as a nurse,

A year ago today, we started our journey, you and I. I remember how my eyes blurred when they reached the computer screen that revealed I was officially a Registered Nurse. 365 days ago, this voyage began. Each day since has been a little different from the one before it. But the same in that I am still constantly learning. Each day brings new opportunities for me to learn and grow, as well as it’s own unique challenges. While I hope my second year as a nurse has more grace and less tears, I am positive that I’ll continue to learn something new everyday with it, too.

To this first year, you have showed me things about love that I thought I knew already. But then I watched them illustrated right before my eyes and fully understood. You allowed me to be a part of families happy endings as their loved ones were healing. But you also put me in positions where my face would be associated with anger, fear, and sadness. You have let me peek into family dynamics and see first hand, just how frightening and fascinating this human experience is.

During this past year, you allowed my stethoscope to hear the heart beat of fresh starts and new beginnings. But it also heard the silence of a hollow chest when life left its earthly host. I have held the hand that was fearful and I have had shifts where I left with my hands held up in frustration. I’ve listened to the breath sounds of the sick while trying to catch my own breath from being so busy. I have remembered how many times a patient has been to the bathroom while easily forgetting to go to the restroom myself. I have lived in a whirlwind of a to do list, attempting to ensure I also see the big picture of each and every patient. I have stepped in and out of hospital rooms to introduce myself to hundreds of strangers. They have become a part of my story as much as I am now a part of theirs. I have heard stories that have moved me to tears and told my patients stories of my own in hopes of making them smile. If I learned anything this year, it’s that laughter truly is the best medicine.

This year has brought me joy and frustration, happiness and sadness, tears and laughter. It has been a journey, a roller coaster, and sometimes an internal struggle. And as I enter year two of this career, calling, and adventure, I still wonder, God, why did You pick me for this job? Surely someone else can do a better job than me! And while the Good Lord still hasn’t given me His answer, and I’m confident that there are so many people that are doing a better job than me, I also have no doubt that for whatever reason, He has placed me in this field with a mission and purpose. Until I figure that out, I’ll continue to do my best, attempt to be the best eyes and ears for the patients in my path, and show them that someone cares.

So to year one, thank you for your experience. For the lives I’ve been able to affect, thank you. You were not easy on me, and made me cry more than I anticipated 365 days ago. But you showed me that the title I carry is earned, not given.

And to year two, I hope you’ll be a good teacher, as well. I hope you give me more situations where I can show love and compassion. I hope you’ll give me a little more confidence, but never enough confidence to make me dangerous. I hope you’ll let me be a part of more happy endings than sad ones. And I really hope we can show one another grace in the next 365 days.

Thanks for the memories, year one. It’s been one for the books.


“How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:16‬ ‭

Love,

The Storm Before The Calm

A Blog Post about fear and anxiety before finding peace.

The storm before the calm.

I know we’re all more familiar with this phrase flipped around: the calm before the storm. But I think that sometimes, it’s the opposite. To me, the phrase is better reversed, transposed, flipped. Sometimes I think life is most scary and painful and difficult and heartbreaking right before something absolutely amazing happens.

You know something really great is on the horizon, but that doesn’t mean you don’t grieve what you’re leaving behind. The time before you meet the next incredible chapter of your life is often overwhelmed by tears, fear, and resistance. You know the next page has beautiful words, but want to linger on the black and white in front of you just a little longer.

Trust me, I get it. Take our recent move to Texas, for example. I knew Texas would provide many unbeatable opportunities for us. I knew it would be a time of growth for our marriage. I knew that it would be an adventure that we will cherish for a lifetime. We had prayed for months and months and felt like God really wanted us in Texas. Still yet, the days before the move were dark and cloudy. Tears came like fat raindrops and I couldn’t always stop them. I was scared and anxious, my stomach was in knots. The storm before the calm.

I find comfort knowing that I’m not the only one who has experienced the storm before the calm. In fact, it’s something my friend Jesus and His disciples experienced in real life.


“And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
-Mark 4:36-41

The Bible says the disciples were terrified. They thought for sure they were going to drown. Sweet friend, has your storm made you believe that you’re drowning? I know there have been recent times that mine has made me feel like I couldn’t get my head above water. But Jesus, sweet, perfect, almighty Jesus, can calm that storm and the wind will obey Him.

The thing about that story that I never realized growing up hearing it in Sunday School, is that Jesus didn’t just come to the disciples and calm the storm right away. He could have. Although He was sleeping, He knew it was storming. He knew they were fearful. He knows everything. But He waited for them to come to Him. What would the disciples have learned if they hadn’t come forward and asked for His help? But because He let them come to Him and ask for His help, the disciples learned the power of the storm before the calm. Maybe He’s hoping we’ll learn the same thing.

Now that I’ve flip-flopped that old adage around, I can see about a hundred more circumstances in my life that have been the same way. Human nature resists change, our brains are literally wired to want things to stay put. Sometimes amazing things come our way, but we still have a hard time letting go of what we know and what we’re accustomed to. Friend, it’s okay to grieve that loss. I promise.

Maybe it’s a big thing in your life that has caused a storm. Or maybe it’s a little thing. I’m not judging, cause I’ve wept over the small stuff myself, so you’re in a safe place here. And each and every day, I still have storms before the calm. But I do find hope in one of David’s beautiful psalms. “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalms 30:5.

There have been times that the storm loomed over me so badly that I woke up and the joy hadn’t arrived yet. Wanna know what I did? Went back to sleep. Friend, with patience, persistence, and prayer the storm will calm, even when it feels like it won’t. And when you just can’t shake those storm clouds, remember that rain makes the flowers grow. There’s a reason the weatherman hasn’t lifted that storm warning quite yet. I have to believe that. Maybe He’s just waiting for you to ask Him to.

Friend, are you struggling through a storm right now? Waiting for your own calm to show up? I get it. I’m right there with you. Let’s weather it together. You can stand under my umbrella (-ella, -ella). 


“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” – Mark 4:39

Love,

Christmas Grows Grief

Maybe this is the first Christmas since the fire stole your home or the fifth Christmas since your loved one passed. Maybe it’s your first Christmas since the lay off, or the eighth with an empty seat at the dinner table. Maybe this Christmas you have presents purchased and their recipient isn’t here to unwrap the paper and ribbons. Maybe this Christmas is the first Christmas since deployment. Maybe this Christmas you’re miles apart from your family (hi mom). I don’t know specifically what’s in your heart this Christmas weekend, but I do know that the twinkling lights tend to shed light on the darkest parts of our hurt. One thing is for certain: Christmas grows grief.



I want you to have hope through the hurt this holiday. I want you to remember that we celebrate Christmas as the day of ultimate joy when King Jesus was born to change the world for sinners like me and you. I hope you’ll remember the same twinkly lights that emphasize your pain are also a metaphor for the reflective, shiny streets we will walk in Heaven because Jesus came to Earth. I hope you’ll find comfort knowing that Mary felt both joy and sorrow as she welcomed her baby boy into a world that would hate him.

Most of all friend, I pray that the Lord Jesus will fill the holes and cracks of your hurting heart with His love this Christmas. I pray you find joy and peace this holiday, despite your suffering. I pray that there is love in your heart and home no matter how much sadness has taken up space there. I pray that you will remember that historically, Christmas is a time of both joy and pain and that you are not alone. 

Merry Christmas, friends! I pray you find joy this holiday. Happy Birthday, sweet Jesus! I know that because of You, I can find peace despite any sadness.


“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

Love,

When You’re Struggling With God’s Will For Your Life

Encouragement for when you are struggling with The Lord's Plan for your life.

We’ve all been there. In between jobs. Or selecting the right school. Or going through the break up. Or considering marriage. Or choosing the right career. Or dealing with the job that you hate. Or losing everything. The overwhelming heartbreak of feeling lost and not knowing what to do. You feel like your heart is all locked up. How could a God who loves us unconditionally put us in a situation where there is hurt and confusion and an abundance of tears?

I myself have been left thinking, “God, what is your plan for me? What do you want with me because right now I feel like my prayers are just hitting the ceiling and bouncing right back to echo in my heart. Why have you chosen me for this job? Surely someone else could glorify your kingdom better?”

I’ve struggled with Gods will plenty of times. And I bet you have, too. The good news about struggling with what God wants for our life is that we aren’t alone.

In fact, Jesus, perfect Jesus, struggled with the will of His father. And if the perfect person can share that struggle with us, you know flawed humanity is not gonna have it easy.

Remember the story in Matthew 26 of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his trial and crucifixion? I love that story because it gives us perspective into Jesus’ humanity. Jesus tells the disciples about his sadness “My soul is succeeding sorrowful…” (vs. 38) as he enters the garden to speak to his father. I know I personally feel the most lonely when I’m struggling with God’s will for my own life. When I think about Jesus in the garden alone, facing the most fearful experience anyone could ever imagine, my heart breaks in two. Jesus struggled with God’s will as he faced the act that saved our souls. Jesus prayed “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (vs. 39)

I find myself praying in the same way when I’m struggling with the Lord’s will for my life. “God, not my will, but thine be done.”

I also love the story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection found in John 11. To me, this is a story that leaves me wondering more about Jesus as a person and how He shared similar emotions as we do. Scripture tells us that Jesus knew Lazarus was dead even before he spoke with Mary and Martha. In John 11:11-14, Jesus explains to the disciples that Lazarus is dead, and needs to be woken. However, later on in the scripture, when Jesus is led to the grave site of his friend, we are told “Jesus wept.” (vs. 35). There are two reactions from the people that observed Jesus’ tears, these reactions follow in verses 36 and 37. “Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”” (vs. 36) “But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”” (vs. 37)

As a mere mortal, I’m curious as to what it was exactly that made Jesus cry that day, too. And I can’t help but wonder if it’s because he was struggling with Gods will. Jesus knew his friend was dead, and knew that somehow it would glorify the Lord “This sickness will not end in death. No it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it.” (vs. 4)

I can’t help but wonder if Jesus struggled with the fact that his friend died as part of God’s will. Maybe that’s why Jesus wept.

I can’t help but wonder if Jesus questioned himself and the Lords plan when Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died” (vs. 21) Maybe that’s why Jesus wept.

I can’t help but wonder if Jesus was certain that raising Lazarus from the dead truly was the will of the Lord. Maybe that’s why Jesus wept.

I can’t help but wonder if Jesus stood in front of his friend’s tomb and thought “if only I had turned left instead of right.” Maybe that’s why Jesus wept.

I can’t help but wonder if Jesus stood there among friends that would soon yell “crucify him” and saw Lazarus’ death and resurrection as foreshadowing to God’s will for his own life. And maybe that’s why Jesus wept.

And maybe those are questions we’ll never know the answer to on this side of Heaven. And maybe we’ll never know the reasons were struggling with the plans for our own lives. But friend, know that you aren’t alone in your struggle. Know that even the King of Kings had his moments of fear and sorrow when struggling with Gods will for his life.

How do you cope when you’re struggling with God’s will for your life? How has God shown up and shown off for you?

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6


Love,
Cassie, RN


An Open Letter to My Little Brother

An Open Letter to My Little Brother

Little Brother,

Your very existence sparked every creative intuition and energy I have ever had. You are the reason I love to spin stories, beginning with the legend of your birth: “My Brother, The Alien” (New York Times Best Seller in my head!) And once, I took a photography class and you were the subject of my portfolio. In a way, you’ve always been my subject. I have watched you grow and push boundaries to new limits. You have given me approximately one hundred mild heart attacks as I’ve watched the dare devil in you rise to the surface. You are my biggest opponent when it comes to wrestling in the kitchen floor, but my best ally when it comes to our friendship.


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Brother, to the untrained eye you are as solemn as a grave site. But I know better. Over the years, you have induced some of my biggest fits of laughter – and then you tease my laugh. Your sense of humor is unique and special. You challenge me to stop and slow down because I am constantly racing. You have always had more wisdom than I know what to do with. Your life has shown me about Jesus more than I ever could have imagined a younger brother could teach an older sister. I am often amazed by the truth you speak and left wondering how one heart can have so much instinctive goodness.

Growing up, I loved having a brother, but often wished that you were older than me. So many of my friends had older brother that were as protective as guard dogs. Then, one day, without warning, you became the protective older brother, despite me being five years your senior. You guarded my heart and refused to let anyone take advantage of it. Little Brother, it was my job to protect you! But you took the role seriously, and still do to this day. I can never thank you enough for being my personal security guard.


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Little Brother, I wish I could bottle up this time of your life and place it on a shelf, because it is so fragile. This newness of adulthood is exciting and filled with adventure. The novelty of being a “grown up” has not yet been doused with the cynicism of this hateful world. I wish you could live in this realm forever. But because that is not realistic, I pray you dream wider than your arms can stretch. I pray that you will grab any boundaries that are set by this world and shove them out of the way. My desire for your life is for you to do more than change the world; take bits and pieces of this Earth and leave your mark on them. Then show the rest of the inhabitants of this planet what they’re missing out on. I know what you’re capable of, even if you do not. Don’t be afraid to fall. I’ll catch you every time.

Bub, I gave you your first black eye, and you didn’t even cry. I am so proud to be the big sister of a tough as nails adventurer. Brother, you are a fearless leader. Nothing scares you! And while my instincts to be your “second mother” are so strong that I want to suppress your courageous nature, I would never dream of it. This internal boldness is so much a part of you I could never imagine you being any less brave. I pray that this daring innate quality you possess lasts a lifetime and follows you into each and every opportunity you stumble across. You are the son of ministry, of courage, of kindness, and of exploration. Brother, take this world by storm. Leave no stone unturned.


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You are the boy man (I’m still coming to terms with the fact my little brother is now grown!) with a big heart, and a bigger imagination that no one has quite mastered yet. I pray you are the captain of a ship with a quest to show the world the capabilities of the anonymous. I hope you’ll let me be first mate.

“Let brotherly love continue.” – Hebrews 13:1


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All my love, and then some,
Cassie, RN



Bamboo


A blog post about growth and change

I’ve never grown bamboo. I’m sure I’d like to; I love all types of flowers and plants. My favorite food is anything fresh from the garden. But as sure as I’m living, I can’t grow anything to save my life. I was cursed with a black thumb. Give me a pot of flowers, I can almost guarantee they won’t survive the week (I’m sorry but its true!). And I’ve only ever tried the easy stuff. But I’m positive bamboo wouldn’t even stand a chance.

Although I’m not a gardener, I would consider myself a scientist. Before I went to Nursing School, I studied Biology so I was required to take classes that were about all life forms, not just the human body. In some of those classes, we had to learn about plants. That’s how I know about bamboo.

So let me give you a general picture of the growth cycle of bamboo. In the first year, you plant the seeds and nurture them, but nothing grows. In the second year, there is still no growth. The third year, still no seedlings sprout. Guess what happens in the fourth year? Still nothing! Finally, in the fifth year, the bamboo shoots grow 90 feet!

90 feet in one year! Can you imagine being the gardener that started those seedlings? Can you imagine looking at your crop, continuing to nurture it, water it, and care for it, day in and day out, for years, without reaping the benefits? I know I’m not a patient enough person (or reliable enough gardener) for that type of commitment to a tree.

But after those four years, you start to notice something, finally. One day in the fifth year, you see that your bamboo has sprouted from the ground. And from then on, it shoots up like a rocket! 90 feet in one year, friend! After four years of developing, changing, and growing under the soil that bamboo plant is breaking ground, literally.

Aren’t we a little like bamboo? We sit quietly and comfortably deep in the dirt. It’s safe there and we’ve even made friends with the worms. But one day, one special, breathtaking day, we decide it’s time to stretch and show this world what we’ve got to offer. I think we have a lot in common with bamboo. Whether it is in our relationships, our education, our careers, or in our ministry, one day we break to the top of the soil and show the planet who we are and what we’ve been up to.

Friends, I believe this is my 90 foot growth year. I think it could be yours, too! My life is a-moving and a-shaking like I’ve never seen before. I’m bursting through the soil to see the sunshine. I hope you will, too. Let’s do this together. So let’s take a deep breath, soak up that last bit of soil, and “leaf” our fears behind. I’ll see you in 90 feet!

How are you growing in your 90 foot growth year? Were you afraid to leave the warmth of your soil? Tell me more in the comments below. Let’s encourage one another.


“For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11


Love,


Cassie, RN