Things My Pap Taught Me

I’ve been truly blessed to grow up in tight knit family. As long as I’ve lived, I’ve always had a close relationship with my grandparents. I genuinely believe they are some of the best people to ever grace this Earth. I’ve learned a lot from my Pap over the years, but I wanted to share some of my favorite lessons.

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1- Generous Tipping. My pap knows a hard worker when he sees one. He recognizes individuals who work tirelessly to better their situations. I love going out to eat with my Pap because of the respect he shows to the staff. He tips generously, with a glad heart. Rather than leave the cash on the table, my Pap takes the extra effort to shake the hand of the employee and thank them for a job well done. A true gentleman.

2- How to speak to The Lord. Since I was a little girl, I have always modeled my own prayer after how my Pap prays. I’ve watched him respectfully remove his hat before bowing his head to talk to God. I’ve heard my Pap speak to Jesus as often as I’ve heard him speak to his friends. Pap is always thankful, and in every prayer asks the Father for forgiveness where we’ve failed Him, because we fail Him daily. I find myself often praying in the same way.

3- Never be without a Bible. My Pap worked in the deep mines for the greatest part of my childhood. He recently told me about how he always carried a New Testament Bible into the mines with him. Imagine what a testimony that would carry. Pap was always prepared if a man decided to follow Jesus while deep in the ground. At our Pinning Ceremony, each graduate received a small New Testament Bible, donated by The Gideons. My Pap encouraged me to include it with my other supplies and ensure it goes with me as I care for patients.

4- To speak kind words. I have never in my life heard my Pap speak an ill word toward anyone. I’ve never heard him judge another person as long as I’ve lived. Through his example, I’ve been shown the importance of kindness. My pap is a goodhearted man, but he is also as stubborn as the day is long.
5- How to deal with disappointment. As a preschooler, my Pap took me to breakfast at Hardees every single day without fail. And every single day, I ordered French Toast Sticks. Until one day, the lady behind the counter tells me they no longer sell French Toast Sticks. My heart broke that day. I just know my eyes welled up with tears. But my Pap encouraged me to see this disappointment as an opportunity to try something new. “Try something else instead.”, he said. And I did.

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What lessons are cherished in your family? How do these lessons apply to your life?

“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;” Psalm 103:17

Love,

Cassie, RN

Hello From The Other Side: An Open Letter to The New Nursing Student from a Recent Nursing Grad

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE NEW NURSING STUDENT

 

Hello friend,

Congratulations on your acceptance to a nursing program! And welcome to the next chapter of your life. A chapter filled with blood, sweat, and tears; and textbooks, scrubs, late nights, and laughter. Welcome to the beginning of your story.

As a recent nursing graduate, I would like to shed a little light on your next couple of years. Something I wish someone had done for me.

The men and women who you meet in nursing school will change your life. Let them. You will be tempted to look at them as your competition, don’t. Instead of seeing your classmates as enemies, see them as your comrades in arms. Treat them as your brothers and sisters. Love them, laugh with them, learn with them. You might just make a friend or two along the way. Trust me, there are enough A’s to go around for everyone and there will be enough other stuff to become bitter towards. Don’t waste your time and energy competing with one another. Classes that are close to one another are typically more successful.

Prepare for battle. Arm yourself with post it notes, highlighters, and your favorite pens. Bring your God given intelligence to class every single day and then work even harder. And seriously, show up to class every single day. Think about the day you’re caring for real patients and you’ll be wishing you hadn’t skipped the lecture on fluid volume overload. There will be days you will write notes until your head spins, and your eyes cross, and your hand cramps. On those days, grip your pen a little tighter and keep fighting.

Friend, I don’t know you’re going through at this moment, or what challenges you’ll face as you endure your nursing program, but the Good Lord knows. I’m telling you, there must be something about nursing school that causes everything else in your life to go haywire. But He knows your struggle, lean on Him and He will get you through to the end. Trust me, I’m living proof of that. When you’re scared, pray. When you’re stressed, pray. When your heart breaks for the patient you are assigned on day one of clinical, pray. And don’t stop.

Befriend your teachers. No one wants you to pass more than they do. Except maybe your mom. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions. You’ll feel more stupid not knowing than getting the information you need. Accept that they don’t actually know everything, no one does. And one amazing thing about nursing is that it is a field with a hundred different specialities and the fiend is constantly changing. Treat them like people and they will treat you like people. Once my teacher walked in on my lunch time rapping performance and it was totally fine and hilarious.

Nursing school is a constant battle, a huge challenge that often seems impossible. But I’m here on the other side to tell you it is possible. My classmates and I survived nursing school while working, moving, recovering from burn injuries, family emergencies, switching jobs, heart conditions, deaths in the family, raising children, and so much more. It can be done. And when you think you can’t, dig in your heels and find the “thing” deep inside of you that inspires you most. And don’t let it slip through your fingers.

Friend, you are capable of being successful in your nursing program. Trust me when I say the years that are approaching will be some of the most unforgettable, challenging, and rewarding years of your life. There will be days you  wake up and cry because you have a test in a couple hours. There will be days your stomach aches from laughing so hard because your classmates are hilarious. There will be days you wonder how you’ve made it on such little sleep. There will be days when you know your blood pressure is through the roof because you’re so stressed. And then there will be the day you are pinned  as a nurse and the battle was so, so, so worth it. And maybe one day,  there will be a day when you and I will work on the same floor and together we will hold the hands of our patients in their hardest days. Until then, best of luck on your educational journey.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Love,

Cassie, RN

How Could Jesus Do Your Job Better?

It all started a couple weeks ago…

I said my typical daily prayer on my way to work and asked The Good Lord to guide my hands and give me a good attitude. I was exhausted on my way to work, after a long week of school. I felt tired, and emotionally insufficient. When I prayed, I begged God to give me a heart that loves people the way He loves people.

Very first patient of the day needed their foot wrapped, and I immediately dreaded it. (Seriously, no one likes feet.) I walked into the room with an attitude that was less than gracious, but something triggered inside of me when I entered the room. It was as if the Lord said, “Cassie, Jesus washed feet, if He washed feet, you are not too good to wrap this foot.” After that, my perspective changed. I thought to myself: How Could Jesus Do My Job Better?

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For starters, He would have a kind heart to even the most tattered and torn toes. He would have walked into that exam room with dressing in hand, opened arms, and a glad heart. Jesus’ heart would not have hardened like mine had in the first instant. And I am so thankful he turned my heart to him and reminded me of this scripture:

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” John 14:13-17

Jesus could do my job better because He would wash feet with a cheerful heart and be blessed because of it.

Often times, the clinic becomes incredibly busy. If you ever see me working on a weekend, you’ll see me running around like a chicken with their head cut off. It can be very stressful, and my mind often races with an ever growing to do list of patient needs. When a patient asks for a glass of water, my first reaction used to be less than enthusiastic. However, when I consider how Jesus could do my job better, I am reminded that although I may give a patient a glass of water, Jesus gives living water, which is exponentially more beneficial.

“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:14

As a nurse, I may hand a patient a glass of water to relieve their thirst, but Jesus does my job so much better by giving anyone who asks, the gift of living water; eternal life.

As a nurse, the most basic job description I could offer would be to help promote healing. Whether that is through administering medications, cleaning wounds, or giving injections, I am assisting patient’s in their healing. But Jesus could do my job so much better because He is the Great Physician. While I can help promote healing, I can never provide the healing power that our Lord Jesus can. Jesus can do my job better because He can truly heal.

And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” Luke 8:46-48

My touch will never heal, but Jesus’ hands truly heal. 

I find an amazing amount of comfort that Jesus could do my job better than I can. From here on out, my daily prayer not only begs Our Lord to let me love people like He loves people, but also allows me to thank Him for doing my job better and guiding my hands and heart to become a better nurse.

So let me ask you, How could Jesus do your job better? Because I know He can. Because in the end, it isn’t about me or you, or even about our patients (What?). Instead, it’s about doing the work for His Kingdom. And the hands and feet of Jesus are blistered, callused, and dirty. Let your work look more like His. How can you show others more of Him in your life?

I pray that Jesus does your job better than you do. I pray that Jesus guides you to be more like him, in your career and in  all aspects of your existence.

He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.” John 3:30-31

How is Jesus doing your job better? How can you show the world you are Christ like?

Love,

cassie

3 Reasons I’m Afraid to Graduate & 3 Reasons I’m not

Last week was my last week of Nursing School! I know what you’re thinking, how is that even possible? The last two years have gone by so quickly! And while it was difficult, it was also really fun, rewarding, and a time in my life that is so special to my heart. However, with Graduation quickly approaching, my heart as found some new anxieties to latch on to and keep me up at night.

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1- I’ve never not been a student. When you’re a student, you’re a “pretend adult”. Sure you still have bills, and a job, but because you’re in school everyone knows you’re still in the process of getting your life together. To me, there’s something comforting about this stage of life. All I’ve ever known is textbooks, homework, and deadlines. I won’t know what to do with the extra time and loss of structure. I don’t do well with change, so it’s scary for me to completely close one chapter of my life to begin another. There is comfort in the schedule that I’ve become accustomed to. Graduation feels like I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and into a new skin.

2- Boards. I don’t care what profession you’re in, boards are scary. The test that determines if you’re allowed to start your career. It’s intimidating and terrifying. When I think about taking the NCLEX, doubt haunts me. What if I go into the test and forget everything? What if all my friends pass and I fail? What if all my questions are select all that apply? What if it takes me 6 hours to take the exam? What it? What it? What if? This is the test we’ve been talking about  for the past two years. Facing it seems like a giant quest to destroy the ring or preparing to defeat he who shall not be named. To me, it’s the stuff that nightmares are made of.

3- New independence. For the past two years, I’ve had my teachers to depend on. I had them to answer my questions, ease my fears, and clarify information. If I needed an extra hand, I had a classmate nearby.. Graduation means this source of help is pushing me out of the nest and waiting to see if I fly or fall. The past two years, my care plans have been graded, graduation means my care plans will no longer be marked up in red ink, but patient outcomes will matter even more. I’m afraid of the independence that graduation brings, because what if I’m not ready?

But thankfully, for all the reasons I am afraid to graduate, I’m equipped with a reason not to be afraid.

1- “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

As scary as it is for me to close this chapter and move to a new one, my God didn’t give me a spirit of fear. Instead, He grants me power and love! Though change is a fearful process for me to go through, the same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives inside of me. With that kind of boldness inside of me, there is no room for me to be timid.

2- “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.”

Growing up, if I was ever nervous about a test, Mom and Dad would tell me “If you do your part and study, you can trust that The Lord will do the rest.” The same is true with the NCLEX. I know I don’t have to be afraid of it, because I’ve spent the last 2 years  preparing for it and I’ll spend the next few weeks studying my guts out. I know if I do my part by studying, the Lord will do his part by calming my nerves and opening my mind for the knowledge I need.

3- “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

Thankfully, The Lord comes with us wherever we go. This means He was with me at school, in clinical, in my car, in my home, at work, and everywhere else I’ve been. (Although those have been my big hang out spots during Nursing School, in case you were wondering) This also means that when I begin my career, Our God will be with me in each shift, each medication pass, each phone call to the physician, each code, each abnormal lab value, and everywhere in between. Because He goes with me, I don’t have to be fearful.

Fellow graduates, regardless what your career is, I pray that your own fears can be squashed by the Word of God. I pray that you feel proud of yourself and see the beauty of your accomplishment and I pray that your achievement reflects the goodness of Our Lord.

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“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear…” 1 John 4:18

What are your graduation related fears? How are you overcoming them?

Love,

cassie

Our Baking Sheets Aren’t New Anymore

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One evening last week, I was washing dishes after dinner. I noticed our baking sheets, that are barely 2 years old, don’t look “new” anymore. Their fresh-from-the-store shine is now dull. They have scratches like road maps. Grease stains, discolorations, and an imprint from a recent “very crispy” dinner. When I first noticed their newness was missing, I was sad. Drew and I celebrate two years of marriage this August, we received these baking pans as gifts. I immediately felt guilty – like I had been too rough with our baking sheets.

On our recent cruise, Drew and I attended a newlyweds game show with every intention of participating if selected. However, when we arrived, we found out that we hadn’t been married long enough, but we also weren’t “new enough” to participate in the show. I felt sad then because we were no longer considered new, and that feeling crept into my heart when I saw those (no longer new) baking sheets.
My heart broke because they weren’t new anymore, their sparkle had worn off, they seemed less “special”. Then my perspective changed…

What a blessing it is that our baking sheets aren’t new anymore.

Our scratched and scuffed baking sheets are evidence that there has been love in our home as we’ve wanted to cook and eat together. The shine was dulled each time Drew continued to pursue my heart, by making me dinner after a long shift. Each time I experimented with a new recipe, hoping Drew would love it, our baking sheet received another scratch, a tick mark, reflecting another smile on his face. We have longed for time spent at home over delicious meals. We’ve made sharing dinner time a priority. We have eaten wonderful home cooked meals together and our not so new baking sheets are a sign of that.

These now dented baking pans are proof that we have lived in a house with electricity, and always had enough to put food on the table. Our stained baking sheets are evidence that our basic needs have been met over the past couple of years. You could tell by looking at our baking sheets, that we’ve not went hungry.  The collection of “damage” we’ve succumbed these baking sheets to reveals that the contents of our fridge were never empty. Our hearts and bellies have been full, as evidenced by the baking sheets that no longer shine. I’m sure there are families that wish their own baking sheets had a little more stains and a little less sparkle.

Our baking sheets are also a reflection of our marriage. New and shiny at first, and then the scuffs and stains along the way, make them all the more charming. Each scratch, a memory etched in time. They’ve survived even the saltiest of my cooking fails, at the same time our marriage has endured my salty comebacks. And while the gleam of freshness may have worn off, those baking pans, like  our marriage, are just as beautiful as the day they were presented to us.

Even if the newness of the baking sheets has rubbed off, they’ve been well loved. And like baking sheets, the scuffs, bangs, dents, scratches, and stains that have occurred in our relationship tell a delicious story about who we are and what we cherish. An artifact for years to come from the first year and a half of our marriage. Trust me, these baking sheets aren’t being replaced anytime soon.

And while many people would wish you a marriage free from dents and scratches, I won’t wish you that, because I know it is not realistic. Instead, I wish for you to see those stains and discolorations and love them even more for their imperfections. Here’s hoping the sparkle on your baking sheets wears off real soon.

“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine…” Song of Solomon 6:3

Are your baking sheets well loved? What stories do they tell?

Love,

cassie

To the Kind of Nurse I Want To Be:

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To the kind of nurse I want to be:

I see you. I see you clogging through the halls in your danskos.  Your hair perfectly styled at the beginning of the shift has since been pulled into a messy bun. I see your pocketful of pens and highlighters. I see you analyzing labs and planning interventions. I see you predicting outcomes and calling doctors. I see how you interact with patients and make them laugh and smile. I see you.

And in you, I see the kind of nurse I want to be. I see my own pair of scuffed white nursing clogs, my own ponytail, my own pockets filled with my own favorite pens. I see you and I dream of having the instincts you have to analyze labs and predict outcomes. I pray that one day my hands won’t shake when I dial the number of a physician in the middle of the night. I hope that my patients respond as well to me as they do you. I see you, and I want to be you.

I see you, and I hope you see me too. I hope you see that this world is so new to me, so startling and surprising but somehow also magical. I hope you see that my eyes are wide in anticipation to learn and grow. I hope you see me trying my hardest and doing my very best. I hope you see that I’m still learning, but that I never want to stop learning. I hope you see that I care. I hope you see me.

I hope you see me, and I hope when you see me, you see yourself. I hope you see your own brand new scrubs and new danskos. I hope you see the first time you ever truly understood the meaning behind lab values. I hope you see yourself the first time you didn’t have to google the name of a generic drug to remember it’s trade name. I hope you see me and see your own first victory dance after a series of successful IVs.

So to the kind of nurse I want to be, when you see me, I hope you’ll smile and encourage me. Teach me something that will make me better. Don’t expect me to know it all, but do have high expectations of me. Let me take the lead every now and then. Let me show you how much I know. When you correct me, do it with kindness. When I make a mistake, show me the correct way to do it for next time. Share with me everything this profession has given to you, I’ll hang on to every detail. Don’t leave out a thing, I’m listening.

I see you, and I hope you see me, too. You’re the kind of nurse I want to be. Don’t forget that.

 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Love,

cassie

5 Ways Nursing Friends are The Best

It’s hard to believe that this time 2 years ago, some of the most important people in my life today, hadn’t even entered my life yet. When I started Nursing School, I had anticipated (hoped!) to make a lot of good friends, but I didn’t realize just how crucial they would be to my success in school, and my joy. I’m absolutely blessed to be a part of a class that is incredibly tight knit and supportive. I know my classmates are the best, because they have the hearts of future nurses – compassionate, kind, and intelligent. I’m just lucky that I get to know these people.

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1  – They get it. Nursing School (and Nursing as a profession) is demanding, difficult, exhausting, and often grueling. Lucky for me, I’ve had 9 other people that understand exactly what I’m going through., because they’re going through it with me. Whether it’s the demand of  balancing a full class schedule with work, feeling like a failure when you see an exam grade, or feeling like you may vomit the first day of clinical, they understand it. They’re always there to rant with you, cry with you, and support you. And the first people you want to send a picture of your new stethoscope to.

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2 – They’re helpful. I’ll never forget my first day of clinical. I truly thought to myself, “I’m not cut out to be a nurse.” My first patient was bed-ridden, nonverbal, and in contact precautions. While I had envisioned a day of head to toe assessments over coffee and conversations about grandchildren (in a perfect world, right?), my reality was far from my expectation. And I had no idea how to interact with a patient in this condition. Thankfully, a classmate came to my rescue and led the way. Another time at clinical, I experienced my first “Code Brown”, thankfully, I had a group of friends bearing supplies that were great sports about helping. If not for my classmates, I likely would have failed my first clinical experience. I was a fish out of water. Also, classmates make the best study buddies and will usually share their lunch. Thanks for the help, guys.

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3 – They make you laugh. When the going gets rough, the tough get silly. I remember being so upset and anxious, and belting Nicki Minaj over lunch instead of studying. (They don’t call me Cassie Minaj for nothin’.) There was another time when we were in a short car heist, (Don’t worry, Mom, we were wearing seatbelts!), and the time I pranked a teacher, and the many Granny Rhoda stories, and the time Greg finally got facebook, and the time David accidentally proposed to Sydney, and the time Jess defined the word “naked”, and hearing over and over about Deonna’s terrible driving,  and the list goes on and on and on. . . In short, when I could have cried because I was stressed, I had tears from laughing too hard instead.

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4 – They share your goals. We all started the program two years ago with one goal in mind: RN. The fact that we all share this goal and mindset allows us to push each other and support one another. When anyone is having a rough time, they are quickly reminded that they aren’t allowed to give up. Time and time again, we are reminded why we started this journey, and encouraged to finish it together. When a group shares one goal and pushes toward it together, the results are amazing. I anticipate my class will be no exception.

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5 – They become your own personal team of nurses. “Don’t worry, it’s probably just heartburn, no way it’s a PE.” In nursing school, you learn about a million different things that can go wrong in the human body. And then you convince yourself time and time again, that you have any combination of those ailments. There’s a good chance my class may be the absolute worse for that. Thankfully, we constantly remind each other that our list of absent symptoms is way longer than the list of present symptoms. And if you’re not feeling well, who better than to take care of you? Or put you in quarantine because you have strep throat and we have clinical that week? Seriously though, nursing friends are awesome because they can often tell you’re feeling bad before you’ve even recognized it yourself. Love those assessment skills.

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I’m so thankful for the incredible group of nurses I’ve had the pleasure of spending the past two years with. Now that these people are in my life, I can’t imagine life without them. I hope your group of classmates is just as wonderful and loving and hilarious as mine is. Every nursing student deserves to have the love and support that I’ve received from my nursing friends.

“A friend loveth at all times…” Proverbs 17:17

What makes your nursing friends awesome? Are you blessed to be surrounded by classmates that build you up?

Love,

cassie

 

Our Cruise to The Bahamas

I recently traded my scrubs for a swimsuit and enjoyed a Spring Break vacation with my Husband. We dubbed this trip a “late Honeymoon” and Graduation Present to one another, all in one. We spent most of our time eating and resting – a perfect vacation in my opinion! Our cruise was a short – 3 day cruise, but with both of our busy schedules,  it was exactly what we needed.

Here are some tips if you’re thinking about taking a Carnival Cruise:

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  1. Do everything the ship has to offer – or don’t! The cruise has activities planned for literally every hour of the day and night. It’s tempting to get caught up in all that’s to offer and want to do everything. We did a few things each day, but didn’t do so many of the activities that we were worn out. What we needed was a break  – not busier days than we already face! So my advice is to take advantage of the activities offered, but remember what vacation is all about – rest and yummy food . .  .
  2. Explore the food options. We loved dressing up for dinner each night and going into the Dining Room for a fancier dinner. This is where we were able to try new and different foods. Our three dinners included escargot, roasted duck, fried alligator, crab ravioli, shrimp, and scallops. These dinners, which would typically be incredibly expensive, were included in the price of our cruise. We loved leaving the table without ever seeing a bill. However, you don’t ever have to dress up if you don’t want to! Room service is free! And an all you can eat buffet, with more options than you could ever imagine, and it’s very casual. You can also eat multiple meals each evening, or order multiple entrees. No one bat’s an eye.
  3. BYOB – Bring Your Own BottleI have a plastic water bottle that I refill and drink from literally every day of my life – that I somehow managed to forget when we went on our cruise. Which was a real shame because in the middle of the night one night, I was so thirsty that I caved and drank the $4 bottle of water that came in our mini bar. (Yes, $4! Ouch!) If only I had that stinkin’ water bottle. I could have filled it with ice cold water at any one of the dozen drink stations throughout the ship. I won’t make that mistake again.
  4. Get off the boat. The shore excursions offered by Carnival are some of the best (and safest!) ways to see the island. We had an absolute blast snorkeling one of the reefs just off Nassau.(Check out the Video my Dad made for us using the videos we took with his GoPro.) We also enjoyed exploring the Straw Market and buying souvenirs from the locals. The best way to see your port is to explore it – but always use good judgement and common sense when it comes to being safe.
  5. Take lots of pictures. The ship has photographers set up every evening, plus when you get on the boat initially and when you get off the boat at port. They will take your photo for absolutely free. Let them! It’s a lot of fun, the photographers are so kind and funny, plus you can see your photos the next day. There’s no pressure to buy them, but buying them is a sweet souvenir to take home. Also, take lots of your own photos. Drew and I really disconnected from our phones while we were on vacation, but I wish we had taken more of our own photos.

Bonus tip: Get your passport if you don’t already have one. You can cruise with just a valid drivers license and a birth certificate, but having a passport was much easier, and much quicker to get back into The States with. Plus, having a passport literally puts the world at your fingertips. I know after spending as much money as we did on our passports, we better get lots of use out of them!

I highly recommend a cruise for your next vacation, especially if you only have a short period of time to go. It was affordable for the two of us and really easy to plan! I’m already planning our next vacation, even though it will be awhile before we can take another trip, due to both of us starting our careers soon. Until then, I’ll be daydreaming of white sand and blue water!

Have you ever cruised? What advice would you offer future cruisers? What are your vacation recommendations for us?

 

“Many waters cannot quench love…” – Song of Solomon 8:7

Love,

cassie

How Nursing Taught Me Grace

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve posted anything because I’m in the middle of my RN preceptorship while still working weekends. Right now I’m averaging 60 hour work weeks while still doing my other class work. I realize this is the norm for a lot of people, but this part time girl is worn out! Nevertheless, I’m grateful for these opportunities to learn.

I wanted to share one of my favorite stories of working as an LPN: when a young child taught me more about my faith then I’ve learned in 23 years of life.

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                            Grace: The unmerited love and favor of God toward human.

One of my first weekends working as a nurse, I had to give injections to a room full of sick children. Because there were 3 kids, I knew I would need some help, so I grabbed my sidekick and syringes and prepared for a battle. What I didn’t know was that full fledged warfare was waiting for me behind the exam room door.

I initially assumed the oldest sibling would have her injection first. Boy, was I wrong. As soon as I attempted, a tantrum commenced. No amount of convincing could change this child’s mind! Eventually we moved on and each younger sibling took their injection with very little drama.

Then, it was time for the oldest. If you thought the temper tantrum I mentioned earlier might have been bad, this one was miserable. That child screamed and wept and kicked everyone out of their way. Even mom and dad were forcefully pushed back to their seats with flying feet and fighting fists. Friends, whatever you’ve envisioned at this time, multiply it by 10 and then maybe, just maybe, you’ll have an idea of how difficult this encounter was.

Finally, with three of us as human shields and one injecting, this child  received the injection they needed. The battle was won, but I couldn’t celebrate my victory right then and there! Instead, I grabbed our “treasure chest” and allowed each child to choose a toy as their reward for taking their injections. I started with the youngest sibling, since the oldest was still laying on the exam table with tears flowing. Both younger siblings accepted their new toy and smiled. When it was the oldest child’s turn, the reaction was not the same.

Instead of being met with eagerness to see the contents of the toy chest, this child continued to weep. Even after encouragement, this child continued to cry. Eventually, she looked at me and said, “I don’t deserve to get a toy because I wasn’t good when I got my shot.” My heart melted. Again, I begged her to choose a prize. And again she said “I don’t deserve it.”

I left her a little bracelet. I don’t know if she took it home with her or not, but I hope she did. The rest of my day went on as usual, but my drive home, I found myself thinking about that family and the sweetest Son I’ve ever known.

As humans, we are that stubborn, fearful child. We fight what is good for us, we disobey the very One who gave us life, we throw punches because we don’t want what is being offered. We kick and scream and cry and yet, God still offers His love, His mercy, His salvation. And we don’t deserve it. We will never deserve it, and we know, deep down, in our heart of hearts, we don’t deserve it. And yet His mercies are new everyday. Oh, how He loves us.

I had thrown around that “grace” word for years and years, but I never truly understood it until that day. So to the stout little soldier defending them self against a rocephin injection, thank you. Thank you for reminding me that in the eyes of The Father, I am you, fighting what will make me whole. Thank you, for showing me that I don’t deserve it, but I can still receive it, because He is good. This is amazing grace.

“For by grace, are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

Has nursing ever given you an “aha moment”? Has a patient ever taught you something you thought you already understood?

Love,

cassie

An Open Letter to My Little Sister

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Sissy,

When you were born, mom and dad handed me the best gift they could have ever given me: a sister, a lifelong friend, a second closet somehow equipped with clothes that seem better than mine. They let me choose your name and with the name I gave you, I believe you were also given every ounce of spunk and spitfire you could hold. The Good Lord knew I would protect you, but that you would be needed to protect my heart.

Little sister, I have watched you grow, attended every single birthday party, and tucked my secrets in your listening ears behind braided pigtails. I know your heart better than almost anyone in this world and I still don’t completely understand it. Maybe I never will, and maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. But I’ve seen your heart love and I can’t wait to see all the souls it will love in your lifetime. Your heart is special, sis, it loves those who are misunderstood, those who can’t love back, and those that need it the most. I envy the depths of love that your heart radiates, but I’ve also seen tears flow from your bright eyes because of others’ hurt it allows you to feel. My prayer for you is that this rare and unique love is never wasted on anything that doesn’t love you back with as much unbridled sparkle as you give to others.
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Sis, you have goals that are incredibly selfless and inspiring. I can’t wait to watch you serve this world even more than you already have. My friend, you are capable of doing whatever you put your mind to, and then some! So dream a little bigger, darlin’. When you think you’ve dreamed all you can muster, go just a little further. Push the boundaries of your imagination a little more, just outside your comfort zone, because that’s where the magic happens, I know, because I’ve seen you there before. You are courageous, never forget that. 


Sister, you are so beautiful. You are the girl that walks in a room and people smile. You carry all the grace of every beautiful woman that came before us. You have the same cheekbones as our great grandmother and the glimmer in your eye the instant before you sass someone matches hers too.  My friend, I’ve seen you at every awkward stage of your life: braces, bad haircuts, and our “Mary-Kate & Ashley” years, and you were as beautiful then as you are now. I promise. Your beauty comes from a place within you that is so good and so pure hearted that it cannot be ignored. Sister, you are beautiful. Promise me you will never, ever let anyone make you feel otherwise.

I am so proud to be your big sister and you are truly everything I want to be in a person. Because I’m the older one, everyone expected you to look up to me, but it’s me who looks up to you. I’m so thankful to have your hand to hold as long as I live and the love between us and before us to get us through anything this life could ever throw our way. You are forever my play mate, best friend through eternity and Sissies always.
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
-Song of Songs 4:7
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All my love and then some,
cassie