If You Leave the Mountains

If You Leave the Mountains - a letter of encouragement for if you decide to leave home
Image Credit Corissa Riffe

Dear Friend,

I believe our mountains are the most beautiful landscape God sculpted into His Earthly Kingdom. These mountains are home to more than just coal, lumber, and wildlife. These mountains house the most kind hearted, faithful, and friendly people you will ever meet. I’m convinced the Lord must love us a little extra. Why else would He have us live in a land that is a constant embrace?

But friend, there may come a day when you will have to leave our mountains. That day will move your heart in ways that cannot be described by mere words. Your heart will quiver with anticipation and excitement at the opportunities coming your way. And then your heart will crumble because you will leave behind everything you’ve ever known.

But your journey is just beginning, and while it will be a breathtaking adventure, there will also be days you feel like the wind has been knocked out of you. On those days you will need the strength these hills have instilled in you. Your values, your morals, your beliefs have been sewn into you and rooted deeply. You have heard the voice of God in these mountains as often as you’ve heard it in the church house. These mountains made you who you are. You know it’s not easy leaving home, but You’re strong enough for this.

Over the years, outsiders have stopped realizing how capable the people of our mountains truly are. We have been stripped of many opportunities and without you to show them, people will forget who we are. You are leaving these mountains to new uncharted territory that we are unfamiliar with. But you go with a mission, not with a vengeance. Go catch every chance you can. Learn. Explore. Dream. Grow. And later, come home to these hills and show us everything you’ve conquered along the way and how you can help us develop. You’re not leaving because you don’t love our home. Trust me, I know.

Friend, you will move mountains. And I mean that literally. We are mountain people, and we are all the more beautiful because of it. As you go out into the world, I want you to move mountains to the forefront of peoples minds when they think of successful individuals. Go out there and show them how intelligent we are, show them how special we are, impress them with our heritage, and please don’t ever let them change the way you speak. Trust me, they will try. Down the road, when you look back at our mountains, promise me you won’t look back at them with anything less than pride. Because these mountains have given you everything they have to offer.

These mountains are where you were raised. You fell in love in these hills. This is where your family is. Your friends call this place home. The mountains sing to you. No matter where you roam, nothing will ever compare to Eastern Kentucky. Our mountains made you. Now go out there and show this world what you’re made of.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1-2


Cassie, RN

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was in High School

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk to some High Schoolers who are beginning their path to a career in Health Care. We talked about being the best version of themselves and how to pave their way through the dark and twisty road of high school and beyond. Here are a few we discussed and some I added later on. Maybe they’ll inspire you whether you’re in High School or not.


Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was In High School

1 – If you must impress someone, strive to impress your teachers, not your peers. Your teachers could care less about the clothes you wear, how perfect your hair is every day, and what party you went to over the weekend. However, they do care if you show up to their class and are attentive. Show up, every single day. Pay attention. Be respectful. Impress your teachers by being someone that others can count on. In the end, their opinions will matter far more than your classmates’ opinions of you will.

2 – You don’t actually have to be an orthopedic surgeon, just because you said you’re going to be an orthopedic surgeon. In high school, I was dead set on becoming an orthopedic surgeon, so I really struggled with the calling to become a nurse. If someone had sat me down in High School and told me that I didn’t have to commit to a career then and there, it would have saved me some grief down the road. (Although, I probably wouldn’t have believed anyone, anyway) No one will think less of you if you don’t go to medical school. In fact, if you start out saying you’re interested in medicine, and don’t even go down the Health Care path, no one will judge you. You can change your mind a million times before you actually have to commit to a career if you so choose. But if you’re ready to commit now, by all means, go for it!

3- One or two low grades in High School won’t jeopardize your seat in medical school, pharmacy school, dental school, nursing school, etc. Listen carefully here though. You don’t have to be Valedictorian to land the spot in your dream career program, but the habits you begin to develop in High School will follow you into college, grad school, career and beyond. Don’t slack off, but don’t panic if your GPA isn’t perfect. Your sanity is worth more than a 4.0.

4 – Don’t be funny at someone else’s expense. If you must laugh at someone, laugh at yourself. Trust me, people will like you more if the only person you make fun of is you. This world has too many bullies and bad guys. Be the light. Kindness matters more. And anyone who laughs at someone with you, will likely laugh at you as well.

5 – There is nothing in this world like your first heartbreak. But you will survive this. And sweet friend, this was not love, but love is waiting on you somewhere. Pray for your future spouse every chance you get.

6 – And on that note, Don’t ruin friendships because you think it’s love. And if you don’t take this advice, at least promise me you will really, really think about the consequences and how you’ll feel if this friendship is ruined before moving forward with it.

7 – Don’t spread yourself too thin. High School is stressful enough without having one million things on your plate. I 100 percent think you should get involved, but limit yourself to a couple things instead of every single thing your school offers. Find something you are passionate about and chase it passionately. You’ll actually have the time you want to invest in it and do everything else you need to do as well. From a chronic people pleaser, trust me on this one.

8 – Be the kind of friend you want to have. It’s as simple as treating others the way you want to be treated. Be loyal, be kind.

What do you wish someone had told you when you were in High School? Is there anything you would add to my list?

“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Proverbs 4:5


Cassie, RN

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:


  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



Let’s Break the Ice

Welcome to my little corner of the Internet! I’m a sinner saved by grace, wife to Drew, and sidekick to Pretzel. I’m working as an LPN while in school to earn my RN. Graduation is in May and I couldn’t be more excited and terrified at the same time. My dream is to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, I can’t imagine a greater blessing than to welcome life into this world every single day.

Before I began my journey into nursing, I was on a journey to become a Physician Assistant. However, the Good Lord stepped in and showed me my true calling. Since I’ve decided to become a nurse, I’ve fallen in love with the profession, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that nursing is where my heart is.

When I’m not studying or working, I love to spend time with my family. We’re incredibly tight knit. I also love to craft, decorate my little apartment, and tell stories.

This blog is the story of my adventure. A landing strip for the thoughts that fly around in my head. I hope to inspire you, make you laugh, and dare you to dream a little bigger. Stick around, let’s learn something together.


Left: Drew and I on our Wedding Day, Top Right: My perfect Pretzel Cat, Bottom Right: Selfie

“Do everything in love.” -1 Corinthians 16:14