Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Two moves and a wedding

Well, this is pathetic.

I tried 17 months ago to revive the blog... and failed miserably. So I'm trying again.

At the beach in WA with Sarah and
Rachel Compton. I touched the Pacific
Ocean for the first time! It was cold.
Last July, I moved to Jackson, TN and began a nurse-residency at a hospital there. My little sister attends Union University for undergraduate work, so it was nice to be nearby, even if we don't end up spending a lot of time together. In September, I was placed on a cardiac progressive floor and I have been working night shift there since then. It was SO cool to start signing my name with RN after it, and even cooler when I got my badge with RN BSN on it.

In late August, Aaron and I flew out to Washington state to visit his family. This was the first time for me, and I was so happy to meet everybody and spend time with them.

We also had quite a lot of fun decorating
Faith and Daniel's car...
In late September 2015, my fiance Aaron moved to Jackson to be closer to me. He transferred to the Sears in Jackson, where he worked until recently.

Happy to see me boys
Mid October, we were pleased to drive back to Pennsylvania join my best friend Faith as she married the love of her life, Daniel. Such a beautiful, sweet time.

Mom was happy to see me too!


I worked Thanksgiving Day night, and flew out to Virginia on Friday morning to spend several days at home.


Our little Christmas
tree, courtesy of
Goodwill
People unfortunately stay sick on the holidays too, so Aaron and I set up a little Christmas tree in my apartment and celebrated together. It was weird being away from home. I'm so used to the joy of Christmas with little kids around, and it just wasn't the same.

In January 2016, after passing the secondary education English praxis (a test teachers have to take in order to teach a specific subject), Aaron began his graduate program at Union University for his M. Ed. He had his first student teaching experience in a 12th grade English classroom, and loved it! It definitely confirmed what he has felt called to do since he was in high school.

We officially became church members in early February, something that delighted both of us, as we have both attended congregations in the past but never took steps to be members. We are blessed to have found Cornerstone Community Church, and to be involved in our small group. We are exceedingly joyful for all of the support that our church family has given us, and are grateful to give that support back to our friends.
Rachel Compton helping make tissue
paper flowers to decorate the pavilion

In late June, we both took off about two weeks of work in order to drive back to Virginia, prepare for our wedding, and on July 2, we (finally!) got married! We stayed in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina for a week, savoring being husband and wife before returning to Jackson. During the time in NC, Aaron received a phone call offering him a job teaching 7th grade English at a public school in Jackson. Ecstatic, he put in his 2-weeks notice at Sears as soon as we returned to Jackson.
A sweet lady took this picture of us at
a waterfall in NC

In the ER, take 2
After returning home, we worked on packing up the apartment, as we planned to move across town to a larger apartment. During that time, we had our first big scare as a married couple. Aaron got really sick and fainted while taking care of pre-employment paperwork for the county, and I ended up taking him to the Emergency Room. The night after that happened, I returned to work with Aaron texting me updates every 2-3 hours, whenever he woke up. At about 3am, he texted me saying that his temperature was 103.6 and that he had take Tylenol about 2 hours previously. My coworkers and I were concerned, so I left work at 3 in order to take Aaron back to the ER. Unfortunately, all the bloodwork showed was a possible virus and some dehydration, so we came back home and I kept taking care of him. Thankfully, he was able to attend some of the in-services required for teachers the following week. About a full week after his fainting episode, he was back to his usual self, with no deficits.
Very excited about
his new classroom!

He started teaching on August 1. On August 7, we asked some church friends to help us move apartments. This one is a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom, so we finally have space for people to visit us! (Before, you would have been sleeping on a couch). Aaron's grandparents also came down with a bedroom set we purchased from his aunt, so we upgraded from my full-size bed to a queen! We are exceedingly thankful for the extra room.
Constructing a bookcase
we bought with a Target
gift card someone gave us!

I've been doing my best to get the apartment set up on my days off, and whenever Aaron gets home from school, we work together on organizing papers and grading and Aaron has help from his team for lesson planning. The first two weeks of school have been tough in every way, but I am thankful that his co-teachers have been helping and that when his Masters classes begin next Monday that he will also have the help of a faculty mentor.

The past month has been very stressful, and I feel the effect on my health as well. This week is my last week working full time at the hospital, and starting next week, I will be transitioning to a part-time role, working at least one day a week to keep my foot in the door. I am hopeful that this change will allow me to be more available for my husband, for my family, and for my church.

Well, that's the biggest update that I've had for a while, but I'm going to try this blogging thing again to try to keep people more in the loop of what's going on in Jackson.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Revival

Well, I certainly haven't updated this blog in a long time. Are people even still reading? Well, there has been many, many changes since my last post in Fall 2013 (and even more since the one before that in Spring of 2013, when I was still recovering from coming home after being abroad in Israel.)

School!
I'm in my last semester of my undergraduate degree! Yippee! The countdown on my phone to graduation reads 61 days! I'm so excited - and nervous! I have been successful in each of my clinical rotations. I've loved pretty much every one of them - except intensive care. That was definitely the most difficult of all my nursing classes, and I am definitely not made out to be an ICU nurse!

The picture to the right is when I got to observe IR (Internal Radiation, I think) place a stent in a lady's artery! They use x-rays to see the placement, so we all had to wear radiation protection.

In January, I did my senior practicum - 90 hours of clinical time working with an RN in a field we were interested in/got assigned to. To my delight, I was assigned to an RN working in labor delivery, so I got to spend January delivering babies, reading fetal monitoring strips, and working with laboring women. I loved every second of it! - and missed it when it was finished! I'm hoping to end up with a job in labor/delivery, although I think I'd be happy with postpartum at first. I've developed quite a passion for expectant moms.

First day on L&D in January!
When I was doing my practicum, there was one mother who I had been with during her labor, and she started pushing about 30-45 minutes before the end of my shift. I decided to stay later to make sure I could be with her when she delivered. However, when the doctors did their rounding, they decided, due to a few factors, to go ahead and take her in for a C-section. When they made this decision, I let the mother know I was leaving, told her she was in good hands, and left, as I was expecting another twelve-hour shift the next night. I felt frustrated about this for days afterward, because she had only been pushing about an hour and a half by this point. The RN I was working with and I were just about to have her change positions, but I couldn't work up the guts to tell that to the doctor when the RN wasn't in the room. Several days later, I encountered that nurse in the nursery when I went to help when my preceptor wasn't assigned to a mom. She helped me debrief about it, and explained that the baby was "sunny side up" - coming out face upward, which is backwards from most babies. Not only that, but the baby was jammed all sorts of strange into the birth canal, leading to a rather difficult cesarean, where they had to push the baby's head back up in order to deliver. I felt a little relieved that the cesarean was helpful for this mother, but if anything, that delivery has encouraged me to pursue learning ways to prevent those things from happening. I don't want the laboring women I'm with to have to go through a cesarean just because we didn't do something so easy. For instance, with that mom, we could have seen the signs - she had a lot of back labor and an epidural that didn't quite cover it. We could have encouraged her to move around - rock while in bed, dance with her husband, pace the area next to the bed. We could have had her get on her hands and knees before the epidural made her lose all control. She could have done it. I know it. I'm afraid, however, that taking her in for a cesarean might make her doubt the ability of her body to birth a baby. It makes me so sad.

Work
Yes, I'm looking for work now. It's such a pain. :P However, it is going well, as I've applied two hospitals and already have an interview for one set up in April! I'm very excited. It's a little crazy though because I'm applying everywhere. I've applied in Harrisburg, PA, and I've applied in Leesburg, VA. Next on my list is a hospital in Virginia Beach, and two other hospitals in Harrisburg. I may even apply in western TN. We'll just have to see what happens. Of course, there is a bit more going on than just that too though...

There's more
A warm, September Friday afternoon, my wonderful boyfriend drove up to Messiah to spend the day with me. We had just made challah, the bread we make for Shabbat "dinner", and were waiting for it to rise when he suggested we build a fort. I was ecstatic about the idea, and we ran to his car to pull out stacks of collapsed egg boxes out of the trunk. Laughing together, we re-assembled the boxes and stacked them, leaving a crawl-hole from my suggestion. Finally, I sat down on the grass inside to rest, and Aaron tossed a tightly folded piece of paper at me from outside the fort before crawling in. On that paper was a sweet poem, one he had written years before. He asked me if I could see us making our lives one. I responded, "Yeah, of course," as we had been talking about this a lot recently. I wondered why he had given this poem to me. My literal thought was, "I wonder why he's giving this to me now? This would be a really good way to propose..."

We re-enacted it later in lieu of having friends creep on us during.
Then it hits me.

Is this what I think it is?

He crawled out of the fort, and returned clutching a tiny box

I gasped.

And then he asked me if I would marry him.

...I was so stunned I could only nod my head. I soon found my voice and wrapped my arms around him in delight.

So, I'm getting married! We've decided on June 2016, so we've got a good year and three months to plan and enjoy our engagement. It really has been quite wonderful to be able to spend time together with the man who will be my husband (!) without having to worry about wedding planning. Of course, we have worked on finding a place, but that has been a wonderfully slow process and we haven't needed to get stressed out about places not responding to us immediately and such.

So what next?
The countdown on my phone tells me that graduation day is only 60 days away! Two months from now, I will be graduating. So I'll be looking for a job before then and finishing schoolwork. I'll take my NCLEX in June, and hopefully start work after that. And it is a bit more complicated too because of course I'd like to be near my beloved, but we'll just have to see how that happens. :)

All that being said, I'm gonna try to revive this blog from the depths of the blogosphere. Who's along for the ride?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

You are my hiding place

I can't believe it's been almost five months since I wrote last. I suppose that happened because I talk with many of you on a regular basis, which is okay, it just means that I don't write posts like this. Five months is a whole lot of time, and so much has happened.

I finished my sophomore year back in May. Yeah, that was a long time ago.
The Lord answered a tremendous prayer I have had for many weeks, months, years. He gave me my best friend back, and with him, the ability to determine what our role together may be.
I worked for three months at White Sulphur Springs, a Christian military retreat center located near Bedford, Pennsylvania, as the preschool and kindergarten teacher. What an adventure.

The most recent is that three weeks ago, I came back to Messiah for the start of my junior year of college, of nursing school. This is the semester where everything steps up a couple notches. And remember how I posted about needing to surrender one day at a time in order to get through last semester? Yeah, I'm needing to do that just as much now as I did last semester.

There are two songs I've been repeating to myself. One is called "I can't do this" by Plumb, and the other is an older hymn.

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance
Whenever I feel afraid, I will trust in You
I will trust in You
Let the weak say "I am strong
In the strength of the Lord."
I will trust in You

Pray for me when you have a moment. Going through nursing school is hard work.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This Oozing Ache

Several months ago, I counseled a young woman via email about the "oozing ache" of lovesickness. The email that I wrote ended up doing wonders for myself as well as this other woman, and many of the points mentioned, I think, should serve as help to others in the same or a similar situation. Most of the quotes are from either Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, or Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman. Both books have been a constant companion to me, and I would highly recommend both of them, but that's a post for another day when I'm not preparing for finals. I've edited it slightly for anonymity, but otherwise it is still in the complete, original form. May this comfort you as well as it has comforted me.
-Sarah

---



“Lovesickness may seem a trifle compared with other maladies, but the one who is sick with love is sick indeed, and the Heavenly Father understands that.”
-page 72 of Passion and Purity

Thank the Lord that He understands this pain, for “waiting silently is the hardest thing of all” (62). We are in a position where we see that our hearts are changing, angling themselves towards this greater love for which we have been created, but we cannot speak. It is not time. It is not our job. So we sit patiently, waiting. What else can we do? We should not wake up Love before its time (Song of Songs). Patience is a forever fruit. And the fruit will bear if the season is right.

“Steadfastness, that is holding on;
Patience, that is holding back;
Expectancy, that is holding the face up…”
-S.D. Gordon

“Hold on, my heart, in your believing--
Only the steadfast wins the crown;
He who, when stormy winds are heaving,
Parts with its anchor, shall go down;

But he who Jesus holds through all,
Shall stand, though Heaven and earth should fall.

"Hold out! There comes an end to sorrow;
Hope from the dust shall conquering rise;
The storm foretells a summer's morrow;
The Cross points on to Paradise;

The Father reigns! So cease all doubt;
Hold on, my heart, hold on, hold out."



I found the poem above in Streams in the Desert by C.B. Cowman one morning early in the school year when doing my devotional. The poem struck me so much that I wrote it in my notebook, wrote it on a dry-erase board, so that I would see it and memorize it. I memorized parts of it, but those parts stick with me “only the steadfast wins the crown” and “hold on, my heart; hold on, hold out.”

Hold on dear friend. These trials do not last forever. It will be difficult. Not because of the separation. Perhaps for reasons entirely different. At college, surrounded by some of my friends already in dating relationships, I found it hard to be single at times. Overall, I was content, but there were moments that would hurt. Hold on, dear heart. Hold on. Paradoxes occur. Once I found myself “both wishing for an earthly dance partner and yet [was] glad that the Lord was the only one.” Your heart goes in two different directions. But one direction, the direction of peace in God, pulls stronger, and that’s where you can finally rest, content.

2 Cor 4:17-18 “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.”

I think this verse can apply both to the weight of glory in being with Yeshua finally, and also to this prayer and hope for love. This pain that we feel now is momentary – will last only a moment in comparison with the rest of the journey, let alone the rest of time! (I say this to encourage both you and me!) And yet, we must be careful, because, “by reliving the past and anticipating the joy of the future, it is quite possible to waste away the present entirely. As Jim said, “Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living”” (p. 78, p. 80, Passion and Purity).

We shall continue living then, “casting our cares upon Yeshua, for He will never let the righteous fall.” I wrote while at school, “Oh, will this period of waiting never cease? Not now, not for a long time. The trials have not yet come. They have seemed like trials, but they are not. Oh, they are far from the trials that will come. It will be hard. It will be difficult. It will be painful. … My spirit groans in agony – when will this end? O beloved Lord and Savior, give me the strength to hold on and fight while I am able. O help me press forward!”



Yes. We must stand firm and steadfast. Lord Jesus, take us by the hand and help us stand firm and courageous, even in the pain of silence.

Song of Songs 8:7 “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the rivers overwhelm it” and Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I am there. You are mine.”

I hope some part of this brings you comfort. May the Lord see us on the other side of these fires, cleansed of the dross so that our joy can be made complete.


To finally end this, another quote from Passion and Purity (I think Elisabeth quoted from someone else, but I can’t remember) that kinda summarizes how it feels with love…

“I cannot love you if I love not Him
I cannot love Him, if I love not you.”

-Sarah
 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Surrendering one day at at time

The spring semester started last month with a bang. By eleven am Monday morning, I had already been through three hours of nursing class orientation, including signing a HIPPA form (confidentiality), as well as other confidentiality agreements for our clinical sites, received our nursing uniforms, nametags, and lab coats, and a huge blue bag full of medical supplies for us to practice on.
Maybe not hit by a speeding train, but this
is a pretty good representation of how I'm
feeling some days.

No wonder I was overwhelmed.

By the end of the first week, I felt like I had been hit by a speeding train. I got myself into this when I picked this major, I reminded myself. God, are you sure I can handle this?

For those who might not know the story, I did not grow up imagining myself as a nurse. I think we had a pretend doctor's kit, but I had plenty of other ideas for when I grew up.

When I was nine, I wanted to be an astronaut. Okay, okay, the love of the stars has always been with me, but by twelve years old, I was convinced that I was going to be an author. I wrote stories by the dozen, many of them starting off as fan fictions, and later developing into independent story lines. I had several notebooks which I always carried around with me, should I stumble across a new idea during algebra, or history, or dinner, or carpool. By the time I was fifteen, I had already been to one writer's conference and was preparing for my second.

I loved everything about being a writer. I loved delving into imaginary worlds, allowing myself to go where I had never been before. Some say that reading can take you on any adventure you have ever wanted to go on. Writing does the same, except you are completely in charge of the adventure. It was a wonderful place to escape. I loved what other authors had done for me, and I wanted to pour that out on the world and allow children to be swept away by what-ifs and let their imagination soar.

But by fifteen years old and my tenth year of school, there is a certain question that nearly everyone asks:
Me in my nursing student uniform on the day
I got it. I officially wear it for the first time
tomorrow!

"What are you thinking about for college?"

Ah, the college question! What does a young writer say? One does not need a degree in creative writing in order to publish a book. In fact, far from it. One author I know started out as an computer software designer. So I started thinking about what else I could get a degree in.

I had no clue.

So, just a few weeks after that writer's conference, I asked God a question. A really big question. I asked him to give me a vision of where he was going to take me in life. And he answered, in the most unexpected ways. First, a love for the wayward child. Second, the desire to be a midwife.

I did some research and discovered that the best way to become a midwife was to become a Registered Nurse, and then later do a Master's Program in Nurse-Midwifery. As I started looking for schools and preparing myself for nursing school, I realized how much I really loved the idea of being a nurse and caring for people.

So you see, it was God who brought me here. I have questioned it several times. Nursing is a scary field. I could do any host of things wrong, and it could really hurt somebody.

God has been working on my heart. The fear of hurting somebody is tempered with the joy of aiding somebody in their recovery. The fear that this isn't the right career for me gets flipped around once I slow down and realize how much I love the material. It is completely nerve-wracking at times. Entirely and completely. Most days, I have no idea how I'm going to get through.

When I look at pictures like this, I remember how peaceful
it was to look out over the Makhtesh Ramon. The same
slowing-down of life reminds me to surrender each day.
God has been teaching me. He has been teaching me to surrender each day. To give every day to Him, so He can take care of things.

Nursing school is tough. It is meant to be, and I wouldn't want it any other way. The more rigor I endure in school, the better nurse I will be someday. If I were to leave things to myself, I would be scared stiff, and might not do so well.

However, I am convinced that God has brought me here for a purpose. He would not continually show me how right the nursing field is for me if he did not intend me to use these skills someday. So I walk forward in faith. And I walk one day at a time.

It's a funny lesson. It has popped up in many places of my life. I remember a cassette tape I listened to in a friend's car as a kid which had a song for different memory verses. I remember one as Psalm 139:13-14 "For you knit me together in my mother's womb, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (I pause here to say YES! This is EXACTLY why I love learning about the human body!)
I didn't have any pictures of birds, but this beautiful,
majestic olive tree is a wonderful representation of how God
cares for every bit of his creation.

The other is "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink. Look at the sparrows in the field. They not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them." (By the way, ALL of that was remembered because of that song. I am so getting memory verse song CDs for my kids when I have them. :D )

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Walk by faith and not by sight.

I read recently in a devotional out of Streams in the Desert that ancient oil lamps only cast enough light to see one step ahead.

Just one step.

Just one day.

One day at a time. That's all that is needed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Love wins.


A short "article" if you will on love. I prompted myself to write on a recent experience in 250 words. And I got 250 words exactly. ;) Enjoy, my friends, and learn. I don't see what happened as a mistake. I feel more loved than ever.
-Sarah

***

They did not expect it to end this way. They had hoped that perhaps it would never end, or at the very least if something did not fit. If they had to say goodbye, could it have not been done in person?

It could, but not this time. So here they sat peering at a computer screen, wondering what went wrong.

They both knew what it was, and yet, they did not blame it. They could choose to fight or to accept, and they finally, reluctantly, chose to accept. And what is more, they chose to accept with dignity and respect.

After all, that is what life is, choosing to see beauty or pain.

They chose beauty.

Instead of becoming bitter at the could-have-been’s, they smiled at the what-used-to-be. And instead of dwelling on that what-used-to-be’s, they put on a brave face and stepped out into a new adventure.

How is goodbye just as hard as I love you? They never expected to say either, but then the moment came, and suddenly, that was the only thing left to say. I love you, and then soon afterwards, farewell. 

However, I-love-you’s and farewells can go hand-in-hand. That is what they found. They found that in an unexpected goodbye, that love conquered even more.

Just because love could not manifest in a way that they expected did not mean that somehow love had been defeated or that love had failed. Somehow, in farewell, they found that love overcame far more.

Love wins.