My first date with Shawn Newby.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A few days after returning from Indiana, Shawn and I were walking in Chicago in the freezing cold (as usual) and ended up at the two-story McDonald's on Ohio Street. We sat in a booth across from each other as Shawn tried to satisfy his insatiable hunger (which hasn't changed since I met him 4 years ago). :)

"Can I ask you a question?" he asked.

I saw in his eyes he had been thinking this through.

"Can I take you out to dinner tomorrow night?"

I turned bright red almost instantly, but told him that yes, he could. He made me promise I wouldn't try to pay. I promised.


The next evening, I met him at the appointed time. He hailed a cab outside my dorm, even though the restaurant was easily walkable. In the cab, he handed me a card.

When I opened it and saw the front, I was confused. It was a "thank you" card. But I hadn't even gone to dinner with him yet! When I opened it, it read like this: (I still have it)
Whitney Tunney! I can't believe this! I'm actually taking Whitney Tunney out for dinner! I am one lucky guy! I don't deserve you or your time so thank you very very much for tonight. You are AMAZING! We're gonna have so much fun!! - Shawn
He just had to melt me before the date even began. We ate a delicious meal at Weber Grill (a now historic restaurant in our book... little did we know). He held my hand, purposefully and openly this time.

The next few days after our first date, I felt like I was living on a cloud. Deep down, I thought he might be the one. I might marry this guy. Not because he wrote me a thank you note on our first date or treated me so well or was passionate about the Lord like few I'd ever met. It was a deep sense of peace that I know now the Lord had given me that everything about our relationship felt right.

It felt joyful. I loved that.
It felt pure. I loved that even more.

Later that same week, Shawn found me tucked in a corner in the library, writing a paper. He sat down beside me and had a notebook in his hand. It looked like a journal. He looked eager to tell me something really important, so he whispered to me like he'd had a revelation, "You're exactly what I've been praying for in a wife!" He showed me some characteristics that he had prayed since high school for a wife and then told me how I fit each one.

Now if any other guy had come in the library to tell me this, I think I would've gotten up and left right away. But hearing it from Shawn - and feeling the peace I already did - it made sense to me. It felt so right. And let me just tell you, my heart was over the moon.

A patient I love.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I've always thought old men were adorable.
Not in a weird way. They just melt my heart.

Like remember in "The Notebook" when older Noah starts to cry after dancing with his wife because she all of a sudden doesn't remember him? That kinda thing breaks my heart. I think it's precious - even more than if a younger man were crying.

So imagine my excitement when I got my first patient assignment yesterday. Because you have no idea what hospital I'm in or what his name is, I don't think I'm breaking any HIPAA rules by telling you he looks a little like this:

That's about the same expression he has, too. He's pretty grumpy. But I probably would be too if I'd been in the hospital for such a long time. He doesn't really like people coming in every 20 minutes to take his temperature, give him a shot, or make him move around in bed. Would you?

But here's the thing. Despite him not acting like he likes me at all, I really, really like him.
Even when he looks at me in disgust when I make him sit in the chair instead of lay in his bed (physical therapy's orders). I'm the bad guy, and he makes me feel like it.
Even when he spits out his food at me because grits just aren't his thing (the first Southern man I've known with a strong aversion to grits).

I just feel too much empathy for him to get annoyed.
He has no idea that he will always be my first patient I ever cared for.
He has no clue that I'm writing paper upon paper about him for an assignment, so every little interaction and intervention gets recorded.
And mainly, he really has no idea that I've been praying that the Lord would comfort him. He doesn't communicate easily, so I have no idea where he stands on anything, really. But I know he's uncomfortable, and I know no one else can give him the comfort he needs. Isn't that true of all of us?

I may never see him again if he gets discharged soon, but I'm so glad he goes down in the books as my first ever patient. He was sure a challenge yesterday, and I came home exhausted, but he was worth every minute. :)

My first road trip with Shawn Newby

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our love story continues.


Upon returning from New York City after our whirlwind weekend, the temperature of our friendship had changed. I found myself sitting with Shawn in our class together, across him for coffee, next to him at chapel, and we even volunteered together once a week. We'd walk to Cabrini Green together, then separate for our individual assignments (I taught hip hop dance, he taught guitar). Then we'd walk back together and grab dinner. We were exchanging calls, emails, texts, and Facebook messages quite a bit. And yet even with all these things that others would consider signs, I was in denial that there was more there than just friendship.

Lots of friends - including my roommate - approached me asking me if we were dating. I'd been getting that question for a while now, and eventually, I thought they'd stop asking. I'd say "no, we're just friends" because I still didn't feel like I had any real evidence that he thought otherwise.

Oh, the suspense.

So a few weeks after New York, Shawn told me that his brother Erik was having his senior art show in Indiana, and was wondering if I would be able to drive him there (I had my car at school, Shawn didn't). To my surprise and his, I immediately said, "Sure!" then almost immediately thought to myself, "did I just say yes?"

I vividly remember the morning we were to leave, I went into Ilene's office and was pacing with nervous energy. She was trying to tell me it'll be fine, he's just a good friend, and then he texted me to ask my opinion on what color tie he should bring. For whatever reason, that freaked me out. I thought for sure he must like me - why else would he care my opinion on his tie color?

Of course all this time I was hoping that he liked me. To be honest, that's how I spent most of my college days. I didn't always want a boyfriend, I just wanted someone to like me. I guess I enjoyed the chase and the drama. And yes, I'll be advising any future daughter of mine to not be this way.

We had a lengthy but wonderful drive down to snowy Indiana and on the way, Shawn just happened to mention that his parents were going to be there. I hadn't known this beforehand (and was especially surprised because they live in Germany!), and I became even more nervous. A girl has to know where a relationship stands before she meets the parents, right?

The weekend was wonderful and I got along with his parents great. On the way back, Shawn told me that both parents had taken him aside during the weekend to tell him how much they were impressed with me. (And still, we've yet to actually "define the relationship"). Apparently, they'd never told him this about any other girl before.

So as we drove the hours back to Chicago, I tried to break up the tension that was building in my heart and mind, and I pulled out a Seinfeld book. I used to love that thing on road trips growing up, and so I started reading passages from it, and could barely get through it without dying laughing. As we laughed together for hours, Shawn's hand somehow ended up on my knee. And then my hand ended up on top of his hand. And then, somehow, we were holding hands. Without gloves this time. Under an open Seinfeld book. Of course we didn't talk about relationships or the fact that we were holding hands. We just kept laughing with Seinfeld.

And while I may seem like the most clueless girl in America at this point, when I came back, I still denied that he had feelings for me because he hadn't actually told me he did. When my roommate cross examined me upon returning from the weekend, she looked for all the signs that there must be something more there. And with a straight face, I told her, "I think he just wants to be friends."

Uhh yeah.

To be continued, of course.

DIY heating pad.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This is a do-it-yourself project I hope you'll be inspired to try, even if you barely sew. If you can sew a straight line, that's all you need! It's a definite "beginners'" project, I assure you.

Here are the basics:

Cut 2 strips of pretty fabric. Mine were about 6 inches by 18 inches or so, but you can adjust to however large you'd like your heating pad to be.

Pin the right sides together and sew all the way around, leaving a little opening to pull it right side out and to fill it with lentils.

Fill with lentils. Or rice. Or whatever you have on hand.

I filled my bag with 2 lbs. of lentils which was the perfect amount, then I added a few tablespoons of dried lavender (the herb, not the oil) that I had on hand. It smells sooo good. You could also put some loose leaf tea in there.

Here's a tip for whatever size you're making: only fill it about half way full. Any fuller and it won't have much "give" to it. Once you've filled it, stitch the opening closed.

You now have a bag full of lentils, but if you move it around, the lentils will shift from side to side and it'll be a little annoying as a heating pad. So even out the lentils in the bag, then split the bag in half with your fingers. Sew down the middle, separating the lentils as much as possible so you don't sew into one of them. Then do that a second time: separate each half so that you end up with four little pouches of lentils.

And that's it! A beautiful homemade heating pad!
Just heat it for about 3 minutes in the microwave and it's just perfect (and smells amazing).

Have your husband model it around his neck, just in case you weren't sure how to use it. :)

Also, this doubles as an ice pack! Toss yours in the freezer (it's where we store ours) and it's the perfect headache pillow. Just pull it out and it's cool but not too cold to put on your skin. Super comforting and smells delicious.


Monday, February 21, 2011

I can't say this about every weekend, but this weekend was so restful. With a sickie under our roof, it needed to be. It meant we only really went out a few times: to eat, to go to church, and to work (for me).

So really, our weekend just included a few simple things.


Movie watching.

Pillow making.

A little spring cleaning and decorating.

My husband-patient is feeling quite a bit better. I think this weekend was just what the doctor ordered.


How was your weekend, friends?

The weekend I started to like Shawn

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A long, overdue part 3 of our love story.

After returning from Christmas break in January 2007, Shawn and I started seeing a little more of each other because we had a class together. We would hang out a lot with our friends Ilene and Justin, making the excuse to go to their apartments to "study" but very little studying ever got done.

One night, Ilene, Shawn, and I decided we should take a quick weekend trip to New York City just for fun (Justin had to stay because of his work schedule). We would stay with Ilene's friend in New Jersey, and we found $29 fares, so we booked them last minute. We called it the "We're So Single" trip - we were all recently single, and happy about it, and we thought it would be so fun to go away for a weekend without anyone having to know.


The weekend was a blast - and a whirlwind. We dragged ourselves all over that city to make sure we got the most of our very quick visit. We walked around Central Park and on Broadway, ate New York cheesecake, rode the trains all over the city, and had lots of time to talk. It turned out that much of the time, while Ilene was catching up with her friend who we were visiting, Shawn and I would sit together and talk. We talked mostly about what the Lord was teaching us, but also our goals for the future, our families, our passions. We had already been close friends, but these hours of conversation were bringing us closer.


Near the end of the trip (which also happened to be my 21st birthday), I told Shawn that one of my life goals was to skate at Rockefeller Center. It just seemed so romantic and iconic of New York, one of my favorite places in the world. So on the last evening before we headed back to Chicago, he made sure it happened. He paid for the two of us (while Lenes sat inside watching us through the glass). I still didn't take it to mean anything - it was just a sweet thing to do, since I had wanted to skate there for so long and it was my birthday.

We strapped on our rental skates and stepped onto the ice, along with the rest of New York City, and started to skate. Growing up in the South, ice skating is not really my strong suit. :) Shawn, on the other hand, is incredible on skates. So as a gesture of friendship (or so I thought), he grabbed my gloved hand and helped me to skate. It felt really natural, holding his hand. We were good friends. I tried not to read into it. And little did I know that 13 months later, we'd be back on that same sheet of ice and Shawn would have a ring in his pocket. But that's getting way ahead of the story, isn't it? :)


So as we skated, my mind went to a place it had never gone before. Do I like this guy? I mean, of course I like him. He's one of my closest friends - more like a brother than anything else. But is there more there? (I later came to find out there had been "more there" in Shawn's mind for a while, but I was still pretty clueless.)


We flew back the next day and I came back to Chicago with a lot of thinking to do. Journaling. Praying. Wondering if Shawn might have been feeling the same things I felt.

To read parts 1 & 2:
The night I met Shawn Newby
How I became friends with Shawn Newby

Eat your greens.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I wish I could say I ate lots of salad because I knew how good it was for me.
But really, it all depends on the dressing.
A good dressing can make or break a salad, don't you think?

This is the easiest, yummiest salad dressing that you can easily make fresh every time you eat salad at home - or you could make extra and store it in the refrigerator. It's light, tangy, good for you, sugar free (hard to find in store bought dressings) and the ingredients are simple.

4 simple ingredients: 
1. 1/2 cup of good extra virgin olive oil
2. 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar 
(the health benefits are endless)
3. 1 heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard
4. 1 heaping teaspoon of minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a blender, food processor, or (my favorite) a Magic Bullet. :) Blend for a few seconds until you get a creamy texture. Pour on your favorite salad and enjoy!

You could use this simple recipe to make lots of different additions... I've added fresh herbs and even a dollop of apricot jam to sweeten it a bit. 

Hope you enjoy!

First day.

So I did it. 
I finished my first full day of clinicals. 

It was both harder and easier than I imagined. It wasn't nearly as nerve-wracking or stomach-turning as I expected; that goes in the "easier" column. What was harder, or at least more sobering, was looking into the eyes of real people, not just mannequins. I saw sadness and anger and fear in their eyes, and it stirred me more than I thought it would.

In the hospital where I'm working this semester, a simple phrase hangs outside each patient's door:

"Sacred place."

It stands prominent to remind those entering that they are crossing a threshold into a sacred space. How would you normally enter a place that someone termed "sacred"? Probably quietly, respectfully. This person's hospital room is their home away from home, and we should be mindful of that. It's more than that, though. It's pretty safe to assume that this patient is in their most vulnerable state in life (especially on a floor like the one I will work this semester). They may be recovering from a life saving surgery, battling a chronic disease, fighting almost unbearable pain, or possibly even being palliated until they die. Whatever the case may be, they're looking to their nurse or doctor to guide their emotions. Do you come in frantically, brows furrowed, hastily looking through their charts without taking a moment to first look into their eyes? I can only imagine how I would feel as a patient if that happened to me.

I surely don't have all this figured out - I have much, much more to learn. But this is what I took away from my first day. I saw great examples of this. I also saw poor examples of this. Overall, it's just such a privilege to be serving people's every little need. I was able to give a bath, take lots of vital signs, change bed linens (with a person still in the bed!), and feed a patient. What an honor to be the hands and feet of Christ.

In other news, I came right home to find my own little patient waiting on the couch. My poor husband has the flu. :( I hate seeing him sick. In other other news, I've been missing my Shawn a lot. Maybe having him get sick on this long weekend was God's way of letting me see him a little more than usual. :)

Finally, I've missed blogging recently! I feel like I crawl into my own little world on Monday through Thursday, and all it involves is school and work (quite literally). Then on Friday I'm able to catch up with my husband and friends, check email, do something crafty if I'm lucky, and catch up on tons of homework. I'm able to breathe. All that to say, I wish these posts weren't picture-less and sparse, but it's all I've got in me recently! I know you understand. I do plan on getting my camera out this weekend... it's supposed to be beautiful!

Happy weekend, friends!

Psalm 37.

Friday, February 11, 2011

This psalm has been so close to my heart this past week.
It reminds me what HOPE I have as one the Lord sees as "righteous." 
It reminds me that things on earth are not the way things in eternity will be.
It's nearly unfathomable to my earthbound, fleshly heart and mind what is in store for those who wait patiently for Him.

I have to be honest. I don't memorize Scripture like I used to. I could attribute this to lots of things, but mainly it's just my own laziness - and probably my ignorance in thinking my soul doesn't need it like my body needs water.

This year, that's going to change. I don't just want to be able to give a vague summary of what a passage says, but to recall it by heart. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. I want my words to be full of grace, seasoned with salt, and that can only happen when my heart is full of God's Word. There's just nothing like pure Scripture. Nothing that can heal or save or restore like the Word that has come from God's own heart.

So I'm starting with this psalm. 

Drink it in, friends.

{Psalm 37}
Of David.
 1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
   or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
   like green plants they will soon die away.
 3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
   dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart.
 5 Commit your way to the LORD;
   trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
   your vindication like the noonday sun.
 7 Be still before the LORD
   and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
   when they carry out their wicked schemes.
 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
   do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
   but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
 10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
   though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
   and enjoy peace and prosperity.
 12 The wicked plot against the righteous
   and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
   for he knows their day is coming.
 14 The wicked draw the sword
   and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
   to slay those whose ways are upright.
15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
   and their bows will be broken.
 16 Better the little that the righteous have
   than the wealth of many wicked;
17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
   but the LORD upholds the righteous.
 18 The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care,
   and their inheritance will endure forever.
19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
   in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
 20 But the wicked will perish:
   Though the LORD’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,
   they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.
 21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
   but the righteous give generously;
22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land,
   but those he curses will be destroyed.
 23 The LORD makes firm the steps
   of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
   for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
 25 I was young and now I am old,
   yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
   or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
   their children will be a blessing.[b]
 27 Turn from evil and do good;
   then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves the just
   and will not forsake his faithful ones.
   Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed[c];
   the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
   and dwell in it forever.
 30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
   and their tongues speak what is just.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
   their feet do not slip.
 32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
   intent on putting them to death;
33 but the LORD will not leave them in the power of the wicked
   or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
 34 Hope in the LORD
   and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
   when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
 35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
   flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
   though I looked for him, he could not be found.
 37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
   a future awaits those who seek peace.[d]
38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
   there will be no future[e] for the wicked.
 39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
   he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
   he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
   because they take refuge in him.

And along comes Debbie Downer...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Have you seen the Debbie Downer skits on SNL?
They're hilarious.

What's not so hilarious is that we all probably have a Debbie Downer in our life.
That person who seems to think the world is against them... that complaining about anything and everything is in vogue.

And you know what? It's really easy to join in and just complain.
In fact, it's a lot easier than being positive.
It's a fight to be optimistic!
Have you noticed?

In my life as a student, I've noticed it's an easy mindset for students to get into. We're all so busy. We have tons of homework, work on the side, family life, commuting. It's a lot for anyone to handle. But when there's constant complaining about it, it brings everyone down.

From a student's perspective, I think the main issue is that we just don't realize how privileged we are.
I, for one, don't want to take it for granted for a single second that I am privileged to attend school right now and to use my degree to not only help lots of people, but to have a stable income.
I don't want to take it for granted that if I were a woman living in certain countries, education would not be an option for me.
I don't want to take it for granted that my husband works really hard every day to support our family.
I don't want to take it for granted that I've never missed a meal because I couldn't afford food.
And the list goes on... and on... and on....

So here's my challenge, for you and for me. The next time you hear a conversation that breeds negativity and complaints, fight for joy.

When that person says, "I'm just so tired from all this homework... I wish my husband would just pitch in with the kids... and if it snows one more time, I don't know what I'm going to do..." respond with positivity. Say something like, "Won't it be so worth it though? When you're able to practice as a nurse in such a short time, won't you be so thankful you made it through?"

You'll probably feel really awkward standing up for optimism the first few times.
But I have a feeling, once they get the idea that you're not going to continually commiserate with them about all of life's woes, they'll find someone else to whine to.

Ok... stepping off my soap box now... :)

Happy Wednesday!

The weekend I turned 25.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Did you know that my husband is the master of surprises?
If not, read this. Then come back. Because he surprised me again.

This time, the occasion was a big birthday of mine. On Thursday evening in the half hour we had together before I left for work, he had me open a gift: It was this purse, and when I looked inside...
Two tickets to Les Miserables. In Chicago. TOMORROW NIGHT!

We were leaving TOMORROW MORNING for Chicago! And we were going to spend the rest of the weekend (until Sunday night) in our very favorite, very snowy city. Could it get any better? (He really did have me fooled... I was scheduled to work the entire weekend...)

So we just got back a few minutes ago and I can honestly say it couldn't get any better. It was absolutely the perfect weekend.

View from our hotel room
Another view from our hotel room
Some highlights...
Dinner at Wildfire. This place was phenomenal, especially because of their gluten-free menu.
Gluten-intolerant Chicago friends: you have to go! As soon as our waitress saw my gluten-free menu, she brought me my own loaf of gluten-free bread. WHAT?! That was a first. We also had spinach artichoke dip with pita-like gluten-free bread, steak, roasted veggies, and a flourless chocolate molten cake for dessert. I'm drooling just remembering it.

Les Miserables! This musical has been a lifelong love for me, and seeing it Chicago with my precious husband made it even sweeter (is that possible?). I was crying by the second song. If you've never seen it or read the book, I highly recommend it. It's the most beautiful picture of grace and redemption you can imagine.

Lots and lots of Argo tea. It's just a must when I'm in Chicago.

My first gluten-free cupcake! A Sprinkles cupcake, which made it even better.

Seeing our dear friends Kirra and Taylor. This is always, always a highlight for us. And with our record right now, we've seen them about every 3 months since we've moved (and we'd like to keep it that way). :) Kirra and I were sporting our twin coats. Twin coats that look like sausages. :) We promise we're not as puffy as we look!

Sleeping in until 9am. 

Not working. 

Seeing Shawn alllll weekend long. 

Two slow, yummy brunches at hole-in-the-wall restaurants downtown.

Movies in our hotel room. Have you seen this? It's adorable! 

SNOW! And lots of it! 

Michigan Avenue with Christmas lights still up.

Have I gushed enough?
I think so.
And I think it's time to snap back to reality: homework, laundry, you know... normalcy. :)
This trip sure was a blessing and a refreshment to my soul.


Thank you, my love!
CopyRight © | Theme Designed By Hello Manhattan