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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Climbing, climbing.

I like to think of my week as a hill.
Is that weird?
Ok, just stick with me for a minute.

Mondays and Tuesdays are my long school days - and I begin climbing a gradual uphill. But because of the rest I [hopefully] got over the weekend, I can manage them - and work - without being super tired or grumpy by the end of the day.

Then comes Wednesday.
And my 8am class.
And a trip to the hospital to get my patient assignment.
I'm still feeling some energy, but as soon as I get home, I have to fight the strong urge to just lay on the couch and doze off for a few minutes hours. The hill is feeling steeper. Just as much to accomplish, but less energy to do it.

By Thursday, it feels like I'm climbing straight up. I leave for the hospital at 5:00am and the sensory overload of helping a patient, doing paperwork, and learning so very much is exhausting. So I come hope and I nap before going to work. I've never been a nap girl, but I think nursing school might just make one out of me!

By Friday morning, I feel like I've crested the top of the hill and the view is breathtaking: a free day and a weekend with my husband ahead of me. It doesn't get better than that!

So all that to say, I still feel every day that this journey is so very worth it. All the time, the energy, and the exhaustion is going to pay off ten-fold. The reward far outweighs the cost, don't you think? How thankful I am that I have the gift of going to school, being a wife, teaching painting classes, and mostly being a daughter of God who is so dearly loved.

"It is because of the Lord's mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed,
because His [tender] compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion or share,
says my living being (my inner self);
therefore will I hope in Him
and wait expectantly for Him."
Lamentations 3:22-24, Amplified Bible

Monday, March 28, 2011

A 5-minute DIY for your Monday.

Happy Monday!
I did this very quick and simple DIY when I needed a study break over the weekend and thought I'd share it with you...

You start with a cardboard letter. I got mine from Hobby Lobby for $1.77 a while back and it's just been hanging out in my craft closet, waiting for a project. You also need a scrap of fabric that is a little larger than your letter.
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Cut your fabric so it's a couple inches larger than your letter on all sides.
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Then, with a hot glue gun, start wrapping the outside your letter in the fabric, gluing a little down at a time.
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Your next step will be a little different for whatever letter you're working on. For the N, I cut the fabric here:
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Then I just pulled each side tight and glued it in several places. I think to start out, it would be easiest to use letters without a lot of curves (if possible, of course!).

For the ends, just wrap the fabric over the letter like a present:
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And that's it!
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You could do so much with this little project, especially for a little kids' room or playroom. If you added the word "Imagine" or kids' names and hung them on the wall in different size letters with different fabrics... how cute would that be?!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring cookies. Yum.

I set out to make some Spring cookies in light of the changing seasons. They ended up looking a lot more like St. Patrick's Day cookies, which was not what I was going for, but still tasted so good.

If you have to eat gluten-free like me, I can't recommend Pamela's baking mix highly enough! I buy mine from Whole Foods in a big 5-lb. sack. It's a little pricey, but for all the use I get out of it (pancakes, waffles, quick breads, muffins, cookies) and the fact that I don't waste lots of time mixing my own flours, it's so worth it to me. I used it to make these cookies, using her super easy sugar cookie recipe. The fact that a gluten free cookie dough could be the same consistency as a normal cookie dough and roll out is, in fact, amazing. (You who have tried other gluten free baking recipes probably know what I'm talking about.) I even love how the flecks of almond add a rustic flair to these rich, yummy cookies.

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Once they were baked and cooled, I set them on a cooling rack to ice them with a simple mixture of some powdered sugar, almond milk, and food coloring. I just added a little milk to the powdered sugar until it was the consistency I wanted.

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Happy St. Patri... I mean... Happy Spring! :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Speaking of Spring...

If you live anywhere near Nashville, you probably remember how gorgeous this past weekend was. It was stunning! It teased us into thinking Spring was really on its way, when just a few days later it would plummet down to the 40s again. (Chicago friends, don't be too jealous. Spring might someday come to you, too.) :)

This past Sunday afternoon, I think it must have reached 80 degrees. It was glorious, and we wanted nothing else but to be outside enjoying it.

Shawn took the opportunity to wash our cars. Note the goat in the background. :)
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Meanwhile, I found a pretty spot in our yard to study. Sure, I could've sat right inside at our desk. But I just couldn't resist. The sunshine, the tufts of flowers, and a cozy blanket were calling my name.
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I wish I could say I was reading Redeeming Love or something by Jane Austen, but in reality, I was studying skin diseases. I almost posted a picture, but then I thought it better to just keep you looking at all the beauty I was surrounded with.

Come again, 80 degrees. We welcome you with open arms.

Spring is here.

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Sunshine, greener grass, blossoming trees, and acres of wildflowers in our backyard (ok, maybe they're weeds... I don't have to know.) It all screams "Spring!" and I couldn't be happier about it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Praying for peace.

You may or may not know this about me, but I have a true global family. I even made a little map to show you (and this is just our immediate family...)
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While I am so proud of each member of my family and how they're serving the Lord and following His lead, it's not always fun to live sooo far away from each other.

Especially when scary things happen.

If you saw the news today, you may have seen that today in Jerusalem, there was a bombing at a bus station that killed 1 and injured 30. Without having family there, it would've been a heartbreaking piece of news. But with a sister, brother-in-law, and 8 month old niece who live just a ten minute walk from that bus station, it's a different story. My sister actually heard the blast and thought it was thunder. We're so thankful that they're all ok, but it's given us new inspiration to pray, pray, pray.

As believers we are called to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem," and today, that calling hit close to home. I'd ask you to pray as well that in light of today's events, God would bring shalom to His very loved city.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
"May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels."
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, "Peace be within you."
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.
- Psalm 122:6-9

Monday, March 21, 2011

Comfort food.

Comfort food, according to Webster's dictionary where it was first used in 1977, refers to "foods consumed to achieve some level of improved emotional status, whether to relieve negative psychological affect or to increase positive." 
I happen to think it could also be defined as food that reminds you of your childhood.


For me, it's this:
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Buttery noodles drenched in parmesan cheese. 
It's what I used to eat all the time at home as a kid on the weekends when my parents were out of town (except back then, I loaded it up with squeeze butter, not the real stuff. Gross.)
It's what I ate the other day after a long day at school. It's just what sounded good - this time with gluten-free noodles, of course, and way too much parmesan cheese.
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What's a favorite comfort food of yours? 




Sunday, March 20, 2011

Life friends.

I want to introduce you to someone we love. His name is Taylor. And in high school, we were the best of friends.
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In high school, Taylor and I were as different as can be. Him: the vintage t-shirt wearing, racquetball- and banjo-playing, Latin scholar. (He'll love that.) Me: the cross country running overachiever who loved art and debating about Christianity - or at least that's what I'm remembering off the top of my head.

But as opposite as we were, for some reason, our friendship just stuck. He was always the first to know about a crush I had, and the first to know when we broke up (I'm sure he loved the sob stories). :) He was the friend who when we said goodbye before college, I cried buckets because I didn't want us to ever not be friends. He was the friend who suffered a tragic loss one summer and I thought my heart would burst out of my chest, just hurting for him. He was the friend who, because we lived in different states during college, was on the "must visit" list whenever I came home to Tennessee during a break.

And when Shawn came into the picture, Shawn was the very first of my boyfriends that Taylor genuinely liked. It was comforting to see that someone who had known me so long and so well agreed that Shawn was pretty perfect for me. And Taylor was that friend who, as an usher at our wedding, stood in the back in the final few moments before my dad walked me down the aisle. He saw me cry a lot of happy tears that day, and I can only imagine the day he gets married, I'll cry lots of happy tears for him too.

Last week, Shawn and I had the privilege of catching up with Taylor over sushi when he was in town from Maryland. It was a bit of a surreal moment, and one I probably wouldn't have believed if you'd told me 10 years ago that we'd be chatting casually over dinner, the three of us.
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But it shouldn't have come as a surprise. And it shouldn't even come as a surprise when someday the Newby kids love their Uncle Taylor as much as we do. He's just that kind of friend.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Where you can find me every Wednesday night.

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Hmm... not sure why those cajun chips made it into the picture. :)
Thursdays are my clinical days in the hospital. I roll out of bed around 4:30am to arrive at the hospital bright and early and care for one patient throughout the day.

What I didn't realize before this semester started is that the night before a clinical day is full to the brim with prep work for the next day. It's a good system: you go to the hospital on Wednesday afternoon, find out which patient has been assigned to you, look through every piece of their chart at least 50 times (or at least it feels like it), record the things you need, then prepare loads of paperwork on how you plan to care for them the next day.

I've found that in this process, I feel like I get to know a lot about my patient before even meeting them and in turn, develop a lot of compassion for his or her situation. For my patient this past week, I learned from her chart that she had been on vacation from out of town, had a huge medical crisis, and had now been in the hospital for two weeks... 18 hours from home. That had to be so tough. And knowing that about her the night before helped me feel even more compassion for her situation.

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As a novice at this, the care plan and other paperwork takes hours. Maybe even as an expert, it will still take hours, I don't know. What I do know is that I'm learning a ton. I feel like a sponge, sopping up every morsel of information I can. I've never been in a school situation where every single thing you learn is practical - you know? It's pretty inspiring to learn about certain medications or procedures or disease processes in class one day, then to see them in real life the next.

Even in just the few weeks I've been in the hospitals, I can already say I think I'm growing a lot. Growing in confidence.
Growing in love for this vocation.
Growing in knowledge.
Growing in experience, of course.

And as hard as it is and as exhausting as it is some days, I couldn't be more thankful for the journey.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brunching.

Sunday brunch is one of my very favorite things. 
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A big stack of waffles.
German coffee in a French press.
Mango-berry smoothies.
Hot scrambled eggs and bacon.
Sweet, sweet friends.

It's one of those things that during the busyness of the week - papers to write, patients to assess, tests to study for - I can always look forward to moments like these once Sunday rolls around.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blast from the past.

So I'll probably regret this in a few minutes, but...

I just came across this Youtube video that has me, my sister, and our friend Graham singing. Oh my. Our moms were in a group called First Call when we were little, and they asked us to sing a song at their reunion concert a few years ago. Can we say nervous?!



Let me just say singing on a stage in front of a couple thousand people is not my life calling, but it was sure a privilege to lead lots of people in worship! And it has to be one of the greatest hymns ever written.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan.

No doubt the news from Japan has been swirling around your mind and heart as it has mine. It's unavoidable if you've turned on the TV or watched the news online for days. And even as we've all been inundated with the horrific images and video, it's still hard to completely wrap my mind around the utter devastation.

Last night as Shawn and I were about to head to bed, he asked me which Psalm I wanted him to read. And for no other reason except that it's what popped in my head that moment, I said, "Psalm 93." Not because I had read it recently, or because I thought it'd be appropriate for that moment. Simply because I now believe the Holy Spirit guided my mind to request it.

Psalm 93
The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty; 
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
Your throne was established long ago; 
you are from all eternity.

The seas have lifted up, Lord, 
the seas have lifted up their voice; 
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, 
mightier than the breakers of the sea - 
the Lord on high is mighty.

Your statutes, Lord, stand firm; 
holiness adorns your house for endless days.

When it seems that the earth is anything but "firm and secure," how good it is to be reminded that the Lord reigns over all of it. That His plan is to prosper, not to harm. That He is so much more powerful than the most violent, powerful seas our generation has seen.

I hope we'll all remember to pray to this same God, the One who rules the seas, that His mercy and peace will rest on Japan today; and that because of this tragedy, many will hear the Gospel and know Him for the first time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Break.

It's Wednesday of my Spring Break, though it hasn't felt like much of a break at this point with work and plenty of homework.

But all that is going to change today. I'm taking a quick road trip to Ohio to visit my grandparents today and won't be blogging for the rest of the week.

How's that for a break? I think I need it.

So don't worry about me... I'm sure I'll be eating good food, having great conversations, learning a lot about sewing (yippee!), reading some, and hopefully just being refreshed.

See you next week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Painting pics, phone style.

So you know that I teach painting classes each night of the week?
Well, some of you have asked "What do you paint?"
And I finally have an answer.

We paint something different every single night, which is very refreshing for me as an instructor. We do paint some of the more popular paintings multiple times per year, but for the most part, we're always painting something new. I love that about my job!

So without further ado, here are a few phone pics of paintings I've painted recently and taught to a class full of eager students. They aren't my original designs - I just painted what I was told to paint and tried to make it as close to the original as possible. And I can honestly say that there are some students in every single class whose paintings turn out every bit as good as mine... even if they've hardly painted before! (I'm always impressed.)

Enjoy!

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