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Thursday, April 28, 2011

A little close for comfort.


Shawn and I took a walk around Radnor Lake on a gorgeous day a couple weeks ago.
(If you haven't been to Radnor before and live in Nashville, I highly suggest it.)

Shawn almost brushed up against this tree.
I'm so glad he didn't - can you see why?

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Ok, now I think you can see.
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Gotta love nature, but I think I'd have to say I'd rather see this guy behind glass.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Walk Score

Shawn and I found this website this weekend and we can't get enough:


You just type in your address, click "go," and it gives you a score between 0 and 100 of how "walkable" that address is. It's based on lots of things, including public transit, number of people, if the streets are built to be pedestrian-friendly, and how many errands you can run without a car.


So I happened to first type in our address in Chicago where we used to live...
The results?
Walk score: 98 - "Walker's Paradise"
There were grocery stores within a block, every restaurant imaginable, public transportation, and even an Anthropologie within 0.01 miles (I know... it was dangerous).

Then I typed in our address where we currently live.
Walk score: 0 - "Car-Dependent"
I had a feeling that might be the case.

So we've had both extremes, and we've come to realize that walkability is actually really important to us. To some, it may not be - but having lived in the city for several years, we grew to love walking as part of our daily lives. Currently, we have to drive 20 minutes to get about anywhere we need to go. We really, really miss being able to go somewhere on a whim and not having to sit in a car for an hour to do so.

So I promise this post isn't a downer about how I'd rather live anywhere than Nashville (which ranks in the Top 3 Least Walkable Cities) because truly, we know we're here for a reason and love our gorgeous rental house on lots of beautiful land. But I have to say, this website is going to be a super helpful tool for wherever we choose to live next! I'm hooked!!

So I'm curious... (if you choose to go to the website), what's your walk score? How important is walkability to where you choose to live? I'm excited to hear the results.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sweet Lilly.

I had the chance yesterday to take a few pictures of a friend's new little princess. Isn't she sweet? I think her name fits her perfectly. :)

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Muffin man.

Dear Husband,

Soccer player.
Artist.
Business man.
Photographer.
Singer.
These are all things I knew about you.

But baker?
I had no idea.

I came home from work tonight and opened the door to the scent of warm cinnamon that enveloped our house. There were empty bowls and dustings of flour covering the counter. And there were muffins in the oven - and you made them! Completely from scratch. And gluten-free, at that! (Oh, and there was one excited boy with a huge smile across his face. Can't forget that.)
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I am so impressed. 

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One day, if we're lucky enough to have a son, I hope I remember to tell him about this night. The night you taught yourself to bake morning glory muffins from scratch for the first time to bless your wife. I'll tell him that doing that is a really good way to a girl's heart.

Loves,
Your wife

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Things that make me laugh: school edition.

1. This concept. 
When I bought it at school the other day, I was showing it off to anyone that passed by... an organic, gluten-free picnic in a box! What a novel idea! Or so I thought, until someone told me it was just a fancy Lunchable. :) Still... isn't it fun?! It even had a Sudoku at the bottom of the box. Like a grown up Happy Meal, healthy style.
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2. These mannequins all wear this same pained expression. I hope it doesn't make me callous if I laugh when I see them.
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Shawn does the very best impression of them.
What will make these mannequins even more strange is that next week during a simulation, they'll talk. One of our professors, hidden in a back room, will be on a microphone responding to us through the mannequin. Still not sure what to think about that. Creepy doesn't even do it justice.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Processing.

I feel like I've recently reached an age (mid-twenties) that the world is expecting you to have some things figured out.

Like who are you going to marry? (Got that one.)
Where do you want to live? (Changes all the time.)
What do you want to do? (Still working on that one, too.)

Clearly, I haven't gotten much figured out in the world's eyes.
Yes, I want to be a nurse. I guess that one was obvious. :) I'd love to work in an urban setting - most certainly a passion of mine - or overseas, once I get a little experience. But past that, everything else just feels so fluid.

For the longest time, our plan has been that as soon as I'm done with nursing school, we'll move somewhere for Shawn to go to seminary. But now even that is in question. Shawn still wants to go to seminary - and I want him to - but we don't know if the timing is right, and some people we really trust have recommended waiting until he has some more life experience, as seminary will mean much more. I definitely see their point.

My parents have always taught me to "dream in color." I love that. They modeled it for us, and Shawn's parents did too. We both grew up traveling a lot, so I think we both feel this inherent itch to try something new. Live in a new place. Explore a new season together.

Essentially, we've got the next three semesters here in Nashville until I finish school, then who knows where we'll go? For us, it's the most exhilarating feeling in the world. Not remotely scary, just exciting! We are children of an adventurous God who takes us places we'd never imagined, and we pray we'll always be brave enough to say "Yes" to His invitation.

So the next time someone asks me what we'll be doing in a couple years from now, I'll just have to shrug my shoulders and say, "I really have no idea. But God does. And I can't wait to see what He has planned."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Painting in the dark.

So there are a lot of crazy things that happen at work. Just put up to 70 women in one room and it's bound to happen, I guess. But Friday night was close to the top of the crazy list. We had a severe thunderstorm that started at the beginning of the class, and about an hour in, winds that looked like a monsoon outside! Trees were bending to the ground and the rain was straight sideways, then all of a sudden, the lights flickered and went out. We waited for a few minutes to see if they'd come back on, but they never did.

So what do you do when there's 30 women that want to keep painting by the light of their cell phones?

You keep painting.
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This looks a lot brighter than it was because of the flash. I'm not sure I want to see my painting today in full light! :)
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A big thanks to Jen for providing a flashlight on my painting for the remaining hour of the class! 
Let's hope this week at work is a little less eventful.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Get ready for cuteness.

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Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending time with this little lady, her sweet mom, and another friend for the afternoon. We three grown-up girls had gone to Moody together, but hadn't all seen each other since college. It was such a sweet, refreshing time to connect with other women who are going through the same season as we are... not really knowing what we'll be doing in a year or even next month, just trusting the Lord for whatever He has. It was also so encouraging being around people who love Jesus. Sure, there's a church on every corner where I live - but that doesn't always mean a lot. To be with godly women who are fully devoted to the Lord, it's a breath of fresh air to my heart.

So thank you, Whit and Justine (and sweet Ellie!), for making the trip to Franklin to be together. Let's do it again soon, please!

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Friday, April 15, 2011

My Grandma.

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Grandma Tunney, Kels (and Charis!), and me last summer
My Grandma Tunney is celebrating a big birthday today.
I won't tell you which one, because a lady doesn't reveal her age.
(And because even if I told you, you probably wouldn't believe me.)
She is as young, vibrant, and strong as can be.

She's had quite a year this year as she has cared for my grandpa and has encountered her own health obstacles along the way (which, praise God, she has fully recovered from now). By God's grace, she has emerged with even more strength and vigor. She is one tough cookie, that's for sure. She's stubborn as they come in the most endearing way (and she might have passed that quality down to her granddaughters).

I'm so thankful for her, and it's because of her that I really hope my kids have strong relationships with their grandparents someday. She has been a huge encouragement and faithful friend, and I love her so dearly. I so admire her true gift for sewing and creating, her faithfulness to Grandpa since they were teenagers, her love for Jesus, her hardworking nature, and her optimism.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

End of May.

Tell me I'm not alone in this.
I find a song I like... really like... and I cannot. stop. playing it.

Baking banana bread with this song in the background.
Studying Pathophysiology with this song in the background.
Cleaning our bathroom, blaring this song so I can hear it on the other side of the house.

You can relate, I hope.

Right now, this is my song of choice. Yes, it's a sad one.
But the orchestration is divine and I can't get enough. It's simple, yet so well written.
Nice job, Mr. Bublé.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

These made me laugh.

I read these last night on my friend Sarah's blog and could not stop laughing (Shawn can testify). Hope they make the middle of your week a little brighter - or at least a little funnier. :)

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Find them here: Sapling Press

Saturday, April 9, 2011

& coffee.

Our friends, Glenn and Judy, are missionaries in Guatemala.
Judy texted me the other day to ask our home address because she wanted to send me some coffee with a & sign on it because it reminded her of the sign I'd made a few weeks ago. (Is that not the sweetest thing?!)

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As soon as it arrived, we knew it would be the perfect addition to our traditional Sunday brunch.
And oh my.
It was.


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Our brunch consisted of apple-cinnamon pancakes, eggs, and fresh squeezed orange juice.
And we looked pretty gourmet adding a little coffee fresh from Guatemala to the menu.

Thank you so much for thinking of us, friends!
You are a blessing. :)

Love,
Coffee-loving Newbys

PS - I always mention that we have friends over, but they're never pictured. I promise they're real! They'll make an appearance one of these days. :)
PSS - Yes, my hair is darker in these pictures. It lasted about 3 days, and now I'm back to (darker) blonde. I've just gotta accept it - I'm a blonde. Don't quite feel like myself as a brunette.

Quick DIY: Weathering terra cotta

Disclaimer: Full sun is not the best for taking pics, but it was the only option today (because it's gorgeous and sunny outside today!). I won't complain, just wanted you to know they're not the best.


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These terra cotta planters and pots have been sitting in the corner of our deck for... umm... a year? Too long. Even though I love to garden in the summer, I don't have the greenest thumb, so I don't always rush to fill pots when I know I'll probably kill an innocent plant.

But today I wanted to give those planters a little facelift.

I started by spray painting them white. It wasn't perfect, at all. It was a quick job and a little drippy, but it didn't matter.
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I waited a few minutes for it to dry, then sanded a little of the paint off by hand.
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Finally, I added some stain. I dipped an old rag in the stain, gave it a quick coat, then wiped it off with a drier side of the rag.
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And that's it!
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They look a little different, huh? I'm thinking I may use one for herbs (outside) and the other for a fake plant (inside). In all - including drying time - this probably only took about 30 minutes. I hope you try it!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Apart from me, you can do nothing.

When my alarm went off at 4am this morning, I can't say I had the best attitude about spending the day at the hospital.

But as I drove through dark, empty streets on my way to the hospital, this one verse would not leave my mind:

"I am the vine, you are the branches. 
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. 
Apart from me, you can do nothing." 
John 15:5

I hadn't even read that verse recently, so I knew it was the Lord. It was (obviously) very appropriate for the day I was about to face, so as I pulled into my parking space, I pulled out my Bible and read the rest of the passage.

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you... I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit - fruit that will last - and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 
This is my command: Love each other." 
John 15:12,15-17

I can't even think of a more applicable chapter for today.
Today, a day I learned a lot about what truly loving each other means.
No, I'd never seen my patient before this morning, but it didn't matter. She was in so much pain and was grieving the news of her prognosis, and she needed love more than she needed any pill or surgery.

So I did my nursing duties, just as I would always do, but I prayed how I could show her love.
Today, it meant two very simple things: a foot massage (because who doesn't love that?!) and prayer. I felt like the Lord led me to both things that helped her to relax, to breathe a little deeper than she had in days, and to feel loved. At the end of our prayer, she cried. And then I cried, because she cried, because that just happens sometimes.

It was two very simple things, but I think they made such a difference. I'm learning so much about those who have passion for the ministry of nursing and those who just do their jobs. I want to be the former, that's for sure.

If you've ever been on a missions trip, you know this phenomenon. You go to serve and help and teach others, but it ends up being the opposite way around. They serve and help and teach you more than you could ever give to them. I feel the same way about nursing. Sure, I know all days won't be this fulfilling. But I learned so much from her today and learned about myself how fulfilling it is to truly love.

I am so, so thankful for today.

There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.
Mother Teresa

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Your biggest fan.

At our couples' shower in November 2008
A month before Shawn and I got married, my parents threw us a couples' shower that also happened to be a book shower. What a cool idea, right? Each couple gifted us with a book that meant something to them - from novels to marriage books to theology books to cookbooks to everything in between. And at the end of the night, my parents requested that each couple share some piece of marital advice for the soon-to-be-married couple.

Believe it or not, I remember almost every piece of advice that was given. I think I remember it so well because it came from people whose marriages I really respect and look up to. Marriages that have not only lasted, but thrived. That is so rare, as I'm sure I don't have to convince you.

One piece of advice really stuck out to me, and it hit me again today.

"Be your spouse's biggest fan."

To me, it means this...
Talking positively about Shawn to other people.
Encouraging Shawn in any way I can.
Treating Shawn like the treasure in my life that he is.

It's so easy for us to complain, and it's just as easy to start complaining about your husband... how he never helps around the house, how he watches TV when he's supposed to be watching the kids, and on and on and on. (Those things are not at all true of Shawn, especially since we don't even have kids.) :)

But here's the thing. As much as it may feel satisfying in the moment to complain or to cut down, I really believe it gives Satan a foothold in the marriage that he just should not have. In a world that does everything it possibly can to destroy a marriage, we have to do everything we possibly can to make it last,
to build each other up,
to point each other to Jesus,
to be each other's biggest fans.

So I know I'm still a novice at this marriage thing. But if someday I'm invited to someone's bridal shower and asked to give a piece of advice, it'll be just that.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A new thing!

I'm sitting here procrastinating (again).
I should be writing nursing diagnoses for my most recent patient,
or studying the heart for my test tomorrow,
or emptying the dishwasher,
or a million other things.

You know the feeling, I'm sure.

But instead, I'm sitting here at our desk, staring over my left shoulder at this most incredible view.
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The warm sun is fading behind the trees, and all is drenched in a hazy golden calm. I'm so thankful I get to drink in this beauty day after day.

And yet at the same time, it's times like these - when I'm overwhelmed, tired, and alone - that it's so easy to dwell on the past...

Like how wonderful it used to be to live near lots of close girlfriends, where we could meet down the street for coffee at a moment's notice.
Or how I wish I were closer to certain people that used to be such a huge part of my life.
Or how much more useful I used to feel for Jesus when I was backpacking in the Amazon or sharing the Gospel with cab drivers in Chicago... not sitting in my little house on the prairie studying notes.

Do you see how easy it is to be robbed of joy? I let it happen all too often. And yet every time Satan tries to swoop in on a moment of beauty and calm and replace it with turmoil, the Lord so gently reminds me of this:

"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19

I am so guilty.
I'm guilty of dwelling on the past, of not "perceiving" the "new thing" He is doing. Like what about how He led me to nursing school, allowed me to get in, and has provided every penny? Or how He fuels our dreams for the future and so graciously centers them on serving Him? Or how He loves on us with sweet friends, encouraging conversations, captivating worship music. The list goes on and on. So why do I not notice all of these things? Because I'm not looking for them. I get lazy - and I'm not daily asking, "Your will be done, Lord" and then praying that He'll show me what that looks like.

I'm also guilty of thinking that the things I do bring me closer to God.
"If I could only just be in full-time ministry...."Somehow I fail to understand that when I say something like that, I am going directly against the Gospel - the truth that it is He who works in me, not me who works my way to Him.

Maybe this sounds like lots of rambling. Or maybe it's what you've been struggling with lately and that verse from Isaiah is precisely what you needed to hear. It amazes me how God's Word can travel deeper into your soul than anything else - how things you didn't even know needed to be dealt with rise to the surface when you read the Word.

I pray I'll remember the Gospel in moments like these, and choose to look for the new thing He is doing.