Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tomorrow I turn 22. I can't really believe it. 22! Even four years ago, if you had asked me what I'd be doing in 4 years, I would have said, "Oh, you know, normal stuff. Graduating, getting a job, getting married. I have a plan." Yeah, no. 22 is not actually that old, and contrary to popular opinion (okay, maybe just my previous opinion), turning 22 does not mean that I have to have a life plan. But you know what? I'm perfectly okay with that. God knows the plan, and I'm content with that!

I had a wonderful day before my birthday. Among other things, I discovered that Panera gives wonderful birthday gifts. Who would've thought? I visited my neighborhood Panera around 11 o'clock to work on a paper for school and was surprised to receive my coffee free (Panera rewards card - totally worth it)! I also discovered that my brother Nathanael is a terrific study buddy. We sat there for an entire hour and a half and I wasn't distracted by his presence (a huge feat for me).

This evening, a few of my beautiful friends and I enjoyed dinner at P.F. Chang's. Again, I was in for a surprise. Maybe I'm crazy for thinking this, but Pei Wei does not taste the same as P.F. Chang's. Even if it did, it is totally worth paying more just for the awesome restaurant experience. Plus, I received a free mini Tiramisu for my big day (yum, yum, yum!). Oh, and two of my friends gave me a zebra mug. I love that they know me so well! Dirty chai at a hip coffee house and a movie with my lovely friend Jamie followed. Oh, happy day :)

So, in about 20 minutes, I will enter into my 23rd year of life. God has been faithful every day of my life and I don't know where I'd be without Him. Happy birthday to me! Have a wonderful Sunday, all!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Life is for Living

I am a huge fan of coffee dates. This afternoon, my lovely friend Brooke and I met for afternoon coffee to talk and "study." Needless to say, we did much more talking than studying. Oh, well. That's what friends are for! A couple of weeks ago, Brooke gave me a book called "Coffee Talk" that she found at a used book sale. Seeing her today reminded me that I have yet to blog about any of the wonderful quotes tucked in the pages of this quaint little book. Since I only started seriously reading it today, I shall start blogging through the pages a little later. I'm sure you will love it :)

Brooke and I chatted about many things over my coffee and her sweet tea, but one thing she said really struck me: "I want to enjoy every day." With graduation just around the corner, life as we know it is about to change drastically. She is getting married this summer, so her life is going to change more drastically than mine, but my life as a college student, now consumed by studying and meeting deadlines, will soon cease to exist. Don't get me wrong, I am more than ready to graduate (pretty sure I was ready four years ago). However, I still do not know exactly what my life holds after May 14th. God is teaching me to be patient, to trust Him to show me, but without realizing it, I have stopped hoping and believing that something wonderful is just around the bend. When I realized that I have no idea where I am going to work or what comes next, I gave up and sat down in defeat. I enjoy life sometimes, but for the most part it has been very easy to give into anxiety, worry, and doubt. Today, God used Brooke's simple words to snap me out of it. The only time I am guaranteed is right now. Living in the past is depressing, living in the future is futile, living in the present can be enjoyable if that's what I desire. Enjoying each day is a choice. And today is all I have.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hello there! Well, Spring Break has ended and school is back in full swing. Not that I actually had much of a break, but I did have a few days to rest. It was definitely nice not having to drive back and forth to school for a week. I did a couple of clinicals, which was the busy part of my week, followed by hours of studying. The second half of my week was spent in Springfield with my family, who attended the National Christian Homeschool Basketball Championships. I have to say that we had a lovely time. I did get a little bit bored of basketball, but I entertained myself with people watching - always a good time! After my brothers had played their little hearts out at all of their basketball games, we rewarded them with a very large dinner at Incredible Pizza, followed by Yogi Bear at the $3 movie theater. Cheesy? Yes. But very much wonderful. To top it all off, Josiah and Ben serenaded me with their guitars when we returned to the campground. What were they singing? Taylor Swift, of course! Oh, yes! I just love my family.

Today was the big return to school. I decided that I am more than ready to graduate. 7 weeks from this Saturday, I will walk across the stage and receive my diploma. Hip, hip, hooray! However, my coffee obsession will not end with my nursing education. Twelve hour shifts are much longer without caffeine :) Happy week after Spring Break, friends!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Short and Sweet

Nursing school is making me tired. Surprise, right? If I'm not tired from studying or getting up early, I'm tired from thinking about studying and getting up early. As I was lying on the couch this evening, too exhausted to move, this question came to mind: do nurses ever stop being tired? Working 12 hour days at least 3 days a week, having people's lives dependent upon the care I give them, sacrificing sleep in order to have somewhat of a social life. It's not looking like sleep will be a top priority in my life, even after nursing school. It's a good thing I like coffee.

Second discovery of the day: stress is altogether an unproductive waste of time. It makes me tired, sore, and cranky. Not to mention tearful and anxious. No wonder Jesus told us not to worry. It's exhausting! Sad that I've had to figure it out the hard way. Slowly but surely, I am learning to carry my burdens to Him, to simply collapse at His feet and say, "I can't do it." His reply? "Rest in Me." Okay. Sounds good. Way better than stressing and worrying and crying. So now, I am going to bed, resting in the knowledge that He is strong when I can't be.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Friday, Friends!

It is Friday! Most weeks, Friday doesn't feel like a treat, since I usually have several days off during the week due to my random nursing schedule. This week, however, I feel as if I have been running non-stop between clinicals, school, and work. So this morning I decided to have me-time. I slept in (if you call 8:30 sleeping in), had a small chat with my mom, watched the Early Show (like a real grown up!), spent some time with Jesus, and drank half a pot of coffee in my favorite mug, although not all at once. I then tackled the task I have been avoiding for months: applying for jobs. It's definitely not that I don't want a job after graduation, because I certainly do. I just have not decided exactly where I want to work and am not too excited to be applying for jobs in the same place that I have lived for over half of my life. In the end, I decided to suck it up and do it, since I know that I'm supposed to be here at least for a while longer. Now that I am finished (or almost finished - need to apply at a few more hospitals), I am ready to start my weekend. No clinicals this weekend, which means that I can party! Actually, I'll just be going to Famous Duos and movie night at school, but it sounds like a party to me! Have a lovely Friday, friends!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Few Thoughts

I am determined to improve my blogging record. So far, I've been a sporadic blogger, posting only when truly inspired. But do friends only meet for coffee when they are truly inspired? Of course not! Conclusion: coffee talk does not always have to be inspired or deeply thoughtful, thus neither does my blog.

Lately, I've been keeping track of small discoveries I make during my every day routine. I made one such discovery this evening in the midst of my friend's surprise party: I'm not very good at surprises. I already knew this, but I honestly thought I was getting better. I did so well until I parked in the wrong spot...oops. Oh, well. Practice makes perfect! One day, I shall be the master of surprise parties! No one shall suspect a thing. I will keep you updated on my progress.

Another discovery: God is extraordinary. Every time I look around a corner, He has a new surprise for me. Sunshine-filled days, long walks on the pathfinder, meaningful conversations with friends, laughing with my mom at things that shouldn't be funny, days full of energy after a nights of restless sleep - I could go on and on. It's amazing how wonderful life can be when I'm actually expecting it to be.

Here are a few more recent discoveries:

- Starbucks smells better than almost any place in the whole world.
- High heels are better in theory than reality.
- Nursing is endless and it would take a lifetime to explore all of the possibilities.
- Yorkies are adorable, especially when they're soaking wet.
- Rain is the best when the sun is shining.
- Chocolate and peanut butter are a dynamic duo.
- Green smoothies are not always green.
- Thoughts are usually worse than reality.
- My family is incredible.

Look for the simple joys in life - they will make your day.