Dear Kara, Here Goes Nothing

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So if you haven’t heard of her already, Kara Tippets from her Mundane Faithfulness blog, is an incredible woman going through incredible hard. And I’ll be honest, most of the time I don’t read it. Because I’m too fearful. Too scared that her story could be my story one day. But that is not how we are called to live. That is living in fear. And we are meant to go out and live each day that God has given us and live it well. And I think that is something Kara would want us to take away from her story. To love our people well and live in Grace.

So here I am, scared of cancer and being given an opportunity to live in Grace in a new and unique way. As many of you know, I am a nurse and my hubby and I have recently moved to California. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but California is expensive. Really, really expensive. So I needed a job.

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Well, God has a funny way of working things His way, and not ours. When I was in nursing school, I didn’t really know specifically what areas I DID want to work in, but I did know the areas I DIDN’T want to work in. Geriatrics and Pediatrics. My first nursing job right out of school was working Inpatient Rehab. And I worked with mostly geriatric patients. I gained a whole new appreciation for the geriatric population, and learned how to love them better. And here I am, having recently accepted a job in pediatrics.

But what does Kara’s story have to do with all of this, you ask? The job I have accepted is in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. And I’m terrified of it. (Shh, don’t tell my new managers!) But there have been several things and people that have really encouraged me about taking this job and I want to share them with you.

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First of all, I found out about this job and basically got it, because of a friend I have met at our new church. She is a great woman and has such a sweet family. We have really enjoyed getting to know them. Well, this friend had an interesting point. I had mentioned that I would be willing to work in a pediatric ICU or work Medsurge, or the Recovery room; pretty much anything but Hem/Onc. Her response has kind of stuck with me. She said that when working Hem/Onc, it isn’t anybody’s fault. In the ER, a kid will come in that got into their parent’s drug stash, or an abusive victim, etc. But on this unit, no one is to blame. And then I noticed her passion for her job, and how much she loves getting to work in this field. That says a lot, if you ask me.

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I also spoke with my Aunt Mary Ann, who I talked about in this post, and she had a great perspective as well. She told me that regardless of whether I am working there or not, these kids are going through this. Those kids have cancer. Or a blood disorder, like Sickle Cell Anemia. Hard, heavy stuff. And they are going to be dealing with that story. So I have an opportunity to be a part of their story and to have a huge impact on their lives. And on the lives of their families. Because, as Kara knows, it isn’t just her story. It is her kids story too, and her husband’s story, and her friends’ stories. So I can either sit idly by, and feel sorry for them at a distance, or I can be a part of their story in a very real way. And I can love on them in a unique way that not many other people will have an opportunity of doing.

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I have also talked with my cousin Sarah about all of this. Because I know that working with these kids will be hard. But that’s okay. And Sarah knows about this hard. Her dear friend Shannon passed away this past year after a long fight with cancer. Here is a little bit about her story. So Sarah has much to say about nurses on a cancer unit. About being able to listen. And just be present. About how if you don’t know what to say, to just ask. Because we don’t always know what is to say, or the right thing to say. But we can ask. And when we ask, we love that person in our sincerity. I can love the kids, and the families, and the friends that surround them in their journey. And I can love them well and without fear, because I know that God has brought me to this place, and to this job for a reason.

I think I have a lot to learn about cancer. And a lot to learn about my faith in the Creator. The Loving God. And that He holds our story in His hands, and isn’t about to drop us, or let go, or forget about our story.

And in the midst of all of this, I am going to live. Not in fear of cancer, or sickness. But fully. Loving my little girl that I have been blessed with. Loving my man. Going on hikes, and adventures, and camping (!!) with those I cherish. Fearlessly loving those around me. Because that is what I have really been called to.

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How are you living and loving big today?

Dear Future Christy

So to preface this post, I want to say that I am joining Kara Tippets from Mundane Faithfulness in her Tuesday Grace Letters link party. (And if you don’t already read her blog, you need to start. We all have so much to learn from her story and her heart for God.) Her first assignment for us is to write a letter of grace to ourselves 10 years from now. So if you couldn’t tell already, this is definitely going to be a more serious post. Thinking about writing this post, I have mostly questions. I’m not entirely sure where to begin, but here goes…

Dear Future Christy,

So where are we now anyways? I think that is the biggest question I have for you (me?). I can’t even begin to imagine where God has taken us in 10 years time. This is where I am now:

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Toddler tantrums and blackberry covered faces.

So where are we now? Where do we live? Do I have more kids? I sure hope so… I love this little booger, but man can she drive me nuts. Everyone seems to say that the hardest years are now. And in this moment, they are hard. This life can be so overwhelming, and yet wonderful. I wouldn’t skip this for anything.

But have I learned to give myself grace yet? Grace to be a mom and a wife without fear? If I’m honest, right now I don’t do that well. I fear failure. Failure as a mom, and especially as a wife. I have seen so many marriages fail. Fail because they “fell out of love”. And I fear this. I fear not keeping the marriage our priority, and God our first focus. Jd and I have said for a long time that if you focus on God first, and your marriage second, the kids will naturally be blessed by a trickle-down philosophy. I hope that that has remained true.

I think that is what I want most for you, future me. That you don’t let the sports and the school and the day-to-day-mundane bog you down and forget to keep your focus on Christ. I hope that the day-to-day hasn’t over-run your marriage and romance. Do you still remember these times?

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When all we cared about was being able to sit down at our wedding, by ourselves, to grab a quick bite to eat before mingling? And a little ways down the road life got a bit more complicated. Graduating and moving across the country with nowhere to live and not a lot of money. But God provided for us.

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That is one thing I am still trying to learn. How much God cares for our little family and provides for us at every turn. Right now, that is hard to remember. We are in the midst of so much uncertainty today. In two weeks, we don’t know where we will be living, or where the money will come from to feed our family. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic with that statement, but that is definitely all I can see and that’s only looking two weeks in the future. Do you see why I can’t imagine where I am 10 YEARS from now?? I can’t imagine two weeks. One month. I have no idea where God is taking us.

But I need to rest. Rest in Him. And remember most importantly that HE is in control.

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying ‘What will we eat’ or ‘What will we drink’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows, that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.“ - Matthew 6: 25-34 (emphasis mine)

I know that God is trying to teach me this right now. To rest in Him. I pray this lesson is not forgotten, it has been hard learned.

What about this?

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When we met our daughter? And Jd held Eden for the first time? God blessed us with this precious daughter to love. She would be 11 years old now! That is so crazy to think about. I hope and pray that she loves God. I have prayed for her since before she was born that she would understand the love that God has for her. I hope she knows that. I hope all of my children know that. The children I have not met yet; but you, future me, you have. You have seen their faces and watched them grow.

Is it sad that pregnancy still scares me? The fear of loss. Once again, not resting in Him. Not resting in He who’s “eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Ps. 139:16) I hope God has blessed you with more children. And what of adoption? Adoption has been such an amazing part of my life, and I dream of one day adopting a little child who needs a forever home. Has that happened yet? Or maybe you are in the midst of an adoption journey?

See? All these questions. I have so many questions, future me.

But I hope you have found grace. I hope you give yourself grace daily. Grace to live in freedom and without doubts and fears. That you are resting in the Lord and in His love for you. I hope you are seeking to understand “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” – 2 Cor. 12:9

 

P.S. Have you figured out a laundry system that works yet? If not, well this letter is supposed to be about grace, right? But maybe find someone who can help you out with that one…

P.P.S. Did the beach house ever happen? Does Jd own a company? Or should I be asking how many companies?

P.P.P.S. Do you have an annual Masquerade Ball? If not, you should revisit that idea, its solid.

 

Mundane Faithfulness

First Day of MOPS!

Okay fellow mommies, I’m going to say it, if you aren’t already involved in a MOPS group, find one! It has been so wonderful to be a part of, and I have only been going since January. I think it is important to remember that, like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. That being said, let me tell you about our first day of MOPS this semester :)

I am just so excited about this year! I was asked to be a part of the steering committee this year, and will be acting as the Special Events leader. I’m pretty excited about this :) I have always enjoyed planning things like this, but don’t necessarily consider myself very good at it. But that’s okay! I have a committee! That’s right, a committee just for Special Events! So much fun.

This year’s theme for MOPS is “A Beautiful Mess”. Our lives are messy, yes, but God is doing a work in each of our lives to make it more beautiful! We are HIS masterpiece, and worthy of love! Each of the leaders were interviewed to tell why we like this year’s theme, and my response: Because I’m messy! and trying to reform. And isn’t that what this blog, and really this whole year has been about for me?

For the first day, the steering committee decided to wear aprons to distinguish the leaders. The idea of house robes had been suggested, but it was decided that that would communicate an attitude of accepting and living in the mess. Verses the aprons, which seem to communicate acknowledging the mess in our lives, but not accepting it. Rather, embracing the role of a wife and mother, embracing setting a good example for our children, that life is worth living, and we are worth the effort. If we do not make an effort to be presentable, and appear to care about ourselves, why would our children? I am not here to accept and wallow in the mess. I want change. For myself, for my husband, and for my children.

So here is to celebrating A Beautiful Mess, and the work God is doing in our lives!

Our craft coordinator this year is Nancy, and let me tell you, she is a creative genius! She mentioned decorating our aprons (we started with just a basic white apron) and I said I would love some help with mine.

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We got together, and Nancy did all of the hard work haha. She made a gorgeous blue ruffle for the edge of the apron, and showed me how to iron a double sided iron on webbing to the fabric that I had chosen to decorate with. So while I set to work ironing and using her nifty shape cutter to get my pieces together, she plugged away making my ruffle.

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Here is the end result! I am in love. It is so gorgeous! Don’t you just love the ruffle?!

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Inspired by my ruffle and polka dots, I decided to go 1950s for my outfit on our opening MOPS day. Complete with black pumps and red lipstick! Hehe, it was so much fun.

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Also, day one, the steering committee brought food for everyone. (Usually a care group table brings food.) So since I am dairy-free (more on that later, I’m sure) I always try to bring something I can eat, haha go figure! I don’t know about you, but I love French Toast. Especially baked French Toast. It’s amazing. So I decided to make this recipe. If you know me at all, you know this is a very daring recipe for me to try to make. And out of laziness, I didn’t do a test run. *Fingers crossed!*

So here you go, my baked french toast journey! Here is after it is prepped with the egg mixture.

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And with the cinnamon oatmeal crumble topping set to bake in the morning.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the finished product, until after it was mostly eaten! But imagine it all whole, gorgeous golden baked oatmeal top, with raspberries, blueberries, and pecans for optional toppings. It was amazing! Jd laughed at me the night before the meeting, getting out my dress, pumps, apron! and cooking! I’ve come a LONG way!

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Haha it is going to be a good year!