Saturday, October 12, 2013

transitions in life despite life transitions

    I post to this blog so infrequently that I tend to re-read most of my recent posts each time I do actually post (because I do update it sometimes, see how I just updated it right now? yeah). I noticed that the last handful of posts (which brings us back to at least a year ago) have mentioned the idea of life transitions. And since I wouldn't necessarily consider a birthday a life transition as I have referred to them in the past, I can say that I am not in a life transition per say, at least not right now. Yes, I graduated transitioned from school back to home, from home back to Sombrero (more "what a day" days), and from Sombrero back home, and yes I hope to transition into the world of the working soon. But since early July I've been here and plan to be here indefinitely. Propositions, schemes, aims, intentions, and ambitions to go other places - yes; plans - no. So, no, no life transition here! Just the same old unemployed/un-in-school life, lightly scattered with a few visits or activities here and there.

    I am transitioning through stages of hope, even while I stay in one place keeping the same routine (or lack-thereof).

    There are things hoped for: a good crew of coworkers for the start of the summer, a long-distance relationship to solidify and grow (I know those seem like opposite words), a passing NCLEX result on the first try, fun travels and reunions, opportunities to see Zeke, chances to go hiking, etc. These "hope it works out"s worked out already!

    There are things hoped for: that I'd read more, I'd run more, I'd help out more, I'd do my devotions more, I'd apply for more jobs more, I'd keep up with friends more, I'd clean out my room more, I'd sew more, I'd paint and draw more, I'd make more music more, I'd finish more projects more, I'd better myself more, I'd care more, I'd love more, I'd reach out to people more, I'd do more with my more time more... These... I'm finding it unhealthy to hope in just these. These are great intentions. These could be beautiful once worked out. These "hope it works out"s haven't worked out so well so far. So have I failed if there are less days that I make progress on one or two of these fronts than days where I seem to shut down and never check anything off my list? Do I give up all good intentions for fear of never realizing them anyway? Or should I just try harder? Should I re-write my list so it looks more do-able? Color-code it? Should I read a self-help book? Should I give my bootstraps another tug? I thought God was supposed to help me pull myself up...can't there be a verse about God helping us help ourselves?

    There are things still hoped for: that I would not just be a nurse (I've got the initials) but that I would be a nurse, that I would put down my pride and give Christ control of my good intentions and let His intentions for my life outweigh my own, no matter how noble mine seem.

    Paul recommends a lot of great things in his letter to the Colossians, not the least of which is "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Reading this today, it's easy for me to misread this as just another thing to add more of to my list of good intentions; as if to say "do those good intentions, but also do them even better than you were planning on."
    What I found to be most encouraging was earlier in the book where Paul mentions all the work he's been doing to spread the gospel to Jews and Gentiles etc. He says, "to this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." This one sentence brings out an entire implied theme of "not my own power, not my own energy, not my own strength but Christ's power, Christ's energy, and Christ's strength." Every command, every criticism, every encouragement, every "do not" and "do this" from Paul can be seen with the understanding that he functions and struggles with these things with an energy not of his own. He expects that his readers would rely on that divine energy, too. Just another way the gospel is presented in the Bible. It's also just another way I see my need for the truth of the gospel in my life; even if I think I'm not transitioning at the moment God's work tends to be pretty dynamic. I think this energy that so powerfully worked in Paul, sounds like a healthier thing to hope in than my own bootstraps; besides it would be stupid to wear out the straps of your boots before the soles even.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


To start off with a side note: lets just note that so far I'm a pretty consistent life-transitions blogger but not a good daily-life blogger. So be it. Sorry? Or maybe you reader(s?) should just be thankful that I tend to have relatively frequent life-transitions... I'm not saying I'll never post more frequently but I might also be saying that as soon as I stop living life in 3-ish-month-long disconnected segments posts might become even more infrequent. We'll see!

It's hard to think that my time at Trinity is so close to coming to a close. I just went to another last event; this time it was Sunday Night Worship which I've been attending and part of the leadership team for since sophomore year.

It's hard to think about all the possibilities for the future but then again, it's hard to worry when you remember the theme of the songs we sang at SNW tonight. Here's a string of phrases from our hymnsing that are good reminders for my life:

In every condition, in sickness in health; in poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth; at home and abroad, on the land, on the sea, as thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be...when through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of woe shall not thee overflow...when through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply...
O God my Father thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not...strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow...
When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say it is well with my soul...Christ has regarded my helpless estate and hath shed His own blood for my soul...
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, all fear is gone, because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because he lives...
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations! Son of God and Son of Man! Glory and honor, praise, adoration, now and forever more be Thine.

God's steadfast love, mercy, compassion, and His generous forgiveness are foundational to everything. He is primary, everything else is secondary. From the perspective of his sovereignty even all the questions I have about the future seem minor; they're just details.

And of course we ended SNW with "Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary: pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving, I'll be a living, sanctuary, for you."

Singing "Sanctuary," singing hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs, passing the peace, and fellowshipping with the other SNW-goers week after week has shaped me. Prepared me, even. Prepared me for what, I'm not exactly sure, but I know it's the Lord's doing and not mine. I do know that I am being prepared (and will continue to be prepared) to live as a pure, holy, thankful, and living being. The where/when/how/with who/what are just details.

Friday, January 11, 2013

No escribo la poesia

No escribo la poesia,
Y no escribo en espanol tampoco.
Para ti la y lo escribo.

No tengo el internet,
Y no tengo computadora tampoco.
Para ti los tengo.

Yo tengo corazon,
Y tengo palabras tambien.
Para ti los te doy.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Let's talk about...

Let’s talk about how there’s only one full week of school left before finals this semester and how that leaves some of us with no more college left and some of us with just one more semester left. Or lets not because that’s no fun.

Some of the things we talk about instead:

“Oh yeah, I think that we still have your/_____’s (possessive proper noun) ______ (noun) in our room from ______ (time/event).”
“Do you happen to have (toilet paper/vinegar/chair/bow and arrow/ham/bananagrams...)?”
“What (artist/album/song) is this?”
“We need to do ___ (something) in the next two weeks!”
“I was supposed to email _____ (name) about _____ (noun).”
“I was supposed to turn in _____ (assignment/project) by ____ (past time).”
“So, what do you have to do yet in the next (time period <2 weeks)?”
“(random story from the day)”
“Things fall apart...” “...Chinua Achebe.”
“This sushi is ____ (adjective).”
“I think I’m going to go to bed.”
“I’m so sleepy. I fell asleep in ____ (place) while trying to ____ (homework-related verb).”
“I should do laundry.” “Me too.”
“I need to get groceries.” “Me too.”
“(something about some sports?)”
“______ (event/activity) was happening on campus? I didn’t even know!”
“I saw ____ (noun) on pinterest!” 
“I was on facebook and ____ (name) posted _____ (something probably funny/stupid).” 
“Have you read ____ (book/poem/article)?”
“So you know how in chapel...”
“I only have $__ in flex left.”
"So how many time zones is Kenya away from ____ (places across the globe where friends will be)?"

And often these various questions and conversations lead us back to something we’re all trying to figure out but aren’t always sure how to address: “how did it get to be that we’re this old and most things in high school were >5 years ago and now we’ll have to think realistically about the future and how are we going to do all by our lonesomes?” 

I guess it’s just one of those life-transition things and we’ll keep asking these questions every birthday or every time we move or every time we miss someone from our past or every time we realize we’re doing something we only ever imagined doing.

So let’s talk about how there’s only one full week of school left before finals this semester and how that leaves some of us with no more college left and some of us with just one more semester left. Lets figure out as much as we can together so at least next time these questions come up then we can at least remember how we go through this community-like and turn our confusion into praise to God (author of salvation, the potter, the weaver of the clothing of righteousness) for the (people/places/activities/events/books/times/projects) that (have shaped/are shaping/will shape) us.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What a day. And then what another day. (*And even another day.)

Day 1 (Friday)
     I'm sitting in my new abode in Granby (watching a Tyler Perry movie, actually).
     I finished a Spanish book today, I held Alethia during her long nap, I watched a balloon with a camera attached go up and down. I said goodbye to all my lovely family and drove to Estes Park. I dropped in on Kri at the camp she and Ryan work at and was able to talk with her because thankfully she had the flu and wasn't at work that day! I got to go up to RYM for my annual visit. It was a great chance to see people from Church a bit more (and Sienna who I hadn't even seen yet this summer!) and worship with them for a bit. Then I got to drive through Rocky Mountain National Park to get to my new summer job. Not many people get to do that. Part of the drive was pretty frustrating since I was lost- I do like getting lost but not when it's dark out and getting later and I wanted to have been there 2 hours earlier than I did.
     I met a couple of my coworkers/housemates, moved some of my stuff into the little room I'm sharing with 2 other girls; sticking as much as I thought I could back in a bag stuffed under the bed or even back in the car. I went to bed and realized that even though I had packed plenty I didn't have at least one essential item: ear plugs.

Day 2 (Saturday)
     I'm sitting in my not-quite-so-new abode in Granby (watching a horse movie, actually).
I learned so much today. This morning was definitely...interesting. After a sub-par night of sleep I woke up to someone people's alarms at 4:30 am (we didn't have to leave until 5:45) and then eventually "Wake up, new girl, we gotta be leaving like, now."
     I learned so much today. Pushing, saddling, cinching, daisy chains, feed bags, gates, hoses, watering tanks, halters, bridles, stirrups, kid stirrups, lead ropes, hay, grain, grain storage bins that get stuck shut, physics of kicking horses, the spiel about how to control your horse, horse nerve endings, the 1 hour ride and the 2 hour ride, dismounting the guests, unsaddling, how meals work, who's who, Pretty Face and a couple other horse's names (~1 down, ~79 to go!)...
     We got done what they said was early after what they said was a pretty easy/slow day. That was nice. I am now going to drink some tea made by Julianne (my roommate from Minnesota/Russia). Speaking of roommate, though- I only have one now, instead of two and there's another empty bed in the next room because at least 2 people quit this morning. I have already moved some of my stuff to more spacious or convenient places. I packed enough so now I can unpack a little bit more. I didn't have another couple essential items, I realized: sunscreen, aloe vera, and my allergy pills.
     This will be an interesting 8 weeks. I'm looking forward to parts of it even more now after going on trail rides through beautiful areas and never seeing a single horse butt in front of me and getting to do so many new tasks. If you're reading this, you could maybe pray that I would be given the chance to continue learning the ropes and work as a wrangler here and not have office/other work wished upon me instead, that I would be able to stay positive about everything, and withstand with Jesus' help any difficulties that will come.
What days! It's been up and down emotionally but God is good!

To end this blog post, here's an irrelevant quote from "Second Chances," the horse movie we were watching:
"You're nothing but a cactus-covered marshmallow!"

***Day 62 (Thursday)
     I was not sitting at the abode, we were at a different house by then anyways. I wasn't watching a movie this day either, actually.
     That day I was confident at work and comfortable at home (I was far from being so the first days) and work and home both were just enjoyable places to spend time at. That day I was helping saddle up, leading my last guest ride, painting the fence in the back with Laura, riding on my last wrangler ride, late getting back and missing supper, waiting in a run-down Jeep to get picked up so we wouldn't have problems with the lack of title etc., getting dressed up by my roomies, driving to Denver, playing pool and line dancing, singing along, and looking at the array of stars out the window. There was no time for watching movies or playing cards or going jeeping or anything normal anymore.
     I had learned new things that day: that the up-and-over trail connected to the waterfall trail which eventually can get you back to CR 53, I learned how RJ and how Vlad can do in thick forests on steep hills and how they respond to ptarmagins flying up along the trail, I learned a bit more about some of my coworkers' life stories from working and riding with them, I learned how fearless I can be, I learned that I'd never have a proper goodbye for those people, horses, and places. Everything that seemed so overwhelming at first had played out to becoming the mindless or secondary parts of daily life. It was ~105 horses names down, more trails than we were probably supposed to even go on memorized, it was feeling comfortable getting on any horse in the herd- some even bareback, and a handful of random facts about aspens and beetle-kill. I had to pack up all my stuff again from my spacious new closet I shared with 2 other friends and I no longer needed any essential items. (Though some more time would have been nice.)
     If you're reading this and if you prayed for me to be given the chance to continue as a wrangler there, to stay positive, and to withstand the difficulties that did come, thank you for praying! God did provide strength and wisdom for every unfortunate incident and difficult day and I hope that his work in my life had some positive lasting impacts on the people around me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Estoy aquí, en Colombia, claro que sí.

      So, I'm here in Colombia, more specifically Bogotá the huge capital, more specifically in Ryan, Rebecca, and Alethia's apartment complex, more specifically sitting at their kitchen table eating breakfast, more specifically eating eggs, toast, guava, and sour sop (pan y juevos con guayaba y guanabana). Mom left to go back to CO yesterday and R&R&A are out at their appointment to get Alethia's paperwork at the embassy. So I'm around the apartment by myself listening to SHEL ( and the workers knocking out the old tile from the balcony of the apartment right beneath us (it's very loud) and doing normal at-home things: reading RSS feeds, snacking on food, sleeping in, going through pictures, doing dishes, etc. Also, yesterday I went by myself with the rolling cart to get groceries- success! It's been really fun to get to stay with close family in a far land and explore more of the "mundane" but more realistic aspects of life in Bogotá- running errands, washing diapers, making meals, going to school, getting to church on the transmilenio busses and getting back with 7 people in a sedan, waiting at a panedería for copies to be made, sharing meals with neighbors, and did I mention changing diapers and burping and holding my adorable 3 week old niece?

      Alethia is a pretty relaxed baby and it seems she's getting visibly older every day :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Winter no longer!

It's been a pleasant spring here in the midwest! We had some unusually swell weather for Spring Break 2012! Kristi and I went on a typical spring break roadtrip except without most of the typical things.

classic college spring break:
  • road trip to Florida
  • eat out every night with grocery store snacks supplements
  • drinking
  • neon "Spring Break (insert year here)" t-shirts
  • group shots on the beach with the sunset
  • staying in condos/apartments/hotel rooms
  • lots of money spent
  • loud extroverted-type fun
our spring break:
  • road trip from Illinois to Illinois and Iowa (with half a day in Wisconsin thrown in there)
  • restaurant? I though food came from a box in the back of the car.
  • drink alcohol? We didn't even have enough water to drink to keep us healthy for a couple days.
  • we bought no souvenirs (unless you count the chicks but I won't go into that here), though we came back with a deer antler and a glass telephone pole insulator as well as a few cool rocks with fossils in them
  • beach? how about a swamp with a tarp instead of towels and some great sunsets and awesome starry night views
  • our commodities consisted of: tent with a dysfunctional roof (aka wet tent), a car, an old stone farm house on abbey grounds, and a couple of picnic tables
  • we spent some money on gas and we spent some of the rainy day fund on things like kiwi sherbet in Fulton or thrift store finds on our last day
  • we had our fair share of laughs and loud craziness but we had a great share of sitting and reading (and talking) wherever we were: on park benches or at picnic tables all over, in the middle of fields, in the tent, in the car, at the kitchen table, in the middle of a pond in a row boat...
The view from my window of the Mississippi river valley at the Abbey.

Also, we had the perfect weather- it was a summery March week! You kinda had to be there. :)


Since then we've had some more weeks of school plus a great 4 day weekend for Easter! It's always wonderful to go to Pella and see Grandma and Grandpa and I got to see Derek, too!