Oct 30, 2009

Books, Beauty, Beast, and Babbling

Yesterday I was asked if I would ever be interested in owning a Kindle. You have to admit, it's attractive. I am an avid book buyer/reader/hoarder. I bought countless amounts of books when By The Book began to liquidate the bookstore, and I have yet to read any of them. It just isn't the right time yet. I think it will be the right time someday, you just have to wait for it. If I tried to read Everything is Illuminated when I was in fact in a Walden mood, it just wouldn't work.

When I go on trips, I am terrified I will read all my books before the trip ends. So I always bring more books than I could possibly read. I pack two in my suitcase. I carry three on my person.

5 books in a 4 day weekend? It never happens.

1 book in a 4 day weekend? It never happens.

Reading 0 books in a 4 day weekend? Happens often.

So - a Kindle makes sense for me right? It enables my problem. It allows me to carry hundreds of books in one sleek, fashionable piece of technology.

There's just one problem.

I love books too much.

The stories, yes. Without them, I would have never known about Middle Earth or Hogwarts or Mercy and Sharing. I wouldn't know about the hospital in Srebrenica during the war, or what really happens with Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, or that child soldier rehabilitation really is possible. I wouldn't have become passionate about certain things without stories.

And on top of that, I love books. Libraries make me introspective. Books hold so much information, and they are beautiful. The smell of old books is incredible. The pages of new books make me excited - I get to be the first person to read the story here.

I am pretty sure that if someone ever wants me to fall in love with them, they need to watch Beauty and the Beast.

Oct 26, 2009

the wrecking ball

The last few days have been painful. The ache is tangible for somewhere other than here, but there is a new pain to be added to the mix.

It's the pain of learning you are wrong. I am weak. I am a sinner. I am messy.

But above all that I am prideful. That makes seeing weakness, sin, and mess very difficult to acknowledge.

I am in love with the people of Haiti. I miss the people of Haiti. I learned and grew and lived simply and joyfully. It is hard to come here, but I was reminded tonight that here is not my home. There is not my home either.

My home is with the Lord. I serve a Lord who loves me despite the fact that I look judgmentally on life, hiding behind my self-righteousness. I do desire to follow Him, and I am failing at it. But, as I am reminded every week at Redeemer, it has nothing to do with what I have done. I have nothing to merit my name. I have only Christ, and He has redeemed my soul from death.

The way he loves these precious ones, in the midst of the suffering without consistent meals or shelter from the rains...
The way he looks upon each child in Haiti, in every nation, how he knows every detail of their existence...
The way my parents' love for me and my siblings mirrors His love, but is only a slight reflection of the overwhelming love of Christ...
His love is stronger, bigger, immeasurable, immovable. stubborn. And that gives me hope because even though I can be stubborn and unmoved in my pride, His love wins. Every time.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Lord, may your power rest upon me in the coming days.

Oct 25, 2009

hold your mistake up

Today I wrote a lot of negative blogs. I started three of them in fact. I talked candidly about the messiness of my heart with some dear friends in my life this afternoon. My heart aches for the place where I felt lived among joy and freedom and openly broken people.

I miss cuddling with these girls every week. I have never felt so loved.

I miss everything about this girl. Thank goodness for skype and January 5th!

And yet, when the pain and the ache is so tangible, I am so blessed and reminded of the Lord's faithfulness and sovereignty when I am with these girls.
And most of all I get to celebrate time with my family, perhaps the greatest reminder of the fact that I am dearly loved by an unfathomable Lord.

without thy sweet mercy, i could not live here
sin would reduce me to utter despair
but through thy free goodness my spirit revives
and he that first made me still keeps me alive.

thy mercy is more than a match for my heart
which wonders to feel its own hardness depart.
dissolved by thy goodness, i fall to the ground
and weep for the praise of the mercy i've found.

Oct 24, 2009

Counting down.

There are some things that I really, really, really don't like. I am angry at the moment, so I want to say hate, but I won't. I will not let my emotions rule me, darn it!

Mostly it centers around one thing: America.

No, the western world.

I don't like it when people demand things rather than ask for them.

When people are inconsiderate of each other.

When 14 year olds talk about me to my face.

When people spend more money on worthless crap, on getting whatever is bigger and better at the moment.

When college life means so much that I don't want it to mean. I don't belong here. I can't belong here. All I want to do is leave, get out and leave it behind. I don't think I would give it a second thought if I didn't find the diploma something I sort of needed for the next step in my life.

I feel a lot better now - and I realize most of this has nothing to do with the western world, but something much deeper.

I miss the nights sitting at the Cistern and watching the lights of Port-au-Prince across the water.

I miss Jean Marc playing guitar in Diana's apartment.

I miss learning Creole in the pharmacy, giving people medicine.

I miss walking through villages and meeting new faces every time.

I miss walking through villages and seeing the same faces.

I miss the rain and thunder and lightening.

And walks with Diana.

And playing ball with Trigger.

And the Hope House kids.

And my four-wheeler that never stayed turned on but had to be popped into first while holding down the gas.

And tonight, I miss the rest. The ability to draw away, to be alone, to recharge, to sleep long and hard, and to wake up without any fear of missing an ounce of life, because the sun is just beginning to peak over the mountain behind the house. And where a new day starts with the same cup of coffee.

...even if it does use powdered creamer.

Oct 23, 2009

New Directions

I have transplanted over. Why you may ask? Simple...I made up my blog name years ago - and I got sick of it. It was too hard to direct people to, too complicated to explain. So...I changed it. New Directions!

Anyone get the Glee reference?

Speaking of Glee, I love it. It is so silly, so dramatic and traumatic, so musically addictive. I mean, Don't Stop Believing has never sounded so good. Or made me such a runner! Seriously, it will make you a runner. So inspirational.

I would like to start a glee club at Jewell. Better yet, I would like to be in some adult glee club after college. Yeah! Better start looking.

I have so much I want to blog about: fall leaves, running, Colorado, freedom, some other things. But I am working right now and probably shouldn't. Coming soon, however, you shall find these thoughts of mine spilt onto the pages of the internet for all to read.

Only 6.5 weeks. YES.

Oct 15, 2009

October 15, 2009

If I say birth, it probably conjures up some disturbing, painful, smelly, or unpleasant memories/images. You may think of the video they show in Sex Ed. You may think of the idea that it feels like pooping out a basketball. Apparently, that is somewhat close to how it feels. Or you may have some other things come to mind. I'll leave those to you.

Today I went to my last day of clinical in OB or labor & delivery or however you choose to call it. I have had a great 5 weeks on the floor. I put in catheters! I held lots of babies! I made beds and answered call lights and refilled water jugs and started showers and learned a lot about breast feeding. I would trade all of that for today.

I went into the room on the floor and met the couple at 6:00 this morning. The doctor came in and broke her water, and she was dilated to 4 cm. It's that point in labor where you transition into active labor - everything is getting started, and people get excited. The mom was happy and calm. She sat up, laid on her side, laughed at jokes.

2 hours go by. We came into to "check her", meaning see if she had dilated. Her epidural had kicked in, and she couldn't feel anything. You know what that means people...I GET TO CHECK HER. I felt a 6 cm cervix. 2 hours later, 2 centimeters. Good progress.

Take a break...watch a C-Section on a different couple. The doctor talked me through the process after they got the baby out. I was struck by the unfair advantage the dad has over the mom. I mean, she does the work over the 9 months. Sure, he puts up with mood swings and cravings, but she gets the back pain and swollen ankles and diet restrictions. Anything she does or does not do potentially hurts the baby. Then she gets strapped onto a table and gets the baby cut out of her, laying there while they stitch her up while the dad gets to take pictures and make sure the baby is alright. He stands by, proud, while doctors and nurses control bleeding and stitch up a uterus, then the abdominal muscles, then the fat layer, then the skin. I leave as the mom finally gets to hold her baby - close to 30 minutes following delivery. SHE HAS TO WAIT 30 MINUTES BEFORE SHE GETS TO HOLD HER BABY. Needless to say, I left slightly in a huff. Though the procedure was fascinating to watch.

Return to my couple's room. 2 hours later...and she's dilated to 6 cm still. No change. So we started her on pitocin, against her initial wishes, though she decides she is alright with starting pitocin, as long as it doesn't hurt the baby. The entire day the mom asks whether what her decision is affects the baby. The couple are so invested in this little life they have yet to see. What a beautiful thought.

Move along. Dilated to 8 cm. Eat lunch. Dilated to 9 cm. I check on her 30 minutes later to find her no longer calm, no longer cheerful, but in tears. She is frustrated. She is unhappy. She is in pain. And she is so ready to have this baby.

9.5 cm.

An hour later...10 CENTIMETERS.

And then the work really begins. Take apart the bed, pull up the stirrups, and push. Teach how to push. Deep breath in, push it out. Soothe, correct, encourage, repeat. I stood uncomfortably at the foot of the bed, holding one of her feet, pushing my weight against hers as she pushed.

The cheer is gone, the pain is worse. Next comes anger and frustration. Some common phrases I heard:
"I can't do this."
"It's too hard."
"Can't you just pull it out?"
"Give me a C-Section!"
"Give me a stronger epidural?"
"I'm too tired."
"Please don't make me do this anymore."

Scan to the dad's face. It's white. He's trying to be encouraging. He tries to comfort her, and she pushes him away. She tells him they are never having another baby. Then she refuses to push.

Meanwhile, her temperature is rising, and so is the baby's heart rate. There is meconium (baby's stool in the amniotic fluid in utero) in the fluid, meaning the baby could have breathed it in. That means potential problems. The nurse gets a little more antsy, insisting the baby has to come now, so it was time to stop saying she couldn't and tell herself she could and would.

Somehow my hand was grabbed. Somehow my head ended up by the mom's. And somehow I found myself looking her in the eye and telling her to push. I had no idea what I was saying most of the time, I was just telling her she could do it. And I believed she could. I had watched her come this far. I knew she could make it the rest of the way. Plus, I could see the top of the baby's head.

And on it went for about another 30 minutes. Until finally, the head was out, out popped one shoulder, then another. Then the rest of the body was out, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

But then something wasn't right. The doctor cut the cord, not the dad. The 2 NICU nurses took the baby and started working. I started to watch until the mom started to panic.

"Why isn't she crying? What's wrong?"

The nurse begins to try to calm her, and the mom begins to cry. The dad starts to cry. And then, believe it or not, I start to cry. Because I am hearing nothing from the baby. And I am hearing one of the nurses say "The baby isn't responding." Too quietly for the parents to hear, but I hear it.

So the mom is asking me what is wrong, and I have no idea. And I am looking around the room and praying my hardest that baby girl survives. Because throughout the day I have begun to love her and to love her parents. And after all this work, after the fight of the last 9 months, they deserve to have their baby alive. And they deserve to have a healthy baby.

And then, at minute 2:38, the gasp happens. And she cries.

And then we all cry.

And mom is pleasant again. She thanks me again and again for holding her hand and for coaching her through it. And I just tell her how grateful I am for the day with their family. I take their family picture, then I say my goodbyes. It's 15 minutes past my time to leave. But I am stopped by the mom...

"But you have to get your picture with her!"

Meaning the baby. So I scooped up all 8 lbs, 14 ounces of cuddly goodness and smiled.

I walked out of the room, a little stunned, rather joyful, and mostly emotional.

I think I found something that could keep me in hospitals a little longer than anticipated.

Oct 14, 2009

Ramble, grumble, and anticipate

I am sitting at my dining room table. My foot is shaking nervously. I am antsy. I change my position frequently. I look around the room, switching songs 30 seconds in, trying to distract myself from the present dilemma.

Then I decide to look at Craigslist. I am finding the perfect apartments. I am finding the perfect puppies. The weather will hold for a few more weeks. My heart is ready today. It is time, says the biological clock - not in the sense of...you know, biology. More the internal rhythm has settled here for too long. I like Kansas City. I would come back and live in Kansas City. But now - now it is time for things to change.

Kansas City has been good to be for the last 6+ years. I can't believe it's been this long. I think the day I leave here will be a sad day. But my gut tells me that something waits outside the realm of the city lights. Something's out there - and I think I have touched on it before, it's just figuring out where it is.

Friday marks 25% completion of this final year. Go back to getting off the plane at MCI, mourning the return from Haiti, but shrieking and hugging my mom so tightly in the airport. Then go forward to this point. So much has happened in those short 7 weeks. And so much more will happen in the following 7 weeks.

I don't want to figure out my life. I don't want to make a new plan. I don't want to have a place lined up. I just want to be able to live life with my family. It is the most recent development in my mind. I miss them so tangibly. I am antsy with the idea that the day after tomorrow I will be driving up to my parent's house, spending the weekend with dear friends in a new town. Exploring the possibilities with some guidance from a seasoned veteran of Colorado Springs.

I'll breathe in some cleaner air and pray again for patience and direction and peace in my place. What a shame it would be to waste the remaining 75% to only find I have nothing figured out, and I am actually scared out of my mind.

That's the key. I am scared. I am lost. And I am ready.

Oct 12, 2009


"The spaces left undefined by technology and the fields where industry has yet to obscure - that is where God has the room to speak and heal..."

since we are surrounded

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
(Isaiah 26:3)

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!...
Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord...
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
(Psalm 34:4-14)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight,
and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus,
the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

When you have friends in your life that point you to the Lord, whose lives reflect so tangibly the Love, the Joy, the Peace, and the Unconditional, then you begin to see it. And you begin to believe it. And it is only a first taste.

The Lord has been infinitely good to me. I have seen and experienced Him more closely this weekend than in a good long while. And I am beginning to comprehend, on a slight scale, that I am an undeserving sinner that warrants nothing, and I am receiving instead the fullness of Christ. Only because He loves me that much.

And if that's the truth, what freedom comes alongside.

Oct 2, 2009

there has to be some life lesson here

I think I may have been hit by a bus. I feel completely unable to function.

Side note: I am in a random coffee shop, watching this guy try and instruct his companion on wrist braces. He doesn't look old enough to have the appropriate knowledge on the subject. I am pretty sure he is only doing it so he has an excuse to hold her hand. It is extra funny since the other guy who is there looks like a third wheel. Poor dude.

I forgot my headphones. Darn it. Forget about focusing.

Oh wait, I think the third wheel and the girl are actually dating. AWKWARD.

Back to my point, getting hit by a bus. My eyes don't stay open. My contacts aren't in their case long enough overnight to get properly cleaned, so my contacts have fingerprints on them. They stick to my eyes. I can't see, and I can't keep my eyes open. I mean, the past two days have been worth it. I got to sing a lot of harmonies and be friends with people...and I got to see a baby be born.

It wasn't the first birth I have seen, but it was the first birth that I went from admission to delivery. It. Was. Incredible.

First of all, if you are a lady and plan on having a baby, you can do it. With or without an epidural (preferably without), your body is capable of doing it.

Second of all, never tell yourself you can't do it. Labor takes a lot longer.

Third of all, meeting baby in the end of the pain is, from what I saw, totally worth it. And you will weep. Unless you have no soul or a very small capacity for being moved by beauty.

I really won't judge you if you don't cry when you see birth. Though, I will be very tempted to do so.

Tonight I am going to childbirth class for couples expecting multiples. What? I am really excited and also very skeptical because I can't stay awake. Thus I am in said random coffee shop with their bottomless cup of coffee. Get ready colon, cleansing's coming.

I did just write that. I have no tact at this point.

FREEBALL FRIDAY everyone. Love your life.