Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Let it Snow

*Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!*

My dad, his mom, and his siblings on Thanksgiving

The same spot in the backyard, one month later on Christmas!

Apparently, this snowstorm was kind of a big deal. The Omaha World-Herald stated, "The Christmas blizzard that left all that snow will be studied by meteorologists for years because of its unusual aspects."

For example:

*Instead of one storm center, there were multiple waves moving around each other in the middle of the main storm system.

*Blizzard conditions stretched from Oklahoma to the Dakotas.

*Snow and wind lasted at least 48 hours. Typically a winter storm blows in, then out.

*A tightly wound storm center produced intense winds, brought in a lot of moisture and played havoc with temperatures.

*Finally, this storm system was so strong and so large, it pulled moisture in from the Atlantic, which is extremely rare.

Christmas Blizzard

I love the dazzling white of a good snow. It can even make the naked trees look a richer shade of brown. Ross and I left Kansas City in the gray rain on Christmas Eve and arrived in Omaha with the whirling snow and wind. Ross greatly enjoyed employing the 4x4 drive in his truck, that's for sure!

Christmas Day, we were very lucky in that we really didn't have any place to go, so we enjoyed being snowed in!

Standing in a snowdrift up to my hips!

My brothers' annual igloo

Snowfall on the previously clear street

White Christmas 2009

We had Christmas as my Grandma and Grandpa Schekirke's house on the 26th and got to see (almost) the whole family.

My cousins Jimmy and Tommy love Ross!

On Dec. 27, Ross and I drove back to Kansas City (this was Christmas Travel Plan D, I believe) and we're still adjusting to the snow, cold, and dry air! I guess Mother Nature heard me complaining about how I didn't see any snow last year. Boy, have I seen some this winter! (Now, before you go blaming me for living in Texas, let me say that it ALSO snowed in Fort Worth and Amarillo this Christmas. So there.) If only we had been snowed in at the farm, I bet it's beautiful there!

In closing, I hope you had a blessed and warm Christmas season, filled with joy. Sweet baby Avery (daughter to our awesome Texas friends Brittnye and Evan Hartfield) certainly did!

*I hope you never lose your sense of wonder* -LeAnn Rimes

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Love is Raining Down on the World Tonight

My last few posts were blatantly materialistic, a sad reflection of Christmas these days. However, we all know there's a deeper meaning to Christmas and despite any presents we may receive, we're so blessed to have warm homes, warm memories, and warm food to share this week.

One of my favorite Christmas songs is called "God is With Us," and I didn't hear it until last year. I don't know who sang it first, but I love my Casting Crowns version. You should download it if you've never heard it!

The skies don't seem to be as dark as usual
The stars seem brighter than they've been before
And deep within I feel my soul is stirring
As though my hope has been restored

The shepherds say they've heard the voice of angels
Confirming rumors spread across the land
That a child protected well from Herod's anger
Is our Father's Son and the Son of Man

Love is raining down on the world tonight
There's a presence here I can tell
God is in us
God is for us
God is with us, Emmanuel

He's the savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts, He will dwell
God is in us
God is for us
God is with us, Emmanuel

I feel compelled to tell all who will listen
That peace on Earth is not so out of reach
If we can find grace and mercy and forgiveness
He has come to say He is all of these

Love is raining down on the world tonight
There's a presence here I can tell
God is in us
God is for us
God is with us, Emmanuel

He's the savior we have been praying for
In our humble hearts, He will dwell
God is in us
God is for us
God is with us, Emmanuel

Christmas celebration in Texas with the Dansby family

Saturday, December 19, 2009


First off, let me say that I never watch late-night television and I am by no means endorsing any sort of Letterman-esque scandal. However, I happened to catch this on TV the other night in Amarillo and I thought it was pretty darn funny!

This toy cupcake was priced at $25,000 in this winter's Niemann Marcus catalogue-- more than 5x what my Honda is worth! Ahh, 24 volts of electric cupcake goodness. Powered with clean, green energy nonetheless. Man, did I make an uninformed Christmas gift list this year!

(Disclaimer: I'm actually very excited about the books I have on my Christmas list and the awesome gifts I've already received from Ross' sister and parents, but if I had a spare $25,000...)

Friday, December 18, 2009

One Week to Christmas

*It is, indeed, the season of regenerated feeling-- the season for kindling, not merely the fire of hospitality in the hall, but the genial flame of charity in the heart.*
-Washington Irving

What could be more creative and quaint than giving the "12 Days of Christmas" to your true love? People out there have actually been calculating this cost (the "Christmas Price Index") for 28 years! Click here to see the breakdown.

Some more Christmas numbers:

*32 MPH: The top speed of a reindeer

*778 hours: The amount of time it would take a reindeer to fly around the world at that pace

*-128.6 F: The lowest official temperature recorded on earth in Vostok, Antarctica, in 1983. Baby, THAT'S cold outside!

*30-35 million: The number of live Christmas trees sold each year in the United States

*15 years: The average amount of time Christmas trees usually grow before they're sold

*16: The number of extra postmen hired in 1822 Washington, DC, to handle the extra Christmas mail

*1895: The first year electric lights were used on Christmas trees

*5,340: The average number of Visa cards used every minute during the Christmas buying season

*70%: The percentage of annual revenue many retailers make in the month preceding Christmas

*5 million tons: the amount of trash produced by Americans between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I was reading an article on memory in Real Simple magazine and I came upon this excerpt: Contemporary existence demands so much splitting of attention―between phone calls, e-mails, text messages, [Facebook], and the constant allure of online shopping, not to mention TV and DVDs―that only the most strong-willed go through life in an undistracted fashion. The problem in turn with being so distracted is that we inhabit daily experience in an absentminded mode and, as a result, have more difficulty forming strong memories, as though the passing moment didn’t leave enough of a trace.

Anyone else feel like this is talking about them?! I am SO absentminded, and I'm always anxious when something good happens because I'm trying to plant it in my memory before it leaves and my mundane day-to-day life returns. I can't blame my scatterbriain, anxiety, and poor memory all on night shift, although it does exacerbate things. I find myself making lists and notes on scraps of paper at work and then I bring them home and they disappear. Partly due to me forgetting where I put things, but also thanks to Ross' compulsion to put things in neat piles where I never find them again. (Or even worse, the trash can).

We're headed to Amarillo this morning (Monday) when I get off work. I get out of the NICU at 7:30am but then I have to go to the super fun (NOT) annual Competency Fair and who knows how long that will take! I may be grumpy, hungry, and tired when I get home and I am going to try to sleep in the car instead of my comfy bed. Ross will have to drive 9 hours with a grumpy wife. Pray for both of us and our sanity!

The good news is, we get to celebrate Christmas in Texas for 5 days. Hopefully that gets us out of the funk we're in! (Ross keeps insisting he's not mad at me, but I know better. I don't do the dishes when I'm working more than one night shift in a row.)

Friday, December 11, 2009


I'm watching the first 5 Harry Potter movies (still need to buy Half Blood Prince), for what seems like the hundredth time, in the wee hours* of the morning because I worked last night and now I can't sleep. Also, words like "tonight", "last night", and "tomorrow" have started to confuse me. I go to work on a Wednesday evening, come home, take a nap, and suddenly "tomorrow" is Friday! How much more eloquently** a professional writer can say such things:
by Emily Dickinson
Will there really be a "Morning"?
Is there such a thing as "Day"?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?
Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?
Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Men from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called "Morning" lies!
*Technically, 2am isn't a "wee hour" to me any more. That's more like 4-5am. Plenty of "normal" people (including all college students) are still awake at 2am.
**Don't you love how the word "eloquent" sounds exactly like what it means?!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

hy⋅po⋅chon⋅dri⋅a (noun)

1. Also, hy⋅po⋅chon⋅dri⋅a⋅sis  /ˌhaɪpoʊkənˈdraɪəsɪs/ Psychiatry. an excessive preoccupation with one's health, usually focusing on some particular symptom.
2. excessive worry or talk about one's health.
According to research from Carnegie Mellon University, sleeping less than 7 hours triples your risk of catching a cold compared with somebody who gets eight or more hours, likely due to decreased immune activity. I'm obsessed with washing my hands and taking vitamin C, so I haven't gotten a cold yet, but I'll keep you posted ;-) And I'd better not get the flu with all the shots I've had!
Furthermore,the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism states that two weeks of sleeping less than six hours a night can increase insulin resistance and reduce glucose tolerance. Coupled with "treats" that everyone brings to work, this is probably leading to my sugar hangovers and extreme laziness on my days off.
(Just FYI, in case you'd like some reasoning as to why I seem to have fallen off the face of the earth.)

Black Hole

Ah, night shift, my old nemesis. I've been working 7pm-7:30am three or four days a week for five weeks now and all the symptoms of night-shift-sickness have come flooding back to me. I had blocked this particular affliction from my memory, but now it's come back in all its vivid glory. Symptoms include:
-feeling great at work, when around other people on the same schedule, but feeling "off" anywhere else
-body aches, nausea, dizziness, exhaustion
-extreme clumsiness with bruises to prove it
-the inability to complete a train of thought or express yourself
-feeling an overwhelming need to make lists because thoughts don't stay in your head for more than a second (two seconds, if you're lucky)
-mental confusion and losing your train of thought in the middle of a sentence
-forgetting basic things, such as your address
-forgetting everyday things such as the day of week, accomplishing a daily task, or forgetting what you were about to type...
-forgetting basic grammar, syntax, and vocabulary
-the inability to carry on a normal conversation
-apologizing to anyone and everyone for your problems and your inability to adjust to a normal schedule on your days off
-did I mention body aches, dizziness, nausea, and exhaustion?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

We are pleased to inform you...

Ross finally heard back from the University of Kansas and he's in! He will officially start the MA in Design Management/Interaction Design program this January. He called the admissions office Monday morning (as usual) and the guy in charge said the design department was having their meeting at noon and Ross should hear by 1:30. Of course, he had no e-mails at 1:30 and he sat anxiously in front of his computer all day refreshing his e-mail.

At 5pm he had something in his inbox from Admissions and we opened it together. As soon as he read, "we are pleased to inform you," he slumped over and breathed a huge sigh of relief! It's been a long wait considering we were supposed to find out by the end of October. I can't imagine the stress he's been under and the mind games he's been playing with himself. As for me, I had given up on the department altogether and resigned myself to the belief that they weren't going to meet in time and NO ONE would be starting the program this spring. I'm so glad I was wrong!

In other news, we just got back from a long, relaxing Thanksgiving vacation in Omaha. It was so great to see my family. I hadn't seen a lot of them in over a year!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy (late) Thanksgiving!

I'm embarrassed I didn't actually finish my week of thankfulness on Thanksgiving, so here goes. I'm thankful for...

-a safe drive to Omaha on Thanksgiving.

-all the wonderful cooks in my family.

-TCU's final win of the regular season! (Against Ross' dad's alma mater no less).

-my parents and grandparents. How does a girl get so lucky?!

-my sweet youngest cousins Libby, Jimmy, and Tommy. They're always so much fun!

-the fact that Emily Gilmore and I were in town at the same time and got to go running outside in perfect weather!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I'm thankful for...

-The wonderful dinner Ross made for me before I went to work last night.

-6 days off after working five 12-hour night shifts in a row!

-the fact that Ross got Sunday off of work so he can at least have a holiday weekend, if not the actual day of Thanksgiving off!

-my health and the health of those I love. Every day I learn that I am so blessed and I take it all for granted, but in an instant anything could change.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week of Thanksgiving

To continue, I am so very thankful for...

-my Lord. He died that I might live and I can never do anything to deserve such love.

-my husband. Ross is so great! I know he was dreading night shift like I was, but he's been very patient with mood swings and very understanding of my schedule.

-Ross' job. He's going to be working a lot this week, but I know he's glad to be employed.


-parents who care so much about me driving safely to Omaha for Thanksgiving after working night shift.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today I'm thankful for...


-Ross, who sleeps on my side of the bed while I'm working night shift so it's warm when I come home in the morning. (I know that's probably sickeningly sweet, but I like it!)

-good books.

-yummy Cheerios and yogurt for breakfast.

-the miracle baby I took care of last night. Extubated (on purpose) at 26 weeks and doing great!

-the fact that it only takes about ten minutes to drive to work.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The list continues

I am thankful for (in no particular order)...

-anything that makes me laugh!

-the internet.

-Ross' job at Old Navy and the consequent discounts at Banana Republic and Gap. It's taken all my willpower not to go shopping yet.

-clean water. WATER IS GOOD!

-such a great preceptor at work. I love Kathy Cathey! (Yep, her husband's last name is Cathey and she took it).

-night shift people being so fun. At least it partially makes up for the fact that we're all at work at 4am.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cake Wrecks

After posting last night, I spent 5 hours (yep, five) looking at cake wrecks online and went to bed in a considerably better mood! Instead of a whiny post today, I'm going to start listing a few things I'm thankful for. After all, Thanksgiving is less than a week away :o)

I am thankful for...

-my family. I realize not everyone can say this, but I have been incredibly blessed.

-my friends. They know that just because I'm bad at keeping in touch doesn't mean I don't care!

-dishwashers (seriously, I should never complain about loading/unloading the dishwasher when you consider the alternative).

-heating and air conditioning.

-the fact that I have a job, despite the stress it brings.

-the babies I take care of! Like Don Herald said, "Babies are such a nice way to start people."

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Thanks to facebook postings, I had a craving for Piranha Sushi today. Problem is, it's 12 hours away in downtown Cowtown. However, thanks to some KC contacts I got wind of Nara Sushi in the Crossroads District of KC. It's not Piranha, of course, but it's a close second and I'm very excited we found it!
In other news, still nothing from KU. You'd think a graduate school program would be more on top of things.
Last week I blogged about how much I love sunshine, and it's been raining ever since. Until today. Yay!
I go back to work tomorrow and I feel like I have had way too many days off. Yet I didn't enjoy them because I can't fall asleep before 2am now and don't sleep well. I'm so over night shift.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart
and try to love the questions themselves, like locked
rooms and like books that are now written in a very
foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot
be given you because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions
now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it,
live your way into the answer."
—Rainer Maria Rilke

Also a few minor updates:
-I am DEFINITELY going to India this February, after some wavering over the decision due to financial constraints. However, the Lord provides and the woman in charge of the mission is so convinced I need to be there that she has been fundraising on my behalf! I applied for the Christ Chapel scholarship and got it, so with that and a CCBC doctor's donations, I'm already up to $800!
-STILL no word from grad school.
-Ross has started orientation with Old Navy.
-My best friend from high school (and fellow Horned Frog), Emily Gilmore, lives in Connecticut now and we have been commiserating about how much we miss Fort Worth. We also need something to get us through the dark winters "up north" so we're going to start training for the 2011 Cowtown Marathon. 26 miles for our 26th birthdays! (Hers is in December 2010 and mine is in April 2011, so the marathon in February will be in the middle). I'm very thankful that Ross is willing to work out with me, and Emily has a gym 2 buildings down from her apartment, so we'll keep each other motivated from afar.
-Speaking of Horned Frogs, what an amazing week! This weekend's game had the biggest crowd in TCU football history AND in ESPN Gameday history. What a bad time to have just moved AWAY from Fort Worth! Can't wait to see the BCS polls tomorrow.
-And speaking of moving, my friend Brittnye pointed out that tomorrow makes ONE MONTH IN KANSAS already. Whew!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reasons to Believe

Sorry my last post was such a downer! In talking to several friends since then, I've realized life is pretty good. Sure, I'm stressed out and tired and things could be better, but things could also be a lot worse. I just shouldn't write when I'm going on 24 hours with no sleep. Fortunately, I have slept since then and things are looking up.

Ross still hasn't heard from grad school. We call weekly now, and the admissions guy is getting frustrated with the Interaction Design department as well. However, I get paid tomorrow for the first time in a month! I only took one day off between my old job and my new job, but my new hospital's paycheck system is very post-dated.

Possibly the best news, though, is that Ross got a job! Two, actually. Old Navy hired him as a seasonal employee and a valet company hired him to work in the Plaza. He's so excited to be a working man again, but I have to admit I'm really going to miss hanging out with him on my days off. We have spent A LOT of time together lately. We don't have a social life in KC and with me working nights and him being home, we're pleasantly surprised we haven't gotten sick of each other, despite our individual personalities needing "alone time" to recharge.

Sunshine has helped my attitude as well. I love sunshine! Our first week here was gloomy and rainy and cold but since then, it's been sunny and in the 70s! I'm sure if we had TV channels, we'd hear every KC weatherman parroting the phrase, "unseasonably warm." Even Omaha was gorgeous, warm, and bright when we visited last week. Reminds me of Ft. Worth. I'll enjoy it while I can because I'm sure Midwest Winter will attack eventually.

In addition to all of this good news, Ross and I have started running. There are several beautiful parks around and I very much needed to start working out again. With all of these factors combined, I feel that instead of singing "a long December," there's actually "reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last." (Counting Crows song. Good stuff.)

I was reading a novel recently (Ross and I have already joined the local library) and these words stood out to me:

"There is no point in treating a depressed person
as though she were just feeling sad, saying, 'There now,
hang on, you'll get over it.'Sadness is more or less
like a head cold-- with patience, it passes.
Depression is like cancer." -Barbara Kingsolver in The Bean Trees

I understand depression, I've walked around in it and slept with it and spent entirely too much time with it in the last ten years. But I'm cautiously optimistic at this point. While moving was a great sadness, I will be okay this winter.

There are perks to living in Kansas City. It's only three hours to Omaha, for one. Ross and I had a great visit last week. My entire family ate dinner together on a non-holiday! It's been rare for all 6 of us to be in Omaha at the same time ever since I left for Texas and Tommy (I can't believe I have a brother turning 23 years old tomorrow!) chose a school in California. But now it looks like we're making our way back home. Home being where our family is. It's no coincidence that since Tommy and I were most affected by moving so much when we were little, neither of us felt too tied to Omaha after high school. It was much easier to go to schools in other states. It's good to be back though (she sighed, reluctantly).

I'm also excited to spend more time with my grandparents. I just learned how to make my Grandma's famous homemade bread. I need to try it on my own and see how it turns out! As for Ross, he has never lived near grandparents and mine have just taken him right in. It's fun to listen to him talk to them and learn all sorts of things about the past that I just took for granted.

Speaking of the past, my mom has been into old pictures lately. My Grandma Ginny (my dad's mom) is a great historian and has given us several nice old pictures over the years. My mom wanted some from her side of the family, so her parents brought over boxes and CDs when we invited them to dinner. The oldest pictures haven't been scanned it yet, but I got some good shots of my grandparents when they were my age as well as some hilarious photos of my mom and her two older siblings growing up! Next time I'm home, I'll post some with Aunt Kate and Aunt Susie (my mom's younger siblings) and pictures from my dad's side as well. For now, hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Monday, November 9, 2009

It still hits out of the blue...

I just saw via facebook (of course) that my friend Elizabeth is visiting Fort Worth soon. I was so excited! Then I realized... wait... now I'M not in Fort Worth. And I'm left feeling doubly sad.
Ross and I just spent a fun, albeit brief weekend in Omaha and it was so weird to keep thinking that I did NOT have a 12 hour drive home afterwards. Bittersweet, that's for sure. However, I'm loving this weather! I guess it's making up for the miserable cold rain that we had the week we moved up to KC. Now I'm at work on zero sleep... not the best way to end the weekend.
Also not good: we did not have any mail from KU when we got back this afternoon! Ross' acceptance letter should've been here last week... and now this week... They only have 15 applicants. Just make a decision, people!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Night shift makes me very contemplative, but it dampens my thought process at the same time. Tonight is the last night of five 12-hour shifts in a row. That means 60 hours of work in 5 days, during which most people were asleep! (I don't know how some people work 60 hours a week, every week). I'm exhausted, yet it's weird to think that when I'm off work, I have absolutely NO plans. How do you fill a day when you don't have school or kids or pets? How do you make a day useful/valuable/worthwile instead just watching re-runs to pass the time? Life is such a wonderful gift and I can't tell you how many days I have spent just "passing time"! It's kind of depressing.

Right before we moved out of Fort Worth, Christ Chapel was talking about a medical mission trip to India this spring. I really wanted to get involved, but with the move I didn't think I should try to be a part of a group residing in another state. However, the organizer contacted me this week saying they were desperate for more nurses! I'm going to apply for the "scholarship" and hopefully go to India February 11-21. I'm so excited! I'd been looking into Mercy Ships and Doctors Without Borders. I've been a nurse almost 2 years now. It's time to use my skills and my blessed education for a greater good.

Speaking of education, we're still waiting to hear from grad school. I can tell Ross is getting very restless and he's also frustrated that he has a college degree and can't find a job! If anyone has connections in KC, we'd be so grateful. He wants a job in the architecture/design/art realm, but at this point any job will do.

We have a lot going on right now and it's hard to put all of it into words. I often read something and it will strike a spark of recognition in my mind: 'yes, that IS the idea I was trying to form into words!' Therefore, I basically collect quotes. Here are a few that apply to my life right now.

*Tough times never last, but tough people do.*
-Robert H. Schuller

*Babies are such a nice way to start people.*
-Don Herrold

*Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate*
-Captain Jack Sparrow

*Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure).*
-Elizabeth Gilbert

*Who knows whether we have come into the kingdom for such a time as this*
-Esther 4:14

*For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin-- real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time to still be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. Happiness is a Journey, not a Destination.*
-Alfred D. Souza

Monday, November 2, 2009

Missing my first hospital

I miss my old hospital terribly. I miss the comeraderie with my co-workers there and I miss the Neonataologists and NNPs there.

I also miss paper charting, but my old NICU was doing away with that anyway. Online charting is neater, more professional, and allows for more variation and flexibility, but I liked being able to glance at my flowsheet and know immediately if I forgot to fill something in or if I'd gotten behind.

Let me tell you what I like about the my new hospital as a whole, though. Ten years ago, the hospital was on the verge of getting shut down. Patient satisfaction was in the bottom 5% in the nation, funds were non-existant, and no one wanted to refer patients here because patient outcomes were so poor.

Due to a major re-structuring, it's hard to identify the hospital now with its condition a decade ago:
1.) We are a Magnet hospital, which I have mentioned before. This means that both the nursing staff and hospital have exceeded more than 150 professional standards of excellence. Magnet hospitals exemplify the best patient care and outcomes.
2.) We currently rank in the top 10 percent of more than 200 teaching hospitals in the country using the Press-Ganey survey.
3.) The hospital is ranked 56th among the nation's top 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare.
4.) We are number 2 amoung the nation's most prestigious academic medical centers in quality and safets, according to UHC's 2009 Quality and Accountability Study. This recognizes high-quality, safe, effective, efficient, and equitable care.

I finally finished my 7-day hospital orientation and this is my 3rd night on the actual unit. Night 3 of 5 in a row. That oughta' get me back into the night shift state of mind pretty quickly! In fact, it has already, in case you can't tell by this disorganized post :o)

Friday, October 30, 2009

School Update

Ross and I have been waiting on tether hooks for his grad school acceptance letter. They were supposed to be out by the end of October. Fifteen students applied for the Interaction Design program and they are only accepting 7. This week has been stressful waiting for that, knowing I have night shift looming in front of me, and trying to manage the fact that even though I started work at my new hospital October 19, I don't get paid until November 13!

Today, Ross got an e-mail saying that things are going "slower than expected" and we should hear by the end of next week now. I guess there's nothing to do but wait some more! He's also getting antsy because while he got a job offer last week to work 35-40 hours a week, the manager has yet to call and put him on the schedule.

Needless to say, our little apartment has been fulled with stress and we're getting on each other's nerves. Please pray for peace in our household!

Back to Work

I'm finally done with 7 days of hospital/nursing orientation and sitting in classrooms. Tomorrow night, I have my first shift in almost 2 weeks. I'm ready to meet "my" new babies!

When I started work as a new grad, I worked night shift for 9 months. I learned a lot, I LOVED my co-workers, but it wore me out and broke me down. I don't even remember that summer because I was either asleep or working through it. Time warps depress me but this time I'm married and don't live alone, so I'm PRAYING things go better.

I'm just trying to stay up right now so I can sleep in/take a nap tomorrow. Here are some musings on nursing for you since I don't have anything else interesting to say.

Nursing means...
You will never be bored.
You will always be frustrated.
So much to do and so little time.
You will carry immense responsibility
and very little authority.
You will step into people’s lives
and you will make a difference.
Some will bless you.
Some will curse you.
You will see people at their worst--
and at their best.
You will never cease to be amazed
at people’s capacity for
love, courage, and endurance.
You will see life begin-- and end.
You will experience resounding triumphs
and devastating failures.
You will cry a lot.
You will laugh a lot.
You will know what it is to be human
and to be humane.
(Melodie Chenevert)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Busy Bees

Big day today:

1. I got my H1N1 vaccine via injection (FINALLY! None of that nasal stuff for me!)

2. I am OFFICIALLY Mrs. Therese Dansby. Ross didn't think I was really going to 'get around' to changing my name, so I made him come to the social security office with me... and the driver's license office... and the bank.

Monday, October 26, 2009


The Lord is faithful; He gives us what we need. Every perfect gift from Him is perfect, indeed. Gotta' love iPod song shuffle! This song has gotten me through some rough times, and I pray that it gets me through this one.

by Jason Mraz

It's something like, 'I apologize'
It's something I still can't decide
But I know it gets better
It only gets better

And I want to say that it's not always easy
but it's simple that way
and i want to stay and play it out
But I still have my doubts
So you say it gets better
it only gets better
better this way
better, maybe it's better this way

Beautiful things they never stay, oh, the same way
they pass, oh they pass away, they always change
Who are we, is who we are
when the act of love can get us so far
so good, I wish you would
think twice on me
'cause it only gets better

It only gets better
better this way
better, maybe it's better this way
just give it some time
just give it some space
just give it some time, maybe it's better this way
just give it some time
just give it some space
just give it some time, maybe it's better this way

Just give it some time
just give it some space
maybe, yes maybe, yes maybe, yes maybe
it's better, oh, this way
Promise me you'll always be better

If you haven't heard it, you need to. It sounds so much better than it reads on paper!

On a separate note, praise God for the sunshine and mild weather today! Also, TCU is #6 in the BCS rankings right now. Go Frogs!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Well, we've officially been here for a full week. Last night we drove around the Westside district of KCMO and Ross fell in love with a few blocks of old houses mixed with modern/green houses. I fell in love with this tree house in one of the yards!

This morning, we went to my cousin Jimmy's football game. Sadly, the Visitation 7th graders lost to the Visitation 8th graders; however, it was finally sunny and warm-ish and a beautiful morning to be outside!

I don't have much to say except that we miss Fort Worth a whole, whole lot. Also partially cursing the fact that we grew more social in the last 6 months we were there. New friends made is so much harder to leave! And of course I'm reminiscing about the SUNSHINE and Central Market, and our wonderful location on Hulen Street. *sigh*

Things to look forward to: going to church with Ross tomorrow, starting in the NICU Friday and working with babies again, going to Omaha in 2 weeks, seeing Ross' parents next month for an early Thanksgiving... Please feel free to add to this list!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"An Epidemic of Fear"

I was just reading my nerdy husband's Wired magazine and this article caught my eye: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/10/ff_waronscience

The article is well-written and well-researched. Any issue is always better publicized when there are groups adamant about both sides, and the Jenny-McCarthy-vaccine-autism group is quite vocal, if slightly misinformed. Their questions and accusations can prompt vaccine makers to re-evaluate the safety of their product and hopefully create vaccines with fewer and safer preservatives, etc.

However, the un-vaccinated children out there are only protected by the children who are vaccinated. We seem to think that some diseases have just "gone away" because this is America and we are not a third-world nation. But in fact, "In certain parts of the U.S., vaccination rates have dropped so low that occurrences of some children's diseases are approaching pre-vaccine levels for he first time ever." You and I may not have encountered polio face-to-face, but if this anti-vaccine trend continues, our own children may see the same disfiguring diseases that our grandparents did.

You might think that when kids start to die from previously "rare" diseases, parents would jump on the vaccine bandwagon again. Not so! There have been recent, fatal cases of meningitis in un-vaccinated children in Pennsylvania and Minnesota and parents continue to opt-out of routine childhood vaccinations. We're not talking about seasonal flu shots here.

If your newborn gets pertussis (whooping cough) there is a 1% chance that the baby will die of pulmonary hypertension or other complications. That may seem like small odds, until it's your baby coughing so hard that he or she turns blue. But those odds are unnecessary when no study has linked DTaP (the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine) to death in children.

I'll let you read the whole article to get a better idea of what I'm so clumsily and inadequately summarizing here. But I will leave you with this quote: "Nobody in the pro-vaccine camp [myself included] asserts that vaccines are risk-free, but the risks are minute in comparison to the alternative."

P.S. I have asthma and a history or bizarre illnesses that tend to occur in elderly populations (shingles, C. diff, to name a few). I absolutely get the flu shot every year, I got the DTaP vaccine last year when Pertussis was going around the JPS ER, and I plan to get the H1N1 vaccine in the next few weeks since I work with premature infants with compromised immune systems. And look, Mom, no autism!

*Disclaimer: Autism is a very serious spectrum of mental illness and in no way do I want to discredit mothers who are concerned about the well-being of their children. However, I do not personally believe that vaccinations cause autism. Also, if you're allergic to eggs or any other ingredient in a vaccine, of course you should say "no"! But in such cases, you would ideally gain some protection from certain diseases by virtue of your vaccinated peers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jayhawk in Training?

I'm still missing Texas like crazy, but I haven't had much time to think about it. My hospital orientation is INTENSE! I've been studying all night for two tests I have tomorrow. Yes, TESTS two years out of school :-( One is dosage calculation, which I expected. The other is on deep sedation which is over my head at this point! I'm just far enough out of school to "lose it" since I haven't "used it"!

I didn't want to post until I had something positive to say, so I'll say this: if I lay in bed without my glasses on and stare at the dresser, I can pretend we're still in our old apartment! But seriously, our neighborhood is full of trees and the leaves are all shades of yellow and some brilliant reds. I do love fall and if the sunshine would come back, it'd be gorgeous outside!

I start night shift next Friday and I work 7pm-7:30am that Friday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Quite the reality check. Ross and I are reading through the Gospel of Mark right now and the other night we read Mark 4: 35-40. Jesus is at sea with the disciples when a great storm hits their boat. Jesus is asleep while the men are panicking. They wake him up saying, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" He says to the sea, "Quiet! Be still!" The wind stops and there is a great calm. Then Jesus asks the disciples, "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?"

Do I not yet have faith after 24 years?! I sit here feeling sorry for myself, but why should I be terrified of all these changes? Would God really just send me to Kansas to be miserable? Of course not! Yet all my prayers are selfish, that MY will be done over HIS. That is, when I remember to talk to God about any of this in the first place.

As Psalm 107 says, I should be giving thanks to the Lord, for He IS good:
Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and He delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love
and his wondrous deeds for men [...]
Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
for they had rebelled against the words of God
and despised the counsel of the Most High.
So He subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled and there was no one to help.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and He saved them from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom
and broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love!
Psalm 107:4-15a

Saturday, October 17, 2009

558 miles without cruise control (or "The Move")

Before I entered my driving coma yesterday on the road between Fort Worth and Kansas City (you know, you're in the "zone" and you aren't even thinking about where you're going or where you came from) I entertained a lot of unorganized thoughts about leaving and about life. Here's a sample:

-If Ross had stayed in the Peace Corps for his entire assignment, he'd just now be returning to the United States! Life would look very different right now.

-I made the decision to live in Ft. Worth twice. The first was when I chose to go to TCU. The second time was when I broke up with a long-distance boyfriend my senior year of college and asked myself, "what do I really want?" I realized I wanted to stay in Fort Worth despite all my homesickness! I love this city. I love speaking Spanglish at work, I love the weather, I love Central Market, I love the local food movement, I love the music (did I mention that Pat Green goes to Christ Chapel with us?), I love the big university (TCU) in a big city, and I love how clean downtown cowtown is.

-I will admit that I DON'T love the traffic. I-35 handed me a nice "goodbye" traffic jam on my way out of the city.

-You never hear me apologize/
For growin' up strong, growin' up right/
Livin' life by the Golden Rule/
Say 'Yes, Ma'am, Thank You'/
Green fields for miles an' miles/
Ain't nothin' but country on the radio dial/
I thank the good Lord I was born an' bred/
Corn fed.
*Corn Fed by Shannon Brown*

-I saw a billboard outside of Ft. Worth that that said DFW Airport is larger than the island of Manhattan. I always knew "DFW" was a real city in addition to Dallas (D) and Fort Worth (FW)!

-My life in Fort Worth may be ending, but it's still my life. It's okay to look back as long as I remember to move forward.

-Turns out travel nursing may not be a glamorous job in my future. I get too attached to a place and can't stand to leave.

-Don’t quit your high school football team halfway through the season/
Don’t bust your buddy in the nose when you know he didn’t mean it/
Don’t lose a girl you love at home for a night in Panama City/
Don’t rush off the phone when your Mama calls - you ain’t that busy
*Don't Ask Me How I Know by Bobby Pinson*

-This birthday billboard has been alongside I-35 for over a month now. I think it's hilarious!

-They have been doing road work on the interstate in Oklahoma for AT LEAST 6 years. Seriously not helping the state's like-ability ratings.

-I wanna love like Johnny and June/
Rings of fire burnin' with you/
I wanna walk the line/
Walk the line/
'Till the end of time/
I wanna love/
Love ya that much/
Cash it all in/
Give it all up
*Johhny and June by Heidi Newfield*

-There's nothing like packing up and moving to make you realize you're just as selfish and materialistic as the next person after all.

-There's also nothing like moving to make you realize how wonderful your husband is! Ross and I don't see eye to eye when it comes to packing/organizing; we like to do things in different orders and we have different ideas of relaxation and peace of mind. But when it comes down to it, he's thoughtful, selfless, and a very hard worker!

I got into Kansas at 11:30 last night. Ross had gotten the mattress out of the U-Haul and we both crashed pretty quickly! We spent our last night in Fort Worth on the floor because we didn't have the pump to inflate our air mattresses. Our real mattress on the floor in an otherwise empty apartment was a big improvement. Once I had a moment to sit still, the permanence of my drive finally HIT ME and the tears came.

Suffice to say, I don't tolerate change well and I have NEVER enjoyed moving. Ross just let me cry on his shoulder. After the tears passed, I realized that I'm going to be sad about this, and it's okay. It's going to hit me several more times I'm sure, but as long as I don't avoid making a life here, it's okay to be sad for a season.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Here comes goodbye

I think I'm still in denial. Brittnye and Evan came over last night to help Ross move the heavy stuff out of our 3rd floor apartment (and I mean HEAVY... washer, dryer, and treadmill). When we said goodbye to them, I didn't even cry. Denial. Either that, or I'm not worried about losing them because our friendship can survive the distance. Sweet Avery, their daughter, fell in love with my Cabbage Patch doll and giggled all night long. I don't want to think about how big she'll be next time I see her!

My last day at work was uneventful, minus the large amount of food people brought. Yum! Our new manager is amazing and she let me schedule 2 days of PTO after my last day so that I didn't have to accept a 37% tax on my PTO payout. What a blessing!

Ross and I are babysitting one last time tonight for Julian and Joaquin. Yesterday their mom told Joaquin (age 4) that Ross and I were moving to another state and he asked, "then they come back?" When she said no, he pouted. But she told him that when Ross and I visit Fort Worth, we can stay with them and he said, "fun fun!" This is the same kid who said, "oh drat, we're doomed" when he couldn't find a fireman hat at the toystore last week!

Well it's 7am and Ross and I are both awake, so I guess that means it's time to put boxes in the U-Haul!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Please excuse the melancholy

Moving charges you to sit up and take note of things that you'd previously taken for granted. Time, for example. Fort Worth. Friends.

Ross and I went to a wedding in Austin this weekend and drove home last night. It's always nice to come home but at the same time, I realized the finality of our decision to move to Kansas. Come Friday, when we click "Take Me Home" on the GPS, it will no longer lead us to the Stonegate Villas where I've lived for 2 years and Ross for 1. This is our last Sunday living in Texas and try as I might, I can't wrap my head around it. At the same time, it hovers like the clouds in the sky right now and creates a fog around me. I can't escape it.

I was reading Eat, Pray, Love again last week and this passage caught my eye:
"I have searched frantically for contentment for so many years in so many ways, and all these acquisitions and accomplishments-- they run you down in the end. Life, if you keep chasing it so hard, will drive you to death. Time-- when pursued like a bandit-- will behave like one; always remaining one county or one room ahead of you [or one city behind you], changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping our the back door of the motel just as you're banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leaving only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you. At some point you have to stop because it won't. You have to admit that you can't catch it. That you're not supposed to catch it."
-Elizabeth Gilbert

We do have plenty of things to look forward to in Kansas, but right now I'm going to focus some more on the wonders of Texas:

Christ Chapel

We went to Christ Chapel one last time this morning and loved Ted's sermon, as usual! It's going to be quite a mission to find another church we both agree on as wholeheartedly as this one. Pray that our search is short and fruitful. It's going to be very easy to get caught in "church searching." In Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Screwtape (a highly placed assistant to the devil) writes to his nephew Wormwood (a demon):
"Do you realise that unless it is due to indifference this (fidelity to one church) is a very bad thing? Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that 'suits' him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches."

For those who haven't read the book, Screwtape is coaching his nephew who is in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary man. The book is satire, of course. When they say that fidelity to one church is a "bad thing," the Christian reading it should interpret fidelity as a wonderful thing indeed which, as long as the fidelity isn't due to indifference, can bring us closer to God and our church community.

Hmm... that was quite the segue. Point being, we love Christ Chapel and will miss it!


Ross went to A&M and many of his friends are now scattered from coast to coast in various grad schools. We got to see a lot of them at the aforementioned wedding in Austin, though. There also happened to be a lot of the same people at Andrew's wedding who were at Mark and Merrell's wedding where Ross and I met over 2 years ago!

Since I went to TCU right here in Fort Worth, I do see a few school friends a little more frequently. By "a few" I mean 3. I got to see Emily Campbell and her cute 20-week baby belly while chaperoning Victory last month! Amanda Schaum and her husband don't live too far from us, but our schedules always conflict and we don't get to see each other much. We're not too worried, though, because they may actually end up in Kansas City with us soon so Amanda can go to KU for grad school as well. Kate Box and her husband are WONDERFUL, but they live in Plano so it's always an ordeal to get together.

Then we have Brittnye and Evan Hartfield whom we met through Nick and Kate. Brittnye and I love walking and talking and baking. She doesn't mind listening to me talk about "my babies" at work because she has a baby of her own-- sweet Avery who is already 10 months old! Evan is in architecture school right now, so he and Ross have plenty to talk about even when us girls aren't around. We love Nick Box for introducing us, but curse him for not doing so sooner! Our only small consolation is the fact that Evan has relatives in Missouri so we may be able to convince them to visit us every now and then.

Brittnye and me with our homemade pie!

I don't know if this falls in the "friends" category, but for the past two years, I've been babysitting for two precious boys aged 2 and 4. I met them when the youngest one was only 6 weeks old and I fell in love instantly! Now they both run around and chatter at a mile a minute and I will miss them dearly. Their parents are wonderful and if we were staying in Fort Worth, they'd be amazing mentors when Ross and I start to have kids in a few years. They're throwing us a going away dinner tonight but I really feel like we should be doing something for them instead! Going to their house makes me feel so happy and "at home." It's been a good steady base for me when everything else was changing (graduation, night shift, wedding stuff, moving).

We are incredibly blessed here! I just have to keep remembering what Mark and Merrell said to us this weekend: it'll be fun to make KC/Lawrence "our" city like they did when they moved to Denver. For now, it's time to go enjoy the time we do have left here with people we love!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Falling in Love

I have a problem. I fall in love with "my" babies at work and then I really miss them when they leave! I only have 4 shifts left at JPS so I haven't let myself get too close to anyone new in the last few weeks. However, I had grown quite attached to a baby who was in the NICU for 3 months. The little miracle baby with a big personality! She went home last week but now might get re-admitted for RSV... this virus will cause a cold in adults but for babies it's BAD NEWS. Lots of people are having babies right now-- when you visit the little one, WASH YOUR HANDS! Hand sanitizer won't help because RSV is a virus.

Please, please pray for "my" baby that she can fight through this just like she fought through everything involved in NICU life. She's such a happy, strong, sweet baby. I guess this is the downside of having a NICU cuddle-buddy.

"If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle." *Vincent van Gogh*

Friday, October 2, 2009

Texas, how I love thee

Well, the countdown begins... two weeks left in Texas. How did moving get so close already? And no, we have not started packing yet, thank you. I've lived in Fort Worth just over 6 years now, which means I've spent more consecutive years here than in any other city. That blows my mind! Before college, you could pretty much divide my life into 5-year segments: 2 years in Independence, 5 years in Omaha, 5 years in KC, 5 years in Omaha.

That means Fort Worth is "my" city. It's the place I chose for myself and so much of my life has happened here, for better or for worse! Right now I'm focusing on the "for better" parts and I'm really going to miss this place. I've been in my cozy little apartment for 2 years already. Packing may be harder than we're thinking.

As much as I resisted Texas pride at first, I will admit it's there for a reason. It's a great state! I'm really going to miss my friends here. Of course, the closer we get to moving, the more social Ross and I have become. Ironic, I know.

In our rush to cram in as much Texas as we can, we've been trying to tackle my checklist of all things Texan that I have yet to do.
My first dinner at Babe's. Yummy fried chicken!

More to come as we work through the list!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Inagural Post

I've been putting this off for a while because I'm afraid I have nothing worth posting, or that my words are so rusty it won't be worth reading. However, I have several friends with amazing blogs and I realize that the only way to get there is to start!
That being said, it has been quite an eventful September. Early this month, my great new friend Brittnye and I met my mom and aunt in Kansas City to apartment hunt. My mom and I stumbled across one apartment building with a homicide notice posted to the door, and several dilapidated, over-priced complexes before we found a sweet neighborhood of apartments in Mission, Kansas. I chose the SilverWood complex and was so excited that they had a 3rd floor (read: vaulted ceilings) apartment with a west-facing balcony available (so that I can grow plants in the sunlight)! I filled out the paperwork, wrote a check, and then drove through the complex to find it. There's a huge, tall, wide, leafy tree in front of the balcony! We may be doing some stealth landscaping this winter...

Immediately following the KC trip Ross and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary on September 19 in the Florida Keys. Tired phrase aside, I keep finding myself saying, "time flies!" Our trip was full of sunshine and lots of time spent floating in the salty water.

We came home on a Tuesday night and that Wednesday morning, Ross went to work as usual and then turned around and came home at 9am. Long story short, his boss had found out he was planning on giving his two-week notice in three weeks and fired him on the spot for "disloyalty." Ross has been incredibly okay with this transition (I would've started bawling in front of the boss and lost all respect). In fact, he even stood up in church today and thanked God for this kick in the right direction. There's no doubt that we're meant to leave Texas now and send Ross to grad school! On that note, I have so say that while I'm happy I'm going to be living in Kansas City again, I'm incredibly sad about leaving Texas (there's enough to fill an entirely separate post on that subject).
With all this going on, my heart has been filled with nostalgia, regret (the what-ifs), worry, fear, excitement, thanksgiving, you name it. We heard a song at Exalt (Wednesday night worship at Christ Chapel) last spring when all this Kansas business started that clarified the tuggings at my heart:
Yearn by Shane and Shane
Holy design
This place in time
That I might seek and find my God

Lord, I want to yearn for You
I want to burn with passion over You
And only You
Lord, I want to yearn for You
I want to burn with passion over You
And only You
Lord, I want to yearn

Your joy is mine
Yet why am I fine
With all my singing and bringing grain
In light of Him

Oh, You give life and breath
In You we live and move
That’s why I sing

If you don't recognize the lyrics, it's definitely worth buying and listening to! Today I'll be praying in thanksgiving for: God's direction, the wonderful friends we have in Texas, our amazing church, and the Texas sunshine outside! With more humility, I'll be praying for my anxiety, Ross' Kansas job search, looming night shift, and a smooth move on October 16.