Monday, June 25, 2012

What Would it Look Like?

What would it look like to forgo all social media for a week?


I'm no tech-savvy blogger, but I spend my fair share of time on these interwebs.

What would be the first thing I do upon waking up, if I didn't check my Facebook feed?

What would I do in my downtime besides scroll through my Google Reader?

What if, instead of collecting Pinterest images that simultaneously make me want to workout and eat cupcakes, I did something creative and unscripted with the materials at hand: re-arranging furniture or doctoring a favorite recipe with ingredients in the pantry?

What if, instead of sharing profoundly condensed tidbits on Instagram and Twitter, I actually took time to open up with someone face-to-face?

What if I were to write down every single thought, profound and profane, and share it with God first, instead of flitting my fingers over this keyboard in excitement?

Why do I feel the need to check my e-mail any time I sit down, even when 95% of the time, it's junk mail?

I'm not saying any of these things are inherently bad. In fact, many of them can be wonderful in small ways. But like so many things in this world of flesh, it doesn't take much to distort them.

I've tried this type of fast with varying motivations and varying success over the past few years. Fortunately, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram don't have their claws deep in my life. But Facebook? Even scrolling through my news feed twice a day has become a mundane yet compulsive task. Why, at a time when I'm seeking truly honest, genuine friendships, do I still seek to read the surface thoughts of people I haven't seen in years? (Forgive me, this is not meant to sound callous. I am really bad at keeping in touch, and it's great to have a forum to do so. But I would probably cry if my Facebook Timeline ever decided to show me exactly how many hours of my life I've spend in front of Facebook.)

I'm not "quitting" Facebook or anything else, but wouldn't it be nice to hit "pause?" To care a little less about seeing the latest meme making people chuckle or who's engaged/pregnant/graduating with an advanced degree today?

And the Google Reader. Where do I start? Mine has changed so much over the past three years. Even when I started my own blog, I had no idea that a 'blogosphere' existed. I discovered the wonderful world of blogs one night when I was on-call for night shift, and I never looked back. It's led me to so many wonderful interests and, indeed, friendships. But when it comes down to it, I don't need to know everything about the lives of perfect strangers do I? I love reading funny or inspirational posts. I love seeing creativity blossom in people's lives because I only got a small share when God was passing that out.

But I'd be lying if I said I'd never been jealous of another blogger's life: running a marathon, being pregnant, having best friends and a vibrant social life, even maintaining a somewhat predictable schedule for crying out loud, are all things my heart wants or has wanted. But if I don't learn to be satisfied now, I never will be. And haven't I learned by now that things are never what they appear to be? Everybody hurts, right?

I'm looking for the dust to settle in my life, but I'm struggling. And these words stare back at me when I look in the mirror every day:

Even now,” declares the Lord, (that 'even' gets me every time)
    return to me with your whole heart,
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
     Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love.
{Joel 2:12-13}

I've been avoiding this fast. The very fast I need to open my heart. I love words (obvs). But these words... these infinite words on the internet. In my head. Clouding my thoughts. Making me anxious. They need to stop. I have some big decisions to make this week and I need to create time and space to listen for God's will. In the stillness God speaks.
The Lord said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. {1 Kings 19:11-12}
Are you listening?

Please e-mail, call, or text me this week! I would love to meet up with you face-to-face. You'll just have to update me the old-fashioned way the next time we hang out.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fairy Houses & Forts

Ross and I have been meaning to visit the Powell Gardens since we moved here, and the Fairy Houses and Forts exhibit was finally the excuse we needed. Fun for all ages! We harassed skeptical friends into joining us yesterday, and I think everyone had fun.

pirate fort on a pond island

dang paparazzi

wild garlic
lumberjack approved

the one next to it was Hosta 'Guacamole'
beehive fort

sweet chapel

Friends + sunshine + beautiful scenery. Perfect day!

Friday, June 22, 2012

No-Bake Thin and Chewy Chocolate Coconut Bars

It takes a special recipe for me to get up and make it the minute I read it. This is one of those recipes. I can't claim any credit for the genius that is these bars. All I did was eliminate some sugar from the recipe and adapt ingredients for what I was lacking or running out of. Oh, and I sprinkled sea salt on top because that's never a bad idea.

No-Bake Thin and Chewy Chocolate Coconut Bars

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup almond meal
pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (This cannot be substituted. It hardens when cold, giving the bars their structure.)
1/4 cup honey

6 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 Tbs. agave, maple syrup, or honey
sprinkle of sea salt

Melt the butter and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add honey and salt and mix until smooth. Pour over oats and coconut in a medium bowl and mix until incorporated. Press into a greased 9x9 pan and cool in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Then mix the coconut oil, cocoa powder, and agave over low heat until the mixture is smooth. Pour over the bars and distribute evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with salt. Place in fridge to cool for another 15-30 minutes.

I'm storing mine in the freezer and just setting them out on the counter a few minutes before chowing down!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Out With a Bang

**Disclaimer: What I'm about to blabber on about may sound self-centered and tedious.
To all my night shift friends and co-workers who read this, I love you. You're my heroes.
I realize that what for me was an exhausting week is simply the story of your everyday life.
And for that I thank you.**

Just like that, my night shift stint is over. It's been a long week of love/hate at work. My first night, I was in our upstairs (more critical) unit, and I had forgotten how much quieter night shifts are. Being upstairs was actually enjoyable as opposed to the incredibly noisy overstimulation day shift brings. Don't get me wrong, night shift historically gets the sickest admits, but the routine care is so much easier without an extra 100 people roaming through the unit (residents, med students, specialists, ultrasound/x-ray/dietary techs, audiologists, and families coming in with their cranky toddlers and 12 closest friends all at once). If I go home overstimulated at the end of the day, I can't imagine how the babies have to learn to live with it. But this week was a nice to remember that sometimes they do still get a quiet(er) night to sleep more.

It was so wonderful to have time to snuggle babies without worrying about the noise and lights overwhelming them. It reminded me of why I fell in love with this job in the first place. The following nights, I had a sicker baby but even then, it was SO wonderful to actually care for him instead of feeling like a puppet for 12 hours. On night shift, it's just the RNs and nurse practitioners. Decisions are quick and to-the-point. On day shift, with residents in charge of half of our patients, simple orders take hours to execute. Night shift makes me truly proud to be a nurse and put my critical thinking into play (of course, never at the expense of the baby. I'm not doing things that I don't have authority to do. It's just nice to report to one 'boss' instead of five different ones.)

Iced coffee with rice milk + gluten-free scone from Mud Pie to kick of my first all-nighter in two years. Totally necessary.
As for staying awake all night. On the one hand, I'm in awe of the resiliency of the human body. I only napped for two hours before my first shift, but I was able to stay awake all night, no problem. Thanks largely in part to the awesome night shift staff (they truly love working with each other and being at work feels like a party sometimes). And caffeine. Always caffeine. I don't drink it on a regular basis, so it makes me really happy when I do.

On the other hand, I'm shocked at the immediate physical rebellion to a flipped schedule. I figured it would take at least a week to set in, but even when I got home in broad daylight after getting far too little sleep in a 24 hour period, my body resisted going to sleep while it was light out.

Sunrise from the 5th floor
I'm also surprised at how quickly my mindset changed. I truly wasn't expect it to be so quick and drasitc, but 2 days into this new schedule, my "woe is me" mindset was back in full force, the glass was always half-empty, and I would only think self-defeating thoughts. It's given me a newfound compassion for myself during those difficult transition times when I worked night shift before.

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, I got 9 hours of sleep in 3 days thanks to daytime doctor's appointments cutting into my nap time (speaking of doctors, my ENT is impressed that I lift weights and know how to do a clean and jerk. He's not so impressed that I smacked my nose on the bar a few weeks ago). Anyway, I was more than happy to fall into bed Tuesday night and get a solid 9 hours! But that means I was bright eyed and bushy tailed Wednesday and felt no need to take a nap. I finally did get 2 hours of shut-eye from 4-6pm. It's so crazy that I wouldn't dream of going to work a day shift on 2 hours of sleep, but on night shift, it's normal.

I'm officially sick of iced coffee.
Ummm obviously I've written this post on 2 hours of sleep. It's cloudy here and I have evening plans, so I'm going to try to sneak a nap in but avoid crossing that fine line where I'm too rested to fall asleep tonight. Moral of the story: day shift is ridiculously busy and overcrowded, but I still prefer the normal schedule for my life outside of work. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to stay on nights a few more weeks. The calm! The quiet! But then I remind myself that day shift means sleep!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Nothing is an accident.

1.) I'd been feeling pretty humdrum about life and my work lately, but there's nothing like shaking things up to be grateful for what you do have. Today, I am ridiculously grateful for the fact that I've been on day shift for two years, and I'm perpetually grateful and in awe of my co-workers and anyone else who can/has worked night shift for years on end. Someone has to do it, but I'm so thankful it's not me!

However, for the next 2 weeks I will be on nights again, so excuse me if I seem to fall off the face of the earth. Actually, I crammed two week's worth of shifts into 8 days. I'm not sure if that's better or worse.

2.) I went to the InMed Exploring Medical Missions Conference a week and a half ago and it was outstanding. I want to write a lengthier post on it, but it's still marinating. For now I will say that I'd already been unsettled about my vocation and this conference shook things up even more. I've been fretting things I really can't change at this point and that's creating some low-lying but constant stress in addition to everything else going on. But I will say it seems like God is stirring my heart and preparing me for a change. Terrifying and exciting at the same time!

I've been trying to force this change, scout around for the dream job, etc. But today I realized that, as always, I can't make something happen before God wills it to happen. Maybe this wait isn't just a void; maybe there's something very purposeful I'm supposed to learn here until the path becomes clear.

Before my pre-night-shift nap this afternoon, I was reading Tactics, and it was discussing the importance of prayer, individual worship, and Bible reading. The author points out 2 Corinthians 3:17-4:1.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory. Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.
I've always skimmed over that last bit because it seemed specific to Paul and his ministry, but the author pulls a word out of that last verse and asks, what ministry? The answer: reflecting His glory! I'm sitting here thinking I need to find this grandiose ministry, but it all boils down to the same things, right? Reflecting His glory. Stoeker says,
A large part of the ministry you're called to is simply to get in God's presence and soak Him up. You are to spend time with Him, and then you're to come off the mountain and shine... The common element of real ministry--whether it's working on a community cleanup project or participating in a mission trip--is getting into His presence and soaking in His glory... If you're not spending time soaking in His presence in worship and cultivating that relationship, then you're not living in the center as a believer in Christ. You won't be transformed the way God desires.

And then this verse. This verse kicked me in the pants, made me re-examine my intentions, my thought life, and my motivations:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing, and perfect will. {Romans 12:2}

Sometimes the answer is right in front of me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

National Peanut Butter Cookie Day

My workout of choice lately has been swimming laps. I can be out in the sunshine, I love being weightless in the water, and maybe the chlorine can help with my godawful acne. However, swimming does make me ravenous. I was sitting here after lunch, thinking about how I was still hungry, and I read that it's National Peanut Butter Cookie Day.


Flourless peanut butter cookies. Except I used 1 cup of peanut butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 flax egg, so I guess they're vegan, too. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Delish. And totally worth having to add a new jar of peanut butter to the grocery list.

Swim hunger: 0 Therese: 1.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Hurt and the Healer

Words elude me right now, so here's this song I love. It used to annoy me, until I heard the second half of the song: "It’s the moment when humanity/ Is overcome by majesty/ When grace is ushered in for good/ And all our scars are understood." And then I started picturing the beauty of my hurt colliding with the Healer. Because I'm in need of healing that can't come from this world. Believe me, I've looked in all the "right" places and it still eludes me.

The Hurt and the Healer by MercyMe

The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide