Friday, December 26, 2008

Lake Effect

We've had many concerned phone calls (from family in far more pleasant climes) regarding our status in the snow. We had a good dumping starting last Friday and have shoveled ourselves into oblivion. Auntie Pauline over on the Big Island couldn't resist the urge to email us the front page of her local newspaper, showing Kona's forecasted high for the day (83) and a picture of a surfer...juxtaposed with Boston's high (17??) and a picture of a poor fool digging out his car.

Now, tell me this...upon looking at OUR pictures, who doesn't want to live on the good old third coast??? Hawaii? Whatever.

Merry Christmas!

We've gotten boatloads of snow, and now we're getting boatloads of rain. It has been a fabulous Christmas season, repeated shovelings of the driveway notwithstanding! We've tried to be a part of as many of the festivities as possible...the Christmas Open House evening downtown Holland, a couple of Christmas parties, I played my flute in the makeshift "Christmas orchestra" one Sunday at church, listened to gobs of Christmas music, decorated the house, I went up to Manistee to make cookies with Mom, and had my parents here to spend the night on Christmas Eve. After a yummy breakfast with Mom and Dad on Christmas Day, we had a fabulous dinner with our friends Jan-Harm and Mary. Mary is a gifted hostess, and when she says "eat" you ask "how much?" and don't think twice! I was scheduled to work from 3-11p but as it turned out the patient census was low enough to put a few people on call, so I never ended up going in. Matt, Jan and I burned off our calories shoveling Pastor Timothy's driveway after dinner.

It's gone fast but we've really been trying to marinate in the joy and the meaning of the season. Didn't do any gifts this year, just kept it simple..and man, was that ever liberating!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This poor man...

...runs his butt off all day! He serves and serves and serves until it hurts. He does accountability and fellowship twice a week with guys from our church, seeks counsel once a week with one of his accountability partners, helped V-man with his business, runs the soundboard at church when he's needed, teaches the Jr. High boys at Awana, is always available to MY friends when they need a good "guy opinion," AND works full-time. AND helps me at home, runs to the grocery store, does laundry, empties the dishwasher, walks the dog, and does whatever he can to spend time with me.

Yes, the above picture really is him crashed out on the couch, jacket, hat, and all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I cancelled coffee with Michelle

The title to this post does have a point. You'll have to keep reading to find out what that point is!

I have been accepted to Michigan State's MSN program...which is a completely different program from what I applied to do. I think I explained a bit ago that they just announced a change in the MSN in Education program to reflect increasing standards for those who teach at the Bachelor's level...which I think is a good thing. However, upon graduation, I would be a Master's-prepared educator with an advanced practice degree as well - a Clinical Nurse Specialist. However, I would be a clinical expert in an adult arena. My passion and "expertise" lie with people who weigh less than 10 lbs. I can't pursue a degree of that level that isn't what I wholeheartedly desire.

Last week I was mired in my statistics. BASIC statistics. Probably the same material that high schoolers cover in their AP stats classes. I was freaking out over my homework and ended up canceling a coffee date that I was really looking forward to with my friend Michelle. So it was one coffee date...what's the big deal? But let me tell you how I chewed on that all day...I can't tell you how meaningful it is to me to be rooted in a place where we have friends and are part of a community. And now I'm bowing out of that in a large way to pursue something else. And even bigger than that, if I'm feeling badly for bagging out on a friend, how much more will that feeling be compounded when I'm choosing between writing a research paper (for a much more daunting class) and bonding with my child?? (*No, said child is not arriving in the next 9 months - it is still the hypothetical child!*) The more I chewed on these things, the more bitter it tasted.

Matt would support my decision if I said I wanted to jump off the rim of the Grand Canyon. But that same day, as he was driving home, he felt a burden in HIS heart too about these things. So we had some awesome discussion over the weekend about our priorities and where we feel God leading our lives and what we want for our home and our future family. We were planning on just going ahead and having kids in the midst of me being in school. Carolyn and I joked, when people asked us what about when we have babies, that we'd be breastfeeding with one hand and typing our papers with the other. But deep down I know our children need more of me than that, and that's not how I want it to be.

There are so many things I/we want to do it's ridiculous. There are so many amazing ways to minister and influence and drink up this life that God has given us. A couple of summers ago, within one week, God dropped in both of our hearts separately a desire to adopt. We each had three separate instances that week that involved something concerning adoption, and each prayed, "God, is this something you want me to talk with Matt/Jenny about??" That is something we feel without a doubt is part of the Lord's intention for growing our family. No idea how or when or where; it's still in the "talking" stage, but with these new thoughts regarding not pursuing my education at this time, we may move forward with earnestly seeking counsel and beginning paperwork in 2009 so at least it's on file for when the time is right.

We'd love to do short-term missions. Again, how or where or when is beyond me. I have always desired to volunteer at the local mission and keep putting involvement there on the back burner because, well, how on earth would I do that, work, and do school?

School may still be in my future, but God has lovingly helped me place it on a shelf right now. My greatest sphere of influence at the moment is in my home and in my community. When we have children, the time that I have with them can never be regained. We have such a responsibility to be resourceful with what we are given, whether with finances, time, or talent. Times are uncertain right now, and people matter most.

So I canceled coffee with Michelle and it profoundly made me consider what my priorities are and what I want my life to look like for the next few years. I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders that I didn't even realize was there until it was gone. In no way do I feel that taking stats and applying to school was a wasted effort: I conquered a huge fear (um, taking stats), grew exponentially in my friendship with Carolyn, and actually applied to grad school, something I never thought I'd actually follow thru with doing! And it's certainly no coincidence that State up and changed their program at the last possible second - it made me seriously consider what I want and love and where my priorities lie. That alone has renewed my excitement for what God has in store for our lives!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Please don't give up on me...

...until I actually sit down and do an update, I will regale you with a joke, courtesy of a pediatrician with whom I work whom I swear makes a daily habit of memorizing dumb joke that only make us politely guffaw.

So the Flood is over and Noah has passed on the decree to all of the animals to "go forth and multiply." He and his family are cleaning up the ark (which was undoubtedly a rank mess, I declare), and Noah comes across a pair of snakes curled up together in the back of the ark. Exasperated, Noah says, "I thought I told you to go forth and multiply!"

The snakes look at him in desperation and squeak out, "But sir, we can't...we're adders!!"

Ba-da bum. Don't forget to tip your waitress!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I interviewed with Michigan State on Tuesday night!! It was a very informal phone interview, so it was done from the comfort of the guest room in my pajamas while Molly snoozed on the floor. I had received an email on Tuesday morning saying to call and schedule an interview, and the secretary originally asked if I could do it later that afternoon. As it turned out, the profs who would be interviewing me were still teaching at that time, so they asked if they could call in the evening to reschedule. One did call me later in the evening, and launched into the interview right there. It was very fun and conversational and not-intimidating.

The program is changing as of next fall, with the addition of a piece to the MSN in Education called the Clinical Nurse Specialist. A CNS is an advanced practice nurse who works in the acute care setting of the hospital (rather than in the primary care setting of, say, a clinic or doctor's office, like a nurse practitioner would) integrating the processes of patient care practices, nursing-related issues, management concerns, nurse and patient education, etc. It's a very broad role. The requirements for Master's-prepared nursing educators are ever-changing, and it is essential that those who teach have an advanced-practice background. So it will require more classes (but fun ones that the nurse practitioner students take, that I was drooling over), like Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Advanced Pharmacology, and wraps up with an intensive clinical internship with a CNS. It will be more adult-focused, so a bit out of the comfort zone I've had with little people for a while, but that's all part of the challenge. I'm very excited.

So evidently the decisions will be made tomorrow and acceptance letters will be mailed in the next couple of weeks. So I may wrap up stats AND find out if I am accepted by Christmas! FUN!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birfday, Mom!

My mom's birthday was yesterday, but I was working all day and didn't have the opportunity to post about it. Anyway, happy birthday, Momia!! My mom rocks. She's fun and has more than once made me wet my pants laughing. My dad's had to separate us in church, we've had to leave grocery stores because we were laughing too hard to get the picture. Thanks mom, for being my friend and wise counsel. And being a wonderful-gut (that's Pennsylvania Dutch for wonderful-good, if you don't have the Amish cred that we have) mother-in-law to Matt. We love you!