Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter

To write an extraordinary piece about the amazing gift that Christ has given us could never fully explain the vast love of the Lord. Although I often struggle with feeling like I'm not enough, He chose the path that led to the cross. We are so broken, yet He meets us exactly where we are. In the midst of the lowest point, He is there. I wish I could keep this close in my heart everyday and be filled with his confidence and joy, but I will always fall short and have to keep trying. But here again at Easter, I will try again in earnest to live in love and joy, filled with the Spirit, learning the truth and growing in the grace of my Savior. Today is the day we celebrate the greatest victory!

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 
Romans 5:8

Even though I didn't get to see my family (except Duane of course), We did spend time with members of our small group family and spent some time hiding and hunting eggs for some little rascals. What a joy to see such excited kiddos!






Thanks to Brian for all the awesome pics! What an entertaining evening :)

-Cas

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Good and Bad consequences

Wowza. What a crazy packed weekend. I can't even imagine spending more time in the car and getting to see more amazing people this weekend. It was packed with incredible people and it makes me feel both awesome and sad because we just can't see everyone in such a short time :( Here's the rundown.

Friday morning. I get off work and we rush to get on the road asap. This means taking Meah to her second favorite place, the kennel for boarding. To say she is not a good car rider isn't doing her any justice. She loves the car. The car does not love her (i.e. lets just experiment and see how many times I can make Meah sick). I got Duane to take a quick video of just how excited Meah gets when we turn into the parking lot at the vet. Please enjoy crazy pup-monkey noises.

video
So we embarked on a seven and a half hour journey to Greenwood, SC. Duane had been recruited by our good friend Brandon Henson to play at DNOW that weekend. It is always awesome to see Brandon, Tabor and Asher and see how Asher is growing and learning. That combined with watching middle and high school students learn and worship about God would have been awesome enough, but there was more to come. Saturday, after the morning sessions, we packed up in the car again and took the one and a half hour ride to Augusta, GA. 
Jordan and Hollie

This time was very near and dear to me of course because Hollie, Jordan and Isaac, my wonderful family that lives way-far-away in Texas were in town this weekend. It is always wonderful to spend time with all three of them in any way shape or form. This was no exception. Isaac was his usually awesome, easy-going, fun self. He is still loving the outdoors and balls in all shapes and sizes, and becoming more mobile and communicative every day. Many hours were spent playing Killer Bunnies, a crazy competitive effort to claim the magic carrot and have some awesome bunnies. Of course, I also enjoy time with my parents and grandparents during our short visit to Augusta. But wait! There was still one more stop along the way before we headed home to Nashville. 
Grammy and Isaac
Sunday afternoon we left Augusta, after barely staying over 24 hours and headed to Statesboro. I can't say I ever thought I would miss Statesboro, and maybe it's just the people who are there, but I felt an amazing sense of relief when we pulled into town. We got to see some of our Compassion Family (The Huxford's and the Clifton's of course) and little Aubrey stole my heart with her beautiful long lashes and sweet demeanor. Duane and I spent the majority of our time with Crystal. I don't know what I would do without this amazing woman in my life. Everyone needs a friendship like that. It was well worth the extra hours spent in the car just to sit around at her house, play Carcasonne and catch up. If only Garrett could have been there so Duane could've had some guy bonding time too!! We miss them both so much!! I believe every friendship we may ever have from now until the end of our days will be measured up to them and I am not sure it can be beat. 

Stats: 
Total Car time: 18 Hours
Time in Greenwood: 20 Hours
Time in Augusta: 27 Hours
Time in Statesboro: 20 Hours

whew I'm tired. 
-Cas

Oh I totally forgot the bad consequences. Duane and I left our veggies and herbs outside while we were gone. I'm pretty sure they are dead now. Sad day. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Budding update and Product Review

Duane and I have had, what I would call, our first success in planting. Almost every seed has sprouted!! It's a miracle. I kinda feel like I have a black thumb (even though I've never really planted anything), so I am going to give the credit to my wonderful hubby. 


So my birthday was this month and my mom got me a gift (isn't she nice?).She got my the Olay Pro-X Microdermabrasion Plus advanced cleansing system. I had asked for a facial cleansing brush (my interest sparked after using my sis's Clarisonic) so I was really excited to try it out. It has 3 speed settings and I generally use the slowest because my skin can be very sensitive. It has 2 interchangeable brush heads, a foam head and a brush head and comes with two different cleansers to use with it. 

After using it I am immensely pleased. It's gentle and my face feels silky smooth after each use. Within the first few days I could tell it was really cleaning well because I started to break-out in a few places. Now those places have cleared up and I have gotten multiple comments about how awesome my face looks. I have used the cleansers that come in the kit and my go to Mary Kay cleanser and they all work very well with the brush. I feel so much more confident in how my face looks, make-up or not. My skin is smooth, even toned and clear. I give it an A. (It only missed out on the A+ because it isn't rechargeable, it uses batteries). 

PS- I am not a spokes person for Olay, they have no idea who I am and I received no compensation for this review. I just liked the product.

Cas

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Plant life


You know how we all get these "great" ideas for activities or plans, etc.? Well this time, with some gentle urging from Duane, we followed through with the plan. We planted some veggies and herbs tonight!

Took a trip to Home Depot and bought seeds and soil and all of the other goodies needed for planting. We planted rosemary, chives, oregano, parsley, basil, lavender, tomatoes, and lettuce. I'll keep everyone updated with how our plant babies are doing over the next several weeks. Hopefully we will have some herbs and veggies soon!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Just a nurse

I recently recall saying to a doctor, "Oh I'm just a nurse." I was surprised and pleased when he corrected me. Why? Because that's what people all around us tell us everyday. Maybe not in direct terms, but through their actions and speech, we know. Don't get me wrong, nurses get a lot more respect than they used to. But I know one thing for sure, I am anything but "just" a nurse. 

Nurses are intelligent. We may not have had as much schooling as other professionals, but I remember studying harder than I ever had before and not everyone makes the cut. By the time a doctor completes school and is ready to start practicing, even as a resident, a nurse the same age has had several years of experience in the field, dealing with complex problems on a daily basis. We have developed keen assessment skills and a killer gut instinct to go along with it. We often take part in courses to specialize in our chosen field, spending countless more hours becoming experts at what we do. 

Nurses work hard and fulfill a lot of roles. I am an educator, a portable pharmacy to my patients, a wound care specialist, a physical therapist, a phelbotomist, a janitor, and a bather, feeder, and dresser just to name a few things. We are expected to make sure our patients are medicated, clean, well-fed, educated and satisfied with all the care they have received at the hospital, no matter who it came from. I have found that we suffer the consequences when another hospital service is at fault for poor care. I will stand by this as long as I am a bedside nurse, a care partner (nursing aid, patient care tech, whatever you call them) can make or break you. No matter what, take care of your care partners, help them in anyway you can and treat them with respect! I know from first hand experience just how hard their job is. :)

http://www.mightynurse.com/adventures-of-mighty-nurse-vol-12/
Nurses are compassionate. We see people at their worst. We are hit, kicked, slapped, bit, verbally abused and degraded by patients, families and other hospital personnel. Yet we endure, because we care about our patients. We laugh and cry with them, talk them through their stresses, and are their for them when they need us. There is rarely anytime in a shift to decompress whenever a nurse encounters such harsh realities. I feel that many of us are forced to brush it off, laugh it off or bottle it up as much as possible. :(

Nurses are strong (mentally and physically). We work 12 hour shifts on concrete, lifting, pulling, and pushing patients. We hold in our sadness at the loss of a patient, pulling it together until our shift is over because we must carry on for our other patients. It is all too soon that there will be a brand new patient with a new set of problems to manage in that very same room. 

What is a nurse to you?

-Disclaimer- this post is in no way meant to degrade or belittle any other profession, or the patients and families we care for. As nurses we understand that the hospital is very stressful and sometimes that presents in the worst way possible. The only point of this post is to remind myself to always hold myself in high esteem for what I do. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hey I have an idea!

So, my wonderful husband, in all his wonderfulness sent me a text about a month ago. 
      "Why didn't I think of this before as an option, teach music abroad."

I may or may not have texted back 7 hours later
      "...donuts..."

That's where it all started. Duane and his scheming. He began doing research (his specialty), and discovered a website devoted to posting jobs available at international schools (as in, not in the USofA). From there he spent an enormous amount of hours perfecting his CV, putting his teaching philosophy into words, writing cover letters, gathering references and testimonies and putting together a website dedicated to promoting himself as an international teacher. He has since put applications out to schools in Mali, The Cayman Islands, Rio de Janeiro, etc. Now we wait patiently for responses. 

What have I been doing during all this. Stressing. Worrying. Wondering about the future. Let me first state this. I love my husband, I respect my husband, and I want him to succeed. Despite the steady flow of gigs that Duane has had in Nashville, we are not reaping the benefits. The idea itself has met a lot of resistance from all different kinds of people (I'll admit, that I have had my doubts and issues). People mean well and I love that they can feel comfortable to speak truth to us and caution us from making decisions we may regret. I know that they speak out of love for us. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? God calls us to do and try many different things and I never want to be close-minded or stiff-necked. I have always thought, God won't call me to do anything radical like moving to another country, being a missionary,etc. I'll just be a nurse...the gosh-darn best, most compassion, caring nurse you have ever had, all for God's glory ;). Never say never people. Never say never. 

It took me awhile of wrestling with this, being angry, sad, upset, excited...you name it. I can't believe I didn't break something in a random fit of rage. (Yes, I am my father's daughter. I have quite the temper.) I worried about bills that we have, the puppy we love, what would/could I do in a foreign country, and how would I get along if I didn't know the language. Fear is crippling. I hate not having a plan; a well formed check list of 'to-dos' I can calmly work my way through. I am struggling to learn that I am not, nor will I ever be, in control. 

In this moment though, I feel peace. I am determined to be still, and wait on the timing of the Lord. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

So Behind...Happy Anniversary?...

So last ..cough.. year Duane and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary!! Now, although I love that we married in December and I thought our wedding, the weather, and the day was absolutely beautiful, it does get hard to celebrate together so close to the holidays. Our first two anniversaries, we didn't really do anything for ourselves, instead we would just go home and visit family for christmas/new years. This year I wanted it to be different. I wanted to make our marriage a priority and so we planned a trip. Not just any trip, but a DISNEY trip.

So, being the frugal couple we are, we could not imagine paying 200+ a person to fly to Orlando. Instead, we dropped Meah off at the kennel and started driving. What was suppose to be a 10 hour car ride turned into a 13-14hour car ride. AHHHH!! Just outside of Atlanta, there was an accident that closed all of south bound I-75. We were diverted off the interstate for a 3 hour detour that took us about 5 miles down 75 past the accident. We were at our wits end by then and not even halfway there? It was an awful start, but we finally made it to our hotel at about 2 am.

Disney was absolutely magical. I say Disney and of course in my mind, this includes Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I know this is not so, but I just wanted to clarify for this blog's sake, what I mean exactly.

Day 1 we went to Hollywood Studios. We road Tower of Terror, Rock n' Roller coaster  (both several times) and went to the Indian Jones stunt show to name a few things. It was really fun and since we went in December, we hardly waited in lines at all. The longest line was maybe 30mins total and I feel so spoiled now. I wouldn't know what to do if I had to wait a long time. 

We spent Day 2 at Universal Studios, riding roller coasters, becoming Minions from Despicable Me, being chased by aliens from MIB and the Mummy. We also saved the world with Transformers. It was so much fun. 

Day 3 we went to Islands of Adventure and basically spent the whole day between The Incredible Hulk and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The detail in the Hogwarts castle and the stores and restaurants was phenomenal. I had 2 Butter Beers, we rode both sides of the Dueling Dragons (you have to ride in the front, its 100x more awesome), and the ride through the Castle. I guess we will have to plan another trip soon since they are opening up Diagon Alley later this year *wink, wink.*

Charlene, Aaron and Brian
We also had one more special thing planned and we got to share it with our friends from small group Charlene, Brian and their son Aaron. We went to Mickey's Christmas Party. Basically it's Disney Magic and Christmas spirit all rolled into one amazing night. The park opens from 7p-12a for everyone who has the special tickets. You can ride any rides, there's free cookies and hot chocolate and you get to watch some spectacular fireworks and a parade. I even got hit on by Peter Pan. What more could I ask for right? That night we were able to ride Space Mountain (Duane had never been!!) and I got to meet Belle (my favorite Disney Princess). We also watched the parade, road the railroad and got stuck in a Haunted Mansion. It was amazing. I loved our Disney Vacation.