Just a short update…

August is almost half over already and I have been in OKC nearly 3 months! I can’t believe it…time goes by soooo fast! I am still tremendously enjoying the city, work, friends, and all the fabulous new adventures. The job in the NICU is going well…still not liking nights very well nor sleeping the greatest during the day. BUT…I have good news! I get to move to day shift the second week in September!! YAY! I’m super-duper excited. 🙂 S l o w l y, I’m getting to know others on the unit…it just takes time I guess. Monday evening, a few of us went to dinner at Ted’s (Mexican Restaurant) just to get to know each other better. It was fun…and one of the BEST Mexican foods in town!

I’ve been off work the last several days and so I’ve gotten a lot of ordinary things accomplished like…laundry, cleaning the apartment, grocery shopping, running errands, going through the mail…etc. I’ve visited with a few of my far away friends on the phone and talked to my dad and Grandma a while today. I’ve also been out at the pool a few times in the HOT summer afternoons. Too hot just to lay out though…usually have to get wet…and get wet again, and again…and again! 🙂 Cayla, a sweet friend from church, and I have been going out to the lake in the evenings once or twice a week to get some running and walking in. It has been sooo much fun for me to find a running buddy! When I’m working in the evening, I’m usually out running in the cool early mornings! Mornings and evenings are both very beautiful and peaceful! I love it!

I’m enjoying Quail Springs Baptist Church a lot and look forward to getting more involved and active in the church. I am also looking for opportunities where I can serve and minister to others. I will be working this coming weekend and am disappointed that I will miss church. BUT…I am looking forward to going to the Shakespearean play (Hamlet) at the Myriad Botanical Gardens this Friday evening with a group from church. I think it should be sooo much fun with a lovely setting! Glad I don’t work that night! 🙂

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Overwhelmed.

Today I spent a couple hours in my room thinking, praying, reading and meditating on Scripture, and just focusing on Christ alone. It was refreshing. It left me feeling loved, yes, loved with the unfailing love of my Savior. And it left me feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by His goodness and mercy. Overwhelmed by His care for me in even the littlest details of my life. Overwhelmed by how He works all things together for good. Overwhelmed by the amazing Godly friends He has brought into my life. Overwhelmed by the job He has provided for me and the passion He has given me for nursing and the NICU babies. Overwhelmed…because I am not deserving of any of this. Overwhelmed…simply because God has given me this and so much more anyway!

So…for a little update on day to day life. I have officially been on night shift at the hospital for two weeks now and I keep hoping it will get easier to sleep during the day. So far it seems, either the lawnmover, kids screaming at the pool, or the neighbors upstairs have been successful at waking me up before I really wanted to wake up! 😦  Otherwise, I am enjoying the night shift. It is so much more conducive to learning because there is not near the chaos and people around as there is during the day shift. I’m enjoying slowly getting to know other nurses on the unit. I’m definitely just enjoying taking care of the wee little ones too…and falling in love with most of them!

I’m also seeing a huge but exciting challenge ahead of me. I’m working on a unit that staffs over 200 nurses, many nurse practitioners, residents, fellows, and drs., plus the countless parents and families that I will become aquainted with. Many (perhaps most…) of these people probably do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They do not know true love, peace, and joy that can only come from Christ alone. So…what a great mission field! What great opportunities God has set before me! I’m already feeling a burden, a desire, and a passion to share how God has changed my life! I look forward to the days, weeks, months ahead…I look forward to being used by God…I look forward to seeing God work in amazing ways. He always does! He always will!

The past few days, I have been able to visit with a couple of the sweetest of friends. Friends who live far away and so hugs can only be through the phone! Nevertheless, I have been hugely encouraged by them. They have remained an inspiration and joy. I can share anything and everything with them and I know even if they don’t completely understand, they feel whatever I feel right along with me. We think alike. We have the same ideals, goals, and morals. We are kindred spirits. There is nothing quite as sweet as such sisters in the Lord! Love you girlies!! 🙂

We sang this song, In Christ Alone,  in church this morning and truly the words describe what I am feeling tonight.

In Christ alone will I glory
Though I could pride myself in battles won
For I’ve been blessed beyond measure
And by His strength alone I’ll overcome
Oh, I could stop and count successes like diamonds in my hands
But those trophies could not equal to the grace by which I stand

Chorus:
In Christ alone
I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory
Let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone

In Christ alone do I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
For only His tender mercy
Could reach beyond my weakness to my need
And now I seek no greater honor in just to know Him more
And to count my gains but losses to the glory of my Lord

I believe that says it all. Goodnight.

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Anything and everything

Okay…so yah, it’s been forever and a day again since I’ve blogged about my life in the city. Maybe that’s simply because there’s sooo much to do in the city…work, friends, shopping, swimming, late nights at the hot tub, adventures at the lake, dinner dates at great places…. But unfortunately, it seems that almost everything fun costs money! So I’m glad for a good job that I not only love but that brings in some good bucks!

This week I must officially soar with my own two wings at work. No nurse with be right beside me every step of the way but there will always be other nurses just a hop and a skip away should I need help, advice, or simply some reassurance. Wednesday night will be my first night when I have MY VERY OWN babies to take care of, to keep alive, and to show love. Although I must admit I’m a little bit nervous and unsure, I am also very excited. I’m excited to develop my own routine, as all nurses do. I’m excited because this is another step in fulfilling my dream of becoming a real NICU nurse! I’m excited to get to know my own babies and their families. I’m excited to get to know the nurses, Drs., and other staff on the unit. I’m excited just to stand on my own two feet and hopefully not sink…?! 🙂

I have been on the 12 hour night shifts for one week now. I haven’t found it hard to work during the typical sleeping hours, but I have found it difficult to sleep during the day. It invariably seems that the lawn mower is running outside my apartment window or kids are screaming at the pool or there are stomping footsteps coming from my ceiling. I’m realizing it’s not nearly as easy to sleep during the day in the city than it was when I was at home in my secluded basement bedroom. 😦 But I suppose I shall manage…I really have no choice but to hope and pray to get onto the day shift as soon as possible! In the meantime though, I do really like the night shift crew and the pace is much slower and quieter. Sometimes the quietness at night is not such a good thing though…especially about 3:00-4:00 am when my lack of sleep is starting to catch up with me.

I have gotten to know some really great co-workers already and we’ve been able to hang out some at the pool or at one of our favorite places in Edmond…ORANGE TREE (frozen yogurt). We had a class day today at work and met there late this afternoon for a sweet treat!

I’ve been enjoying running outside much lately mostly around the neighborhood streets close by. But for the first time, Saturday I got up bright and early 🙂 and went out to Lake Hefner by 7:00 am and ran around the Lake! It was sooo incredibly beautiful. I loved it! I wish I could go out there everyday…but it does take extra time to drive there and such and then actually run my 5-6 miles. So…I don’t think it’s quite doable everyday but certainly I’m going to make every effort to get out there more often. Like TOMORROW morning! I can’t wait!

Last week, I finally finished most of the decorating in my bathroom and bedroom…pretty much have all my wall decor up now. But still, when I go shopping, I find new ideas…ahhhhh, and I don’t need any more stuff or I won’t have any place to put it!!! I guess I need to practice what they call spending my money wisely a little more.

I’ve enjoyed several outings with some friends from church this past week. Sunday evening, Jennifer and I sent nearly three hours at Lake Hefner…watching the breathtaking sunset while having a picnic, playing some random games, and chatting. We even dipped our feet in the water and walked along the lake…pretending we were at the beach! We had a really fun time. But before we knew it, the sun had set and it was dark outside. That was our cue to pack up and head back to the apartment. I think we could have stayed out there all night…it was such a beautiful quiet night. Probably not the safest or smartest thing to do though…so we didn’t! 🙂

Saturday evening, I played some tennis with some friends. Although I’ve never played much tennis…maybe only once or twice in fact, it’s been a sport that I always thought would be fun to get good at. We had a really good time, got some really good practice, and I even surprised myself a few times. It was quite humid and warm though so we journeyed to a Jamba Juice for smoothies to cool off after the workout!

The past couple of Sunday’s, I have been attending Quail Springs Baptist Church. Besides the convenient location (it is only like 2 blocks from our apartment), I like it because it appears to be more conservative than some of the other churches I have visited. The pastor is going through the book of James right now in his sermons…discussing what it means to live out loud the life of faith. I’ve also really enjoyed the Sunday School class that is studying ‘trusting God.’ It is challenging, thought-provoking, and encouraging. I look forward to the Sunday’s ahead and what God is going to teach me!

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Tough decisions

Hey guys! Yah, I know! I’m a slacker…in the blogging sphere again. oops! I can’t believe it’s July already and that means several things…good and bad. First off, that means that my weeks of orientation at work (when I’m paired with another nurse) are just about to end and I’m gonna be ON MY OWN! That’ scary but I know it will be okay. It also means that in a week I will be living the night life in the city. Literally. July 16th I hit the night shift. *sigh* On the rather sad side, July means that camp is here and I’m missing it. Good News Camp that I have attended for the past 11 years is happening this week and the next and I’M NOT THERE!!! AHHHH…it’s tearing me apart!!! Yet, I wouldn’t trade moving here to the city and my new job for anything, not even camp. But I’m missing it awfully much. Miss the people, the good times, the laughter, the sleepless nights, the campers, EVERYTHING! Serena better bring back lots of pictures of lots of stories! 🙂

This past weekend were two very important events for our country and my life. Saturday was the 4th of July holiday and it was the day my dad was born. It is the day we celebrate the freedom we have in the United States, most of all the freedom to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is also the day that the most important man in my life right now came into the world…MY DAD! So…in celebration of the two events and seeing that I had off of work for 5 days over the weekend, I went back home to the country Friday and surprised my Dad! Serena had homemade ice cream and German Chocolate Cake waiting (she knew I was coming but Dad had NO idea!) for my arrival. It totally took Dad my surprise and his smile was priceless. It was fun! Then of course while I was home, I had to spend some time (actually a great deal of time) in Meade catching up with friends from my ‘old’ job. Even attended a wedding Saturday evening and got to watch some fireworks! It was great…but by Sunday afternoon, I was ready for city life again! 🙂

I worked today and it was a very good learning experience. Every day, I’m learning more and more and doing things I’ve not done before. I love the challenge…and I think that’s one of the things that ‘bored’ me so much back in Meade…there was not much of a challenge anymore! I’ve encountered some tough issues at work involving medical decisions and it has made me ponder a lot. At what point do you let a baby go? Just because your baby is not going to be normal, do you take them off of life support….? Heart medications…? Do surgery to prolong a handicap life…? Each of these precious lives, not matter how ‘unnormal’ IS a gift from the Lord and is a life that God has created. So… it has made me ask myself, “what would Jesus do?” Something I should be asking every single day anyway but too often forget.

I still love the city and the job and am even considering continuing my education…at least getting my Bachelor’s degree and possibly becoming a nurse practitioner. Yah…never thought I would even think about school again! Briann and I are still church shopping so that is still a huge prayer request. We hope to find a church soon that we can call home. Patience…patience…patience!

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I LOVE IT!

Time is going by soooo fast here, I can’t keep up! My first days at work were terrific! Friday, the first day on the Neonatal ICU was wild and crazy and fast-paced but I learned sooo much and loved it! Being the weekend, Saturday and Sunday proved to be a little slower. I feel like God has already incredibly blessed me with some wonderful friends and co-workers on the unit. All the nurses are wonderful and the teamwork is fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for anything better. This IS a whole new world of nursing and I’m finding that I have to change my thinking a lot…I’m used to giving medications, treatments, etc. to adults in adult sizes and doses but that’s a bit much for these little ones. 🙂 So…it’s keeping me on my toes. But to sum up the new job experience in three words: I LOVE IT!

Now I’ve had off several days and one would think I would be bored…?! Nope! It seems I manage to stay busy and find something to do everyday whether it is shopping, hanging out with friends, visiting frozen yogurt places :), baking and cooking, tanning and swimming at the pool, working out, cleaning the apartment, decorating the apartment, and yes, getting on facebook or on the cell phone.

Monday, Briann and I FINALLY got our Oklahoma Driver’s licenses! WHEW! That was such a looong drawn out ordeal and I’m just glad to have it taken care of! I rode my bike around the city about 5-6 miles…it was a lot of fun! Then in the evening, Briann and I played volleyball with the Henderson Hills Baptist Church Singles group and had a really good time! Tuesday morning, I worked out in the fitness center and met the weirdo guy again… :/. Briann and I tanned at the pool for a couple of hours but it was SUPER hot! Our tans are impressive though…! And…I can’t really remember what we did the rest of the day….ummmm. Oh yeah, we made a Wal-Mart fun for some groceries, wrote our Father’s day cards, and completed some paperwork stuff for OU Medical Center and health insurance. Fun huh?! Not really…. Okay, today we went shopping for some living room apartment decor and found a few things but nothing real spectacular yet. 😦 We were at the pool tanning again for about an hour today but it was so hot that we didn’t stay out long.

For the past two days, we have wanted to take out our bikes and ride around Lake Hefner…but it has been horribly windy! *bummer* But…we’ve decided that tomorrow morning, whether wind, hail, or tornado…we’re going to the lake!!! 🙂 Hopefully, it will be nice.

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I am ready…

Okay…so as of Monday I’ve been in Oklahoma City for officially three weeks now. It really seems like I’ve been here longer. Briann and I have settled in well and still love and adore our apartment and the convenient location! I’m super glad last week is over for a couple of reasons. 1) The sitting and listening to lectures on hospital policies, procedures, etc. etc. etc…gets to be a drag VERY quickly! 2) Now I’m that much closer to really being a NICU nurse! At this time I still feel like I haven’t actually started my job but……………………………that’s about to change! Friday is my very first day on the 7th floor of the Everett Tower of OU Medical Center taking care of itty-bitty babies! 🙂

Monday, I took the S.T.A.B.L.E  (Sugar and safe care. Temperature. Airway. Blood pressure. Lab work. Emotional support.) class at the hospital. Basically it told us all about taking care of the newborns and preemies. It was very informative but overwhelming! There is soooo much to learn and know and understand…I feel kinda dumb right now. But some of it won’t make a whole lot of sense until I actually see it and put the skills to work in real life on the nursing floor. 🙂

I have had off yesterday, today, and tomorrow. By Friday, I will be more than ready to start the job! But…in the meantime, it has been nice to relax, work-out, tan, and accomplish some things on my to-do list.  Yesterday, I cleaned my bathroom (yup…the whole works…the toilet, the tub, the sink, the floor, and even the mirror!), paid my credit card bill, balanced by checkbook, talked to my Grandma on the phone, ran a couple of miles along with some weight lifting, jumped in the pool, and then laid out to tan. Oh, and I did a load of laundry and applied the furniture protectant to our living room and dining room furniture. 🙂

Most of today I spent cleaning the rest of the apartment. Briann and I really haven’t done any cleaning since we’ve moved in and it was beginning to show. So…I swept and mopped the kitchen floor, vacuumed, and dusted. Plus, I visited with a couple of my friends for several hours on the phone…! 🙂 It was fabulous…I hadn’t talked to some of them for a while and we had a lot of catching up to do! I laid out at the pool for only about 45 minutes before it clouded up and started raining. It rained nice and gentle and calmly most of the afternoon.  I even opened the screen door on our patio while I was cleaning and listened to the rain and let in the cool fresh air! Briann finally go home from orientation today about 6pm (she got stuck in rush hour traffic!) and I made a run to Wal-Mart (only a few blocks away!) for some chips ‘n salsa…we were in the mood and didn’t have any in the apartment! 😉

This evening turned out to be splendid…the wind remained dead and it stayed about 70 degrees. So about 8pm, I went out for a 2-mile jog with my ipod. It was super nice! I got some pictures ordered from Winkflash today too to fill some of my empty photo frames that are sitting about here and so I can put up the wall decor in my room! I still have wall decor for my bathroom that I need to put up too. Maybe tomorrow…???

With Friday quickly approaching and as I contemplate my new nursing job, several things come to mind.  I will face new challenges, some unknown territory, huge changes in the ‘kind’ and ‘size’ of nursing that I’m used to, and some very difficult and stretching circumstances.  I will have a whole new world of co-workers and Drs. to get to know. There will be times I feel completely lost and feel like things couldn’t get any worse. But ah yes, I have indeed felt that way before and have survived! Perhaps I’m making it sound like I’m dreading Friday…??? Really, quite the contrary! I’m excited! I can’t wait to learn everthing about these precious little lives and how to help them live and thrive! I can’t wait to get to know my co-workers and make some more nursing friends. I can’t wait to learn my way around the hosptial (that will takes lots and LOTS of time…especially with my lack of any sense of direction ;))! I can’t wait to meet some of the neonatologists (hopefully there’s a few that are young and cute…). *grin*  I even can’t wait to get my first paycheck!

Along with all the firsts that will be happening as I start work on the floor and the excitement and anticipation, I’m also very much reminded that I cannot do this and succeed without the Lord. It is by His wonderful grace that I have gotten this long-awaited and much desired job and it is only by His grace that I will truly become a NICU nurse. Several verses seem very applicable for me right now…

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Philippians 1:6 “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

As I was reading the first chapter of Romans this morning during my quiet time with the Lord, I was sweetly convicted by Paul’s attitude and devotion to his Savior. Paul describes himself as a “…bondservant of Jesus Christ….” The McAuthor Study notes in my Bible describe a bondservant, in the Hebrew sense, as a servant who willingly obeys and serves his Master not out of obligation, but because he truly loves and respects Him. WOW…how often do I seriously read my Bible or pray or meditate on Scripture or do Bible study merely because I know I should. AHHHH….yes, too often. So Lord, it is my prayer that you change my ‘have to’ to a ‘want to.’ I don’t want it to be a routine or a chore, I want to crave and long to read God’s precious Word and to talk to Him as I would a best friend (because He really is the bestest of best friends)! And so, in facing the amazing times ahead, I ultimately desire to serve the Lord. He is my life at home, at church, at work, and everywhere in between. I look forward to opportunities to witness and to be that shining light in the midst of a dark world. I am confident that God will provide the opportunities…I must be ready. I must be willing.

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The new job so far…

Okay…so I promised a post on the new job! I was up bright and early Monday morning ready for my first day at work! However, this week is only the paperwork and listening to talk (OU Medical Center policies, procedures, codes…etc.) so to me I don’t official start my real job until next week. But…at least while I’m sitting in the classroom with 30-40 other new employees (and at times almost falling asleep ;)), I’m getting money in my pocket book! Monday was a really really REALLY long boring day but Tuesday seemed to go by faster and today we even got away early at 12:30.  The orientation program is soooo much more extensive than the one day of orientation I had at Meade Hospital! Things are SO much different in a facility with hundreds of patients versus a facility that only has 20 beds. 🙂 During one of the talks on safety and the REAL OU POLICE that are staffed on the campus 24/7 (and while discussing guns and imposters and abductions from the hospital…), reality kinda hit me that…I AM LIVING IN THE BIG CITY. Whoa…kinda scary! I’m no longer living on little house on the prairie in the middle of nowhere. By the way, I’ve gotten a lot of flack (but fun flack…) about little ol’ Meade Hospital. The other nurses and employees are like “hummm, I didn’t know hospital like that still existed!” So, I informed them otherwise! 🙂

I’ve kinda felt like I’m in school again this week and even on a college campus (and I guess I am…sorta)! OU Medical Center consists of two buildings basically (the Presbyterian Tower which is the adult hospital and the Everett Tower which is the Children’s Hosptial) but on the same campus are all the buildings for the University of Oklahoma…so it is a large campus. To get anywhere it seems, a lot of walking is required. At least, both hospitals and like the administrative and Physician buildings are all connected with skywalks. It takes me about 20 minutes to get to work but I always have to consider walking time which takes an additional 10 minutes at least. And parking…parking is horrid right now. They are doing so much reconstruction and building new clinics that they have lost several parking garages and so for a while, parking remains a hassle and there are some nurses who will have to park miles away and take the shuttle to the facility! But…for now we night NICU nurses get to park right next door to the Children’s Hospital in the OU Children’s Parking garage. Sweet!

The best part of orientation has been the incredible friends I’ve made already! After two weeks of being in the apartment and pretty much just hanging out with my roomie, I was in dire need of some socializing (and hence why I too was so excited about starting work). It’s been amazing to meet new people! There are four of us that are going to be working in the NICU and we’ve bonded already! It’s been such fun. Yesterday evening, we all got together (Briann and her friend also joined us) and we went out to dinner at BJ’s then to The Orange Tree for Frozen Yogurt! We had a really good time and it was a beautiful evening to sit outside and slurp on the yummy frozen treats! 🙂 We were all nurses…that’s a little frightening!

Weather wise here, I can tell it is much more humid! I sweat sooo much more when I work out…like I’m literally drenching and dripping with sweat! It has been very warm like about 90 degrees except today is was only in the 70’s and rainy this morning. Most of my working out has been in the fitness center on the treadmill or the elliptical and I’ve also started doing some weight lifting. But since it was cooler today, I actually ran about 3 miles down the sidewalk by our apartments! It felt wonderful! I need to get out at the pool and do some more tanning and was hoping for that today but nope…the weather was not cooperative.

I just can’t wait to hit the floor now and take care of some babies! 🙂

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