Monday, September 30, 2013

First Day of Nursing School!

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

That picture pretty much sums it up FIRST DAY OF NURSING SCHOOL!!!


Oh yes, the big day is here. Today I am so assured and refreshed that God goes before me into this journey.  

A bit of math helped me realize it has been 364 days, just 24 hours short of 1 full year, that I started my first prerequisites last year!  Isn't God's timing amazing?   In my plan I never would have dreamt to smash 5 classes, 4 labs, a Nursing School application and acceptance all into such a short time.

Mind blown!

I am grateful for God's leading to get here, the very clear provision to make it possible, and a big mug of coffee today to rev me up today.

I'm lightrailing it downtown today and will be back with updates ASAP!  I'm sure this initial day we'll be covering syllabus information, starting lectures, and getting to know one another.  It should be a really intriguing day to kickoff this new season's rhythm and dive in head first!

Thank you for the support and prayers these last months.  I would love and appreciate prayers for: peace, a super smart brain to thrive in my classes, sweet relationships with anyone I come in contact with, and a great covering of favor in this journey.

Thank you Jesus for this opportunity!  Oh one last fun thing to share.  This is my theme verse for Nursing School...

...And he will be the stability of your times,
    abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge

Isaiah 33:6

Friday, September 27, 2013

When Life Hits You!

Man, this last week has been non-stop for us!  I almost forgot how to blog.  


I just despise the phrase, "We are SO busy!" because it just seems unintenional and frantic to me (and lots of people I know are "booked up" watching TV, so don't even get me started on that rant).  We want to be both intentional and unrushed in our life and habits and that's a true challenge when your schedule is swirling with wonderful, new things!

School starts in literally 72 hours which I am just over the moon about!  My schedule was edited at the last minute so I needed to adjust my expectations and be OK with a 7 am class ;)  

Looks like I'll be greeting the morning in the "5's" on Fridays to make it to school on time.  It's a growing experience that the Lord surely knew I needed for some reason.  I am super ready for this new chapter to start!  I'm trusting Jesus for a brain that can handle the academic load, a heart invested in the care I'll give, and an unending enthusiasm for this field.

One thing that I hear over and over is how nursing students have no life.  That's always struck me as odd and unbalanced.  So in a counter-cultural attempt, we are leading a Life Group at our church and I have Bible Study every Tuesday!

Go big or go home!

My line of thinking is, if I purposefully train now to balance my walk with God, marriage, community and physical/emotional/mental health then it will just become my norm.  Sure, I will strive for good grades but being a tunnel-visioned, stress basket for the next 1.5 years?  No thanks.

Life Group is something we are so thrilled about.  In a church of thousands, you have to be intentional to plug in.  So every Thursday night we have a big group of couples in the 20-30's range coming to our house for various curriculum discussion, community, eating, and fun.  Plus we serve together once a month and I'm looking forward to pouring out into our city in some way.

Whew!  What a whirlwind right?  Our hearts are so full!  Also a Ryan update:  dude is is healthy and thriving with his ostomy.  We still have ups and downs but he mountain bikes every Thursday and plays in his Ultimate Frisbee league every Wednesday.  Nothing can hold his studly body back!  He's also looking at a potential international trip again soon with work which stretches his faith every time.  Overall, he's in an entirely different and better place than last year.

So even though our schedules are brimming, life feels abundant and sacred right now.  We are totally blessed by this season of life and pouring out.  Fall is my favorite time of year, and all these good things starting up are exactly why!

...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 10:10

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Poverty & Blessing Bags

Two topics we haven't been able to escape lately: money and the poor.

Gosh dang it is such good stuff and we are really feeling our hearts heavy but open to what God is trying to imprint on us about both.

Just recently I was in a particular setting where the speaker was voicing his opinion about the homeless.  "Don't give them even one dollar.  Don't!  They will stick it in their arm or drink it away.  They aren't going to buy a hamburger.  You aren't helping anyone.  Don't give."


I winced at his words.  The chords of judgement didn't strike me as correct or compassionate or even remotely Jesus-like.  Maybe monetary giving won't solve long term issues like poverty of the mind and generational sin...but aren't we called to action in someway?  

Even a small way?

I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.
Psalm 140:12

I've given my fair share of intended coffee-cash to the needy mama on the corner or the lonely looking guy on the street.  Maybe it did end up in a syringe, but who am I to judge?

All that is on our hearts these last few weeks is to make our lives an echo of Psalm 140; laboring to secure justice for the poor and uphold the cause of the needy.

How does that look?  Shoot if we know!  But a blessing bag is a humble step of faith we're taking as well as partnering with legit ministries that help resource, clothe, feed, change futures, and stabilize the least of these.

Click here for the full tutorial.  We included in a freezer ziploc: water bottle, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, mouth wash, kleenex, body soap, peanut butter crackers, granola bar, tide to-go, a sweet treat, and ginger ale.  To be added: socks, gloves, more snacks.

But for now I can't turn my eyes down from the dirty scruff on the man that I pass everyday to school.  Just because poverty and addiction and having no address make me uncomfortable, doesn't mean I get to look away.

Jesus never did.

I keep one in my backpack on the way to school and others in our cars to give away when we're driving.  It's a simple, humble gesture but one that says "You're valuable.  And I see you."

  Poverty is written deeply on our hearts right now.  It's impressed on our hearts to give tangibly, like these blessing bags, give financially to solid ministries, and continue to seek His kingdom for more wisdom.

Because oddly, enough, those who are poor, are considered by God to be among the most blessed.

How very expected of our radical God.  Gently breaking our social stigmas into a thousand pieces only to rebuild the rubble into something more beautiful

He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; on them he has set the world.

Samuel 2:8

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Orientation Day!

Oh man it was a full, lively, truly fantastic morning!  I had Orientation Day at Denver School of Nursing.  It was a smooth process and a fun day full of tons of information.  I like!

We went over every single detail that you can imagine like learning the school resources, campus, scheduling, conduct, and future opportunities.  I heard from staff, the Student Nursing Association, and met several friendly future classmates.

Royal blue scrubs yo!  How official do I look?  I wear these for all my labs and clinicals

One thing I will never understand is why everyone sits in awkward silence during new events like these days.  EVERYONE is as nervous/unsure/expectant as you so just say hi! That would make everyone's lives so much easier :)  Ha!  So I did my share of hello-saying and was really blessed to put some names to faces for the first day.

After that I got the sweetest (read: geekiest) rolling backpack of life, school t-shirt, and some other goodies.  Ok the rolling backpack is going to make sense when you see this picture...

Those are just two of my many HUGE books!  Everyday I commute almost 1 hour via a car or bike, light-rail,  walking, 16th street mall ride, and then some more walking.  My poor back could never handle 60 lbs of books over that trek!  I'm grateful for the nerdy backpack addition to my daily look.

Overall a really good morning you guys.  Feeling a little intimidated at the amount of work I'm facing but beyond thrilled.  Just one look into my Pathophysiology book and I slammed it shut from terror!  I don't know half of the crazy words and have one more week until I have to :)

...he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

Psalm 23:3

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Published On Accident

A happy little surprise awaited me in my inbox yesterday.  The latest article I was privileged to write for Missional Women was published by a magazine called Charisma.  Fun right??

You can read the article here at Charisma or here at Misional Women.

It's quite by accident that this magazine got a hold of the article and I'm not sure how they tracked it down.  But it's such a gift to see these words expanding out.

Glory to Jesus--it's a true honor!

In other news, we have not been affected me these crazy floods in Colorado!  We have had several friends whose basements or crawl spaces have flooded but nothing more serious.  I read on another friend's blog that a weather forecaster estimated this amount of rain equivalent to 200 inches of snow!!

The down pour our was non-stop for about 4 days straight mixed with hail, sporadic thunder, and strong winds.  Dang!  In the random hour we got sunshine I took Harpo for a walk since he was going a bit stir crazy ;)

Prayers are of course appreciated for anyone who continues to be affected but we are safe, dry, and tremendously blessed to have a home that keeps us protected.

Ok and now I have to ask you, no BEG you, to watch this video.  My favorite line in the whole thing:

"You make 100 TIMES what the average person on this planet makes if you make $4,000 a month!  I don't know if that's weird or it's weirder that you don't think you're rich..."
-Francis Chan

Happy weekend to you, whatever you are up to!

 ...keep yourselves in God’s love...
Jude 1:21

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Swoony Things

Bright amber and cream colored leaves peeking over our backyard fence

The sweetest little eating strawberries and blackberries 

 A back patio with whimisical new lighting that adds the most welcoming touch at night

Bulbs burning bright over dinners and late night processing 

 Cheery red rockers to surround a fire pit

Backyard "farm" production!   

Torrential down pours that clapped with thunder, soaked our backyard through, and was an incredible source of entertainment and awe

Minus these dime sized hail cubes! 

A humongous bouquet of beautiful flowers from my husband to bless and uplift me

We hope you are enjoying this cool, rainy weather and making the most of it to enjoy a slower, cozy way of life.  We are!

But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving.  That which I have vowed I will pay Salvation is from the LORD.

Jonah 2:9

Monday, September 9, 2013

Megan's Vintage Airplane Baby Shower

On Saturday my two sister-in-laws, my mother-in-law and I hosted a baby shower for my other sister-in-law.  The entire morning was phenomenal!  These ladies were such a talented team and a really blessed Megan and our sweet future nephew, Xander Ryan.  Is that not the cutest boy name ever?

 Xander is due November 7th but according to the baby shower game we played I guessed he'll make his debut November 14th :)

Anyway here is a picture overload with all the details we planned.  This was a blessing to help host and make this season special for Megan.  She and her husband will be phenomenal, loving parents and are already head over heels for their little man.  I can't wait to meet him!

Enjoy the pictures!

One of two food tables.  The vintage airplane theme was so unique and outside of the usual boy baby shower themes.  So in love with it all! 

My MIL got all of these vintage milk bottles for drinks and they were super charming--one of the most complimented parts of the shower.  We placed them in and around an antique crate and topped it with a whimsical toy airplane

Everything was too cute when it all came together!

Vintage books, small toys, and bright pops of red and blue really helped keep the shower playful

Look at these!  Again, my MIL made all these cake tops topped with a teeny edible airplane on each.  This whole shower just popped because of all the little details.

Just another shot of the second food table.  Plates were in a little basket, forks in a mason jar, and a second globe added more interest to the layout

The brunch menu was SOOOO easy!  You can semi-read the chalkboard menu here but the food consisted of:  mini quiche, donut hole fruit kabobs (my favorite), arugula salad with poppy seed dressing, crunchy bacon, and a full drink bar that included homemade iced coffee.  Perfection.

There were several lively games like trying to blindly guess baby items in these gifts bags... 

And writing funny or encouraging notes for Megan and Clint on diapers for those 2 a.m. changes!  

Does Rilyn not look like a little teenager in this picture?  She helped Aunt Megan open all her gifts and was such a big girl helper

Megan with a homemade gift from her Mom.  So sweet and meaningful! 

All of us Decker ladies with the mom to be.  Congratulations Megan!

For this child we prayed, and the LORD has granted us our petition that we made to him.

1 Samuel 1:27 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Life Finally Found Us

We recently returned a borrowed rototiller to Ryan's uncle who lives nearby and we got to talking with him about what we've been up to lately.  After filling him in on all the goodies he put it perfectly for us..."Life finally found you."

I was thinking YES!  It did!  It was an aha moment.  This time last year Ryan was recovering from his first 4 surgeries (with 3 more, unbeknownst to us, to come in Oct '12) but was still in weekly physical therapy for atrophy and was down 30 lbs from where he is today.  Weight loss isn't always good :/

Overall, yes, life has found us.  Finally.  I start Bible Study next week, Ryan's Ultimate League is in full swing, we're training to become Life Group Leaders at our church and we are living it up!  We have lots of down time too with the firepit out back, walks with Harpo, and dinner with our favorite people.  This verse just expresses our season of life:

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also swells secure

Psalm 16:9
On a quick break during his Ultimate Frisbee game

 On a side note I need to just plug biking really quick.  

We intentionally moved to a home close to Ryan's work (1.3 miles away), close to a grocery store and shopping area, etc.  We bike all over the dang place lately!  It is one of the best health decisions you can make I think!  Just Tuesday, we covered 8 miles getting to and from our friend's house for dinner.  Ryan bikes to work every day and we love biking to the local bookstore and grocery store.  I'm drinking the biking kool-aid and you should too!

In other news...

You guys do you even realize that it is only 25 days until Nursing School!?!  This is far too exciting for me.  I have my school supplies ready, I'm peeing my pants for orientation to start, and so geared up to ride the lightrail everyday!

This picture above is made possible because of Mama Nelson.  She spoils us rotten and she recently treated me to the pumpkin spice coffee creamer above and the beautiful bird napkins pictured below.  Don't worry, Ryan got a lunchable (ha!) and 6 pack of donuts as his treat :)

Lighter, still very autumn look in the kitchen.  Love those new napkin curtains!

Saturday I'm helping host a baby shower for my sister-in-law who is due in November.  We love being an aunt and uncle!  The shower theme is vintage airplanes and I think it will be ADORABLE.  Can't wait to bless her, love on her and our future nephew, and help create a beautiful space for it all!  Pictures to come.

Enjoy your week--I'll leave you with this nugget of goodness and truth...

You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.

Acts 2:28

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Good Day

Ain't no secret that I love me some fall.  I passionately bought my first can of pumpkin on a late night grocery run Sunday.  I wanted to violently throw the whole shelf of pumpkin heaven into our cart that night but instead exhibited amazing restraint, all things considered.  

And now the incredible end product is currently baking in my oven.  YES!  

Today I have the whole, wide morning off from work and of course no studying yet (26 days, yo).  So to celebrate, this is simmering on the stove while an Apple Pumpkin candle burns and the Ella Fitzgerald station plays in the background.

How can a morning get more life giving?  By going through this deeply challenging Bible Study which was also on my agenda and drinking big mugs of coffee.

Ahhh. My heart just got a great big breath of fresh air.  Plus the air smells like cinnamon and ginger so that's Fall: 1 The Rest of the Year: 0

As if the day could not get any more stupendous, I'm off to enjoy more coffee and girl time with a dear, dear friend very soon 

It's a good day.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Unplugging and Camping

Our first camping trip in about 2 years!  This outing was the highlight of our weekend and honestly one of our most fun events of this summer.

Ryan setting up our tent

Grateful for the camera's self timer to grab a few shots together

Ryan got several pieces of top quality camp gear for Christmas and his birthday so he was beyond jazzed to bust all that equipment out.  He loves camping stuff!

His stove!

We mountain biked about 5 miles this weekend (I was terrified half the time!), napped, chowed down on delicious food, s'mores roasted, talked into the night over a fire, and just enjoyed each other out in the mountains. 

My favorite, favorite, favorite part of camping is no technology.  Unplugging is the healthiest thing we can do sometimes.  Camping is such a unique chance to just talk and revel in no distractions.  We asked each other things like "What is one thing in your life you absolutely want to do?" (we both said international adoption) and "What is your biggest, craziest dream for your career?" (I said open a Nursing School in Africa and Ryan said he is in his dream job so just continue growing).  

It is such a gift to walk away from normal life for a full weekend and unplug to be fully present.

Classy, no?  Wine out of metal cups.   And my hunky man with all the dinner goodies

There is a phenomenal free campsite about 25 minutes from our house; that is our kind of camping!    They provide water and firewood.  Who does that??

Honestly people, we are "luxury campers".  We bring GOOD food, wine, and spend a lot of time relaxing.  I  do think we're pretty hardcore biking all our gear to the site, but we don't grunge it for a week out in the wilderness.  No thanks.

Let me just say this too, my husband is our camp chef.  He cooks all the meals and makes them so delicious!  We had these crispy potatoes as an appetizer, sauteed veggies and Italian sausages for dinner, Reese's s'mores for dessert and this morning we had eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon.  Then I detoxed and ate an whole mango when we got home ha!

This was a superb Labor Day weekend and refreshing time together.

P.S.  Ryan just asked me this question, "Would you rather never brush your teeth again or wash your hands again?"  OH. MY. WORD.  This is my nightmare.  I love both but I reluctantly picked never brushing my teeth.  Ick!  Camping makes me grateful for running water and being clean :)


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