9.23.2010

Between Two Lungs

A well-brewed cup of black coffee can be a wonderful thing. But some days, you just need a well-crafted latte. And some days, you just need a well-crafted soy latte because the soy is lightly sweetened with vanilla and you’re on a sugar fast but you need something sweet so bad you kinda can’t take it any longer. Soy latte. Please.

I am one week and one day strong on my sugar fast (except for an errant funnel cake at the state fair, but I refuse to feel guilty about heavenly once-a-year funnel cake indulgences.) I am doing this simply because I love sugar and I eat far too much of it. The goal is to make it to next Thursday – two weeks – without eating any candy, cake, ice cream, sweet pastry, or any food item with refined sugar or fructose. It’s a slow-burning hell.

The saddest confession, though, is that I am eating more Tabasco-flavored Cheez-its in one sitting than I’d ever care to admit. One sin for another, Father… one sin for another.

Concerning my trip to New York City, it ended as beautifully as it began. The weather remained at a pleasant temperature in between a few short summers showers, and after all the walking and getting lost and getting found and breathing it in I can say it was the best trip I have had in my life so far. There’s been very few of them, but it was the best.

In the long-term aftermath, the NYC trip just irritated the traveling bug within me. It didn’t scratch it but inflame it. My hopeful list of travels keeps expanding with the more I hear of other’s experiences in different places. Canada, Iceland, Japan, India, Belgium, Spain… In the next few years I will seek out opportunities to travel as often as possible, always with the hope of experiencing the locations in as much as an authentic way as a visitor possibly can. The most achievable traveling goal: to backpack as much of Europe as possible per time and budget. And I want this to happen next summer.

As for this summer, it has held about as many changes as I can currently process. I felt that once I graduated college that moving to a new city was a wonderful inevitability. It must happen. My ideal first step needed to hold opportunities for acting, modeling, and music while I could develop friendships and launch into life on my own. After a time of considering Atlanta and Nashville and, in a brief moment of insanity, Birmingham, I chose Nashville.

Now, I’m here.

I will say “coincidences” boldly when describing the journey. I cannot remember exactly how it all fell into place. Somehow after a month of anticipation I had employment and housing lined up in the space of a week. Starbucks kindly welcomed me back into their corporate arms and I found a fabulous living situation on – wait for it – Craigslist. So after being hired via phone interview, I met my potential roommate in person on Sunday, and moved up on Tuesday.

This town and its people are very warm and welcoming, partially because, as I have quickly realized, nobody is even from here. A town of transplants that welcomes even more of their own kind. The little communities and social circles expand and link in funny ways. In Huntsville I tended to move in and out of defined communities to pursue different hobbies and be with different friends, where as here the communities seem to flux within themselves. Meeting people wasn’t ever a concern of mine, but I now have a weird fear that I won’t know who I am actually hanging out with – people are very unpretentious. And I don’t know enough of the music community to know off-hand who anyone is. Well… Guess I better just be myself. And polite. Very polite...

I am such a small fish in a huge pond here, and I am so thrilled about it. Knowing that I am surrounded by such overwhelming amounts of talent is completely freeing. It is unnecessary to worry about reaching some kind of level or achieving a certain point. It doesn’t mean anything. I can tend to myself and develop how I am supposed to develop. Someone will always be better, another person could be just as driven. This is an element of dissimilarity that I appreciate so much, in the most bizarre way. It is inspiring.

Underneath it all, this move and change holds some amount of shell shock for me. Perhaps I should be honest and say a huge amount of shell shock. Huntsville held my entire social structure; all my friends, all my hundreds of acquaintances, all my fellow students and all my accountability partners. I hardly ever ran errands without seeing friends, hardly ever had to eat alone, and hardly ever went a day without an invitation to hang out. I hardly knew anyone from anywhere else. And there are my parents, who are my biggest supporters and love me more than I deserve. And then there are my three younger brothers, who are my favorite people, who I would hug everyday and feel their love – they are still growing up in Huntsville. I left it all.

Moving to Nashville was like being submerged. Like a switch. It all stopped. Everything went dark. The reality of it slowly raked through me. Two days after moving, I sat on my bed, my stomach empty and aching, my eyes miserably dry, and felt the silence wash over me. I was alone in a city I barely knew, in a room I just unpacked, with a roommate I just met, with a quiet phone and fresh rejection filling every emotion. I had never felt such emptiness. I had never felt such frightening freedom.

It hurt and I loved it. It hurt and it reminded me that there is so much more. It hurt and I knew I could handle it. It hurt and it has made me better.

I am just over two weeks here. My directional sense is improving, I have scouted out some terrific restaurants and shops, and I have met so many great people. I will continue making friends and learning about people and hoping the effort will be returned. Huntsville doesn’t hold anything for me anymore and never will. I doubt I will ever move back. I feel only the tug forward. I am so excited to make Nashville home for a while, with its funky combination of humility and unbridled talent, Southern friendliness and ruthless drive. I want to learn and grow from Nashville and its people, and even if I can only give back in the tiniest of ways, I am going to try.

This posting marks the end to this blog Out of the Muse. A muse has been an intrigue of mine since my obsession with Greek myths began, and this title held for me a presumptuous promise that one day I would write, one day I would sing, one day I would perform, one day I would love – and perhaps with all the uninhibited grace and passion I yearn for. I began this blog the month of my seventeenth birthday and it has reached the end to its purposes… being that of an outlet, a drawing board, growing channel, and a measuring rod. Although, the time comes, and I don’t know how to add it up.

It is probably unnecessary to list the changes or review the material. I am the whole of the life experiences that I wrote of here and of so many more. The addition is done.

There’s a moment of gathering of self; this is who I am. Where and who I’ve been are in who I am. God has shaped me into this woman through the paths he led me down. I thank him for who I am. And thank God I am eager to live – eager to pursue everything that is next.

Thank you to all who read my thoughts. You are invited to follow my next writing space: kaitrich.wordpress.com, to be launched in October.

8.15.2010

Oh, the brilliant lights.

I'm visiting New York City and it's marvelous.

My day-dreamy love-affair with NYC has always been just that. Daydreams. I had the wonderful experience of visiting for five days with Anne and her mom for both our High School senior trips. Mrs Pam is an adventurous, sweet lady and we zipped up and down the city to see all the tours and show she had arranged: touring the UN, backstage at the Metropolitan Opera and seeing Avida, seeing Wicked on Broadway and Il Divo at Carnegie Hall, and touring the Metropolitan Museum of Art - as well as enjoying the local pizza, coffee, and cupcake shops. Since then, NYC was like a fuzzy dream in my head and I couldn't wait for the opportunity to visit again, and wishing deep-down for the opportunity to move there. I told myself that once I graduated, I would visit. So now I am.

I asked my friend Emily, a NYC resident of five years now, if I could stay with her, and it all worked out beautifully. With the encouragement of my boss and co-worker I set up dates in mid-August, which is when I felt I should go, and bought the ticket a month ago. Since arriving here late Thursday afternoon, I have seen Times Square, 'Chicago' on Broadway, the movie 'Expendables', the Museum of Natural History, 'Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind' by the Neofuturists, three New York City markets, 2 fantastic coffee shops, the lower east side, the upper west side, Midtown, Harlem, Central Park, the observatory of the Empire State building at night, Seaport, Wall Street, shopped through 5th Ave, and ate a ton of food and spent time with some wonderful friends.

And I still have three more days here. ((^_^))

When I think of the nitty-gritty of being back in Huntsville in a few days, I feel.... frustration at the Alabama Board of Nursing, because the renewal requirements for a recently registered nurses are vague and contradictory, and their website format sucks. Annoyance because my website bookmarks to hundreds of websites have become unbearably disorganized and I don't know an efficient way to fix them, thus making me hate browsing the web when I need to. Nervousness because it'll remind me that I have a mere three weeks to find a job and a place to live in Nashville and the lil-engine-that-could attitude towards it all is sometimes challenging to maintain. Anxious because my room is in varying stages of packed/unpacked/donate/yard sale/debatable stacks and boxes and in piles in my closet and I just...can't...handle...the chaos.

However, it's okay. Because I'm visiting New York City. And when I get back from this brilliant adventure, I'll tackle my responsibilities one day at a time. Until then, I'm gonna breathe this all in.

8.05.2010

Mild case of the nostalgias

Filtering through and deleting so many old word documents, I came across my scholarship application letter from 2007. Ah, sweet childhood. So much has changed, so much never will.

To Whom it May Concern Regarding the Scholarship Consideration:

My parents began home schooling me at age six, and I remained home schooled until my graduation at age 16. Throughout my education, my parents always emphasized the primary importance of learning and understanding, not just rote memorizing. They instilled in me the desire to comprehend new material so I can better utilize it later in life. I enrolled in Calhoun Community College’s dual enrollment program my senior year so I could complete my high school course requirements and also receive college credit. I loved the college experience and enjoyed all my classes.

I have many varied interests which include, but are not limited to, USTA tennis, local community theatre, TeenPact for Alabama, Alabama Music Teacher's Association statewide piano competitions, YMCA exercise classes, Huntsville Times Teen Page, sewing societies, dance instruction, and Kingdom Life Fellowship Church. I have volunteered extensively at Constitution Village, Fantasy Playhouse, Lincoln Village ministries and on governmental campaigns. I know these hobbies and pursuits will benefit me in my academic major and in pursuing a well-rounded outlook on life.

In May of 2006 I graduated high school from Excalibur Christian Home School Group with a high school GPA of 4.0 and a college dual enrollment GPA of 3.5 and 18 college credit hours. I was accepted as a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Dean's List. I received Redstone Arsenal's Calhoun Community College $2000 scholarship and continued my education at Calhoun until Spring 2007. I transferred Fall 2007 to University of Alabama at Huntsville. Now I have completed 84 academic hours and maintain a GPA of 3.4.

My declared field of study is Nursing, with the possibility of continuing education in graduate studies. Since I was young, I wished to enter a vocation where I may communicate with people and assist them all I can. Nursing is a field I feel called into as a career and way of life, and working on a pediatric floor is my first career goal. Receiving a scholarship can set that goal within reach through financial assistance. In the following two years I will strive to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the UAH Nursing Department.

Thank you for your consideration!

It's been a long journey since 2007.

7.19.2010

Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

Dancing to Vampire Weekend is almost hypnotic. And it just keeps happening. I may look possessed but inside I'm pretty happy.

My 21st was, how is it you say, uber fab? It was made incredibly special by wonderful friends and wonderful family, and basically two weekends of partying. On the actual day, Saturday the third, the boys and I road-tripped to Nashville and returned in time for a family dinner. Then Lindsey, Corrie, Jenny, myself and some more friends went downtown. We danced and karaoked something fierce, and drank in moderation. Whew. ^_^ The next weekend my parents threw me a lovely pool party, complete with candles, root beer floats, music, and garnering the services of Anna to grill delish kabobs! I was given many beautiful gifts, and I'm so thankful for the memories that were made. A fantastic set of weekends.

Speaking of road-tripping to Nashville, I went back up this weekend and I kinda can't even talk about it. It was too great. And I'm afraid my repeating of the greatness would fall short. Just know I met people and everything was perfect. I cannot wait to go up again.

I have three modeling events coming up that I'm particularly excited about. I haven't been to a shoot in about six months and I've missed it. The preparation, the collaboration, the moment of becoming someone unknown to even myself... It's a form of acting. And as for acting itself, I have missed it more than I can say. I haven't been involved in community theatre since last summer and there's a place inside me that feels somewhat numb. Numb and somewhat frightened. I hate it. And I dont know the next chance I'll act unless I just begin auditioning indiscriminately where ever I move to. However, the only film experience I've had is Alex's short film in April... which easily became one of the best weekends Ive ever had.

I seem to be accumulating quite a list of best weekends ever. And I'm positively loving this trend.

I began tonight the exercise plan to whip my body back in shape after my lazy June and July. It'll be my basic weight routine with some variations, and the elliptical for 40 min, 2 miles, 500 calories burned. Every weeknight. I'll attempt to include a swimming routine as well because I'm a complete noodle after just four laps - and I plan to improve in that area.

Also, I've been picking at the piano lately with my rusty fingers, coaxing the music that was there four years ago back to life. I wanted a crash-course pick-up series of lessons and asked my brothers instructor if he had any availability. Not only did he have the time, after my session this afternoon he offered for me to come twice a week for the price of one session! What a blessing, I'm so thrilled to be working hard at it again.

They're are so many blessings right now, I'm quite overwhelmed. I'm trusting the job opportunities and moving plans into God's hands, and I look forward to seeing what happens. ^_^

"How am I supposed to pretend I never want to see you again?"

7.13.2010

Reality as prevention

You know that feeling of giddiness that you're loath to acknowledge is even there... and once it is you start begging for the reality of it all to set in and hit hard... for the screen to slip and infatuation to end before hurt or fears can overtake you in a side-blind... before you feel that chagrin of loss and a frustration in your heart and you flinch against the remembrance that actually- you really like that person. So just stop it all when you feel an undeniable draw into the unknown that is that-

but you really like him.

7.05.2010

The not-so-distant future

Wait, wait, wait, before I begin, let me just say: I just ate two soft chicken tacos at El Coyote tonight and paid $3.24 for my whole dinner. Heck. Yes.

I've shopped at Hobby Lobby and Lowe's today, and both trips were successful, so obviously I'm feeling pretty froggy tonight. I found the perfect portfolio binder at Hobby Lobby and the accessories for my lamp project at Lowe's. Next step is to order portfolio prints and buy a 1" drill bit... which was the one thing I forgot tonight when I was at Lowe's. My idea is to transform to old bamboo containers into side table lamps for less than the cost of purchasing lamps at, say, Wal Mart. I think the total transformation will cost $30 and about an hours worth of time. If anyone has an old mirror, or even better, a broken one lying around, send it my way. I purchased silver lampshades and would love to cover the bamboo bases with broken mirror pieces. If the whole venture is successful I'll post a pic!

While mom and I were in Nashville for the NCLEX exam, she picked me up an apartment guide... A rather strong hint, huh? Studying its every page flipping through it tonight brought even more peace to deciding to move there. My dream lies in being in New York, at least for a year or two, but I feel that a transition step is needed. If I could work in the Nashville area for a year and enjoy the community there and save money and even fly to New York often for gigs, I would still be more financially stable by the end. And being financially stable is key if I wish to pursue a MFA next fall, or the following fall, which I am. As long as I'm not stagnant... as long as I stay focused and work and play music and perform in modeling and acting gigs between my nursing job, I believe I will be happy.

So now, to find a nursing job in Nashville.

I'm not above pulling resources or begging for recommendations. If anyone has suggestions, I'll welcome them all. One note to consider is that Vanderbilt Hospital does not hire new nursing graduates, but has a highly competitive nurse residency program instead. So that ship has already sailed. I am going to begin by applying to St Thomas and Maury Regional... wish me luck. :)

And for kicks, here's my resume.

Kaitlin Marie Rich

Education
University of Alabama in Huntsville – Huntsville, Alabama
- Bachelors of Science in Nursing, May 2010
Excalibur Christian School – Huntsville, Alabama
- High School Diploma, May 2006

Licensure
Registered Nurse: AL #1-127066

Professional Experience
Family Medicine of Huntsville – Dr. Rebecca Conway, May 2010 – current
Performing duties as Dr. Conway’s personal nurse: assist in case management, interview patients, collect vital signs and blood work for labs, administer injections and medications, submit patient referrals, review and maintain client records.

Precepted on the Surgical/Trauma Intensive Care Unit, 180 Hours, Spring 2010
Gained professional skills in a challenging medical environment that prepared me for a future in practicing advanced patient care.

Clinical Practice on the Cardiac Unit, Oncology Unit, Medical-Surgical Unit, Nursing Home, Home Health Visits, Community Agency Services.
Coordinated with medical professionals to provide comprehensive care to adult clients.

Professional Memberships
Alabama Association of Nursing Students - Breakthrough to Nursing State Director
National Student Nurses’Association, UAH Chapter - Chair of Community Health
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

Program Knowledge
Familiarity with Pixis drug dispensary; extensive use and knowledge of Windows and Macintosh operating systems; can create quality documents in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Publisher; understands basic hardware and functionality of computer systems; eager to learn more and can understand comprehensive program training. Typing – 54 WPM

Certification
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Red Cross
National Incident Management Systems, ICS 100 and ICS 200, for Federal Emergency
Management Agency

Awards and Honors
Honors Research and Review – studied the effect of recess on ADD/ADHD elementary-aged students; submitted a resolution to the National Student Nurses’ Association and a research paper to UAHuntsville Honors Program.
Dean’s List – Freshman and Sophomore semesters at Calhoun Community College

Employment History
Anthropologie, August 2009 – June 2010: Sales associate
Starbucks, August 2007 – April 2009: Barista
Osborne’s Jewelers, January – October 2007: Junior Sales Associate

Professional References
Please message for references' information.
Dr. Rebecca Conway, physician at Family Medicine of Huntsville and current employer
Kristen Herrin, course manager/instructor for Professional Practice of Nursing at UAH
Vernon “Butch” Davis, advisor/instructor for Professional Practice of Nursing at UAH
Jeremy McCoy, previous employer

Character References
Please message for references' information.
Pamela Bedsole, life-long acquintance and mentor
Penny Ewing, acquaintance, mentor, and currently a nurse at Huntsville Hospital

Community Service
Let’s Pretend Hospital, with UAHuntsville and Hunstville Hospital, 2009 and 2010 (72 hours)
Committee member; assisted with organizing and running an education program for 1st graders about safety, infection control, ambulances, and hospitals.

Lincoln Village Summer Outreach Program 2008 and 2009 (115 hours)
Directed, organized and coordinated a theatre day camp for under-priveledged children to promote confidence, cooperation, and self-expression for those with limited access to private theatre

Fantasy Playhouse ArtSplash summer camps 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 (200 hours)
Organized and performed learning activities with 1st and 2nd grade children

6.30.2010

Celebraaaatoryyyyyyy

Celebratory! Mostly, my life is now celebratory.

Graduation, or should I say the pinning ceremony, for the UAH college of nursing class of 2010 was May 14th and such a wonderful event. It was personal and emotional and so happy. My classmates and I were thrilled and the teachers were relaxed and the family, friends, and supporters were all happy for our accomplishments. My grandparents, godmother, and Aunt Lori and Uncle Boo came up from my hometown of Pell City to visit that day. It was particularly special that my grandparents came, because not only are they some of my biggest fans, they had given me the PACT fund for my college tuition. My grandmother is such an encouragement in my life, and it was her stories of working as an RN that persuaded me on the major two years ago. She also gave me her 1958 nursing pin to use for the pinning, which was the best gift I could have received.

I didn't walk the graduation ceremony the next day, because after having my relatives visit for the pinning it would have been a pointless bore, but that night April, Janna, Heidi and I threw a joint graduation party. It was such a bittersweet evening... We were good friends even before we went through two years of nursing school together. We were together through almost all classes and clinicals, and the weekend and party significantly marked the end to our journey together. April married last spring, Janna married a month before graduation, and Heidi was engaged to be married in August. Watching them move into the next roles and stages of their life was beautiful and sad... I'll miss them very much as we move to other towns and go our own ways. I love you girls! God bless...

The week of graduation I was throwing out ideas for summer jobs. Deciding that beginning in a local hospital would be too much too soon, especially since I knew I'd like this move this fall, I searched for temporary positions and nannying gigs. But I knew who I wanted to work for - my personal physician, Dr C, at a family practice. I asked her about job opportunities a few days before graduation, and Dr C said she'd been needing someone to work full-time this summer, which I knew was a completely God-designed blessing! I've been working for her ever since that week in May. I am so glad I could be trained by and work under someone I highly respect - as a family practice doctor, Dr C on epitomizes the compassion and intelligence you want in a personal physician. Her other nurse, Vicky, is a retired Health Department employee and has enough smarts and wits to keep us floating through the busy days. Recently Vicky has been taking afternoons and days off to enjoy the summer, and I'm loving the responsibility and autonomy of my position.

Biggest blessing I've discovered so far - people like nurses. It's just such a pleasant surprise to find! People are inclined to like nurses, or at least respect them in varying degrees, and turn to them for advice and comfort openly. And for me to realize I actually a body of knowledge to help with and heal with, and that people need it, is a nice feeling. A really, really nice feeling.

As for the NCLEX... Okay let's simply say that I didn't deal well with the stress. The earliest exam appointment I could register for was June 26th, six weeks after any nursing exams or review in school. I reviewed study books casually for about two weeks before the appointment but sad to say I was more content to soak lazily in apathetic fear. I kept telling myself that I knew what I knew and that'd have to be enough, but the fear that what I knew wouldn't cut it or that my test-taking skills were null and void after such a long break consumed me. When I finally arrived to the testing center, dosed up on Zofran so I wouldn't throw-up, I was in a state of despair. The exam took me four hours for 150 questions. Four tortuous hours were I knew nothing and the questions were so big and why oh why don't I remember everything and geez how many questions on hyperthyroidism are they gonna give me oh my gosh that prolly means I've missed them all and dear God here's another and I don't know anything about triaging and prioritizing isn't my thing and I've never even done prioritizing before!!!

Afterwards I was mostly dead. And then Monday I found out I passed.

Whew.

So I'm now an BSN RN.

My twenty-first birthday is this Saturday.

And maybe I can find a job in a hospital this August.

Woot!

6.12.2010

Chin up

With your eyes closed,
Watching a strange show
Play out in your head,
But you were smiling somehow
And your day froze,
And everyone in it
Sat still as a rose,
But we were moving somehow.

Back to where we started,
Losing who we were,
Maybe we should only
Tip a bottle back to keep us filled up.

Back to where we started,
Losing who we were,
Everybody knows that,
You’d break your neck to keep your chin up.

Open your eyes,
And the drops come,
And a snail raced down to your neck,
And looked up,
But you were smiling somehow.

Back to where we started,
Losing who we were,
Maybe we should only
Tip a bottle back to keep us filled up.

Back to where we started,
Losing who we were,
Everybody knows that
You’d break your neck to keep your chin up.

5.13.2010

Anticipation.......anticipation

I graduate tomorrow.

5.03.2010

Translucence

Although my family has had a home with a backyard pool for some years now, I've yet to become a laying-out type of girl. It's a rare occasion when I slip into a swimsuit to lay in the sun without the summer heat sending me scampering back inside. Also, if I do stay out for any amount of time, it's with heavy SPF sunscreen coated all over. The truth is, I like my paleness. I like being dark-headed with white skin. Sure, not tanning will have it's long-term advantages, but actually, I just like it. The paleness. It's different. I like seeing my veins underneath my skin, tracing blue roads on my body, as converging and diverging vessels. I like seeing the spikes of broken veins in old bruised areas and even the birthmark in stark contrast on my calf. I like the glossy black nail polish vivid on my toes and fingers. I like the pools of darkness under my eyes and the redness of my cheeks and lips. Mostly I like the veins on my wrist...spindly branching up into my palm, glowing blue beneath pale skin, with a faint criss-cross of scars whispering on top.

4.15.2010

A pause and review

As I type, I'm wrapped about the shoulders in an aromatic cotton beanie sack, heated to a perfect warmth, relaxing my muscles of their tangled knots.

Today, dears, I completed every project, paper, and bubble-sheet exam that is required to pass the undergraduate BSN nursing course. Tomorrow, I will present the final presentation, listen to the final lecture, and eat a final lunch with all of my nursing friends.

After tomorrow, I have two standardized HESIs to take, neither of which particularly matter. And on May 14th, I graduate.

In other news, last weekend I was in Birmingham to film with Alex and his crew for the short film. The entire experience was great and I am so glad to have had the opportunity of learning the basics of film acting. On the fly. Because oh my goodness what a different feel it had compared to an onstage performance! There was almost no similarity besides that each calls for acting. But what form of acting, delivery of acting, study of character and translation of character that they each need is from my small experience completely different. If there wasn't a time constraint on my part to delve into the character during a hectic week of school, I might have felt more comfortable sinking into the character on screen. As it is, I did my best, crossed my fingers, and will watch with one eye closed as to what they results will be. In the meantime, I need to take some film acting lessons. Ha.

But back to this graduation thing. It makes my head hurt. My stomach hurt. I'm nauseous. I'm so nervous. What does this mean? Perhaps that my responsibilities are about shift, that my obligations to family expectations will break, that avoiding what I love will end, and that achieving the "correct" thing is about to end.         ...Perhaps...that my last tether to my teenage life is about to fray.

Yeah, re-read that. It doesn't make sense? Yet it's true.

It's like I'm about to graduate high school, ya'll.

4.01.2010

Asynchrony

Very little in my life feels coherent at the moment. It all seems quite spastic and tire-spinning - between academics, extracurricular academics, working a couple part-time jobs, personal wanderings, and concrete decisions that are looming in the near future. I'm here and there and far too many places at once. I have one weekend this month where I should literally be three different places doing three very different important things, so chose to do the one that's most precious to me - being a bridesmaid in a dear friend's wedding.

I say it's all incoherent because nothing progresses, nothing is collective, nothing seems to advance towards one goal. It's too hurry-scurry, involving small-time accomplishments. My spirit is quiet though... I reached a peace about many decisions, particularly the decision that I'm not making decisions until I see God's direction in my life. I attended a women's conference called True Woman in Chattanooga last weekend with my mother and a few close friends, and that also helped calm my impetuous spirit. I cannot do anything without God's grace, and He has been pouring it out freely, so I can carry on with my responsibilities with great success. So where all this is leading towards, if leading anything, and where I'll be going next fall, is in the unknown.

I completed precepting on Monday evening/Tuesday morning. CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH?! Hallelujah. What a relief that is. Many scholastic goals are still to come but the pressure of working in fifteen 12-hour night shifts in the hospital during a normal week is over. It's the homestretch, folks. I can feel the easy breezy summer a-comin'!

Thank you for the feedback on my graduation dress decision! I decided on the Salmon and buttoned and old-fashioned dress, because although it was the second in votes, it was my favorite when I tried it on. I've found a beautiful pair of shoes to purchase, so I'll soon have the entire outfit!

Here's a blessing that is proving to be a glimmer of my future... Yet again an opportunity has fallen into my lap... Sure, I asked for it in spirit but not in so many words. While at my dearest friend Anne's home concert with Stephen Gordon in Birmingham (which reminds me, he's returning to Huntsville for a show in April! Details to come!) I met Alex, a Samford student. He has written and will be directing a short film as a school project for his minor in film, and after talking throughout the night he offered for me to help by acting in his film. I'm thrilled, because the closest I've come to a film crew was downtown Huntsville watching a commercial being shot, and learning in a comfortable environment about the methods and challenges of film acting is a huge opportunity!

Well.... it's just another beautiful note in the asynchrony of life.

But dude. April will be quite busy.

3.15.2010

You're obliged to tolerate

A dress! A beautiful graduation dress. I need the perfect one. 

Or, I would like the perfect one. As I see it, it'll be payback for two years of trudging through the hard work of nursing school in unbecoming blue scrubs and white Reebok shoes. Besides, I have a fashionable reputation to keep up.

Salmon and buttoned and old-fashioned
Green and cream and twirly
Black and white and flouncy
Pink and cream and printed
Blue and cream and swirly

These are the considerations. Now to choose!

Oh and if anyone has some spare cash and is feelin' froggy, I wear a size zero. Thanks in advance. *grin*

3.02.2010

M I A

If you've caught me on the street or in a store or while standing in line at the bank ('cause who has time for the drive-through window anyways) the conversation would have run something like: Nice to see you too...Life is great!...Yeah, I've been busy...I have somewhere to be now actually...Perhaps I'll see you again...after graduation...'k bye.

To say I've ignored my dearest friends, acquaintances, and entire family 98.7% of the time for two months might be an understatement. And I'm so sorry. I chronically over-commit. It's my own problem. My excuse was "this is my final semester, why not" but mid-way through that's not sounding so logical anymore. I am now struggling through a mild case of misery while completing the last semester of nursing school.

Progress report: when I spoke earlier about ending to my over-commitment by declining a committee invitation because of time constraints, the leader convinced me to remain on board to assist with the project and I would be exempted from all board meetings. And you know what? I folded like origami. Progress grade: D-

My family is extremely supportive, as well as most of my friends (it's difficult, 'tho, to see who truly cares and understands, and who, well, doesn't). But they're still scratching their heads as to how nursing school and adjacent projects could "be so hard", so here's the gist what I'm doing.

  • State Breakthrough to Nursing (BTN) Director for the Alabama Association of Nursing Students, which includes monthly conferences either in Birmingham or via phone; I assist with projects occurring statewide and will host a BTN event for children in Huntsville this April.
  • Chair of Community Health and on the Legislative board for UAH's chapter of NSNA, which includes monthly meetings at UAH; I've coordinated and completed one community event and am planning another, which will be presenting health maintenance information on two evenings for the local community free clinic; researched, conducted surveys, wrote a legislative document and am completing a research paper on ADD/ADHD symptom management through recess in schools; the legislation will be presented at NSNA national conference in Orlando Fl and the research document presented at the UAH Honors Day in April and published in a scholastic journal, if accepted.
  • Precepting in the STICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit) x fourteen PM-AM shifts
  • Group leader for the Community project involving selecting a local community group, surveying them, creating a 55-slide assessment powerpoint, designing an intervention program, implementing the program, analyzing the project; coordinating agency days and completing appropriate assignments.
  • Mentoring peers who need assistance in passing the HESI; I develop a study plan based on the topics the students request and then meet for 4- three hour sessions to tutor and review all the content, HESI book, and NCLEX questions; this wasn't voluntary, a group of us were selected by the course manager to mentor, it's punishment.
  • Assisting with the planning and art production of Let's Pretend Hospital, a week-long event hosted by a local hospital and UAH Nursing Department collaboratively, happening next week.
  • Attending every single lecture.
The list above does not include exams, papers, certifications, or personal study time.

Or babysitting, modeling, and exercising.

This post took 45 minutes of my valuable sleep time to compose, but I feel much, much better after writing it all out. And accomplished. When I feel terrible about declining events and postponing dates and hiding from friends and hardly ever working my job, this list will kinda justify and kinda vindicate me.

Until May. May 12th. And it'll be all done.

Oh and by the way, my professional resume is beautiful.

ADDENDUM: My mom's response:

That's my Kait....get out of her way!!!!!  and when she falls its BIG and its LOUD and then ......very still and quiet for about 10-12 hours!!! snoozing away... so angelic and peaceful.........and then she arises and gets a goin' agin!! 
 
oh dear.....sigh......if u will tell me when you will be home and what time i will fix you a very healthy dinner!  does that help?  low-cal, non GMO, organic.....
 
luv, Mom ;-*

2.09.2010

Fitness boost

I haven't wanted to exercise for a week. For the first in a long time, exercising doesn't seem like a stress relief but another stressor in my schedule. Also, I'm bored going by myself - I'd like a gym partner. Anywho. After reviewing the photos Nicholas gave me from the January shoot, I'm thinking I need to get back goin'....yeah.









Here's to renewed dedication.

^_^

2.04.2010

Okay, this must stop.

I am over-committed. Always.

To too much. And, I demand of myself that I give one hundred percent to everything. If it's something I signed up for - no being lackadaisical. And I keep pressing forward under this impression that I can do everything. Which isn't true. I'll let things slip and projects will fall apart and I'll become emotionally unstable.

I really do do everything. And I can perform excellently in many areas of my life without strain. But if there reaches a point where I cannot draw a line, I cannot say no, when it is my method for hiding, then I need to step back and reassess my compulsions.

I don't want this pattern in my life. I am beginning to stop this, starting tonight.

Er. This morning.

1.29.2010

School-day dreaming

A friend, Matt, is playing World of Warcraft in front of me in class. I feel as if my eyeballs will roll out of my head if I have to listen to this lecture another minute... I'm driven to fantasize about becoming a fiery elven creature in his game. The sea green world Matt's playing in looks peaceful and welcoming and very non-medical. Full of freedom and conquest. Ahh.

Ahem. Back to lecture...

Oh wait, nevermind...

I WANT THIS


It's shiny and big and beautiful. It's a glorified iTouch with the capacity to be oh so much more! A crystal clear photo/video viewer, a full size touch-screen keyboard, and great reader capability! Thousands of apps are already available! Sure, in six months to a year there will be one a better one for a cheaper price... but for now I can't contain myself from lust. 

Speaking of lusting, I'll now present my graduation gift wish list


TAH DAH!

I'm a natural-born dreamer.

It is funny that sometimes I forget the simplest things about life. Such as, that the southern hemisphere is having it's summer right now. As I shiver through the recent cold snaps that have brought Alabama to it's frozen southern knees, the residents living below that magical line are sun bathing and drinking from coconuts. Except for the Haitians... who have suffered from such a horrible natural disaster... And now I'm off my train of thought.

I should pay attention to lecture now. The director of the County Health Department is speaking on communicable diseases and vaccinations. He's an intelligent, kindly man. I should listen. Oh look! Next up is STDs presentation complete with graphics. Goody.

1.28.2010

A night on the town

I own a fantastic cobalt blue sequin dress that hits a few inches above the knee and has shoulder pads and a deep V-cut back. No lie. Bought it at a vintage shop. And it inspires me. It begs for a downtown night life where people of all sorts are making conversations and glimmery relationships while drifting in and out of different bars that are playing indie-jazz-blues-dance music that can be heard melding together in the park across the way where the folks who've drank their fill can wander and discuss their favorite constellations.

1.27.2010

Real Time Report

Listening to the State of the Union Address tonight is tons of fun - on mute. /ahem. Well, I am actually listening...after all. The body language is fascinating - Obama lifts up his chin and to the side when introduced and addressed directly, clasps his hands and points his fingers rather often while speaking. His delivery is extremely staccato, never finishing a sentence without a pause, yet he rarely stumbles or mistakes a word. I like how he says how he cut taxes for the students, the working moms, the poor. Yep. I'd like it better if he said "cut taxes for every citizen, because they're the ones paying our asses to be here." [SIT DOWN PILOSI! Good grief woman.] Biden looks very engaged and supportive, with just enough of a downturned lip to show stern empathy for the American people's plight. [STOP APPLAUDING, Obama's not saying anything worth hearing but I still want to listen.]

Such empty words. You say all the right things, dear President, and you are a good man. But I can't help but feeling, can't help but seeing, you are well-meaning college-graduate community politician playing with our lives. Do you have the wisdom to improve our country, long term? To cut-back and streamline expenditures? [What's that about a jobs bill? HAHA half the house stayed sitting.] To create a trickle-down method in the economy by giving the working middle class and all business owners the tax breaks to grow, invest, spend and create jobs for those who need them? Do you realize the working middle class is America's strongest hope, and your taxes will kill it? [That's right, you'll do to health care what you want, when you want, right?]

Lobbyists want to kill the health care bill? Really? How about half the American population? Because these citizens have experienced the money-draining government programs, and seen how they spiral into debt and into barely-sustained chaos, so they can't fathom what the government could screw-up with this monstrous bill. [Disagree with WHAT SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE? THAT EVOLUTION IS IMPOSSIBLE? Oh wait. Climate change. Never mind.]

Mr President. Please rethink your logic. If you want to save this country, you're doing it all wrong. [You reward success? Really? YOU DON'T GIVE TAX BREAKS TO THE WORKING MIDDLE CLASS! They earned their degree, their earned their job, and they're working. What's not to reward?] [Since when did a high school degree guarantee a good job? The 1950's?] [After 20 years, a student loan debt is dropped? How do you plan to fund that? Obama pixie dust?? Education is not a right. It is a privilege, Mr President.]

[Aww, Michelle. You're nice. And smart. I think you're a little micromanaging, 'tho...did you really just motion everyone in the house to sit? Haha.]

And I'd like to mention that there is free health care in America. It's called the Emergency Room. You can be seen, treated, and discharged. Yes, it is racking up our debt. But your health care bill will rack it up so much more. [All before you walked in the door? Classy. Very classy stab at a former president. Low form, Obama.] [Freeze government spending? Sounds good. Show me.] [Let's NOT try common sense. Let's try wisdom. Okay?]

When there is a bill as intrusive and pan-american as this, the control and and legalities the government will place on us will come too. It's inevitable. Freedom's will be lost. Are you overweight? Do you smoke? Do you get speeding tickets? Do you have a hazardous job? A genetic disorder? A genetic predisposition? Do you recreationally drink? Do you think the government won't be biased against you? After all, they will control your healthcare. And you are a health liability. Being fat, a smoker, and have a mother with breast cancer will buy you a ticket to health care discrimination. Do you read reports and articles from the other countries with government healthcare models? This is what they show. These are the stories. This is their reality. Do we want this as ours?

As a woman going into the health care profession, I encourage and support all preventative health care. Lower BMIs, drug rehabilitation, smoking cessation, driving slower, exercising, and eating well. However, I will not support a government that enforces them. It is unconstitutional. I also demand the freedom to conduct alternative cures and procedures, such as voluntary drug trials and midwifery. Will the government interfere in these choices under the health care bill? Of course. We will have given them permission.

[Obama, you're saying a lot of nothing again. Try to speak on something worth while, please. Just fluffy words right now.] [All our troops are coming home? Wonderful. How? More importantly, when?] [Biden, stop smiling. You scare me.] [Why do I feel like I'm getting spanked? I disapprove of your condescension.] [Yes, I worry for the next generation. For their freedoms. And my freedom to raise my children as I see fit.] [Stop telling us what lives on in us, we know.] Why do you keep saying "Washington" and blaming it for this past years failures? Your party's been in control. What's the hold-up? He keeps indicating he feels our pain. Does he really? Does he understand what is happening in our country?

Start anew? You mean, like, change. You said that already. For about 2 years. So. No new message tonight. Next year, perhaps. Here 'goes.

A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have. 
-Gerald Ford, 38th President

1.21.2010

Thanks for your questions but-

There are, at times,

no explanations and no reason.

We're asked to accept and embrace

the unknown with faith.

But mine doesn't look the same as yours.

Life, that is.

My calling isn't yours and nope, it won't even resemble it.

You've hurt me, I've hurt you, but there's

not much to redeem when you're already redeemed in mercy.

Don't plan on me or cast your bet.

'Cause I don't know what "future" is.

I'm clinging to the ever-precious now.

1.19.2010

A little place of home.

My bedroom is my hideaway, my safe spot, my creative domain.
I like it when it's neat and tidy. Takes effort. /whew
Nesting tendencies have limited direction until I have my own place.
For now, here's my home...


Some of the decorative elements are now a tad too jungle for my taste, but the antique
metal bed frame and folding tea table are keepers.
Framed print of Lady in the Meadow by Kinuko Y. Craft.


My area for drawing, sewing, scrap booking, art booking, crafting, make-up storage.
It's so very nice when the afternoon sun beams in the window .
The beautiful nature prints are Tyler's...they brighten up my day.
The bookcase is filled with literature, novels, poetry, how-to's, cook books, and Christian literature.
All, of which, I've read.


The chest of drawers and dresser (other photo) are my dad's furniture from his childhood.
So of course they're antiques. Tee hee. (Okay, seriously, they are.)
The frame on the left holds my name and my brothers' written in lovely Japanese calligraphy.
The golden stars are ornaments from Anthropologie.


I purchased the vintage avocado-colored couch at friend's yard sale for $15.
I was given the almost-avocado-matching vintage bench, which when covered in homework,
is nicely camouflaged to blend in.
The photographs are of my family. The print is The Annunciation Triptych by Robert Campin.


The desk is generally strewn with notecards, stamps, text books, and half-burned candles.
(I can never bring myself to finish off candles...I love the smells too much.)
Under the pile of coffee table books is an ivory elephant statue from Vietnam,
given to me by the gammy.
(Gloria gave me the large green coffee table book of Welsh poetry and art for my birthday. I adore it.)
On the chair is the softest, fluffiest, most wonderful source of warmth ever.


The CD tower with drawers is bursting at the seams...with yet another candle on top.
The two ivory elephants are miniatures of the large one...li'l jungle-love youngins, I suppose.
The chest holds seasonal clothes, and anything that I can't stuff in my walk-in closet.
(Oh my. There won't be any documenting of that travesty of a space.)


I have four collections of colored pencils, many drawing pencils, so many Crayola crayons....
And the ruler Anne gave me, listing the great Women of Literature. So inspiring.
The ceramic lamp was a hand-me-down from grandmamma that I painted black...
(Originally blue and white with gold splatters. Not so pretty.)
The unfinished-crafts basket. Never empty.


*zmmmmm* *zmmmmm* /pause. *snip* *rip* /pause. *zmmmmm*



((And hearts))

1.17.2010

Preparing for the long night

Sometimes, my optimism is swallowed. Swept over and consumed by a fear of the unknown and fear of a failure. Certain inevitabilities, like rain and running out of gas and peanut-butter on my knuckles when I make sandwiches, become silly issues. Not much of anything can drag me out, logic least of all. It is usually preceded by a manic energy for a day or two, so by the time a depression sweeps in I have nothing left to fight it.

Sometimes, I know exactly what would help, and wish so badly someone could fix me, and sometimes I don't. But if I had to tell someone what could fix me, it wouldn't work as well. There was someone in my life who knew innately what to do. Unfortunately, my mother has never known. She is kind, yet frustrated, if she listens to my stuttered explanations. She has never been one to hug or hold me when I was upset, and that's something I desperately need, in just the right way. But my pre-semester breakdown is almost over, and I'm pulling out of it.

At this moment, I need to nap before my first preceptor shift tonight. I'm nervous and terrified and somewhat resigned to the fates. I know tonight is a testing night for both my nurse and myself. I need to witness the flow of the STICU, the patients that are there, the schedule for the night, and the expectations I'm performing under. The nurse needs to see my earnestness, my dedication to learning, and my eagerness to experience everything possible. I know she won't throw me to the wolves, yet I can't help but wince at the thought me not performing something she expects me to already know. //deep breaths. My breakdown didn't have great timing...but when does it ever. I'll pray hard. And rest up. And do my best tonight.

1.13.2010

On the arrow




Nicholas Franklin, photographer.

The above are from my first shoot of the year. Beginning 2010 with a fitness theme was appropriate, no? I simply love to create... Although I will perform above and beyond to produce what the photographer desires, the products of a shoot aren't nearly as important as the process behind them. This particular shoot began at 10pm in a dojo that Nicholas' roommate manages (connections: never-underestimate). The ceiling was low, the colors were ugly, the mats needed a deep cleaning, and the whole thing reeked of sweat. But it was what we needed. Nicholas had limitations in lighting and wide angles, and I had never performed this physically for a shoot before, so we trial-and-errored our way through a few obstacles. The results were more than satisfactory.

Perhaps modeling is the most unusual dream job hobby I have. And it's helped along considerably due to the excellent photographers I'm privileged to know: Nicholas Franklin, Marc Turnley, Tyler Pierce, Jonathan McKnight, Joe Davis - and the boy who discovered me - John Crabtree. I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn and practice with such talented, patient artists. Thank you, guys.

I'm excited to announce that Rocket Magazine has been printed and distributed in the North Alabama area! Do pick up a copy and peruse (I'm in there!) It was my first professional gig, and an all-around terrific experience. Glenn Mitchell, as the magazine's artistic director and owner of (shine)Salon in Decatur, coordinated the shoot that was featured in this month's edition. Photographer, Jennifer Culp.

As for the holidays, that so speedily whizzed past in a flurry of parties, coffee dates, sleeping, working, and gift wrapping, they were wonderful. Spending extra quality with my family and friends revived my entire attitude on life. They are all supportive, and kind, and funny and loving, and I pray I won't grow as distant to them this upcoming semester as I did in the fall. Nope, I won't let that happen.

My Christmas party....










Tyler Pierce, photographer (all above)

2009 took me down many new paths, from which I have grown so much. There were moments, dashes in my line, asterisks in my notes.... there was my first heartbreak... my first C in a class... I've failed... I've succeeded... I led and directed... I traveled.... I had adventures.... I moved away... I pulled nearer... I was foolish... I was helpful... I gained awards... I lost a friend... and my granny and my uncle passed on from illnesses. And there was, at some point, a complete shedding of my teenage years. Which came in part with accepting that my age and maturity level were merging; I'm almost as old as I have acted for years. Today, I am about halfway through 20, and my attitude is one of gratitude for the gifts of time and experience. I'm progressing towards graduation in May with a BSN. I'm thrilled to be here.

Prayer: I won't rush the process or stress over the piles of work, but accept the days and assignments one by one.

Dear 2010: Resolutions are useful tools...as long as you actually use them. I've resolved to make several small changes that will move me towards being increasingly productive with the time and materials given to me. How this will actually look in my life have yet to be seen, but I'm turning to my friends for accountability. Two life goals: I desire to live with a grateful, content spirit that shuns stagnation and apathy. And that I root myself further in God's joy and peace.

12.21.2009

Jennfunique!

I was delighted when friend and artist Jennifer Birge asked me to model for her Etsy account! Jennifer creates a wide variety of beautiful hand-crafted headbands and accessories (and her craft room is simply too adorable, and meticulously organized!) We had an enjoyable afternoon shooting these in front of her newspapered wall. ^_^


12.15.2009

Rehview, rehview! Reco'mends for you!

I'm a natural sucker for packaging just like the next girl, and have learned a few significant lessons in the pursuit of fashion and beauty. And well, it is too expensive to purchase items you end up not liking, we know this already! t's good to find the products you appreciate using, again and again, and suggest to others. Here's a few items I've enjoyed using over the past year. If you have any comments or suggestions in return, please respond. ^_^

Smashbox Sheer Focus tinted moisturizer...absorbs and covers well! No fuss, and it's my excuse for never wearing foundation. The SPF 15 is a plus, since I have decided to embrace my paleness. I've also tried Cover Girl Smoothers and Benefit You Rebel Lite. Cover Girl was creamier and coverage lasted only about 5 hours, where as Benefit held well but with sheerer coverage altogether.



Mascara must be one of the sketchiest of cosmetics. There's an overwhelming variety of brands claiming many benefits, and the price range runs $4.50-28.00. I've experimented with many, both high and low end, and always returned to Maybelline's Great Lash, the standby classic for many years (my mom's wore it since the 80s!). However, when Ulta gave me a free Stila Major Lash with a purchase, I was converted. Stila's claim of no flaking and softness is legitimate, it thickens nicely, wearability is great, and I enjoy the smoothness of the product. Maybelline will stay in my drawer, but Stila has its special spot now.




Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips...yes, we're going there. Instant gratification. Recommended for guys as well, since their beauty regime should just rely on keeping their skin clear. After two weeks of regular use, pores close up and skin remains much clearer. The Ultra Deep Cleansing ones do work significantly better than the basic.



I'm a jean snob cultivated from a young age. When I was little, I always desired the "cool" jeans, and Goody's Levi's just wouldn't do. I wore my L.E.I bell bottoms from J.C. Penny to shreds. This snobbery was unfortunately exacerbated by my awkward 11-year-old growth spurt to an indecisive 5'8" (neither "average" nor "tall") and being modest which limits cheaper options (higher rise and still stylish? Nearly impossible.). Consistent truths: American Eagle and Hollister jeans have never and will never fit my body, and that the cheaper the jean the quicker stretch is lost. Gap was my rescue, but I found the styling could be somewhat off and sizing a hit-or-miss (0, 2, 4, long, or average, always a guess). After being hired at Anthropologie this August, I took the plunge to purchase a designer pair. J Brand, curvy skinny cut, 27 - perfect. The cut was ideal for my body, the deep wash has stayed true through numerous cold washes, and the jean stretch stays marvelously well. I pair them with everything. I could see them lasting forever, there are no signs of wear so far. I highly recommend the investment.




Perhaps these suggestions help in a way. I would enjoy hearing your reviews as well!

12.10.2009

What children will teach, what adults will learn

Last week while nannying the one and-a-half year old 'buster brown', I noticed the clean light on the dishwasher and began to put the dishes away. The little one had just woken from his nap, and was lightly padding about the kitchen clutching his stuffed lamb. I talked to him as I usually do, explaining the nonsense of grown-up worlds while putting away all the glassware, and he listened in silence, watching me with moon-pie eyes. I grabbed a hand-full of utensils from the basket and turned to place them in the drawer. Hearing a slight shuffle directly behind me, I looked down to see him grasping a fork in his free hand, presenting it up to me. "Why, buster brown, thank you for your help!" I exclaimed, while placing the fork in the drawer. "That's very kind, the fork goes exactly there!" His face broke into a beaming grin, and he toddled across the kitchen to the dishwasher, grasped another fork, and toddled it back over to me. I took it from him, exclaimed my thanks, and he beamed at me all over again. This process repeated until the entire utensil basket was emptied. His attention was unflagging, and each time I sung the praise for his helpfulness, his grin grew wider.

I waited patiently during the long process, being delivered each utensil one by one, but it didn't matter the length of time I stood there. I would have waited twice as long. Seeing the precious earnestness of his desire to help and how he initiated his part to help was wonderful, and the positive reinforcement received from being thanked, over and over, for his voluntary efforts, was worth far more than saving ten minutes. It was worth giving everything to, because little buster brown is designing a pattern of thought right now, everyday, in response to the adults around him. It is worth everything to see that pattern be good and pure and kind.

The fall semester of nursing school ended on a very high note! The week of finals was admittedly very difficult, however, I was determined to spend every moment I could in the library, where I could truly focus, and memorize the key exam materials. The standardized examinations, called HESI, were Thursday and Friday for pediatrics and medical-surgical II, respectively. The spring 2010 precepting positions are granted according to HESI test scores and a random number lottery. I.e., if you've drawn number 1 out of 145 students, and score a 1000+ HESI, you will receive first dibs on any precepting position, anywhere, anytime. The HESI scoring system is bizarre and unexplainable. Two students can easily miss 15 questions, mostly the same, yet receive scores of at least a 100 points difference. And the questions themselves are hard. I missed 11 and scored a 987, and drew number 22 in the lottery. I'm praying this means I'll land my ideal preceptorship: Emergency room, at the larger hospital, pm-am shift.

At the end of the semester reviews, I went in to talk with my clinical advisor, Ms B, who was the course manager of Fundamentals, teaches clinical pediatrics, and will be the course manager of Community Health in the spring. She's a delightful older woman who is smart, kind, and to the point, and I have appreciated having her as my instructor throughout the program. To give me my course performance evaluation, which always sounds so daunting...I sat in her office while she scrambled papers and we talked about the past semesters high-points. She handed me my eval which I was supposed to read and sign, however I am still horrible at interpreting handwriting and it had to be read to me, like a baby. But after listening to her words, which turned out to be the highest praise, I could feel myself becoming very, extremely, emotional. It ended with her looking at me, saying "You have something special in you, and you will go very far in all your career endeavors."

Sometimes I just don't know what I am, who I am, where I am, and worst of all, what I am supposed to be. Isn't there supposed to be some answers around here when you're older? I can feel so fractured. Of course I did wonderful this semester, I always do. I promise I am not being fake...I just don't ever fail. You want a performance? I can perform. I can give what is desired. But what do I desire? ....I want to tell a story, feel emotions, have compassion, give like a sun, be wild like waves, hide like dark, whole and together. Just don't splinter me, don't ask me to be only one, or demand I settle down, stay off my convictions. I desire to be mature, I am responsible, but I'm very ready to leave this part behind, to turn the page. I am ready for my initiation. God's growing me right here today, in the way He desires me...but I think He's placed a doorway in my future...and I pray I get to turn the handle.

11.29.2009

Without Condition

You find this situation just a bit uncomfortable;
You'd rather stay far away from reality.
For you to understand would be clearly impossible;
So you shut your eyes and swear you can see.
Claiming there is a God, but does that mean anything?
So condescending to those that you don't understand;
Just too easy to make them your enemies.
Like an ostrich, you bury your head in the sand,
And then shout about all the things you believe.
But if there is a God, don't you think He can see
What you really mean? What you're doing?

You can't find the answers till you learn to question;
You won't appear stupid, just ask for direction.
You're insecure and it clouds your perception
So stop and listen
And learn a lesson in love without condition.

So place all the souls that you know in their own little box;
Quite convenient to handle them that way;
You're the only one you know who carries a cross
You don't care what they care about anyway.
And You talk to your God, prayin' for those who sin,
For their eyes to be opened.



-Ginny Owens

11.21.2009

When life gets inexplicable

Inexplicate it.


Step back and shake off your thoughts.
Re-evaluate from your paradigm.
Disregard other's opinions or pre-conceived judgements
until you seek advice from someone trusted.
Otherwise, shed all that fretting.
Move. Relax.
See where the river takes you.

11.16.2009

I'll paint you a picture that breaks the rule of thirds

I feel like bursting from the seams. God is orchestrating the most inexplicable design in my life, and whenever I catch glimpses of what could be I just want to burst from joy! Life is difficult and sorrowful and a challenge everyday, however God always provides the strength and stamina when you ask! After hardships and bouts of discouragement this semester, there's a revitalization in the coincidences that have dominoed into place.

Okay, here's the shimmy: In summer 2008 my friend Michelle Brightwell asked if I'd like to take some photos on Monte Sano. Then in November of that year, my friend Tyler Pierce asked if I'd like to walk downtown and take some photos. Then Tyler asked me to come to the North Alabama Photographer's Guild (NAPG) in February for a lighting session, where I met several extremely talented photographers, including Nicholas Franklin. Then throughout the spring different opportunities arrived for me to shoot with different people and a variety of photo concepts, including photographer John Crabtree and stylist Laurie Brandon. Then I recently met Atlanta photographer Marc Turnley when he invited me to another NAPG photoshoot after watching my Flickr photostream expand with Nicholas' photos. Then last week while Tyler was shooting around downtown a photographer named Roland from Captured Moments photography approached him about collaborating, and when Roland saw Tyler's portfolio he pointed me out, saying he wanted to meet me and even that, perhaps, he'd met me before. Well, he had. Roland and I met during the Huntsville casting call for America's Next Top Model, where Roland commented on my portfolio and said he wanted to shoot with me, which never happened. So Tyler emailed Roland's information to me and I set-up an appointment to meet Diana Henry, Roland's photography partner and now Vice President of Smith and Yorgure. Diana is currently searching for new, unsigned talent to front Smith and Yorgure's national fashion launch in the spring, and will be referring me to the designer's for their approval.

Please note, I have not lifted one single tiny pinky finger for any of this to happen. Everything has been in God's hands. It's all been word of mouth. It's all been random, it's all been surprising. And whatever God is sending my way is bound to leave me scratching my head in wonderment. How can I claim any glory from the way my life trails out and upwards? And this is merely the modelling - do not get me started on theatre, acting, and voice performance. That's another collection of coincidental stories for another potential post!

Down to earth again. Sigh. Academically....things are terrible. Grades are poor, and certainly not reflecting the effort I'm extending into studying! It's incredibly discouraging. Maybe there's a lesson in there, somewhere, I dunno. However, I'm burying myself in HESI and NCLEX review books from now until December 5th. I apologize in advance for the extended absence.

What I've reflected on many time this past week is how I desire to be an Esther. Since I was young, when mom purchased me a beautiful illustrated book of Esther's story, she was my role model. Esther was a jewish teenager, exiled, orphaned, and living with a caring uncle in one of the largest cities of the gentile nations. Her reputation of beauty and purity was known, such that the king's officials rounded her up during a nationwide quest for the perfect woman. What were her thoughts? Was she pleased, flattered? Did she resist? Was she bored and anything sounded exciting at that point? Actually, there's every indication that she was respectful, intelligent and kind. She agreed to attend, changed her name like her uncle Mordecai suggested, asked for advice from servants, grew in favor to the harem chamber's manager, and entertained a king enough to become his queen with "more approval and favor than any other of the virgins." Actually, she also "won approval in the sight of everyone who saw her." What an incredible reputation! She enraptured the king that ruled the 127 provinces in the India, and was clever, bold and obedient enough to dissuade his decision to commit a mass murder of the jewish inhabitants. The story is powerful to me.

Considering Esther's story, I think over the implications of such an incredible life... Yet what would we have assumed if we were watching this unfold from the outside? What if our next door neighbor was recruited in a beauty contest to spend a year of spa preparations for being with the king? And think of the criteria of virginity - she was living in a culture that celebrated sexual acts as part of their worship to many gods, a country where the king himself demanded that his first queen "show off her beauty" for his guests and then divorced her when she refused. What did her neighbors, her girlfriends, her relatives think when she left for the palace? Esther was indeed an unusual woman in an unusual position, yet this is where God's path led her. She was exactly where she needed to be, wielding exactly what influence required, to change the mind of a temperamental ruler of nations. Her act of faith and self-sacrifice was performed after much prayer and with complete reliance on God, declaring "If I die, I die." How amazing. Esther rose to the pinnacle of favor in the eyes of men as the queen, she had everything she ever desired, yet she stood in her royal robes and gilded chamber after listening to Mordecai's plea and surrendered it all to follow God's calling and save her people. This story has been spilling over into my thoughts so much, and I just pray I can one day have the faith that Esther exhibited.

My uncle Greg passed away last Tuesday without recovering from his coma. My aunt Kathy is distraught, and clings to the small comfort that there was no indication of suffering during his illness and coma. In addition to this blow, she must put two of her horses down because of an infection and a disability. These life changing events have left her alone, mourning, directionless, and deeply in debt. Please pray for Kathy as she is in this place of sorrow, and for the wisdom for my family to help her. We are saddened, but have hope that towards the end of Greg's life he was receptive to God and his word.

Sunday night Journey Group #WHJG is such a blessing. It is an incredible way to end a week/begin a new one, surrounded by a variety of interesting people and enjoying good conversations about Jesus. The environment is open and encouraging...to have a genuine church community surrounding you is amazing.

And...um...I hate to break the fourth wall, you know, but...I've been receiving much encouragement from friends and anonymous readers of my blog, so thank you! I sincerely appreciate all your comments! And scene. ^_^

//Let me talk to you! ((snapshot)) I love beauty and awkwardness and anything I can discover and I rarely dislike anything and dull things sparkle but are as hard as diamonds and there's always a back story and yet another level.//

[Post title from Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip '1000 Words'