Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What a trip!!

I wanted to go ahead and get some of these pictures shared before I forgot what everything was!  It was such an amazing trip, just far to short.  There was so much to see, that I really needed at least a week to be there (so maybe next time...)  I have to say, I loved so many things about Holland, and the thing I love the most is that most people were not in such a hurry to get everything done.  Things are more relaxed for sure, and I love that there are more bikes than cars, which just makes everything seem so much more peaceful.  I absolutely loved it.  I spent the day Friday on a bike (for the first time in about 20 years!) and a boat, touring Amsterdam!!  It was so beautiful.  The buildings were so beautiful to look at, and everywhere I looked, I needed to take a picture....well, except maybe in the red light district....there I just kind of rode by with my mouth gaping open!!
I can't believe I rode a bike again!!

 At least 15 miles in one day on a bike!!

The canals were even more peaceful than the streets.  Floating along for a couple of hours to see the city, I got to see so much of the city!

With just 1 day in the city, there was no time to actually go IN the museum, but luckily it was just as beautiful outside!

I thought it was really ironic that the Amsterdam official flag has a XXX on it....

This was a "nurse home", where nurses would live while working

After spending Friday in Amsterdam, we went back to Utrecht, and got to see the city very quickly on Saturday before we had to head to Brussels!  It was enough time to see even more beautiful things (and some really cute kids!!)

This was totally the best part of the trip!!  Getting to spend time with these two was so great.  Hearing them say my name....priceless!!!

For some reason, this picture just seems to show everything that I loved in the short time I was there.  The bike, the green, and just the relaxing peaceful feeling

This church was so beautiful and reminded me of the church that I grew up in.  Many of the same lines and feeling.  There was something about it that just made me so overwhelmed in there.  I had tears in my eyes by the time I walked out.  It was gorgeous

This building is part of the University at Utrecht

LOVE him

When people ask me why I wanted to become a surrogate....THIS is why...families are made, love is shared

And of course, I got to try McDonalds while I was there!  Had an interesting sandwhich that was very typical Dutch, I'm told.  a McCroquet...interesting to be sure!

These pictures hardly sum up what a great trip it was!  I have hundreds of pictures, and just had to pick some of the best ones!  Oh wait....here are the BEST ones!!

If only you could hear the laughter that went along with this picture!

I swear I could eat up those cheeks!!!

Blowing bubbles on the porch!!

I had lots of good packing help before I left!

Truly blessed to be able to be in their lives!!!  I can't wait to get to see them (well, and their parents) again!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Here I am....

So, here I am....two days before I take my very last test for school.  Just a little over a week until I walk across the stage for graduation.  Probably a month or so before I take my boards and can finally say that I'm a Nurse Practitioner.  Truthfully, I never thought I would be here.  When I started, I hoped that I would finish, but I never really thought I would.  Along the way I've had alot of set backs, and a 2 year program has taken me close to 5....but....here I am....and I've learned so much more than school stuff through the past few years.

I've learned that if you want something bad enough, you will make it happen.  I'm not sure where  I have found the time, or the energy to study and take tests and do clinical, but I know each day I would do it.

I've learned that unless you have people willing to stand beside you and sometimes behind you pushing you past that roadblock and on to your next step, you will never make it.  Having family and friends believing in you when you don't believe in yourself is so so important.

I've learned that I will never know it all.  I would like to, but I can't, and I need to accept that I won't be perfect, and that sometimes that's okay.

I've learned that it's vital to take time out to breathe....and have fun....and make sure that you are still LIVING, because after all, what's the point of any of it if you aren't having fun?

I've learned to love myself for who I am....and this is pretty huge for me.  My whole life I've wished this or that was different.  I've finally, after 36 years, accepted things like my curly hair, my turned up nose, and my maybe not as thin as it should be body.  I actually kind of like when I smile and I can see the fine lines around my eyes, it means that I've smiled enough for them to be there.  I've learned that I am good enough....just the way I am is good enough....I don't have anything to prove, I'm not competing with anyone (well, maybe myself!), and that I just need to be me, and be happy in my own skin.

I've learned that life is messy, but life is amazing.  I've been so busy for so many years that I know I've missed things.  I've put things to the side that shouldn't have been, and I hope to make up for that now that things will settle a little.  I don't want to ever make people think that I have it all together, I want people to know that the mess is okay, it's what makes us who we are.

I think the most important thing I've learned is that none of this comes without pushing through fear and following in faith.  Even through all of the craziness, I've been able to feel at peace.  Even though things may not be as I planned, I know that God knows His plan, and I can trust.  I truly feel at peace with my life, which is not something I've been able to say much throughout my life.  I know some things need to change, and I'm working on that, but I also know that He has my back, and wow....that's amazing.

School has taught me tons about medications, treatment plans, insurance coverage, and lab tests....but life during school has taught me the most valuable lessons, and I am forever thankful for the opportunity to be able to have this journey.

Monday, January 19, 2015

I've had it all wrong....

This little card has been stuck to my bulletin board at my desk for a few years now.  I spend alot of time at my desk, so I look at it often.  I looked at it while we were going through the adoption, and it did help me a little to think that I was strong, and that I could handle what I was being given.  I think still that I am a strong woman, and I am proud of that.  I will fight for what I believe is right, and for what I believe I should be doing.   

For years I thought that strength came from being brought up to be a strong woman.  And, in some ways it comes from that, but I think that in so many other ways it doesn't.  Don't get me wrong, I was brought up BY a strong woman to BE a strong woman, and I am thankful and proud of that.  I was taught at a pretty early age that just because I was a girl didn't me I shouldn't know how to change a tire or handle a drill, and I can't tell you how very thankful I am for those kinds of skills.  It comes in handy ALOT!!  I actually had one of our neighbor girls say to me yesterday (as I was breaking glass out of an old window to get it out of the frame), "shouldn't this be a man's job?"  I laughed a little and had to ask her why??  She said because of the tools and stuff and because I was wearing some work gloves...seriously never dawned on me that it should be a man's job!!

All that being said....let me get back to the point of this blog post.  I had a revelation while in church this past week.  The sermon was about discerning God's voice in all of the distractions of life.  This is something that I have been working on for the past couple of months.  Mainly I've been working on trying to not be so "busy" all of the time when I'm with the kids.  When they want to play, I say yes.  When they want me to snuggle with them on the couch, I say yes.  When they want to eat lunch from QT in the driveway and then jump on the trampoline, I say yes.  I'm so much more relaxed, and they are happier, and it just makes life better all around.  So, I was thinking about being less "busy" when it comes to God and listening to Him.  Do I say "yes" when He asks me to do something?  As I was pondering this, I really started to think about this quote that is not only on my bulletin board, but also on the top of this blog, and pretty ingrained in me.  Am I really strong enough for this life?  Let me tell, that answer is for sure NO!!!! There is no way that the strength I have has anything to do with me!!

Life happens, that is for sure.  Are we strong enough for it?  No way.  But, we are lucky enough to have a God that WANTS us to get our strength from HIM.  We are given this life so that we might get outside of ourselves and realize that we have this wonderful God and that we don't have to do all of this alone.  WOW....I mean, seriously...WOW....I don't have to do this on my own....I'm truly still trying to let that sink in.  I have said before that everything happens for a reason, and most of the time you can't see that reason until you are on the other side.  But, sometimes, you get a glimpse when you are in the middle of the storm....you can see what He's trying to show you and teach you.  And, if you're really lucky,  you actually learn it!!!

So, I'll be taking down my little card from my bulletin board.  Maybe this should go up instead: