What I’m Listening to on Repeat

For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked my music to fit my mood/activity. When I run, I want something with a good beat. If I’m getting dressed to the nine’s, I gravitate towards Big Band tunes. My music tastes change along with the seasons. Spring and early summer is for country music (Hello, I live in the heart of country music). Summer is a blend of pop and whatever I can listen to with the windows rolled down (when the humidity isn’t suffocating). Winter is a bit more up for grabs based on the weather and degree dreariness- usually something along the lines of Counting Crows or Andrew McMahon. As the dog days of summer fade into fall, I’m gravitate towards singer/songwriters and folkish tunes. Here’s the music that’s currently finding its way onto my playlists:

Fall'13
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Another Sun Soaked Season Fades Away

You know that sad Sunday night feeling you’d get when you knew the next day you’d be back in school? I’ve got that feeling right now.  ~ Lexie Littleton, Leatherheads

So, it’s finally here: the last night of summer vacation. Tomorrow it’s back to the grind that is nursing school. And the last semester at that. I don’t dislike school, but I still find myself with that sad Sunday night feeling, despite the fact that it’s Monday night.

In honor of the age old classic back-to-school essay, this post is essentially: How I Spent My Summer Vacation.

IMG_0264This was me, post finals. Elated to have passed my third semester nursing school. Completely tired of studying and ready for some downtime. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this summer but I knew it would be an atypical one with no family beach trip in sight.

Initially my summer was a haze of recuperation from a grueling semester. It was Netflix, BBC TV shows, and sleeping in until nine. Doing nothing except little things around the house. But as my brain cells begin to regenerate I found myself praying: I need a plot twist- good or bad- something to jump start my life. That sounds terrible. But I’m so tired of being this lesser version of me. This echo, shadow self. She’s a lot like me just dull and far more muted. She’s not shiny or light-hearted. She deflects too much and stays too closed off in a deceptively-open-kind-of-way. But I want to let people in. I want to set myself up for a win. I want it to be okay to want a win. To have a heart so full I might as well have two. [ . . .] Introduce some new characters. Give me a cliffhanger or two and some adventure to boot.

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The Beauty of the Church

“Now, I don’t know what kind of feelings are conjured up in you when you hear the word church. For me, the church has represented the best and the worst moments in my life. I have been more hurt, more judged, more left out, more ostracized by church people than any other group of people in the world. That has been my experience of church people . . . ” ~ Darren Whitehead

When, I heard those words a week ago, I was on edge. These words, I could have written them myself. I’ve lived them. And I know I’m not alone. This is true for some of them people I love the most. This is the heartbeat of social media and pop-culture’s thoughts on church.

Rachel Held Evans wrote a great article, “Why millennials are leaving the church” that resounded with so many people. I particularly loved this quote:

“You can’t hand us a latte and then go about business as usual and expect us to stick around. We’re not leaving the church because we don’t find the cool factor there; we’re leaving the church because we don’t find Jesus there.
Like every generation before ours and every generation after, deep down, we long for Jesus.”

I know this isn’t just a millennial phenomenon. This is true for the ages. I think it’s always been.

“[…] it feels like everywhere I turn, the Church (with a capital “c”) is hated, distrusted, over-trusted, mocked, angry, sad, naive, unforgiving, judgemental. Broken (with a capital “b”). It’s all of the sudden really cool to love Jesus but hate the church.” ~ Melanie Rainer, b is for broken and beautiful. c is for church.

I was blessed to grow up in a crazy-cool youth group that stretched and grew me beyond my wildest dreams. [Which you can read about here] I was exposed to teaching suited for any aged years. I made friends that became family. I had leaders that challenged and inspired me. I was allowed to step-up into leadership roles myself. I was a shy, awkward girl who desperately needed a place to belong. And I found it. It was far from perfect. There were disagreements, we broke each other’s hearts, and I’m still unlearning flawed theology I’m sure no one ever actually meant to teach us.

But I loved this group of people fiercely. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. So, when two of my former youth pastors planted Church of the City nearby I was equal parts excited and leery. Darren and Jake are people I respect and trust. They are part of my story. Their teaching and more importantly their love has greatly impacted my life. I knew that if they were involved, this would be something I could get behind. This was a place that I wholeheartedly wanted to check out and at the very same time run away from as fast as my legs would carry me. Because this church, though brand new held echoes of my past.
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What I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before I Started Nursing School

Today I helped host a meet and greet for new nursing students. It was a little surreal thinking that I’m entering my last semester in a few weeks. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I was the new student wondering how on earth, I, a spill-prone klutzy gal would manage to keep my bright white scrubs clean.

I remember walking into orientation, surrounded by unfamiliar faces and being bombarded by too much information. Well-meaning students who had just completed their first semester tried to give us advice. My take away was that was nursing school was impossibly hard, I could kiss my social life goodbye, my life should now henceforth be devoted to studying, and above all don’t panic.

Well, panicking hadn’t entered my mind. I had felt that sense of peace of knowing I was in the right where I was supposed to be. I was nervous, sure, but I hadn’t considered panicking until I heard people tell me at least ten times not to panic. Fortunately, as I left I found a voice mail message from my nursing buddy who was entering her last semester. I quickly called her back. “Naomi, should I be panicking?” I asked. She laughed and laughed. She told me I could do it, that sure nursing school is hard but I’d be fine. She was right.

So here’s what I wish someone had told me before I started nursing school:
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Count My Stitches, Cross My Heart

The thunder rumbles and I count my stitches. I cross my heart.

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Even with a pattern to follow, I make mistakes. I drop stitches, I add one too many, I have to take them out and start again. At least this time the needle fails to draw blood. With each stitch the picture looks a little bit more like it should. I pull the needle and thread, I whisper prayers too close and wistful to say aloud.

The rain keeps falling and I listen to rainy day music.

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Ten Tips for Dealing with Crying Girls

Did you watch The Bachelorette last week -hang in there, this isn’t a post about the show- when Brooks decided to call it quits with Des? I did, I know, I know. I don’t always watch the show, but I’m glad I did last week. Please note I just watch The Bachelorette and not The Bachelor. It’s fun to watch a bunch of guys trip all over themselves to get a rose. It’s not so much fun to watch a gaggle of girls do the same thing; it’s too much like real life.

But back to the point, about last week’s episode, it was painful. Just painful. Not the fact that they broke up- but how they broke up. It never ever ended. It went on and on. She just sat there and cried (naturally) and he didn’t know what to do. It was obvious. Instead of really comforting her or just getting the heck out of there, he just kept sitting there awkwardly.

Here see for yourself:

And that’s just the first half. Seriously, it never ended. I kept waiting for the camera man to put the guy out of his misery or at least hand her a tissue. We were urging him through the TV to just leave already.

But it got me thinking about how he clearly didn’t know what to do when she started crying. And it got me wondering how often this happens. I’ll admit, a crying girl can be a very scary thing. So, I thought I’d give you some tips so you won’t make the same mistakes poor Brooks did.
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