Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The times they are a changin'

Ho ho know the rest!
Well, Christmas has come and gone. Hope it was a great one for you and yours! I spent my Christmas........ in the Intensive Care Unit.
(Dramatic Pause)
Don't worry, I was working. Phew, were you worried? I'm not actually sure when my family and I celebrated Christmas on Dec. 25th last. Probably sometime in college. Ah, Christmas break. Those were the days!
Anyway, I had a delightful time celebrating Christmas with my fam.
Now that Christmas is over, it is full steam ahead in my plans for moving to Sierra Leone!
First things first. I moved back in with my parents. My roommates finally had enough of me and kicked me out! Or maybe our lease ran out at the end of December. It was one of those. Maybe a combination. :)
So I have taken everything I own......and put it in my mom's living room. Merry Christmas Mom!!
I will soon start the scintillating process of unpacking everything so that I can repack it after I've decided what few precious items t I want to try and cram into my 2 bag, 50lb limit of luggage! I'm envisioning hauling the ridiculously heavy textbooks I want to bring in my carry-on.
Ha ha United Airlines! Look who's fooled you now! (Side note: will most likely be looking for a chiropractor in Sierra Leone upon my arrival.)
So. The great thing about moving across the world, is that even though Christmas is over, I still keep getting sweet looking packages like these at my door!

Low and behold it's my mosquito net!! Looks very luxurious!

I've also received my own personalized security system. This means that I just bought some pepper spray and little alarms off the Internet. I'm not sure how much protection it will provide....but it might make me sleep a little better at night. That, along with the ferocious dog I'm hoping to get when I arrive! Don't mess with me man!

And finally.....the one package I was most hoping would not get lost in the VISA!!! That's right folks, it's official. I'm not going to have to sweet talk or sneak into the country. Phew!

So there you go. The countdown has begun!

Now it's off to work to finish kicking Sallie Mae to the curb before I leave!

Monday, December 6, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things....

As I think about my move to Sierra Leone, I get really excited!! But I've also started thinking about all the things I'll miss.......
Like my brother "smiling" patiently as I attempt the perfect self-portrait!

Almost got it!

Or my sister and brother-in-law. I think he needs some more "hazing." He's never had a big sister before!!! Oooooaaaaaaahhhhhhhh. (That was my internet scary laugh.)

Oh also that snow!!!!! Wow!

And what about my precious roommates???

Especially when we are sleep deprived and decide that things like this...

And this......

Oh dear.... Don't even get me started on our Quote Wall.....

Y.O.U.N.G. L.I.F.E. !!!!

Decorated Toilet.....Fundraiser......Long Story.....

(Yes I'm the only one that dressed up...and yes, I'm a Whoopie Cushion)

What will my family do without me???

Literally...I'm a little scared. (This is my mom being carried to her own room after she took her first ever sleeping pill and took BOTH of them instead of just the one she was supposed to.) Needless to say she had no memory of this in the morning. Love you mom! (And you're welcome for posting this for all to see) :)
OH!! And I definitely can't forget my FAVORITE!!!

Think there's any chance I'll find one there?? Don't bother. I've looked. There's not.

Oh my goodness I've been blessed so much!! How can I leave???


There's her....

And him........

And her...........

And them...... :)

I've been so blessed! I am SO excited about God's next step for me, but I'm also mourning everyone I'll be leaving behind.
"My grace is sufficient for you. For My power is made perfect in weakness."
LOVE THAT!!!! :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Leeeeeeavin'.....On A Jet Plane.......

Well, I did it. After years and years and months and days and many minutes of waiting, I bought my one-way ticket to Sierra Leone. :) Of course I had to document my experience!

Since my date is now set in was time to do some shopping! After months of saving, Black Friday was upon me!I convinced my mom to go with me..... as any seasoned Black Friday shopper knows that you need a buddy to stand in with you!So 4am comes and we are ready for our Shopping Extravaganza!! Sure, I needed pots, pans, towels, etc but what was it that inspired me to wake up at that horrific hour, fight the crowds and stand in line for over an hour??????? What could it possibly be????
Why FIVE seasons of "The Office" of course!! I'll need a little something to remind me of home won't I??? And who could resist the deal?? Not me! Well worth standing in the wrong line for quite a while before we found out...and were subsequently moved to the back of a different line. Oh Black Friday.....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer School

This summer has been a world wind of activity!! One of my greatest adventures happened in Canada. (Oh Canada.....(singing the Canadian anthem in my head right now. Feel free to sing along)). I got to spend two amazing weeks in Victoria BC learning about tropical medicine. Isn't it beautiful?

I stayed in a cabin on this river, met some amazing people and got to learn how to do things like help a woman give birth in the middle of nowhere, stitch up lacerations and all sorts of other cool things. While the learning part was fun, I think my favorite part was getting to spend time with some missionaries who had spent the last 40 years on the mission field. They just loved Jesus so much, were so humble, and had such amazing stories about how God had worked in their lives throughout the years. It was such a HUGE encouragement. I'm looking forward to having more stories like that myself someday! :)
There was one part that wasn't sooo much fun. Since I became a nurse I have had the unfortunate "pleasure" of putting NG tubes (tubes from the nose to the stomach) in many a patient. However, I've never had the "pleasure" of one myself. So when I was given the opportunity to let someone practice putting one in my nose at this class, I decided to go for it. Always good to be able to empathize with your patients...right? Yeah....

Getting ready.......

Not loving it.....but Justin's doing a great job! All done!!
After this I understand completely why my patients pull these tubes out even when I politely ask them not to. :) You'll have to tie my hands down if I ever need one of these.
It was a great class and I learned so much! It made me really excited to get over to Sierra Leone and use the skills that I've learned. I'm at 30% of my support raised so I'm excited. Only 70% more to go. Thank you Jesus!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


So! In order for me to move to Sierra Leone I have to raise financial support. I'm essentially asking people to pay for me to live and work in Sierra Leone. Although I already suspected, I have realized that this is not my forte'. I have always been pretty self-sufficient and don't love asking for help. God has really had to...and is continuing to change my attitude about this. And I've already started to be so incredibly blessed!!!

A couple weeks ago, shortly after I sent out my letters we had a little Sierra Leone Reunion at my parents house. A friend of mine came up to me and told me a story. She had been praying over the last week and felt the Lord impressing a monetary amount on her heart. She didn't know what it meant but wanted to use it for Africa. Two days after this experience she got my letter which had several different suggested amounts on it (you know how those little cards are...) Anyway, she said "ah ha!" and she and her husband are going to support me with that amount! I have no idea what the amount is for...and it doesn't even matter. It was just such such such an encouragement to me and a little reminder that I'm not alone in this and that God is going to provide what I need!

Fast forward about 3-4 weeks. Until today, I had yet to receive one written response to the many letters that I sent out. I've had several people tell me verbally that they were going to support me and that was awesome! But there was something about getting a little written response that I was waiting for. When I told some friends of mine that I was still waiting for my first response, they said they would send theirs in. I told them "just mark the "I'll pray for Emily box"...that's all I want! (And they're just those sort of sweet). Anyway, today my Dad called and told me that he checked the mail and my first response arrived! I was expecting it to be from my friends who told me they'd be sending theirs in...but it wasn't! It was from a couple in my church....who I know are definitely giving to me sacrificially! I couldn't believe it! Ok, you might have suspected...but I did get a little teary eyed! I am just so thankful.

While I was in that waiting period...and starting to get a little concerned, wondering how I will ever raise what I need, I was concentrating on not getting discouraged but continuing to believe that if God has called me to this, He will provide. I know myself! I know that it is so easy for me to rejoice when things are going as planned and when God's doing what I want...but not so easy when I don't clearly see Him working. Anyway...kind of a random post but I was just so excited that this is becoming a reality that I had to say something! :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010


This is my brother-in-law.

Isn't he precious? I have started referring to him as "Yoda." You'll see why in a minute.
"Yoda" is madly in love and married to my sister, Elisabeth.

Aren't they sickningly sweet?

For Christmas this year my family decided to forgo buying each other presents and make each other presents instead. Yoda is one of those "car guys." I'm pretty sure he knows everything about cars. Since Yoda knows how utterly inept I am in the car department, for Christmas last year his gift to me was to teach me everything he can about cars so that if at all possible I can avoid being stranded in the jungle when I move to Africa. My gift FOR him was to let hime teach me about cars (without being distracted by tv, magazines or the computer.......Elisabeth...). I think I got the better end of the deal. For that reason, I will now refer to him as "Yoda" because I am his willing student as he teaches me all things "CAR."

Last night was our first "car session." I got to use the tool box that he suggested I buy at a great "after Thanksgiving sale" last year. He successfully taught me how to change the lightbulbs that were out in my blinker and brake lights and how to change the wiperblades. Yeah yeah, baby steps, baby steps. This weekend we're going to the junkyard to find some more parts to do some more "car stuff."

Now I have to tell you. Elisabeth did really really well when she married this guy. He is so sweet. He has spent hours researching different things that I may want to get for my Jeep in order to make it last longer and run better in Africa. Things like....larger radiators, new springs and shocks...etc. (I'm sure I'll understand more of what that means after a few more lessons). I've had to break it to him that while I really appreciate that he doesn't want me stranded in the jungle (and I completely agree with him) it's not in my budget to spend thousands of dollars on car parts. For one thing, I've already sent one Jeep over there....and it was stolen. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that I need to hold onto things loosely! I was a little worried that he wouldn't understand because...well....he's a car guy. They're really into cars. But last night he put my worries at ease. In additon to teaching me about cars, he told me that he's looking into ways to finance these car upgrades becasue he understands that they're not my top priority. Phew. What a great guy!!

THANKS AARON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You got me rolling......

Well, one more step in my move to Africa. I dragged my brother-in-law (my designated "car guy") along with me to look at a Jeep to ship over to Africa. We are planning to ship a container to Sierra Leone in May and I wanted to send a car along ahead of me so it will be waiting whenever I get there! After searching Autotrader and Craigs List for months, we found this one and got a pretty good deal. My only real requirement was that it is in good enough condition to not break down in the middle of the jungle. I know there are no guarantees.....but hopefully this is the one.

The next steps involve many lessons in learning how to maintain it. Aaron (my brother-in-law) has agreed to teach me how to work on my car so I can fix any and every problem that I ever encounter! Ok....probably not EVERY problem! I'm really blessed to have him help me and look forward to getting my hands dirty and learning about things like....tork...combustion...."regular maintenance" and other such foreign concepts.

Hopefully I will get to use my Sierra Leonean drivers license soon! :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's a Christmas Miracle!

More adventures in Sierra Leone! I just got back from a quick little trip with 14 other people. We did a medical clinic in an village called Gbangbatok (I think that finally at the end of the trip I could pronounce it right...maybe). I know myself well enough that when I got home and couldn't really think of anything but moving to Sierra Leone...I wasn't surprised. My appetite has been whetted! :)
I had a couple awesome things happen while I was over there. After arriving the first night, we were waiting at the ferry. (They designed the airport on a penninusla so you have to take a ridiculously rough road or a ferry to get to the airport. Super convenient!) Anyway, this woman came up to one of the other team members and started talking to her like they were friends. It took a few minutes, but she realized that she was mistaking her for someone else. We started talking and I found out she and her husband are doctors and work in a hospital up north. I was a little hesitant but went for it and told her my plans to move there and need for experience. She gave me her card and we went our separate ways. Fast forward to the end of the trip. I e-mailed her as soon as I got home and she was excited about the possiblity of me coming there too. She said they've been praying for someone to come help with the OB clinic.

OB. Not my strong point. At all. My background is ICU nursing and generally when we see a prego patient we run for the hills! However! Maternal and neonatal mortality is a huge problem in Sierra Leone so it's an area that I really need to grow in! The hospital that this woman works at was rated the "safest place to have a baby in Sierra Leone" and they have a huge emphasis on women and children. I'm really really really excited about this possibility. She told me that she doesn't think our meeting was an accident and I hope she's right. Is this where you're leading me Jesus? We'll see!

What else? Oh. I must really be getting old because this was the first time I've been referred to as "mother." Really? 28 and instead of "auntie" I get "mother?" Ouch! I guess I have pulled out 7 grey hairs.....

I finished my little prayer cards today. You know, the ones you hang on your refrigerator? They don't exactly look......pofessional. But when God was dishing out the creativity he decided to be stingy with me! I'm working on my prayer letter to send out as well. My goal is to get it sent out by next week. I'm excited to see what kind of response I get. I think one of the things I'm most nervous about is feeling like I'm doing this alone. I know that my friends and family will support me though, and that's super encouraging!

Well, guess that's it for now. Keep on keeping on.....Sierra Leone here I come!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How silly am I......How great is my God???

Had a potential road block to my "Sierra Leone or But" adventure this week. A few days ago I found out that there was an opportunity for me to go to Haiti to participate in some work that is being done down there. Although I was super excited about the possibility I was also nervous because the timing of the trip would mean that I would be in Haiti for 2 weeks, come back for a couple days and head to Sierra Leone for a couple weeks. I wasn't sure if I could handle that financially, physically or emotionally. I decided that I would trust that God knew what I could handle better than I did and so forged ahead.

Several hours later I found out that the plane was filled and they didn't need me. While I was a little disappointed, the emotion I experienced primarily was JOY!!! Jesus knows me SO well! He knew what I could handle. He knows what's best for me! He closed that door so firmly that I just had to say...welp, not His plan for me now. I just loved resting in that knowledge!!

Fast forward a couple days and....I haven't worked. I work on an "as needed" basis for a hospital system and last week they did not need me. I worked 12 hours. This week I haven't worked at all.

I start worrying.

How am I going to pay my bills?

How am I going to pay off my loans and move to Africa by August?

What if they never need me again and I can't find another job and I end up moving in with my parents but my parents' business fails and so we have to try and sell the house but we can't so the bank takes it and we are homeless and we have to move into a shelter or pitch my dad's army tent and move from park to park to avoid being caught by the cops and then it's so cold outside that we catch pneumonia but can't go to the hospital because we had to sell our car on Ebay and it's too hard to walk (what with pneumonia and all) so we all our tent...DOWN BY THE RIVER (name that SNL skit).

And THEN how am I going to move to Africa by August?????

You can see why my post is labeled "how silly am I?" Not 2 days ago I was in utterly delighted by the way God took care of me and closed doors as He saw fit. Now I'm starting to feel a little bit of pressure and freak out, questioning everything and being my oh so dramatic self. Sheesh.

I know that He is going to take care of me. I know that I'll get to Africa when He decides it's time for me to go. I'm thankful that I can know that when I see Him clearly working AND when I just don't see it at all. He's still the same God. And He's still working. How great is He?? I think that's a pretty important lesson for me to learn as I prepare to trapse off to the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately I know myself well enough that He'll probably have to teach me again. Thanks for your patience Jesus!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let the adventure begin!

I can't believe the time has come....but here it is. Several months ago I took up the new hobby of "blog reader." My friends have mocked me because of the ways I feel so intimately connected with people I've never met but.....that's the glory of the internet eh? Anyway, I decided that once I officially and actively started pursing my move to Sierra Leone, I would post pieces of my adventure on a blog for all to read (fully understanding that by "all to read" it will primarily be for my family....and by "family".......mostly my mom. :) I'm a little nervous about doing this because my social filter is not always up to par and from the safety of my computer in my bedroom well.....who knows what I may say! I apologize in advance! (I also work night shift so will attempt to keep from posting after work as I've found that sleep deprivation also tends to clog my social filter).

So! Checklist for moving to Sierra Leone:
Become a nurse- check
Decide to become a nurse practitioner- check
Move to Seattle to become a nurse practitioner- check
Move back home from Seattle to study for my boards and work
Take my boards and actually become certified- check
(I put lots of small details on my checklist because the Lord began calling me to serve him overseas when I was in high school.....and I'm about to have my 10 year reunion! If I only put "become a nurse" and "become a nurse practitioner" I would have to think.....what the heck have I been doing this whole time? More "checks" make me feel more accomplished! But I digress.....

The biggest hurdle I'm facing now is getting my darn school loans paid off and raising the support I need to live over there. Jesus has blessed me so much with a great job that I am hoping to get my loans paid off by August. So there it is.....the TARGET MOVE DATE.

AUGUST.......2010. Can it be done? That's yet to be seen. I set a goal date that seemed feasible so that I would have some motivation. You see, while I love being a nurse...I'm not what you might call a "work-a-holic." There are so many other fun things to do that as long as my bills are paid ....why work? But if I set a I'm in "move to Sierra Leone" mode. And that means I'm in "work mode." I could be a real drifter if I didn't set goals.

So my goal is to pay off approximately $28,000 by August of next year. I have worked out a budget for Sierra Leone and I will need $4500 in monthly support. I will also need to raise a considerable amount of "one time gifts" to have in reserve. Yikes. Sheesh. and Yikes again. I asked my roommates the heck am I going to come up with that??? They said...pray. Oh yeah....why didn't I think of that? That's why I'm posting my progress here. I can get stressed out about whether or not I'll be able to work enough to pay off my loans, etc. but really, this is God's deal. (I just got a huge sense of relief even writing that!) I really think that He is the One leading me to Sierra Leone and if I'm misreading some signals or direction, this is an awesome way for Him to close that door! cool! So now we get to see!!! What will happen??? What will God do? Hmmm....exciting to see. I'll keep you posted......Mom. :)