"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
2 Corinthians 10:5

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

GFJ, Nursing School, Health, Summer, Family and other Happenings!

I was afraid I may have forgotten my password to my blog since it has been SO.VERY. LONG since I last posted.  Apparently, I use the same password for everything, which in my case, is a good thing!  :)  I eventually hope to become the kind of blogger again who doesn't wait months upon months to post the "going on's"  in our lives.  Only one more year of nursing school and maybe that will become a reality for me again!

Speaking of nursing school...LOVE IT.  Really.  I can't believe I'm already finished with my first year. I'm not so much a fan of the chaos that it adds to my life at times and the quality time that it can take away from my husband and other family and friends.  My precious husband is my biggest supporter and I just don't know what I'd do without his constant encouragement on those days that I'm so tired because I only got 3 hours of sleep the night before and I just want to throw in the towel, or on those nights (many nights) when the only thing I have time to "cook" us for dinner is a bowl of cereal.  The Lord is so faithful to sustain us when we are just flat out tired.  Many people ask what area I want to work in when I finish my schooling.  I love children.  I love babies.  As I look back and think of my work as a nurse in Allergy and Asthma for several years,  my pediatric patients were always my favorite.  The Lord impressed upon my heart some time ago the idea of working in children's hospice care.  The most common response from people that I share this with is almost always, "Meredith!  No!  How could you do work in a field like that?!?"  It's heartbreaking to think that the words "children" and "hospice" should ever have to go together, but the reality is that they do at times.  If the Lord calls me to  that field and provides the opportunity for work in that field, I would love nothing more than to love on those children, praying over them and their families, and sharing with them about the hope we have in Jesus, even in death.

I have so enjoyed my break from school this summer.  While it has seemed fast and furious, it has been much needed.  I needed to spend time with my husband, with our families, with my sweet Luke and Caroline.  Oh, how I miss them when I have to go for any length of time without seeing them!  They are growing like weeds!  I can't get enough of their sweet faces.  Luke was able to come spend a weekend with us recently and I just LOVE our time with him...he is quite the smart cookie and I just love his curiosity about the Lord.  Some of the statements he makes and questions he asks just blow me away.  I pray continually that the Lord would continue to draw that sweet boy to Himself.   Aaron and I had the opportunity to go to Hilton Head with his parents and sister (and her now fiancĂ©, Josh!) in May and earlier this month we headed out with my family for our annual St. Simon's trip.  Since Aaron is our only income while I'm in school, we are so very thankful that our families still allow us to tag along with them on vacation!  They bless us more than they know!  I did have the opportunity to work a few days this summer with my friends at the Allergy and Asthma Clinic in Gainesville.  LOVE working with them and am thankful they were willing to have me back for a few weeks!  During these last 2 weeks of freedom before 3rd semester begins, I am trying to soak up my husband, cook substantial meals for us, get our house spotless (if that's ever possible!), sleep at least until my husband does in the mornings, spend unhurried time in the Word, prepare myself for a skills exam that will begin the first week of the semester, work on getting my husband packed and ready for his mission trip to BRAZIL (SOOO excited for him!), take walks with my husband, and anything else that needs to be done between here and there.

Speaking of taking walks!  Some of you know and many of you don't know that I've had a "back issue" over the last year.  I originally thought I hurt it when moving into our new home this past summer.  We did lots of lifting, lots of painting, etc., so naturally this made sense.  When it became the kind of pain that takes your breath away, I decided to go see my doctor.  They agreed that I likely had a lower lumbar strain from the move and that it would take several weeks to heal.  Several weeks turned into several months.  I pride myself on having a pretty high pain tolerance, but some days, this pain was unreal. It was always worse at night after having been on my feet all day.  I recall one night having to get up out of the bed to use the restroom and literally having to get my husband up to help me make my way there.  Crazy, huh?  Towards the end of this past year, we decided to go back to the doctor to pursue further testing.  Long story short, I have a fairly high deductible on my insurance plan and the cost of having an MRI done was going to be ridiculously high, so I chose to hold off a little longer and Aaron and I agreed to continue praying for complete healing.  Around this same time, I saw my ob/gyn for some other issues I was having and was diagnosed with what's called PCOS (poly-cycstic ovarian syndrome).  She suggested a medication treatment option that I chose not to begin right away.  I did, however, choose to begin treatment in May, and about a month or so after taking the medication, my back pain began to improve tremendously.  Are the two related, the back pain and the PCOS?  It is very possible, according to my doctor.  All I know is that I can make it through the day now without having to take a single ibuprofen as opposed to taking them around the clock just to not be in tears.  I have even been able to begin walking again for exercise over the past few weeks and this has been HUGE for me.  Nursing school along with a gimp back has caused somewhat of a train wreck in the weight loss world.  Many of you probably think that I've completely given up on my GFJ (get fit journey), that I've been on since 2007.  Although I have had some MAJOR setbacks over the past couple of years, I have not given up!  It will take some time to get me back into the groove of things, but as always, I just have to remind myself that I'm not in a race.  So, if any of my Griffin friends out there are into walking, I need a partner.  My sweet Mama was my faithful partner before Aaron and I got married and I now know how important that accountability is.  :)

I will leave you with a few pictures from over the past few months/year.

March 2012 - Caroline "Baby Sis" joins us! 

 Luke's "summer spend-the-night" with Mae Mae and Aaron

My Sweet Mama came and spent a weekend with me and she helped to plant me a flower bed around my mailbox.  Love it.  :) 

My Daddy got to go with us on vacation this year!!  Yay! 

Mama's surprise 60th birthday part in May!  She got a kitty from her Sister's! :) 

We got to take a tour of Savannah with Aaron's family during our vacation to Hilton Head!  So fun! 

I planted my first little garden this summer and these were my first fruits!

My thrifty find of the summer.  I paid $25 for this antique find and refinished it.  Love how it turned out! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Not "Whoa Sally" but "Whoa Aly"!!

"WHOA!" I think this word pretty much sums up the past few days. The craziness began around 10:45 AM on Wednesday morning this past week. I was heading to get my hair cut after school and on the way, I received a phone call from on of my best friends (Sisterhood Girl's), Karla. Her immediate words to me were, "Meredith, something really strange has happened. Alyson (another one of our Sisterhood Girl's) has had a stroke." My immediate response was "WHAT?!?" I seriously thought I had heard her wrong. Surely she didn't say that Alyson had had a stroke. Alyson is 30 years old and fit as a fiddle. I can't really describe what my mind and heart felt at that moment...most definitely shock and a sense of bewilderment. My jaw stayed open and my body felt numb for at least the next 20 minutes until I could process everything.

Let me just give you a brief background of my personal relationship with Alyson. She has literally been in my life since we were in preschool - so about 27 years now. And just to make what could be an incredibly long story short, we have been in each others lives, through every major event, since the day we first met at the ripe old age of around 3 or 4 years old. Sure there have been seasons where we haven't been as heavily involved in one another's lives as we should have/could have been (throughout our college years, etc.), but we realized after the first decade or so of our friendship that we were simply in it for the long haul...kind of like getting married..."til death do us part." I can't tell you what an overwhelming thought this is for me...to know that as rare as lifelong friendships are, not only do I have Aly's, but 4 other incredibly precious girl's as well. That the Lord would show such favor on me blows my mind!

You've heard me refer to my Sisterhood Girl's many times and in no particular order, these girl's are Alyson, Kimi, Kacee, Karla and Courtney.

Actually, I'll just show you a picture so you can have a face with their names. From left to right is Aly, Courtney, Kacee, Me, Karla and Kimi - taken on my wedding day. Aren't they beautiful? With the exception of Courtney, who came into our lives during our middle school years, we have all been friends since elementary school. And we love each other just.like.sisters. We have seen each other at our worst and at our best just like sisters do, get frustrated from time to time with each other just like sisters do, forgive like sisters do, laugh so hard with one another until our sides hurt and our mascara has covered our faces just like sisters do, talk about things that you only talk about with your sisters, prayed for and with each other just like sisters do, and we all hurt when one of us hurts...just like we all have been over the past few days since Aly's crazy run in with this stroke, that none of our human minds can wrap itself around.

My Pastor is always reminding us of how hopeless and helpless those without Christ truly are. I've heard him say those words over and over, but not until earlier this week did those words finally pierce my heart. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for Alyson's unwavering faith. I haven't heard a negative word fall from her lips since her incidence on Wednesday. Instead, I've heard words like "God is all knowing, He is in control, He is GOOD, He is going to use this for His glory, etc.". She has 2 babies and a husband at home, a classroom full of kindergarten students to teach. Shouldn't she have been saying, "Who is going to take care of my babies, Why did this happen to me?, etc." According to the world, yes. She should have been saying those things. The world is full of sin and without Christ, so it is without hope and it is helpless. But...Alyson has Christ - so there is HOPE and help and peace for her during probably what have been the scariest moments of her life thus far. Alyson has matured enough in her faith to know that His Word is true. That when He says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you", or when He says that "our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all", she can trust and have hope in that! My heart truly breaks for those without Him...for those with no hope, with no anchor when everything around them feels like it's coming apart. Aly - I would give anything to reverse what you are going through, but know that He IS using this situation in your life to bring Him glory. Others have and will continue to see this Hope that you have and my prayer is that their hearts will be so drawn to the Him that they see in you.

I know many of you have already been lifting up Alyson and my plea is that you would continue to do so. She has made much progress but still has more to go. Doctors are still trying to determine the cause of her stroke and at the moment, she is still battling some major side effects. As she would say, "My God is all knowing, all powerful and all good so I know He will use this to His good." Words to live by right there. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Supposed to be studying....

Yes, that's what I'm supposed to be doing right now. It's now almost 10:20 AM on Saturday and my goal before I went to bed last night was to be up and at 'em by at least 8:30 this morning! So far, I have managed to roll out of bed, get a load of laundry started, a 1/2 pot of coffee made (BTW, I made the Beaumont Brand "French Vanilla" coffee that I bought from Aldi a few weeks ago and it is GOOD!!), breakfast has been eaten, devotion read, and to procrastinate just a little more, I decided to blog for a minute! Oh well...what are ya gonna do...I've got all day to get that studying done, right?!? :)

These past couple of weeks have flown by. This past weekend, Aaron and I headed to Gainesville to spend some time with my "Sisterhood Girls" and their sweet husbands and kiddos - we met at a park and enjoyed a picnic lunch together while the kids played on the playground. My sister let us take Luke with us and he had a great time - it's crazy to think that most of us girls were all around Luke's age (or younger) when we began our priceless friendships - I love those girls and it does my soul such good to see them! We spent the rest of the afternoon with my sister, Luke and my Mom and Dad - Mom cooked and we ate! We had to make it back to Griffin in time for Aaron to catch the first GA game of the season - looking back, I think he would have rather stayed in Gainesville a little longer! :) Looking forward to visiting with my family again in a couple weeks - we have my sister's 35th birthday to celebrate and my 31st!

School is still going well. Two weeks ago we had to take a Dosage Calculations exam and they basically give you three chances to pass it over the course of a few weeks - if you get three strikes, you are out of the nursing program. A 90% or better has to be made in order to pass. No pressure, huh?? :) I have stressed over this exam since I first learned about it over the summer before classes even ever started. Lots of studying and prayer went into preparing for this and it is truly by the grace of God that I passed the first time around with a 100. If you know anything about me and math, you know that we have not always been buddies. I received my first "C" in high school algebra and ever since, I've had nothing good to say about numbers. I'm slowly but surely allowing them a place back in my heart. We also had our first lecture exam that basically covers material from three different classes (lecture, skills, and concepts). I made an 87 on this test - I was really hoping for an "A" but I'm thankful for my 87!

One of the reasons I've always loved nursing and the medical field so much is because it totally and constantly puts God in perspective for me. I can't read a chapter in my nursing books or learn a new skill without being reminded of how intricately and purposefully He created our bodies. I think so often when I read how our brains or other body systems react to certain stimuli in order to keep our bodies safe and functioning properly - "God, You are SO good - You didn't miss a thing when you made us." And in the same way, He made the church to function together - so that each "system" works together to keep each other "safe" and functioning properly...otherwise, it can't survive. Our bodies truly are dependent on Him for every breath that we take in - and His Church must be dependent on His Spirit for each soul that's regenerated.

Ok, my first load of laundry is officially washed so I guess that's my cue that I need to get to studying! Happy weekend everybody!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Taking a "Time Out!"

I really want to be able to look back two years from now after all this craziness is behind me with nursing school and remember what actually went on in my life despite the madness. For that reason, I hope to be consistent in taking some "time out" moments to record some thoughts - even if it's just 5 minutes here and there. Monday begins week 3 of nursing school - crazy to think how quickly it's going by already. (I'm OKAY with that!) :) The first week was fairly "easy" for the most part. There were some overwhelming moments, but those moments were brief, thank goodness. We mainly just learned some basic "intro to nursing" things along with how to perform proper patient hygiene techniques such as oral care/bed baths, changing bed linens, etc. This past week (2nd week) I definitely had more frequent "what have I gotten myself into" moments - information was thrown at us at a much faster pace this week. Nonetheless, it was still a good week! Still just getting "a feel" for what to expect!

I'm learning very early on that they don't lie to you when they tell you you will not have much of a life outside your school work over these 2 years. So far, my schedule consist of getting up between 5 and 5:30 most days, managing to have somewhat of a quiet time and substantial breakfast and leaving for school between 6:30-6:45. I'm usually home most days by around 3, which gives me a little time to get some studying in before Aaron gets home from work. Poor thing - some days I'm doing good to look up from my books long enough to give him a kiss and ask how his day was before returning to my studies. I cannot tell you what a blessing this man is to me - he has been so ready to help out however I need him to as far as cooking and cleaning goes. I may have to ask for the help at times, but never do I hear a "sigh" or complaint. He's always ready to answer with a "sure" and a sweet smile on his face. I did good. :) I try to end my day by 9 or 10 - I'm trying to allow my body to adjust to a minimum of 6 hours of sleep to a max of no more than 8. So far, I'm hangin' in! Time management is going to be key!

I think the hardest thing for me throughout this journey is going to be having to say "no" or "I'm sorry, I just can't do that right now" when asked to be somewhere or participate in something that I would LOVE to be a part of...and learning what things or events are ok to say "no" to and when I need to say "no" to nursing school...if that makes sense. My church just hosted a 2 day "Disciple Makers Conference" this weekend and Aaron literally had to tell me that I could not go. Now, don't get me wrong - my husband loves me and he knows my heart...and we both agree that our devotion to the Lord comes before anything else. I went back and forth for over a week, trying to figure out how I was going to study for the 2 test I have next week on top of all the "routine" things I have to study every week, plus go to this conference Friday night and all day on Saturday. I needed him to tell me I couldn't go for many reasons! Thankfully, they recorded the sessions so I can go back and listen to them when I have time. So, it's just things like this that will be hard. I apologize in advance if you ask me to do something and I have to turn you down - please don't take offense or take it personal! :)

Well, I definitely needed this little "time out"! Like I said, I have 2 test next week and then another one the following week, so maybe I'll be back for another "time out" after that! For now, I'm going to spend some time loving on my honey until the Falcons game starts at 7:30. Then, it's back to studying for me and some fun football watching for the Mister! :)

Monday, August 8, 2011


LOTS of thoughts running through my mind today - random thoughts - thoughts that don't necessarily flow together but are still there, nonetheless.

- ONE week from today I start nursing classes. Thinking back 5 + years ago when I TALKED about going to nursing school, hoped to go to nursing school, dreamed of going to nursing school. It's really happening and I'm scared out of my mind!

-LOVED this weekend and the extra special time spent with my sweet husband. We've been talking about how once classes start for me next week, that our time together may not be as often as what we like - that we will vow to set aside time for each other everyday - and ask the Lord to allow us to soak up as much of one another as we can during that time each day - whether it be 10 minutes or 2 hours.

-Hoping my husband will forgive me in advance for the lack of cooking and cleaning that will take place over the next two years and praying that my OCD self will not stress out over the lack of cooking and cleaning that take place over the next two years!

-Thankful that Aaron and I both come from families of hard workers and that they continue to instill in us the value of doing things the right way, even if the right way is the harder or the longer way.

-I am still giddy over the fact that I have another precious niece or nephew on the way. Aaron and I were talking last night that we need to buy my Sister and BIL a webcam so that I can see more of my Luke and my sister's belly as it grows!

-"Your walk....talks." A statement my Pastor made yesterday. He is currently preaching through Colossians and right now he's talking about "a new man's new mouth" and how others will know we are truly regenerated by the words that flow from our lips. Oh be careful little mouth what you say.

-The visit that we had from dear friends this past Friday was so good for my soul. Brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

-I miss my girlfriends from home. Miss them something fierce at times. They are precious to me and they always will be. They each have such beautiful families now and it's crazy to think how grown up we all are getting. I love the callings that the Lord has placed on each of their lives. I haven't gotten to see much of them over the last year and a half, but truly look forward to the next time we do get together - because I know we will not miss a beat. :)

-Thankful for the new friendships I'm allowing the Lord to finally begin cultivating in my life here in Griffin. I. Need. Them.

-Praying with all my might that I do not gain 20 more pounds in nursing school. I already have 25 to get back off since Aaron and I entered marital bliss. I'm adopting this phrase my friend Kate (who is a nurse) shared with me the other day: Nuts and berries, not fries and shakes. That's her advice to me as I start out on this journey - I will try my hardest to heed it, Kate!!

-"Made to Live For You" - song that was sang at church yesterday. Needed the reminder that above nursing school, above my friends and family (and missing them), above stressing out over a cleaned house or a homecooked meal (or lack thereof), above ALL else, I was made to live for Him. So often, I think I'm made to live for all these other things and I try to squeeze a bit of Him in wherever and whenever I can. Help me, Lord, to live for YOU, and while living for YOU and seeking You and Your kingdom first, You tell me that all these other things I need will be added. Help me to trust Your word.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New House, Goodwill Finds and a Growing Luke!

Hey all! Well, to say we've had lots going on lately is a bit of an understatement. We found out a little over a month ago that I was accepted to begin nursing school this fall, which is a HUGE praise and something that we are incredibly thankful for. A few weeks before we received this exciting news, we started throwing around the idea of becoming "house hunters" for the first time. After all, it is one of our favorite shows on HGTV. :) So, after some praying and seeking advice from our friends and family, we started putting what we've learned from our late night family friendly t.v. show to use! The process of looking for a home has been fairly pleasant overall and the Lord has been faithful to close doors and open them where He has seen fit. We couldn't be more excited with the home that He has chosen for us! We are set to close on our first home on June 6th! We definitely have our work cut out for us for the next few months (or year!) with the renovations we hope/need to make, but we know that's just part of making it our "own". :) I will post more pictures once we move, but for now, here it is!

Our kitchen in the new house is a bit odd shaped. There is a separate dining room where we will have a full sized table, but as far as the kitchen goes, there is room for something, but not a full sized table by any means. Aaron and I began looking at options for kitchen islands, with the thoughts that we would eventually just probably have one custom made for us later on down the road. Wouldn't you know, however, that I would find one that I just LOVE while Aaron and I were out and about one day at an antique store here in Griffin?! Seeing that we are buying a house, we have most certainly put ourselves on a spending FREEZE on items that we don't necessarily need at this point. So, I knew there was no way we could purchase this kitchen island that has so much character and that I immediately fell in love with. I had this table on my mind non-stop after seeing it. I was trying to come up with a million different ideas of what I could sell, etc. so that we could purchase this table. Aaron told me I sounded like him trying to figure out how he was going to buy an iPad! He gets giddy and excited over buying iPad's...I get giddy and excited over buying beautiful blue kitchen islands! Several days later after talking things over with Aaron, I went back to the antique store to see if I could bargain with the owner to lower the price - I failed because she had actually just lowered it by almost $90. She did inform me, however, of the store's lay-a-way plan and after lots of thought, Aaron decided that I would never be able to look at another kitchen island again without comparing it to this one. Take a look at our new (but old!) soon-to-be kitchen island that we are in the process of purchasing! It is going go perfectly with the colors and cottage type feel that we are going to be going with in our new kitchen!

I also wanted to share with you a GREAT Goodwill find that I ran upon several weeks ago. We have been looking for a bedside table for Aaron's side of the bed since we've been married and have always come away disappointed with not finding one we like that is reasonably priced. I immediately called Aaron from the store as soon as I saw this to ask if he minded me buying it (again, we're on a major spending freeze!). After hanging up w/ Aaron, a fellow shopper approached me and assured me that I was getting an amazing deal in this little table. He told me that it was indeed an antique, that he had two tables at home just like this one, and that they were worth over $100. Check out my little deal...only paid a little over $8 for it and I can't wait to refinish it!

(please excuse all the boxes in the background...if you could only see the rest of our "packed up" apartment right now!)
And last, but certainly not least, I leave you with a quick update on my little man, Luke. Last week, Luke completed his first year of PreK. He has grown to love and enjoy his time at school and making new friends. I can't believe how big he's getting - but I must say, the older he gets, the more fun he gets! I love him more and more each day - even if we are 100 miles apart! Both of our families are doing well. Please keep both Aaron's grandmother and my grandfather in your prayers. They've both had their own health issues arise this week but are both in good hands!

Luke's first day of preschool this year!
Luke's last day of preschool this year! Don't you just love how he crosses his legs?!?
Cute thing. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

GFJ -"Fit For My King" FINISHED!!

Getting ready to head out on vacation in just a couple of hours so I don't have but just a quick second to update. I successfully complete my 30 day "Fit For My King" devotional yesterday! I wish I could put in to words how good I feel! Truly. Before I started this whole foods adventure a little over a month ago, I was really starting to struggle with fatigue and just flat out not feeling good all around. Without a doubt in my mind, I now know the majority of these "complaints" were due to the foods that I was choosing to eat. Aaron and I have both gotten into an exercise routine again, and this obviously is helping us to both feel better as well. Am I going to continue eating this way? ABSOLUTELY!! The biggest challenge has been finding recipes, etc., but the sites I posted in my last post have been lifesavers. Another great one that I ran upon this week is www.100daysofrealfood.com . The main goal in eating this way, at least for myself is to feel healthier so that I can ultimately take better care of the Lord's temple (my body) to serve Him better. I'm excited to say that I've lost 9 pounds over the last 30 days. I pray that as I continue on this journey, that it will always be for HIS glory and not for my selfish desires.