Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dear Nursing School...

Dear Nursing School,

You weren’t quite what I expected you to be.  I had heard many friends and other saying that you would be hard, but I’m not sure “hard” is the appropriate description.  I have never felt so stressed, worn down, or exhausted in my life.  I guess I didn’t quite expect all the studying that you demanded, and how much time you would consume, especially coming from homeschooling!  And you know how people seem to “self diagnose” when they Google different symptoms?  Yeah, I’m pretty sure I diagnosed myself with heart problems, cancer, thyroid problems, and many other disorders.  You should come with a “hypochondriacs do not enter” sign.

But you know what else I didn’t expect?  I didn’t expect to be in a class with such an awesome group of people.  Through middle and high school, I had the chance to interact with huge groups of people, but mostly in passing and we all went our own different ways.  But nursing school?  We were all fighting through this craziness together and had to keep each other sane.  The number of times it was encouragement from classmates that kept me moving are countless, and I can honestly say they helped make nursing school fun. 

So Nursing School, today I officially say goodbye to you.  While you were a challenging companion for the last two years, you have helped to teach me what I need to know to be a strong, influential nurse.  I can’t say I’ll miss the studying that you brought into our “relationship,” but I undoubtedly will miss my fellow nurses and awesome professors that have helped to shape who I am today.

I guess this is goodbye, and a victory cry on my part,


Monday, October 20, 2014

The Journey

I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard that life is a journey that we are all on.  Each hardship and experience is just part of the journey, and we keep plugging away.  Honestly, I think life is more of a series of journeys… we have many little journeys going on at the same time, and each one affects the other and overall played into the major journey of life. 

In the past few years, I have been on several journeys of my own.  Many of you know about my journey of moving away from my family and Guatemala to the US for school.  Then the journey of nursing school began in the midst of the journey of the move.  I have tried to be very open about what I have felt and the process of moving, getting into school, and adjusting to life.    Through it all though, there is one journey that I have kept fairly quiet, but has still played a HUGE role in so many parts of my life…

March 2012
Before I dive headfirst into this, I want to outright say that this is NOT an easy post for me to write, but also one that (especially in the past weeks/months), God has been urging me to write.  So if it seems like I’m all over the place, I might be!  But bear with me here…

April 2012
Let’s rewind about 2.5 (maybe 3) years.  At that time I was looking ahead to moving to the US and getting ready to get into school.  I was feeling a little (ok, really) overwhelmed about all the changes that were about to take place, but still feeling like it was something that God was calling me to do.  When things feel overwhelming and out of control, what do we try to do?  Well, control something!  For me, at that time, my “thing” to control became food.  I could control what I ate, how much I ate, and when I ate.  I didn't hate my body or think that I was fat, so I never thought that something like an eating disorder would affect me.  Honestly, it wasn't something that I woke up and thought, “Today I am going to start controlling any and every aspect of food in my life,” rather it was something that started small (making minor changes) and then began to escalate.

May 2012
Fast forward a few months (May-ish, 2012)… now I (and my family) were beginning to notice that things were no longer under control, but becoming out of control.  I was beginning to obsess more and more about what I ate and how much I ate, and my weight was showing it as well.  At this point, we (my parents and I) decided it was time to get some more professional help, and we found a counselor and nutritionist in Guate.  I was “diagnosed” with anorexia nervosa and the mental/emotional therapy began.  What I found amazing was that once I really realized that this was an issue, it was so much harder to fight! 

June 2013

Ok, so moving forward a few more months (August 2012-August-ish 2013).  I am now in the US, away from family and learning how to be a little more independent.  I have a lot on my mind and am getting into US life.  By this time, my (unhealthy) lifestyle related to food from the past few months has become comfortable and I simply focus on the life at hand (school, settling in, etc) and let my health take the back burner.  Yes, I was still meeting with a nutritionist and counselor, but my heart wasn't really into moving in the right direction.  Honestly, I stayed in the “unhealthily comfortable” mode for a while… looking back, probably well over a year. 

December 2013 (21st birthday!)
Let’s fast forward a few months more (January-April 2014).  I am now into nursing school, which is crazy stressful.  I have the stresses of school and life hanging on, and my health is continuing to go downhill, dangerously so.  At that time, something really snapped inside me.  I realized how stinking tired I was about trying to control food and having that added stressor in life, and decided it was time to make a change.  I had gone through seasons like this
before, but this time was different than others, it was time to take more action… I decided to enter an intensive outpatient program specifically focused on eating disorders.  I was able to meet a group of girls that were in the same boat as me, and really make myself focus on ME and MY health rather than everything else in life.  Did I enjoy driving to King of Prussia three times a week?  No!  But I felt like I was able to take some big steps forward and make some breakthroughs in mindsets.  Did I come out of the program “recovered?”  Nope, but definitely in a much better place than before!!
May 2014

Ok, now let’s get back to the here and now (October 2014).  Am I recovered from this eating disorder?  No.  Am I actively recovering?  You bet!  Each day is still a battle, and I constantly need to watch my attitude and thoughts.  I need to remind myself that I am doing this for my future family, for my future life, and for everything that I am doing right now. 

So why am I posting all of this?  This journey that I have been going through for the past few years has taught me so much about myself and has (and is continuing to) shape me into the person I am today.  I have learned how important it is to have a solid support group in any area of my life and how blessed I am to have that support!  My faith and reliance on God has increased tenfold; when you can’t rely on yourself to make healthy decisions, it reminds you to rely on the only One who shapes your future!  I have come to realize that the stereotypes that are in society these days are sometimes very painful (example: eating disorders and body image), and not necessarily true for everyone going through those specific things. 
October 2014...
much healthier and happier!

 While there are times I don’t know why God is allowing me to go through this battle and trials, I know for sure that He will see the good work that he began in me through to completion, and what an amazing promise that is!!!  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

One Year Already?!?!

Think back to a year ago… do you remember where you were and what you were doing?  Do you remember what you were thinking or maybe worrying about?  Most times I have enough trouble remembering what I was doing yesterday, let alone a year ago, but last year at this time things were different… I had just moved to the states and I was scared stiff.  Granted, I was excited about the opportunities that were ahead of me, but I was still terrified!!!!!! 

But that was a whole year ago already, and looking back I realize how much life has changed for me and how this has become my new “normal”.  So, being the list person that I am, I’ll list a few things out for you!!  J 

Life in General:
                Last Year-  Life was a crazy mix of trying to figure out where I was, who I was, and what in the world I was doing in the USA.  Where would I go to church?  What would I do with my free time?  How was I going to survive school?  Was I CRAZY?!?!?!
                This Year-  I think in general, life has settled down a little!  I found a church and I have found babysitting jobs and other activities to keep my free time full.  I have finished one year of school on campus and another one will start in just a few days!  I still might be crazy, but this time I think it’s a good kind of crazy!  J 

                Last Year-  WORK?!?!  I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on right now, let alone find a job!
                This Year-  I have an awesome job at Chick-Fil-A that I really do love!  I have a good relationship with those that I work with and I am in the process of becoming a team leader and opener.  While this job isn’t in the nursing field, there are still so many skills that I can use in the rest of my life and experiences that are preparing me for the future.

                Last Year-  Don’t go over the speed limit.  Don’t pass busses.  Don’t go over the speed limit.  Don’t pass busses.  Don’t go over the speed limit.  Don’t pass busses.
                This Year-  Let’s just say that I’ve loosened up a little…  ;) 

                Last Year-  Who do I know anymore?  Do people still remember me?  Where in the world am I going to build new friendships?
                This Year-  I am blessed, what else can I say?  I have so many friends and family surrounding me and supporting me that I know I always have someone to go to and others to lean on.  I have built friendships through work, through church, and overall through life in general.


                Last Year-  What am I doing here?  I just want to go home (Guate)!!  How is this life ever going to feel normal?
                This Year-  I have two homes.  Period.  I have a home in Guatemala with my family, my friends and life there.  At the same time, I have had to make this home for now, and even though Guate will always be home for me, it’s not a bad thing to have two homes! 

How is it that a single year can feel like it goes by slowly, and yet flies by at the same time?  I definitely feel like that’s how this past year has been for me!  Granted, the year hasn’t been all fun and games, but it has been a growing experience!  USA has become my necessary home for now, and Guate will always be home for me.  I miss my family more than words can say, but I also have a “family” here in the states that are a huge support.  I am one extremely blessed girl, and I’m excited to see what all this next year will bring!!  

So glad my mom was able to be here for a week!!!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Long Overdue...

Yesterday a friend reminded me that I hadn’t updated this in a while and she strongly suggested I do so, so here it is!!! 

Let’s see here, what all has been going on in life lately?  Well, I moved, I’m working, I’ve found some volunteer opportunities, and I’m pretty much melting in this heat.  Period.  The end.  Then again, I guess I should probably elaborate a little bit…

Move-  About 3 weeks ago I moved out of my aunt and uncle’s house and into Lancaster City.  I am living with another lady in a 3 story city home that she owns, just a few blocks away from where I lived for 11+ years!  I have my own room on the second floor, and Karen (my housemate) and I share the rest of the house.  It’s been different being a little more independent, but I really am enjoying it!!  I have my room all re-painted and pictures hung, so there’s no doubt it’s my room!!  J  If you live in the area and want to see my house, let me know and I’ll give you the address!!!!  Oh, and I love getting mail, hint hint.  ;) 
Part of my painted room!!

Work-  Where to even start with work??  Honestly, I love my job and I am so blessed to have an amazing group of people to work with!!  I am currently learning how to open in the mornings, so I’ve had some early work days lately!  Thankfully I don’t get (too) grumpy in the mornings!  It’s been fun getting to know the “regulars” that come in and overall interacting with the guests.  I have made several new friendships that I am so thankful for and I can’t wait to see what other opportunities will come with this job!
Gotta love the CFA cow!!!

Ready for cow appreciation day

The KCB car was stuffed with cows... 1474 of them to be exact!


“Other Stuff”-  While work takes up a lot of my time, I’ve still been able to find some volunteer opportunities to get involved in and house/dog-sitting to do.  Yesterday (Sunday, July 21) I helped with parking at Long’s Park’s free Sunday concert, it was a lot of fun!  A couple of weeks ago I house/dog-sat for a family from church, it was fun to have a Lab again!  Wednesday evenings I have been going to a small group with UCF.  It’s been nice having these interactions in the middle of the week and a time to be together with others as well.  I also recently started the process of volunteering with CAP (Community Action Program) which works with underprivileged families here in Lancaster.  They’re looking for someone to help with babysitting during weekly meetings, which is right up my alley!  Of course, there are also other random hikes, picnics, coffee dates, and fun activities that come up throughout the weeks! 
Puppy-sitting Archie!

Longs Park  concert!

Roots with the clan


Puppy-sitting Izzy


Meeting Jordan

Wedding time!

Heat-  Let me just shoot down one common misconception right now, IT IS NOT THIS HOT IN GUATEMALA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’m definitely not used to this kind of heat and humidity!!!!  Not much more to say about that… 

Oh, I was accepted into HACC’s Nursing Program for Spring 2014, which is quite exciting!  It’s nice to know that that’s for sure what I’ll be doing!!!!  Classes for this semester start on August 19, so I’ll be taking the prerequisites for the bachelors program, that way I’m doing something productive for the semester!  I have 3 online classes and one in the classroom, which will make for a very flexible schedule.  I’m looking forward to getting back into studying again, as crazy as that may sound.  J 

I think that’s pretty much the 500-word version of my life right now!  It’s amazing to think that I’ve already been in the states for just about a year and seeing how much has changed, but more on that later.  J 
Lancaster County Sunset

Larry my first lightning bug of the season!  :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Things I have Learned...

Since I have moved to the states, there are quite a few things that I have come to learn/needed to learn!  Granted, I’m still picking up on new things here and there, but here are a few of the things that have hit me lately (in no particular order!)!

-Having my own car is kinda nice!  In Guate I never had my own car and just used the family car.  Now if I want to go somewhere, I just jump into Logan and we’re off!  J

-Some old habits die hard.  Throwing toilet paper in the trashcan… or at least looking for a trashcan!  Oh, and wanting to pass school busses… 

-Springtime is awesome!!  Guate is the land of eternal spring, but it’s been years since I’ve experienced a USA spring, and I’m loving it!!!

-Sisters are still sisters, even 2000 miles away.  I feel like I’m just as close to my sisters now as when I left.  We send each other messages, Skype, and (thanks to technology!) can stay in touch without too much of an issue!!  Looking forward to talking to them face to face in a few days though!!!!!!

-It’s ok to have 2 homes.  This one took a little longer to learn, but once the reality of it sunk in, life felt different!  I can be completely at home here in the USA and yet still consider Guate my home just as much as when I lived there.  And you know what, there’s nothing wrong with that!

-Being perfect isn’t essential, but giving it 100% is!  I entered college figuring that I would be able to get through it without too much of a challenge.  Enter grumpy professors, lots of memorization, and overloaded brains- perfection became a lot harder than I anticipated.  BUT, I knew that if I did my best and learned the material, no matter what the grades showed I could still be proud with the effort that I put forth!

-Nature is a great way to escape for a while.  When life feels overwhelming and all out of wack, the beauty, "realness" and miracle of nature is the perfect thing!

-Family doesn’t have to be blood.  I have known this for a while, but being so far away from my immediate family has just reinforced this knowledge 100X over!! 

-Becoming a big sister from 2000 miles away is still exciting!!!

-There’s nothing quite like a hug from your own parents.  I was fortunate enough to hug my dad (and spend time with him) in December, and I CANNOT WAIT to hug both parents in 6 days!!!!!!!!!

-Snuggling a baby does good things for the heart.  Ok, I knew this one… but still!  J

-The human body is an amazing thing, with LOTS of parts!!!  I knew the body was intricate, but when you have to memorize a bunch of stuff about it, you gain a new appreciation for it!!

-It is possible to miss your dog just as much as anyone else!

-Work at a place you enjoy with people you enjoy, and the day goes pretty quickly!

-Life flies by and changes CRAZY fast, so take it one step at a time and enjoy every moment of it!!  

Friday, January 4, 2013


Christmas has come and gone already, and 2013 is just beginning, and I find myself thinking, “now how’d that happen?!”  At the same time, I’ve come to the realization that while 2012 brought quite a few changes (moving to the states, starting college, etc.), life becoming more “normal” and I am really starting to feel like I’m more at home in the USA.  You might be thinking, “Wow, that was kind of sudden,” but it’s something I’ve been building up to… let me explain.

My dad came to visit me for the week over Christmas since I made the decision not to go back to Guate.  It was awesome having him around and it was a great time for us to catch up a little and just spend time together, but that’s beside the point.  Anyways, while he was visiting, I found myself in the opposite role of what I had been used to for the past 4 months… I was the “experienced,” US tour guide rather than the shell-shocked teenager from Guate!  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing wrong with being a tour guide, but after spending several months just trying to figure out where you are and not be completely overwhelmed by grocery stores, it’s kinda nice to be the “local”!! 

As I was taking my dad around to different places and showing him what my life is now like, it really did hit me how much the US has become home.  At the same time, in my conversations with my dad, I realized that Guatemala is still very much of my home and I think it always will be.  So then I started wondering, now how’s that work?  How can I feel at home in the US, but also still know that Guate is part of my home?

That’s when I came to the realization that it’s OK to have two homes!  I looked “home” up in the dictionary and here’s what I came up with…

"The place in which one's domestic affections are centered."

Well, when you put it that way, I guess I am at home in two different places!  My family and what I have known for the past few years is in Guate, but my current life and “affections” are here in the US.  While my body might be one place, my heart can still be in two, and the truth is, that’s perfectly OK!! 

So if you ask me if the US feels like home yet, I can honestly answer yes.  If you ask me if I still consider Guate home, I will again honestly answer yes.  And if you ask me if I’m ok with that, I can now say, “you bet I am!”  J  

A "piece" of Guatemala home in my US home.  :)

Friday, November 16, 2012


Life is full of decisions to be made… what do I wear this morning?  What should I have for lunch?  Which courses should I take next semester?  And the list goes on.  Every day we are faced with decisions and choices that we need to make, and some are much easier than others, but they still need to be made.

That leads me to my latest big decision… Christmas.  What should I do for Christmas this year?  Stay in the US or go back home?  If you would have asked me 2 months ago, I would have told you with 100% certainty that I would be going home for Christmas.  In the past few weeks though, I have begun to questions whether that would be the best option for me right now, or if it would be better to stay here in the States and try to keep some kind of “normal” life going on. 

After several days/weeks of praying and talking with various people, I have made the decision to stay here in the US for Christmas this year.  I can’t deny it; I have 3000 different emotions flying around about it all!  I know I’m going to miss being with my whole family for Christmas (although one member will be coming up!), and it’s really going to be a huge adjustment for us all!  I’m going to miss all the fireworks and the “traditional” Guatemalan celebrations.  I’m also going to miss seeing everyone in Guate and reconnecting with my “family” there.  But, on the other hand, I will get to experience a USA Christmas with my extended family and celebrate with those that are here. 

Some decisions are hard (like this one was!!), others are easier, but God uses every single one to help us to grow and to build our trust in Him.  I can thankfully say that I do feel at peace with my final decision, and I’m going to make the best of wherever it leads!!  J