Saturday, October 8, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
I hope this finds you all well. I can't believe how fast time has been flying by -- shouldn't we be in school or something? (I'm really, really glad we're not.) Anyway, the last few months have been some of the busiest, most all-over-the-place times I've had in awhile. Where to begin...
After I took the NCLEX, I started working part time hours again with my caregiving agency, Right At Home, waiting on my results...and waiting...and waiting. Clara and I took our tests the same day, and Clara got her results fairly quickly, about two weeks. After three weeks, I started checking the website every day, and eventually called the BRN. Turns out, they hadn't received my transcript and couldn't tell me my results til they had it. I found out that Biola's registrar had goofed and not sent it, and I ended up finding out I passed six weeks to the day that I took the NCLEX. Talk about learning patience. I felt confident that I had passed (that backdoor Pearson-Vue check worked), but it was so frustrating to wait, especially knowing that it didn't have to take that long since Clara had already passed. I definitely struggled with putting that in God's hands and letting it be in His timing.
Since then, I've been working more, around 30 hours a week. I'm working as a caregiver, still working at the messianic Jewish nursery, and helping my sister's neighbor who's a quadriplegic (gotten lots of practice with his Hoyer lift). In addition to my three paying jobs and occasional babysitting, I'm helping Andrew's grandmother with her showers, volunteering at my church nursery, applying for nursing jobs, and planning my wedding. I think I have too much on my plate. (Still working on the whole saying "no" thing, if you can't tell.)
Currently, I'm fed up with my hours from the caregiving agency and I'm pursuing a short-term (i.e. I can't commit because I might get a nursing job at any point) nanny job to replace it. So more applications. I'm concerned that I'm burning out on the type of work I do, and I want to recognize that and avoid it. We'll see what opens up, but I am very grateful to have a job at all, let alone more than one.
Andrew and I are doing well, though seeing each other is made difficult by our different and changing schedules. We just started a premarital class, which I think will be a great blessing and a good investment. We are excited to get married and see where we end up. Our plan is to move to wherever I can get a job, and I'm hoping that's out of state with California's cost of living so high. Ideally, that will also be an area that has a grad school that offers a paleontology program, as Andrew has decided to pursue his Master's when we're able.
Some of you who saw my Facebook status awhile back may be wondering what's up with me and the Army. I did decide to pursue military nursing, applying to both the Army and the Air Force. Before I even turned in the application (but not before spending a ton of time working on it -- it's 55 pages), I found out I was not eligible because of my fibromyalgia. That was a blow. I felt so strongly it was something I was supposed to pursue, but now I think I was meant to do just that and no more. I was disappointed, the idea of traveling and a guaranteed job sounded great (a huge challenge, too, but an amazing experience). Yet I knew that this was not what God had for me and Andrew, and that was ok. Incredibly, despite my Type A/control freak nature, I have been blessed to be able to give this job search up to God. I know that I can apply everywhere, but unless God opens the door, nothing will happen. I also know that anxiety about it helps nothing. This is, of course, easier said than done, but God has given me a measure of peace about it.
Oh! One more little thing, whose name is Fritz. In June, I took in a kitten, who was about 6 weeks old. Andrew and I named him Fritz because he is *crazy* and we like to say he's "on the fritz". It's fun to play with him and watch him grow (At 8 weeks, he weighed 2.5 lbs. Now 4 months, he weighs 7 lbs!) but the scratch scars on my arms will tell you he's not always nice. I haven't had a pet in about 6 years, so it's fun to have one again, but I will definitely be glad when he stops going nuts in the middle of the night (he sleeps -- or rather, doesn't -- in my room).
I think that about covers it. Thanks for reading this lengthy update, and I hope to see some of you in February!
Friday, September 23, 2011
I picked up an Alaskan nursing license. I bought a car that died and then had to finance a second one. I enjoyed a couple weddings (IL and CA), said a difficult goodbye to my wonderful housemates, and then moved to Alaska. I live in rural, interior Glennallen, Alaska. I live in my own apartment and I'm learning how to cook a few things (I have only set off the smoke alarm once!). I'm a nurse at a small clinic where I "wear lots of hats"--from immunizations galore, to ER nursing, to dispatching ambulances and calling in helicopters, to assisting providers...in whatever they need assistance with...to coordinating care with village clinics, to arranging appointments and counseling over the phone, to even calling insurance companies and figuring out billing. There is only one nurse on duty at a time, and I start working alone this Sunday! Scary. I will be working both days and nights...about a week of nights every month. I'm still confident that God has me here, but I still wonder at times what might have been if I traveled down a different road and stayed in Los Angeles... I did my first big grocery run since living here this past weekend...something different to have to drive four hours to stock up on hundreds of dollars of groceries. I love Alaska a lot, but miss a lot of things too. Mesmerized by the beauty, miss my friends and familiarity....I miss Chickfila, Target, Trader Joes...even stupid things like traffic, palm trees and sandy beaches. I have traded in my California's driver's license for an Alaskan one. Life has been crazy.
Check out my blog anytime: radkeatcrossroad.blogspot.com
I update it frequently with pics, prayer requests, stories and the like!
Love you guys...and miss your faces...a lot!
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
I do hope that we keep using this blog as a way to communicate events in our lives. It really is so cool to see how God is moving in each person's life and where He is moving us too!
Speaking of moving: I moved to Burbank about 2 weeks ago. I live in Burbank Hills, in a 3 story townhome with a lovely British woman named Sandra. She is a Christian and has an amazing life story. I could talk to her for hours and sometimes I do! I am really thankful I moved. I felt like it was the right thing to do and it's been such an incredible blessing. It's only about 20 minutes away from work. It's nice to come home to a quiet, peaceful home... AND my own room :)
Work has progressively gotten more challenging as I inherit or come to realize what my responsibilities really are. I still feel very much that being a charge nurse at a clinic on Skid Row is where God has me, but the days can be long and difficult at times. If you think of me, please pray for me and for the clinic as we are in a time of transition. I love our patients, but they are difficult in more ways than one. Please pray against the enemy, as I really do feel the spiritual warfare on a day to day basis. Pray for our leadership, that they would have discernment and wisdom and be sensitive to God's leading. Pray for my staff and the clinicians, or providers, that work at our clinic--the morale is low at times and they are fighting against burn out. There is just a lot going on. But amidst the difficulties, there are amazing stories of people, more specifically our patients, making significant changes in their lives or being touched by God's love and compassion. I am able to see and assess patients, which is great cause my skills don't have to go to waste. Recently, I've also decided to get my ACRN (AIDS certification) due to the large volume of HIV/AIDS patients that are seen at my clinic. That was never part of my plan and never was interested in it before, but after seeing the need for it, I feel that this is something that God wants me to move forward with. Over the last few weeks, I've been learning a lot from Rachel regarding how to teach and give care to HIV/AIDS patients and I want to be as useful as possible at the clinic. I am excited about this! If anyone else is interested in doing this, let me know! Maybe we can do it together :)
Lots of changes in my life! Including...a boyfriend. This is still fairly recent, as in we made things official last Wednesday. His name is Clay. He graduated from Biola. Some of you might know him. I met him a few years ago, actually went on a group date with him, Clara, Krichelle and her now husband Chris and Paul Doyle. I thought he was cute then when I met him, and kind of had a crush on him because I found him mysterious. HAHA. Anyway, nothing really came out of that...and as you all know, I kind of dated a few other guys. This year, Clay and I would run into each other at birthday parties in L.A a couple of times (a dance party in February and another in March). We would talk briefly and nothing else. We ran into each other again in July because we were actually in Krichelle's wedding...he was a groomsman and I, a bridesmaid. He asked me for my number at the end of the day and then asked me out a week later. We've been hanging out/talking ever since! We are taking things one day at a time and thus far it's been so good. He is a lot of fun to be around and I feel pretty relaxed and chill when I'm around him. He's also incredibly talented. He sings and plays guitar and writes his own music. He's in a bluegrass/folksy band called The Show Ponies and they play some shows around L.A. If any of you ever want to come, let me know! They are really good... and I'm not just saying that because I'm the supportive girlfriend/groupie. HAHA. Oh geez.
Well that's all for me. GEEZ. So many changes in such a short time! But such is the season of life we are in.
I hope that we can all be reunited soon. It would be good to see your lovely smiling faces.
Monday, August 22, 2011
I feel like the past couple months have been the longest in my life.
So much has happened and is happening, it would be rather long and boring to list here. Suffice it to say, God has an amazing way of working. The perfect timing of all the events, how he turns the bad things into blessings.. I'm in awe of it all.
When I walked out of the building after taking the NCLEX, I literally sat in my car, feeling the tears gather as I fervently prayed for God to show me the next step because there was no way I had passed. That's when I learned to surrender my plans, my dreams, my pride, and to trust God to provide all things. My sister was going to quit her job at the end of the July, my dad was unemployed, my grandma and my cousin were living with us, and my mom's salary was not nearly enough to cover a family of 6. I had to pass. I absolutely had to get a job as soon as possible. But God taught me to let go of all of it. God is good, all the time. He would provide.
I have a job now. I start tomorrow. And even though four out of the six members of this family have no income, I am absolutely confident and feel complete peace in knowing that we are in the hands of our loving Father.
**The Covenant Prayer**
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
My sister and me in Canada for vacation
Thursday, August 4, 2011
It’s been a whirlwind of decisions these last couple of months and I just wanted to let you all know what our plans are for our near future.
As you know, this entire last semester of school, I was applying to a lot of jobs. What I really desired was to find a new graduate position on a medical/surgical floor in a hospital. Starting in February, I started applying to different hospitals. First I started just looking in California. Then I sent some applications to some other states. As time passed, I still was hearing nothing from any hospital, so I continued applying many different hospitals all over the country. After five months of applications, I ended up applying to a total of 35 hospital jobs. And still, all I ever got were rejection emails. One nurse recruiter in San Diego actually told me that they had received 2800 applicants for only 15 positions.
In the middle of all this process, I had a potential job in a cancer clinic in Memphis, Tennessee through a family connection. This was something that I just kept in the back of my mind. Like I said, I really wanted a hospital job.
We were really hoping for a job in San Diego. But all in one day, that door closed. I received three or four rejection emails in one day. It was a difficult day for me. I was really struggling with feelings of inadequacy. I was thinking, “What’s wrong with my application? What’s wrong with me?”
In addition, at the end of July, our lease in our apartment ended, and we couldn’t afford to stay in Orange County anymore, because Joe had had surgery on his knee so he could no longer work. So we quit our jobs, packed up, and moved to Mammoth to stay with my mom. It’s weird to be out of job, without a home, and no immediate plans for that to change. It’s been a great experience in growing in my trust in God. It’s so funny how I can hear messages my whole life about trusting God. And I think to myself, “I’ve got that down. I trust God.” But as soon as my life was facing a type of crisis, I realized that I really actually had a lot to learn about trusting God. I found myself praying frequently, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief.”
Throughout this entire process, the idea of Memphis continued to come up. Many different people in our lives would bring it up. And, still, it was the only job opportunity. So last week, I finally resolved to call the clinic back in Memphis.
I flew out this past weekend for an interview. The interview went well, but to be honest, I left feeling terrified. The nurse manager warned me, “You need to be thick skinned; you will need to commit to doing your homework and looking stuff up that you don’t understand when you go home; you should be willing to come to every teaching seminar and dinner we put on; you will need to be very flexible; you will need to be willing to drive to the different clinics around the city; this is going to be a very big learning curve, because I have never hired a new graduate before.” I left feeling so intimidated and overwhelmed. I felt like I would never succeed and that my whole life would be dedicated to my job for the next several years.
But after spending quite a bit of time in prayer, God really reminded me of His great love for me. His loving kindness is never ending. And because of this, I know that God would never set me up for failure. He is my rock and my strength.
So over the next couple of days, I was starting to feel a lot more peace about this whole experience. And by the time the nurse manager called me to offer me a job; I was starting to feel very excited. When she did call and offer me a job she said she is going to help make me a great nurse. She is going to work personally with me to help identify my strengths and weaknesses so she can help improve my weaknesses and make my strengths even stronger. I am going to start out working in phlebotomy to strengthen my IV skills, and I will become chemotherapy certified at the clinic, and eventually I will work as a chemotherapy infusion nurse. It was such an incredible encouragement to hear her support.
So, Joe and I are moving to Memphis! We plan to leave on August 22 and drive across the country to get there. I will hopefully be starting working very shortly after that, but a lot of it will depend on how soon my license will transfer.
So thanks so much for all your support and prayers. We are very excited to see what God has in store for us for this next season in life!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Betsy gettin' her history on!
at the top of the Lincoln Memorial Steps
L to R: Megan (our friend), yours truly, my other half, Linzy (the bride), Tavia (our friend)
And now I am at my parent's house in beautiful Ventura, CA. I have been here a week, and am staying for another 5 days; then I am off to the not-as-beautiful-but-still-kinda-sorta-nice city of Fresno to stay with my best friend for 5 days, and of course hang out with Jenna. Not as exciting as a new boo (oh yeah CLARA!!!), but still nice. I begin my job on August 8th, and would much appreciate prayer for the beginning of that journey. Also, Betsy is heading out for Cambodia and Singapore (i think that's right), for about 2 weeks with her church and she would most certainly covet your prayers as well. She is participating in orphan care and some health teaching.
I miss all of you guys, and it has been very exciting to see how God is working in people's lives in this new stage of life. I'll write again once I start my job!
Monday, July 4, 2011
I hope your summers are going well. I miss seeing all of you on a regular basis.
It's weird that in just a month a lot of things have changed, but such is the nature of life. And things will continue to change as we all start getting jobs and start working. The future holds so many possibilities. It's exciting, yet daunting.
I wanted to blog and update you all on what's going on with me. I have officially been hired and started working at Los Angeles Christian Health Center, specifically the Joshua House clinic where Rachel Dunham works. The way that I got the charge nurse position is completely a God thing and I wanted to expand a little bit more on that because it is so good.
When I was originally "hired," I was hired for the dispensary position in the clinic, which was a temporary 3 month position. I was going to take the place of the RN who worked in the dispensary (or pharmacy) as he moved into the charge nurse role. My job was temporary because should the other nurse decide that the administrative role wasn't for him, he was guaranteed his old position. So that was the plan. And I was excited about the opportunity to work in the dispensary, even if it was only for a short time.
Little did I know, that while I was waiting to hear from the clinic about when I was going to start, that there were already changes happening. Apparently, the nurse in the dispensary realized that he wasn't cut out for the charge nurse role and declined the offer after prayerfully considering it. I had gotten an email during HURST review about changes happening but I had no idea that that was what it meant. All the while, the director of nursing, who wanted an experienced nurse to take the position was looking for and interviewing other nurses. What all this means is that while I thought I had a secure job at the clinic, I actually didn't! HAHA. Yikes. During this time of waiting on my end, even though I had no idea what was going on, I felt God telling me that things will work out in the end and that I had nothing to worry about. I was able to focus on just studying for the NCLEX. During this time, I also got a call from UCLA about interviewing for the PICU, which was exciting. I even started to think about what it would be like to work for UCLA, etc.
But, I only did an initial interview with UCLA and after a few phone calls to their HR department, it became apparent that they weren't going to call me for a second interview. That week, I felt really disappointed and wondered about what was NOT going on. HAH. The thought of working at the PICU in UCLA sounded really exciting, but I saw in my own heart that I was more excited about saying that I worked there than I was about working in a hospital. I knew it would open up a lot of doors and would look awesome on my resume. But I also knew that I didn't want to actually work in a hospital and that I eventually wanted to end up in community health or something. I thought about the Joshua House clinic and remembered why I was excited to work there in the first place, to be able to live out the Gospel in a more intentional way and to be able to love on the urban poor on Skid Row... that's where I really wanted to be. But I still hadn't heard from them. I had to again trust that God was in the works somehow. I wanted to be open to Him, to let go of my control, my fears and my anxiety and to be open to the direction He was going to move my life.
That same week, I got a phone call from the DON at the Joshua House clinic. She told me that she knew that I had been in contact with the director of pharmacy and wanted to see if I was interested in interviewing for the charge nurse position instead. I was a little dumbfounded. But she continued, "Linell, God works in mysterious ways. And your name has been on my mind and has been coming across my desk these last few weeks and I feel like I need to be obedient. I said that I wanted to hire an experienced RN (to which I replied, "Um, yeah. I don't blame you!) but as I've learned through the years--what I want is often different from what God wants or is planning. Can you come in on Monday at 11am for an interview?"
That was on Wednesday, June 22nd. And I was taking the NCLEX on the 25th and heading up to Santa Barbara for the weekend to forget about it. What ended up happening that weekend was amazing in that I was able to reflect on all the things that God had been doing in my life over the last five years! But, just to talk about what happened that weekend would take another blog post or two--and since this is already getting pretty long, I will spare you from all the nitty gritty details :). Basically, the gist of what God revealed to me was: how He had broken me only to restore me and prepare me for His work and for leadership. That I now had a clearer identity of who I am in Him and a real assurance of His great love for me and for His people. And in my brokenness, I can love others in their brokenness and show the same grace that He has shown me--in a very real and honest way.
When Monday rolled around, I walked into the interview not really knowing what was going to happen. After the DON talked to me about what the position entails and what her vision was for the charge nurse, she asked me how I felt. I told her that I felt a lot of peace about the situation and that God had done amazing things in my life leading up to this point which felt like would prepare me for such a role and I was compelled share my testimony with her. At the end of it all, I said that even if I don't get hired, I know that I was supposed to be there, in her office, to share what God has done in my life. She gave me a hug then a hearty "Amen." Then she asked me if I ever actually filled out an application for Joshua House and I said no, so she sent me off to fill one out. She said that she had a few interviews lined up for the position in the afternoon and she was looking to hire someone that same week and thus needed an application from me ASAP.
Admittedly, as I was sitting in an empty room filling out the necessary paper work, I felt nervous. I knew that it made more sense for her to hire an experienced RN. What new grad nursing student takes a charge nurse position--especially a new grad without any tangible hospital experience? That's ridiculous! It wouldn't make any sense!
After I filled out my application, I walked back into her office to give it to her. She asked me to have a seat and closed the door. Then she said, "Linell, what I see in you is openness. And a desire to obey God. We are first and foremost a ministry and we want people who work here to love God and to love the people we serve. This is why I want to offer you the charge nurse position here at Joshua House." I couldn't believe it! I sat there excited with tears welling up from my eyes. I noticed that she was crying, too! We hugged each other and then she said, "Well, this is the first time I've felt peace about this in a while!" I told her that I felt pretty awesome, too.
Then she gave me my official start date, which was June 29th. And I have been training ever since. I just feel like this job is such a wonderful blessing from God and it's a miracle to me! It also seems like such a perfect fit for the ways that God has made me to be. Many of the people that I've met at work have told me that they have been praying for me, or at least for whoever was going to fill the charge nurse position, and they are excited for me to join their team. I feel so blessed and well supported. I definitely want to give all the glory to God, because of how He has prepared me for this and how He's worked in my heart to lead me to a place of openness. I am really excited for what He has in store for me in this new role. I know that it will be hard, so if I ever come across your mind, please pray for me and that I would continue to be obedient and open!
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading! :) Take heart the truth of God's love and provision, that He does not leave us behind. For He knows exactly where He wants us.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." [Ephesians 2: 10]
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
WE ARE DONE! No more papers. No more presentations. No more lectures in dear Soubirou. We have been pinned. We have shaken DBC's hand. We have our interterm permits and many of us have an official date for our NCLEX examination! Some of us already have jobs...some of us are still on our knees in the waiting-trusting process. WHERE ARE WE ALL GOING TO END UP?!
I have tried to add you all as authors...so I believe you can all post now! Let's use this site to keep each other updated on what unfolds in our lives....post stories, disappointments, prayer requests, joys, news about new cities, new spouses, new pets, new neighbors, new roomies, new babies!
Monday, April 11, 2011
life is shifty. the winds of change are here. we are all about to graduate from nursing school, about to enter into a new season with lots of unknowns, lots of excitement, lots of change. we have traveled a long road together at biola; a road full of beautiful memories, long nights, lots of projects and clinical hours, forever friendships and fun. Let's keep each other posted as we start a new chapter!