Visiting “Home”

Bier und brats, gut! 

This is it! Schools out of the way, time to see family in Switzerland! Grandma, Mom, Dad and I! Maur, here we come!

   

I hold on to the beautiful memories in my mind of hanging out with my cousins from Switzerland in our backyard here in Los Angeles. Such fun, getting together with family, especially when you are all living in totally different worlds on opposite sides of the country!  

Cousins weekend in Los Angeles, CA. 

  Cousins weekend in Dana Point, CA.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

Wish us luck and send prayers our way! Via SwissAir, we will be landing in Zurich, Switzerland in about 17 hours!  

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Interning Sucks… Cancer Is Worse!

  
Getting patient A ready to go home on hospice while family member from patient B is in the hall crying for me because she has questions about what to do now, and a patient a few rooms down was just found non-responsive… Yep. That’s what my first day of interning looked like. Let me tell you, I’ve read about all of this in nursing books and I have passed all my tests leading me up to be an RN on the floor, but damn. It’s a whole other world when you are actually up and doing it yourself.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Matthew 5:4-5

So I’m half way through my precepting (last internship) hours and I am really feeling that warmth flowing down my inner legs. Yep, I am ready to pee myself any minute during these shifts! During my orientation of the hospital my precepting nurse opened a door to what looked like a closet and told me, “this is where we go to cry!” Welcome to Oncology. 

It’s amazing, to see people come in and get treated, but I’m not working in the emergency room anymore… This is a hospital unit just for patients with cancer diagnosese. It’s sad watching my patient receive chemotherapy for the first time. It’s heart breaking to watch my coleges comfort a young wife after finding out there’s nothing else medicine can do for the young husband. 

“I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”

Philippians 1:23-24

One morning in particular, I was assigned to three out of four patients. Remember, all of them are in some sort of critical situation and are living with and/or fighting cancer right now. It was so heart breaking but I told myself that I am so honored to be able to be that person to hold their hand through this rough part of life. I get to see these people in their most vulnerable states, and they look to my team members and I for support and comfort. 

Well about an hour in to my shift I received a few calls that I ignored, and then a couple text messages. My grandmother, whom I take care of as much as she needs, is in need of going back to the hospital. My cousin who is fighting cancer for the third time is no longer recieving treatment due to not being healthy enough, and my grandfather is having his first chemo treatment this week. Everything around me hit way too close to home now. The minute my preceptor met with me again, I apologized for what may be unprofessional or inappropriate and excused myself for the day. 

“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”

Romans 15:1

Yes, being an intern in a new hospital is terrifying. Carrying around my drug book, aka new bible, to make sure I don’t medicate someone incorrectly is exhausting. Most of all, knowing four people’s lives are in my hands and their well being is based on my nursing judgement… Yes, my nerves make me throw up! I’ve thrown up, starved, binged, cried, screamed, and even zoned out during important phone calls. Interning feels like the most difficult thing in the world. That’s until I remember other people are dealing with bigger issues. 

Happy Mothers Day

Another 5am trip to the local flower shop to pick up Moms big yellow sunflowers wrapped in brown paper. Mmm, the smell of fresh roses! That slight burn in your nostrils from the cold crisp air. All the birds singing the song of their people! That’s what Morher’s day morning looks like for me. Then, it turns into 18 grown adults, 7 children, 3 dogs, and a tortouse, all hanging out in the backyard by the pool. It’s sunny, it’s smokey, it’s loud and most of all, it’s surrounded with food and fresh flowers. 

  
Mother’s Day at my parents house is so much fun! All my mom wants to do is get together with family and feed everyone. Every year that’s all she wants, but this year my sister and I thought we’d surprise her with a little more. We didn’t want to take away from what she asks for and her annual tradition, so we bought her tickets for ziplining in Catalina Island for another weekend. Booked a hotel, typed up a personally made itinerary, and put all that love into a little envelope addressed to “Mom!” Well, guess what? That weekend just happened! 

   
 

We took a boat to the pretty Island, had dinner and relaxed at the hotels jaccuzi. It was such a wonderful weekend! The weather was perfect for us to hang out at the beach and then strap up to fling our bodies through the protected and secluded land. 

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalms 16:11

The tour consisted of two workers that were so friendly and so educating, about 20 minutes of learning how to fly, 7 other people, and 5 different lines to ride. The air was fresh, the scenes were God given. The entire experience was just remarkable!  

         

New Happiness

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It’s not New Years, but I do feel a new me. Yep! Randomly, in the middle of March! Here I am! So I’ve had some terrible experiences thrown my way, but I try not to let them get me down. I just wanted to post and say that life gets better! Don’t let your head drop, keep your chin up and keep going! If it didn’t kill you, it really did make you stronger. If you’re not stronger then I bet you’re still in the middle of that rut. You have a little bit of a ways left. Keep on going before the devil even knows you’re there! (Love country music!)

I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.

Psalm 121:1

When I’m at my lowest and hardest days my best friend reminds me of just how blessed I really am.

The devil attacks the ones who are the biggest threat. So you must have some strong faith & a close relationship with God if you’re struggling. Keep it up!
-Best friend/Sole sister

It really opens my eyes. Everything bad, truly is a blessing. The issues draw me closer to God. Gives me more prayers, and in return, more answers. Even when the answer is ‘No’ it’s still an answer. Remember that. Remember how blessed you are. Be proud of yourself and just keep pushing.

Today We Ride!

So today I decided to ride instead of run. The 2015 LA Marathon was this morning! My goodness, it was beautiful! My friend, Eric, and I went for a bike ride down the course to the finish line with intentions of cheering on the runners, whether they were teammates of ours or not. Well, there we a few mishaps throughout the day, but that makes for a great story!

I got off work at 730am and headed home to get ready for the event! Showered and put on my team running shirt, packed my backpack and put my padded shorts on! Sounds like I’m ready, doesn’t it! Well, I was but my bike wasn’t… My bike tires are flat and I don’t have the correct pump for it!

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”

Matthew 19:26

Running late, as usual, Eric finally shows up to my house and we load up. On our way to LA we hit a Big 5 so I can buy a pump that will work on both of our bikes! We drove into LA and found a side street by a Starbucks to leave the car and start our ride!

We are well into our second mile and I hear a loud clinking noise. I looked back to find Eric walking his broken bike over to the near-by curb. Runners are passing us as we sit on the side of the route cheering us on! Haha! It was so funny how the roles turned. Quick thinking lead us to the decision that Eric just needs to buy a better bike! I let him take my bike to go get the truck and come back to pick me and the broken bicycle up. We headed to the nearest bike shop to pick out a beauty!

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The bike shop owner saw what a rough start we were having so offered a cold drink while we found the perfect bike! Since we were in a rush to get back, it didn’t take too long. We picked out a beauty, Eric tried it out, and back to Starbucks we went. Finally back on the road, riding the course and cheering the runners on like planned. We were passing people that passed us an hour prior. It was fun to see their faces when they recognized we were the ones struggling. Here they were, mile 20 and seeing how the struggle is always temporary. They started picking up their feet a little higher and were singing along with my music. It was awesome seeing all the different ages out there and hearing their stories!

We finally made our way to the finish and found our girl, Jessi! She finished running her very first full marathon! I don’t think our small family of runners could have been any more proud! To celebrate, we parked our bikes at Buca Di Beppo and had pasta, pizza, and beer!

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It was such a lovely ride down to the beach, hearing inspirational stories, and eating to celebrate our loved ones accomplishment! Now… Well, now Eric and I have to ride back to the car. That ride was slightly down hill the whole way… That meant our ride back was going to be just as long, but slightly up hill the entire way. All I could think was, ‘Thank God we are parked by Starbucks!’

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A Toast To A True Hero

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Now if everyone will please raise your glass! We all know why we’re gathered here, but incase you’ve had too much to drink, we’re here to thank a true super-hero. No, not Batman nor Superman. We’re here to thank my uncle, Frank Phillips.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
2 Timothy 2:4

Being the youngest sibling in the family isn’t always easy; especially when you’re the only girl. I remember this one Thanksgiving my family from other states came to celebrate with us. My older cousins were all roller-blading up and down the street while my brothers and I were playing Fun-Air Scoop Ball with my uncles in the grass. Everyone was dominating on me. That’s until Frank picked up a yellow scooper and helped me out. I was no longer the loser little sister. Together, we beat all three of my competitive brothers and even my other uncle, John. From that moment on, he became a hero in my eyes. Once I grew older I realized, I’m not the only one who thinks of him as a hero. The rest of the world knows about his super powers, too. He is a hero to others for different reasons though.

When I say world, I mean he is respected and recognized globally as a great manager, an admired leader, and also for his intense security skills. Frank has accomplished so much that has contributed to the freedom that we live with today! He served an 18-year career as a Navy SEAL. After that, he established Golden Seal Enterprises. Yes, these two amazing things really stand out, but they aren’t his only accomplishments. Please don’t get me started with them, there are just so damn many . . .

Just to name a few: He was personally selected as a founding member of the Navy’s first SEAL Team Six and first Red Cell Team. He’s achieved many certifications and licenses such as Paramedic, Diver Medic, PADI Master Scuba Instructor, NRA Firearms Instructor, and so much more. He’s a good husband, father, grandfather, son, and friend. Like I said, don’t get me started!

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We always hear about how much our veterans do for us. We are always told to thank a vet the next time you see one. Well, I’m saying thank you. The next time you see a vet, give them your thanks. The next time you meet a vet, shake their hand and tell them thank you! They are extremely humble so you may not realize it, but they have gone that extra mile to give us what we have today. I love and admire you so much, Frank. For you will always be a super-hero to me!

Because I Can!

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The cold, dry air was burning my wet, dripping nose. The birds were starting to sing their morning songs. That weird lighting on the streets from the combination of the suns glow starting to shine and the street lights glow. I went for a 4 mile run this morning at 5:30am. I was determined to get out there and get back into running early mornings! I woke up and though, “I’m going to be skinny!”

Well, by the time I got about three-quarters of a mile my nose was running like Niagara Falls, my lungs were burning worse than my calves were, and I felt like my heart was in my throat. I was no longer determined and I just ran back home. My 4 mile run that used to be an easy warm up in the early morning was actually a mile and a half run in hell for me today. When I got home, I looked right at the shiny, red face in the mirror and thought to myself, what a disappointment! I beat myself up over it and then told my best friend about how down I felt.

She reminded me of why I’m even a runner to begin with! I run because I can. In high school I hated running! I hated running with a passion. You couldn’t even pay me to run without a soccer ball or softball around. To run track or cross country was such a miserable idea to me! Then, from age 18 to 20 I found myself having trouble with running. This trouble was no longer mental, it was physical this time around. If I tried to run, I’d get so light headed and weak and then pass out. I couldn’t even sing out loud in my car driving to school anymore without the fear of exhausting myself.

After a few times of passing out while hiking with my dog, Jolie, I decided to finally tell someone and get help. After many, many different doctors offices and seeing different specialist, I finally had the right medical tests done. Sitting in a cardiologists office, I was finally diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White. It was the answer to my many prayers and questions. I scheduled myself for surgery to fix the problem immediately.

16 Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship – a different kind of “sacrifice” – that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.
Hebrews 13:16 MSG

So today was just a rough morning. I’m about to go for a two mile jog (good or bad, doesn’t matter) and then sing my little lungs out on my way to work tonight!! Tomorrow morning I’ll give it another shot! Hope things go better!

Goruck Challenge #1335

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So this was an amazing experience for me! This past weekend I became a GRT, which stands for Goruck Tough. The Goruck community is one that I’m proud to be apart of! Everyone is so loving and no one is ignored or left behind. Whether you like them or not, these people are your resources. I will never feel alone because I know that’s not possible when being a member of this community! I am in a subgroup called Jesus Freaks as well. They are like the church of Goruck. We have a facebook page that allows us to post about the good and the bad that we go through. We do this so we can pray for one another and be there for everyone. Like I said, you will never be alone once you’re a GRT. This event took place in Santa Monica, starting and ending at the pier. It was lead by Cadre Flash, with a little surprise visit from Cadre Big Daddy.

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 41:10

When we got to the top of a near by trail that we hiked up, we were able to do a Q & A with Flash. It was a really awesome opportunity to ask whatever we wanted about his life and the special operations military branches. We also went around and shared why we chose to do Goruck. I didn’t share at the time because I hadn’t finished yet. Honestly, I didn’t want to jinx myself and not finish… Why I chose to do the Goruck Challenge…

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Phillippians 4:13

2 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare heart disease. Getting news like that is scary and somewhat lonesome. But what was really lonely was the fact that I couldn’t do any physical activity what so ever without passing out. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and well, that just sucks. My goal was to not let these issues stop me from living. I’ve trained hard and worked closely with doctors to get me where I am today. I’m not just living, it’s good living!

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I decided to do Goruck because I wanted to be able to prove to myself that I can do this! I wanted to be there to support my teammates that are going through their own issues, and I wanted to feel the support from my class, even if I had just met them! After going through 12 hours of hell with each other, you’ll be supportive friends for sure. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of crazies!

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My body may have taken a beating, but yes, I do plan on doing it again! I prayed every hour during the event and I can honestly say that I felt the strength God gave to me. I will be doing more events for sure! I earned my grey patch, and now I have the need for a blue one! I do plan on keeping up on the work outs and eating right because without the 21 day fast, I would never have been prepared physically or mentally for this.

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The Right Pace

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So I have accomplished a very successful 21 days of doing the Daniel Fast. I will admit, I cheated once and ate a bite of my moms homemade pineapple upside down cake- it was delicious, but full of refined sugar. Other than that, my Lord and savior provided for me. He gave me the strength and courage to get through so much! A lot has been going on lately in my life personally, but with His grace, I’ve been just right! Here was my last devotional from the church for the fast…

“Day 21

Prayer direction:

Pray that God’s favor might be upon your family and our church as we continue to put Him first in all things.

From the Desk of Pastor Dawn Jackson…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV

Long-distance runners know to make it over the long haul, you’ve got to have a steady pace. Run too fast, and you will burn out early and end up sidelined. Run too slow, and you minimize the potential within you. Running the right pace speeds you to the finish line and prevents injury and burnout.

Pace is also important in life. We often overestimate what we can accomplish in a short amount of time and underestimate what we can accomplish in a long amount of time. We live in a fast-paced world. Many people rush to and from exhausted at the end of each day, with nothing left to give to those closest to them. This results in shallow relationships and regret. Of course, on the other side of the spectrum are those who spin their wheels, never seeming to move forward, aimlessly distracted by insignificant pursuits.

Think also about the pace in which you live your life. With 21 days coming to an end, now would be a good time to make the necessary adjustments so that you might truly finish the race he has called you to run. Consider the following acronym as a guide in developing your pace:

Prioritize. Focus on what is most important.

Assign times of work and rest.

Consistency: doing what you say you are going to do.

Enjoy the journey.

God desires for us to have a full, abundant life, filled with meaningful relationships and the satisfaction of accomplishing purposes which honor his name. A healthy pace will empower you to both accomplish your tasks and build solid relationships.

The Lord is my pace setter…I shall not rush.

He makes me stop for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity.
He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here.
His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows.
Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of my Lord and dwell in his house for ever.
A Japanese version of the 23rd Psalm by Tokio Megashio.”

Even now that it is over, I still eat healthy (but not as healthy..) and I am still keeping my faith clear of distractions. Nothing processed about my faith! Living and loving life, with a purpose!

Black Bean Burgers

Mix black beans and these 10 yummy ingredients in a food processor and you’ll have the best fake burger you’ll ever eat! Haha! I’m not a vegetarian, so yes, black bean patties are fake burgers to me! Delicious fake burgers that is! Doing the Daniel Fast for 21 days this month is difficult for me, but with the support of my church members, and delicious veggie foods like this, I know I’m going to finish as a changed woman! Hah! Try out this bean patty, prepare it just like you would any other burger, and I’m sure you’ll love it, too! I eat mine protein style!

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink.

Daniel 1:8-20

So for this recipe, you can either start with fresh homemade black beans or you can use a can of pre-made black beans.

Homemade black beans…

Ingredients:
1 (16 oz) bag of dry black beans
2 bay leaves
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 tbsp of oil
Cold water

Directions:
Take the beans and let them soak in the cold water over night. Put the beans in a large pot on the stove and fill it 2 inches over the beans. They will soak up the water and be more tender. Drain (if there’s anything to drain) and rinse. Put the beans, 2 bay leaves, 1 tbsp of oil, and 4 cups of broth in the pot and cook on medium for about an hour and 20 minutes, or until beans are tender. The oil is optional, it just helps prevents foam during the boil. When all the beans are tender, take the 2 bay leaves out and strain any excess broth.

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To make the burger deliciousness…

Ingredients:

Cooked black beans
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1 diced garlic clove
1 large chopped jalapeño (leave seeds and veins in if you want spice)
1 small lime
1 egg (optional)
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat)

Deliciousness directions:

In a food processor, put the beans, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño, and onions and mix! Then add the egg (optional), salt, pepper, and cumin. Mix in the food processor until all is one consistency. Add the bread crumbs 1 table spoon at a time until the mixture becomes a thick paste-like consistency.

Pour the extra breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl to coat your patties in. Grab a handful size of your now made bean paste and shape into a patty. Lay the patty in the bread crumbs to coat both sides. Place your finished patties on wax paper and put them in the fridge for 20 minutes or until ready to cook. The colder, the better to work with. You can cook them just like a regular burger in a flat pan on the stove top for about 7 minutes each side, or in the oven on 350 for 5 minutes each side. Brown the patties and enjoy just like any other burger.

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I like to eat mine wrapped in lettuce, with mustard, tomato, pickles, and onion. I’ve also had it on a whole grain hamburger bun with all my fixings. So delicious!

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