Today I braided my hair

I knew it would be a good day when I caught myself in contemplation of my earrings, crowding each other in two rows on my bedside table. I didn’t make it as far as putting any on but I haven’t thought about anything more than my wedding ring for the last three months. So that’s progress. First trimester really has changed my perspective on ‘productive’.

It did end up being a good sign because now my hair is braided to match the Nordic style on my sweater dress. Sweater dress sounds very stylish, but really it’s now my only option because this is the week most of my pants stopped fitting. I suppose no one else needs to know that and I will own the most stylish ensemble I’ve worn this month.

Feed the Birds

Original post from April, 2017

For the first time, I was able to choose one of the songs that I would perform for my vocal juries, a brief performance critiqued by the entire Augustana music department.

Narrowing my selection, one of three pieces I’d perform, down to just one selection seemed impossible. Rogers and Hammerstein selections topped the list.  I love to sing in the minor key, the unexpected tension conveys profound feeling.

“On Fridays, after work, [Walt Disney would] often invite us into his office and we’d talk about things that were going on at the Studio. After a while, he’d wander to the north window, look out into the distance and just say, ‘Play it.’ And Dick would wander over to the piano and play ‘Feed the Birds’ for him. One time just as Dick was almost finished, under his breath, I heard Walt say, ‘Yep. That’s what it’s all about.’  The song was also played at his funeral in 1966.

I think there is a lot of wisdom in this, as the song’s main point is to take time to do small things for others. This song has a lot of meaning for me, given that this (senior year of nursing) has been a year of eye opening experiences. Through service learning opportunities at my school, I have been exposed to the homeless in temporary shelters, those who cannot afford lunch at the local food bank, and the mental health hospital. I know these experiences have permanently changed my outlook and priorities in life.

Master Draft

Settling in Space and time- draft from August 2016. Part of a series to post raw, unfinished musings that never grew up into posts. 

This post is fragmented thoughts and feelings I jotted down during the stretching transition out of my childhood home. 




My desk moved in last week. little by little, I have been organizing, moving, adjusting. A few knick knacks from home, but not many, due to space concerns.

I list tasks, beginning is hard. It’s easier to do a task once started. I’ve learned to make small commitments.

There’s always someone to visit with over coffee, a sibling’s scratchy crayon drawing to praise, or baby to entertain. The chore list is never-ending, and the laundry, dishes, and sweeping always need some attention.

No routine exist in my new surroundings. Every minute spent is deliberately decided, rather than home where I would usually travel along the familiar tracks of routine. Aside from regularly scheduled work, I’m not sure what to do. 1030 am, and I have taken a walk, practiced voice, made two dishes, washed two dishes.

Free time young orioles down by the river. I have not honestly had a time where I was disappointed with the results of something I was working on, and not looked back and realized that it was not a lack of skill that caused it. Other things took priority I appreciate having a schedule filled with activities, and next year I have more blocks of time open. This is a little unnerving to me, and I would like to rush to fill the hours. Without I have new respect for the value of time. Prioritizing.  I had to spend nearly two hours a week just organizing my coursework.

OVERHEARD – draft from August 2016

Dad: and if you get the hole dug, the sidewalk cleared and power washed, and the fenceposts put in before win tonight, then we can all go and get ice cream.

John to the boys: Run, you fools. (Only funny if you have seen LOTR)

Pride and Protocol

Original Draft from August 18, 2016. Part of a series to publish unfinished musings in a raw state.

Maria and I have been on a Jane Austen marathon this summer. Since may we have gone through Emma, Sense and Sensibility, two renditions of Pride and Prejudice, and Persuasion.

This early 1800’s form the backdrop for these books, an era which is well known for long dresses and even longer winded manners. Of course, Maria and I enjoy contrasting these mannerisms with our own casual habits, and we enjoy watching snippets like this from our family’s favorite band of actors, Studio C.

Of course, Jane Austen was a critic of her time, not a proponent! This was also the same time period also was the home to the child labor, crime, pickpocketing Charles Dickens wrote of in novels like Oliver Twist. Americans may have reason to be proud for throwing off English fascination with manners.

However, I have noticed something interesting, in a favorite word on the street. Awkward. “That was awkward.” “I am so awkward.” “It was a very awkward meeting.”

Contrast that with the recent surge in interest in Downton Abbey and Jane Austen’s works. Just comic relief for the day? Or an indulgence of an unfulfilled desire for stronger roles and rules in day to day life?

Lens of Literature

My quest this July is to bring out unfinished thoughts and ramblings, stored in archives for months to years. This is to serve as tribute to the struggles through time as I tried to develop my voice and perspective. I reveal them now, raw, unpolished, and open. Now I let go of my past perfectionism that has restrained my ability to write and flourish. 


words are uniquely human. No other creation has this, even in the advent of research on animal communication. Incredible scientific accomplishments such as space travel ‘thought of as left brain skills’, are all linked to the ability to think and record knowledge for others using language ‘right brain skills’.

Literature is one of the subjects is believed to be important enough to be taught in schools. American and world lit develops a way of looking at issues and understanding them more thoroughly through fictional characters. One example that comes to mind is the powerful impact of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 

Studying literature has helped me understand people. It may be that a person brings to mind a literary character. Or maybe the . When working as a waitress, I found that I had the most success in connecting with people if I approached them as a story waiting to be told.

Literature defines my adult pursuit of God. In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, we are told that it was the ‘Word’ that existed first, before anything else. Teresa of Avila stated that spiritual growth was impossible without spiritual reading.

Goodbye, Monty

Little friend, I don’t think I’ll ever have a pet see me through more transitions than you did.

You joined me months before my nursing school graduation, rode in the back seat all the way to Kansas as my only companion on my travel nursing adventure. You were there when I was single and when we came home married. Your singing cheered reading students and interrupted proctored grad program exams. You will be missed.

Invitation to Life

I’d known that given the difficulty of finding clinical placements, I might be delayed at some point in my school. Still, I was disappointed when I learned I’d have to finish my last semester of NP school in the fall rather than this summer. I was set on the idea of graduating this August, only three months from now. Now instead I’ll wait until August 23 to start and finish at the beginning of December.

After I adjusted to the idea of taking the summer off, I’ve been enjoying my summer and using my time to take up activities and projects I’ve neglected for the past two years since I began my masters program August 2019.

I was so tired, and the rest is welcome. I’m burned out on studying and cramming. The break is allowing me to recenter my love for the topics I’m studying. I am reviewing my books and a board certification prep book slowly and steadily.

Weeknight Mediterranean

Baked falafel, greek yogurt, and veggies for a very quick meatless meal.

Phone quality pictures today, but I needed to record the day when I had come home from work, picked up groceries, made food, and cleaned up from supper within the first 30 minutes of being home.

This recipe is completely mine, the evolution (or rather de-evolution, as it became simpler with each preparation) of the first time I made true falafel.

Recipe: 1/2 onion, 2 cups chickpeas, water to blending consistency. Spiced with cumin, coriander, allspice, garlic, and salt. 1/2 cup flour and 1 egg added mixed in. I scooped out the batter and baked like cookies for 10-15 minutes at 350˚. A coating of spray oil on top is desired makes them closer to true fried falafel.

The toppings: cucumber, tomato, parsley, and greek yogurt on pita. other options: eggplant, olives, onions, whatever is on hand. This is the real reason I eat this sandwich…yum.

Two Months into Quarantine

The changes aren’t a novelty anymore. Settling in to the new normal is comforting. Shock of the first weeks has worn out, though I’m still uneasy with how deep fear and suspicion of others is growing. Wearing masks even when not required is now more than just a precaution to self and others, it’s a common courtesy to let others know you are taking precautions and are about their loved ones lives.

The atmosphere is divisive and shaming culture is real. Local restrictions are lifting, and people will have to choose between staying in and patronizing businesses that are trying to remain open. Others are quick to criticize their decisions as either out of control fear or blatant disregard for life.

Businesses wait to see what the next weeks hold. Will there be a gradual increase in customers, or will most people bunker down for a while longer? On an outing last weekend, my fiancé and I discovered a cafe that was still open. The owner is hoping business picks up, since it’s been just eight months since they first opened and they haven’t had time to gain a loyal clientele. As the spacious dining area was empty, there was no one to disturb if we sat on some of the soft colorful chairs to sip fresh hot coffee. It was a pleasant moment, an almost forbidden indulgence.

As a home health nurse I believed I’d be sheltered from most of the contact with COVID that my colleagues in the hospitals are facing. However, the family I serve was among the first group of residents to be affected at a local hotspot in the city. When the first family member tested positive, I also had to get tested and wait out a quarantine until I heard that my test had come back negative.

Finals finished last Friday. Grades are in and I can breath a sigh of relief. Even with a two week break I’m still working on school, focusing on clinical arrangements and inter-state networking with pro-life physicians and pregnancy care centers. This is more enjoyable than studying though, since everyone I speak with is passionate and dedicated to sharing their knowledge. I’m looking forward to meeting them when I transition from classwork only to on the job training.

Little Spring Corner of the Kitchen

The best things in life seem to be the ones that aren’t planned.

This little corner is one of my favorite areas currently, and it came alive only two weeks ago.

Every item looks designed and color coordinated, but each item was surprised to find the others matching and getting along so well.

Little Bathroom Corner

This framed painting from the local thrift shop happened to coordinate effortlessly with some dried flowers I’d been gifted.

Simple perfection.

Our Lady’s Magnificat, the canticle frequently found in the evening prayer in the Divine Office, hangs on the mirror for easy recitation. A drop of lavender essential oil in the warm sink graces the air for a calming evening mood.

“In My Own Little Corner”

This song from Rogers and Hammerstein Cinderella was one of my favorites growing up. In it the heroine declares she is content with only owning a tiny portion in the world as long as it is her space to imagine and dream.

I don’t need to fantasize about an extravagant or adventurous alter-life to be happy. However, focusing on turning each square foot into a special retreat has led me to be much more content living in a small space.

The last two weeks, more time in doors means time to develop the intricate nooks of my studio apartment. The I moved here almost two years ago, the space felt like an in between. My brothers spent time putting up mirrors and shelves that had to be stripped from the walls only a year later. I did not want to decorate or settle into a new space not knowing what the future held.

As I’ve grown over the last few years begun to acquire the ability to risk work, effort and love. It feels perilous to settle in to one place, group of friends, or period of life. Only to leave it and be ready to welcome an entirely new thing. Hard as it is, I’m finding that this may be the only way to truly live without reservation.

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