Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Busy as a Bee

Sometimes life can seem kind of monotonous. But then sometimes life is so crazy that it feels like you're standing at the bottom of the mountain with an avalanche hurling your way. I'm currently in the avalanche season of life. This next year will be full of so many exciting things for me that I felt like I needed to share them.

First things first, I'm ENGAGED! My boyfriend of four whole years popped the question on top of a mountain on a gorgeous boardwalk during finals week at the end of our junior year of college. Once I realized what was going on, I quickly said YES! Next thing I knew, we were driving up to a surprise party with all of our friends and family.

 It was a great night of surprises that I will never forget (although I may have forgotten all the answers to my finals the upcoming days- wedding planning is so much more fun than studying!) Cody Gross,  I am so excited to be marrying you, my best friend, on June 4, 2016!

 Wedding planning is fun, but it can be a little overwhelming at times. Everyone is looking to you to make all the decisions- and there are about a million to be made. Not counting the appointments you have to book to go make those decisions. Working on a guest list, writing down the names of songs you hear on the radio on a napkin in case it's one you want to use, picking colors, picking dresses, the list goes on and on. But in the end, while I'm trying to choose between flowers or candles, long or short dresses, that that's not what any of this is about. June 4, 2016 is about marrying the love of my life and my best friend. It's about starting a new family and making a covenant before God to use our relationship and everything that comes of it for His glory. So if you find yourself with an invite, I hope you are prepared for some worship, some fun, and busting some moves on the dance floor.


Another big event going on in my life is the beginning of my SENIOR year of college. My oh my, where has the time gone?! I can't believe this is my last year as an undergrad on Rocky Top. As sad as I will be to leave, I will be taking with me memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

This year I will be finishing up my last few hours to graduate in May with a major in Microbiology and a minor in Hispanic Studies/ Spanish language.

I will be continuing my job at a nearby doctor's office as well as staying involved at Chilhowee Hills Baptist Church (my second family). With senior year also comes the worries about what to do next. Graduation means growing up and jumping into the adult world, which brings me to the next big part of my life: medical school.

After graduation, I have decided to apply to the 2016 entering class of several medical schools across the country. For those of you who don't know how that works, the process actually started this summer. To apply for an allopathic medical school (receive a MD upon graduation), you must submit a primary application. Much like applying for college, this application is run by a central app such as the "common app" called AMCAS. This application consists of transcripts, MCAT test scores (a ridiculously long and hard medical school admissions test), GPA, extracurriculars, awards, leadership roles, etc, a personal statement about yourself, and a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation from professors (2 science, 1 non- science). Once you submit this application (with a fee for each school you choose to send it to), each school you have chosen will contact you with an immediate decline or a secondary application. This secondary application is specific to each school and mostly consists of essay questions and ANOTHER application fee. After secondaries, some students will move on to the interview round. After you have interviewed, you can either be rejected, accepted, or wait listed. As I said, this process has already started for the 2016 entering class. The primary application opened the first of June and for some students, acceptance may not come until the NEXT May. That leaves A TON of uncertainty. Will you get in? Will you remain on a wait list? If you get in, where will it be? Where will you be living and how many loans will you have to take out? Thankfully Cody is pretty okay with this whole process. He has been supportive and understands we may not know where we will be moving until the very last minute! With senior year AND a wedding to plan, why not throw in some essay writing and traveling who knows where for interviews throughout the fall semester, right?

This summer has also included a little medical work, of course. I have been volunteering through the Experience Critical program in the Baptist ER. If any high school or college student in the Memphis area is looking for awesome experience, I would HIGHLY recommend this program.

I have also been helping out with the Neighborhood Compassion clinic in Binghampton. The people there have really shown me what it looks like to love what you do and to do something just because you love it. I am so thankful for the experiences I have gotten this summer and the invaluable lessons those around me have taken the time to show me.

I will be moving back to Knoxville on August 14th, but before that I have some adventuring to do. Cody and I are leaving for a mission trip to Nicaragua in just a few days! We will be gone for a week to love on some amazing people. This will be Cody's first experience with international missions and I am so excited to be able to share this experience with him. Three days after we return, we will be taking a family vaycay to explore the wonderful state of Washington. It's going to be amazing, however we could come back with some fun stories of flying across the country with a hyperactive two year old. I'll report back with the latest travel updates! For now, here are a few more pictures from this summer!

Happy Summer!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Our Family Story

Hello blog world! 

As many of you know, my family has been forever changed by foster care and adoption. Instead of writing about it myself, I want to share somewhat of a guest blog. My boyfriend, Cody, is a journalism major. For his final project, he chose to write about foster care and adoption and I think he did a great job of telling our story. Please take the time to read it! 


Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful Spring weather! If you are a student, summer is just around the corner! Finish strong! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Where's My Paddle?

Where to even begin...
I often use this space to keep a journal of sorts that documents what life looks like for my sister and I. But there are times when my heart shows up FULL and I need to share what is stirring. This art of written word that I love so much has fallen to the way side in the past few months. 

From graduating college to beginning my job in the NICU, life has not slowed down and sometimes a moment in the word or sleep takes precedence over the blog. There are days I find myself getting caught up in the business and in those same moments feeling as if I am not doing enough, feeling inadequate and overwhelmingly blessed all at once. With all the emotions swirling, creating the perfect storm for a panic stricken meltdown, suddenly my heart grows quiet and still and I know that He is near. 

It has become a routine to diligently and whole-heartedly call to the Lord for peace. 
I feel as if I do not even know what normal is anymore.
Do I want to know?
Do I want to return to what has been comfortable and safe in my distant past?
If I search my heart and look at all that God has done in the past 4 years, I cannot say that I want to stop and reach for normal. 

Yahweh has met me in the middle, ushered me into time of embracing a new attitude towards change
 and moving into adulthood. 

In reference to her experience paddle boarding and it's correlation to a pursuit of perfection, Shauna Niequist spoke to my soul:

"Forward motion brings stability. Sometimes we just have to pick a direction & start pulling the paddle through the water & along the way we will get the stability & confidence we're looking for." 

So perfectly timed & eloquently spoken, these words could not speak more truth about the transition from student into professional, child to adult. If we are being completely real, life is really scary. I feel as if I am ill-prepared for the tasks that are set before me. My natural tendency is to pull away, to sink back into what I know is comfortable, the norm. 

Thankfully, that is not an option at this point in life. Adulthood has begun.
 I am met in the mornings by sick and screaming babies who need someone to be brave enough to walk the journey of healing with them. I have friends who need to be pointed back to Jesus when the mountains are high and the valleys are low. I have fellow Memphians that need me to reject the norm, the prejudice, the cultural barriers and to love with open hands and an open heart. 

And really, will I ever be ready? 
Will I ever know all that I need to know about medicine or commitment or holiness? 

With great confidence, I can answer "no". Not at all. 

But God chose me. He chooses me each and every day. 
I am not here, in the throws of relationships and work and community, by my own will and ambition. 
Even still, I am  given the choice to walk away and to attain to comfort. It is a choice to put the paddle in the water and pull. 

So here we go, seeking stability in the boldness of embracing change.  
Put down inadequacy, pick up confidence and jump in with all that you have. 

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