"Eventually all the pieces fall into place....
until then, laugh at the confusion,
live for the moment, and know that everything
happens for a reason"

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunburns and Spectacular Sights

I'm surrounded by beauty everywhere I look.

The mountains of east Tennessee are large, spectacular and just out my backdoor. Being of an adventurous sort, Paul and I enjoy taking advantage of these mountains and their amazing views. One of the many exciting opportunities around us is the chance to hike portions of the Appalachian Trail.

Out latest adventure was hiking Carver's Gap on the AT. Carver's Gap is found on Roan Mountain and is a short drive from our apartment. The hike takes you to the balds atop rolling mountains where there are no trees or obstructions to your view. 360 degree views of staggering mountains await you. It's worth the climb. And if the mountain views aren't enough for you, there are the beautiful rhododendrons that speckle the mountain tops with bright hues of purple.

And don't forget the sunscreen because with the combined effects of a sunny day and cool breeze, my super-white skin was fried to crisp. Another adventure down, many more to come!

Love and Happiness,

Friday, May 18, 2012

Creepin' on the Creeper Trail

Summertime has officially arrived.

Now, summer breaks for me are officially no longer but that doesn't mean I'm settling for a boring summer. No, sir. Paul and I have created quite the to-do-list for these summer months and time/budget permitting, we plan to do them all.

Johnson City has been "home" for about a year a now and since the first week we arrived, people continued to tell us about The Virginia Creeper Trail. The Creeper Trail is a biking path that winds through shaded avenues of trees, over mountain river bridges and by quaint farms nestled in the mountain's foothills. The best part: it is a beautiful 17 mile ALL DOWNHILL ride!

Even in May, the mountains around us stay fairly cool. So with jacket in tow, we started our ride. It was beautiful. We took our time, stopping along the trail to take pictures and eat a picnic lunch. It was a perfect activity to kick off our summertime activities.

A summer in the mountains is definitely going to be different than any of my other summers but I'm excited to exhaust this area of all is has to offer.

Love and Happiness,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

It's Time To Go On A Diet

It's time to admit the truth. I've gotten fat. 

Paul tries to be nice and say I'm pudgy. Same difference, I explain. He disagrees. Regardless, there are pounds to lose and I am determined to lose them. I began my diet on Monday and hopefully I'll quickly be on my way to feeling better about my body. 

This is going to be a challenge for me, however. I'm a lover of food. Chocolate cake, ice cream, cheesecakes and cookies. I love them all. Not to mention chicken fingers, hamburgers and french fries. My stomach is growling just typing the words. Fortunately, I enjoy a lot of healthy foods but they aren't on my list of frequent cravings. Wouldn't it be nice if we all CRAVED broccoli and looked at fries with disgust. That would be helpful as I start this diet. Ugh...I see hard work in my future. 

Anyways, I've set a goal to lose 15 pounds. My plan includes eating healthier, exercising more, cutting out soft drinks, no late night snacking and educating myself on how many calories are in the food I eat. Slowly but surely I hope to see these pounds melt away. 

I look back I wonder, "How did I get so fat?". Well, I've discovered my downfall after looking up some caloric/fat content of some of my favorite foods. Now, if you are a Chick-Fil-A sauce fan and do not want to know the nutritional facts about it, I advise you stop reading now. Here we go.  Like the fried chicken sandwich from Chick-Fil-A isn't bad enough, I put Chick-Fil-A sauce on both my sandwich and fries. No big deal, right? I use (or used) 3 sauce packets for one meal. Each packet has 280 calories in itself. That means 840 calories and 120% of my daily fat content just for the sauce I use. That blew my mind! 

But THAT is how I got so fat. Knowledge is power, I guess. No more of that delicious, make your pants tight Chick-Fil-A sauce for me...at least not 3 packs. :)

This is a picture of me when I was small and yes, 16 years old. I don't know if I'll ever be able to be the same size as I was in 10th grade but at least it can be motivation that I don't have to be a fatty. :)

But, even then, I was a lover of food. Good food. Fatty food. Delicious, make your pants tight food. Haha...I guess getting fat shouldn't have been a surprise. 

So, here's to losing weight and gaining a healthier lifestyle!

Love and Happiness,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Graduation Celebrations Continue

It's been one year. 

One year ago today, I proudly graduated from Auburn University. It should have been one of the most exciting days of my life; filled with joy, celebration and laughter. Instead, at the end of my graduation day, I was glad it was over. 

Why, you ask? Well, Auburn decided to do things differently last year and have graduation outside in  the football stadium. Awesome, some people thought. But not me. At our 9:00 am ceremony, it was already greater than 90 degrees outside. Turns out there isn't much shade in the middle of the football field, no breeze and our pitch black cap and gowns soaking up the south Alabama sun didn't help either. And of course, the School of Nursing was the second to last college to graduate out of more than 3,100 graduates. As I finally walked across the graduation stage, I was just thankful I didn't walk right out of my sweat drenched heels. Event staff hurriedly handed water out to students on the verge of passing out and by the end of the ceremony, barely any students hadn't removed their cap and unzipped their gowns attempting cool off. Rumor had it that an elderly person was taken to the hospital after sitting in that heat. Needless to say, graduation wasn't held in the stadium this year. 

Now, as graduation approached I didn't expect much from Paul or my parents. On graduation weekend I saw BMWs with red ribbons in the parking lots, bouquets of flowers, cheesy balloons and friend's cakes decorated in orange and blue. None of which I asked for from my family, so none of these things did I receive. My graduation was understated and looking back, a bit of a letdown. I worked extremely hard to earn that degree and on my graduation day, celebration was minimal. And while I didn't complain in the immediate aftershock of graduation, over the past year I brought to Paul's attention that my graduation was kind of a dud. Too late now, it's come and gone. Congratulations to me. 

Well, Paul doesn't give up that easily. Sure, he'll admit he may have dropped the ball one year ago from today but Paul believes in redemption. He is the quintessential romantic and doer of grand gestures. So, yesterday he did just that. I woke up to find a banner hung on the wall that read CONGRATS GRAD. That's sweet, I thought. When he called me on a break, he explained that he had invited some friends over for supper to celebrate my belated graduation. When he got home from work he brought in more graduation goodies, including a balloon, graduation plates, napkins and tablecloth. Last but not least, he brought in the cake. Decorated in orange and blue with a cap and diploma on top, the cake read "Congratulations Bethany War Eagle". 

I cried. I literally cried. In moments like these I know and feel his love for me. We spent the evening with some friends, eating good food and laughing the night away. It was a great graduation celebration, free from 90 something degree weather and uncomfortable shoes.

But in all seriousness, while my true graduation experience wasn't quite what I'd dreamed, it holds some memories I won't forget. I'm thankful for the amazing friends I made at Auburn who stood by my side as we sang the Alma Mater on the jumbo-tron. Despite my frustration with graduation, I remember the tears filling my eyes as the fight song played as I left the stadium. And as it turns out, it is kind of special to say I graduated on the field of that season's national football champions. 

A lot has happened in the last year but one thing has stayed the same. Paul takes care of me physically but in this case emotionally. He can turn moments of disappointment into moments of happiness and that's one of the reasons I love him. 

Love and Happiness,

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Another Work Story: The Birthday Card

Some workdays at the hospital are more challenging than others. This week, as I worked 3 days in a row, each day became increasingly more difficult until the 3rd day nearly swallowed me whole. There are days that it feels like I'm too busy to even breath and Wednesday was one of those days. These busy days are filled with constant phone calls to doctors, educating patients on tests and procedures, administering medications on time, charting and you know, hopefully keeping people alive. 

And while all of these things are important, I often find that my patients need more than just medical treatment. They need compassion. They need someone to talk to. So, in the midst of my crazy day I discovered one of my patients mostly needed some TLC. He kept telling me about his birthday that was coming up next week but when I glanced at his wristband I noticed that his birthday had already passed. I gently told him that it was May and that his birthday had already come and gone. His eyes filled with tears. Due to his medical state, he could not remember celebrating his birthday and as he became aware of his confusion, he became more upset. I stayed with him and held his hand as he verbalized his fear of the time he's lost. I sat there in the recliner next to the bed and let him talk about his past, his family, his pets and his dreams for the future. Once he settled down, I left his room and ventured to the nurses station. I grabbed  an Expo marker and a colored sheet of paper and began to draw. "Happy Belated Birthday" is what I wrote on the front of the "card" and a horrible drawing of a birthday cake and balloons. On the inside I wrote a small note wishing him a happy birthday, many more years of happiness and a wish for restored health. I also thanked him for sharing with me stories about his life. I signed the card, Your Nurse Bethany. I walked back into the mans room and handed him the card. "Happy birthday" I said. The man smiled as tears once again filled his eyes. As I turned to leave the room he softly said, "You're special, you know that?". As I continued to walk away, I yelled back, "So are you."

After my 12 hours were done, I stuck my head into his room to say goodnight. There on his windowsill sat my card, proudly displayed among his other cards and family photos. Now, during that day I assessed this patient, I charted on this patient, I collaborated with doctors about this patient and I administered medications to this patient. But the most important thing I did for this patient was sit and talk with him, make a connection with him and give him the TLC he needed most. 

It took just 5 minutes to make a difference. Even on my busiest days, it's worth it. 

Love and Happiness,

Camping Trip Adventures

There a few things I love more than a fun camping trip with my husband. There is something magical about the smell of a campfire, the sound of burning wood, sleeping under a blanket of stars and the uninterrupted silence of the outdoors. So, this past weekend we went on a camping trip in to get in touch with nature and get away from it all. Don't get me wrong, though. We still enjoy the modern conveniences of water and electricity at our campsites. :)

We set up camp at this nice campground with a mountain stream running right by our site. The weather was beautiful and we had the tent up in no time. As Paul chopped fire wood, I was Suzy Tent-Maker and made up our bed in the tent. At night, the campfire was the main attraction and we sat by it late into the night talking about everything we could think of. This may be one of the biggest reasons I love to camp. It gives us time to talk without the interruptions of the TV, computer or cell phones. We always have a great time. 

We ventured over to a park across the road to grill out. For some reason Paul makes the best burgers on a charcoal grill in the middle of nowhere and it is a must do when we camp. Once again, he made the juiciest, most delicious burgers and we devoured them quickly. We even had a wild turkey sighting as we waited for the burgers to cook. 

Paul working on the tent

Sleeping arrangements
Ax my dad hand engraved for Christmas

Wild Turkey

Making s'mores

I love our spontaneous weekend trips that are filled with fun, conversation and laughter. Oh, and s'mores. It wouldn't be a proper camping trip without the s'mores. 

Love and Happiness,