Eleven Years Too Long

Northwest Nazarene University has given me a lot of things the meeting of my husband for one, a great education for another, life long friends and professors who I can look up to.  Whenever I am going through town (Nampa Idaho) I try to stop in and at least see the campus and on occasion when school is in session and I know the teachers are there I have visited.  I didn’t know a week ago that I would get the chance to catch up with one of my professors here on the big island until a just landed in Kona post crossed my FaceBook feed.  A tentative coffee date turned lunch date was set and today we were blessed with the oportunity to visit with Judy Taylor one of my main nursing professors at NNU the years that I was there in the program.  We started at graduation and talked about what we have been doing since.  She was wonderful with Hannah and Eve who joined me on this outing.  We loved to see the dolphins, reef sharks, turtles, and monk seal who lived out side the hotel.  And, the kids have been telling everyone we see about the pools and slides.   


  Thank you Judy for the wonderful day it was so good to see you!  Thank you Lord for the blessing of this visit with a college mentor! 

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Redeeming Sunday

After what I would call “hell week” I didn’t think too mutch could redeem the week and make it an over all good week.  God has a sence of humor!  Even though I couldn’t make the disc golf date that Chad had made with a couple from church it had been good and they were up for joining us for lunch after church.  We found out that it was their routine to go out for lunch while doing their laundry for the week at the laundry mat next door.  A lot of people here live off the grid if not completely at least partially.  The house we are staying in is mostly off the grid.  Most of the appliances are gas and our water is rain water that is caught in a catchment which looks like anything from a large round above ground swimming pool to a shorter metal silo.  It catches the rain water, it goes through two filters one UV and I don’t remember what the other one is.  It is drinkable out of the tap and actually taste pretty good.  It rains so much that we do not really need to be too cautious about how much water we use.  Here is a picture of our catchment.  


All that to say that our new friends live completely off the grid.  They have paid for their lot in cash and paid as they went building their own house with help from friends over the last year and a half.  They have not yet put in a washer and dryer and they have a guaranteed date time each Sunday so no rush.  After lunch they invited us up to see their place and it was SO COOL! We are totally amazed and jealous 😀.  Thank you Jesse and Isabel you guys are awesome! 

Like our house it was up a dirt road though it had a lot less pot holes it had bumps from  the hard lava rock underneath the gravel.  A lot of the houses here are build up off the ground I’m not sure why that is but I like the look especially on some of the ones that are way high up.  Jesse and Isabel’s place is in between and very cute.  


They have two solar panels and two batteries for electricity with a generator for backup (they have only needed it when running power tools otherwise the solar panels and batteries are sufficient to keep the house all powered up). And for just the two of them they have a much smaller than ours catchment.  

 We also loved the landscaping and Jesse’s hydroponics experiment where he is co-growing taro and tilapia.  

           After a short tour they asked if we would like to stay and roast marshmallows so we all pitched in to get the fire started.  The wood was damp due to humidity so it took a while.  

             The kids started playing in the mud while the adults (guys) took turns blowing on the fire to keep it alive.   

           When the fire came alive the kids took turns roasting marshmallows and drinking hot cocoa while we sipped on tea.  Eve decided she knew something that was even better than roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate separate and that was eating them together.  Before we could intervene she had dipped hers in and stuck the whole thing in her mouth.  Hannah had to try it out too it must have been good because they were pretty pleased with it.  

        Grandma Brown, whose face is this? Eve has to get this from someone.  

   Hannah made “Lava Marshmallows”  

  It started to rain so we moved the shelter from over the hydroponics pond to by the fire pit.  



Isabel made quesadillas for dinner, we hung out in the house and helped her while the boys kept the fire going.  


What a blast!  We came home late but with full hearts.  I have made friends at work and Chad has made friends with neighbors and at church, but this is the first time in the last year that we could just relax and hangout and enjoy the company of new couple friends.    

Categories: Family Time, Fulltime, Heart, Homeschool, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our one year traveling anniversary

As I look at the pictures from one year ago today I can feel all the emotions that I felt that day.  Our car was all loaded up with everything we thought we might need having really no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.  Had we just made the biggest mistake of our lives and now be jobless far away from home with three precious little lives dependent on us?  I doubt you guys will believe me when I say it has been a hard year.  It has been totally worth it, but has required so so much more than waking up and showing up.  We have by no means finished a race or completely accomplished a goal, but we have completed our rookie year.  As many other travel nurses as there are out there who travel with their families maybe it isn’t that great of a feat, but I feel like I did when Suzanne and I cross the finish line of our century (100 mile bike ride) together.  Tears well up just thinking about it.  





Categories: Family Time, Fulltime, Heart, Homeschool, Travel Nursing, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Travel Nursing: Living On Purpose

I know it is easy to complain about the hard parts of our jobs.  I always steel myself for the worst, abolishing any thought that it’s going to be easy or that I’m going to love it.  There are definitely hard parts, so far though I have been pleasantly surprised every time.  For us travel nursing equals a working vacation, learning about the United States, visiting family, seeing the sights, hands on experience, and meeting new friends.  It is a constant challenge, as soon as you get comfortable it is time for a new assignment and starting all over.  We felt like God was calling us out of our comfort zones, away from our support system to a place where we were required to put our faith and trust solely in him.  During this next assignment we will hit the one year anniversary of our life as a full time travel nurse family.  Our original plan was for this period in our lives to be up to five years with purposeful reassessment and prayer for God’s direction in our lives yearly. With Easter just around the corner (our one year anniversary) we would appreciate your prayers specifically that God in his time will make clear the path that we are to take.  That he would continue to open the doors that we are to walk through and that we would be receptive to his leading. 

Categories: Heart, Travel Nursing | 1 Comment

Inconvenience me for your purposes

I should number the inconveniences…
1. A change in our Saturday plans = no Mary Beth, no color run, a chance to head home a few days earlier, and visit to Yosemite.
2. A long time friend of Grandma’s landing her self most likely a one way trip to ICU = getting to watch my grandma do what she does best and that is friending the unfriendly, letting no one she knows die alone and getting to be her copilot and support as this is the first dying person she has supported since the death of her own daughter to cancer in November.
3. Needing to take two computer tests mandate we stay one more night with grandma and grandpa the very last one for this assignment and now after several hours on the computer I have three more CEUs and I have a certificate saying I know how to use Pyxis (a med dispensing machine that I have a ton of experience using already) and a completion certificate for the NIHSS Stroke assessment scale test why I will ever need that in labor and delivery is unknown but just in case…,I’m prepared.
4. Hawaii Nursing License- we have been watching for the check to the Hawaii Board of Nursing to be cashed and after two weeks gave them a call to discover that they still have not reviewed my application. This is a problem, they don’t exactly let you work in any state with out the appropriate nursing license. Lucky for us Hawaii offers a temporary nursing license but I have to go to their office in Honolulu to get it. Honolulu just happens to be on a different island than Hilo. So I will need to take a shuttle flight to Oahu on Friday after we arrive so that I can get the necessary temporary license, that won’t be cheap, but there must be a purpose for all of this. May God use it for his glory and may I be patient and not complain.




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Need in Africa, in Uganda

(Try to imagine if you were them…)
Click on the above link to read a recent blog posted by a family whom we got to know through our homeschool group now living in Uganda.  Please take some time to read it.  It is good to get this kind of perspective into the lives of people in other countries and continents.  Let it effect your perspective on what you “need” and don’t need, and what we could do without in order to better be God’s hands and feet to those in need.

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A Summary of Our Time in New Mexico

Chad and I were talking a few days ago about what we have liked most about our time in New Mexico.  Chad was quick to list off the three things he has liked most.  The sheer number of National Parks with in driving distance has provided so many “free”(with the America the Beautiful pass) learning experiences for all of us.  Camping at Lake Vallecito was just the medicine we needed, such a beautiful view of the calm serene lake mixed with the family time as we enjoyed our visit with Suzanne, Jeremy, Cyrus, Hadassah, and Elijah doing one of our favorite family activities, camping.  Also, Chad’s Birthday trip on the Narrow Gauge Railroad from Durango to Silverton finished off with a return trip to Silverton for Father’s Day that included a long Sunday drive taking in the beauty of the Colorado Mountains as we drove up the seldom traveled gravel roads above Silverton.  I completely agree with Chad, the sights, family time, learning experiences have been priceless, however I have quite enjoyed forced morning walks with Myra ( no back yard for those natural body functions).  They allowed me time to put on my Armor and some quiet alone time with God as well as making Myra into quite an enjoyable walking buddy.  The many conversations and opportunities to connect with my coworkers, learning about them and the Navajo people/culture, working along side them, loving them, their patients, and providers.  I have been so blessed by the people here and the connections we have made.  I don’t think I expected to get so attached to my new unit, or for it to be so hard to say goodbye.  May this time have served it’s purpose in the lives we have come in contact with as well as in our lives.

Caleb’s favorite thing we have done while here was seeing Carlsbad Caverns, Hannah’s was White Sands, Eve has loved the nursery workers at church and when her cousins came to visit although she told a lady at Big Rock Trading Post today that Cyrus hit her. It is always crazy what they remember and find to be the best part.


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My First Last Day

There are firsts for everything and today, actually last night and this morning, was my very first last day on an assignment.  Northern Navajo Medical Center sees so many travelers it is a wonder that they allow themselves to like or get attached to anyone coming through.  With that in mind, I feel privileged to have had the chance to get to know and be encouraged by so many of the staff who work in Labor and Delivery.  The shift started off on a busy note, as I had a fresh delivery and a triage pt.  It was plenty to keep the minute hand on the clock moving at a pretty good clip, which I appreciated very much, as I was a tad on the tired side and find it much easier to be busy than to fight sleepiness all night.  We snuck in a group photo for my “trip” memory book.  I don’t think the ladies at work will mind if I share it.

A multip walked in shortly after I finished getting caught up from the first part of the shift, even though she wasn’t mine, it provided an opportunity to be helpful and do something to keep the tired eyes at bay.  This night had both come too soon and not quickly enough, and it was going by too fast and dragging along.  I found myself both ready for the next adventure and knowing that the new friendships that I valued here won’t be able to come with me to the next place, making me want to drag my feet and take in each moment for at least two or three.  Barb surprised me with a beautiful necklace which will always remind me of my time at Shiprock, NNMC, and the Navajo people.  I wore it all night.


As morning drew closer my carpooling buddy, Valerie, asked if she could take me to breakfast, which sounded like a great idea to me.  The mommy delivered, we rushed around being all efficient and focused, and every once in a while the midwife that was on would note, when I set out to find the answer to a question she would ask, you probably don’t really need to know for your last three hours of working here.  What a thought.  This is over just as abruptly as it started.  The shift drew to a close, and I gave report for the last time.  Can I really be not coming back tomorrow?  Next week?  The manager had filled out a performance evaluation for me and noted that I was welcome to extend and that they would love to rehire me back anytime.  Chad and I have talked about that possibility, but since we are travel nursing to travel with the kids as part of their education, we really feel like we need to move on at least for a few more assignments, but possibly returning in a year or so.  Report was over, Valerie turned to me and asked if I was ready for breakfast.  I most definitely was after having a busy night to work up an appetite.  I followed her into the break room to grab my lunch bag out of the fridge and….surprise!
The unit had planned a surprise goodbye party/breakfast for the end of my last shift.  Really?  For me?  I couldn’t believe it, Valerie that little trickster was totally in on it.  I was all the sudden glad I didn’t ask her why she brought 1 1/2 dozen eggs to work.


(Kelly hiding behind the lid to the hash browns)
Thank you Shiprock (NNMC) L&D for everything!
It was fun to eat and joke in the break room for the next hour with the mostly day shift and providers who were there to party with us, and I left feeling thankful, loved, and sad all at the same time.  The drive home was uneventful, besides the constant reminder that I should have heeded my bodies warning and gone to the bathroom before leaving the hospital, so when we got to Valerie’s house she offered her restroom and I totally took her up on it.  When I came out of the bathroom she was burning some cedar and gave me a Navajo blessing with the smoke as well has a pot/vase as a goodbye gift.


20140726-051723-19043603.jpgWe hugged goodbye a couple times as we talked and encouraged each other in life and in striding towards our goals. I got in my car and turned towards home and it dawned on me that I did not pray a blessing over Val. Lord bless Val and keep her, make your face to shine upon her.  Thank you for bringing her into my life.  The two or three blocks to my apartment were quick.  I was glad to see my family and tell them about my day.
Chad was already knee deep in packing.

We talked for a few minutes, and then I headed to bed for a short nap so I also could make myself a little more useful around the house.

Categories: Family Time, Friends, Fun, Heart, new mexico, Travel | Leave a comment

Please Just Hit Me While I’m Down

After a slow moving morning in preparation for a work all nighter, I looked up the closest veterinarian.  Myra has been acting like her ears were sore for the last couple of days and now she shakes her head and let’s out a yelp of pain.  There did look like some black sediment was building up in there and some redness was notable so I figured we were dealing with an ear infection.
We didn’t do the best job negotiating this contract and we knew ahead of time that our savings was going to take a hit, but it was the area we wanted and it was our first contract so we were chalking it up to a learning experience, steep curve expected.  That with a spendy transportation hiccup…when the vet recommended anesthetizing Myra to clean her ears I could hear the ching ching sound almost audibly. I found myself asking what the other options were and saying, “yeah, we’re not going to do that.” This isn’t my first rodeo. Oscar had ear infections frequently it wasn’t $250 a pop, so I didn’t see it coming at all. I left feeling like a bad doggy mommy having refused plan A of the vets recommended treatment. As we walked the mile back home I stewed with stress, feelings of inadequacy, and those feelings of being judged as a selfish, un sacrificing pet owner.  I facetimed Chad to show him the breakdown of the bill and totally slipped on the carpeted stairs completely unhurt and embarrassed the tears started to fall.  Chad assured me that it was fine.  He would help me clean Myra’s ears and the meds they put her on should work.  All the other things I was stressing about were fine too.
Oh that man, he has a way of making me feel better.  Getting those tears out helped too.  My three weeks without him have been too long and I feel relieved that this adventure, the flying solo one, will be over tomorrow.



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Honduras day 8

We finished the project today.  It was so exciting to see how grateful the pastor was.  It was truly a good experience to finish a project for the church.



Our before and after pics.

I strongly encourage everyone to go on a mission trip. It is a life changing experience.

Categories: church, Friends, Heart, Travel | Leave a comment

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