Sunday, April 29, 2007

Dominos "aka" Bones

You know that old saying "While the cats away, the mice will play"? Well, the cat is currently in Chicago attending numerous wedding and baby showers so the mouse decided to stay home and study for finals. Not much fun to say the least, but I did manage to sneak over to my aunt and uncles last night for a game of dominos and in the past few years of playing with that group I finally won my 2nd match... so the trip was well worth it.

In some ways it has seemed like a long school year and in other ways it has gone very quickly and unfortunately I am going to lose the "I have to study" excuse for a few months when Meg wants me to do something. Case in point... she calls this morning and says "If you have any free time today you can hang the flower boxes outside".... free time?!... I have to learn 30 new anti cancer agents and probably just as many anti-convulsants for 2 final exams tomorrow. So it looks like later this week I'll be hanging flower boxes.

Is there any big point to this blog entry... probably not, but it did provide a good study break... better than hanging flower boxes.

Friday, April 27, 2007


The NICU that I worked at in Reno lost someone very dear to them this past Sunday. Jan Clemons was one of the gentlest, sweetest women that I have known. She past away very unexpectantly, and I know that her family and friends are hurting tremendously right now. It is not unusual for nurses who work together for long periods of time to become close... but I know personally that at Saint Marys, there is a NICU staffed by a group of nurses who are truly "family". Please pray for all of them as they deal with this great loss. The service is being held this weekend... and while I wish I could be there... I know my heart will be.

My memories of Jan are still so vivid... I can hear her gentle and sweet words speaking to a baby as she changed or bathed them... She loved what she did... and we loved her.

Here I Go Again!

Those of you who have known me for awhile know that I have a way of finding things to do with myself when the pace of life gets a little too slow for my liking. And as much as I am loving the married life (all except the cooking and cleaning part)... I've found myself a little bit bored lately. SO... since Eric is having to devote the majority of his time to "the books"... I have decided, "if you can't beat him, join him"!

I start classes May 9th.

Yep - that's right - I'm going back to school (again). I actually tried this once before (about 4 1/2 years ago). For many good reasons (the greatest of which being the school happened to lose it's accreditation), I quit. And while I despise looking up research articles and writing responses on them... along with having a bit of test anxiety... I'm pretty sure now is the time to give it all a second chance.

I will be working towards my Masters as a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist with an endorsement in Nursing Education. My only real goal in all this is to one day be able to teach at the college level. That will likely be a ways down the road, but I figure there is more time for school now, then later. In the fall I will be working as an Adjunct Professor for Pediatric clinicals at Indiana Wesleyan University where I graduated, and I'm really excited about it. I have always known that one day I would love to teach - and this is all a step in the right direction. I will still be working full time night shifts in the NICU, but that is in part why I'm diving in now... things get a little quiet around 3am sometimes and I might as well make use of it!!

SO that's the update! I'm pretty excited at the moment! (Ask me how I feel in about 3 weeks...) I asked Eric if he would buy me a new backpack, some pencils, and a new lunch box.... He shot all those down pretty quick, so I tried for new school clothes instead! (Never mind the fact that most of my courses are entirely online.) Needless to say my closet has not had any new additions. (Help Jess) :)

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The weather has been absolutely wonderful for the last several days and we have taken full advantage of it! We pulled out the sloppy landscaping that was put in by the builders and replaced it with some boxwoods and flowers. Tonight we got the hanging flower baskets up and we're ready for the rain!

Saturday, April 21, 2007


In light of the previous somewhat discouraging post... I wanted to post the words of a song that has really touched me lately. I think because it explains some of what my perspective of life has become in light of Ricky, and in light of all the disappointment and challenges that this life undoubtedly brings us. If you havn't heard Martina sing this - download it, buy it, find the American Idol she sang it on... whatever. Just think about it:

You can spend your whole life building something from nothing
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway
You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach and you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway

God is great, but sometimes life ain't good
And when I pray it doesn't always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway, I do it anyway

This world's gone crazy and it's hard to believe that tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart, for all the right reasons, and in a moment they can choose to walk away
Love em anyway

Repeat Chorus

You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in that tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway, sing it anyway

I sing, I dream, I love..... anyway.

Better yet... cut and paste this link. I found it. (Althought it's a pretty rough recording)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Will We Ever Learn?

I just have to vent a little bit. I realize that it has actually become the "norm" to live in a world that makes virtually no sense at all sometimes... but I'm getting a little tired of the irony. It's the issue of "copycat" crimes.
We have become a country obsessed with the unbelievable. When tragedies such as the Virginia Tech massacre happen... we can't seem to get enough of the details. I'm guilty of it myself... making sure to catch the top stories of the day on the news... pouring over pictures showing the grief of ever individual "in the moment"... It's human nature I guess... because we can't help but feel for those and imagine what it would be like for ourselves if they, were us.

But then the media takes us farther - into an even darker place. It happens every single time and we never learn. It's the killer that suddenly receives this twisted glory. Their faces are plastered everywhere you look. Front pages of every paper in every country. Videos... writings... we are enlightened to every detail of their life. They go out as a star. And for most of them, that is exactly what they have spent their lives craving.

So the cycle is passed on. I couldn't even begin to imagine how many Dylans' and Chos' are out there right now dreaming of the day that they too could become "a star". But we know that they are out there. And we are feeding them what they, in whatever twisted way may believe is the answer to all their problems. Why?

Now... the country will pour it's time and money into debating the issues of security and gun control... schools all over the US will practice procedures for invasions and lock downs. And why? Because it is not going to stop. The number to beat has been set. 32 - the "Largest Massacre in US History". In our own twisted, yet appealing way... once again we have glorified an incredibly devastating and senseless tragedy. We will lower our flags... but with so many pictures and so much to read.... will anyone notice?

Virginia Tech and the families of those victims are pleading with us to remember the victims - not their killer. They deserve our respect. It makes me wonder how different this story would be portrayed. What if we were never shown his face... heard his words... seen his video. What if instead we saw nothing but the faces of those who left us that day? What if all we read were the pages of their lives? THESE days that follow these crimes are where we go wrong. THESE are the days where ideas are planted. THESE are the days where plans are put into place. And I'm ashamed that a country so powerful and rich, continues to be so blind.

I don't care anymore why it happened. I could care less at this point if procedures that should have been followed were, or if someone missed something along the way. It happened. It was horrible and ugly and senseless... but it's done. And now there are parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, and children who need us. They need us to look at them and honor their loved ones... NOT the individual who took their lives. So keep praying for them as life begins to move on while they cannot move. And don't forget the family of Cho. They are grieving just as much - and I would dare to think maybe even more...

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." I Peter 5:10

Hangin' in There

Ever feel like this?:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Good Times: Part 2

So here's another one of my favorite "Melissa Blogs". I do have to add however, that she COMPLETELY forgot to mention the fact that Bart and I were the only ones in shape enough to make it straight to the island and back without swimming to the shore along the way for something to hold on to... and in hopes of warmer water!! Really Melissa... if you're going to tell a story - you have to tell it RIGHT! Yay for us Bart! Enjoy everyone!!

They began the excursion early Friday morning. The four of them piled into Meghan's Liberty and set off for the lake. First they needed to make a side trip to see the slab and the model of the house since Meghan's friends (Susie and Bart) from Colorado had yet to see the site of the new house. Then it was on up to South Lake Tahoe and to the trailhead that leads up to Eagle Lake.

After hiking for a mile up to Eagle Lake, the four sat down to eat lunch on the shores of the lake. As they sat there, trying to ignore the ducks that hovered nearby in the water and hoped for a few bread crumbs to be thrown their way, the group noticed a small island out in the middle of the lake.

"Wouldn't it be fun to swim out to the island?" Susie suggested.

The suggestion was met with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but the idea was out there and continued to come up throughout the conversation. As they packed up the remains of their lunch, it was decided: they would swim out to the island.

After stripping down to their swimsuits, they began to wade into the lake, which when they had felt from shore had felt cool but comfortable. That cool but comfortable feeling didn't last once they had waded in up to the calves of their legs. The further they waded in, the colder the water and the louder the resistance to the proposed swim became. Once they were in up to their waists, they decided they had reached the line where they had to decide once and for all whether they were going to chicken out and wade back to shore or whether they were going to dive in and make the quarter-mile swim out to the island. Meghan decided for them when she jumped up and dived head first into the waters. They were going. They all followed suit and soon their bodies became numb to the chilly waters and their bodies began to feel warm again.

Alternating between floating on their backs and flipping over and actually swimming, they eventually made it to the island--a large boulder planted in the water. As they crawled up onto the sides of the rock to rest, the vertigo set in.

Not only could they not stand up, they couldn't even sit up straight because gravity seemed stronger and would pull their bodies back to lean against the rock. It seemed that the combined effects of the cold lake waters and the 8,000-ft. elevation had taken away all their energy. After several minutes of struggling with vertigo, it subsided and they sat and rested for a while before diving back in to swim back to the shore where they'd left their clothes and backpacks.

The swim back was faster, but more tiring, and the vertigo returned momentarily once they reached the opposite shore.

As they rested up before hiking back to the jeep, Susie asked, "Whose idea was that anyway?"

Entry posted by mvanvuur on August 11 2003 at 11:08 am

Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Weekend

We had a really nice weekend in Chicago celebrating one of my favorite holidays. My best friend Susie, her husband, and their baby Kira were in town as well from Colorado... so we all got together for Easter dinner. Kira is growing so fast and I was really happy to have the chance to spend a little time with her.

Happy Girl!
My mom brushing up on her "Grandma" skills!

Susie, Bart & Kira

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Look Who's ONE!!

Happy Birthday Callen & Coleman!!

This is a very special day for my friend Jessica. Her twin boys turn 1 year old today. Now while any baby's first birthday is always a special one... THIS 1st Birthday is particularly special because for Callen at least, there was a long period of time in which Jessica and her husband Corey thought he might not be alive to see this day. When Jess was pregnant, she was diagnosed with TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome)... In short, it is a condition that develops in a twin pregnancy that causes one baby to have an excess of fluid while the other has very little. Prior to birth and then for quite some time after, Jessica and Corey were told consistently that Callen would not survive. As you can see by the picture above... God had other plans.

So Happy Birthday boys! And Jessica and Corey... thank you for sharing your journey and your faith so vulnerably with all of us! While the journey often leaves behind many scars... God has a way of ensuring that our trials are never in vain. It is a privilege to know you. Although we have seen that God's purposes and plans for each child are completely individual... the most amazing part of it is to realize that for each child, he indeed HAS a plan... for each of them. We love you all!

(See the "Miracle Twins" link on the right to read about Callen and Coleman.They would love it if you dropped in and left them a "Happy Birthday" message! Jessica also has a blog - see "Wilsons")

Monday, April 2, 2007

Good Times

My friend Melissa had a blog long before I knew these things even existed. She is an English major... and also now holds a degree in Library Science. I've been addicted to her random musings ever since I became aware of them, because she has such a great way of telling stories. Just the other day, I stumbled across one of her posts from July, 2003... It told of an adventure she and I, along with our good friends Stacy and Carrie had. I had to share:

please, don't spit in my wound.
Yesterday was a day of firsts. Initially it the plan had been to go camping by the lake, but like most plans, this one changed several times before its execution. When Meghan and Carrie came to pick me up, I learned that the plan had changed once more.

We started by eating at "Joe's," which is a 1950's style diner. We'd never eaten there before so it was named as the first "first" of the day.

The second "first" was quite a bit more adventurous. This one involved a trip to Piercing U.S.A. Yes, yes, this is exactly what it sounds like, and when we emerged from the shop, Meghan's belly button was pierced, Carrie's lower lip was pierced, and my nose was pierced :)

On the instruction sheet that the piercing place gave us, one of the instructions reads as follows: "Avoid oral contact, rough play, and contact with others' bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing." Somehow in the midst of our discussion of this rule someone piped up with "well, you wouldn't want anyone to spit into your wound, would you?" From there, the joke of the day became "please, don't spit in my wound." And really, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't ;)

We were still interested in the initial camping idea; however, this aspect of the plan had changed quite a bit as well. We picked up Stacey, who had been working all day, but instead of driving out to a campsite, we opted for camping out on Meghan's "slab." Meghan, you see, is having a house built right now. The house currently exists only in the form of a cement slab that has been poured to serve as the foundation for the house, so we brought sleeping bags out to the slab and set up camp. This lasted until around 1 a.m. when Officer Iamsonotamused decided to come, shine his ultra-bright, fun-hating cop light on us, and bust up our little camping excursion. We were "an obstruction" and "a safety hazard," and "we had to leave immediately." Like I said—fun hater. So we packed up, didn't get ticketed (he didn't even take any names), and went to our homes to sleep in our own beds.

Here's a few photos from our campout gone bad... Once the fear of being arrested passed, I couldn't have been more relieved to be heading home to my own bed. I believe it might have been my idea to "sleep on the slab". It was not one of my brighter ones. I was wide awake when the spotlight from the cop car began scanning back and forth over our "campsite". Unlike my dear friends snoring around me... I hadn't slept for even a second! Oh well... it made for a good story.

P.S. - Note the lighters at the bottom of the picture. Those are what we used to try and toast our marshmallows... :) Another bad idea.