To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of people;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived

This is to have succeeded.

-Bessie Stanley & Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

December 2015

Merry Christmas, my faithful bloggies!

Many moons have passed since the last blog post in the fall of 2012, a few months since we moved to the Fargo/Moorhead area.  And to be succinct, much water has passed under the bridge.  Many of you are aware of how our lives have changed over the last few years and this Christmas letter isn't long enough to express how our family has grown- both literally and figuratively.  

We decided this year to reprise the blog post in lieu of a mailed Christmas letter.  Joe continued his Master's in Music Education at North Dakota State University throughout this year, taking 9 credits over the summer and leaving him with no time to work as he usually does in the summer.  He also wrapped up teaching orchestra and choir sectionals at Carl Ben Eielson MS as he was transferred to the new elementary school in Fargo, Ed Clapp, to teach general music.  Rounding out his contract is a first period adaptive music class at Fargo North.  Increasingly, Fargo/Moorhead is becoming home to new waves of immigrants from Nepal, Somalia, China, Liberia, Iraq (to name a few) and many families have settled in the Ed Clapp area.  Not only has Joe assimilated to a new elementary age group and a new curriculum, Ed Clapp is a Title I school, with 40% ESL students. Joe rises to the occasion each day teaching elementary students, but pines for his days as a choir director at the middle school level.  Heading into 2016, Joe looks forward to his practicum classes and comprehensive exams until the summer and fall, respectively. Then, GRADUATION!  Additionally, Joe helps hold down the fort at Peace Lutheran as Director of Vocal Music.

We like to keep many irons in the fire, apparently.  Katy is giving it the old college try again at nursing school, this time at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, with intended graduation in May 2017.  After a much needed respite from Concordia over the past couple of years, the time came to return to school.  Katy commutes to Fergus Falls, a small town of 13,000 in Otter Tail County about 45 minutes away, three times a week.  She finished this fall semester strongly and enjoys learning more than ever.  She continues to work part-time at Sheyenne Crossings, a nursing home in West Fargo.

While Katy studies and Hope naps during the day, Sonja attends preschool three days a week at Oak Grove Lutheran School.  It's interesting to witness how differently she socializes this year compared with last year in preschool.  Her nine other classmates and her teacher, Mrs. Cordes, comprise her little world.  Everyday she chatters away about her new friends and funny things that happened.  She really is thriving in her school environment as a student and friend.  Sonja is spunky, quick to share with others, and is very perceptive about her surroundings.  She adores being read to and is becoming more and more competent with writing her name and learning the sounds of letters and words.  She is an artist like her mother and loves to sing hymns in church like her father.  On Mondays and Fridays, when she doesn't have school, Sonja goes to Grandma Kathy's house.

Miss Hope also keeps Grandma company at her house when mom is at school or work. She is our sweet baby of the family and kept us all in suspense when she just started to walk at nearly 15 1/2 months.  She is more of a cuddlebug than her sister was at her age, but every bit as curious and a master of destruction.  Hope loves to be sang to as she goes to sleep and she is immediately calmed when her daddy sings "Red River Valley" before putting her down.  We've lost track of all the new teeth she's popped this year!  Hope's first birthday celebration coincided with an housewarming party we hosted last August.  

That's right!  We bought a house in March and moved the day before Joe and Sonja's birthdays in May.  Our little twin home is perfect for this stage of our lives.  We've been blessed by 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a low volume of neighborhood traffic, and a safe, quiet environment in a thriving community.  From the deck, we can see a wheatfield, and just out of the development is a cornfield and a soybean field (before it was plowed under in September to make way for new housing).  We love living on the very edge of suburbia, where we can easily go for a bike ride by the wheat and corn on a summer's night or drive into Fargo/Moorhead for shopping or eating out.  The elementary school Sonja will attend eventually is around the corner from our neighborhood too.

We are so grateful to God to be able to live the lives we do.  Sometimes at night after the kids have gone to bed, we sit in the living room with a glass of wine and take a little time to catch up with one another.  We realize we come so much farther each year than we initially think.  We look forward to 2016 and all it may bring.

With love, 
The Lindquists

Joe, Katy, Sonja (4 1/2), & Hope (16 mo.)

Friday, October 19, 2012


I can kick back tonight with my glass of red wine and newly shaved legs and just...relax.  I am halfway through my first semester of nursing school.  I think most of us learned within days of beginning our junior year that the ONLY way to juggle umpteen balls in the air is to take it one day at a time.  There really is no other way.  Our junior class of 42 students is in our own little world.  We have all our classes together and so we just basically follow each other from class to class all day.  Including clinicals, we spend virtually all our time together.  I'm making an effort to learn the names of everyone in our class, not just the accelerated juniors (there are 9 of us).  We live and breathe personality disorders, respiratory acidosis, lung and heart assessments, learning how to insert a catheder, and therapeutic communication.  I've found a lovely study group and we typically meet every Tuesday afternoon in the library.  I rotate between Jones Science Building, the Student Center, and the library.  Nothing else really exists on campus.  Occasionally I go to chapel when it is held on Mondays and Wednesdays as it is a nice respite in my day, wedged in between my classes.  I love that it is worship and that it is hosted by different groups on campus and that there is always hot, strong coffee and baked treats homemade by somebody afterward.  I wish I could stay and mingle a little afterwards, but I have class 10 minutes afterward and so I usually just grab a cup of coffee which I try not to slosh as I scurry to class across campus and a baked goodie as well. 

Let me just say that it is so nice to be apart of a program in which the professors truly care about the students that comprise the school of nursing.  We are the school of nursing and they recognize that and appreciate us.  At PLU, I never really got the impression that my professors in my art major cared about me, despite the fact that I was passionate about my major.  I was halfway through my junior year when I happened to talk to a professor who had taught my art education class that fall semester about a career in the arts.  She was amazed I had made it 2 1/2 years in college without an advisor.  That's right folks.  I did not have an advisor in college; I was completely self-advised.  It was never enforced when I was a student at PLU that every student visit their advisor prior to enrolling in classes.  (Apparently it was by the time Joe was a student in 2007.)  So that meant I fumbled through my years at PLU, searching for faculty support, but never really finding it.  I think some of my friends and classmates just knew how to be buddy-buddy or hob nob or whatever with their professors.  I did not.  Or I didn't know how.  Or knew that I was supposed to do that. 

However...the passionate, but lost art major grew up and became a nursing major.  Who would've thought??  I think I heard horror stories about how A & P was the "weed-out" class for folks attempting to major in the sciences and how nursing majors had no life.  (The later is true, by the way.)  I believed too often what others told me about how I seemed to struggle with details and was too absent-minded for the sciences.  Aha...the power of believing the negative things people say to me.  I almost let it get the best of me.  Almost.  But I decided to follow my heart and my heart led me from my dorm room way back at PLU all the way out to the Midwest to Moorhead, MN where the Concordia College school of nursing is.  I know I complain about school sometimes, but most of the time, I am so glad I am here.  I am grateful for the opportunity to finish my education, albeit 10 years later than most of my classmates.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Alright, my little bloggies...

It's been almost 2 months since my last entry.  We've grappled with some of life's biggest stressors in the past few months: finding out we were moving halfway across the country so I could attend nursing school at Concordia, Moorhead, me starting nursing school in May (2 1/2 weeks after learning my alternate status was not in vain), flying out just prior to the start of my first class with Sonja so my MIL could watch her while I was at school during the day & Joe could finish the school year back in Tacoma, celebrating Joe's 30th and Sonja's 1st birthday on May 24th, flying back to Tacoma to pack up our lives and say goodbye to family and friends whom we have no idea when we'll see again, actually DRIVING almost 1500 miles from University Place to Fargo in 3 days, driving down to SE Minnesota to attend the 150th anniversary of my maternal grandmother's home church in Lewiston, going to a job interview and accepting a CNA position at an assisted living facility in Fargo, Good Samaritan Society, working almost full-time hours since the beginning of July, learning tons about elementary music (Joe), and taking care of a 1 year old to boot.  Not to mention unpacking, sorting, and storaging our stuff.  And celebrating 5 years of marriage in July!

Yep, the rumors are true: we moved in with my in-laws and we are not sure when we will move out as it is contingent on Joe's job.  God has ways of stretching our faith until the 11th hour.  We committed to moving out to Fargo BEFORE there was a promise of a job for Joe.  While visiting us in Fargo over Memorial Day weekend, he interviewed and accepted a part-time teaching position in Fargo Public Schools.  We were told we'd have to wait until mid-August to find out if more children registered for school and thus, a position closer to full time.  Now it is getting down to crunch time before the beginning of the school year and it seems as though everyday we get new tidbits on what Joe's job (and our income) will look like this year.  I have made a bargain with Good Sam to work the third weekend of every month...but with the demands of nursing school, I don't know if I'll make it past the first semester.  But from now until classes start on August 30th, I'll continue to faithfully punch in and punch out 30-40 hours a week at Good Sam.

And oh! I almost forgot! We bought ourselves a car! A 2004 Volvo V70 R, a real beaut!  Never thought the finances would come together so we could pay cash for such a nice car.  I've always driven cars with at least 100k miles on them, some at least 10 years old, ones that have some life left in them, but are starting to nickel and dime you to death with repairs. feels SO good to drive such a well-taken care of vehicle. I can now face the winter in Fargo with heated seats.  Goodbye Hyundai Elantra, the car we took our newborn babe Sonja home from the hospital.

Every now and then, the sheer stress and magnitude of what we've accomplished hits different ways.  In 5 years of being married and almost 8 years together, we've realized we cope with stress in very different ways.  Some of these ways complement the others' and some downright clash with the other spouses.  A verse from Proverbs 31 comes to mind, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."  I don't know if I can honestly say I "laugh at the days to come" because more often than not, I am CRYING and FREAKING OUT at the days to come.  I try not to "eat the bread of idleness", I don't think Sonja is old enough to "arise and call [her mother] blessed", and I think my husband's buying me flowers yesterday counts as praising me, "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all".

One day at a time...  

Friday, June 15, 2012


It is a beautiful afternoon here in the Northwest, my home for the last 25 years.  I can hear the birds twittering outside and feel a cool breeze come in from our open sliding glass door.  It's getting close to the last day of school around here and I remember the last day of school growing up was typically overcast, maybe a little drizzly.  But today defies those memories; it is a model spring day.  It's days like this that make forcing myself to stay inside and pack hard.  Since we are leaving town in about 4 days, I should be packing, but I felt a pull to sit down and reflect some on my time living in the NW. 

My family moved to Federal Way, WA, in June of 1987, when I was 5 years old.  We moved to a house my dad bought without my mom's even ever seeing it.  The reason for moving was that the pastures were supposed to be greener near Seattle for my dad's business as a stockbroker than they were in San Diego, where I was born.  My sister was 7 and my brother was just turning 4.  We lived in FW for 5 years and when we left Washington for Oregon, I never thought anywhere else would feel as homelike to me.

In fact, it probably took until 10th grade for Oregon to feel like home to me, mainly because I finally made solid friendships.  For years after we moved to Oregon, I used to pray that God would let me move up to the Seattle area again because it was the only place that felt like home to me.  He answered that prayer by letting me go to PLU.  And, after graduation in 2004, I found myself ready to kick the dust off Pierce County and head for Washington DC for the Lutheran Volunteer Corps.  I really think I would've gone nuts had I stayed in Pierce County a week longer.  Most of you know the story of why my stint in LVC was so brief and why I had to move back home to Oregon to convalesce in the winter/spring of 2005.  Back Oregon...only it didn't feel like home because I was 23 and wild and free and newly graduated from college and the LAST thing I wanted to do was live at mom and dad's house in Oregon and rehab from a brain hemorrhage.  But I did.  And then came the end of August that year when Joe moved out to go to PLU and to be near me. 

For the first half of my 20's, I moved about every several months, with different roommates or by myself.  It wasn't until Joe and I moved to our current place that I could feel let go and relax a little.  Life was so precarious with roommates...especially when you're broke.  My concept of home was constantly being altered in the first half of my 20's.  One time, when my family was visiting my mom's hometown of Orange, CA, we went to the house she grew up in on Locust Ave.  I told her I wanted to take a picture of her in front of her old house and she refused saying, "This isn't my home anymore.  My home is where your dad is." 

I don't think I've understood that until now.  That my home is wherever my husband, and now daughter, are.

We aren't going to be in a place to buy a home for quite some time, a least a few years until after I finish school.  We are moving into my inlaws' finished basement and then find an apt. somewhere in Fargo by the summer's end.  We won't really have a home, yet won't be homeless.  Even after so many years of living with this discomfort, I haven't quite adapted to it.

I've lived in Tacoma longer than anywhere else.  If you've ever been to Tacoma, you'd notice it is surrounded by the Olympics and Cascades and bordered by the Puget Sound.  I love that salty scent when I am down by the water and I appreciate now more than ever the grit of the sand between my toes.  However, I've never grown accustomed to the site of Hooter's off the 72nd St. exit on I-5.  Or the trash that accumulates in the gutter by the sidewalks around town.  Or that people seem to think it's ok to park their old couch or mattress at the end of their driveway with a "FREE" sign perched on top.  (Isn't that called dumping?)  Or the rapid turnover of businesses on 6th Ave.  (didn't that teriyaki/hair salon/coffee shop just open up a few months ago?) Not to mention the homicide rate...

I have hoped to get to the point of not noticing (as much) these things.  But truth be told, I chaff every time I see my city marred by shady businesses and trash in the gutter.  My stomach turns over every time I drive by a house on the Hilltop that I know is a brothel.  Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to raising a child here.  I think I've stayed in Tacoma so long because I didn't know where else to move.  When I moved back here in 2005, I was just elated to be with Joe again while he attended PLU.  He finished school and we were excited for him to get a job in Steilacoom, even if it was only part time.  But the past few years I think we've been growing restless.  Gradually, the doors shut one by one in regards to me going to nursing school and it was clear I was supposed to apply to Concordia.  I think this was made most clear to me when Sonja was down for her nap in the afternoon and I would finally have a few moments of quiet in the day and my mind would start turning life over and I would feel a sense of restlessness welling up inside. out of Tacoma

Time to leave.  I am still pinching myself that I actually got into nursing school.  My heart aches that it won't rain in Fargo like it does here in Tacoma.  That cold, drizzly precipitation we call "mist" that is characteristic of NW geography on the west side of the Cascade range. mountains...crisp and clean-cut set against the backdrop of a blue sky that's just been cleansed by a much-needed rain.  I am a NW girl.  I love my hilly terrain and my Puget Sound with seaweed and crab legs and chipped clam shells poking up out of the sandy shore.  I am an unabashed lover of coffee shops and books on rainy days.  My sister-in-law Heather once told me that she never saw me in college without a coffee cup in hand. :)  I've loved living here in the NW and I don't know how long it will take me to feel like I'm "from North Dakota".  Or Minnesota. 

But our hearts are telling us it's time to go and we're following.  With great joy and anticipation of what is yet to come.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fargo, here we come...

Just once in while, it sure is nice to have something work out in your favor.

Yesterday, about a quarter after 2 in the afternoon, I heard my cell phone vibrating on the kitchen table. Upon walking over, I picked it up and immediately read the caller was from the 218 area code. Moorhead, MN. Where Concordia College is.

After initial pleasantries, I learned the caller was Dr. Polly Kloster, dean of the school of nursing. She offered me a spot in the accelerated cohort starting in 2 1/2 weeks. I immediately accepted.

I wish I could say I jumped up and down or screamed or had some slightly undignified response, but I calmly replied, "Yes, I'd love to!" My sober answer betrayed my internal excitement which had been too afraid to bubble up since I got a letter a month ago informing me I was an alternate. Although we felt our hearts and minds preparing for a cross-country move since last October when I first heard about the program, to be honest, we began to lose hope with every day that passed there wasn't a congratulatory letter in the mailbox. Nonetheless, we set about making two sets of plans- one if we stayed in Tacoma and one if we moved to Fargo/Moorhead.

It is SO rewarding when you actually get to see your faith be rewarded. That phone call changed our lives in so many ways. It was in some ways a bridge uniting my research about programs, prerequisite coursework, and work as a CNA over the past (nearly) 5 years to an ACTUAL program. I have jealously looked at many a nursing school website's photos of their students donning clinical attire, stethoscopes draped around their neck, examining dummies. Aaaaahhhh...At long last, I going to actually BE the one in the photo.

I remember when the seed to become a nurse was planted in my heart several years ago. It really did feel like a prompting from God because in many ways, it just didn't make sense, it was risky, and I was afraid of everyone making fun of the art major pursuing nursing. It would require MAJOR faith in Him to direct my steps. Yes, I did endure criticism, there were times I never thought I'd make it through A & P being pregnant or the acrimony of microbiology, and I chaffed at the thought of working shift after shift at Manorcare doing humble CNA work. I heard story after story of my classmates and acquaintances applying to school after school in hopes of getting into not only nursing school, but any pre-professional healthcare program. I've never been a stellar student, just good enough to keep my grades up to where it pleases those I wish it to please (ie the faculty at nursing school). I remember praying for the words to write on the admissions essays and for two good recommendations. I had no idea how the pieces would come together, but they all did. ALL OF THEM.

I'll be writing more later on about our move...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Ironic that the day I received word from the nursing program I applied to was the same day I read the 16th chapter of Proverbs. There are more than a few verses in this chapter that talk about committing one's plans to the Lord.

"All a man's ways seem innocent to him,
but motives are weighed by the Lord" - 16:2

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed." - 16:3

"In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps." - 16:9

Allow me to explain...

Last October, as Joe was on his way out the door to work one morning, we were discussing nursing schools, a frequent topic of discussion in our household. I've been one (or two) classes at a time at a community college since summer 2009, gradually chipping away at my nursing prereqs. Certain programs require some courses that others do not (for example organic chemistry or statistics or sociology). So, each quarter I carefully calculated how long it would take me to plow through my pre-reqs before being eligible to apply to the programs that appealed to me. I prayed that the programs I was supposed to apply to would be made clear to me. I would rewrite my goals every so often, as the specific nursing degree I wanted to pursue became more and more clear. Gradually, I came to decision that the best degree for me would be a Bachelor's in Nursing. Besides a Master's, a Bachelor's really is the best all-around degree to have as a nurse. But I digress...last October, as Joe headed out the door to work that morning, he suggested I look at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. Concordia? Hmmm...I'd already inquired of a few friends of my sister-in-law Annie (who are either in medical school or nursing) about nursing schools out in MN. We came to the conclusion that we might have to go to great lengths to complete my education, including a cross country move. Out of curiosity, I looked at their website.

You know that giddy feeling you have when you can picture things finally working out?

I had it when I looked at Concordia's accelerated post-bacc program in nursing. It was uncanny. This could work out, I thought, skimming over the program basics. Program has a May start which means Sonja and I would have to fly out to Fargo, stay with my in-laws, my mother-in- law could watch Sonja while I was in class, we could fly back to Tacoma in June, pack up our lives, and drive back out to Fargo with Joe at the end of June. Maybe we could even live temporarily in the basement at Joe's parents' house? As of October, I had all but two pre-reqs finished and I could easily take those winter quarter. I almost couldn't wait for Joe to come home to alert him of this news. When I told him of my far-fetched, but feasible plan, I could see the wheels start to turn in his head. We skyped with Kathy and Paul soon after that. They graciously consented to all of the above, bless their hearts. I think the prospect of seeing their granddaughter everyday was enticing!

The next step was to wait until December when application materials became available on Concordia's website. I had been praying for the right people to come along on my life's path to do my recommendations, for the words to write for an admissions essay, for things to perfectly line up. I finished my application two weeks early and submitted it at the beginning of February.

The next step was to wait about 6-8 weeks for Concordia to reply back. It hasn't been easy living on pins and needles for several weeks, anticipating a letter that would change all our lives. That letter arrived on March 16, a Thursday. Joe had left for a music educator's conference earlier that day and I'd promised him that if the letter arrived while he was gone, I'd wait til Saturday when he came back home to open it. But when I opened the mailbox last Thursday, I knew I couldn't not know for two more days. I called Joe, and we arranged for a time after my class and when he could break away from the conference for me to open it.

"We sincerely appreciate your interest in applying to our accelerated nursing major at Concordia College. Due to a greater number of qualified applicants to the program than we are able to accept we are unable to admit you into the cohort at this time. However, you have been ranked as an alternate for the May 2012 entering class..."

Alternate? I never thought of the possibility of being an alternate. By mid-March, I thought our lives were coming to a fork in the road: yes, I would be going to Concordia or no, I wouldn't be going to Concordia and had better begin working on Plan B pronto. We waited all this time only to be told...wait longer! %$!!@?^%$#! This wasn't supposed to happen! We actually got our hopes up a little. I felt good about my application; the only items I lacked were the last two pre-reqs of sociology and a math class. Concordia only admits 10 per year in their accelerated cohort. I have a feeling it was most likely the fact that I am just finishing up my last two classes that counted against my application. I could apply next year... I could start looking at other potential programs... or, I could wait for that wonderful letter to come in the mail in April offering acceptance into the program. I simply don't have the heart to look at other programs right now.

Alternate status is requiring us to have more faith than ever. We are on pins and needles with expectation...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Before the baby wakes up...

I wanted to jot down a few thoughts about turning 30 and reflecting on my twenties. I don't know how much time I have to do this, so I need to give up my usual perfectionist proclivity when it comes to blogging. Today, our Sonja turns 9 months old and tonight, we celebrate my birthday (yesterday) by going to Pacific Grill in downtown Tacoma with friends.

I remember turning 20 on February 23, 2002 and I thought I was old- or I felt old rather. I had been a child or a teenager my whole life and now I actually felt like an adult. (I don't remember the same feeling when I turned 18 or 21, other notable ages.) I was in the middle of working on a fine arts degree at PLU and my career path remained very uncertain in life. I majored in what I was drawn to and what I was good at and what I'd been doing my whole life: art. My choice of major received much admiration and criticism from those around me in my life. People admired it because, well, it is art after all and I was proficient at drawing/painting portraits. I found that expressing oneself through the visual arts was not something that many related to because it seemed as though many just needed more rules and guidelines than art supplied. Now that I look back on it, majoring in art was very difficult because of this. I pretty much majored in creativity and reinventing the wheel; I don't know if I could do that again. Once I began my biology/chemistry prerequisites for nursing, I remember feeling relieved that the directions for how to do the lab were already in the lab notebook. Art will present you with an example of the desired product and then ask you to make your very own original creation, which is no easy task. I always hoped to utilize my art major in some career field, whether it be in arts administration, education, or museum curatorship. It was when I was 20 that I first felt a nudging to join the Lutheran Volunteer Corps after graduation. Someone in a literature class I took told me about her plans to join LVC after her May graduation and I was intrigued. I don't think she had any idea how pivotal that discussion was to me. I am actually facebook friends with her and, randomly, happened to be on the same flight from Minneapolis to Seattle as she and her husband last June. During the flight, when I leaned over and whispered to my husband this, he prodded me to go introduce myself. Being to bashful, I declined, but now in retrospect, I wish I'd done just that and let her know how important that discussion-long since forgotten by her I assume- was to me. I always kept LVC in my back pocket for post-college graduation plans, unless prince charming should come along and propose to me before then or I should get a fellowship to study Chinese in Norway or something. I applied and was accepted and prepared for a cross-country move to Washington DC in the fall of 2004. I met Joe one night at dinner during orientation. I remember joking to him about how "it's pronounced 'Or-y-gun' not 'Ora-gone'". (Since I am originally from there.) The joke completely fell flat, but the good news is that he didn't hold it against me. He asked me on a date (his female roommates told him to ask me on a "date" to let me know of his intentions) at the end of September and from there, we were always together. He was there when I went into the hospital in DC and when I discharged two weeks later. I'd had a brain hemorrhage on my left cerebellum, unbeknownst to me or the reason why. I was forced to curtail my LVC tenure and move back to "Or-y-gun". We wrote letters back and forth during the winter, spring, and summer of 2005. He reconsidered his career path from seminary to music education and finally moved out to Tacoma on August 30, 2005. (I recovered and finally moved up to Tacoma in May of 2005.) The next two years were hard as they were colored by jobs that barely provided support, a rejection from art therapy graduate school, a botched first-time engagement (another story for another blog), unstable living situations (I think I moved 4 times in 2 years), and just striving to find my purpose in life. We got engaged (this time for real) in June 2006 and married on July 8, 2007. That may seem like a long engagement to you, but I think I would've had a nervous breakdown if it were 6 or 8 months. It was on a trip to California to attend my grandma's funeral in February 2007 that I decided to pursue nursing as a career. My aunt Linda is a nurse and somehow we got to talking and something about that conversation "sealed the deal" on my future. Again, it was another enormously influential conversation that, in retrospect, has transformed my life. Just like Katie who initially told me of LVC, Linda has no idea how much her words meant to me. We lived in a tiny, but charming apt in North Tacoma with our 2 cats for the first year of marriage. Joe finished student teaching and I worked 2 jobs to support us, which meant I had to defer my goal of becoming a CNA for a while. We moved to University Place in 2007 when Joe received a middle school choir job in Steilacoom. The past 4 years have been so challenging: learning how to love and communicate and to work on the budget together and to keep the house clean. We never really talked about "when the best time would be to have a baby", considering I was in the middle of my nursing prerequisites. Folks, the most I'll say is that it just happened as it does all over the world. And we wouldn't change a thing. We were shocked when Sonja was born on Joe's 29th birthday on May 24, 2011. We really don't know how we're going to celebrate both Sonja's and daddy's birthdays. Do you make 2 birthday cakes? And sing "Happy Birthday" twice? We are excepting ideas...

The day I turned 30 found me waiting with much anticipation for the arrival of a certain letter from Concordia College's nursing department letting me know if they've accepted me into their post-bacc nursing program. I don't have "plan B". So I don't know what I am going to do if I don't get accepted.

One can only hope...