Thursday, December 25, 2008

Trapped...and Walled Up

So, I'm back in Pella, which is nice 'cause I don't often see my family, but it's also sucky because I often have tremendously hard times here. And am I having hard times this time around? Yes...but in a kind of new way...yup, I know it's exciting. I just always feel especially antsy when I'm's the tension...not the tension between me and my family, or even the tension between my friends and's inside me. It's hard because I feel trapped by my past when I come into the city limits. I suddenly become aware of just how much different I am now. A part of me always wants to go back, and so I feel embarrassed by how I've changed, how different I am from my friends. I mean, the things I spend my time doing, the things I dream of doing, even the way I dress and lead my's different. I am so tempted to downplay it when I'm home. I kind of wish I were my 16 year old self in a 22 year old know the same old high school me just with bigger boobs and a better vocabulary. But alas and alack, that's not the case. Besides, while a part of me gets all wishy-washy and nostalgic, another part of me feels so condemned. It's weird because while I'm acutely aware of the ways I've grown and changed, at the exact same time I feel tempted to believe that I haven't changed, that I haven't learned, that I am doomed to make the same mistakes and live under the same lies as I did when I was in high school, that I am forever to live under the shame of the mistakes and the less than ideal events of my past. I know it's not true, but man do I have a hard time knowing that when I'm home. I was talking to a friend of mine the other night and found myself explaining it to him in a way I'd never thought of that (I hate when I'm taken aback by my own words). I told him how I didn't plan on moving back to Pella (at least not for a long time) because I just couldn't handle living here right now. I explained that living here would make it really hard for me to move forward. When I'm here, I have a hard time living in the freedom that I have in Christ. I end up trapped somewhere between wishing I were still the bright, musically talented, athlete and feeling doomed to always feel inadequate in appearance and achievement or to always worry about judgements that were made about me along time ago when I was making obviously bad choices. When I'm in Pella, I feel like I have an excuse to make poor choices. I can blame my past, I can blame the people I'm around, I can blame family tension. It's convenient to revisit and relive past transgressions. They're right there staring me in the face. (That's the place where we ____ That was the first time I ____ That's probably the last time I _____ That's where I always ____ That's where I hid ____ Remember the time when we ___ for hours?)
It frustrates me to be "home". I don't feel connected to anything more than my past here, and sometimes I wish I didn't have to be connected to that. I mean, I just feel inadequate, hurt, and lonely...and because of that, I feel stupid.
The upside is that in the face of that tension, knowing that things are different and I don't have to be that person anymore, I often discover more what matters to me and what's next. God and I usually talk, and the things He's been saying usually become more clear in the face of the temptations and hurts of being here. And as a bonus, I get to spend time with my family, my sisters, and some awesome girls (all of whom I never see enough of)
Downside? Well, like I said, I feel hurt and tempted and inadequate and lonely...and like shutting down in a lot of ways and letting myself just coast on auto-pilot or whatever. I mean, I know that I have some great opportunities to spend quality time with my sisters and family, and there are some girls from a Bible study I used to run here that I love meeting with when I'm actually in town, but...I just don't really feel like dealing with people right now. I've noticed myself starting to shut down and put up my walls with everyone, friends from home, school, camp...something set this in motion, and I feel myself starting to withdraw, use stock answers to questions, keep my life to myself...I just don't feel like talking or whatever...I don't know...that sounds so cruel and so dumb and so not how I want to be, but that's where I'm at right now, though I am trying not to be. I feel remarkably walled's a defense mechanism...don't let anyone know who you are or how you are, Takara. Blend in. Then you won't get hurt so much. Just keep to yourself until you get the chance to move on again.
The worst part of all of this is that I feel compelled to write supa lame blogs like this one. Blogs that say nothing and serve no real purpose except to get my thoughts and feelings beyond me...a weak attempt at preventing isolation -- tossing my feelings and thoughts out into cyberspace so I can at least say I kind-of tried to share, rather than continuing to internalizing everything. Plus, I think I just get sick of hearing my own thoughts, and I always hope that by typing them, I can make them go away. I hate my voice. I hate my thought process. I think I always hope that blogging will help me "put a sock in it". Whatever. Enough babbling...time to try to sleep. (For the record, though...I'm having an awesome time with my family and such...The sucky part is that I'm having an awesome time and a hard time all at the same time. So, I feel intensely pleased and happy with a tinge of sadness. Blech!)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm missing you.

Perhaps it's a bit morbid, but I wanted to post the obituaries of some of my residents, the most recent ones to pass away. I miss them and love them. Yup.

Nellie Van Roekel

Nellie Alida TerLouw was born on November 23, 1907, near Sully, Iowa. In 1918 she and her family moved southeast of Pella, Iowa where she graduated from the Pleasant View Country School. On March 29, 1933, she was united in marriage with Richard Van Roekel, a son of Gerrit and Minnie Van Heukelom Van Roekel. They were united in marriage at the farm home of her parents, Nickolas and Ida Van Houweling Ter Louw. Following their marriage they began farming her parents‚ farm southeast of Pella. They then purchased their own farm east of Pella in the late 1940‚s where they raised their two children: Ronald Lee and Linda Joy. They farmed for 40 years and in 1970 moved into Pella. Nellie and Richard enjoyed traveling and were privileged to make several significant trips on tours. They served as councilors at the American Missionary Fellowship Youth Camp, also known as the Chariton Bible Camp, for several years and then became active with The Gideons. In March of 2001, Nellie and Richard became residents at the Griffin Nursing Center in Knoxville, Iowa where they were cared for until becoming residents in the Long Term Care Unit at the Pella Regional Center in Pella in January of 2002. Richard passed away there on June 16, 2004, at the age of 96 years. They were privileged to share over 71 years of married life together. Nellie spent the remaining years of her long, active life in the Long Term Care Unit reading, doing word search, and participating in crafts and other activities. She was most insistent on being outdoors in the mornings and evenings, when at all possible. Her long life ended peacefully there on Thursday morning, November 13, 2008, 10 days prior to her 101st birthday. Nellie is survived by her two children, Ronald Van Roekel and his wife, Mary Lou (Van Wyk) of Otley and Linda Witzenburg of Pella, 4 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Nellie was the last surviving member of her original family and leaves just one sister-in-law, Esther (Henry) Roorda of Pella. She was preceded in death by her husband, Richard Van Roekel; her parents, Nickolas and Ida TerLouw; her parents-in-law, Gerrit and Minnie Van Roekel; her brother, Gysbert TerLouw and his wife, Winnie; two sisters: Stella and her husband, Harry Boot, Jeanette and her husband, Marion De Bruin; and the following sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law: Louis and Chistine Van Roekel, Stevanna (Van Roekel) and Dave Roorda, Henry A. and Wilma Van Roekel, and Tena (Van Roekel) and Henry C. Roorda. Nellie had been active with the Pella Community Hospital Auxiliary and the Third Reformed Church of Pella and was a charter member of the Heartland Reformed Church at Pella.

For those desiring, memorials may be given for The Gideons Living Memorial Bible Plan .

Margaret Nunnikhoven

Margaret Lois Spence Nunnikhoven was born on December 1, 1913 to Joe and Nellie Grant Spence in Madrid, Iowa. She died on Sunday, November 2, 2008 at the Pella Regional Health Center-Long Term Care reaching the age of ninety-four.

Margaret graduated from Madrid High School and later attended American Institute of Business.

On March 21, 1936 Margaret was united in marriage with Antonie (Tony) A. Nunnikhoven in Polk City, Iowa. To this union six children were born: John, Joe, Marcia, Tom, Nelda, and Steve. She and Tony lived in Burlington, Iowa for sixty years, before moving to Pella in the late 1990’s.

Margaret enjoyed being a volunteer. She was active both at Hospice and as a hospital volunteer. She also enjoyed crocheting, gardening, cooking, tending to her houseplants, and holding babies. She would often be singing in the kitchen with a hymnbook propped on the window sill above the kitchen sink. She loved the Lord and her Bible was well worn. Margaret had confessed the Lord as her Savior at an early age and was in fellowship with those Gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in Pella.

Those left to cherish her memory are her children and their spouses: John and Betty Nunnikhoven of Chester, Vermont; Joe and Patricia Nunnikhoven of Ladera Ranch, California; Marcia and Paul Thomas of West Orange, New Jersey; Tom and Kathy Nunnikhoven of Cordova, Tennessee; Nelda and David Pealer of Pella; and Steve and Marika Nunnikhoven of Mediapolis, Iowa; sixteen grandchildren; nineteen great-grandchildren; one sister, Ruth Emmans, of Seattle, Washington.

Preceding her in death: her husband, Antonie Nunnikhoven in 2002; her parents; brothers: John and Henry Spence; and her sister, Merna Kaiser.

Memorials may be given to Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, Illinois or Bethany Christian Services, Pella, Iowa.

Esther Bettger was born on September 8, 1922, in Mound City, SD, a daughter to John & Karolina Aman. In her early years, Esther attended school through grade 8 and worked as a telephone operator until 1946 when she married Victor A. Bettger in Herried, SD. Following their time at the Univ. of South Dakota in Vermilion, the Bettgers relocated to North Dakota in 1951. While living in Stanton for 21 years, Esther was kept busy raising a family, operating family businesses, and serving at her church. Prior to moving to Pella, IA in 2003, Esther lived in Roseau, MN, and St. Louis Park, MN. Victor preceded her in death in 1981. Wherever possible, Esther was available as a counselor and sought situations where she used her abilities to help individuals in many ways.

Esther is survived by her brother Walter Aman, Beaverton, OR, and by her four children and spouses: Tom & Kathy Bettger, Boise, ID; Ken & Pam Bettger, Pella, IA; Dan & R’Shelle Bettger, Rothschild, WI; and Cheryl & Carl Lyons, Fredericksburg, VA. Esther has 12 grandchildren and one great grandson. The longing of Esther’s heart to be with her Lord and loved ones in heaven was granted October 31, 2008, when she moved quietly from this life into the next. Esther was 86 years old at the time of her death.

In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family prefers memorials for First Baptist Church in Pella or Hospice of Pella.

Louesa Vander Zyl

Louesa Baarda was born on September 22, 1913, on a farm near Reasnor, Iowa. She was an only daughter born to John and Sarah (Duinink) Baarda, having two older brothers, Frank and Fred. They moved to another farm near Kellogg, Iowa when she was two years of age. She and her two brothers attended grade school in nearby Taintor, Iowa until 1926 when they moved to Newburg, Iowa. Louesa helped with the family farming until she was united in marriage with Floyd Vander Zyl on January 16, 1935, in Sully, Iowa. Louesa was baptized and had made profession of her faith at the First Reformed Church in Sully. Louesa and Floyd lived in Sully until moving to Pella, Iowa in 1937 where they became life-long members of the First Reformed Church of Pella. It was at this time they had three children: Phyllis Elaine, Eunice Lynn and Eldon Lee, known as Tony. After all their children were in school Louesa worked at the Pella Maid Rite, then the Central Park CafĂ© and, until her mid-seventies, in the kitchen at the Pella Community Hospital. She enjoyed work and would have never retired were it not for health problems. Floyd retired as an accountant, tax preparer and real estate agent in 1974 at which time they sold their home and eventually became residents of Fair Haven East. During this time they were involved at the Senior Citizens Center in Pella. Floyd passed away December 17, 1993. Louesa was very active in the First Reformed Church and was a charter member of the Christian Opportunity Center volunteer corps where her daughter, Phyllis, had worked for a time. Louesa was very generous in helping others and was quick to do things for them. She loved to bake and shared her bread, quick breads, Christmas fruit bread and pecan tassies. She won ribbons for her favorite angel food cake made without a mixer. In her later years she was thrilled to be blessed with two grandsons, Mathew and Mark, and was proud to see them grow to be fine young men. Louesa became a resident in the Long Term Care Unit at the Pella Regional Health Center in 2005 where her daughter, Phyllis, had been a resident for 15 years and passed away there on July 20, 2002. Louesa’s friends were very important to her, especially Guitta Graber, and she appreciated their visits in these last few years while residing there. Louesa passed away on Thursday morning, October 16, 2008, at the advanced age of 95 years. She is survived by her daughter, Eunice and her husband, Jim Van Tuyl of Bella Vista, Arkansas, her son, Eldon Vander Zyl and his wife, Cindy of Ames, Iowa and their two sons, Mathew Vander Zyl of Dallas, Texas and Mark Vander Zyl of Iowa City, Iowa. Louesa was preceded in death by her husband, Floyd and her daughter, Phyllis Vander Zyl; her parents, John and Sarah Baarda; her parents-in-law, Menze and Jennie (Vander Hart) Vander Zyl; and her two brothers, Frank and Fred Baarda.Arrangements by Van Dyk- Duven Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at

For those desiring, memorials may given for the Dialysis Department of the Pella Regional Health Center or the Hospice of Pella Comfort House in Pella

Louise Hallenbeck

Della Louise Straight was a native of Taylor County, Iowa. She was born on June 1, 1919, to the late Truman and Ida Fern Standley Straight at Platteville, Iowa. D. Louise Straight attended the Platteville Country School and graduated from Blockton High School in 1936. Louise then attended Maryville State Teachers College in Maryville, Missouri. This qualified her to teach in rural schools in Missouri and Iowa. To aid in the war effort during World War II, Louise moved to Dayton, Ohio where she gained military clearance to join a secretarial pool at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Afterwards she resumed teaching in New Market, Shenandoah, and Bedford, Iowa. It was while teaching in Shenandoah that Louise met Shenandoah High School band director, Vern Robert Hallenbeck. The two were married on July 6, 1954 at Louise’s family home in Platteville. After years of teaching, the Hallenbeck’s lived for a few years in Lebanon, Missouri and Townsend, Montana. In 1968 they moved to Pella, Iowa where Louise became secretary to the then President of Central College, Dr. Kenneth Weller and Vern became assistant librarian at Central College. Louise was a member of the Central College Auxiliary, the Second Reformed Church, the Business and Professional Women of Pella and Chapter BU of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. In 2003 Louise became a resident of Vriendschap Village in Pella and as her health began to fail, the Long Term Care Unit at the Pella Regional Health Center. She passed away there on Monday evening, October 13, 2008, at the age of 89 years. Louise is survived by her nephew, Jon K. Vogel and his wife, Sydney, of Arvada, Colorado, and their children: Julia Potwin of Coronado, California, James Vogel of Denver, Colorado and Sarah Louise Thomas of Arvada. Louise helped raise her nephew, Jon Vogel, when Jon lost his father when he was two years of age. She also spent much time with her cousin, Glen Straight’s children: Pam Browne of Bedford, Iowa, Claire Sawyer of Littlefield, Texas and Mary Louise Everhart of Williamsburg, Iowa. Glen Straight was raised as a brother to Louise. Louise was preceded in death by her husband, Vern R. Hallenbeck, who passed away on December 23, 2003; her parents, Truman and Ida Straight; her sister, Eleanor Vogel Hicks of Stockton, Missouri and her cousin, Glen Straight. Louise loved and depended on her neighbor and close friend, Karen Hudson of Pella and one of her great loves was a Husky named ‘Jackie’. Louise was a natural giver all of her life and will be greatly missed. Arrangements by Van Dyk - Duven Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at

For those desiring, memorials in her memory may be designated for the Platteville Cemetery at Bedford, Iowa or Central College in Pella

Valentine Mathes, 102 of Pella, died Nov. 18. Funeral services will be Sat., Nov. 22, 1:30 p.m. at First Reformed Church in Pella. Fellowship time follows the service. Visitation will begin Friday afternoon at Van Dyk-Duven Funeral Home, with famiy present from noon until service time on Sat. at the church. Memorials may be designated for Words of Hope, a Reformed Church radio ministry broadcast, or the Covenant House, a home for runaway children.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Convicted But Not Condemned

I felt the need to return to discussing the things I am currently finding all too near at hand...the things that are trying to grip me and pull me down...those things that I'm praying to God won't find a foothold in my heart...ugh! So lame!

I don't know where this all came from even, really...I know after one of the recent recharges, I was driving home...and was upset about the pain in my legs and my inability to work out...and then started feeling guilty about how much I've been eating compared to how little physical activity I've participated in. Before I knew it, I was planning and started crying at my temptation to return to anorexia. As if that ever helps me with anything...I cried in the cruiser because I felt so gross and so huge and so guilty but at the same time knew that I wanted nothing to do with that. I was appalled at the thoughts I had. I was thinking about how fortunate it would be if they found hypothyroidism in my blood work because then they would give me thyroid hormone replacement, and if the dosing was too high (accidentally or otherwise) it would cause me to lose weight effortlessly. I wouldn't even have to stop eating. Then I realized that they would probably just adjust the dose or find a way to limit the number of pills I had in my possession at any given time, just like any good health care professional would. I can't lie. I entertained a few other ideas. Like increasing my caffeine intake to artificially increase my metabolism and speed up my GI tract...but then I realized that I already consume a large amount of caffeine and that I might have too much of a tolerance for that solution to be feasible or economical. Then I cried some more because that was craziness...trying to find a round about way to achieve the same self-destructive end? I repented...for real. I told God I was sorry for failing to trust Him like that. For failing to trust Him to heal my legs and for failing to trust Him to take care of my overall health. And for failing to trust in the beauty He'd given me...for accusing Him of screwing up...and since then, I've been mighty tempted to skip a meal here and there...but I know I can't. If I skip one meal, then I want to skip another because I get some twisted pleasure out of feeling empty. Feeling empty is enjoyable for me in a twisted way...I mean, when it's time for me to eat, I know because I feel sick -- nauseated and dizzy...It's neat because when I feel that way, initially I think, "I should go lay down or something. I think I'm getting sick." The correct response is actually to eat something...the opposite of what I want to do...I's twisted. What makes it more twisted is that, as a result, there have been a handful of meals in the past few weeks where I was kind of force feeding myself. I didn't have an appetite (that's the definition of anorexia) but I knew I hadn't had enough calories to not eat that I made myself eat was so awful and sick. make matters worse, we discussed eating disorders in class last week for 3 hours. Neat, right? I don't know if I could even tell you how extremely uncomfortable I was. I felt so embarassed and like such a failure...I know that's not the case. Everyone has their struggles. I tell that to people all the time. But it's so surreal to be learning the things you should do to support and help and treat an anorexic pt and remember being on the other hear lecture and remember people "trying that one"...or knowing how true it was to know that I still don't always know how to identify my emotions/feelings or interpret physical signals such as know just how much that pt will fight against attempts to remember planning how you would beat them...cheat the remember plotting how I would pull off another day without eating while talking to someone about how I was hurting myself...I mean...I mean, it was all good information, and some of the experience I have had have helped me be there for others because I was there and thought those things and had those be learning "the theory" of it...hurt. I felt so...I don't even know...I wanted to run...I can't listen to theory when the reality is so fresh in my mind and when that stupid anorexia is lurking too close for comfort, trying to draw me in again.

Well, surprise surprise, it doesn't end there. *painful laugh* I don't know if it was the struggle or the shame...but some amazing lies about inadequacy jumped into my head...I started hearing lies about how I shouldn't be a I can't help anyone anyway...even if I do pass the rest of my classes and graduate in May, where am I supposed to go? Who in the world would benefit from having me around? Seriously...not the best grades...still plenty of painfully exposed wounds.

Transition to my afternoon class where we talked about end of life care. Now, don't get me wrong. I love taking care of people who are in the "end stages of life". I think it's beautiful in a way I can't describe. I'm comfortable with it, and I consider it a tremendous honor to share that experience with them and their show them that they matter and are cared for and loved up to the very end of their life on Earth...sometimes I feel like it's literally carrying them to Jesus...because you wash them up while the last signs of life fade...their heart isn't beating, they aren't breathing anymore, their organs are shutting down...but research suggests that the brain is the last to go...that it's likely they can still hear you...they still know. I love saying those last goodbyes and careful washing their body, though they don't need it's still something to be valued. I digress...that lecture was hard for me because it made me think of a lot of people I really love. Yep, you guessed old residents back home in the nursing home. Some of them I took care of the weeks before they died, some of them died while I was home sleeping, some of them died while I was at school...and some of them...I don't know if they have died or if they're waiting and wondering why I never came back like I said I would. I doubt it's a big deal to them, but it is to me. I feel so I abandoned my friends...I left for camp and haven't been back since. I was going to visit when I got home from camp, but I had poison ivy and didn't go...and I haven't been home long enough to go in since...I don't even know if I can bring myself to go in over Christmas...and that's what makes me feel awful. I'm afraid to find out how many more died while I was many goodbyes I didn't get to many friends, who I said I would visit, died before I fulfilled my promise...I know I'd love the new residents, too...but the problem is that if I walk in there, I'll find out just how many I will continue to miss...and I don't know if I can deal with all those losses on the same day I meet new residents. It makes me feel like the world's biggest jerk? How could I run from like that? How dumb is it to let my fear keep me away? I hope you now see how that would feed into inadequacy...I can't even love them...not enough...not right...not at all...I failed them...I mean, I knew would...I'm human...I've failed them and failed to love them so many times...but when I'm in the nursing home...I'm so aware of Christ's love in me for them...because I get irritated and impatient...but somehow...I keep loving them and caring about them and for them...even when I'm tired or hurting or grumpy...that's Christ...I feel bad because I feel like I'm failing to carry His love to them...I know that others do as well and the whole world does depend on me to do that...but to know that it's fear that is keeping me from doing it? *shakes head*

So, I listened to a sermon recently that talked about the "things that grip us". One of them that hit me hard was inadequacy. He said something to the effect of, "Inadequacy grips us making us ashamed of our flaws. We begin to believe we are the only ones who don't measure up and make mistakes and soon enough we isolate ourselves to keep others from seeing." That hit so close to home that I literally slapped a hand to my heart (what I forgot was that I was wearing a tank top and I slapped myself just hard enough make a sweet noise and sting a lot). Why you may ask? Because I always do that! Ugh! I don't just get down on myself...I get down on myself, feel ashamed for doing so...and cut myself off from everyone around me, especially those who may help or care or love me. So guess what been doing lately and trying not to do? That's right...avoid people. I've had to like force myself to get out of bed somedays...force myself to leave my go see talk to people...cause I'd rather just lay bed...away from the world. Good thing there are consequences to me missing most things...otherwise I would skip it all, confirmation, school, church, Bible study...everything...if I could. I find myself thinking, "I just don't think I can handle being around people." Now understand...the beauty of my current state is that unlike in the's not a constant...nope, sometimes I'm fine...and other times I want to just curl up and give up on everything.

So, the song that's been convicting me on a lot of this is "Sympathy for the Martyr" by Straylight Run. Pertinent lyrics:
"You just can’t relax and you can’t rely
On anyone for anything (skip ahead)...

So tie the noose
And raise the cross
The martyr’s arrived
A desperate plea
For sympathy, it’s all you need

A laundry list of problems doesn’t make you interesting
And never getting help doesn’t make you brave
Not listening to reason doesn’t mean that you have faith
You’re just cutting off your nose to spite your face"

Guess who never gets help? Me! *crying laugh* A new thing I've been trying is getting help when I need it and letting people be there for me and love me...I'm not real great at it...but I've been giving it a whirl...if but poorly. So, I was thankful to be at camp this have people legitimately ask how I was...but parts of the weekend were less than ideal...and that resulted in? More feelings of the form of? Worthlessness, being entirely replaceable and unimportant. For example, anyone can be camp nurse and pass meds, give out ice, look at dodgeball injuries...I don't have anything of particular importance to offer...nothing particularly special and needed...anyone can do this. Do they? I suppose not...but they could. And other things...took me right back to high being 16, recovering from anorexia (why does that have to be such a theme) and dating a guy that didn't value me for more than a body. And even as a body I wasn't good enough, hence the cheating...I was unimportant (though allegedly cared for), unvalued (though told I was loved), and replaceable...Worthless...

So...this week has been a major struggle...and I want to give up...but at the same time...I'm clinging to the things I know and begging God to let me learn the things I already "know" these things can be gone...Because I know they're lies...I can rationalize them and make them sound true, but that doesn't make them truth. They are lies. I know that...but unfortunately, knowing that just frustrates me and leaves me feeling ashamed that they're even an issue...and have been for even this long.

Well, I've decided to close with the song that I've been singing to myself all week "Dear Lie" by TLC:

"Dear lie
You suck
You said you could fix anything
Instead I'm fucked
You made things even worse for me
If I had balls I'd tell you get away from me
Guess I'm not smart
I let you unnerve me
I let you control me
Afraid the truth would hurt me
When it's you that hurts me more

Get outta my mouth
Get outta my head
Get outta my mind
Stop puttin' words in my head
Get outta my mouth
You're nothing but trouble
Get outta my life
Get out of me
Out of me (out of me)
Out of me
Out of me lie
Lie lie lie lie

Dear lie
You're dumb
You think you've got the best of me
[ TLC Lyrics are found on ]
You think you won
Misread my vulnerability
I've got your walls
Now get the hell away from me
I've learned your art
Won't let you unnerve me
Won't let you control me
The truth will only free me
And your lies won't hurt no
No more


Lie lie
I've got
Your walls
Now get the hell away from me
I learned your art
Won't let you unnerve me
Wont' let you control me
The truth will only free me
And your lies won't hurt no
No more


Lie lie
Dear lie
Lie Lie Lie Lie
Lie Lie
Dear lie"

Beneath the Pile-up

I feel like I'm buried right now. So much has just piling up on top of me. But at the same time, I don't feel hopelessly lost like I have in the past. In some ways this is worse because it adds a particular twinge of fear. Things fly at me, try to pull me down...and while they don't pull me down far, I know what's down there...and I end up afraid. It's a kind of classic conditioning I guess. Not the neutral kind that causes a dog to salivate when he hears a bell...the kind that causes you to flinch when someone raises their hand because you just know they're going to hit you. Thus, I'm seeing things come at me, and I cringe and I cry as they grab at me. I cling to what I know and hope it's enough and cry...because as much as I know that these things are untrue and defeated and in the past...they're here and they're real...Wow, Takara, could you be more vague? Why, yes, I could...but that's what happens when I let my thoughts spill out...they aren't always complete.

So, a few weeks ago, God and I were talking about love. I told Him I wanted to truly know His love in a crazy ridiculous way. I wanted to know His love for me and what it means to be His daughter/lover/ let His love flood over me. I wanted to see it in crazy ways and know more about Him. It was cool and you know, God told me some things and showed me some things that pretty much blew my mind. Things about love and beauty and all that awesome stuff. There was this sweet song by Scott Andrew that really stuck out to me. It's called "Holding Back". It starts off:
"They’re gonna tell you
you’re gonna pay too high a price
and try to convince you
you’ve gotta play it safe this time
they’re gonna work you
they’re gonna try to wear you thin
they want to protect you
and leave you trapped inside your skin

Holding back and pretending not to be
want you want to be, want you want to be
Holding back and pretending not to be
want you want to be"

Like all summer...well, actually longer. I was listening to a sermon recently that talked about longing...longing to join in. It used a swimming analogy about adults wanting to get in the pool but instead sitting on the side. I don't know if that's how I've been living...I would compare it more to a night swim I took this summer. I got down to the lake and two of my friends were already in the water -- swimming and splashing. Another friend and I got ready to get in...she jumped off the dock with a shriek...and I walked down to the shallow end and waded out. I watched them splash around and have fun and longed to join them. But I just wasn't sure if I wanted to get completely wet. I waded out to my stomach. You know, to the point where the water laps at your belly button and your abs seize up to try to stay out of the frigid lake. Yup. And I just hung out. Eventually, I waded out further, and finally, dipped my head back...everything had at least been wet once except my face...and then I slowly and hesitantly swam out to join my friends. Lately, I've been wondering where exactly I'm at in that analogy with my faith...with my understanding of God and His incomprehensible awesomeness (or at least in an area of it). I know I got to the point where I was out to my waist and watching everyone...and when I was talking with God that night. I thought that would be me dipping my head back into the water, allowing me to start a hesitant swim out to my friends. But with the way the past couple weeks have went. I'm not sure anymore. I don't know. I feel more secure and more connected to God than in the past. I don't feel as swayed by all the struggles and temptations and lies...but at the same time...U hate that they're getting to me at all. Maybe I haven't made much progress after all. Blargh!

This brings me to another song I've been loving lately. At one recharge, when I was feeling especially overwhelmed, I was listening to my Pizzle (that's iPod for those who don't know me) and "Relearn Love" by Scott Stapp came on. The lyrics that stood out most to me were:
"The comfort of your arms around me
Your tender hands caress my head
I lay beside you I'm not worthy
This jaded man's not who I am
I touched the flame and I've been burned
All I need's a second chance
Give me eyes of a child
And teach this man to relearn love

Teach me all over, all over
To relearn love
Show me again…"

This really got me thinking about a lot of things. Do I really know what love is? I hear the word and use the word, but do I really understand it? God's's not like the "love" I've known from's not something that comes and goes. Isn't there something in like Hosea that talks about God's love being steadfast...steadfast. It's not like certain people in my past who, at some point, stopped meaning "I love you" though they continued to say it. And it's not like others who say "I love you" only when I do something right or like they wanted. Or like others who "love me" so that I can do _____ for them. God doesn't "love" me because he has to or because he just feels so sorry for me that he thinks it might brighten my day (though it does brighten my day). It's steadfast...unconditional...unchanging...complete...perfect...That's hard to understand but so good to know. Because while it doesn't make sense to me...I'm so thankful to know that while I feel buffeted or tempted or even when I make a poor choice or fail to love Him back...God is right there loving me...whether I realize it or "feel" it or not. That's a big deal...and something I'm only beginning to understand in any type of real way...but something I'm wanting to learn.

Hmmm...with all that hope...I think this train of thought has completed it's journey. Yup.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Never Getting Help Doesn't Make You Brave

I had a plan for that lyric that was a bit more hopefully…but I’m currently sitting in a lecture on eating disorders and to avoid crying, I’m going to blog…that way I don’t have to fully listen. I just am not wanting to hear this. Once upon a time, in class, one of our teachers said that a disease should not define a person. And my past is in the past. I have been set free from that…I’m free in Christ. God and I have talked plenty lately about beauty and love…I’ve noticed that when I look in the mirror, I see beauty (even though I don’t believe it always gets captured by a camera). And I just have felt very challenged lately. God and I have been working through a lot of things (I intend to blog about it later…). That’s how I came across the title of this blog. There’s a song by Straylight Run called “Sympathy for the Martyr”. I was shocked at how thoroughly challenged and convicted I felt by it.

Enough of that, I can’t be profound and describe crap right now. I just…I feel antsy…I feel like running…’cause it’s mighty hard to listen to an explanation of something you went through…something you still battle sometimes. The truth makes me want to cry. Hearing things I know too well is not easy…I just…don’t want to hear…I don’t like having to know the science about it…it’s timely, as I was tempted earlier this week to return to some of those behaviors. I also feel bad because I want it gone…it’s not, yet…I mean I just heard her talking about the inability to recognize visceral and emotional cues…meaning “people with anorexia often can’t adequately describe their feelings and misinterpret physical cues such as hunger”…shoot dang…that’s largely true…I still don’t recognize hunger well. I often interpret hunger as nausea. So, my first instinct is to not eat because I’m “nauseated” but actually I should eat because I’m hungry…so, I eat when I’m nauseated or dizzy…and my teacher just commented on the risk of relapse, which is huge. I know that…but that usually just makes me feel hopeless…like it’s bound to come for me again…but you know what, I do know that there’s hope and freedom in Christ…and I know that I can keep going and keep getting better…I do…and I know that I don’t have to be pinned down by my past…but…it’s hard…especially in this setting…because it feels like my dirty little secret…

I know this is rambling…this is me coping, I guess…trying to remain in the room during this lecture…to not run…to be a nurse and learn…yup…learn…and to not take it personally…to not hear it as a verdict…

Friday, October 31, 2008


So, my day was crazy and kind of scary...but at the same time...awesome! Like I felt so much closer to God...I felt so loved and cared I kept hearing that over and over again.

So, let's walk through it.

My day started off with a trip to the doctor. Fun. Apparently I'm going to need to have some tests done -- lab work, blood work, etc. They have to rule out some things. Kind of sucks, but I'm hoping things will be getting better soon.

Then, I rocked it at the Bodies Human display in Watertown. It was so sweet. I've seen dissected bodies before, but these dissections were incredible! They highlighted the beauty of the human body and the intricacies of its functioning. I was blown away. Some of the vascular dissections were incredible! Absolutely incredible! I love seeing the beauty of God's creation. It makes me respect it that much more. I was listening to a podcast this morning that said something about the complexity of the concept of being made "in God's image". I don't remember all of it, but I remember being particularly struck by what the speaker said about the degree of dignity commanded by the thought of something being "made in God's image". Something that reflects God in such a beautiful way is worthy of dignity and respect.

When I got back, it turns out that I had received a bouquet of beautiful flowers from...God? *shrugs* All the card had on it was a Bible verse. I felt so loved...A part of me wanted to shrug it off or try to figure out who was behind this and who was pitying me...but I decided that all I needed to know was that God loves and cares about me. God knows I love flowers. God knows I need to know His love (He and I had an extremely hardcore talk about it this week...I was extremely serious). I decided to take it as a token of His love...because He loves me overtly and throw the friends He has put in my life...people that love and care about me.

Next segment of my day was my drive home. Or drive almost home. I was between Sioux Falls and Sioux City when I realized I was approaching a truck too fast. I hit the breaks, and my car swerved. I regained control, but not until I was already in the median. Fortunately, I was not hurt, I did not roll (though I rocked back and forth quite a bit), and I did not go into on-coming traffic. I stopped and took a few deep breaths and didn't even know what to do or what to look at on my car. So, I got back on the interstate to attempt to get to the next exit. Turned out my tire was blown and driving was more than a little difficult and then my tire started to smoke. I pulled off on the shoulder, and a guy in a truck pulled off behind me. He got out and said that he'd seen me come out of the ditch and saw my tire was flat and had decided to follow me and help. He changed my tire to the spare while I made a few phone calls. He explained that his daughter had been a nursing major at Mount Marty (I was still wearing my nursing name tag from earlier in the day) and that he remembers a time when she hit a deer and had to call him and then rely on the kindness of a stranger. He followed me to a repair shop and stayed until the guy had confirmed that he'd be able to help me out. Then, he gave me his card to give to my dad and denied a need for payment or compensation or thanks of any kind (I am extremely thankful, though). The guy at the repair shop didn't have quite the right size tire. He put on a used tire that was a half an inch too big. (He said it'd get me home safely but would need to be changed when I got home). I grabbed a candy bar and got back on the road. *sigh* I felt so loved and cared for. Like I felt assured that God loved and cared for me. The water in my vase of flowers got spilled in all of this, but it was okay. Like I just heard God telling me that He cared. He loved me. He protects me and watches out for me and provides for me. I wasn't hurt today...someone was there...astounding...and the song that came on my ipod after all that...well, it said it all (I'm kind of keeping it to myself, though).

So, like I said earlier...I didn't make it home tonight. I was tired. So, I pulled off at a wayside rest and changed into my glasses. Then, when I got to the Harlan exit, I checked into the Motel 6. For a little bit, I was nervous...I mean, all those "what ifs" were in my head. But I realized that was dumb. God's been taking care of me all day and has been showing me His love in incredible ways (not the way I expected, but I guess you have to get through of me careful what you ask for, right? :P J/K. I told Him I wanted to know and see...and well, I am knowing and seeing in new ways.) Point is, I knew God would care for me through the night and would care for me and protect me and provide for me. It makes me even more excited to finish my drive tomorrow. I will be with my family. I will spend time with my sisters. I will chill and take Christmas card pictures and then head to Sufu to chill for the night with Bobbie and get ready for clinical and another week of classes. I'm actually remarkably excited.

Yup. But to do all that, I will have to get a good night's sleep. So, goodnight all. God bless you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What's Going On?

I sometimes really hate being asked how I’m doing. I don’t know most of the time. I’m functional. I’m not hopeless. I’m really great in some ways, mostly functional ways…I’m getting a lot done and doing well in class, etc. But…teetering on the edge of pain…I’ve been crying more and more, agitated more and more, sleeping less and less…But why you may ask? Also a good question…I don’t entirely know. I don’t know where the trigger was. I do know how it spiraled…I started worrying that I was bothering others…so, I isolated myself…and then things got worse. That’s part of the reason why I don’t know what to say when someone asks me how I am…in some ways, I’m struggling a lot…but I’m afraid to tell that to anyone…I wouldn’t want them to be bothered…I don’t want to be a downer—a personal rain cloud. Ugh…I hate that, once again, this is something I’ve been talking with others about. I was just talking with someone who was nervous to tell her mom about a problem she was having. I know that she can’t get the help she needs if she doesn’t tell someone. I know that she can’t get better or heal if she keeps it all to herself. I know that the lies in her head have so much more power if she keeps them to herself…the shame and the pain have power if she hides it…Those lies can’t have power, can’t withstand being in the light and love of Christ. Hard part, as I discussed that with her…as I thought that…I realized that I needed to hear that, too. I needed to not let myself turn in on myself. I couldn’t continue to be isolated…I need others…I need the light and love of Christ. Now, I’m at a point where I wonder why I’m in this place. I mean, didn’t I learn anything over the summer? I thought I had learned some about love and care and had become better at letting others care for me and better at asking for help…not stellar…but better. Last night, I was in bed thinking, “I must not have learned anything. I must not have improved at all. I’m just doomed to go back to where I was.” Guess what. That’s not true. I’m appalled that I even thought it. So, why am I backsliding? Why can’t I get a footing? Can I pull out of this tailspin? Yes, with the help of Christ…Do I have enough in me to ask Him to save me and pull me out of it? I sure hope so. I can’t stay like this. I don’t want to stay like this. *sigh*

What's Going On?

I sometimes really hate being asked how I’m doing. I don’t know most of the time. I’m functional. I’m not hopeless. I’m really great in some ways, mostly functional ways…I’m getting a lot done and doing well in class, etc. But…teetering on the edge of pain…I’ve been crying more and more, agitated more and more, sleeping less and less…But why you may ask? Also a good question…I don’t entirely know.

I don’t know where the trigger was. I do know how it spiraled…I started worrying that I was bothering others…so, I isolated myself…and then things got worse. That’s part of the reason why I don’t know what to say when someone asks me how I am…in some ways, I’m struggling a lot…but I’m afraid to tell that to anyone…I wouldn’t want them to be bothered…I don’t want to be a downer—a personal rain cloud. Ugh…I hate that, once again, this is something I’ve been talking with others about. I was just talking with someone who was nervous to tell her mom about a problem she was having. I know that she can’t get the help she needs if she doesn’t tell someone. I know that she can’t get better or heal if she keeps it all to herself. I know that the lies in her head have so much more power if she keeps them to herself…the shame and the pain have power if she hides it…Those lies can’t have power, can’t withstand being in the light and love of Christ. Hard part, as I discussed that with her…as I thought that…I realized that I needed to hear that, too. I needed to not let myself turn in on myself. I couldn’t continue to be isolated…I need others…I need the light and love of Christ.

Now, I’m at a point where I wonder why I’m in this place. I mean, didn’t I learn anything over the summer? I thought I had learned some about love and care and had become better at letting others care for me and better at asking for help…not stellar…but better. Last night, I was in bed thinking, “I must not have learned anything. I must not have improved at all. I’m just doomed to go back to where I was.” Guess what. That’s not true. I’m appalled that I even thought it. So, why am I backsliding? Why can’t I get a footing? Can I pull out of this tailspin? Yes, with the help of Christ…Do I have enough in me to ask Him to save me and pull me out of it? I sure hope so. I can’t stay like this. I don’t want to stay like this. *sigh*

Who is He? Where is He?

So, thanks to my teachers asking me to plan for next semester and pick a public health clinical and preceptor…I am thinking even more about my future. Also, I updated my resume, so I could like actually apply to places now. I know, it’s pretty neat. Plus, I just had my mental health clinical evaluation, in which I was told I could do well in any area of nursing but should consider mental health as an option. I was also told I would probably enjoy working at a summer camp. (For the record, I loved working at summer camp.)

So, where shall I look for a job? What area of the world? What area of nursing? Where should I do my preceptorship? I just don’t know. I know I’ve blogged about this some before, but this is just where I’m at right now.

I’m just not sure what to do. I know I want to get a chance to care for people that are often forgot or unwanted. Like, I read this thing Mother Teresa wrote (I know…shocker!) in which she was talking about who Jesus is to her. She talked about him being the all those normal things we hear…"the word made flesh, the bread of life, the victim offered for our sins on the cross..." Then she goes a step further into actions that show Jesus, "the Word to be spoken, the Truth to be told, the Way to be walked, the Light to be lit, the Love to be loved, the Joy to be shared, the Sacrifice to be offered, the Peace to be given, the Bread of Life to be eaten."

But it's the next section that made me cry. "Jesus is the hungry to be fed, the thirsty to be satiated, the naked to be clothed, the homeless to be taken in, the sick to be healed, the lonely to be loved, the unwanted to be wanted, the leper to wash his wounds, the beggar to give him a smile, the drunkard to listen to him, the retarded to protect him, the little one to embrace him, the blind to lead him, the dumb to speak for him, the crippled to walk with him, the drug addict to befriend him, the prostitute to remove from danger and befriend, the prisoner to be visited, the old to be served." I cried. I cried because it’s true. And because Jesus loves them, and I want to let them know that. I was struck especially when I got to "the sick" and cried actual tears when I read "the unwanted". I want to be there…with them…When I read that, I immediately looked up Matthew 25: 31 – 46. A lot of people really like to think on verse 40, “The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

But what stood out most to me was well…the passage as a whole but…let me explain.

In verse 35 and 36, it says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” I love the examples Jesus gives. I love the implications of caring for them physically and spiritually…so awesome! In verse 37 – 39, “"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” Similarly in 44, those on The King’s left respond with, “Lord, when did we see you…?” I love this response because the people don’t deny their behaviors, actions, etc. I hear in their response that they weren’t caring for people to suck up to Jesus…but because they care about people because they love Jesus…I don’t know if that makes sense…I’m having trouble expressing precisely what I mean. It reminds me of all those fairy tales (such as Beauty and the Beast) where the beautiful fairy queen disguises herself as a poor and ugly beggar and rewards those who care for her and offer her shelter or something and punish the proud prince who sends her away. The people that care for her or send her away, it’s not because they know it’s her and like or hate her. That’s just how they see people, it’s how they treat people. Like the ones who take her in, are shocked when they found out she’s the fairy queen and astonished when she rewards them…they figured it was nbd (no big deal). Those who reject her and are punished instantly repent when she reveals who she truly is. She always says it’s too late. That the proud prince had his chance to show his heart and show that he could care for others, but he failed and must be punished (turned into The Beast). [Sidenote: I just thought of Little Bunny Foo-Foo…you know, hopping through the forest scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head.]

I want my love to be genuine. I want my love to be His love going to the form of His people...if that makes sense. I don't want to do it just to please Him, but because I'm grateful for Him and His love...because I'm so full of His love I can't keep it inside. I want it to be natural, not forced...genuine, not out of obligation...It makes me ponder how to do that? I suppose the answer is to love everyone I encounter. To treat them like the child of God that they are. That seems like a lame answer in some way, though. I want to make a commitment to it. I want to go to the "unwanted", "the lonely", etc. For that reason, I keep asking God, where? Who? Do I serve the people in the big cities? Or the small towns? The rural poor? The urban homeless? In the states? Abroad? The sick and dying? The chronically ill? Those with mental problems? Those with physical problems? The young? The old? I know God loves them where do I go? Where will He send me? Who will He send me to? I want to know...I want to know...I guess I have to be patient, though...and listen? And be prepared and willing to follow, whatever that means. Because God's call may not take the shape I want or may not be where I thought I'd be...but I have to be okay with that...and be willing to hear that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I you.

I am so not comfortable with those "three little words, eight little letters." (I love you.) It's ironic, really. Because I love to say them...I love to let my friends know that I love them...'cause I do...but hearing them...I'm not so good about. I'm totally comfortable...well, not totally...pretty comfortable with "I like you". More than that? Not so much. Worst part is, is that's my problem. But the good thing is, it's something I want to deal with...I want to address...I want to be rid of.

I feel challenged when I read stuff by Mother Teresa. I know I say that a lot...but somehow the things she writes make sense to me. I understand. I was reading some of her memoirs tonight. She wrote about not feeling cared for by God but at the same time knowing that she was a "child of His love". She talked about how she knew the truth because He sustained she couldn't weather these storms without Him and that she couldn't desire Him or desire His love if His love was not in her. In another place, she wrote, "God has created us to love and to be loved, and this is the beginning of prayer -- to know that He loves me, that I have been created for greater things." "God told us, 'love your neighbor as yourself.' So, first I am to love myself rightly, and then to love my neighbor like that. But how can I love myself unless I accept myself as God has made me?"

If you know me much, you can understand the challenge I would feel upon reading that. I understand being created to love...but man, do I ever struggle with the "to be loved" part. I wouldn't even understand it if she didn't go on, I think. To know that God loves badly I want that...and I know she's right. My prayer life would be so changed if I could approach God knowing He loves me...and knowing He wishes to use me to love others...that I was created to love others. That next quote about accepting myself as God has made me so that I can love myself rightly so that I can properly love my about conviction! That is a huge struggle for me! I'm so often trapped under shame and uncertainty...feelings of inadequacy and rejection...fear of abandonment. I so often believe myself to be a burden on everyone around me, including God. I believe myself to be tolerated at best...or loved out of obligation...or temporarily...Those things are always in the back of my mind, and every so often, they grip me. That's what's been going on lately. I've been gripped by fear and shame and uncertainty...worries of inadequacy and been convinced that I don't matter...that I'm not loved. As a result, I isolate myself...which makes things worse for me, but also keeps me from really loving anyone...because I try to cut myself off...I try hard at it.

When I read what Mother Teresa wrote about knowing she was a child of God's love...somewhere near there she wrote about being uncertain of God's presence and love, except when she was with the poor...she saw Him there, met Him there, knew His love there. I could relate to that. I know God loves other people. When I'm serving as a nurse or hanging out with kids or whatever...I know God loves those people -- my patients or kids or whomever I'm with. The youth I talk to online. I know God loves them. I know He wants great things for them and wants them to know His love and know that they're cared for. The kids in youth group. I know He wants them to be loved and cared for and have opportunities to know that and act on that. I know He loves them SOOO much! I know He cares about my patients. I know He wants healing for everyone and that He loves everyone and wants them to know that. I know that so well...and thus the tears begin to flow. But I have such a hard time knowing it for myself. I can infer that He loves me and wants me to know Him and to know His love and His care. I can infer that He wants me to have opportunities to know Him and show my love for Him. I know it because it's true for everyone else...but I don't REALLY know it. I doubt it so much. Or, in my head, I hear that He loves me "because He has to" or He "tolerates me" or He "loves me in some religious way"...whatever that means. When I hear the words "I love you" from a person or from God. I'm full of doubt and uncertainty...I don't know what it means. Does it mean, "You did something that made me happy"? Does it mean "I need you to do this thing"? Does it mean "You'll do"? Does it mean "I love you because you..."? Is there a limiting statement that's implied? "I love you if...."? "I love you when..."? "I love you, for now...or for this long."? That's how I've always understood it. I am loved when I do something right. I am loved when I provide something of value. I am loved when I meet a need. I am loved when I don't cause too much trouble. I am loved for a time...but this too shall pass. I've not put much stock in "love". And yes, I've generally believed that about love from people and love from God.

But at the same time, I want to know God's love...for real. And that very fact tells me I can "comprehend with all the saints", though it "passes all understanding". Because I must be in His love...He must love me...or else I couldn't love anyone else. I wouldn't be able to work in the nursing home or hang out with kids or provide care to anyone...if I didn't have God's love in my life...But I still don't KNOW...I'm still so broken. I still believe myself to be among the "unwanted" and "the lonely" and "the sick"...I am scared to death that someone might care for me...that someone might love me...and I fight against it...try to reject it before I find out it wasn't real...and so I believe all love isn't real or isn't for me. It's hard because I talk to different people and they talk about feeling unloved, unwanted, uncared for...and I know it's not true. I know that God loves them and cares about them and wants them to be healthy and whole and full of joy...and I know that because of that, I love them and care about them...the hard part is while I want so badly to have them understand the love that God has for them...and that I share that love, I can totally understand where they are...'cause I'm there more often than I care to admit. It's hard to hear words I've uttered come from their lips. Because I know that the words God has for them, He has for me, too.

That's why I found it especially challenging to read Mother Teresa's blurb about knowing God's love for us and loving ourselves rightly so that we can love others. I was watching Flags of Our Fathers (which was awesome, by the way) and the story was told of this one man -- a medic -- who was hit by chrapnel in the leg. He continued to triage and treat soldiers in the field, and so the other medics had a hard time finding him to put him on the stretcher. They said that it was brave of him to serve those men, and he saved a lot of them, but he could have died of blood loss, and he could save so many more if he would let himself be taken care of. I can relate to that. I hear tell that I somehow help people from time to listening or praying or being there or whatever...I don't exactly know. But I also understand that God could use me to do more -- to care for and comfort and love more people -- if I would let Him care for and comfort me. He could use me to heal more people and to love more people if I let Him heal and love me. If I were secure in His love...if I were whole in Him...if I were able to accept comfort and care...if I could be strong in Him and His much more could I do? I definitely wouldn't be so easily beat down, right? *sigh*

I need to know. I need to not limit God's love. I need to not imply disclaimers or limiting statements...I need to find healing...I need to know comfort...I need to be secure enough in love that I can ask for help and for comfort and for care without thinking it will jeapordize the love I know...I want to have that love overflowing, rather than piped on through...And so I to know...and seek the boldness to pray and to ask...the assurance and faith to know He will and can...the capacity to truly know and to truly love God.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It was epic and beautfiul

I'm not going to lie. I'm kind of anxious right now and have been biting my nails because I feel exhausted and overwhelmed. So much to do this week! So much to figure out and schedule and such this week! And my weird. I was really down about it earlier, and I think I'm just kind of overwhelmed by it. I mean, it was nurse, med passes, an injury, a sick kid, and a kid with breathing problems...and homework...and wanting so badly to spend time with friends. I'm exhausted. But it was a good weekend. I "missed" a lot. I wasn't in attendance for all of the chapel skits and shares and what not because I had to go do other things, but I feel blessed. The things I did see and hear were awesome, and I feel like God kind of wove together my weekend experience, if that makes sense. I learned a lot, though I didn't mean to. I learned a lot about love...and now have a new batch of ponderings on the subject. A sampling of what's on my mind: I felt unnecessary this weekend at times, but I was told that I was appreciated...that I made some feel reassured because I was there and had more medical training than others. It was weird to think of...that I could be like valuable to the goings on of the weekend without a real crisis occurring...but at the same time it makes sense. Also, I was thinking about God's love on the way home...and I was thinking about how sometimes we love people because they love us...and how that's not how God works. He doesn't love us because we love Him. He loved us first, and we definitely don't love perfectly. He loves us regardless...regardless of the amount or quality of our own love for Him.

I'm impressed I'm posting such a half-baked blog...but...that's apparently just how I am right now.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Keeping the Headphones On

I've always used music to escape. If I put my headphones on, I can drown out the world...or at least part of it. Like before competitions and auditions and stuff, I'd listen to music...just loud enough to drown out my anxiety, but not so much that I couldn't talk with my friends. Or at speech competitions, it was loud enough that all I could hear was myself.

I still employ that defense mechanism. I like to ignore problems...deny that they are occurring...feigned ignorance is pseudo-bliss. Lately, my avoidant behavior has been extremely noticeable. I'm back to avoiding sleep sometimes, though I'm much better at making myself go to bed, but then I feel so bombarded with crap and start to get upset and beat down and start to lose, I listen to sermons and play solitaire on my ipod until I'm too tired to keep my eyes open. Then, I turn off the ipod, let myself cry for a few minutes and fall asleep to strange, strange dreams. It's my stupid way of trying to cope. It seems a lot of nights, lately, I've just been hit with ideas that I'm a nuisance and that people aren't really my friends, that I have nothing to offer, that I was a horrible camp counselor and shouldn't be trusted to be around/teach children, that I'll probably make an awful nurse IF I graduate...that I have nothing to offer...that I'm all alone...that I've been forgotten and abandoned...that my thoughts of serving others are really selfish because I can't do them any good anyway...etc. But I can ignore those things with my headphones on, kind of. I can ignore them until I work out the nerve to cry out to God to take them away and then cry a little as I reflect on how awful it was to have those thoughts in my head again...It's hard...

I was asked why I thought was going on. I believe I responded, "I don't know", which really means, "I just don't want to know". It's true...I want to rationalize it...that I'm just up too late or stressed out...that I haven't been talking with my friends enough...and while that might contribute, I know that's not all it is. But I just don't want to think about it...or maybe I'm too pinned under it all to think about it. I mean, the questions are What's going on? And why? Well, if what's going on is some spiritual warfare/opposition, which I do believe it is...then, the question becomes why? I cry at the thought becuase I don't see the point in picking on me. I'm not doing anything...I don't have anything to offer...but the fact that it happens implies that I am doing something, that I am a threat somehow...but I don't get it. I have this feeling that I could get it if I wanted to...that if I thought about it, I would realize what things were being opposed...but I think I've believed too many of the lies to believe that's I start to think about it but end up going, "Well, it can't be that...that's no big deal...that's nothing of consequence...and so I end up where I started...

I think what thwarts me is my lack of desire to remain ignorant, even though I'm not...and can't really pretend much longer. Somehow, it seems it would be different if I could say, "This is important. God is calling me to this. God has His hand in this." without ending those phrases with "I think...or I hope...or maybe..." That I could say, "I'm experiencing some spiritual warfare...I've felt really attacked in this area or because this endeavor is opposed." or something...and not end it with a question mark? *sigh* I wish I wouldn't judge myself as silly for thinking that way...why do I have to judge myself? Always...Always with the judging...

There are so many awesome things God and I have talked about lately. I wish I would have written them down and sent them to someone so they could remind me of them sometimes...because when I try to remember, I start to think I made it all up. Being in my mental health rotation doesn't help...I mean, they talk about some people's symptoms and I find myself thinking, what if I'm crazy? What if this God stuff just means I'm crazy? Then I think maybe the difference is that I'm "functional". Regardless, it makes it hard for me to really have faith in the things I've seen God do...and the things He's teaching me. *grimace and emo tear*

Thursday, September 25, 2008


So, the more I think about it, the more I'm beginning to think that I am musically superfluous. I don't REALLY bring much to the table. My best instruments are bassoon, bass guitar, cello, and clarinet. Wow. Yup. I went to All-State on bassoon, played in a bunch of honor bands, even went to Europe and played. I won solo contests, got a bassoon scholarship. I always loved it. It was like an extension of my soul. It felt so good to play, and I loved the way it sounded. It's so expressive and mellow and beautiful. But necessary? Not so much. There are a handful of pieces that use a bassoon feature, and they are recognizable pieces. Off the top of my head, I can think of like three notable pieces that the average person would recognize (though they aren't actually my favorite pieces to play) "Mr. Mistoffeles" from the musical Cats, "Funeral March for the Marionette" by Gounod, and "Peter and the Wolf". Otherwise, they generally have nice parts, but not the parts most people recognize. Bass guitar is awesome and provides that driving beat (I was always told it was the heart of the band), but when you put together an ensemble, can you do without? Yes. Yes, you can. *shakes head* And cello. Oh, cello! So beautiful. It's the instrument with the range most closely resembling the human voice. However, once again, can be done without. I suppose it's cool that my instruments can be considered "frosting"...but it's a hard thing to realize as I begin to shop for a bass guitar.

I figure I play bass enough without owning one that it warrants maybe like getting my own...essentially, I don't want to mooch as often. I mean, I don't play super often, but I've played some for worship, and I played in a pit orchestra and various other random times in the last few years, and I really miss, I can't safely store my cello, yet. So, it's not here for me to play on, and it's not quite the same to noodle on a clarinet, really. So, I figured I'd look into getting a bass for Christmas. I've always played an electric bass guitar. But for some reason, I've had it in my head that I should try acoustic electric. I mean, I like the versatility and it seems so practical. I keep thinking, "I could play it when my friends are having guitar parties...or if I go back to camp, it could be used at worship or campfire...I could noodle around without necessarily buying an amp because most gigs I play provide the amp...I can only afford one guitar; so, why not have one that can be played plugged or unplugged?" But then I get to thinking about the adjustment and the fact that I don't know if people would WANT my acoustic bass at the guitar parties (as it would be...supa different...and superfluous)...and what if I don't go back to camp? PLUS, I just don't know if I can really play one. I mean, I tried one out today at the guitar store, and technically, I can play it. I mean, it requires some technique adjustment, but totally do-able. The real question is if I can make the STYLE adjustment. I've always liked to sling it low and rock it hard...that's not exactly how you play acoustic. I've always been a bass chick -- a rock chick (a bass-a-chick-a-rock-a-chick-a-boom!). So, can I be an acoustic chick? Would it just look unnatural to put me behind an acoustic? Could I figure out how to rock out in that new stance...I mean, my bass wouldn't get to be slung near my hip...and the ability to like...move...would change...Could I make that adjustment? Should I make that adjustment? Would it be too weird if I made that adjustment? Would I miss electric too much? Would I get guitar envy when I hung out with David and John? Would this just open the door to me buying a second bass? I know the versatility and practicality suit me...but does acoustic-electric guitar suit me...they're pretty but in such a different way...I just don't know...and if I got one, I'd probably have to steer clear of the natural wood might creep me out too much. I mean, at the store today. I liked playing the acoustic electric, but I couldn't help buy eye the hott electric next to it. Do I have too much of a wandering eye to be satisfied with an acoustic electric? I must figure this out so I know what to put on my Christmas list. My dad wants to know what I want so he can do his own comparison shopping...*sigh*

I wrote this to vent, but by all means, me...I just don't know.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All Ova' Da' Place

So, life’s different…but tumultuous? I dislike using that word, but it seems it’s the best I’ve got right now. I mean, it seems like such a cop-out…like it implies I’m somehow special in life sucking from time to time. I don’t even really know what to say, right now. The past few days, I’ve felt weepy at times, and last night was…no good. It was reminiscent of the early stages of many a no-good day. Where I’m excessively pleased with my empty stomach…and certain I will fail nursing – certain I can’t learn this content and apply it in a sensible way…convinced that I shouldn’t have facebooked people because they’re probably getting sick of me, if they aren’t sick of me already – I should probably quit bugging them…a night where I lie in bed irritated by life…and thinking about how fast my heart is racing (thanks to the gratuitous amounts of coffee I drank to try to pick myself up), wondering what it’d be like for my heart to give out while I slept, realizing you can’t drink THAT much coffee – unless I paired it with way too many prescription pills – but that’s impractical…so, with tears rolling down my eyes, I curled up, praying God would hold me and went to sleep.

So, then, after a night of weird dreams…again…I wake up feeling refreshed and energetic and clear-headed. So clear-headed I almost didn’t drink my morning coffee (it tastes soo good, okay?).

Okay…so, I’ve been in dark places before…nights worse than last night…and had that go on for weeks…I figured I’d have those times again this fall…but things are different now. I have hope and faith…Yeah…Like I have faith that God will use me and guide me to somewhere awesome (I’ve been thinking more and more about going overseas, for the record)…I have faith that God will bring me through…He is my hope. Isn’t there like a verse…something about “our ever-present hope in times of trouble”? Or is that liturgy…either way it just leapt into my head. I have faith that God will hear me when I cry, hold me and never let go…it’s really weird for me…Sometimes I think that I’m kind of slow to get on the religious train…have to be certain and go through many doubts before I realize truth…maybe that’s my perception…but that’s how I feel…I feel that I wade out into the waters, rather than diving in…I guess I have the child-like faith of a timid child (which is weird…cause except for in the case of swimming lessons, I wasn’t one). Point is…I feel like I have more faith…or am stronger in my faith…in my faith that there is a God, one who cares for me and loves and will care for me, even though I can’t say I’m supa solid.

Here’s another big thing I’m growing in…self-care/recognizing need for care. Yeah…like I’ve been sleeping more and more regularly. I don’t really stay up late to work. When I get tired and start struggling to focus, I go to bed (which has been earlier and earlier…but consistent). When I’m hungry, I eat. I’ve been getting like 6-8 hours of sleep…usually closer to 8 hours…I know, weird, right? The weirdest part, I’ve felt less guilty about like sleeping and stuff…less guilty about making sure I’m taken care of (that’s worded strangely…it’s not that I’m doing it all on my own). Like, I don’t feel guilty about sleeping because I do better when I’m well-rested. Once again, my book encouraged me in this. Mother Teresa was talking to the sisters in her convent and expressing her beliefs about not needing to give penance to God in the form of fasting or denying sleep but rather making certain that you are in good health and well rested so that you can give yourself fully to God when serving the poor, the destitute, etc. I mean, she’s right…not that I just believe it because I read it in the book…but it’s like I was coming to this realization and then read it in print and then realized I’d been moving in that direction…if that makes sense. I mean, how can I care for others, if I’m not caring for myself. If I’m tired and weak and sick, I have less of myself to give. Now, granted it’s God who does the work anyway, but I guess…it’s about offering myself to Him and His service…and treating well the body that He has blessed me with…Yup. Maybe when I master this sleeping and eating and Bible reading thing…I’ll be able to add exercise into the balance. Yeah! IDK…just a thought.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

People Matter

That's what I hear in my heart/mind/soul...I don't even know exactly where...somewhere deep inside, though. I just firmly believe that people...people matter. I actually took some time for myself this week and read. It was amazing...I'm not sure what compelled me to finally do it, but I'm glad it happened. I read 1st and 2nd Timothy and then a chapter out of Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, which I've been reading out of since mid-summer. I love reading it. I love Mother Teresa's heart, or rather, I love that she seeks God's heart and acts out of a sense of His heart for people. I love that she's humble and talks about how others could do it better, how she is so weak, so imperfect...I love that you can see God's strength in her honesty and humility and weakness...She acknowledges her imperfection and gets out of God's way. She talked about herself being a "His instrument". Her desire was to give up all that she had to serve Christ through serving others. In one of her writings, she wrote about how she loves comfort and nice things but that her desire was to carry Christ to the poor. She said, "God alone, God everywhere, God in everybody and in everything, God always." I love the way she saw God everywhere.

One of the passages that stood out the most to me the other day was regarding the lepers in Calcutta: "(I want to) make them know that they too are the loved children of God & so give them something to live for."

That really struck a chord with me because it's really something I believe. I believe that Christ brings hope. I believe, like Mother Teresa, in bringing people to Christ by showing them His love. When she was establishing the house for the dying, she said it would give her a chance to put her "love in living action". That's what I want.

I got into nursing because I thought it would challenge me intellectually while allowing me to work with people. I figured I could live a comfortable life with good pay and excellent job security. I figured it'd be flexible and I could raise a family...but God's been working on/in me as I've gone through school...somewhere along the way, my focus stopped being on comfort and success -- on nice houses, comfortable living, and pretty things. It's been kind of a slow process as I see it...gradual...I can't think of when it started...but I know it did. I mean, it must have started a ways back, but I know a big step was declining internships to go to camp...and that led to a lot of learning and a lot of growing...and it seems I'm even more in this new place. Like I always loved Mother Teresa and what she did, but her words never sounded so much like my own...that probably sounds cheesy or like I'm trying to say I'm awesome...I know I'm not...I'm no Mother Teresa, but I understand...I I can related to what she says about people. I know people matter to God, and I am thankful for all the times He has let me show them His love. Like at the nursing home...I still had rough days...but I don't think I could have been patient enough to really care for those people if God hadn't been doing it all for me. It reminds me of something my teacher said at my mental health clinical. She was talking about how, especially in mental health nursing, we (our presence) is instrumental in the care we give. She wrapped up her explanation with, "Who are the tools?" which, after a slightly awkward pause, we replied, "We are!"

And I want to be God's tool...maybe that'll be my new blog title. I want Him to use me. I want to respond when He calls. I want to go and do and share Him and be with Him...everyday. ;) Because I love that while that's my desire for my life, God can call and use me everyday. I want that...everyday.

It's been weird. I haven't really been ruminating on what I'm going to do with my life lately, but it seems that somehow, it's becoming a little more narrowed down. Just in talking with my roommates, I've been realizing the things I believe in...the things I value...the places where I want to take God (through my nursing skills?). I really believe in Good Samaritan's slogan: "In God's love, everyone is someone." Mother Teresa said something about caring for the poorest of the poor, the unwanted, the rejected, the forgotten...that's what I want to do.

I want to care for people. I want to let them know that they are cared for, not by me because I can't care for them...not like they need to be...because I get hung up on the things that annoy me, I get impatient, I can be harsh and hurtful...but I what I want so badly is for them to know that they are cared for through God...I want them to know that they are loved by God, that they matter. I want them to know that they are not forgotten, they are not useless, they are not beyond love or hope, they are not beyond forgiveness...because they have a God who passionately and eternally loves them...I want them to know that and the beauty of that. I don't care if I have a job where I get to perform a lot of skilled procedures. I don't care if it's action-packed and "exciting". I don't care if I "see a lot". I don't care if I start a thousand IVs and become pro at assisting in surgery. It all means nothing if I'm not caring for someone. I don't want to treat illnesses. I want to treat people...not even that...I want to CARE for people. And I don't just want to care for people who look like me and live like me and I can relate to...I want to care for those who don't know they're cared for. I realized just how much I mean that when my friend and I were discussing convicts the other day. We were discussing what "privileges" convicts should have and which were "a waste". I took a very different stance because I told her that I didn't think that convicts were a waste of time...yes, some will never leave the walls of that prison, but God still loves them, and they can still change...they can still learn...they can still change...We also discussed that day different areas of nursing. My favorite settings so far have been community health (and school nursing), long term care (of the elderly and the developmentally disabled) and mental health. I'm also intrigued by hospice, but haven't tried my hand at it, yet.

You know what I want? What I want so badly that it makes me cry? (I'm almost scared to say it...) I want to go somewhere most people don't want to go and care for the people that think no one cares about them. I want to show them that they are loved. I want to love them so badly. I don't even know who exactly those people are. Sometimes, I think they're the dying. Sometimes I think they are the aged. Sometimes, I think that it's young people who are lost in the business of this world. Sometimes I think it's the poor. Sometimes, I think it's the mentally ill.......Sometimes....Sometimes, I think it's people who aren't in this country...people somewhere far from here...people who don't even have "the basics" of health care...

Maybe those dreams are me parroting "noble undertakings"...but I don't think so...the desire is too real...too huge...

Oh, and when you pair it with my desire to live simply. Oh my goodness. So, I was reading in 1st and 2nd Timothy, right? I was just blown away over and over...1st at a passage that talked about "charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of a faith unfeigned." Oh, I cried...real charity...real love...real faith..."unfeigned"...sincere. It frustrates me because I know I can't do that...not perfectly. Mother Teresa talks about her shortcomings! I'm so impatient...I can be so short-tempered...I question my ability to show compassion and charity to others...but I suppose the beauty of it is that if that's truly my call...then it won't be my compassion or my won't be my'll be God...and He...He can do that so well. Reading those books, too, just reminded me of God's provision in all things -- His faithfulness. Like in 1 Timothy chapter 6, I was rocked by the thoughts of richness in the Lord and contentment with His provision. It talked about putting trust in god instead of riches, recognizing that we "can't take it with us". And how if we have riches in this world, we should be willing to help others with what God has provided. Then, in 2 Timothy chapter 1, I was reminded to trust in God's provision of strength and love and talked about how God had given us a spirit of power and love and a sound mind. I mean, it gave me a lot of peace...because as I come to realize more and more that I want something different..that I want to go out and love people...that God will provide...He will provide everything I need...He'll provide the love and the strength and the faith and He will care for me. And too, it made me think about the assets I have, the blessings I have that I can share...that can help me to help graduating without debt...or (fairly) good health...

I don't know. Maybe I'm just over-excited. Or maybe I'm now embarrassed by my excitement and wishing to diminish it. But that just reminds me of what I was reading in Timothy...about not allowing anyone or anything to dim what I have seen God do. So, I will choose right now to not be ashamed of the desires and the excitement and the learning that I wrote's a blessing...oh, the tears I am crying as I right all this. I feel like my heart's going to explode, and I like it...I like it a lot. Alright, to wrap this up...I'll share the clincher, what really brings the tears to my eyes...I don't want to tell people that "people matter" or that "people matter to God". I want to tell/show each one that they individually matter to God. "You matter because you are loved by God." The crazy more than ever before (not saying I'm totally on board)...I realize that I, too matter. Like, when I think about how "People matter"...I also hear that I matter...and that God loves's pretty sweet...and I know it's not cause I'm perfect or have become more perfect...He's always loved helps to know that...because it's a great reminder that He'll continue to be faithful, continue to hold me, continue to be with me. Plus, it reminds me that no one else will be perfect either...and they are already loved. It's just a matter of letting them know the truth. Jesus did the grunt work, we get to let everyone know what He's done. It's awesome. It's awesome. I'm pretty sure I had a share along those lines this summer...I feel compelled to find it, now...but perhaps in the morning. For now, I'm going to sleep with a big ol' smile on my lips because Jesus loves me, too.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A New Song

Or a frenzy of mental activity!

So, I always had hoped that God would put a "new song" in my heart, and it seems like I'm getting the joy of that pretty frequently. I've just had this desire lately to write and write poems and songs and whatnot. It's kind of weird for me because I'm not really skilled to write songs, and it's been a looong time since I wrote poetry. It's refreshing, though, to have so much inside me wanting to bubble up and out. Plus, in the past, I wrote poetry out of frustration and anger and angst. It's kind of neat to be writing out of such a good place. I just hope that I have the time one day to sit down and finish one or two of these poems.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What's in Your Purse?

So, have you ever seen the Boy Meets World episode where Cory and Sean find a purse and dig through the contents to learn about the owner. Sean is like totally impressed by the kiwi lip gloss, book of sonnets, and action movie tickets. He says that's the woman for him...he does end up dating her for a long time...

Well, that got me thinking a bit. Actually, I'm not even sure why I was thinking about that episode or that show...I've not seen either one for a loooong time...whatever...Be that as it may, I was thinking about this and what's in my purse and what that says about me.

I remember a friend digging through my purse one day a couple years back and finding a multi-tool, an eye patch, some lip gloss, and payment options...yup...don't know what the eye patch was for really...I think left over from a city band performance of Pirates of the Caribbean...

Now, the contents would vary depending on the purse and the occasion, but you would most likely find: kleenex, carmex, a comb, band-aids, moist towelettes or hand sanitizer, various keys, money (checks, cards, etc.), phone, and my Java City punch card...on special occassions, you might find my multi-tool or a camera or my Bible (those vary, though).

So, what does that say about me? Sean was impressed because the kiwi lip gloss was exotic and showed that Angela cared about her lips. The sonnets showed she was deep. The action tickets, someone fun.

Mine would show...that I'm prepared? and...have responsibilities that require money? I have a home and a car? I am a caffeine addict? I could be outdoorsy or sentimental or spiritual? IDK...perhaps I can't analyze it because I actually put those things in my purse...and can only think of the reasons why and not the traits that those reasons reflect? (I especially don't know what the eye patch said about me...though that was back in the day...) Just musings. Do with them what you will.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Good Night's Rest

I'm notoriously awful at sleeping, which is weird because sleeping isn't really a skill, or at least not one most people lack. I suppose, though, it's not that I'm anatomically ill-equipped or something. I just sometimes fail to go to bed because I want to accomplish things or because I'm afraid of bad dreams...or for reasons unknown.

However, I was actually pretty good about getting sleep this summer, especially when there were kids in my cabin. I was exhausted most of the time; so, the fact that they had to go to bed early was awesome to me. Of course, I often had to sit awake while they went to the bath house, but that's another issue all together. This fall, I've been doing pretty well. I've had some random nights of sleeplessness, but most of the time, I go to bed at a reasonable hour...or at least more reasonable than in the past...and I sleep...Or, I get to tired, and I go to bed...most of the time. I'm pretty proud of this.

I'm now facing a dilemma, though. My parents came out to visit this past weekend and brought with them a few boxes that hadn't fit in the cruiser on my trip to Brookings. Among those boxes was my bedding. That might sound weird to you,'s how I roll. I figured since I'd stay at Bobbie's a few days on my way out here, I would need my sleeping bag. So, I packed that and have been sleeping in my sleeping bag sense. Well, but then again, I slept in my sleeping bag all summer except when I was on day camp. And...before summer started, I was already sleeping in my sleeping bag...starting about April-ish. I went home for Easter and washed my bedding. When I came back, I never felt motivated to make my bed. So, I slept under my quilt on top of my mattress pad, and once recharge season started, I was mostly all about the sleeping bag. Yup. So, other than a few choice weeks, I haven't really used bedding since...sometime in March? And now that I've been sleeping so well...I'm nervous. Do I put my bedding back on my bed? Or do I put it in my closet for a while and keep rocking the sleeping bag? Should I maybe phase in the start with just the top sheet and blanket and sleep on top of my sleeping bag but under the top sheet and blanket? Then add the quilt? Then the bottom sheet? I just don't know. All I know is I've definitely been stalling. My bedding's been in my room for 3 days now. I'm still happily sleeping in my purple sleeping bag...I think I'm an addict.