Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Two Roads.

Country road by a friend's house.

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Matthew 7:13-14

In Christ alone. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I am a rule follower.

Rules. Laws. Regulations.

We all have them and live by them. They govern our conduct within society. They entitle us as "good" citizens/participants/players, etc.

The Bible is also full of them. Really, just take a look.

I am definitely not an expert on this, but on my study of law, grace, legalism and license (one of my hobbies...it's so interesting!), I've come to realize how many rules I have that entitle me as being "good", "righteous", and/or "accepted" before God. 

In lesson 2 of "The Gospel-Centered Life", the authors, Thune and Walker, call this pretending and performing

Here are some of my list of rules that make me "righteous" before God (more like myself!):

Job - Be a hard, honest worker.
Intellectual - Read the Bible and read everything you can get your hands on. It will make me superior, more articulate and culturally competent than others. 
Discipline - A big one! I was awarded almost every year in school for this one (happens when you attend a very strict one).
Legalistic - Psh. Another really big one. I don't smoke, do drugs, and never slept around ("purity" commitment). You name it.

There are many more rules I have that come straight from the Bible. 

By following these rules, I pretend that I am better than I really am (and others are, well, not so good). I perform by trying to live up to God's expectations (or rules) to try to gain His approval.

God will surely bless me if I follow them and will be really disappointed if I don't.

Bluebonnets growing by a friend's house
However, my view, and maybe yours, too, of His rules is completely mistaken. We can't impress God with this pretending/performance-driven Christianity. Moreover, we tend to judge others based on their performance and how short they fall of our standards. 

"What, then, the purpose of the law? It was added  because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come." Galatians 3:19

During these past few years, God has been working on me to help me understand that the rules in His book were not only meant to be followed, but they were also meant to grow our awareness of His holiness and our sinfulness. Those rules were made for us to realize how perfect His character is and how short we fall of His standards. They were made to lead me to Him and find my sense of security and worth in Him. 

"Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law...So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law." Galatians 3: 21, 24

I should add that this does not give us permission to sin. 

What Jesus did on the cross has already set us free. 

Through His work, He continues to teach me what living under grace is all about.

What are your thoughts? Are you a rule follower like I am? Have you ever thought of how your rules diminish the value of what Jesus did on the cross? 
You can comment or email me (you can use the contact tab). I hope my thoughts made sense! I tried to organize them as best I could. 
I encourage you to read Galatians...or Romans. Or both. They are so interesting!   


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring cook-out

A few days ago, Diana (my sister) and Keith (my sister's boyfriend) decided it was warm enough to cook lunch outside...and so we did!

Side note: Today has been pretty cold (at least for April in Texas). Lesson: Never trust Texas weather.

Preparing the hamburgers

My patient model. ;-) 

When we were younger, up to our teenage years, we would make this "sister pose"! I think we got it from the Olsen twins. We owned every movie since like the late 1990's. 

And, representing Minnesota...my key chain!

We had to do a mini photoshoot, of course. It was pretty sunny!

The water was freezing!

The end result: 

This week I started going over, again, a nine-lesson study my community group and I "studied" during the fall semester of 2011 called "The Gospel-Centered Life" by Bob Thune and Will Walker. Oh my word, it's so good.

Last but definitely not least, today marks the 1st month of being [legally] married to Greg! Time sure does fly! Marriage has been teaching me a few things... even though we [still] don't live together. For personal convictions (besides jobs and everything that comes from living in different states) we will move in together until October, but I'll save that for another post.

How is your week going so far? I hope you are have a lovely week!


Monday, April 15, 2013

He delights in you!

About two years ago, I attended a series of talks called "Conversations about Dating, Sex and Relationships" held at my college and the speaker gave me a hand-out that I still keep. It continues to be a source of encouragement every time I read it. I hope it encourages you! 

"...he rescued me because he delighted in me." Ps. 18:19. 

And you thought he saved you because of your decency. You thought he saved you because of your good works or good attitude or good looks. Sorry. If that were the case, your salvation would be lost when your voice went south or your works got weak. There are many reasons God saves you: to bring glory to himself, to appease his justice, to demonstrate his sovereignty. 

But one of the sweetest reasons God saved you is because he is fond of you. He likes having you around. He thinks you are the best thing to come down the pike in quite awhile. "...as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." Isa. 62:5.

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart. Face it, friend. He is crazy about you (Max Lucado).


He is completely, utterly, unconditionally in love with you! Do you know this? Let it sink in your heart. 

It just gives me the chills. 


[My] Top 15 tips to succeed/survive pre-nursing and nursing school.

Hello, all! I've been wanting to write about nursing school/practice for around three years.

I would love to encourage people who love the profession as much as I do!

I know that some of you may relate, and some of you may not. I hope you still enjoy reading about my nursing adventures from time to time!

Anywho, here goes something. haha!

[My] Top 15 tips to succeed/survive pre-nursing and nursing school. 

My momma receiving her nursing cap.
(These are from personal experience)  

1] Go for that four-year college degree! 

I understand that some of you can't do this due to the lack of financial support and/or time. Let's not forget the competition that exists to even be accepted! It's crazy. Don't get me wrong, an RN with an associate degree or a bachelor's degree is able to give the same quality of work (you can ask my sister, she had her associate before her bachelors)! Both types of nurses are just as smart. Unfortunately, nowdays, most hospitals (or at least hospitals with magnet status) are requiring nurses to have at least a bachelor's degree. Nursing has so many roads. That's its beauty. 

2] Strive for a good science GPA.

It is part of your ticket to nursing school. This includes the never-ending Biology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology classes!. 

3] Volunteer in the health care field (or other fields). 

Please don't do it for the sake of having something on your resume. If you are passionate about it, go for it. I was blessed with the opportunity to volunteer at a hospital, as a eucharistic minister in the church I was attending, and as a third grade tutor in a gifted and talented school. Nursing schools, and potential employers, look for an all around student! They teach you things school doesn't. Your beliefs and values may strengthen. One of the greatest assets of volunteering? The people you meet! I made friends with a very sweet Catholic nun who was my volunteer partner at the hospital! 

4] Make connections with professors and your counselors.

Go to "office hours"! They will remember who you are because you established that connection outside of class. They will become a very important source of information when you look for a job. 

5] Join organizations that advocate for nursing students, nurses or others. 

Join their board. As I said before, if you are passionate about something, let your passion shine! One of my friends had the idea of creating a student led organization that advocated for Hispanic nursing students. He invited me to join their board. The organization is still running (and membership is increasing from what I've heard) after five (or so) years!

6] Don't worry too much about that "C" you received on your first test. 

Grades will get better or worse. It is all about motivation and dedication. I am talking about you, dear Pharmacology. 

7] Practice public speaking (it counts if you do it in front of your mirror, too)! "Hi, my name is Gabby and I am going to be your student nurse today." 

You will be more comfortable as you approach the patient's room on that first day of your clinical rotation. Really. Unless you are a natural talker, of course. ;-) 

8] Document, document, document.

Everything! Computer or paper charting. Write down everything you did. Besides being on the "safe" side, it will also help in completing careplans a week after taking care of so and so. 

9] Go to class.

Take notes in that "I-am-never-going-to-use-this-again-in-my-life" class.

10] If you are not sure about something, tell your professor. 

He/she would rather have you not know and ask questions than have you harm a patient because of your negligence and/or pride (and you will learn more!). 

11] Be a friend. 

The people in your nursing class will become your best friends for the rest of nursing school and maybe for life. Treat them well. 

12] Humility. 

Around school peers, professors, nurses, doctors, housekeeping staff, etc. You really do not know it all. Nurses like a humble student. They remember you and ask for you to follow them "the next time you come" (happened to a friend).

13] Show up to clinicals. 

Remember that what happens there, stays there. HIPPA, anyone? By the way, look your best. Even if it is five thirty in the morning and you have to wear that uniform and those white shoes!  ;-)

14] Take every [appropriate] opportunity.

If there is an IV to be done, do it. If the patient needs a feeding tube, do it. If the patient needs a bath, do it. If there is a diaper to be changed or a baby to be fed, do it. Needless to say, if you do not feel comfortable doing something, whether you are not sure how to do it or it may violate a hospital policy and/or it may be illegal, say it! Earlier this week, there was a student nurse who did not go into the room when the primary nurse was assessing the patient "because there is already too many people in the room". Don't be afraid, they are your patients, too! 

15] Pray. Memorize Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Peter 5:7. 

These two verses were my rock. Fill yourself with that truth. Have a lot of faith. There will be hard times. There were times where I did not know if I was really going to "make it". I struggled with my faith.
Know that very soon that "RN" will be behind your name! 

I just have a few months of experience under my belt, but I would love to answer any questions you may have!

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3: 23-24
Gabby, RN. ;-)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Twenty-three: You are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Twenty-three years ago, I became a big sister.

Here are twenty-three [fun] facts that you should know about her: 

1] Her middle name is Lorena (not many people know this). 
2] She is a middle child. She is a year and a half younger than me.
3] Not afraid of heights. She has been skydiving! 
4] When she was around four, a bee stung her tongue! 
5] Diana has broken both her arms - twice (I think. It may be two fractures in one and one in the other). 
6] She is an extrovert, but a secret introvert. 
7] Best handwriting you will find (very round and cursive). Hands down. 
8] When she is embarrased, her face will turn red as a tomato. 
9] Diana looked just like our aunt, our dad's sister, when she was young. Now that she is grown, she looks just like our momma and walks/stands like our dad. Genes? 
10] She is really, really smart. Like "book" and "street" smart. Reading? "Meh. Another day." 
11] We have shared a room since she was born. We also share clothes, jewelry, jeans, etc. Basically everything. Except shoes. She is a size 10.
12] Loves, loves, loves summer. Can't get enough of the sun! 
13] Diana is much taller than me. People think she is older. Some other people think she is my twin.
14] She thinks she is our daddy's favorite. ;-)
15] She loves to shop.
16] You know when she is questioning something when her eyebrows go to the center, then up (similar to the picture below). 
17] Her best friend is Andrea.
18] Diana was probably a "hippie" in the 60's. 
19] Doesn't like fish. Or anything that comes from the sea. Except canned tuna! 
20] Graduated three times from Kindergarten (she was too young / I made her go to Kindergarten with me) and graduated three times from College (two associates and one bachelor)! 
21] Adventurous, gentle, quiet spirit. 
22] She is a Christian. God is truly fond of her. Just ask her how many blessings He has poured over her. 
23] A few months ago, she became a Pediatric ER Registered Nurse. 

You are my best friend. I am so thankful for you!

I wish you many more years of happiness.

Happy Birthday!

"It's your birthday and you can do whatever you want!" ;-)

Te quiero mucho.
Your sister, 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Our Civil Ceremony: Celebration (Part 3)

I promise this is the last part to our ceremony series! ;-) I've had way too much fun looking through all the silly pictures my brother took. I have a lot more pictures, but I must say I (rather my brother), left my camera on a table, and family members began taking pictures with it. Therefore, some are very random, but fun!

Which, gives me an idea. Wouldn't it be great if we left some disposable cameras on the tables at the wedding celebration in Mexico and then see what guests captured? Anyway, I am the random one now. ;-) Let's proceed to the matter of this post!

My sister-in-law Marie and her husband Dave offered their house for the wedding celebration. Greg and I are so thankful.

My brother. Isn't he handsome?

The cake! My sister bought it for us as a wedding gift. 
She definitely knows my taste/style. Very simple and romantic.
It was so good and everyone loved it!

The girls in the middle are part of our family who lives in Rochester, MN. I was so glad they could go to our wedding!

My sister-in-law Laurie and her daughter. She is too cute. 

My other sister-in-law Marie.

Children were definitely a part of our wedding. Greg has a lot of nephews, nieces, and little cousins. In my side of the family, we are all teenagers/adults (except for my two youngest cousins) so this was fun and exciting for me. My grandmother was in love with all the children!

This brother and sister (Greg's cousins) were the life of the party! They danced the night away like no other. 

I think he was a bit scared! Can you believe Greg, at 26, has a baby cousin? He has the prettiest curly hair. 

I'll end with one last picture. My brother captured it the next day at the Mall of America.

I want to do an IV on those veins, but he will not allow me. Sorry, I can't help it. ;-)

I can't and will not stop praising my Savior for His perfect timing and His blessings over us. Girls, He is faithful. His plan for us is perfect and beyond what we can imagine I know you have probably heard this a whole lot of times in any area of your life. I certainly have. I know there are happy and difficult times to come. Blogging about this serves as a personal reminder to surrender every doubt, fear, happiness, etc, to Him and watch His love and grace work.

I pray that my marriage to Greg is full of that. Grace.

Thank you for looking through the pictures! It was fun sharing them with you.

With much love, 


Our Civil Ceremony: Family (Part 2)

Okay, so where did I leave off? ;-)

After the ceremony, we took some pictures inside the building with some of the family.

My family (minus my youngest brother who could not attend). 

My parents. 

With my new family.

Te quiero mucho, daddy! We are definitely daddy's girls. My mom says we spoil each other too much. ;-)

Three generations. Do you want to know something awesome about my grandmother? She is 72 years old, still works and walks to and from work every day! I have the honor of wearing her graduation ring, with her initials and the year 1956 engraved on it. I guess you could call it my "something old". :-) 

Oh, and people say I am going to "grow up" and be just like her.

Greg's maternal grandmother.

The two most important men in the world.

Silly husband. ;-)

After the family pictures, we went to take pictures at a conservatory in St. Paul. However, there was a lot of people! We could barely walk! So, we decided to go to a nearby park.

His parents took their wedding picture in this exact location! 

"She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12