Chicago Adventures

Went to Chicago for my sister’s wedding and enjoyed being with family this past weekend. I got to meet my youngest niece (14 weeks) and my youngest cousin (14 months) – double score! It was an adventure taking the trains and exploring a bit, and we even got to eat some Chicago style deep dish pizza from Giordano’s (which was to die for)! Although the crowds of a big city are not really my favorite thing, that Chicago skyline is undeniably beautiful. I played tourist and took some photos – these are my three favorites of the city.

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I came back to work after a week off and have had an incredibly hard couple of days back at the hospital. Being a nurse is indescribably difficult some days. An unexpected death, while next door unhappy patients and family members wonder why you took so long getting to them. A terminal diagnosis just given in one room, all the while a patient who is perfectly capable is on their call light complaining and wanting repositioned in another room. Some days it really wears my spirit out, on top of my body not feeling super great lately. I was thinking all these things and the verses came to mind Ephesians 6:12-13, and it reminds me that every day is a battle, some days we just feel it more than others.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Love,
Willa

He Qualifies the Called

So one of my New Year’s resolutions was to go on more adventures… And we went on a great one for my 25th birthday! We hiked several trails in the Boxley Valley area and stayed at a beautiful cabin near Jasper, AR that overlooks Steel Creek Valley. We got to see a herd of elk, we talked around the campfire, ate some great food, took in the breathtaking views, explored the rock formations and waterfalls… I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with a better group of people. I took my camera along and here are some pics from the trip:

I’m not in the greatest of shape, and hiking is challenging for me still even though my arthritis is much improved from six months ago. I’ve found that stopping and taking photos is a great way to take little breaks while hiking. Haha! I may be at the back of the pack, but it’s teaching me to take the time to enjoy and document the amazing details along the way that I might otherwise skip over.

That reminds me of something…

Last night we just finished up our young women’s Bible study series called “Unashamed” by Christine Caine. I wanted to share one of the closing thoughts, because it spoke to me in a big way:

It is so important that we do not allow the words and actions of others, or for that matter, even our own self-talk, to define us or limit our potential. God does not ever call the qualified. He qualifies the called.

It’s a process, but I am learning to let go of what I think about myself, and just go with it and be used by God! God uses all of my limits, my imperfections, my flaws, for His glory and for my good. Even things like being the slowest hiker EVER can end up being a positive (photos and memories I might otherwise have missed out on). I’m reminded that when we stop focusing on our own shortcomings and instead focus on serving God and others, that is when things fall into place and we can begin to see the big picture of the good life that He has for us! I’m so thankful for that reminder and for that wonderful weekend enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. What a great way to kick off my 25th birthday year!

Love,
Willa