Monday, December 2, 2013

TTB & V-Day team up!

Peanut butter and jelly. Macaroni and cheese. Mickey and Minnie. Some things are just meant to be together. Which is why I am so excited to announce the collaboration of Team True Beauty and V-Day! I’ve worked with Team True Beauty from the start and strongly believe in everything they stand for. This organization works to empower women from within. It encourages people to use their voices and believe in the power of their worth and purpose. Team True Beauty firmly believes that every woman has a story, and behind each story is the power and potential to make a great impact. Unfortunately and all too often, women are believing that they are worth nothing more than a number- a number on a scale, on a test, on a pair of jeans. However, Team True Beauty works to empower women and help them to remember that heart, passion, dreams and desires…that’s what matters, and that is what can help to change the world.

Now a little bit about V-Day. V-Day is a movement to end violence against women and girls all over the world. It promotes creative events to help increase awareness, as well as raise money, and encourage the general movement. The physical consequences of violence against women are terrible and extremely dangerous. However, the psychological consequences are just as bad. V-Day is working to help stop the cycle of violence and provide support through empowerment.

I am so excited for this collaboration and cannot wait to see what the future holds. Gloria Arroyo said: “The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable. But the power of many working together is better.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Beautifully Broken

There are times in your life where you feel pulled in a million different directions by nothing in particular. There are times in your life where you feel broken. The dictionary defines “broken” as “being irregular, interrupted, or full of obstacles”. It can be hard to admit that you feel broken. To be honest, it’s hard to admit anytime you feel less than perfect. As humans, we have learned to protect ourselves and our pride by promoting ourselves as whole and together. But if you have lived, you have experienced some sense of brokenness. And yet in our society, broken is seen as bad, so we try our best to become whole again. We attempt to patch our holes and fill our cracks with quick and easy fixes, but these do not last, and eventually we break again. But what if we learn to become okay in our broken state? What if we were to stop striving to be perfect, and realize that we are broken people. We are broken and hole-y people, with a perfect and holy God. We can try to patch our own holes, but we will never succeed without the help of God. Easier said than done, I know. When you are in a situation where you are feeling broken, it’s so easy to go for the quick fix, and so often we think that we know what is best for ourselves. I am so guilty of this. But Psalm 147:3 says, “The Lord heals the broken hearted, and binds up their wounds”. So it’s really not my job to put myself back together. It’s my job to trust that God will make a beautiful mosaic out of my broken pieces, and to remember that we are never broken beyond repair. After all, isn’t a mosaic just a collection of broken pieces, put back together in a beautiful and imperfect arrangement?

Hello, my name is Brooke. And sometimes I feel broken.

My sweet friend, Jeanette, summed it up perfectly with this one picture.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Welcome to the World

Today I had the opportunity to see a baby being brought into this world. I couldn’t help but be emotional for this growing family and this baby, who was already so clearly loved. This little girl opened her eyes to our big world for the first time, and I couldn’t help but think of her future. So I decided to write a letter; a letter that she will never see, but hopefully learn throughout life:

Dear sweet baby girl,

Happy birthday and welcome to the world. I know you’re only a few hours old and you’re still getting used to all of the new noises and sights, but there are a few things I want to tell you.

Stay as young as you can for as long as you can. Appreciate your parents, they did a lot to bring you into this world and they are madly in love with you. They may not know everything, but they are learning right along with you. Participate. Don’t let life pass you by because you are afraid or unsure. Jump in head first and explore all of life’s opportunities. Right now your parents are probably looking over every inch of your tiny, perfect body. They are loving your tiny toes, your squishy thighs, your soft round tummy, your fuzzy head. Appreciate your body for as long as you can. Be aware that you have a body and that it is capable of many amazing things, but don’t think too hard about it. You may grow up hearing, “oh you’re so tiny, you’re so beautiful, you’re so cute”. And you are. But you are so much more than that. You are a culmination of many things. You are your memories and experiences, what makes you laugh, and what makes you cry. You are your favorite foods, and the songs you like to sing, and your plans for the future. You are the light that shines in your eyes when you get excited about something. You are your favorite subject in school, and your intelligence that helps you to understand these things. You are a daughter, a friend, a granddaughter, maybe even a sister or cousin. You are a child of Christ, and you are made up of so many wonderful things. But sweet girl, there are also so many things that you are not. You are not your pants size, or the number on a scale, or a grade on a test, or the money you have or don’t have. You are more than the number of friends you have, or the sports you play.

So yes, you are so beautiful; don’t ever forget that. But you are also brave, and strong, and smart, and capable of so many things. So as you go through life, you will face times of hardships and times of doubt. But times of happiness and joy and love are never far away. Happy birthday. And welcome. Enjoy.

my welcoming into the world


Friday, September 6, 2013

Teacher Appreciation

Every once in a while, a person drifts into your life at just the right time, even though you may not know it yet. For me, that person was a teacher; and this teacher was my high school chorus teacher.

For the first year of high school Mr. Horrell was just another teacher. He was funny and I enjoyed his class, but I honestly don’t remember him as a standout part of my freshman year. Sophomore year is when everything changed. When I was 15 my life drastically changed. I can honestly say it was one of the lowest and hardest times of my life. By the second semester of my sophomore year, I decided that attending regular classes wasn’t an option for me anymore, so I was “hospital homebound” (which is basically saying I was self taught at home). During this time I wasn’t leaving my house or really willingly accepting visitors. I was a prisoner to myself and I spent most days in my pajamas wanting to be anyone other than myself. My teachers were all very cooperative and understanding and made sure to send me homework and lessons at home. However, one teacher went above and beyond and reached out to me. Mr. Horrell would call my mom to check in on me and would occasionally send me e-mails, via my mom, to check in and see how I was doing. He kept me informed on what was going on in school and told me that they’d be waiting for me when I was ready to come back. He asked me about my doctors visits and how my progress was coming and offered up advice. He worked with me to make goals for myself. When it was time to take the state writing test (which could not be taken from home!), he offered me his office to sit in to take the test. I remember he talked to my mom and suggested we plan a practice run before the official test day, in order to decrease my anxiety. So during his planning period one day, I saw in his office as we ran through a mock writing test. By junior year, when I was easing my way back into school, he helped me to come up with a plan. It may not seem like much, but it was the small moments that helped me to get through high school.

In all honestly, I’m not sure if I would have made it through high school without the support of an amazing teacher (as well as my parents, friends, and doctors). He saw me at some of my worst times and continued to support me through it. And because of that, we have stayed in touch. Last year, on my 23rd birthday, I was able to spend the evening with my parents, as well as Horrell and his wife. I am forever thankful for this teacher, who turned into a friend.

I thought I’d share an excerpt of what Horrell wrote in my senior year book:

“June 8, 2007
First of all let me say something that 3 years ago I wasn’t sure I would, WOW- YOU MADE IT!!!! It is remarkable, excuse me…you are a remarkably courageous and determined young lady. I am so proud of you for fighting with everything you have. Greatness is measure in different ways, and often confused by those taking the measurement. I would argue that your “fight to finish” is a true mark of greatness, and ranks along side any award or acknowledgement that is given at Saturday’s graduation ceremony. I don’t think I would have done as well as you if faced with the same obstacle!! Rarely in a teacher’s career does a student impact the teacher’s life in a way that changes his approach to teaching, and life for that matter, the way you have impacted me! I am a better person/teacher because of you…”

So teachers, as the school year begins and you’re overwhelmed with chaos and excitement and frustration and exhaustion, please know that what you do matters. And what you say, and the relationships you form, have the ability to change a life.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month

September. The beginning of fall, a new school year, pumpkin spice lattes, cooler temps, and pediatric cancer awareness month. As many of you know, I work on a pediatric oncology/hematology floor in a childrens hospital and am extremely blessed to work with this population. These kids are some of the bravest, strongest, and sweetest people I’ve ever met, and they are facing the challenge of a lifetime. Pediatric cancer doesn’t just affect the child, but the whole family. Unfortunately, each day 36 children are diagnosed with cancer.

On November 9th, I will be walking in the CureSearch walk. The CureSearch walk celebrates and honors children whose lives have been affected by childhood cancer, while raising funds for lifesaving research.
This is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart and I would love all the support I can get. Please take a few minutes to check out my personal page, and see what you can do to help (donate money, volunteer, spread the word)! These kids deserve a future, and we can help give them that!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Praise You in This Storm (May 21, 2013)

This post was originally written back in May and yet was never published. I feel like now is an appropriate time to post, as we all could use a little reminder every once in a while.

May 21, 2013: This weekend, when I arrived at the HFH conference I was surprised to see our conference quarters for the weekend. When I hear conference, I assume hotel. I was very wrong. We stayed in cabins with 6 bunk beds, 12 girls in each cabin. We ate in a cabin that was divided into a serving area and a seating area. And we listened to talks in a covered pavilion. At first I was skeptical. I was not too pleased with the nagging mosquitoes that came out to dine as night came. I wasn’t super happy with the freezing temperatures at night. Mainly I wasn’t pleased with the fact that where I was spending a weekend did not match what I had expected in my mind.

Thursday night, the rains came, and by Friday we were in the midst of a full blown storm. We used umbrellas and ran through the muddy gravel to get from the cabins to the cafeteria to the pavilion. It was cold and wet and I was trying not to be discouraged. We all gathered into the pavilion as Constance, the head of the conference, got up to speak. Constance spoke these simple words that changed my whole outlook. She stated: “As the storm rages around us, remember that we are covered…” In the moment she was speaking about the actual storm blowing around us as we sat in the covered pavilion. But she also was talking about life in general.

It was a beautiful reminder that we are not guaranteed to always have sunny weather or a ideal circumstances in life. We may have disappointments and things may not be exactly as we expect. But when life throws us curve balls, and when the unexpected happens, we are covered. We are covered by Him. We are safe and protected even when life rages on around us.

I was also reminded of another invaluable lesson. If we trust Him, and wait out the storm, there is so much worth waiting for. Because on that Saturday, when the rain cleared, Tennessee was beautiful. The temperatures were much more mild, the bugs stayed at bay, and the sun was shining while we took turns on the tire swings and tetherball. It was a perfect day for a walk around downtown Franklin, and my heart was so full.

By the end of the weekend, what I had realized was that the conference, the location, the speakers, the friendships, were all more than I could have ever expected. What I learned was this: God’s plans were far greater than my plans and my expectations. And even when life feels chaotic and stormy, we are covered and we are safe. As long as we stick it out and trust Him through it, we sometimes end up coming out better and stronger on the other side.

Finding Beauty at the OB/GYN

The title is pretty straight forward and maybe a little bit shocking. Hang with me for another minute to see what I mean...(and yes, Dad, it's safe to read).

In nursing school you see many different views of the human body; inside, outside, dead, alive, old, young, and everything in between. But today I saw a completely different view than I’m used to. I saw beauty in imperfection. Let me explain…

I’m about a week into my maternity rotation, and to be completely honest, have not really loved anything about the birthday process in general. However, today was my first clinical day and I was in an OB/GYN clinic. My job was to give a few shots, observe a few exams, and hold a few babies. And I learned a lot from doing all of these things. But my greatest lesson came to me when I was least expecting it. There was a mother who had recently given birth to the most adorable twins. As she walked back into the office I noticed something different about her. Most of the women before her had been very hesitant when stepping onto the scale; however, this sweet mother happily stepped on the scale, and yet she never took her eyes off of her babies, sitting happily in the stroller. She didn’t care about the number; she cared about her two precious gifts. And in that moment I saw such a beauty in her. No, she didn’t have the “ideal” body (or what society has deemed “ideal”). Her eyes looked tired. Her shirt had a mysterious stain on the shoulder. Her stomach was soft and round. And yes, her eyes were tired, but they were also beautiful and full of love and pride as she showed off her babies to the whole office. Her shirt was stained probably from cuddling one of her sweet little ones. Her stomach was soft because it just housed 2 precious lives for 9 months. I have no doubt that this woman’s eyes will see tears and laughter as her babies grow. Her shirt will continue to get stained from spit up, arts and crafts, or school projects. Her arms will get strong from holding those growing babies, and her legs will get a work out chasing 2 toddlers around the house. And her heart will swell with pride, and grow more than she could ever have imagined.

Today I did not judge a less-than-perfect woman based on her appearance (as I so often do with myself). Today I saw the beauty in imperfection. So maybe I still don’t know exactly what a cervix feels like, or how to read an ultrasound. But I did see some very cool things today, and learned some very important lessons. And for that I am thankful.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I’m ashamed at how long it’s been since I’ve last blogged. Between nursing school and working at the childrens hospital, most of the things I do with my day are protected by HIPAA, meaning I can’t share any fun stories with you! But to catch you up a little bit, here are the things I can share:

1. I finished my behavioral health rotation with an A!
2. I got a JOB at the local children’s hospital. I’m working on the pediatric oncology floor, which is exactly where I wanted to end up. I love my coworkers and my kids.
3. I went to Nashville, TN for the Hungry for Hope conference and it was life changing. I made some amazing friends and learned some great lessons.
4. I finished my adult health rotation, where I was on a gynecological oncology unit. I hated it.
5. I went to a crazy bachelorette weekend for my best friend. I don’t do crazy.
6. I turned 24. Yikes!
7. I got on an airplane and flew to Connecticut ALONE (which is huge for me!)
8. While in Connecticut, I went to my cousin’s wedding and we took a day trip to Mystic, CT and Watch Hill, RI. I want to move to Watch Hill. It was gorgeous beyond words.
9. We found Taylor Swift’s house in Watch Hill and mom made friends with the security guards. She’s never met a stranger, that mother of mine.
10. My best friend, Emily, got married and I got to do fun bridesmaids things all week. It was a beautiful wedding, but it was emotionally and physically exhausting.
11. I said goodbye to said best friend, as she left for Croatia for her honeymoon and then is moving to Tennessee. BOOOOO.
12. I drove to Florida with my roomie to visit our friend Katie.

And now on Saturday, I’M MOVING! I’ll still be in the same city; I’m just moving to a house closer to school and work. I’ll be the 4th girl living in the house, so it should be fun. The whole street is owned by the school, so it’s all houses with students and people from my classes. I’m excited for this next chapter in my life, but I’m also nervous. First of all, I hate packing and unpacking and the physical act of moving. Second, I’m going to miss my current roomie. Linds and I have lived together for a total of 3 years now, and we’re very comfortable together. It will be different moving in with strangers and moving so far away from Lindsey. Third, I have never lived in a house with 3 other people before. That’s a lot of girls under one roof, so we will see how that goes.

Anyways, I’m going to try to get back to regular blogging once I get moved in and settled!
Hungry for Hope and Bachelorette weekend!

my birthday, Taylor Swift's sign outside of her house, and me and my cousin at a wedding!

pouting about Em moving, laying out in Florida, and me and Em at her wedding

Thursday, May 2, 2013


The friends you make your freshman year of college have the potential to shape your entire college experience. I was fortunate enough to make friends that shaped not only my college experience, but my life. There were 6 of us and we were inseparable. Sure we had our little fights, but we were 6 girls who moved away from home and lived, ate, drank, breathed, laughed, cried, and learned together. It’d be weird if we didn’t have our off moments. Moving away from home and leaving for college is a very big transition, and can be very overwhelming, especially alone. So the 6 of us bonded together and functioned as a unit throughout the year. By the end of spring, we knew things were going to change and we clung to everyday like it was special. Unfortunately the year ended, and as we packed up our rooms, we went out on one last adventure. A group of six 19 year olds went to Build-A-Bear and agonized over which bear we would stuff. We decided on a plain tan bear with little patches, we painstakingly picked out a nice outfit, and argued over a name. But most importantly, we gave our bear, Lilly, 6 hearts- one for each of us. And we decided that as we went our separate ways, Lilly would become the traveling bear who kept us all connected. The next year, 2 of the girls transferred to UNC, one left for Maryland, and the other 3 of us stayed at Elon. Sophomore year was rough on everyone. Lilly made her rounds, collecting letters and notes that were passed around to all of us to keep us all in touch in some way. By junior year, everyone but me had left for UNC. And while that was miserable for me, I think I realized that Lilly was not what was keeping us together. We had a friendship that could tolerate the distance, with or without a bear. And so Lilly stopped traveling and took up permanent residence with me. (However, she sometimes made appearances when we all got together). As we continued to grow up, our friendships evolved and changed. We became more than friends, we became a sisterhood. And I’d like to say that just like in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (which is what we were going for with the bear), each one of us fit a role, like the rebel or the nurturer. But truth is, we all step in whenever necessary. I only keep in touch with 3 of the girls now, but they are 3 of my absolute best friends. They have been there for some of the best and worst moments of my life, and they will continue to be a big part of my life. I am truly myself when I am with them. However, time marches on and we have all grown up. Lindsey will be moving out and moving in with her boyfriend and their new puppy. Kelsey will be moving to DC with her boyfriend. And Katie is in grad school in Florida. And I’m here. And sometimes I feel stuck. I feel like I’m standing still while everyone around me is moving so fast. And so on nights like tonight, when I feel stuck and alone, I grab Lilly. Yes, as a 23/almost 24 year old, I grab a stuffed bear. I grab her and I hold her and I remember that she has 6 hearts that represent a little piece of each of my best friends. And I’m reminded that no matter how much we grow or change, and no matter how much distance comes between us, these girls will always be my sisterhood. We will always be there, for the good and the bad. And although we may be apart, we will always find a way to stay with each other. So tonight, I am sitting in my bed with Lilly; and for tonight, as silly as this may seem, I don’t feel so alone.

PS- I’m the one who has Lilly because I’m the sentimental one. And if any of them read this, they would laugh and laugh and laugh about me posting about a bear. And yet they love me anyway J

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Can't Go Back Now"

"Yesterday, when you were young, everything you needed done was done for you. Now you do it on your own, but you find you're all alone. What can you do? You and me, walk on, walk on, walk on cause you can't go back now. You know there will be days when you're so tired that you can't take another step. The night will have no stars and you'll think you've gone as far as you will ever get. But you and me, walk on, walk on, walk on cause you can't go back now. And yeah, go where you want to go. Be what you want to be. If you ever turn around, you'll see me. I can't really say why everybody wishes they were somewhere else, but in the end, the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself. And you and me walk on, walk on, walk on cause you can't go back now."
                                                                                                      -The Weepies

Monday, March 4, 2013

"______ Brooke"

Growing up, you are given labels by adults and people around you. As a child, you accept these labels and move on with your life. It’s not until you are older that you realize the weight these labels may have carried. When you’re a particularly small person growing up, your size is always pointed out to you, so much that sometimes your name actually becomes “little Brooke”. That one defining characteristic becomes just as much an identity as your name. And there is a strange (usually self directed) pressure to fit into that label for as long as possible. Now this is not to say I didn’t love my “label” growing up; In fact, I still smile when my friends start an e-mail with “Dear little Brooke...” It made me feel special. I felt/feel like it was a part of who I was. But as you grow up, your body changes and you become less “little”. So now what? Now who are you? You are now “just Brooke”, and that can be terrifying. So you have a few choices. You can try to find another way to identify yourself. You can do some self discovery. But that can also be pretty terrifying, and if you have minimal self-esteem, it’s pretty hard to fill in that blank. I’m not the best at anything. I’m not “smart Brooke” or “athletic Brooke” or “popular Brooke” or any of those things. And that’s okay, because I never have been. But I have been the best at being “little”. So as humans, we tend to stick with the familiar and what we know we're good at. So you strive to go back to being “little Brooke” or “_____ (your name here)”. And if that doesn’t work, you fall into the trap of letting society label you. And you get angry and frustrated and you cry and cry, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t go back. And then it hits you like a bug on a windshield. This is what growing up is all about. It’s about redefining yourself and finding out who you really are, aside from the labels other people have given you. Much like ripping off a bandaid, it can hurt trying to remove old labels. And in that time when you are no longer “little Brooke”, but have also not quite found a new way to define yourself, you feel vulnerable, label-less, and naked. But what I am learning is that it’s actually (and surprisingly) okay to be “just Brooke” or “just (whoeveryouare)”. I’m learning to accept that my friends didn’t love me because I was “little”; they loved me because I was/am Brooke. And that in itself is amazing and beautiful and confusing and scary all at the same time.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

10 Reasons why being a twenty-something is sometimes not the absolute worst!

I complain too much.
So here's a list of 10 reasons why being a twenty-something is sometimes not the absolute worst:

1. You set your own bedtime. For better or worse, you ultimately make that decision

2. You choose your own dinner. Again, this could be for better or worse. Example: Yesterday I had a yogurt and 4 chocolate chip cookies for dinner.

3. You can eat dinner on the couch, or the floor, or in your bed, or standing at the kitchen counter. In our apartment, whenever we order pizza, we have a habit of eating on the living room floor.

4. You can talk about inappropriate things without being scolded. Example: tonight there were 3 of us girls eating at the dinner table, when the dinner conversation turned into looking at nudies of Heather Morris. It happens.

5. You can watch shows like Pretty Little Liars and Celebrity Wife Swap with only a minimal amount of shame.

6. You still have relatively good fashion sense (even though you can’t afford anything). You've (hopefully) progressed past skanky, slutty, teenage trends, and have not yet hit mom-jeans and turtlenecks. You're right in the middle, with cardigans, blazers, and skinny jeans.

7. You can still be spontaneous without being considered irresponsible

8. You can blast your music as loud as you want and have dance parties by yourself, because I’m pretty sure that is the defining characteristic of being 23.

9. You probably hate your body, but it’s actually probably the hottest you’ll ever be. (booooo)

10. You can be as big or as little as you want in the world. You can blend in or you can stand out. You can follow happily, or you could lead boldly. You have some good life experience behind you and a lot of life lessons ahead of you.


Friday, February 22, 2013

All By Myself

In elementary school you make new best friends practically every day. You make new friends throughout middle school, and solidify friendships in high school. Then you pack up and leave for college, where everyone is on their own for the first time, and everyone is scared to some degree. This leads to instant bonding. Plus when you live in the dorms, you tend to get very close very fast. So for the first 21 years of your life, making friends is pretty much built in. And then you graduate. And you move to a new city. And everyone already has their friends from college, or high school, or church, or home. And you have TV. And a 10 pound weight gain. And a self esteem that’s plummeting faster than the sinking Titanic. You have a lot of things, actually. Like student loans up to your ears, parents with more exciting social schedules than you, and an increasingly loud biological clock. One thing you do not have is friends. You may have acquaintances who you work with or have class with. But you don’t have friends who you can call up on Friday night when you feel like staying in and watching a movie; or friends that you can show up at their house at random hours to vent about life. Example: last weekend my roommate was out of town. From the time I left class on Friday to the time she got home on Sunday night, I literally did not have contact with another human being. I did not open my mouth to speak words. No one called me. I didn’t have anyone to call. When you’re constantly hearing that your 20’s are the time of your life, and seeing your friends posting fun pictures all over the internet, and you’re sitting in your pajamas watching reruns of the Brady Bunch and blasting “All By Myself”…your ego tends to take a major hit. Lesson is, it’s really freaking hard to make friends as you get older because everyone already has friends. So if you are stupid brave enough to move to a new city, bring someone with you. Travel in pairs. Noah’s ark had it absolutely correct. Cause it tends to get lonely out there for a new grad.

Stayed tuned for my next post entitled "It snowed and I cried: A look into my Saturdays alone."

                                 Celine gets me, she really does...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Twenty Three

Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened everyday and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breathe in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.”           

This is every single thing I've been feeling, summed up perfectly in one quote. Breathe. This too shall pass.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pediatric Oncology...It's all about the love.

Every time someone asks me what I want to do with my nursing career, I respond in the same way. “I want to work as a pediatric oncology nurse. I want to work with kids with cancer.” And every time I get the same response. “Wow. I could never do that. That’s going to be so hard!”

I have never once doubted that this field is going to be mentally and emotionally draining. But I’ve had a philosophy for a while, and I finally found a quote to back it. It says, “You cannot save people. You can just love them.”

This quote rings true in every single aspect of life, but especially in pediatric oncology. I may not be able to cure cancer or stop their health from getting worse. But I can love them and care for them through it all. I can’t go into work with the attitude that I can “fix” people, because I can’t. But I can make them smile and laugh. I can talk to them about their feelings and ask them about their interests. If I can make what time they do have left better, then I can be okay with that. These children have a team of doctors coming up with treatment plans for the future, and that is great. But these children don’t always have a tomorrow. They have a right now. And that’s my job- to make their right now happier.

So yes, it is going to be hard, and there are going to be days where I’m worn down by the sadness of it all. But to see a child who is fighting the battle of a lifetime crack a smile…that’s what makes it all worth it.


Monday, January 28, 2013

What's your Space Jam?

What's Your Space Jam?
A lesson from kid president:

The world needs you to stop being boring. Boring is easy. Everyone can be boring, but you’re gooder than that.
Life is not a game, people.
And if life is a game, aren’t we all on the same team? I mean, really, right. I’m on your team. Be on my team!
“Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the one less traveled…and it hurt man! Really bad! Rocks! Thorns! And glass!" Not cool, Robert Frost.
But what if there really are two paths? I wanna be on the one that leads to awesome.
Like that dude from Journey said- “don’t stop believing…unless your dream is stupid. Then you should get a better dream.” I think that’s how it goes.
Get a better dream and then keep going. Keep going and going and going and going.
What if Michael Jordan had quit? Well, he did quit. Actually, he retired…but before that, in high school! What if he had quit when he didn’t make the team? He woulda never made Space Jam. And I love Space Jam.
What will be your Space Jam? What will you create that will make the world awesome?
Nothing if you keep sitting there! This is your time! This is my time! This is our time. We can make everyday better for each other. If we’re all on the same team, let’s start acting like it.
We got work to do. We can cry about it, or we can dance about it.
We were made to be awesome. Create something that will make the world awesome.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Today I went back and visited my alma mater, Elon University. It was the epitome of bittersweet.

This campus. This is where I grew up. Physically, I did most of my growing up in Wilmington. But here on this campus, during those 4 years…that’s when I really did my growing. I laughed and cried and learned more in my four years here than in the rest of my years combined. I took some steps forward and I took some steps back. I met some temporary friends and some forever friends and I’ve learned from both. This is where I learned to be more independent. I learned the importance of good work ethic; how to face my fears and anxieties; how to trust in something bigger than myself; how to love harder and deeper; how to grow from the hard times, and how to appreciate the good times. I learned that your friends become your family. You eat together, take naps together, play, fight, laugh, cry, and do absolutely everything and nothing together until you can’t quite remember how you ever lived your life without them in the first place. I learned that I’m capable of far more than I ever imagined. “This is where it all happened for the first time. The heartache and the happiness. All of it. Being here, feels like it was yesterday. I wake up sometimes and I miss it. But this is good. It’s all still right here.”
Carolina Dorm. Where I met some of my best friends in life. 
My BEAUTIFUL alma mater
Long Live Elon


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Babies and Weddings

I am 23 years old. I have been to 9 weddings in the past 2 years. I’m currently having a scheduling conflict because one of my friends is having her baby here in Charlotte on Friday and another friend is getting married in Elon on Saturday and I have a lunch date with a newly pregnant friend in Greensboro on Monday. I’m also trying to figure out how to plan a bridal shower and bachelorette party for my friend in June, while attending my best friend and my cousins weddings back to back in July.

In case you were wondering what it’s like to grow up, this is it. Babies and weddings ERRYWHERE.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dear Beauty, 1 year later

One year ago tonight, I had the privilege of being in LA for the Team True Beauty 1 year anniversary event. It was an amazing night, and if you'd like to read the details of it, you can check out my post from that night here.
But one of the most memorable moments from the night came from Shantel VanSanten, one of the lovely ambassadors for the cause. She gave a speech that continues to move me every single time I hear it or read it. You can read and view her entire speech here.

Her letter to beauty states:
"Dear beauty, I don’t think we’ve formally met. I’m Shantel Van Santen. I’ve searched to find you for a while now. To find out how you define yourself. There are many others searching for you too. Some of us think you’re found in a number on a scale, or a muscle in our arm, the color of our skin, or our reflection in the mirror. We all struggle because we think you seek a perfect image, and we’ve become obsessed with the search. The idea that others might see us as a reflection of you or call us by your names makes us happy. So we look to the media and we look to mirrors, instead of turning our eyes inward. In the depths of our soul you wait. You wait for our search to end, because that’s where you are found. So we were wrong. Because you’re not an image of something that we can see. You’re a feeling. We define you by how we live our life, the kind of person we choose to be, and what’s in our hearts. Thank you for helping us find you. So that your reflection can be felt in others hearts, that they may know that they possess you too. And we can all unite to define you."

So in honor of the 2 year anniversary of Team True Beauty, and the 1 year anniversary of the event, I decided to write my own letter to beauty, 1 year later:
"Dear beauty, we’ve finally met. I suppose we met a long time ago, but I was never quite satisfied with our relationship. However I've also realized that while I don’t always see you in the mirror, I’ve seen you in the smiles of strangers, in the laughter of children, in the way people love and care for each other, and in the world all around me. I have come to realize that you really are more than a number. You aren’t a clothing size, a waist measurement, a height, or number on a scale. And while I now know this to be true, I can’t pretend that I don’t still struggle. Some days it seems impossible to find you in myself. And those are the days that I depend on my friends and support system the most. Those are the days that I am truly blessed, because I find beauty in relationships. I’ve realized that when you stop defining beauty based on numbers and you begin to define it based on what’s in the world around you and what’s in your heart, you, beauty, are much more prevalent. You are everywhere. Beauty, I am very much different than a year ago. I am older, and at times wiser, I have old friends who have stayed in my life and new friends who provide constant support and encouragement. And yet I am also very much the same. I find myself falling into my old ways of thinking. I find myself still trying to find you in a reflection in the mirror. I find myself weeping and falling apart when I think I’ll never find you in myself. And yet I find hope in the statement that “what you do with your life, how you live it, the things you accomplish, the mountains you climb, the struggles you work through, how you treat one another, the kindness you show, the people you inspire, the love that you give, that’s what defines your heart. And that’s what matters. Not what you look like when you do these things in life.”