following the path before me.

in light of the post below, i am excited to share a bit about where God has led me in the past 2 months…

previously, i touched on my fears of life after graduate school and that of a grown-up. little did i know how quickly the unknown would become so perfectly clear. two weeks before the end of my internship, i was told about a full-time position that would become available at that hospital. in the field of child life, after completing an internship, i would have been lucky to find an on-call/part-time job at a hospital. a full-time job would have been rare and really, super, incredibly lucky.

needless to say, i applied for the job, went through all the formal paperwork and interviews. i’d like to say that i felt confident the whole time. but i often had serious doubts, “why would they hire someone who hasn’t graduated nor any previous experience to take this position? wouldn’t they want someone more qualified? am i ready for this?” and yet, i constantly wondered about the path that God was putting in front of me, thinking that maybe this job would be the next brick…

with great anxiety the day and night before the interview, i took time to completely surrender the whole situation to the Lord. i knew that none of this was in my control. i could nail the interview or bomb it. and the result would be 100% in the hands of God. i spent all morning praying for my interview and for the plan that God had for my life. and in the end, the interview could not have gone better.

8 days later, i received a voicemail that i still have on my cell phone. it was from an HR representative offering me the job. full-time, inpatient, medical/surgical/oncology child life specialist. it was truly one of the most exciting moments of my life as i realized my dream was about to come my reality. i made phone calls, sent text messages, posted it all over Facebook. i was incredibly stoked/shocked about where God was taking my life. while all of this was amazing, it meant one big thing- i was moving to Washington. for much longer than 4 months…

during the time before my start date, i spent some quality time at home with my family and some friends.

coffee dates with L, celebration dinner with our favorite wine at our favorite Persian restaurant, farmer’s market with grams&gramps, & family adventure to a Giants game.

i graduated with my Master’s degree.

the fam at graduation. so much love!

went to the happiest place on earth.

took the trip of a lifetime with my wonderful family to the beautiful island of Kauai (which deserves a whole post of it’s own…).

unfiltered photos of the gorgeous Kauai.

and then i had to say “see you later” to my family, which was much more difficult than i anticipated. i spent some time journaling and discovered i was experiencing bittersweetness in it’s truest form. i was completely ecstatic about starting my career, yet absolutely heartbroken to be leaving my family in California. tearfully, i got on the plane to Washington and cried my eyes out on my first night back. there were a few times i questioned if this job was really worth the heartache.

i have now been “on the job” for 5 days. not only did i joyfully reconnect with my co-workers, but i have been so warmly welcomed back by nurses on multiple units, physicians, nurse managers, unit secretaries, social workers, volunteers, and even patient’s families. i had a 4-year-old sibling, that i knew from my internship, ask me if i was finished with school, i said that i was and now got to work at the hospital. the child proceeded to dance and sing “ how cool! how cool! how cool!” in the middle of the hallway. if this wasn’t proof of excitement, i don’t know what is.

duct tape welcome sign, my sweet little hospital, things from the first week of work, & my desk that my awesome co-workers decorated.

the job itself is very much like that of my internship, but with much more responsibility. the incredible team i work with is amidst a lot of transition, yet each person has so graciously made me feel 100% supported at i step into this position. i am easing into the job and all it’s responsibilities slowly, taking on one thing at a time. in each passing day, i receive confirmation that this is exactly where i’m supposed to be right now. through it all, i miss my family dearly. and i wish they, along with my friends, could all just move up here… but i continue to remind myself, this is GOD’S plan for me. not MY plan for me. i will continue to faithfully follow this path He set before me, in times that are trying and times that are exciting, because His plan is perfect. and His love is perfect. thank you, Lord.


growth in change: a post for [A Beautiful Mess]

– this past April, i had the privilege of writing for a dear friend’s blog (check it out here). this post was an honest display of my struggle with change and trusting in God’s plan. by His goodness and grace, i am excited to share the story of where God is taking me next. but first, i take time to remember where i have been. –

if you were to look through my art journal, you would find a common theme.

change.

i really don’t like it. and choose to deal with it through writing, painting, ripping paper, scribbling, painting more, ripping more magazines/paper/tape… you get it.

change means things are no longer in my own control.
and change means that i must fully put my trust in the Creator of the Universe.
and that scares me. because, well, i can’t control the Creator.

while change is inevitable, time and time again i have stood face-to-face with change, showing her my angriest face. and as a result of that, all i found was deep pain. the changes occurred, despite my efforts to stop them. at times, i felt like my heart was literally being torn in half. these changes were significant- friends getting married, graduating from college, moving to a new city, moving to a new state. and now i face the completion of my graduate program- which means redefining my identity as a student to an employee, a workin’ girl, a real adult (i think…).

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throughout all these experiences, i have been learning how to accept change with grace. i have also learned that i have serious control issues. it has become a bit of a joke among family and friends. i like being in charge and i like when things go my way. there are times when this control (or “organization”, as i like to call it) works to my advantage. but more often than not, it leads to a lifestyle of inflexibility and lots of disappointment. so, like i said, i’m also learning about grace. and as i learn about and practice grace in my own life- there is growth.

i find that the seasons can be the most beautiful example of grace and change and growth. here in the PNW, i have seen snow and ice turn into gorgeous shades of pink and yellow. as spring arrives, the trees start to bud and flowers begin to bloom. bright yellow daffodils grow wildly on the side of the freeway and tulips add sparks of color wherever i look. and the beauty of it is that the change from winter to spring is a process. these flowers did not bloom overnight. it has taken months. and there are still trees that need to blossom, flowers to open up, and vines to produce fruit. change, with grace, is a journey.

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this next change is a big one. finishing my Master’s degree and learning a style and rhythm of life that does not include papers, research, and due dates will be an adjustment. what will i do with my time? what will my new rhythm be like? where will i live and work? as i finish up my internship in Washington, i begin to search out where God might have me in the next stage of life. and saying that, is a lot easier than doing it. i feel like i am constantly asking God for His lead in my next step. then i say, “amen” and start thinking about all the things i need to do. there it goes, i loose trust in Him the minute it becomes about me and what i need to do to make things happen my way… Lord, help me.

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i vividly remember a conversation i had with Kristin a few years ago. i shared with her that i couldn’t wait until the day when i had my life, my emotions, my relationships “all together”. Kristin paused, and with the most love and grace said to me, “you will never have it ‘all together’, my dear.” and she’s absolutely right. things are always changing, growing, and adjusting. i am continually learning to show up to my life instead of being frustrated and anxious about each process. i can’t plan the next steps. i don’t know what will happen. and that.is.scary. but i know that the Creator is in control. no matter what. and for that, i truly am thankful. because let’s be honest, i am a mess. i am not in control of my own life. and i will re-learn this throughout my entire earthly existence. but by the GRACE of God, i am alive from one day to the next. i learn more about the Creator and more about myself through each situation that presents change. and invites grace. and produces growth.


dinosaurs bring hope & God smiles.

i have been in washington for 2 months. i have finished week 7 of my internship. and completed 272 of 600 hours. i have been been with families through numerous pokes, tests and procedures, deaths, ah-ha moments, new diagnoses, and too many success stories to count. the kids and families i have spent time with have left a lasting impact on me. i will forever carry their faces and those tough conversations, in my heart. while trying situations and circumstances are ongoing, i found that i have to focus on supporting the child and family in the present, here and now moments. if i think about the long-term, the future, the prognosis of each child- i will not survive in this field. i have learned to take each day as it comes. because let me tell you, each day brings something new. prognoses take turns for the better, patients are discharged early, and kids that have been lying in bed for days or weeks are smiling, playing, and walking. holding on to hope is key.

the kids truly give me hope. i love that the hospital setting can’t stop them from being kids. on friday, i had a 6-year-old kiddo who attempted to use “the force” to bring his mom’s purse closer to him. i had to try so hard not to pee my pants in laughter and was immediately reminded of this great commercial:

this past week i switched to the outpatient clinics (hematology/oncology, endocrine, GI, neurology, & orthopedic) which is a completely different environment than the hospital. for the most part, the kiddos are feeling better. they come in for a period of time and then get to go home. one of my favorite parts about outpatient is watching the kids interact with each other. they play together- just like “normal” kids do. i have had the honor and pleasure playing with some of them- dinosaurs that fight lions, cities and mountains built from legos, holding baby dolls, magnadoodle drawings, and creating an immaculate road for Hot Wheels. i was lucky enough to meet a stuffed animal bunny named Snow White and was able to do a lab draw on the bunny. in turn, Snow White’s human counterpart felt much more comfortable for her own lab draw after seeing how well the bunny coped.

these are the moments that give me hope. and i am so blessed. each day, i’m reminded that i am exactly where God wants me to be. i sometimes wonder what my experience would have been like at the program i was also accepted at in SoCal. and then i am reminded about the opportunities i’ve had, the people i’ve met, and the perfectly laid out path that God has lead me on over the past 6 years…

decorative windows at the outpatient clinics.

“Behold the One who is beholding you, and smiling.” -Anthony De Mello

i can just imagine God listening to my questions and my doubts, and He is smiling. He has never let me down. He so clearly has a plan for my life. but as I begin to think about the next step in life, i wonder what a real job in the field looks like for me. my humanity forces me to ask questions that sometimes lead to doubt. will i even find a job? will it be here, in Washington? or at home, in California? will i have to wait months before i find one? or will i be lucky enough to find one right away? i don’t have answers to these questions. at least not right now. but God sure does. and i know He is grinning, from ear-to-ear, at the plans that He’s got in store. He smiles as He knows how my tender, worrisome heart gets caught up in planning details, attempting to grasp control of the future. and oh, how He loves us- despite all the questions, doubt, and disbelief.

so today, i choose to rest in His peace and His plan, with His warm smile shining down on me. and i pray the same for you.
amen.


you’re breaking your ground.

okay, please play this song while reading. i’m obsessed with Bon Iver and love listening to this song while driving.

i have been in WA for 3 weeks now and while it’s been an adjustment on many levels, i must confess, i really like it here. the weather can be gloomy and dark, but it has truly made me appreciate the sunshine. and this place is absolutely stunning when the sun shines. the days are slowly getting longer and instead of pure darkness while driving to work in the morning, i drive with the sun rise. and the shades of yellow, lavender, and pink in the sky make my heart flutter. i’m serious.

clear skies & sunrise

there’s a church just down the street from the hospital that the parking garage faces. instagram followers have seen this steeple in many photos, as there are days that i simply can’t get enough of what i see. gosh, itsn’t it gorgeous?!

while at work, i stare out of patient windows and admire the sunshine. i told a few of my co-workers that i wanted to eat lunch outside because it looked so nice out. they laughed a little and reminded me that it may look nice, but it’s still in the 30′s outside. they get a kick out of this california girl and her immediate draw to the sun. so while i’m stuck inside during the day, i leave the hospital at sunset. a few days ago, i walked outside and smiled from ear-to-ear as i looked up, with squinted eyes, and saw these clouds before me…

God-painted clouds from February 2nd

God is quite the artist! and as i walked towards my car, Mt. Rainer stood boldly and beautifully, covered in snow for the cities to see. i’m working on getting a picture of the mountain, and often think about pulling my car over just about to snap a quick shot. i’m telling you, something about this place has awakened my senses to the incredible beauty that i’m surrounded by.

okay, enough about the weather. oh wait, one more thing- it’s supposed to be sunny all weekend! which means i can actually be outside during the day and soak up those rays!! :) okay, now i’m done. so, my internship! there really wasn’t much to say last time i posted. but now that i’ve finished two, solid, 40+ hour weeks, i have a little more to write about. well, for starters- i LOVE it. being at the hospital, working with patients and families- my internship has confirmed, 100%, that this is what i’m supposed to be doing with my life. i’ve heard from so many people, “gosh, that must be so hard”, or “i just don’t think i can work with sick kids”, or “kids shouldn’t have to be in the hospital, it’s so sad”- yes. i validate those things. some of the kids i work with are incredibly sick. some get better quickly, some slowly, and some just won’t get better at all. but something that i’m learning and recognizing is that the environment of the hospital does not stop a kid from being a kid. the patients still want to play, still laugh and smile, and still hold on to hope that they will get better.

emergency entrance on my walk to and from the parking garage

one of the units at the hospital is shared with an adult neuro unit, the door to that unit was open one day and i saw an elderly lady lying on her bed with her husband next to her. i got choked up as i glanced at what could have been a final moment together. this was probably not the case- but the feeling of the pediatric unit versus the adult unit is so different. don’t get me wrong, there have been moments in the past two weeks that i wanted to break down in tears for things that some of these patients and parents are going through. but on a day to day basis, i remain humbled, honored, and thankful to be a small part of their hospital experience. the beauty and joy of my job is to make the hospital a kid-friendly environment. while there are many components to what i do, on a very basic level, part of my job is to bring comfort and smiles. thank you Lord, for bringing me to this place, this career. may i use it to honor You daily…

now, i wish there was a smoother way to transition, but i’m stumped (and too tired to think). so here goes the next thing:

my daily life here pretty much consists of working and working some more. i’m up before 6am and don’t get home till after 5pm. so i’m pretty tuckered out and ready for bed around 8pm ;) Kelsey has invited me out with some friends a few weeknights, but unfortunately- i’m pretty boring after those long days! but i have found some time to explore. Kelsey and i went to a delicious coffee shop in Tacoma. sadly i’ve only been once. not quite living up to my coffee-shop junkie reputation. but give me a little more time. i’ll get there!

delicious mocha from Metronome Coffee

we went to Seattle last weekend, walked around University Village in the rain and then hung out at a great brewery with our friends Chelsea and Bino. today we went to Seattle to see Oklahoma! and it was phenomenal. did i mention we had front row seats?! i’m so spoiled!! it was truly a perfect day.

me & Kels with Curly at the 5th Ave Theater

gosh, i think that’s about it for updates. i’m continually in awe of God’s creation, absolutely loving my internship, and beyond blessed to be on this adventure! Psalm 9:1-2.


sunshine to snowfall.

i’ve been in Washington for 6 days. and it has been quite an adventure!

before i start chatting about Washington, i just have to say that i have been blessed with the best friends of all time. while i was in southern Cal, packing up my stuff, my roommates and friends had planned a surprise going away party. it was so great to be with friends who have been so supportive along this journey! saying goodbye, or “see you later”, was harder than i expected. while i may not have showed it then, tears fell from the Pasadena apartment to the place where the 210 meets I-5. it was a bittersweet feeling to drive away from dear friends and everything that was familiar, knowing that i was going to place that could sometimes be lonely and unknown. but the whole time, i knew that this internship in Washington was a once in a lifetime opportunity that would be something i looked back on for many years!

moving on… the drive up here was absolutely gorgeous. it took mom, dad, and i (and a VERY tightly packed car) 11 hours to drive from our house in northern Cal to my aunt and uncle’s house just outside of portland. it was a long drive, we left before 6am and chugged along I-5 for the day. watching the sunrise, seeing the majesty of Mt. Shasta, driving through Oregon’s green landscapes, and slowing down somewhere between Mt. Hood and Mt. Saint Helens- it was a drive much more exciting than from the Bay Area to L.A. we stayed the night at my dad’s sisters and had a great time catching up with my aunt and uncle and my cousins. and then it was off to Puyallup!

it was a short drive up to Puyallup and coming up to the Rochester home was such a great feeling! being greeted by Kelsey and her family was the perfect welcome. my parents help me set up my room in the Rochester house, with a few touches of my own stuff, it felt like home. later that night my friend Brett met us for dinner. it was so great catching up and exciting to know that hanging out with him could be come a more regular thing again. after spending the first night in my new home, Kelsey and i had a delicious breakfast with our parents. it was so fun to have everyone sitting around the table together. we were just missing the two younger siblings! :) Kelsey and i took my parents to the train station after breakfast, and they embarked on their long journey home.

not long after they left, it began to snow. yes- snow. as a born and raised California girl, this was quite a change for me! i have visited the snow a few times, but never lived or driven in it! luckily, Kelsey and i stayed at home and watched “White Christmas”, the weather made it feel appropriate even though the date didn’t. i have to put this video in because, well, it makes me smile and i can’t get it out of my head :)

the next morning, we went to church in Tacoma and it was awesome! i loved being there and am looking forward to jumping back into that weekly routine with Kelsey and Brett. as the day went on, the snow continued to fall, making me a little nervous to get to my first day of work that next day. while i was becoming unsure about driving to work, i was positive that watching snowfall was both mesmerizing and peaceful.

after much talk about getting to and from the hospital, Kelsey’s wonderful parents offered to take me there and back to ease my stress. this is just one example of how hospitable the Rochesters have been. i truly am beyond blessed to be here with them! they have coached me through getting around the city, and in the snow nonetheless! there are absolutely no words for how thankful i am for them welcoming me into their home and their lives. may God richly bless them!

okay, i wish i had more to write about the start of my internship. but it has only been two days! the first day was filled with talking through assignments and paperwork. and then yesterday i got to see kiddos! i am so thankful to be at this hospital. from what i can tell, it’s an amazing program that is truly focused on education and developmental appropriateness for the patients- which i LOVE! i have phenomenal supervisors that are really committed to helping me learn and guiding me in the process of becoming a great child life specialist. i am looking forward to the months ahead!

all that to say, day 3 of the internship was put on hold due to a snow day! there have been record amounts of snow in the past 24 hours and it’s been nuts! i’ve learned to take things one day at a time, therefore, i have no clue if i’m going to work tomorrow! but i did very much enjoy my day today :)

well, that’s it for now! i really am doing well here. i’m missing lots of friends and family, wishing you all could have been here to play in the snow! but don’t worry about me, i’m having fun and staying safe! staying warm… well that’s a different story ;)


the old and the new.

my “once-a-month posts” skipped November and almost missed December.

as i looked through photos on my iPhone, i realized that a lot that happened in two months. telling you about all the details would take far too long and let’s be honest- no one wants to read that much. so without writing too much, i’ll just say that November and December consisted of writing my thesis. and working. and turning 23. and Hayley & Matt getting engaged. and having Thanksgiving in SoCal for the first time. and working Black Friday. and drinking LOTS of coffee. and surviving a crazy windstorm. and buying a Disneyland pass. and going to Disneyland in the rain with my roomies. and finding the perfect rain coat. and spending time with friends. and spending at home, without friends, just me & my thesis. and saying goodbye to some lovely co-workers. and finally making it home for Christmas. PHEW. told you it was a lot.

okay, let’s back track for a second. finishing my thesis was a huge deal. in fact, i almost cried while it was printing. realizing that i was truly done was a great feeling and absolutely surreal at the same time. even after turning it in, i was still thinking about what was on my to-do list. it was a joyous feeling to remember that every single thing on that to-do list had been crossed off! i praise GOD for carrying me through that journey. there were days i felt like i hit a wall and couldn’t write another word. i felt stir-crazy and cross-eyed from sitting in the same place, staring at my computer. but with the God’s strength and mercy- it’s done! i could not have done it without the support from my family, amazing friends, and roommates (now i feel like i’m giving an award speech…) but seriously. i finished my Master’s Thesis. and i couldn’t be more thankful, happy, and relived.

after finishing my thesis, i had one last week of work at Sephora. the Old Town Pasadena Cast will always have a special place in my heart. working there has always been a dream. (afterall, i did my senior project in high school all about makeup!) i feel so honored to have been part of the grand opening of a brand new store, to understand some of the behind-the-scenes of such a well-known company, to have learned SO much, and to have met such incredible people. i very much loved my time there. and will definitely miss it! even the 5am “ops” shifts! so, holler to my Old Town crew- you guys are awesome. miss you already. i promise i’ll be back to visit! <3 Tristen

and now, i have approximately 2 weeks until i am in Washington. my mom, sister, and i are headed to SoCal this week to pack up all my stuff. then i’m back in the Bay for a few days, and off to the Northwest for a little while!! i can’t believe this time is actually here. i’ve been thinking about it for a few months and now, it’s REAL. i’m feeling a bit nervous and definitely excited. i also feel confident that Tacoma is where God wants me to be for my internship. that confidence and peace is what i’m holding on to. if i let doubt creep in, i start to panic and wonder what i’ll do without my community of friends and comfort zone. but i know that i’m gonna be okay :) and that it’s 4-5 months of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. so let the packing and driving begin!! with that said, i’ve been playing with the idea of having a pen pal or two. i’m thinking, hand-written, snail-mail notes. they don’t have to be pages long. but i think it would be something fun, just like a little piece of home to find in the mailbox. anyone interested? :)

via Typeverything

well, that’s all for this… year. wow! i am thankful for the adventure of 2011 and can’t wait to discover what God has in store for 2012!

Happy New Year!!


movin’ on up! literally.

apparently i’m on a blog-once-a-month schedule… life is nuts.

a lot has happened in this past month! i mentioned in my last post that i was applying to internship programs for the final portion of my Master’s degree. and after a grueling process of too many interviews and loads of anticipation- i have accepted an internship in Tacoma, Washington!

my internship begins in January. which means i’m moving in less than two months! i can’t believe it’s all real. i applied to this program in Washington with the chance of getting an offer and transferring my life to another state for a few months. one regret from college was that i never studied abroad or did anything that took me out of my immediate community and comfort zone. i thought this to be the perfect opportunity to move somewhere for a few months, experience life outside of California, and push myself to try something new.

well, as i check the weather there almost daily- i’m definitely pushing myself to something different! for example here is the current match-up:

my dad says it’s just as cold in Washington as it is in the Bay Area. which is true. but the last few years, i’ve been freezing cold at home! i mean, we’re talking a 20-30 degree temperature difference! yikes!! okay, okay. i’m not going to complain about the weather. there’s a solution: get a jacket. i’m going to be just fine. the truth is, i’m getting exactly what i asked for. i took this chance and it’s real. i have no idea what to expect, but i’m going to move to Washington. and this is truly the opportunity of a lifetime.

internship location aside, i couldn’t be more excited for this dream career to start becoming more of a reality. i feel like i’ve been so out of the loop with child life. taking the summer off, being out of the hospital for over a year, and currently only taking one class (that doesn’t really discuss child life)- sometimes i have to stop and remind myself of what it is that i’ll be doing someday. and honestly, i can’t wait to do child life 5 days a week. i’m SO lucky!

as the details of all this unfolds and the mental processing continues, i’ll write more. but for today, i need to get some work done on this thesis that has seen more procrastination that it deserves. so i leave with this thought that brings such hope in times of uncertainty…

via pinterest


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