Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Well this post has taken just about long enough to write! I haven't had internet connection for the past 5 days and I still don't have it on my computer. I'm writing from my aunt's computer. But as soon as I get it up and running these posts should come more often!

We finally arrived in Arizona on Friday night and I was so relieved not to have to get back in the car for a very long time.  We drove through the rest of Oklahoma, then Texas, New Mexico, and finally Arizona! I have never been so happy to see an exit sign. Before we arrived at my aunt and uncles we took a detour to go to the Grand Canyon so my dad could see it! Wow. There are no words to describe that place. Even with this being my second time to be there I still can't take it all in. It is truly somewhere to see God's workmanship! After spending most of the morning in the Grand Canyon we headed off to see Sedona which was a really cool town.  It is said that in Sedona people experience "vortexes" or something resembling a spiritual wind tornado where the earth's energy comes through your body. Weird, right? Well I'm sad to say I did not get to experience a vortex on my own but we did find an elvis impersonator named VJ that would gladly marry you and then take you on a vortex tour. and if that wasnt enough, he could also take a picture of your aoura (sp?) and your pet's aoura to see what the color was.  Sadly, I didn't get to meet this character, who had apparently been on America's Got Talent, but I have his brochure if anyone is interested!  

When we arrived at our destination it rained for the next 2 days. Which will probably be the only rain that I see while I'm here! We went antiquing all day and at first I was a little weary about this seeing as I don't do that very pften but after Saturday I'm hooked! I found so many different things that were so neat, including a nursing cape from the 1930s that was orange and blue! After that we went to this awesome German restaurant that happened to be on Diner's, Drive-In's, and Dives which is another one of my Food Network Favorites! After a long day of shopping we came back and got in the hot tub and looked at the stars which are so much prettier here! Probably because there are no street lights anywhere!

Sunday was a bittersweet day. We went to church and then it was time to say good-bye to the parents.  I knew it was coming and it really wasn't that bad until my mom started crying when I hugged her! Talk about ripping your heart out! But I reassured her she would see me in 5 days when I leave for Ecuador so it wont be that bad!

These past couple of days have been great.  I feel like I'm somehow on vacation. My aunt and uncle are great hosts and we've had so much fun! Playing a rousing game of scrabble and speed scrabble, which I had never done before, was quite interesting! I met with my preceptor yesterday and she was an answer to prayer! She is easy going and so nice and I think we are going to get along really well! My first shift is tonight so it should be great! I've never worked a night shift so looks like sleep is on its way in like 24 hours.

I still can't believe the Lord is allowing to be on this journey and I am so grateful for this opportunity! I'm sure I will have plenty of stories (seeing as I've already seen a bobcat in the front yard and heard coyotes ripping something up in the back).  Only 4 days until my team leaves for Ecuador! Be in prayer for the people of Quito that they will have open hearts to receive the word of God!

Peace from the desert.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stories From the Road Part 1

AHH! Im already in love with the midwest. We started out a little off schedule which is totally usual for a Riley family trip. I drove the first leg to Memphis, TN. Driving though Mississippi was about as interesting as watching paint dry. (no offense to mississippians, of course, you're not bland!). We did pass through Tupelo, so in true tourist fashion, we said our respects to the king and moved on. You can't go to Mississippi without talking about Elvis! Onto to Memphis. I was so excited when I realized that The Neely's (who are chefs on the food network) have a restaurant in Memphis! If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of the food network. Therefore, you can understand my excitement! We found the restaurant and it was delicious! I had their specialty which was BBQ spaghetti. Weird, yes. But absolutely amazing! Definitely something I'm going to have to add to the recipe book.

Next leg I switched to co-pilot and mi padre took over. We drove through Arkansas, hitting the major spots. At this point we've been in the car for 8 hours and everything is starting to look the same and I feel like we're driving in circles. All the while I've been torturing my parents with Justin Bieber, Hanson, BSB, and any other boy band I can think of. I mixed in a little Mumford and Sons/Civil Wars before they decided to mutiny and throw me out of the car. It's been really fun so far getting to hang out with my parents. I had my reservations at first, who wouldnt after being at college for 4 years without them. I'm glad they both decided to come, I feel so loved. Especially since my father informed me he was missing Lord of the Dance in Birmingham this weekend for me. I am one lucky girl :)

By this point we've made it through Arkansas with little issues besides construction and people driving like they are in the Indy 500. Crossing over the Arkansas-Oklahoma line I felt the need to belt out that forever endearing line, "OOOOklahoma where the wind comes sweeping down the plains", and that was about it seeing as I don't really know the rest of the song...but who does? It is starting to get dark by this point and what do we come across? Checotah. Sound familiar? It's where Carrie Underwood hails from! They even have a massive sign on the interstate in case you forgot. And being the tourists we are, we stopped and took a picture of the exit sign.

So now we are stopped for the night after exactly 12 hours of driving and we are pretty much half way there! Tomorrow we'll get to see the likes of Texas, New Mexico, and then finally Arizona! I cant believe this is actually happening! Today while I was driving it hit me what I was actually doing and for 2 seconds I had a moment of panic and wanted to turn the car around to head back to my safety net.  Then I realized that was even crazier than driving out here in the first place so I changed my mind.  I'm sure I'll have more stories from the road tomorrow! Until then.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

3 days+10 page paper+packing=chaos

3 days til the road trip begins! I still can't believe I'm actually doing this.  Tuesday is my last day of "nursing" school.  How bittersweet this week is going to be.  I'm still not sure if it has totally sunken in that I am actually a SENIOR in college. Seniors in college are supposed to know what is going on and have their life together. yeah. whatever. This adventure is going to be amazing but sometimes I still get a little sad thinking I won't see anyone I know for 2 whole months. Thank goodness for skype.

I was in the car yesterday and Mama's Song came on by Carrie Underwood. I don't know if you've ever heard it before but even though I've heard it multiple times it struck a heart string and I bawled through the whole song (which seems to be the theme lately). Not that I'm getting married and leaving my family but thinking about my family and how I'm not going to see them for 2 months is a little sad :( I think every song I've heard on the radio lately has made me cry! Goodness.

My sweet sister along with my roommates threw me a going away party and it was awesome! Thanks to everyone who came! It meant so much to me! It makes leaving Wednesday a little bit easier. Sorry if this post was a little scattered, it pretty much sums up how my brain feels right about now.

Next post I'll probably be in Arizona or somewhere in the middle of the desert trying to get there! Pray for safe travels!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

14 days!!!

Oh my goodness. I can't believe it! 2 weeks until I pack up the Edge and head to the wild west with the parents in tow. I am so excited that both of them are going to be able to go out there with me. It will make the 23ish hours a lot more exciting! I've started my packing list and its stressing me out just a little. No worries though, there is always FedEx and UPS just in case I forget something!

I have found out that I am going to be working in the Pulmonary Med/Surg unit which is similar to a step down unit from critical care. I am really excited about it! At first, I was a little hesitant because it has "med surg" in the title and if you ask anyone in nursing school that word is pretty much taboo. But there is obviously a reason why the Lord has placed me there and I know in the end it'll be worth it. I also found out who my preceptor is! I didn't realize how nerve wracking it was actually going to be to call a complete stranger in hopes that she actually knows that she is going to precept me. After dialing the number and psyching myself out a couple times, I finally called. Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring...answering machine. I have never been so happy to hear an automated voice. I left a message and now I'm waiting to hear back from her. Although, if she doesn't have a clue that she is precepting me, she probably thinks I'm some crazy hick that has no idea what is going on. Let's hope she knows I'm coming!

The more I think about my trip coming up the more excited I get! It is going to be such an adventure and I can only hope to impart a small piece of our southern culture on these people. Definitely making some Paula Deen recipes for the nurses at the hospital!

One thing I do ask is that y'all be in prayer for our medical/mission trip to Ecuador that is coming up in 3 weeks! It is going to be an awesome trip and I know the Lord is going to do great things there! Pray that the villagers will be receptive to us and to the message we are bringing them!

I leave you with this:
"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matt 28:19-20