Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Greetings!




Happy Holidays 2011


Our Christmas Letter for 2011 :).......

Dear friends and family,
Know that we would much rather sit down over a cup of coffee,
reminisce old times and catch up with life, but unfortunately this little letter will have to do…
A lot of you know this, but the past year has mostly been spent pursuing travel therapy with my job (Occupational Therapist). It gave us the opportunity to explore the US, learn a lot about ourselves, and meet some incredible people. It truly was an amazing adventure! Last holiday season we were en route from Sandpoint, Idaho to Dallas, Texas. We spent the winter in Texas which was a lot of fun. After 13 weeks of being there, we headed up to Moose Lake, Minnesota. We made a few trips to Duluth to take in all that city has to offer. While we were at Moose Lake, Andy started looking for a more permanent job. After many applications and interviews, he chose a job in Business Development for a Logistics in the Minneapolis area. Through a variety of services, they help companies manage their supply-chain activities. As he started his transition there, I finished my assignment and applied for jobs in the cities. I was hired as a Float OT between four facilities and cover for maternity and medical leaves. It has been fun to get a wide range of clients, but also really challenging to learn all I need to know. I work with kids and adults with genetic disorders, brain injuries from strokes and accidents, spinal cord injuries, and lots more. It’s been a great learning experience so far, so I’m really happy with that.
The cities have been good for us, but we are often homesick for Bismarck. It is finally hitting us that these jobs aren’t travel jobs, and that we’ll be here for a while. We miss all of our friends and family back home, and wish we could see everyone more often. We do have a few friends and in the area and are now closer to Andy’s sister, so that’s been great being able to spend time with them. We’re slowly starting to make this our community and have enjoyed getting more plugged in. We’ve found a church that we really enjoy, and are now looking at opportunities to plug into other organizations. Our focus each day is to live life to its fullest, realizing that we are all created for a higher purpose. Although the past 6 months have been challenging at times, we feel blessed beyond measure to have each other, an incredible family, and a support system like none other.

We hope this New Year brings you true happiness full of great purpose. May this holiday season remind you of the true meaning of Christmas.
         Blessings to you and yours,
                   Andy and Kara


Saturday, October 8, 2011

To D or not to D?

So the D I am talking about is my OTD (Doctorate in Occupational Therapy).  At the moment, if you would like to be an Occupational Therapist, you are required to at least get your Masters degree. There are also many programs out there that also offer a Doctorate program. I've always thought it would be a lot of fun to go back to school and get my OTD. What are some of the benefits you may wonder? Well, you learn more first of all!! I think that OT is such a HUGE field full of diversity and options. I always feel like I could learn more, and I enjoy learning, so it's something that would interest me. Secondly, you can teach. I really don't feel like I'm even a tiny bit close to having the qualifications to be teaching, but I think it would be a lot of fun down the road to help others see the good in OT and teach them the ropes. Some of the cons? Well, first off, it's an expense. And not a very cheap one. We are in a situation where we have a lot of student debt, so it's not a smart or viable option at the moment. Another con is that if you end up not teaching, the pay is not usually comparable to the cost it takes. I have a lot of friends who have their Doctorate in Physical Therapy (which is also a requirement), and when we've chatted, we find out that we're really making about the same as each other. Sorry if that's a bit a loaded answer.....it's not true in all cases of course, but just with some of the friends/co-workers I've had.

:::::So here are some of the options for OT regarding schooling:::::
-COTA (Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant): Requires 2 years of schooling after college at an accredited program. As a COTA, you are able to do many of the things OTs do, except things like Evaluations. There are various state rules regarding what COTAs can and cannot do in specific areas practice, so check out your state's OT Board to find out more.
-Masters in Occupational Therapy: Some schools require you to have an undergraduate degree first, others require a couple years undergrad and then you enter a program. My school was the latter. We went to college for two years, and then entered the OT program, which is about 3 1/2 years. There are also accelerated programs at certain schools and online. Make sure you research possible schools before you dive in.
-Doctorate or PhD in OT: I won't be a pro at this one so feel free to add comments if you have more insight! There are many great options to get that D you're shooting for, whether it's your OTD or PhD in OT. Make sure to get your undergrad first, and look into the programs you may apply for before deciding what your undergrad decisions will be (what and where).
-There are also hybrid programs that offer dual degrees to get your DPT (Doctorate in Physical Therapy) as well as your MOT. People who do this totally impress me, I'm not sure I could make the cut! I'm not really sure how they work, but if you know anyone or any more about them leave a comment! :) I feel like you'd have a large responsibility after you graduate and am not sure of how the pay differs if you have both your OT and PT degrees. I know you can only take on the work of one person but really you have the knowledge for two, so I'd think you'd at least get some sort of bump up on the salary tree.

Before you choose a program, try to talk with some previous graduates from that specific track/program, as well as the faculty. It's always nice to get a good read on things to see if it will fit best with your learning style and situation. For me, I'll just wait a while until I have a clearer picture of my future, and see where I head from here before I make any more big schooling decisions.

Good luck!!! :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One Year Ago

Sunrise on our way down Schweitzer


My life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately, in a good way. The last couple years have gone by so quickly, and it's funny for my husband and I to think back to where we were one, two, or three years ago. And just a forewarning for everyone brave enough to read this.....it may be a long post. :)

Last week we were reminiscing about our time in North Idaho (which we do often by the way), which started about this time last year. You know sometimes when you first meet someone or go somewhere and think that they or it is the greatest thing ever and you just want to keep things like that forever? I think that was Idaho for us during traveling, sort of of like our travel honeymoon. :) It was the first travel job we did together. I had done one job by myself in MN prior to that, and one day Andy brought up doing it together. He had a great job doing sales, but was also in an ok place with them and himself to leave and pursue new adventures. I was covering a maternity leave, and didn't have a for sure promise of permanent employment after that. I was excited to break out and see what the world had in store for us. I interviewed a few places over the phone, but out of all of them knew Sandpoint was where I wanted to be. Andy and I had once taken the train to WA to visit family, and I remember waking up at one of the stops around sunrise. It was seriously breathtaking. The tracks were going over a huge lake that was surrounded by mountains all around. Huge trees, a beautiful sunrise, cute houses on the lake. Google 'Sandpoint' or 'Schweitzer Mountain' and check out the images. You'll see what I'm talking about. I had an interview there for a sub-acute facility and it sounded great. I wasn't disappointed.

Waterfalls near Sandpoint

We sold one of our cars, put most of our items in storage, and made plans to venture west. We bought a minivan, removed the seats, and packed it to the top. Said a sad goodbye to our family, friends, and church. It was hard to leave, and we had no clue what to expect. The trip there was a lot of fun. We filled it with stops at parks, visits with friends and family, and lots of great music to jam to. Andy and I always try to make road trips fun.

The place we found to rent was listed on Craigslist as well as another local site. Your travel company will find housing for you, but if you are willing to find your own, you may save a lot of extra money. We did that, and found a steal of a place. It's used by the owners only during the winter, was totally furnished, and Mapquest said it'd be a 10 minute drive to my work. When we pulled in to town, after a few days of travels, we met the owner at a local store. The first thing he said was, "Welcome to Sandpoint! Down here is where you'll be working (as he's pointing around the city), and up there is where you will be living, (as his finger continues to raise as he points toward the peak of one of the mountains), on Schweitzer Mountain." We seriously had no clue we'd be living on a mountain. I should have known by the conversations I had with them prior, but I guess it just didn't click. We got back into our van and he led us up the mountain with his truck. One winding curve after another, and more like a 35 minute drive than 10. There was a bit of unbelief for part of the drive up the mountain, but after we got to a lookout point near the top, we knew everything would be fine. There was a gorgeous view of the city below, part of the lake, and all of the surrounding mountain range. This would be our home for the next three months.

Winter on the Mountain

I started working in town soon after. We only had one vehicle there, so Andy brought me into town for work every day, and was there waiting when I got off. It was a big change, but so great to have that time with him just to prepare for the day and be together. The first week of a travel job is always interesting. There are already interesting dynamics within a company that are important to learn and observe, and when you throw a new girl in there who looks like a teenager and says she's the new OT for 3 months it mixes things up even more. You are given tours (hopefully), meeting tons of new faces, learning different policies and procedures, and of course, trying to learn their documentation system. It's a bit overwhelming, but you have to try to soak up as much as possible and continually remind yourself that it will get better as the weeks go on. The team I worked with was from all over the US, so that was a lot of fun. One of the craziest parts was that there was another traveler there, and he happened to be from ND. Ironic or what? And if you know anyone from ND, you know that there are always connections to be found with others. That's what happens when you grow up in a state with less than a million people. I had gone to elementary school with one of his cousins and had known their family pretty well when I was younger. That definitely helped me feel more 'at home'.

My boss was pretty intimidating at first. She's an Italian from Philadelphia who really doesn't take crap from anyone. :) I remember when she critiqued my first eval I did there. I didn't have everything in the right places, and wasn't as thorough as I should've been. She asked, "So this says they needed minimal assist. Minimal assist why?" as well as other questions like that. I would say it was because of balance or for initiation. She then said, "Then say that. I have no idea otherwise. I only want to say these things once. And I'm doing it because I care about you and care about you keeping your license if you're documentation gets reviewed or audited." My documentation has been much better ever since. :) She and her co-manager were probably the best managers I've had up to this point. They didn't let anything get overlooked, were caring and understanding with their team (us), put the patients first, always were seeking to better themselves and the team, and were always trying to promote the business. It was great. I met a couple friends where I work that I still stay in touch with and hope to be able to spend more time with in the future.

Andy found himself a job doing inside sales in the first couple weeks. It wasn't anything huge, but it gave him more of a purpose and he really enjoyed his co-workers and boss. I'm sure he'll maintain some of those relationships down the road from here.

Round Lake State Park

We forced ourselves to be active and get out there to explore as often as possible. Our typical day there was so out of the norm for us and we fell in love with it. There was always something to do. State parks, mountains, waterfalls, the beach, incredible Farmer's Markets, and live music everywhere we turned. We were able to be there for their summer to turn into fall, which is so incredibly beautiful. In fact, a year ago tomorrow we were hiking around Round Lake to enjoy our anniversary. We hiked a lot and were able to kayak once. Of course, being there from September to December also allowed us a glimpse of their incredible winters. Life slowed down there when winter fell. We are used to harsh winters, but this was a lot more dreamlike. There were downfalls to this as well. We lived on a mountain and owned a junker minivan. We had to buy new tires at the first snowfall because we couldn't get back up the mountain after the snow fell, as well as chains for our tires that we still don't know how to put on right. We would get a foot of snow on the mountain but only an inch or so in town. I loved sitting in the Monarch Mountain coffee shop or the Coldwater Creek wine bar in town and just watch the snow fall. It always fell slow and straight, in big sticky flakes. On the mountain we lived right next to the ski resort, and were able to enjoy it during Thanksgiving weekend with Andy's brother. We had our first experiences with fearing moose and bears and purchased our first can of Bear Spray.

We also found a great church that we really miss called Grace Sandpoint. We met a lot of great people there and really loved the messages and mission of the church. The city was hit hard by the recession, and the church was doing a great job of reaching out to help with their needs. They fed us all every week and then had a table full of food for anyone to take that would need it throughout their week. In the basement, they had a room designated for clothing, appliances, etc. that people had in their homes and weren't using or just wanted to give. It was open to anyone who needed anything, no questions asked. Check out their website to listen to messages or find out more.

City Beach in the Fall

It's funny, we talk about Sandpoint often with our family and each other. I think they're afraid we'll move there someday, but who knows. There are no plans to head that way at this time. We love going back to that place in our minds and think of all of the great times, but also remind ourselves about the fact that it really was our travel honeymoon, and not the greatest glimpse of what reality would be if we were really there. It also makes us excited to see what our future holds with our relationship, our jobs, and everything else included.

We have other 'honeymoon' experiences from the other travel locations that we've been, but I just wanted to share about this one today, hence the blog title. Maybe I'll share more about the other places another time.

We are now living in MN in the cities working and being busy. We have already been swept up in the hustle and bustle of work being our main focus and looking back has been a great reminder to us of what we need to shoot for from here on out. We are currently living in a great area full of fun and adventurous opportunities. There are trees and lakes everywhere and I am looking forward to an incredible fall. This weekend we plan to get our butts out of our apartment and explore what this area has to offer. State parks and apple orchards here we come! Hope the weather will agree with our plan. :)

Our first snowfall in ID

Monday, September 19, 2011

Changes

So, there have been a lot of changes in my life in the past few months. I kind of backed up from our blogs for a while for different reasons, but I'm getting back in the game. :)

We are now done with traveling, and have moved to a new state/location/etc. I've got my big girl pants on and I now have my first permanent full-time job! All of my previous jobs have either been full or part- time PRN, part-time, or travel. It has been an interesting transition, but a good one.

Some things have been great and easy and others plain rough. This song really helped me get through last week during one of those rough patches so I thought I'd share it. :) I've listened to it over and over and love the musicality of it. I just always wanted to feel more of the meaning and know how it could relate to me. Then boom, last week it just hit me. I always try to do things and be things that are above my capabilities and I'm not strong enough for. I want to be able to be that blossoming flower in the desert, snow on the embers, or star in the morning. But I'm broken. This song just helped me know that I can't do it on my own and that I don't have to. I have someone to stay with me. And I have grace and mercy. :)

If the link above didn't work, here's another post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b5Snkw18Lg

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stories

I just love love LOVE hearing about the lives of the people I work with. My dad is a Nursing Home Administrator and has been ever since I was a wee babe. My mom is a nurse. I grew up going to the nursing home for the best ice cream sundaes and playing beach ball volleyball with the residents. I remember helping decorate their doors for Christmas, and making paraffin hand molds while watching Full House on the 'big screen'. I grew up in that environment, but as I got older, I wanted less and less to do with it. I guess I got too caught up like many of us do with some of the smells, the sounds, and a little bit of a fear of some of the people that were there. Super lame when I think back at it. I got into this phase where I just didn't want to have much to do with 'older people' and I have no clue why. Then, later on down the road, OT snagged me. I really didn't know what I'd be doing, was excited about some things and not so much about others. I learned a ton, and then was pushed out to the real world. :)

It was probably an awkward transition for me, but I've reverted back to the beach ball playing girl who thought of the people at the Nursing Home as a random extended family of adopted aunts/uncles/grandparents. I have such a respect for all of the patients I get to work with, and love hearing about their lives and their stories. Hearing about getting through the Great Depression, their roles during war times, their first loves, their current loves, their advice, their regrets, their jobs, etc. I wish I could just record our conversations and make a giant book so their stories aren't forgotten. I love the lost look they get while chatting about things in the past where I know that their are reliving that moment. Or the sparkle in their eye when they talk about their spouse or their children or their accomplishments. I have had great conversations with people and wish that I could stop all of the activities/exercise/ADLs I'm doing, grab a cup of joe, and shoot the breeze for a couple hours while I learn and grow from them. There is just such incredible history there.

Anyway, it's been great, and I have a complete different outlook of the people I work with. No matter their situation, their demeanor, or capabilities, they have a story. And it shouldn't be forgotten.

I found a cool link to keep peoples' stories going by creating books/blogs/etc. I can't really do that with a lot of these people, but I'd like to do that to some people that I know personally. Think about it. Ask your grandparents, neighbor, or that white haired couple in front of you at church. Here's the link. Here's another great link to a blog telling some stories! I'm sure there are others too, so post them so we can start preserving stories!! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Greatness

Check out this video. While we were in Texas we were able to go to Passion, which is an incredible conference held all over the world. I've been playing this song almost daily since, I hope you check it out and enjoy it!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3OEGnH5x8g

Here are the lyrics:

If faith can move the mountains
Let the mountains move
We come with expectation
Waiting here for you, I’m waiting here for you

You’re the Lord of all creation
And still you know my heart
The Author of Salvation
You’ve loved us from the start

CHORUS
Waiting here for You
With our hands lifted high in praise
And it's You we adore
Singing Alleluia

You are everything You’ve promised
Your faithfulness is true
And we're desperate for Your presence
All we need is You

CHORUS

Singing Alleluia
Alleluia, singing alleluia, alleluia

CHORUS

I'm singing Alleluia
Waiting here for you
With our hands lifted high in praise
And it's You we adore
Singing Alleluia
Singing Alleluia

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Trails



We have been traveling now for about 8 months, and so far so good. Northern Idaho, which was gorgeous and crazy, Texas, where it was great to spend a warm winter with some fun co-workers, and now Minnesota.

We now think we have packing down to an art form, and Andy has been the best husband a girl could ask for. I think it would be a lot harder to travel if I didn't know anyone, but still fun.

North Idaho was a sub-acute/SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility, a.k.a. nursing home) mix which was all about Medicare. It was a great learning experience and I was able to work with some great therapists who had a vast array of knowledge. A lot of places work unethically with Medicare and either don't utilize it correctly or just try to take as much as possible from it. You can usually tell this very early in an interview. I try to avoid them at all costs. :( This place was very good in utilizing things correctly and giving patients as much therapy as necessary to assist with that individual. And it was in a BEAUTIFUL area. North of Coeur d'Alene, tons to do, lakes, mountains, forests, etc. If my husband could get a job around there, we would seriously consider moving there! :)

Texas was crazy but great, in an LTAC (Long-Term Acute Care). I didn't really even know what an LTAC was before I got there, but they are super cool. They are for the patients that are super sick or in between acute and home/Assisted Living/SNF. Many patients had oxygen, feeding tubes, wound vacs, foley catheters, and IVs, and some also had vents, rectal tubes, drains and more. I had never really been exposed to a lot of these things while doing therapy, so it was like diving into a brand new pool. It was so great to see that even though these patients were medically unstable and very weak, that therapy still can be done with them and that it is vital for them in order to get better. Some were told they wouldn't survive, came to us and ended up doing great, and others came there in their transfer to hospice. I hope I gained a lot of empathy from my time there. I learned a lot more about appropriate vitals, blood work levels and what affects they have on someone, medications, telemetry, etc. We ran all day from patient to patient, and had a great team of OTs, PTs, SLPs, and techs that all worked together and all genuinely cared for the patients. A lot of great friends were made there that I will definitely keep in touch with.

In Minnesota now, and I am in a mixed setting. I've only been here 3 weeks, so I'll post more when we've been here longer. So far so good though!

It's so interesting how many different opportunities OT offers. I mean we can work in practically every setting and spin it to legitimately be OT. Schools, group homes, factories, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, LTACS, outpatient clinics, in people's homes, in psychiatric facilities, with horses, vision, driving, the list goes on and on!!! Craziness! Looking back to when I had to choose my future 'career', I am so glad that I was able to talk with the people I talked to. I had no clue what OT did, but I just wanted to check it out. Our director at our school at that time was so on fire for OT and so incredibly convincing of how that would be a good fit. Well, she sold me on it, and I'm so thankful I made the decision. I wish high schools and colleges would step it up a little on educating students on their career options and what those options are like. I would love to be able to do that some day. Just go in and brag (nicely, of course) about how cool our job is. But for now, I'll just stick with this.

This experience has been so great for learning more about OT, and gaining knowledge from other therapists. It has also been great for our marriage. I mean, if you have to be sent to a place for only 3 months at a time, move often, and be away from family, you grow a lot with each other! God has done some pretty incredible things in each place we have been, and we are excited to see what will happen here!

That's all for now......next blog I think I'll blab about continuing ed! :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Answered Travel Questions

So I was looking through different posts I've made on this blog, and saw that I've been asked a couple times about travel therapy, pros/cons, etc.

How to look for a good travel company (in my opinion!):
There are multiple websites you can post your resume to find job prospects. I think I posted mine on www.OTjoblink.org, which is linked with AOTA, but there may have been a couple others as well.

Then expect a lot of calls from recruiters. The day after, I had over 50 voicemail. Everyone has their own agenda, so if you feel uncomfortable with anything they say, don't do it. I had many calls saying they had some physical therapy or speech therapy jobs and they had my resume right in front of them. Sorry, if you don't even read the big letters saying Occupational Therapist under my name, not sure the chat is worth my time.

Make sure they have your best interest in mind. Some companies have sketchy insurance for the employees -- one of my co-workers that travels just had 3 months without it!! Other companies want you to sign a year or two contract with them. DON'T do it. Good travel companies have you sign contract to contract. I've known people that signed into a year contract and ended up hating the company, then they are stuck.

Some companies make you do most of the work and have you pay for it as well. If you like to do it, go for it, but the company I work for is super supportive and help through the processes. They have paid for almost all of my licenses in various states and assist with anything needed. Let's say I want to apply for a license......they overnight me an application with the check and requirements needed, as well as a prepaid envelope to that state's board. Easy as cake!

Also, look at their websites before you commit. Some have jobs only in a certain area of the states, some have them everywhere. Ask the recruiter if you find a job on another site, if they will be able to get you that job. Some can and some can't. Some travel companies are able to get more or different jobs because they have contracts with certain medical companies which allows them more options, while other travel companies just don't have the variety.

One of the things that helped me decide was their persistence, as well as their personality. If you don't get along with them or they clash with your personality, ask for a different person from that company or search for another one. There are plenty of recruiters out there. It seems that there is a pretty high turnover rate with their positions as well, so just expect that.

Once you narrow down the company you'd like to go with and the state you'd like to pursue, you'll likely start the licensing and interviewing process:
Your company should help you get your license (most of that is above), and then they have people that call possible employers to see if they would be interested in you. If they are, an interview time is scheduled with you. All of mine have been phone interviews ranging from 15-45 minutes. If it's during the work day, all of my travel employers have been great at letting me take an extra hour or so during that day to interview, and then making that hour up a different time in the week. They give you a call and interview you. It's shorter than a typical face-to-face interview with much less pressure. Mainly, you have to have a decent personality and care about your patients. I have certain questions that I ask, depending on the facility, but always be ready with at least a few questions. Some have just been them describing the facility, asking me if I feel comfortable, and then saying, any questions?? It seems to easy, but make sure to ask as many questions as you need. And try to research their company before the interview.....it's easy, Google them!

Here are some questions I ask:
*What does a typical day look like?
*How will I do documentation? (Written or electronic)
*What do you expect productivity to be? (Some companies expect a 90-100+% productivity- which means that percent of the day you spend face to face with patients. I don't agree with these numbers, most are rehab companies, where you see 3 or more people at a time so they get more money and the patients get less one on one time. Sometimes I like having 2 or 3 people doing exercises together, but if that's always expected, you never get to really see their ADLs or give them the quality of care they deserve. Some people would disagree with me, but that's where I stand with it.)
*What are some of your most common diagnoses there? (Be prepared to work with them)
*How long are treatment sessions? (If they say 15 minutes, it's most likely not patient centered. Make sure the answer is something like, 'Whatever or as much as the patient can tolerate.')
*How long is the typical stay? (If it's inpatient)
*Ask about COTA/OT interaction. (For example, in some states, a COTA can see a patient after the eval for the entire process, in others, and OT needs to see the patient every 5-10 visits. You may have more questions about this.)
*I usually ask about flexibility of the schedule (if I could take a day off if family visits), some places are much less flexible with travelers.
*What's the best part of working at this facility?
*Sometimes I ask if they know how far people commute or if they know of anywhere to look for housing.
There are plenty of other questions to ask, but I mainly try to make sure that they put their patients first and that I get along with them during the interview.

When you start the job, expect to dive in quickly. Take notes, and do as much as you can to keep up with everything. Most places expect travelers to be ready to treat patients day one without much guidance, and to have comparable or higher productivity than permanent employees. If you're not ready for that, make sure you find a place that is comfortable with new grads and have more time to help you, or find a local job until you're more comfortable. Make sure you know when you're expected to be at meetings, and be ready for them, where to find equipment, etc. The first week can be a little rough, but it get's much better as time passes. Sometimes I have found and heard that permanent employees don't always love travelers being there. We usually are getting paid more and will only be there for a few months usually, so people don't always want to invest themselves to form relationships with you. I have had a lot of the opposite happen though, and have made many great friends and contacts along the way.
I have also learned so much from the various therapists. It's amazing tapping into to others' knowledge and having the opportunity grow along the way.

I've never worked for a company that I truly didn't enjoy, but if that's you after a few weeks, talk to your recruiter and see what they can do about it. Hopefully they are understanding and could possibly help you find a solution to what's going on.

Pros:
Exploring different areas, getting great experience in a variety of settings, constant learning, meeting new people, growing as a person, great road trips, up to a month off between assignments if you like to travel between assignments while still being covered by insurance (depending on your company), and so far it's been great for our marriage to do this together, having to fully trust in God through the ups and downs.

Cons:
Being away from family and friends, it's hard to get connected in a community in only 13 weeks, some of the benefits (401K, etc.), finding a job to work for my husband while we do this, not always knowing what you're doing. :)

The company I work for is Med Travelers. I really have had an overall great experience with them so far, and only wish a few things would be different.

I hope all this info helps, and would love any feedback anyone else has on the topic!!!!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Here I Go Again

So I have been absent for a number of months from this blog, and I wanted to give a link to the blog that my husband and I are doing as we do travel therapy. It's called Roo & Kare's Epic Adventure and can be fount at http://speideladventure.blogspot.com/ For some reason I cannot add it as a link at this time. It's more about our journey together through this adventure, and a great way to stay in touch with friends and family as we move from place to place.

I'm not the greatest blogger in the world, but there have been quite a few things that I've wanted to blab about, that I just don't have a good fit on our blog. I think Andy or some of our friends would rather hear about deer sausage and road trips instead of hearing about my latest failed attempt at crocheting. :)

I don't want or like to blog to get more people to read what I write. I don't even care that much if people read it or not. It's just a great medium to put my thoughts down and read other peoples'. I'm sure I have talked about many of these things before, but I want to give a quick refresher of the past few years before I start spilling my beans again.

Maybe I'll start at 2007, because that's when I can go back and remember the most. :)
Andy proposed in March at a hockey rink in town while teaching me to skate with Jack Johnson playing in the background. :) We both graduated with our bachelor's degrees in April, I started my Graduate program in May, Andy started his in the fall. In August, we purchased a duplex with Andy's brother and started remodeling with the generous help of multiple family members and friends. In September, we got married!!! I apologize to the multiple people that didn't get a thank you card. I feel terrible and have no excuse. Please know how grateful we are to have you in our lives.
2008 brought our honeymoon in January. We traveled to Trinidad and Tobago and were able to spend time with friends we had met from mission trips there. Our camera disappeared on that trip I feel we should re-do it sometime to get all new pictures and videos! That summer, we made some small sacrifices with work and school to be a part of a trip to Cameroon, Africa with Gateway Teams. God provided and through that trip answered multiple prayers. That fall, I had a fieldwork (internship) experience at the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown and it was incredible. Their website is www.annecenter.org , check it out! In November, I went to Guatemala with some classmates and a professor through the God's Child Project to build 2 homes and do OT. It was an absolute blast, and I fell even more in love with service and travel.
2009: I finished my schooling with one last fieldwork in Bismarck, Andy and I were done with grad school!!! The paying off our loans part is what we hate the most. In June, my brother and his girlfriend Shannon tied the knot! In December, Andy's sister Kellie had our first niece, Sylvie, and my baby sisters turned 16!!!
With 2010 came my first travel assignment in MN which was great, but also helped us decide that we didn't want to do it unless we did it together. Andy's other sister, Shannon had our second niece, Liv, and we found out my brother and his wife are expecting the summer of 2011. In September, Andy and I headed for north Idaho, and the rest is in the blogs!!!

There were obviously many other things that happened in that time span, but those are just a touch of the highlights. Sorry to bore everyone! :)