Adventures in Camp Nursing


IMG_8051Adventures in Camp Nursing

Shabbat Shalom. Well, it has been officially one week down (of three), working as a camp nurse. Is it fun?… of course it is! It has definitely been great learning new things about nursing, pediatrics, and about life. The best part of camp is the children, they are all pretty awesome. Honestly, I never imagined myself working in nursing with kids. But, patience is really getting a hold of me, which is super helpful in working with the little ones.

                What is it like working in camp nursing? It’s caring for a few hundred (up to 1000) campers and staff along with a few other nurses and a physician. Camp nursing calls for action packed days in the infirmary passing medications, triaging ill or injured children and staff, with the occasional emergent situation.

                In between shifts-what do we do? Have fun at camp! With what ever energy is left and not drained out, there is time to do all the fun stuff has to offer. For example, here are some of the things I enjoyed on site at camp in my free time: jet ski, archery, swimming pool, tennis, hike, petting zoo, and hang out with the awesome staff (many of which who are international-gotta love those accents)!

                One new thing learned this week: Lev, means heart in Hebrew. Oh, did I mention this is a Jewish camp. Learning a new culture has been fun as well. Was also able to participate in Shabbat services. So long for now. Stay tuned for more.

No one said it would be easy


 As I sit here on the rocks listening to the sounds of waterfalls in front of me, I hear the sweet soft words, “as the dear pants for the water so my soul longs after thee.” It’s been a little over a week or so since I’ve exited one of the roughest seasons. For the past few months I’ve reminded myself daily not to quit-that God did not bring me this far to leave me. This past semester of Nursing school had me tested and tried, and has taught (and reminded) me many lessons in life.

  1. 1. Use your time wisely. As the weariness of school obligations, daily reading assignments (that I couldn’t keep up with), late night study sessions, amongst work schedule, not to mention social life (or lack thereof), and involvement in church fellowship, it is very difficult for us (well, I’m speaking of myself-but I’m sure we can all relate) to prioritize what matters most. But, it’s a must.

2. Don’t give up. Yes, we’ve all heard it time and time again. If it were in regards to school, or career choices, our home or family situation-do not give up! Breakthrough is just around the corner. It has to be a constant reminder to us, that there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. This season of trials and tribulation, disappointments, failures-it coming to an end. No more rolling through stop signs without getting a ticket (heard that in church service this morning). There was a time that I simply was just disappointed in myself, people were letting me down… there is a frustration for those of us that have dealt with this. But, in the midst of our frustrations-there is a sweet voice saying, “I love you no matter what, and you can do this.” We must remember our goals, passions, and mission that is set before us. We will finish this marathon of life-not as a quick sprint but in a process that we will be thankful for in the future.

No one said it would be easy-but it will be worth it.”

3.) Keep those close to you-near you. Remember your family and close friends are your support system. When we feel a state of isolation (may be good or bad), we must stay accountable. Talk to those close to your heart. It may be difficulty, or even humbling, but you will not regret it. It is in our darkest times that we learn to rely on those who care.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

~James 1:12

Milking a Cow


Yay!! After an incredible weekend celebrating my little sisters wedding, I was able to milk a cow. The home we rented for the weekend was actually a Farm House located on a dairy farm, which in turn equalled being able to milk a cow!! I have to admit, it was a very weird feeling. But, a pretty cool thing to do. But, I don’t think I would consider doing it again, I guess I just prefer to purchase my milk by the gallon. If you have never milked a cow, I would highly consider you’d try it out, at least once. Check out the video link below.



💪Called to be Greater


As summer slowly approaches it’s end, and the Autumn breeze arises, I sit here, reflecting on the last few weeks of my summer break. Tomorrow, is a new day, and the first day of my next term of school. I am reflecting and processing the beginning of another season, that brings me closer to my dream.

This is why I became a nurse. Here is my story.

As a little girl, I have always wanted to become something great and make a difference in the world in any possible way. I always understood that there was more to life than the limited opportunities I was surrounded with. Growing up in Los Angeles, California, was not always about sunshine and surfing, as many would suggest. The city was also housed by gang members, druggies, and homeless. Many of whom, due to poor lifestyle choices and upbringing, would be entrapped in this lifestyle their whole life. When I was about 19 years old, I made one the biggest decisions in my life, I left LA and headed east, a decision that has forever changed my life and helped me become who I am today. I ended up in Lancaster, PA and settled in with my aunt, who had recently moved there as well. After the move, I quickly became involved in a local church as I knew I needed spiritual guidance to stay on track. I started working two jobs, and then enrolled in an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) program a few months later. You see, I didn’t always want to be a nurse. I wanted to follow my mothers footsteps and become a teacher. After some circumstances, I chose Nursing. After prayer, God was leading me in this direction, and then I knew I was Called to help care for the ill, the unwanted, the powerless, and spread the joy of the Lord that I was blessed with.

At about 23 yrs of age, I completed the LPN program, and continued to work in various settings as a practical nurse for 7 years leading me to today, where I strive for greater. I started the RN/BSN program, and grateful that this opportunity has finally come. I always wondered why it has taken me so long to reach this point. But, then I was quickened and reminded that sometimes one needs to “go through” some things in order to be at a better place, when certain opportunities arise. You see, these past few years, and in process to completing an RN program were rough. I battled stages of depression, abuse, feelings of no self worth, disappointment, anger, etc, but after 3 years of being on a straight and narrow path, the time is now. I choose to stay positive, and be an impact to everyone around me. I started to blog, where I share my heart, and in that with hopes of encouraging anyone and everyone who takes the time to read this.  It has been a challenge balancing school, work, church, community involvement, and school leadership team, but it has taught me how to balance everything that is important in my life.

Sometimes, opportunities are not just “handed” to us, we have to work for them. Diligence is key. I am encouraged that as I look back on growing up, everything has been a process. Life is like a ladder, and we must keep climbing up! Started as a scared 20 yr old working as a Nurse’s Aid in the hospital, to a competent LPN, and now looking forward to the future as an RN, and then grad school, and I could go on. But, despite all odds, I will become someone great. If I can encourage anyone with my story, remember that nothing worth having comes easy.

Be patient, and stay strong during the process, and keep in mind,

“it will be worth it.”

♻️Dying and Living


end-of-lifeGreetings my fellow readers and bloggers! It’s been way too long since my last post. RN school has really taken most of my time these days, and as many of you know, it’s not easy tackling school, work, family, and church. But, we must take it one day at  a time. 

So, last week in class, we were asked by an instructor to write a couple paragraphs on our thoughts of end of life/death, since it is our lecture topic this week. Well, a couple paragraphs turned into 3 pages! The purpose of the reflective journal was not only just for her to read, but for us to check ourself, and see where our heart is with such a difficult topic for many. Below, I will post an exerpt from the paper, of my thoughts, and experience on dying. This is my story.                      ***Disclaimer, you may need tissues handy.*** 

  I used to wonder why bad things happen to good people. I used to blame God when things didn’t go the way I wanted them to. I used to blame myself, on why I didn’t reach out to more people. I used to…

            My brother Manny had just turned 31 years old, he loved to laugh, dance, and just have a good time. Anytime I was going through something rough, he would always make a joke, and always made things feel lighter. He was not perfect, but after all no one is. He was the life of the party, and filled with life! Growing up in Los Angeles was not always peaches and crème. Manny turned to other things that helped him cope with his environment. I was also living in L.A at the time, and our parents were living in rural West Virginia, where God had called them to pastor a church. Praise God for praying parents, who always encouraged and loved us no matter the poor choices we made.

            One day, my brother Manny decided to leave his old lifestyle and moved across the country to West Virginia. I was so excited for his decision to finally change, and told him I would drive him to the airport myself. I picked him up about 5am to head to the airport. I thought he wouldn’t’ be ready, or flake out, because it was such a huge move! I knocked on the window to his room, to find him wide-awake, and all he could do is share the excitment of his next move! I told him if he was ready to make this life changing decision, and he hesitantly and farsightedly said he was. He was also leaving his two young children, who he loved very much, in the care of their mother.

            He arrives to West Virginia, and quickly begins to get aquanted with his new home. He slowly made a 180 turn in his lifestyle choices. He quickly gets a job, and soon enough becomes a manager at a local fine dining restaurant. His life was falling into place. He starting to send any extra money he had, back home to California to his children, and started to attend church again. He paid off old parking tickets, therefore allowing him to get his drivers license, and purchase a vehicle. He was happy as can be. I was still in Los Angeles during this time but, I remember my sister calling me and telling me she took him to the DMV to get his drivers license. They asked him if he would like to be an organ donor. He asked them to clarify, not fully understanding what it meant. And so they explained to him, for example, if anything were to ever happen or say he would get in an accident, if we would like to donate his organs, and save another life. He quickly responded, “yes, I would save someone’s life.” The statement he made would foreshadow the events to take place a few months later.

            I was working nightshift in an acute Psych unit in a hospital in the L.A area. About 2am, I get a call from my mom, which was very strange to me, since it was 5am East Coast time, and wondered why she would be calling me so early. She begins to share that Manny was in a car accident, and from the trembling in her voice, I knew it was bad. She said that the doctors told my parents that they needed to call the family and have them come right away. I left work early, and got the first morning flight out to D.C the next morning.

            I get to the hospital, along with a few other family members who flew in, to find Manny in an ICU bed, lifeless. He was intubated with mechanical ventilation (life-support). I held his hand, and felt him say he was okay and at peace. At that moment I knew he was gone. With tears flowing down my face, I walked out the room and began to pray. My parents and family (I come from a family of ministers) prayed, and urgently sent messages out to all the pastors in our fellowship, and had everyone praying for a miracle. My family contended for a miracle, that only the hand of God can do. But, after a second EEG confirmed there was no brain activity, other decisions had to be made.

             Then, the Gift of Life Program came into place. MannyBoy was an organ donor. After a week long of tests, and keeping him alive on life support, he was to become a donor.

“You were born with the ability to change someone’s life, don’t ever waste it”.

            Early on Saturday morning, they would take him in the OR (Operating Room). We held Manny’s hand for one last time, and as his flaccid body lay on the bed at the doorway of the OR, we said our last goodbye.

            After he passed, my siblings and I went in his room, and took home with us some of his belongings. I took a couple of Manny’s Bob Marley shirts, and his favorite “Jager” shot glass. I began to step back into a lifestyle I am not proud of. I started taking pills, smoking cigarettes & pot, and “backslid.” I was angry, hurt, and had no self-esteem. I was mad at God, on how He would allow such thing to happen to Manny after he changed his life around. I blamed the two other girls in the car with him, the driver of the car, who was intoxicated. It was a difficult season. organ_transplant_SPLAT

            One night before going out to a Hollywood club, I was taking shots in Manny’s shot glass, and as I was pounding them down, I heard Manny’s voice, “what are you doing to yourself…” My lifestyle of destruction behavior quickly changed. I began to go to church again and seeked God. God is my refuge and my strength, and through everything, He was always in the midst. Even in my darkest times, God was protecting me from the many poor decisions I was making.

            Two years later, my sis-in-law receives flowers from the young man who received Manny’s heart. Words cannot describe what this meant to my family. We were (and are) still healing from this. That a young man is now alive, and able to live life, because our Manny wanted to “save his life.”

            There have been many situations of death I have experienced. I can say it has gotten much easier throughout the years, but it is always something difficult to go through. About 5 years ago, while working on a Med/Surg floor, I lost a patient, and held his hand as he took his last breath and went to be with the Lord. I have also had family members pass away related to drug use/misuse.  Death is never an easy thing to go through. I can honestly say that like myself, many have doubted God, when these heartbreaking situations occur. The sad truth is often times, healthcare workers and other professions become “numb” to dying, as we see it all around us. 

             A couple weeks ago, during my OR clinical rotation for school, I was blessed to be able to witness first hand, an organ harvest/transplant surgery. Having seeing that, it has even more so brought awareness of the value of being an organ donor. My hope is that everyone would consider being one too. 

So, here I am almost 4 years later since Manny went to heaven. I have been set-free, and delivered from depression/suicide thoughts, drug abuse, and promiscuity. I am studying to become what God has ordained for me to be. That despite all circumstances, and hindrances, I will reach my goal. My prayer is that people will see the light, and know that God is in control. Amen.


For more info on becoming an organ donor:


🔭Destiny Vs. Rear View Mirror


dont-look-back-unless-its-a-good-view-148264-500-3241        Recently, I was introduced to the much acclaimed show called,  The Walking Dead. There’s something about the zombie apocalypse and a captivating storyline to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat!  On the contrary,  I must admit, for a while now I’ve chosen to adopt the “no watching tv” concept. Although on occasion, I tune in to some shows (view via iPhone apps). Anyhow, it doesn’t really matter why I’ve chosen to opt out of television (for such a time as this, at least). But just know this, I’ve chosen to explore other avenues to occupy my free time.

       Back to TWD… in the show, they often speak of, not looking back, or “don’t look back.”  This is primary to the fact that if one does look back, it will slow you down and therefore increase your odds of getting bit, or killed. In watching this show, I am reminded about life itself. How many times have we heard people say, “your past does not define you” or “keep looking ahead, things will get better.” The way I comprehend it is that we should remember where we came from, and look forward to where  we’re going in the direction God is leading us.

Often times, we tend to look at our past in regret, instead of with appreciation for how far we have come. It may be difficult for us to keep looking ahead, if our mind is so fogged in our past. I say this with humility, knowing that I too have been guilty of this.

About a year ago, I had some issues with one of the side view mirrors of my car.  Within a couple days of eachother,  I replaced the mirror twice. The first time the mirror “broke”, it was knocked off by another driver. After being repaired it was replaced by a new mirror, and that very same day, it was struck by a bike rider who was riding too close to me.  I found it odd in wondering how this continuously happened to my poor Stevie Wonder (my Toyota Camry, yes, I named my car).

As I sat and reflected on this car issue, the Lord began to speak to me on why this mirror kept  “falling off” or “breaking.”  You see, the mirror breaking was a physical manifestation of what my spiritual being was being dealt with. In the spiritual, I was dwelling on my past. Condemnation tried to sneak in a peak and remind me of who I was before Christ. I reflected back and thought about the what-if’s (why this did or didn’t happen).  God was showing me that there needed to be a “break” in how I viewed my past. Then, I was reminded of the scripture, “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”-Romans 8:1.

When looking at a mirror, you see a reflection of yourself. But, when you look through a rear-view mirror, you are looking at what’s behind you. Now, I’m not saying we should all ignore the rules of driving and not look through our rear-view mirrors. But, The Lord is telling us to stop looking at the past in regret or shame. Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Just because the past taps you on the shoulder, doesn’t mean you have to look back.” For many of us, our past is not the most desirable and safe place we would like to be in again. When I think back on how far God has brought me, and all He has carried me through, it has only been by His grace that He has kept me. Looking back in regret is not how God wants us to view our past. Let us look forward on to the great things God has planned for us, our destiny. When we stay in His will, He will give us everything we desire and more. Our hopes, dreams, and deepest desires will come to pass as we continue to remain obedient to the plans He has set before us. Be encouraged and look forward, not back. Blessings.

❤️Thirty things I’ve learned at 30



  Thirty things I have learned at 30

      By, Norma Renteria

 Today is November 13, 2013, and it is my birthday. I am now 30 years young. My twenties were quite an adventure. I’ve learned and grown so much, practically and spiritually. God has revealed so much to me, bringing things to light in my life that I never realized before. I took some time to sit down, and reflect on some things I have learned in life thus far. I pray this encourages you.

1. LIVE-LAUGH-LOVE-Live life like it’s your last day, Laugh so hard you pee your pants, and Love as Christ has loved you.                                                                             

2. I cannot “do it all.”  Let your “Yes be YES, and your No be NO.” ~James 5:12    Do not overwhelm yourself with commitments you can’t keep. Be a person of your word, integrity.                                                                                 

3. People cannot read your mind, so share from the heart. Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes. BAM.

4. Always give your full attention to whomever is in front of you. Look at people in the eyes when you are talking to them. Put your cell phone away, its rude to be glued to your phone in the company of others (I’m still learning this).

5. Ignore the small stuff. Give them a break. Sometimes, it’s the little things built up to cause disaster. This is has been especially difficult for OCD people such as myself.

6. Do your best. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord.” ~Colossians 3:23.  Show up; Give 100% of what you can give that day.

7. Be a Risk-Taker. Be brave and take risks.  You will not regret the things you did, but those you did not do.

8. Finding your passion is important.  My passion is Loving God and Loving People. Strive to please God. ~Nursing-Family~ Live to Love.

9. Relationships matter.  I’ve learned not to isolate myself. Stay connected, through the good times and bad.

10. The past does not equal the future. “A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over.” You can’t change the past, so it’s important to focus on the present. Your Past Does Not Dictate Your Future.

11. It’s OK to wait.  We don’t need to hurry. Sometimes it’s okay to wait a little longer for something. Enjoy the journey. God’s Timing is always perfect.

12. Don’t believe everything you think and feel. Don’t over think. The enemy will sometimes distort things, causing you to feel contrary to what you stand for and believe. Pray and ask God for clarity.

13. There is a definition of love. Here it is: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.”

14. Change is good. Change is an uncomfortable thing because we are creatures of habit and comfort.  “How will you ever discover new waters, if you’re afraid to leave the dock.”  So if you’re too comfortable it means you’re not growing. Change=Growth

15. Be transparent. You can’t grow and get help if you’re not honest with yourself and others. Concealing your reality stunts growth and prevents true change. Every meaningful relationship requires transparency and openness.

16. Don’t let anyone or anything define you. My identity is in Christ.  I’m nothing in myself, but I’m grateful that I know who I am in Him!

17. TRUE BEAUTY: God loves me the way I am! I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...“the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight”, 1 Peter 3:4.

18. Who ever said, “you can have it all”… You can’t have everything without sacrificing something. So figure out what means the most to you and then prioritize.

19. Live a life serving others. Take the focus off of yourself and find out what you can do for someone else on a daily basis. That is True Joy!

20. Travel, NOW!  God has created such beautiful world we live in! It would be a shame for us not to embrace His goodness. Save $, Travel, and Explore! Bon Voyage!

21. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Albert Einstein defined this as insanity. Enough said.

22. Have a teachable spirit. Allow loved ones to correct you and tell you about yourself. Correction doesn’t feel good, but it is necessary for growth.

23. Don’t stress, don’t be anxious, and don’t worry. “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right” (in my Bob Marley voice).

24. Don’t complain. Instead, give Praise and give Thanks!  I used to complain a lot, until I learned that the root of complaining was selfishness and ungratefulness. Ouch.

25. There is beauty in simplicity.  Less is more! It teaches you to appreciate every little thing!  Sometimes, the simplest things in life have greater value. Enjoy the simple things in life.

26. Do not make big decisions (or write important emails/texts) after 10pm.  This may not be the wisest choice. Sleeping on it is always a good idea.

27. God’s not dead, He is surely alive. His spirit is living in me! My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and I must treat it with the highest utmost respect.

28. Forgive, period.

29. Eat when you are hungry and sleep when you are sleepy. Lack of both of those is no bueno. It leads to a moody, rude, and ignorant person. Trust me I know (I’m referring to myself).

30. I am so ready for my thirties!  I’ve loved most of my 20s, but am really looking forward to this new decade.  So bring it on, 30s!

The Best is Yet to Come!