Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The 32 Years of Me!

In just a few hours, my 32nd birthday will be here. For several years, I've taken this post and added to it on the night before my birthday. It has become one of my favorite things to do. I love rereading the memories of years past and then documenting the highlights of the last year.  There's always something so sweet to me in reflecting on the journey Christ chooses to take me on.  It's funny to me how things never seems to turn out the way I would expect, yet when I look back, I realize that God's hand was in every detail.  The updates for many years look incredibly different than how I would have written my life’s story.  I’m so thankful that God has control of the pen, and that I simply walk in obedience of the story He penned long before I was even born.  

YEAR 1: It all began on February 16, 1985 when all 10 lbs. 11 oz. of me made an entrance into the world. Of course I don’t remember anything from this year, but pictures and stories tell me that my fat rolls had fat rolls. I was extremely chubby! This was also the year when I began all of my broken bones…a skull fracture at 9 months old!


YEAR 2, 3, 4: I’m lumping all of these years together….In these years I spent a lot of time with my Mama Sue. Mama Sue kept me while my parents worked, and I loved going to her house. We spent lots of time in the garden…chasing cows that got out of the pen…shucking corn…and snapping green beans. I gave my “passy” away to her baby calf because it didn’t have one. One of the biggest memories I have of spending time with Mama Sue is when we got into a wreck on the way to pick her kids up from school….even at that age, I still REMEMBER it (not just hearing stories about it!).


YEAR 5: During this year, I started taking dance. I’m pretty sure it only lasted one year…I definitely turned out to be a tomboy instead of a girlie girl. So sorry, Mom! At the end of my fifth year, I got a little sister. Hard to say if I was excited or not….I’m pretty sure I wanted to send her back. (No worries…I love her now!)


YEAR 6: I started Kindergarten this year, and I absolutely loved my teacher. My favorite part of Kindergarten was the memory verse cards we had. Each week was a new verse starting with a new letter of the alphabet. We learned scripture while learning our alphabet…I thought it was amazingly cool back then. I also began playing t-ball this year!


YEAR 7: This was the year when SOFTBALL actually started, and I was hooked from the beginning. I got to “play” on an all-star team that I was almost too young for, but I made the cut because I was “coachable”…what really ended up happening was I sat the bench and occasionally got to play right field [read…picking flowers!].


YEAR 8: I started piano lessons this year from the organist at our church. I enjoyed learning to play, but I hated practicing and hated recitals even more. At my Christmas recital, I walked in, saw everyone looking at me, started crying, and walked out. I can’t remember if I actually played my pieces. My FAVORITE softball memory from this year is warming up with my brother before a game and the ball hit me in the face. I had a bruise in the pattern of the “stitches” from the softball. I was SO proud! I’ve always loved my battle wounds!


YEAR 9: I got my first kitten this year, Oreo! I also had my first teacher in school that I didn’t like. Other than that, softball continues!


YEAR 10: I had my favorite birthday party in this year. My mom planned a Mexican Fiesta at our house and we all played Bunko!


YEAR 11: I broke my leg on Christmas day of this year, and ended up being in a long cast for several weeks. I vividly remember getting my cast off and a couple of days later having the first softball practice of the season. The last thing my mom told me before she left was DON’T run the bases. As she came to pick me up, sure enough, I was running the bases! OOPS…busted! You couldn’t keep me away from softball.


YEAR 12: This was the year of my favorite vacation of all times. We spent two weeks going to New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. We had two weeks worth of pimento cheese and chicken salad sandwiches (which we STILL talk about to this day!)…and stayed at the “Best Inn”. Oh the memories from that vacation…


YEAR 13: This begins the awkward years…and I had it bad. I started 7th grade during this year, and it was a big deal because it was the first year for all of the kids in my grade to be at the same school (we came from several elementary schools). My best friend at the time, Amanda, moved to town, and we were instant friends. Without a doubt we were inseparable until she moved in 9th grade. I got sent to the office this year for accidently touching my teacher’s paper cutter, and I thought my world had ended! We added on to our house and I FINALLY had my own room. I started taking dance again because I thought I might want to be in drill team in high school.

Most significantly in this year is that the Lord began showing me through someone I looked up to greatly that I needed to make my faith in Him my own….


YEAR 14: March 4th of this year Andrey (from Ukraine) came to live with us while he had surgery on his eye. It was an interesting experience, but one I wouldn’t trade for anything. On June 24, 1998, I accepted Christ as my Savior and began following Him. My faith went from going to church on Sundays to having a relationship with the one true God! My life has never been the same since that day!


YEAR 15: I started high school during this year. I was on the JV Drill team and I made Varsity softball as a freshman. During my freshman year, I had two of my best friends, Amanda and Mallory, move away. I had to find a new group of friends, which isn't always the easiest thing to do in high school.


YEAR 16: During July of this year, my parents bought me a red Volkswagon Beetle! It was what I always wanted…I couldn’t believe I was actually getting one!! I remember being so happy that I couldn’t quit crying as my mom and dad signed all the papers. Sad thing was that I was TERRIFIED to drive it because it was a stick shift. I finally learned, and at the end of my 16th year (on my 16th birthday!), the K8TBUG was mine!


YEAR 17: During this summer, I went to Super Summer and the Lord put China on my heart. I knew from that moment on that I would serve there someday…I wasn’t sure when…I wasn’t sure how…but I knew I was going!


YEAR 18: The thing that sticks out to me most during this year is junior prom. I didn’t like it one bit. It was my first (and only) dance I ever went to. That summer I went to several camps (like every summer) including softball camp at Texas A&M!!


YEAR 19: This was a huge year for me! I graduated from high school #6 in my class, and then packed my bags to move off to Texas A&M which was a dream come true. I left home being one extremely shy little girl afraid to order my own meal at restaurants. I was scared to death to be on my own, but I wanted to be an Aggie so badly!


YEAR 20: At the beginning of my 20th year, the Lord blessed me with an incredible friendship that proved to be one of my best friends of all time, Christi! She was (and still is) a huge blessing in my life. I learned so much of the Lord’s character and how much I needed Him DAILY during this year. I donated my hair to Locks of Love for the first time, and I got the chance to work at T bar M.


YEAR 21: I went back to work at T bar M this summer. My 21st year ended with my mom and dad driving to College Station just to take me out to dinner on my birthday. I was reminded of how blessed I am to have a mom and dad who would do things like that…and even sometimes just drive up to surprise me!


YEAR 22: Year 22 was another big one for me! I took the MCAT for the first time, and didn’t do as well as I had hoped. A few months later (only days after getting my MCAT scores back), I hopped on a plane and spent a portion of the summer in China teaching English. God used the MCAT to form a bond between my sweet friend from China, A, and me! The best part of the summer was that A came to know Jesus and she loves Him with everything she has. The Lord showed me that summer that He works out ALL THINGS for the good of those who love Him.


YEAR 23: During year 23, I took the MCAT for the second time, and the Lord began to reveal to me that medical school wasn’t the direction He wanted me to go. Not knowing what to do instead, I applied to medical school and again hopped on a plane back to Nanning, Guangxi, China (where I left my heart the summer before). This trip to China was cut short due to a broken arm, and I was completely devastated!


Oops…I can’t forget to mention that I graduated from TEXAS A&M! WHOOP! Proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2007.


I also began working at College Station Middle School in August. It was during this time the Lord led me to nursing school, and I began the application process.


YEAR 24: I continued to work at the middle school in the Special Education classroom where God taught me so much about unconditional love through two students that I affectionately call “My Honor Student” and “My Ray of Sunshine”. The entire experience of working at this school allowed me to fall more in love with Jesus and see new aspects of His character. I was completely changed by the lives of these two precious students!

I decided to come to San Antonio for nursing school, and it was a HUGE change for me! Little did I know that when I moved so far away from my family that God would bring a big sister (something I always prayed for) into my life. He also completely blessed me with an amazing house church of people with a heart for the nations.


YEAR 25: If I can sum up my 25th year in one word, it would be FREEDOM! I’ve learned a lot this year about what it means to truly walk in freedom in Christ. Freedom from fear…freedom from failure…freedom from perfection… Life isn’t about living for other people, but it’s about living for Him and following Him wherever He chooses to lead me.


YEAR 26:  This year has been a year of change in my life….I’m no longer a student.  :(  The early months were filled with a job hunt.  The process was not fun, but I was completely blown away with how the Lord blessed me. I experienced post earthquake Haiti, firsthand.  And to say that I fell in love with the people there is an understatement!!  The month of April was difficult because in the midst of applying for a job, one of my favorite clinical instructors/mentors unexpectedly went to be with Jesus. Then in May, I walked across the stage and received BS degree #2.  You can betcha that when I walked across the stage I flashed a big GIG ‘EM to the camera as I received my diploma.  I may have got to a “t.u” system school, but I am still 100% Aggie through-and-through.   In July I started an amazing job as an RN in the Pediatric ICU at Santa Rosa.  At this point, I have been there about 8 months, and Jesus has changed me.  I’ve been humbled by the trust of my patients and their families that is given to me on a daily basis.  Each day as I go to work, my prayer is the same.  I pray that I would bring hope, comfort, joy, and peace in Jesus’ name to my patients and their families.  I don’t want to miss any opportunity to be Jesus’ hands and feet.  A definite highlight in my 26th year is my roomies.  I live with 4 of the greatest girls I know….they deserve their own post.


YEAR 27:  This year has been one of many, many blessings!  I started off this year as the assistant coach for SACS Middle School softball team.  These girls had so much heart and gave their all 100% of the time.  They definitely worked to earn their undefeated season.  I was so proud of them!   The summer of this year {mostly June!} was busy, busy, busy, but I love busy!  Two of my closest friends got married two weeks apart during the summer, and I was honored to be able to stand with both of them as they said their “I do’s”.   In a seemingly “random” series of events {although it was completely orchestrated by the Lord}, I found out about a trip to Haiti, and God made it evident that I needed to be there…SO I WENT!!  Through this trip to Haiti, God brought about one of the biggest blessings of this year, A CHURCH HOME!  I have been so blessed and challenged by the people at Grace, and I love them so much!  During June, I also managed {somehow} to squeeze in working Vacation Bible School, taking girls to GA Camp, and working as a nurse at Camp Waldemar.   The end of the summer marked the end of living with my roomies at the M&M House and moving across town into an apartment by myself.  My 27th year also had its fair share of hard times…my grandpa passed away in May and some very sweet friends moved away in December.  Throughout this year, I have come to know Jesus in a whole new way.  I was constantly reminded that God knows the cry of our hearts, and He longs to give good things to His children….in His time!  I’m learning that His timing, no matter how crazy it seems, is perfect!  I finish this year blessed, thankful, and full of anticipation for the year ahead!   Oh…and I can’t forget that the last week of my 27th year landed me in the Emergency Room for an evening.  Evidently when you are kickboxing and pass out…people take that seriously!    


YEAR 28:  How do I even begin to describe this year: Injuries, adventures, illness, and friendships!    INJURIES:  Please tell me you are not surprised by this anymore!  In March, I had an unfortunate incident with a rather large rock in Haiti, which you can read about here and here.  OUCH!!! ADVENTURES: During this year, I was extremely blessed to travel back to Haiti for the third time and travel for the first time to Mongolia where our team mended many physically broken hearts .  Man, oh man, I loved Mongolia!!  Each place I've traveled has it's own amazing stories of what God is doing, but something about my time in Mongolia was different.  God used Mongolia to change me!  FRIENDSHIPS: In December of 2011, some good friends moved from San Antonio, and I spent  part of my 28th year not really feeling like I had a "place" in San Antonio where I could just feel at home.  Not only did I gain fabulous memories and a newfound love for taking care of children's hearts while in Mongolia, God gave me some new friendships that I treasure.  They bless me, encourage me, and have helped me grow more in my faith.  God knows each of us so well, and He gives us exactly what we need at exactly the right time!  He is SO SO good!  ILLNESS:  The last part of this year I have been fighting through some sort of illness with my lungs.  I've become all too familiar with neb treatments, inhalers, PFT's....and the list could go on!  

If I have one word to describe what I've been learning this past year, it is DEPENDENCE!!  Even when I think I have things figured out, God reminds me that in ALL things, I have to depend on Him.  He is the source of LIFE and STRENGTH...and apart from HIM, I can do NOTHING!


YEAR 29:  This year has been a whirlwind!  It's hard to remember all that went on during my 29th year....is it too early to start blaming old age?!?!   I have spent most of this year out of the safety of my comfort zone.  As a nurse, I got to add a few letters to the back of my name.... Katie Tankersley, BSN, RN, CCRN.  CCRN is a certification for critical care nursing that requires a certain number of hours as a bedside nurse in a critical care setting in order to be able to sit for the exam.  Let me tell you, it was a relief to have that exam behind me.  This year I have also stepped out of my comfort zone and into a new role of being a charge nurse in the Pediatric ICU.  I returned to Mongolia in September as part of our medical team to help mend broken hearts.  I was honored to be asked to take on the role of charge nurse for our team of nurses during that trip.  Less than two months later was probably my biggest test of stepping out of my comfort zone on faith and trusting Christ with fears of the unknown.  In November, I again traveled with For Hearts And Souls to Kurdistan.  Originally our trip was planned to be a heart catheterization trip to Fallujah, but God had VERY different plans.  We spent our time in Kurdistan screening children for heart defects and teaching the Kurdish ICU nurses.  Little did I know that when I returned home I would be able to add "International Lecturer" to my resume.  If all of the other things I've mentioned were "steps" out of my comfort zone, I would say that lecturing to nurses in another country about nursing care in a post-op pediatric cardiac patient would be light years away from my comfort zone.  


In spending so much time out of my comfort zone, I realize that it's in that place where growth happens.  Growing pains occurred and I frantically sought out the familiar on many occasions, but through it all I realized I'm capable of so much more than I think.  Out of my comfort zone, God has shown me His goodness.  The overwhelming message of this year for me is that God is GOOD. Period. End of story.  In the good times---He is GOOD.  When things make sense---He is GOOD.  When I have no clue what step is next in my life---He is GOOD.  When I'm physically sick and can't figure out how to make it better---He is GOOD.  Regardless of any conditions---He is GOOD.  He stretched me thin at times, but that just meant less of "me" to get in the way as He worked in and through me.  


In other news, I ran my first half marathon, and Lord-willing it won't be my last one.  I've fallen in love with running more than I EVER thought I would.  I'm hoping that a full marathon is in my future for my 30th year!  We'll see!!  Unfortunately this year had to end with my PawPaw going to see Jesus.  It's sad for us here, but I know that he is not sad at all!  


YEAR 30:  When I think back over this year, the word that continually comes to mind is “healing”.  God healed my lungs, and He alone gets the credit for that.  A couple of years ago, it took every once of energy to wake up and go to work…and breathe.  Those years were full of neb treatments, doctor visits, and ER visits.  I remember thinking that might be my “new normal”.  BUT GOD…. He had other plans!  This year I finally got to be active again, and truly fell in love with running.  I think I love it as much as I do because it reminds me that I can breathe easily now.    Over the course of this year, I ran another half marathon and my first FULL MARATHON!  Mom and dad came to cheer me on and met me at several points along the course.  For that alone, they deserve the “Parent’s of the Year” award…. (they actually deserve it every year!)  I topped my 30th year off with a birthday trip to Maui.  There are not enough words to express how amazing that trip was… it was so beautiful, and I got to visit some of my favorite people, Kirk & Kim, which made the trip even better.  My 30th year ended with a phone call from my dad saying that Granny had died (on my birthday).  Only a few minutes before, I was standing on top of Haleakala looking out and thinking that I couldn’t imagine anyone else that had a more beautiful view than I did in that moment.   What I didn’t realize is that Granny did… as I looked at God’s incredible masterpiece of creation, she was looking face to face at the Creator! 

YEAR 31:  Woah…this is starting to make me feel really old!  This year was somewhat of an uneventful year (I’ll take it!).  The word that comes to mind for this year is “rest”.   I learned that it doesn’t take big, eventful years for God to speak loudly.  This year He has taught me so much in the quiet, uneventful times.  I almost feel like this year was like hitting the pause button.  Life still went on, but it was a time to let Him speak in the quiet. I continued running, and really enjoyed seeing the progress I’ve made in this area.  I logged 2 more half marathons and 2 full marathons!  Lord willing, I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.   I ended up having a surgery over the summer that led to 6 weeks off from work.  I never intended on taking that much time off, but it was good because I got to rest and spend time at home with my family that doesn’t happen often these days.  Toward the end of the summer, I applied to Texas A&M again for their Master’s in Nursing Education.  It was totally on a whim and had 2 days to get my application submitted, but I just trusted that if I was supposed to start now, then God would make a way.  He did, and I am currently in the first semester of my masters.  In the back of my mind, I always thought I would go back to school, but for some reason it never seemed like it would be a reality.  Now it is!  Once again I am a student at the BEST university in the world.  No one will ever convince me otherwise.

YEAR 32:  I am a little overwhelmed at the thought of summarizing this year.  If my 31st year was one of rest, it must have been in preparation for everything that would happen in my 32nd year!  I began this year juggling full-time nursing in the PICU, coaching softball, and working on my masters.  I never truly knew what “busy” was until I tackled the spring semester. 

In August, I was able to take an amazing trip to Zambia with Kirk and Mary.  On this trip, our team that performed the first heart caths in the entire country of Zambia.  It’s always been a dream of mine to go to Africa, and Jesus graciously answered that prayer!  One of the items on my bucket list is to love on orphans on every continent and speak the name of Jesus over them.  As we were leaving Zambia, we stopped by one of the most amazing orphanages I’ve ever seen.   As we walked in, this sweet little girl ran and jumped in my arms, not wanting to let go.  As I held her, I prayed over her…praying she would know the love of a family and ultimately know the love of Jesus.  Mary and I ended our time in Zambia with a trip to a game reserve, Chaminuka!  It was one of the most amazing experiences to see the animals up close and to get to walk a Cheetah!! 

During the trip to Zambia, God made it clear that the masters program I was in was not one that I needed to continue.  It was a good program, but I realized that it wasn’t going to be what I needed.  So after two semesters, I decided to stop and reevaluate my “why” for getting my masters.  I’m still “reevaluating”, but in the mean time, I love what I am able to do as a bedside nurse.  One of the biggest changes of this year was the decision to leave the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.  After being a nurse there for over 6 years, it was time for a change.  That change led me to the PICU at Methodist Children’s Hospital in San Antonio.   Even though I’m in a new location, my heart and ministry are still the same.  I’m so grateful that God continually allows me to love on patients and their families during an extremely difficult time in their lives.  It’s an honor and privilege.  Along those lines, one of the hard parts of this job is losing little ones you’ve grown to love as your own family.  This year was difficult as several of my super special kiddos passed away.  I wouldn’t change it though because simply knowing each of them changed me in some way. 

My favorite thing that happened this year was the birth of my first niece, Ellison Ann Nielsen.  I’m smitten!  She was born on December 29th….I had NO IDEA I could love a little 8lb. 7 oz. baby that I’d never met as much as I love her!  She immediately snuggled her way into my heart, and I’m head over heels in love with her!  She is absolutely proof that Jesus knows how to give us the sweetest gifts! 

A couple of other things that happened in this year:

Christi, my best friend from college and FOREVER, moved to San Antonio.  After leaving A&M, Christi went to Houston for medical school and I moved to San Antonio for nursing school.  After she finished med school, she moved to Iowa for her residency….that was entirely too far away.  This summer she not only moved back to Texas but back to San Antonio.  Such a sweet gift! 

Marathon #4!  I ran the Dallas Marathon in Dallas with two good friends.  Each marathon I run is a reminder at the goodness of God.  I’m so thankful I’m able to run and breathe…I pray that the wonder of it all never becomes so commonplace that I stop recognizing Jesus’ healing of my lungs! 
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I know this is long, but I love keeping a record :)  What I didn't have time or space to do was write down everything. Woven throughout these years were many more broken bones, lots of laughter, lots of tears, lots of amazing memories! In doing this, I am reminded how incredibly blessed I am. I have the best family…the best friends…and I serve the most amazing God! These 32 years have been full, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’m so blessed and so thankful!  As I look back at these memories, I am blown away by the life the Lord has given me.  I can't wait to see adventures are in store for the next years of my life. 



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Monday, February 15, 2016

The 31 Years of Me!!

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In just a few hours, my 31st birthday will be here.  I didn’t edit this last year because I was in Maui, and so I will look back tonight on the last two years.  For several years, I've taken this post and added to it on the night before my birthday. It has become one of my favorite things to do. I love rereading the memories of years past and then documenting the highlights of the last year.  There's always something so sweet to me in reflecting on the journey Christ chooses to take me on.  It's funny to me how things never seems to turn out the way I would expect, yet when I look back, I realize that God's hand was in every detail.  The updates for many years look incredibly different than how I would have written my life’s story.  I’m so thankful that God has control of the pen, and that I simply walk in obedience of the story He penned long before I was even born.  

YEAR 1: It all began on February 16, 1985 when all 10 lbs. 11 oz. of me made an entrance into the world. Of course I don’t remember anything from this year, but pictures and stories tell me that my fat rolls had fat rolls. I was extremely chubby! This was also the year when I began all of my broken bones…a skull fracture at 9 months old!


YEAR 2, 3, 4: I’m lumping all of these years together….In these years I spent a lot of time with my Mama Sue. Mama Sue kept me while my parents worked, and I loved going to her house. We spent lots of time in the garden…chasing cows that got out of the pen…shucking corn…and snapping green beans. I gave my “passy” away to her baby calf because it didn’t have one. One of the biggest memories I have of spending time with Mama Sue is when we got into a wreck on the way to pick her kids up from school….even at that age, I still REMEMBER it (not just hearing stories about it!).


YEAR 5: During this year, I started taking dance. I’m pretty sure it only lasted one year…I definitely turned out to be a tomboy instead of a girlie girl. So sorry, Mom! At the end of my fifth year, I got a little sister. Hard to say if I was excited or not….I’m pretty sure I wanted to send her back. (No worries…I love her now!)


YEAR 6: I started Kindergarten this year, and I absolutely loved my teacher. My favorite part of Kindergarten was the memory verse cards we had. Each week was a new verse starting with a new letter of the alphabet. We learned scripture while learning our alphabet…I thought it was amazingly cool back then. I also began playing t-ball this year!


YEAR 7: This was the year when SOFTBALL actually started, and I was hooked from the beginning. I got to “play” on an all-star team which I was almost too young for, but I made the cut because I was “coachable”…what really ended up happening was I sat the bench and occasionally got to play right field [read…picking flowers!].


YEAR 8: I started piano lessons this year from the organist at our church. I enjoyed learning to play, but I hated practicing and hated recitals even more. At my Christmas recital, I walked in, saw everyone looking at me, started crying, and walked out. I can’t remember if I actually played my pieces. My FAVORITE softball memory from this year is warming up with my brother before a game and the ball hit me in the face. I had a bruise in the pattern of the “stitches” from the softball. I was SO proud! I’ve always loved my battle wounds!


YEAR 9: I got my first kitten this year, Oreo! I also had my first teacher in school that I didn’t like. Other than that, softball continues!


YEAR 10: I had my favorite birthday party in this year. My mom planned a Mexican Fiesta at our house and we all played Bunko!


YEAR 11: I broke my leg on Christmas day of this year, and ended up being in a long cast for several weeks. I vividly remember getting my cast off and a couple of days later having the first softball practice of the season. The last thing my mom told me before she left was DON’T run the bases. As she came to pick me up, sure enough, I was running the bases! OOPS…busted! You couldn’t keep me away from softball.


YEAR 12: This was the year of my favorite vacation of all times. We spent two weeks going to New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. We had two weeks worth of pimento cheese and chicken salad sandwiches (which we STILL talk about to this day!)…and stayed at the “Best Inn”. Oh the memories from that vacation…


YEAR 13: This begins the awkward years…and I had it bad. I started 7th grade during this year, and it was a big deal because it was the first year for all of the kids in my grade to be at the same school (we came from several elementary schools). My best friend at the time, Amanda, moved to town, and we were instant friends. Without a doubt we were inseparable until she moved in 9th grade. I got sent to the office this year for accidently touching my teacher’s paper cutter, and I thought my world had ended! We added on to our house and I FINALLY had my own room. I started taking dance again because I thought I might want to be in drill team in high school.
Most significantly in this year is that the Lord began showing me through someone I looked up to greatly that I needed to make my faith in Him my own….


YEAR 14: March 4th of this year Andrey (from Ukraine) came to live with us while he had surgery on his eye. It was an interesting experience, but one I wouldn’t trade for anything. On June 24, 1998, I accepted Christ as my Savior and began following Him. My faith went from going to church on Sundays to having a relationship with the one true God! My life has never been the same since that day!


YEAR 15: I started high school during this year. I was on the JV Drill team and I made Varsity softball as a freshman. During my freshman year, I had two of my best friends, Amanda and Mallory, move away. I had to find a new group of friends which isn't always the easiest thing to do in high school.


YEAR 16: During July of this year, my parents bought me a red Volkswagon Beetle! It was what I always wanted…I couldn’t believe I was actually getting one!! I remember being so happy that I couldn’t quit crying as my mom and dad signed all the papers. Sad thing was that I was TERRIFIED to drive it because it was a stick shift. I finally learned, and at the end of my 16th year (on my 16th birthday!), the K8TBUG was mine!


YEAR 17: During this summer, I went to Super Summer and the Lord put China on my heart. I knew from that moment on that I would serve there someday…I wasn’t sure when…I wasn’t sure how…but I knew I was going!


YEAR 18: The thing that sticks out to me most during this year is junior prom. I didn’t like it one bit. It was my first (and only) dance I ever went to. That summer I went to several camps (like every summer) including softball camp at Texas A&M!!


YEAR 19: This was a huge year for me! I graduated from high school #6 in my class, and then packed my bags to move off to Texas A&M which was a dream come true. I left home being one extremely shy little girl afraid to order my own meal at restaurants. I was scared to death to be on my own, but I wanted to be an Aggie so badly!


YEAR 20: At the beginning of my 20th year, the Lord blessed me with an incredible friendship that proved to be one of my best friends of all time, Christi! She was (and still is) a huge blessing in my life. I learned so much of the Lord’s character and how much I needed Him DAILY during this year. I donated my hair to Locks of Love for the first time, and I got the chance to work at T bar M.


YEAR 21: I went back to work at T bar M this summer. My 21st year ended with my mom and dad driving to College Station just to take me out to dinner on my birthday. I was reminded of how blessed I am to have a mom and dad who would do things like that…and even sometimes just drive up to surprise me!


YEAR 22: Year 22 was another big one for me! I took the MCAT for the first time, and didn’t do as well as I had hoped. A few months later (only days after getting my MCAT scores back), I hopped on a plane and spent a portion of the summer in China teaching English. God used the MCAT to form a bond between me and my sweet friend from China, A! The best part of the summer was that A came to know Jesus and she loves Him with everything she has. The Lord showed me that summer that He works out ALL THINGS for the good of those who love Him.


YEAR 23: During year 23, I took the MCAT for the second time, and the Lord began to reveal to me that medical school wasn’t the direction He wanted me to go. Not knowing what to do instead, I applied to medical school and again hopped on a plane back to Nanning, Guangxi, China (where I left my heart the summer before). This trip to China was cut short due to a broken arm, and I was completely devastated!


Oops…I can’t forget to mention that I graduated from TEXAS A&M! WHOOP! Proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2007.


I also began working at College Station Middle School in August. It was during this time the Lord led me to nursing school, and I began the application process.


YEAR 24: I continued to work at the middle school in the Special Education classroom where God taught me so much about unconditional love through two students that I affectionately call “My Honor Student” and “My Ray of Sunshine”. The entire experience of working at this school allowed me to fall more in love with Jesus and see new aspects of His character. I was completely changed by the lives of these two precious students!

I decided to come to San Antonio for nursing school, and it was a HUGE change for me! Little did I know that when I moved so far away from my family that God would bring a big sister (something I always prayed for) into my life. He also completely blessed me with an amazing house church of people with a heart for the nations.


YEAR 25: If I can sum up my 25th year in one word, it would be FREEDOM! I’ve learned a lot this year about what it means to truly walk in freedom in Christ. Freedom from fear…freedom from failure…freedom from perfection… Life isn’t about living for other people, but it’s about living for Him and following Him wherever He chooses to lead me.


YEAR 26:  This year has been a year of change in my life….I’m no longer a student.  :(  The early months were filled with a job hunt.  The process was not fun, but I was completely blown away with how the Lord blessed me. I experienced post earthquake Haiti, firsthand.  And to say that I fell in love with the people there is an understatement!!  The month of April was difficult because in the midst of applying for a job, one of my favorite clinical instructors/mentors unexpectedly went to be with Jesus. Then in May, I walked across the stage and received BS degree #2.  You can betcha that when I walked across the stage I flashed a big GIG ‘EM to the camera as I received my diploma.  I may have got to a “t.u” system school, but I am still 100% Aggie through-and-through.   In July I started an amazing job as an RN in the Pediatric ICU at Santa Rosa.  At this point, I have been there about 8 months, and Jesus has changed me.  I’ve been humbled by the trust of my patients and their families that is given to me on a daily basis.  Each day as I go to work, my prayer is the same.  I pray that I would bring hope, comfort, joy, and peace in Jesus’ name to my patients and their families.  I don’t want to miss any opportunity to be Jesus’ hands and feet.  A definite highlight in my 26th year is my roomies.  I live with 4 of the greatest girls I know….they deserve their own post.


YEAR 27:  This year has been one of many, many blessings!  I started off this year as the assistant coach for SACS Middle School softball team.  These girls had so much heart and gave their all 100% of the time.  They definitely worked to earn their undefeated season.  I was so proud of them!   The summer of this year {mostly June!} was busy, busy, busy, but I love busy!  Two of my closest friends got married two weeks apart during the summer, and I was honored to be able to stand with both of them as they said their “I do’s”.   In a seemingly “random” series of events {although it was completely orchestrated by the Lord}, I found out about a trip to Haiti, and God made it evident that I needed to be there…SO I WENT!!  Through this trip to Haiti, God brought about one of the biggest blessings of this year, A CHURCH HOME!  I have been so blessed and challenged by the people at Grace, and I love them so much!  During June, I also managed {somehow} to squeeze in working Vacation Bible School, taking girls to GA Camp, and working as a nurse at Camp Waldemar.   The end of the summer marked the end of living with my roomies at the M&M House and moving across town into an apartment by myself.  My 27th year also had its fair share of hard times…my grandpa passed away in May and some very sweet friends moved away in December.  Throughout this year, I have come to know Jesus in a whole new way.  I was constantly reminded that God knows the cry of our hearts, and He longs to give good things to His children….in His time!  I’m learning that His timing, no matter how crazy it seems, is perfect!  I finish this year blessed, thankful, and full of anticipation for the year ahead!   Oh…and I can’t forget that the last week of my 27th year landed me in the Emergency Room for an evening.  Evidently when you are kickboxing and pass out…people take that seriously!    


YEAR 28:  How do I even begin to describe this year: Injuries, adventures, illness, and friendships!    INJURIES:  Please tell me you are not surprised by this anymore!  In March, I had an unfortunate incident with a rather large rock in Haiti, which you can read about here and here.  OUCH!!! ADVENTURES: During this year, I was extremely blessed to travel back to Haiti for the third time and travel for the first time to Mongolia where our team mended many physically broken hearts .  Man, oh man, I loved Mongolia!!  Each place I've traveled has it's own amazing stories of what God is doing, but something about my time in Mongolia was different.  God used Mongolia to change me!  FRIENDSHIPS: In December of 2011, some good friends moved from San Antonio, and I spent  part of my 28th year not really feeling like I had a "place" in San Antonio where I could just feel at home.  Not only did I gain fabulous memories and a newfound love for taking care of children's hearts while in Mongolia, God gave me some new friendships that I treasure.  They bless me, encourage me, and have helped me grow more in my faith.  God knows each of us so well, and He gives us exactly what we need at exactly the right time!  He is SO SO good!  ILLNESS:  The last part of this year I have been fighting through some sort of illness with my lungs.  I've become all too familiar with neb treatments, inhalers, PFT's....and the list could go on!  

If I have one word to describe what I've been learning this past year, it is DEPENDENCE!!  Even when I think I have things figured out, God reminds me that in ALL things, I have to depend on Him.  He is the source of LIFE and STRENGTH...and apart from HIM, I can do NOTHING!


YEAR 29:  This year has been a whirlwind!  It's hard to remember all that went on during my 29th year....is it too early to start blaming old age?!?!   I have spent most of this year out of the safety of my comfort zone.  As a nurse, I got to add a few letters to the back of my name.... Katie Tankersley, RN, BSN, CCRN.  CCRN is a certification for critical care nursing that requires a certain number of hours as a bedside nurse in a critical care setting in order to be able to sit for the exam.  Let me tell you, it was a relief to have that exam behind me.  This year I have also stepped out of my comfort zone and into a new role of being a charge nurse in the Pediatric ICU.  I returned to Mongolia in September as part of our medical team to help mend broken hearts.  I was honored to be asked to take on the role of charge nurse for our team of nurses during that trip.  Less than two months later was probably my biggest test of stepping out of my comfort zone on faith and trusting Christ with fears of the unknown.  In November, I again traveled with For Hearts And Souls to Kurdistan.  Originally our trip was planned to be a heart catheterization trip to Fallujah, but God had VERY different plans.  We spent our time in Kurdistan screening children for heart defects and teaching the Kurdish ICU nurses.  Little did I know that when I returned home I would be able to add "International Lecturer" to my resume.  If all of the other things I've mentioned were "steps" out of my comfort zone, I would say that lecturing to nurses in another country about nursing care in a post-op pediatric cardiac patient would be light years away from my comfort zone.  


In spending so much time out of my comfort zone, I realize that it's in that place where growth happens.  Growing pains occurred and I frantically sought out the familiar on many occasions, but through it all I realized I'm capable of so much more than I think.  Out of my comfort zone, God has shown me His goodness.  The overwhelming message of this year for me is that God is GOOD. Period. End of story.  In the good times---He is GOOD.  When things make sense---He is GOOD.  When I have no clue what step is next in my life---He is GOOD.  When I'm physically sick and can't figure out how to make it better---He is GOOD.  Regardless of any conditions---He is GOOD.  He stretched me thin at times, but that just meant less of "me" to get in the way as He worked in and through me.  


In other news, I ran my first half marathon, and Lord-willing it won't be my last one.  I've fallen in love with running more than I EVER thought I would.  I'm hoping that a full marathon is in my future for my 30th year!  We'll see!!  Unfortunately this year had to end with my PawPaw going to see Jesus.  It's sad for us here, but I know that he is not sad at all!  


YEAR 30:  When I think back over this year, the word that continually comes to mind is “healing”.  God healed my lungs, and He alone gets the credit for that.  A couple of years ago, it took every ounce of energy to wake up and go to work…and breathe.  The years prior were full of neb treatments, doctor visits, and ER visits.  I remember thinking that might be my “new normal”.  BUT GOD…. He had other plans!  This year I was finally able to be active again and truly fell in love with running.  I think I love it as much as I do because it reminds me that I can breathe easily now.    Over the course of this year, I ran another half marathon and my first FULL MARATHON!  Mom and dad came to cheer me on and met me at several points along the course.  For that alone, they deserve the “Parents of the Year” award…. (they actually deserve it every year!I topped my 30th year off with a birthday trip to Maui.  There are not enough words to express how amazing that trip was… it was so beautiful, and I got to visit some of my favorite people, Kirk & Kim, which made the trip even better.  My 30th year ended with a phone call from my dad saying that Granny had died (on my birthday).  Only a few minutes before that phone call, I was standing on top of Haleakala looking out and thinking that I couldn’t imagine anyone else having a more beautiful view than I did in that moment.   What I didn’t realize is that Granny did… as I looked at God’s incredible masterpiece of creation, she was looking at face to face at the Creator! 

YEAR 31:  Woah…this is starting to make me feel really old!  This year was somewhat of an uneventful year (I’ll take it!).  The word that comes to mind for this year is “rest”.   I learned that it doesn’t take big, eventful years for God to speak loudly.  This year He has taught me so much in the quiet, uneventful times.  I almost feel like this year was like hitting the pause button.  Life still went on, but it was a time to let Him speak in the quiet. I continued running and really enjoyed seeing the progress I’ve made in this area.  I logged 2 more half marathons and 2 full marathons!  Lord willing, I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.   I ended up having a surgery over the summer that led to 6 weeks off from work.  I never intended on taking that much time off, but it was good because I got to rest and spend time at home with my family that doesn’t happen often these days.  Toward the end of the summer, I applied to Texas A&M again for their Masters in Nursing Education.  It was totally on a whim and had 2 days to get my application submitted.  I just trusted that if I was supposed to start now,  God would make a way.  He did, and I am currently in the first semester of my MSN-Nursing Education.  In the back of my mind, I always thought I would go back to school, but for some reason it never seemed like it would be a reality.  Now it is!  Once again I am a student at the BEST university in the world.  No one will ever convince me otherwise....I love being an Aggie!

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I know this is long, but I love keeping a record :)  What I didn't have time or space to do was write down everything. Woven throughout these years were many more broken bones, lots of laughter, lots of tears, lots of amazing memories! In doing this, I am reminded how incredibly blessed I am. I have the best family…the best friends…and I serve the most amazing God! These 31 years have been full, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’m so blessed and so thankful!  As I look back at these memories, I am blown away by the life the Lord has given me.  I can't wait to see adventures are in store for the next years of my life.