Friday, April 20, 2012

Sayonara Facebook

I did it again. I quit Facebook. This time (though I have not officially left the site) it's the real deal. I have a few reasons, but only 2 that really matter. 1. In a world where people are exceedingly pulling back from community and into themselves and their own lives, I find Facebook to be a false sense of community. You can have thousands of friends, but never truly know any of them. You can find out so much about people, yet never know what's on their heart. You can be present and accounted for, but never have be honest or real at the same time. I know a lot of people have a problem with this and that's ok. To me though, it's a matter of convictions and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead me where He wants me. To say that there is no good use for Facebook is wrong, but to say that there's no good use for Facebook for me is a different story. I'm trying to lead a life where I'm intentional and staying in community with those closest to me (whether in proximity or relation). For me to do this, I needed to rid myself of Facebook and it's temptation...which leads me to #2. 2. I really enjoyed seeing people's catchy posts, checking out there newest pics and staying up-to-date on what was going on with them (at least what they wanted to share), but I enjoyed it too much. I'd get sucked in and with nothing else to do on the computer I'd start looking at Facebook. Though I had nothing else to do on the computer, there were many other things that I needed to do with my time and was actively disregarding instead, most importantly, my devotion time to God. The more I realized this, the more I found Facebook to be an idol in my life, supporting other idols, such as gossip. Wow. That was a hard realization. I've tried to only get on once a day or only this time or that time, but I'm not very good those rules in my life. I'm not very disciplined (which is something I'm working on) and to keep myself holy and blameless in God's eyes (with respect to this one situation), it was best for me to remove the temptation from my life. So, that's the long and short of it: To me, Facebook is false community and idolatry. So, instead of Facebook, I'll be working better to keep this blog updated and keep it honest. That's all for now.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Franci 5

Just in case any newbies are wondering, what is the Franci 5? The Franci 5 include me, Nick (my husband), Zoe (our daughter), Revis (our dog) and Spencer (our cat). (Before Zoe, we lovingly referred to Revis and Spencer as our fur children, as they were a bunch of babies, always begging for our attention.) We use Franci, instead of Franises (plural of Francis), as we were given the nickname a few years back from a group of loving friends who we got together with every week. It stuck then and carries on now (Love you guys Keen LG!) Hence, the Franci 5.

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas everyone! This year has been a crazy one for our family and I wanted to share our end of the year letter with you. It was my first year doing Christmas cards with the end of the year letter, and as such, I kept my goal small to just 16 cards. Next year, I'm going to try to double my accomplishment this year...we'll see how it goes. So, without further ado, here's the letter and family pictures...

Expect the Unexpected

This has been our mantra for this past year! It’s been quite a year for the Francis household and we want to let everyone know how God has been working in our lives. So, here we go…

In early February Nick stepped in as an interim Manager of the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s while I eased my way out of working full-time at Barnes. The location of the church plant the following year had been decided, so we were looking for jobs for Nick in the Quad Cities. In the back of our mind, we really wanted to do travel nursing again, but with me being pregnant and Nick having taken a management role, this was out of the question. By May, I was home full-time, studying for my advanced certification exam and preparing for our little miss while Nick was still working. On our due date we went for a hike and talked over the possibility of travel nursing again. Our discussion centered on the possibility of traveling specifically to Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Crazy, right? Who would move across the country with a newborn for 3-6 months and then move back to the Quad Cities for a church plant? Yep, crazy. We continued to talk over the pros and cons and the feasibility. The more we talked, the more we felt it was the right thing to do. We decided to continue praying about it. The next day I went into labor and the following morning Zoe Ruth Francis was successfully born at home, thanks to the support of my husband and our core group of birthing friends (Thanks Abbe, Taylor, Ashley and Jordan!)

The following weeks were a whirlwind. Nick was on a rotation of day and night shifts at work, hoping to be able to keep his position until we left, while learning what the new role of Dad meant. I was blessed enough to be able to embrace full-time motherhood, knowing this was my new job. It was hard for our family to adjust at first, but we soon got our groove back and just about that time, decided that we were definitely being called to go to Seattle. Nick got back in touch with his travel nurse agency and we quickly found a job near one of the Mars Hill Church campuses. After we found our location we relayed our plans to almost everyone. Most of you thought we were a little crazy (and probably still do), but we knew that if God wanted us to do this, He would provide. All that was required of us was obedience.

So, a few short weeks after Zoe’s birth, we heeded the call from the Lord and moved across the country to Seattle to attend Mars Hill Church. Our initial plan was to learn as much as we could from the leadership at Mars Hill and about their successful church planting process. We attended our first service the day after we arrived and went to our first Community Group (small group) that same week. We figured if we were only going to be here for 6 months, we needed to get plugged in right away. Nick started work as a travel nurse the same week and I embraced my new position as a stay-at-home mom. Immediately, we got plugged in on service teams and began spending time with our community group. We knew we didn’t have much family in the area and needed support, so we embraced our new church family as they embraced us. Our community group leader was quick to challenge us to stay longer than 6 months if we really wanted to learn what God had for us here. It’s funny how our plans and God’s often collide, causing a firestorm of glory for the Lord if we allow it. Nick and I decided to allow God’s plan for our lives to overtake our own plan.

In the following months, we leaned on the Holy Spirit for guidance. We told our friends that we weren’t going to be coming to the Quad Cities church plant in January, Nick’s brother and his girlfriend moved up, and in an act of grace and provision that we never could have seen or expected, I went back to work for 3 months. At the same time, Nick applied to school in Seattle and Portland for his master’s as a Physician Assistant. He enrolled in a refresher course at the community college and started apprenticing as a CG leader, all while still working full-time. In October I finished my contract and was able to come back home to Zoe full-time. Nick completed his class this last Monday (12/12) and spent Tuesday (12/13) interviewing with the master’s program in Seattle. We’ll know in January whether or not he’ll be accepted.

It’s been a busy time, and as we wrap up this season of our lives, we realize it’s not over. As Nick continues in his apprenticeship, he is growing as a leader, husband and father. I’m learning to shepherd women, and though I have no idea what it looks like, there are many Godly women who want to show me. We continue to grow as each day passes.

Though it has been a crazy year full of things we never expected, it’s been a year that God has provided in every way. We’ve seen his blessings at every turn and are growing closer to Him every day. We’re learning and teaching that Jesus is alive and embracing Him in our lives daily. We have no idea what’s in store for us next year, but we have faith that God is good and Jesus is alive. We hope your faith is in the same.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We miss and love you all!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Catching Up With The Frani - Nick

Wow...I knew it'd been a long time since I posted last, but I had no idea it's been a month!!! That goes to show how busy we've been on this side of the US. It's been a hectic, crazy, trying to orient ourselves few weeks, but I'll give it to God, we're still all being taken care of better than we deserve! Here's a better run down for each of us.

We've decided that after this extension, Nick will sign for a full-time position at Auburn Regional Medical Center. We're deciding between an 11a-11p shift with the opportunity for consistent attendance at our Community Group (small group) and charge nurse opportunities or a 2p-2a shift with every Sunday off and a little more cash flow thanks to the differentials. We know that it's never all about the money, but since I'm half way through my contract with no desire to re-sign (yes!) we have to be more conscientious of our choices regarding finances. Even if it means sacrificing in one area to pick up the slack in another. We'll keep you posted on the job front when we make a decision. I'm rooting for the 11a-11p, but we trust that God will lead us to the right decision for His glory.

Nick has also shared a desire to go back to school. This isn't anything new; Nick is a great nurse, with so much potential to lead better than staff or charge nursing allows. He's also one of the smartest people I've ever encountered, storing all the knowledge he's ever gained and recalling it all in the time of need. It's been a fun road to navigate as he has had to decide between a APRN (Advance Practice Registered Nurse - Masters in Nursing), CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) or PA (Physician's Assistant). In the end, he decided that the role of PA is where he would be able to serve and use his talents best. With that decision underway, he's now on the long road of applying. He's working on the application process and will have everything in to University of Washington by October 1st. Yep, we're staying up here!

So that's the next big thing going on for Nick. We moved up here to gain leadership experience before moving on to the midwest church plant. Since arriving and seeing God work in our lives up here, it's been made clear that we need to stay up here and continue our leadership training with Mars Hill for the long haul (next few years or so). We've talked it over with our friends Tim and Rachael, who are leading the midwest church plant, and they understand and support our decision. Right now Nick will be preparing to apprentice as a Community Group (CG) leader and eventually he will lead a CG. We did something similar to this in St. Louis, but the training for the leadership roles here at Mars Hill is a much more formal process. With that, we're in the process of becoming members of Mars Hill and Nick will continue heading in the direction of Eldership. Whether he will become an elder at Mars Hill or elsewhere, we're confident this is his calling and he's working with men of God to grow in his abilities to one day act a a leader in a church.
That’s about all for Nick. He's staying busy and taking care of us!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And just a few more...

Zoe's favorite sleeping position. She wiggles and squirms until she gets those arms free from her swaddle blanket. It's pretty interesting to watch.

Us dancing to "Switch" by Will Smith.

Our big hike in Olympic National Park. Over 8 miles, and that was just to the trailhead and back, thanks to snow blocking the road. We all had a great day!

And, of course, her in the kitchen. She wouldn't be my daughter if she didn't get started creating early!

A few pics to tide you over!

Us at Panaroma Point in Olympic National Park.

Zoe looking her oh-so-cute self. She's finally figured those hand out!

Nick and Zoe resting after a 4 mile uphill trek.

Zoe taking in the sites of the Cascade Mountain Range during our break.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Back to Work

Monday was my first day back after "maternity leave". We originally planned for me to stay home with Zoe full-time, but after several discussions and some calculations, we knew we could finish paying off all of our debt if I took a 3 month contract as a travel nurse. (Many of you know that Nick and I have been steadily working away the last 2 years to pay off all of our debt. We know we will be better able to serve God if we're not slaves to those we owe, and we know that God has provided for us, in many ways, to achieve this goal. When we got pregnant with Zoe, we took a slight detour, but we never lost sight of the prize at the end.) We were able to find a job in Tacoma, about 20 minutes from our apartment. The position was like my job at Barnes, recovering open-heart patients and managing their care. The best part - it was days only! No possibility of working nights, which I cannot and will not do. The unit is much quieter than Barnes and it's pretty straight forward, which is refreshing. So far, I like it a lot and can see myself staying her to keep my skills up-to-date (working 2-4 shifts a month to stay in the loop).

Lauren and I talked before her and Dane moved up and she agreed to watch Zoe for us. It has been a huge blessing! Nick and I can go to work knowing that Zoe will be well cared for in our home. We both agree that had Lauren not been here, I never would have tried to go back to work. We didn't feel comfortable leaving her with someone we didn't know; being new to the area makes it a bit hard.

I started Monday with a 4 hour orientation. It felt good to get back into the swing of things at work and I was really comfortable leaving Zoe with Lauren; no tears and no worries all day. Nick was home the next few days, so he and Zoe had fun Daddy/daughter days while I worked 8 hour orientation shifts. When I left her for 12 hours on Thursday and Friday it was a breeze. I knew she was in safe hands and Lauren wasn't having any problems taking care of her. I feel a little guilty that I'm not upset or sad when I leave her, but I also know my personality and know that I'm probably overly rational and under-emotional (I could have an accident just as easily as Lauren). I will say though, that I'm really happy to be at home when I get there; seeing her in the evening makes my entire day!

So, with my first week completed, I can say that I'm glad to be working for my family, but also glad that it's only for a short time and then I'll be home with Zoe for good! We know that God provides and also gives us situations of difficulty so we can lean on Him. Though work is good, it does make it harder at home but we know that endurance and reliance on God is built this way. 1 week down, 12 to go!