Salt and Light

“Your work and your ways will give you the opportunity to share your witness and your winnings with the world.” ~Louie Giglio

CAC1 Clouds

Two years ago, I was privileged enough to begin a journey I’d waited my entire career to start. The act of even applying to be part of this elite group of advanced practice clinicians was intimidating in and of itself. I wrestled with conflicting thoughts. On the one hand, feeling I was (hopefully) capable and at least worth an interview. On the other hand, wondering if I could truly live up to what was seemingly the be all/end all of autonomous critical care nursing. Applying seemed audacious, but despite all that, I just couldn’t let it go. Thankfully, my dear friend and mentor, Shelly, encouraged me to ride along on a flight prior to applying…just to see.

CAC First Patient

Well this was me…that first flight. Not sure if you can tell, but I LOVED it. We flew all over the state that day. I didn’t throw up! That very day, with Shelly’s reassurance, I decided  I would believe in me, and trust in God, that if this was truly for me…He would show me.

Fast forward, and lo and behold…I was hired. I hadn’t been so excited and terrified for something all at the same time since awaiting the birth of my child. Over the course of the past two years, I have been pushed well outside my comfort zone and been confronted with pretty much exactly what I expected I’d encounter. I’ve worried, cried (a LOT), rejoiced, mourned, grown in my confidence, been scared, succeeded, doubted, questioned, learned, learned some more, and even more after that.

CAC Fall Foliage

Nobody can prepare you for what this job is truly like. Nobody. It is an exquisite and humbling opportunity to work hard, in the most unique and extraordinary environment imaginable, with a dedicated family of professionals with whom you will form the richest bonds; the kind that will last forever. 

This observation brings me to the point of this post, which I must tell you, is difficult to share. After much thoughtful deliberation, and hours and weeks spent in prayer and fasting, I have decided that at the end of this month, I will conclude my tenure as a Flight Nurse with Cox Air Care. The reason is simply this: as it turns out, I can do everything at once, but that doesn’t mean I should. I’ve found myself in a situation where I’m about as overextended as I’ve ever been. Those of you who know me well know I will pour myself into everything, often at the expense of my own time, and in the last couple of years…my health. I’m not “sick,” mind you…but I’m not anywhere near my best, either. In October of this year, I will complete my coursework for my Master’s Degree, and while this is exceedingly difficult for me to admit, I know that if I continue on in this juggernaut of a schedule, my husband and classmates will literally have to drag me across the finish line. That is not in any way how I want this to go down.

I am pursuing a graduate degree because I feel a clear calling to undertake it. God has something for me, I have no doubt; and this is the anointed path He has set me on. As the end draws nearer, I’m being prompted strongly to do three things: narrow my focus, lighten my load, and restore my health. If I have learned anything in the last few years, it is to walk in obedience. God has a plan for each of our lives. He lovingly and faithfully promises it’s so…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

CAC Partners

That being said, it doesn’t make leaving this team any easier. The people whose faces you see in the photo above, and many more besides them, have affected my life in such a profound way, I don’t know that I can describe it in a way worthy of their action. First, because of course he’d want to be first, my Jeffrey. This man child…I love him as though we’re family. Without hesitation, I would say his clinical mentorship along with his unwavering support and belief in me made the most profound impact on my ability to perform successfully in this job. Not only that, but our friendship is likely the most valuable takeaway I leave with. The camaraderie of a perfect flight crew partnership (and as far as I’m concerned, ours was perfect) is deep. You depend on one another for your very lives. You look out for one another, depend on one another. You learn to recognize every facial expression, anticipate every reaction, and interpret every subtle body language; its an undeniable chemistry, and in my case, a saving grace…because I am awkward and clumsy as it turns out. This is why Jeffrey referred to himself as “my handler.” Ha!! I love you, friend.

CAC Jeffrey

Then there’s my sweet David. My polar opposite partner, who grounds and protects me just the same, though in an entirely different manner. David and I straight up SAW some stuff. Every “worst flight ever” I had was with him. So much so, after one particularly trying flight, I declared, “Partner! From here on out, you need to be buying me flowers after every flight! No excuses!” Clearly I was joking, but an hour or so later…here comes David from the gift shop…flowers in hand, with a card that read, “Happy now?” Carlye and Shelly will have to assure you’re fed, have your morning honey packet, and get your “very important paramedic business” in each morning. Thank you, partner, for teaching me so much about just being; for entertaining and accommodating my 100 MPH thinking-out-loud with a reassuring nod and a smile, but mostly…for your kindness. You are a wonderful man.


One more (and please no one be offended), but this post can only be so long! My sweet Carlye. I’ve shared this with you on our road trip to TPATC, but the very morning we met at new hire orientation, I knew we would be friends. I wanted to be your friend. Introverts unite!!! I don’t know that either of us would have survived being the new peeps without our uncanny ability to vacillate back and forth between my #dearsusan moments and yours! The math alone would’ve done us in! You’re incredible, Carlye. I am so proud of you. And I love you so very much.

CAC Carlye

If you’re still reading, thank you for bearing with me as I say goodbye to something I have loved and treasured the best and most perfect way I know how–by writing it. The bottom line is this: God puts people and opportunities in our paths so we’re challenged to grow in our faith, know His love, and share it with others. He challenges us to turn away from our fears, but rather, to set our eyes on Him. Believers are called to do just that…trusting and relying and standing on the foundation of His Word. He calls us to be different. He proclaimed it in His Gospel…

You are the salt of the earth… . You are the light of the world… . Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5: 13-16

I will never forget my time here. I will never take it for granted, nor will I allow time to diminish the impact this experience has made on my life, my confidence, or the trust with which I approach everything else to come. CAC–from dear Susan, Dr. Ross, the incredible pilots, mechanics, and the entire crew–you are truly salt and light. Thank you just isn’t enough. Be careful, my friends.

Love, Me



The First Time

This was supposed to be the greatest day. We’d finally surpassed the 20-week mark. The tiny child we had prayed for, the one who’d already captured our hearts, we’d finally see in all their little glory. The ultrasound was scheduled for later that afternoon, July 31, 2003.

Though from the moment I awoke that morning, I sensed something was wrongI milled about the house, accomplishing essentially nothing all morning long; simply moving awkwardly, quietly, from one room to the next. I caught a glance of myself in the mirror at one point, lingering hardly at all before darting my eyes downward. What on earth was the matter with me? I searched the floor for answers, but knew only that I felt heavy, empty. And even more disconcerting? My will appeared to be resigned to it, as though I had no fight in me whatsoever. No fight to investigate it, to contemplate it, to worry about it–nothing. Just still. 

Erik tried to hold my hand in the car, on our way to the appointment. I made no effort to hold it back. I looked blindly out the window. I could tell he was a little confused, but thankfully he asked nothing. Just settled for an un-reciprocated hand hold, and silence.

I felt the cold chill of the ultrasound gel, and heard the tunnel-like sound of the niceties Erik and the sonographer were exchanging. I reciprocated my husband’s hand hold now, as the gray-scale images filled the screen. Our sweet baby. The sonographer guided the wand along with one hand, pressing keyboard buttons wildly with the other. I felt myself breathe for maybe the first time all morning when I saw our baby move; just sort of squirming around like babies do, lifting their chin, kicking a tiny heel. She made several vocal observations, measurements and such, when her dialogue abruptly stopped.

“Um, well…we’ve got a problem here.” Erik and I sat silent. “Well, it’s looking like,” she paused. “Ok, so looks like we’ve got a cystic hygroma here at the neck.” She explains what this is, I try desperately to comprehend her words. “I’m also seeing a diaphragmatic hernia here. And, well? Ok. Looks like we’ve got some short lim–” Her voice trails off as she jumps to remove the probe from my belly, stands to her feet, and says, “you just stay right here. I’m going to get Dr. Williams.”

Erik drapes his arm around my head, burying his face in my neck. I begin to tremble, uncontrollably, to the point I fear my teeth will break. The sonographer returns with Dr. Williams, who proceeds to explain that our unborn child is gravely ill. They cover me with blanket upon blanket, while painting a picture that gives our baby a less than one percent chance of survival at birth.

Oh my God. I cannot believe this is happening to me. They appear to be discussing the maternal risks at this point, the possibility of delivering at Children’s in St. Louis. I hear portions of the conversation, though can only briefly focus. Fear and panic consume me, I just cannot believe what I am hearing. Then Erik says simply, distraught and through tears, his eyes on the still image of our child…“poor baby.” I see the absolute heartbreak fall across his face. Oh. Oh my goodness yes. The baby! I haven’t even thought of the baby. The baby’s the sick one! The baby’s the one who’s just been handed a death sentence. And here I am, selfish as always, worrying only about me. I feel paralyzed with guilt, and devastated beyond all measure.

At this point in my life, my relationship with God was one of, let’s say, admiration. I believed He made the moon and the stars. I believed Jesus Christ was His only son, and that He sent Him to die on the cross for our sins. I saw Him as an authority figure–one who was capable of giving, and of taking away. Above all, I really just hoped He liked me. I’d heard others say, when confronted with life’s trials–“just let go, and let God.” I wasn’t even sure what that meant.

Regardless, with even the little bit of faith I did have, and in my absolute desperation…I had to believe He would help me. That night, as our families and friends diverged on our home from all across the country, I retreated to our bedroom and cried to Him, out loud, “God. God please take this from me. I cannot take this. Its too much, and I am giving it all to you right now.” I waited…crying silently. I crossed my arms over my chest, and simply waited. I closed my eyes, and focused on something I could control…my own breathing. This was the first time. The first time I’d trusted in Him fully, and I had to believe He would come through. There just wasn’t another option.

As medical people (and specifically ER medical people), my husband and I are no strangers to witnessing lives turn on a dime. And as truly devastating as those moments often are–even in the midst of unthinkable tragedy–God is there. And I am here to tell you, in the hours and days that followed that fateful appointment–God showed up. 

He was there as my body mercifully progressed into labor later that same evening. He was there in the eyes, voices, and actions of our family and friends. He was there in the way He prompted my father to handle all of the funeral paperwork, costs, and cremation details we could not possibly fathom considering. His hand was in choosing the nurse, Stephanie, who would care for me through the night–she herself having experienced a similar loss. She never left my side, and her kindness and empathy validated every bit of my grief as she answered all my questions and assured me of how life would, in fact, go on. He was there in the wonderful surprise, when little Caroline Elisabeth turned out to be a boy–providing a much-needed, lighthearted break of laughter and joy–as we wrapped our tiny boy in the pinkest of blankets (a gift from his daddy, no less). He was there in the opportunity, to name our son Ian William Edward Cochran, after my father and recently-deceased angel of a grandfather. He was there in the willow tree we’d planted when we found out we were expecting, that had grown exponentially in a matter of weeks, providing the perfect shade for our informal backyard funeral. He was there in my uncle Jim, who traveled back to California to find the perfect (and I do mean beyond the shadow of a doubt perfect) final resting place for our child’s ashes. It was exactly the place I imagined when I closed my eyes. He was in the words of the man who authored the novel I read when we came home, A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. The author had lost his entire family in a car accident. He described his desperate grief as though he were on a boat, setting out toward an infinite horizon of unknowable and unfamiliar. He desperately wished to turn back to shore, where life was familiar and included his loved ones. Though the boat just kept going–out into the great expanse of the ocean’s horizon, and regardless of his desperation to return to shore, he had no choice but to remain a passenger on the boat. The boat was not turning around. The night I read this, I sat straight up in bed…”YES!!! That is exactly it! I just want off this boat!” Just a couple of nights later, God did the most amazing thing. The thing that would convince me I needed to stay on the boat.

This particular night, I fell asleep tearful and just exceptionally empty. I saw Ian in my dream. He was beautiful. Bathed in glowing white, wearing a white garment. He looked to be about as old as he would’ve been, around eight weeks. He appeared healthy, plump, with locks of thick blonde hair. His smile and cheeks filled his whole face, and he was looking directly at me. Just as I awoke, he had reached out–so close to me now I could feel his breath–and placed each of his tiny hands on the sides of my face. As my eyes opened, I physically felt his hands slowly and gently leave my face. My heart soared, as I burst into tears, realizing God had just shown me precisely what my heart and mind needed to see. Our baby was healthy, happy, surrounded in the glory of Heaven. Most of all, he loved me. I could see it in his eyes. I realized that morning, not only does my son love me…God does. Because why else would He have presented Himself to me in all these ways? Why else would He have allowed me to have this moment with my son, when the last physical sense I had of him was the moment the funeral director lifted his tiny body from my fingertips? Why else? 

Because He loves me. 

Our God–He is gracious and merciful. He has crafted the horizon we cannot see; He has planned it all along. He already knew of the precious, kind, and beautiful face of this child, Cameron Quinn, whose life would be waiting for us on the horizon. His plan, His time, His promises, His love. They never fail. 


“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declared the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11


“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5

“Ian’s Beach” Laguna, California
Cam’s first visit–Ian’s Beach










Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 27:14

The Journey Begins

I am arguably the busiest I’ve ever been. My life’s candle burns relentlessly at both ends. My predominant sustainable food group is coffee. I am a slave to my snooze button, and as a result, am habitually 3-7 minutes late pretty much everywhere I go. I am a wife and mother, I have three jobs, and I am a graduate student. So, sure! Why not? Now seems like the perfect time to author a new blog!

I love to write. As a card-carrying introvert, I’m exponentially more comfortable communicating my deepest feelings in writing rather than face-to-face. In what can only be described as a glorious dumpster fire of a combination, I’m also President and CEO of the Perfectionists’ Club! So this is where I’d like to meet you…on the corner of FortheLoveofGodHelpMe Street and JesusPullYourselfTogether Lane in Detail Town, USA. Can you handle it? Grab some popcorn, people. I will hold your hand.

Whoever said “life begins at 40” is a genius. Congratulations, mystery person! You speak the truth. So much has changed in the last five years, and I thank God for every bit of it. I haven’t always been this open to change, however. My life’s choices and actions were rules-dominated, exquisitely contemplated, and practical. In fact, if I had to choose the two most predominantly influential forces on my life in my thirties, that’d be an easy choice: guilt and fear. (Yep, it’s as exhausting as it sounds.) Thankfully, though, and while I’m still a work in progress, I’ve come to know a new and different way. Relying on myself, for years upon years, seemed entirely logical. I’m a smart girl, I thought. I should be able to figure it all out. And when I couldn’t? I would simply chalk it up to (my personal) failure and try harder. All me, all the time.

Then, on December 14, 2015, I would be posed a question that would change the course of my life forever…

Who is Jesus?

I was a bit taken aback, because I didn’t expect to be asked it in the first place. But then, I was even more surprised to find that I had a hard time putting my answer to words. Eventually, after fumbling to find the words–any words–I managed a response, to which the asker replied,

No. Who is Jesus to YOU? We all know about Jesus; though we don’t all know Him. Who is He to you?

That divine and blessed encounter set the course for what would be the most enlightening, empowering, important, life-giving path I could ever have imagined. And it’s time that I shared it.

So why, of all the times I’ve considered it, am I moving forward with a blog now? Well, a few reasons. First, because if I’ve learned anything in the last two years or so, it’s that when God prompts, you respond. His perfect timing is just that…perfect. And although as with much of what my Earthly mind conceives, this seems irrational; that’s the thing about faith. Faith looks foolish when we don’t understand. Isaiah 55:8 says, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” As an intensely rational person, I struggle with responding to this truth daily. Second, speaking of truth…this is the bottom line: nothing that paints us in a negative light, nothing we believe about ourselves that’s defeatist or indicting, nothing we perceive as failure, and nothing defining us as unworthy of His love (or anyone else’s) is from Him. None of that is His truth. God’s truth is love, and victory in the resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ. When God looks at you and at me, He sees His perfect child; not the flawed, never good enough, trying-real-hard-here-sir-but-never-quite-good-enough person we see. The freedom found in finally understanding this, after all these years, is just about indescribable…but I’m going to try. Finally, I look around. His beauty, His promises, His majesty…they’re everywhere. All the Lovely Things. His Holy Spirit surrounds us and lives within us. He is in everything, and I’m led to acknowledge this in my favorite way. I want to write about it.

If you want to follow along? Amazing! There’s so much to tell, and I pray I have the courage to say it. And truly, I can’t wait to share the journey with you.

Love, Me