Breaking the Ice


It hasn’t been easy for me, giving up blogging for the past three months. I mean, I’ve blogged regularly for years. It’s part of my identity. So what happened? It’s probably time for a little life update before heading back into the conversation. I apologize ahead of time that this is going to sound more like a Christmas letter than a blog, but hey, it’s a great way to get my bogged blog cells moving again.

So…for those of you who don’t know, I’ve been working toward a nursing degree for the past 2.5 years. Even though I started with a couple years of college under my belt, I’ve still got a couple years left because the program I’m doing through the University of Wyoming results in/requires a double bachelors degree. The great news is that I finish my first B.A. in social sciences August 3—exciting times. I have loved every minute of this major. The classes and instructors have all been completely fantastic and in many ways, I feel like I’ve “grown up” all over again. I’ve had the opportunity to study such a wide variety of human interest topics, all positively amazing and right where I’m at in my personal growth. Check out to a few of the fabulous classes I’ve taken:

  • Social Movements
  • History of Islam
  • History of the High (second half) Middle Ages
  • Sociology of Religion
  • Deviant Behavior
  • Medical Psychology & Medical Sociology
  • 8 Great Archaeological Discoveries
  • Modern History of Germany
  • Natural Disasters
  • African Spirits in the New World (African diaspora religions in the West)
  • Cultural Ecology of the West (it was way more exciting than it sounds!)
  • Social Inequality
  • Chicana History

Seriously, could there be more exciting topics? Having said that, I’ve written about 500 papers since last August, so it makes sense why it’s been hard to keep up with blogging. Come to think of it, maybe I should just start posting some of my papers—good stuff!

On top of all the school stuff, this year has been one wild ride. In December, over school break, we started the process of moving some of our stuff 800 miles away from Lander to our next life destination, Sandpoint, Idaho. We loaded up everything we wouldn’t need for a few months (some call it camping) into a U-Haul, and off we went. Right after that, we went to Lebanon to visit Steve’s family for a couple weeks (see amazing photos on FB). Spring semester started the day after we got back. We didn’t think we would be moving until after my spring semester finished, but then I got offered a really great job at the Sandpoint hospital in January with a start date of February 13. It was too good to pass up, so the really hairy times began.

Once we got all loaded up, we looked something akin to the Beverly Hillbillies. It was a really exhausting move. I worked the day we left until 6 pm, and it took us until nearly 11 pm to leave town but we were on a tight schedule and had to get started. We drove part way the first night and snuck contraband into the hotel room—two cats. Can you imagine trying to keep two cats quiet in a hotel? They did pretty well, though.

After battling strong winds—pulling over to adjust our tarp every hour—we finally pulled into blizzarding conditions in Sandpoint at about 1:00 the next morning. We pretty much needed to unload the trailer that night because we didn’t want some things to freeze. Needless to say, we were both completely spent and the thought of unloading everything was enough to warrant a breakdown. But we got started and lo and behold, this big, muscular angel in the form of a neighbor kid showed up and offered help. Seriously. At 1:00 a.m., in the middle of winter in a snowstorm. With his help, we were able to unload that trailer in no time. Thank God.

One other cool thing happened that week. Though I was sort of in a daze with physical and mental exhaustion of starting a new job, my husband surprised me with dinner at P.F. Changs and a Matt Kearney concert in Spokane, one of our favorite musicians (what are the chances he just happened to be in concert in Spokane the week we moved here?)! It was in an intimate setting and was really a awesome way to christen a new start in life!

One important element in the non-blogging equation is my new job. I knew it was going to be both a fantastic opportunity but also very challenging. I went from an ER nurse assistant to working as a resource employee to fill in for three different job descriptions in several departments of the hospital. In other words, I’ve had to learn a lot in my job, all the while holding down 15 hours of school and moving. Not complaining though, I really love my job and am getting somewhat familiar and comfortable now. Everything I’m learning will be a valuable asset in my future as a nurse, and I can’t help but feel that all this has been a continuation of the many divine appointments in this whole process! And to make it all that much better, everyone I work with in my new job has been fun, supportive, and totally about teamwork.

So that’s the update on my life. Steve and I positively love it here in Sandpoint. Almost every day we look around at the stunning beauty (or get out and take advantage of it) and pinch ourselves. Sandpoint is everything we love and we feel that we are supposed to be here. It feels a lot like “home.”

Talk to you soon, maybe as soon as next week. Oh, and Merry Christmas!

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Posted in category: Snapshots from Julie's Life

  • Welcome back into the blogosphere Julie. Looks like Divine Love has planted you in the right place. Living beside water, like I do, is a nearby reminder of the Waters within.

    Bless you on the next phase of your Journey.


  • karen kay perry

    Congrats on moving forward with a nursing degree, Julie. I didn't realize you were doing that. Can you believe, I am still looking forward to meeting you and the girls one day. We would love to have you all come and visit us in Phoenix sometime, maybe to get away from the cold winter…

    In case you forgot us..We have known Steve all his life.

    God Bless You All,
    karen kay and fred perry

    • jferwerd

      Hey Karen, of course I know who you are, especially because you are so great at commenting and communicating! Do you and Fred have room at your place? I would love a winter get-away, especially now that we live near a major airport. That is such a great asset to our new home. You are always welcome to come visit us too. We have plenty of room and it's definitely a destination spot. Unless you ski, you'll want to come in summer though. :)

  • Damian Masters

    Just reading what you have been doing makes me tired. Thanks for the update. Great Pictures.

    • jferwerd

      Wow, THEE Damian Masters is still hanging with me after all this time? Whaddya know?

  • Julie, It is hard to imagine all you are doing. May the Lord give you great strength and help you succeed in all you do. You will make an awesome nurse! Be blessed,
    Gerry Beauchemin

    • jferwerd

      Thanks for your encouragement Gerry. I only do what God equips and empowers me to do. Otherwise I am not a very energetic person. :)

  • You should post your papers! I would love to read about all the things you've learned.

    • jferwerd

      You seriously have time for that Alice? I could make a separate page…that would be fun! Giea Kennedy asked to read them too. I tried to always write about angles I was interested in so they were more fun than drudgery.

  • Gerry Wakeland


    I am so proud of you and know that God has an amazing future ahead for you and Steve!

  • Julie, I admire your tenacity. You forgot to mention you wrote a hell of a book in the last couple years! Congrats on finishing the first BA and blessings on your efforts toward the nursing degree. Looking forward to visiting Sandpoint sometime soon and seeing you guys again!!

  • jferwerd

    Not to toot my horn but don't forget I wrote and published a book somewhere in the middle of all that! This explains my non-existent marketing plan. :)

  • Mmmm… I can almost smell the pine when I look at those pictures!

    • jferwerd

      Yes, PINE. Great memories!!

  • a Christmas letter than a blog, but hey, it’s a great way to get my bogged blog cells moving again.