Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Happy Sister's Day

Last year while I was home for the summer, Mallory and I had this wonderful idea. We call it Sister's Day. Apparently, there is already an official day for that on the first Sunday of August, but we didn't know it then and quite frankly, I'm glad. Because instead, Mal and I added our birthdays together to come up with the day we now dedicate to each other.
March(3) + June(6) = September(9) 
Mal's birthday date(24) + my birthday date(5) = our sister's day date(29)
Isn't she great?
So, today is Sister's Day. Year 2. We decided to simply send a little something to each other in honor of it. . . but really, it's just a fun excuse to say I love you and I'm thankful for you. I hope that in the future, we take off work, book a weekend somewhere warm, and celebrate sisterhood. Unrealistic you say? Just you wait, we'll make it happen. As Jane Austen says, "the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply..." 

My sister is awesome. I've adored her since she was born and truly believe that it's a blessing that we are 8 years apart. She may disagree. Ryan and I may or may not have taken serious of advantage of her when she would do anything for us--that didn't last long. She was drug along to every track and cross country meet of mine. She even got a crazy idea somewhere that running was cool and ran a 5k with me but I'm pretty sure she hated every minute of it. Now that Ryan and I have graduated, she has to "endure" four more years of high school alone with Mom and Dad. And, she still puts up with the lip service Ryan and I give her when we come home--old habits die hard. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a little bit bad about it, but I've got to say, she has learned to stand her ground very well...maybe too well.
Sorry for making you run a 5k. You did dominate it though.
I am so thankful to have four more years in Michigan. Home is only a short, one hour drive, which means, Mal is only a short, one hour away. I'm convinced that she will outdo me in every aspect of her life. She already has so far. Not that sisterhood should ever be a competition...right? But, seriously, she's a better volleyball player, a better adjuster to new situations, a better student, a better fashionista, a better quick wit, and a better dancer, not that that's difficult, but I hear she can really shake her booty, but I have yet to see it :) She is a blessing to me. She is determined and that inspires me too--even if she doesn't see it in herself, I do.

This is how she helped me study for the MCAT...

Not distracting at all...

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I saw this magnet in the bookstore the other day. Peace is how God has spoken to me in the past--with a true peace that surpasses all understanding. So since I didn't buy the magnet, I figured I'd put it up here instead.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I need to preface this post by saying that I am in no way an expert in politics. These are just my thoughts. So for all my Hillsdale Political Science junkies or for others who are way more in tune to our ever changing political environment, my sincere apologies. Your thoughts, positive or negative, are welcome.
I was reading Imprimis the other night. I realize some of this is old news, but it struck me in such a way that I wanted to write about it.
The article focused a lot on the values of the Tea Party movement that is sweeping through America. It has bothered me for awhile that people are so critical of Americans getting involved in politics. For me, it's encouraging to see so many people who are passionate about our country finally standing up for principles our country was founded upon. I just pulled out my handy pocket sized Declaration of Independence and Constitution, compliments of Hillsdale College, and read, "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, its is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." It's unsettling to me that our government and the mainstream media have continued to throw those who are getting involved and attempting to better our country under the bus time and time again. Those involved in the Tea Party are refusing to bend, refusing to give in, and refusing to allow a President turn this country into something it was never intended to be--passive and unpatriotic. With leadership comes responsibility.
Stephen Hayes writes:

After her husband had won several primaries in a row in the spring of 2008, Michelle Obama proclaimed that for the first time in her life she was proud of her country. It was a stunning statement. It also foreshadowed what was to come: Since Barack Obama took office in January 2009, he has devoted much of his time to criticizing his own country. He apologizes for the policy decisions of his predecessors. He worries aloud that the U.S. has become too powerful. He has explicitly rejected the doctrine of American Exceptionalism .

It's easy to become complacent. It takes an active decision to fight complacency in order to overcome its temptation. But I'm thankful that those fighting against an administration that is attempting to dissolve our American Patriotism are refusing to be complacent.  It's their patriotism that inspires me and makes me proud that in a few years I'll have the privilege to serve our country regardless of whether it's a Republican or Democrat Commander and Chief I'll be serving under. It inspires me to get involved and to pay attention.
Me, Nick Scobel, and Ryan dutifully reciting the Pledge of Allegiance on the 4th of July 
Some quotes from my reading material so generously supplied by the USAF during COT this summer:

"In a democracy, the individual enjoys not only the ultimate power but carries the ultimate responsibility."
- Norman Cousins

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine

"Duty, then, is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more. You should never wish to do less. "
- General Robert E. Lee
FYI: Sublimest = Of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I've become increasing aware of how intentional one must be when allocating their time and commitments. It has become my main goal in life, a longterm, lifetime goal, to balance my priorities wisely. And in addition to making time for the important things--the things that sometimes feel like obligations--I believe that balance includes having fun. So, this is what I did the weekend before my first physiology exam...

A Class V rapid named "Pillow Rock"
The idea is to get everyone's paddle to touch the massive boulder--without falling out
That's the back on the left side of the raft
I went with the Wilderness Medical Society at school to experience what is referred to as Gauley Season. According to the West Virginia Visitors Bureau, Gauley Season is, "Twenty-two days of simply spectacular whitewater that is the stuff of dreams for many of the H20-addicted. While the Gauley River can be paddled year-round, it is this magical fall season that so many look forward to. Every fall, beginning the first Saturday after Labor Day, the Army Corp of Engineers begins the annual draw-down of Summersville Lake. More than 2500 Cubic Feet of Water is released per second into the narrow, rocky Gauley River bed. The result? Big, awesome whitewater." 

So, if anyone is looking for a little more balance in their life, in almost all seriousness, book a trip to WV to experience Gauley season. The Upper Gauley River is ranked 2nd in the US and in the top 10 in the entire world for the best whitewater experience.And if you need someone to go with, feel free to give me a call!

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Awesome Physiology Professor

So, we get these things called Course Packs for most of our classes. Basically, it’s like a mini text book, organized lecture by lecture and full of blanks to fill in or questions for further thought. They are great. Just another way med school has streamlined learning—no need to take a pencil and paper to class and create your own notes, they’ve already done it for you.

So, my physiology class (the study of how our bodies work=super cool) taught by Dr. Stephenson is exception. He is a great Christian man who recently spoke at our Christian Medical Association picnic. Let me give you an idea of the kind of person he is to me, keep in mind I’ve “known” him for about one week. You’d like him as your grandfather. He comes into lecture with a hardcore backpacking pack filled with all sorts of material for lecture--if we lost power, I’m sure he could wire something up to continue the lecture series to all four campuses without any trouble. He loves his job. And, finally, my purpose for this post, he wrote this awesome supplemental paragraph in our physiology course pack:

“The view of the body as a chemical and physical machine is an essential perspective for the modern physician. However, powerful as it is, the mechanistic perspective is not complete. Anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, and physiology make no pretense about providing the Ultimate Truth about human existence and human suffering. Medical science simply provides a set of tools for searching for truths about the mechanisms of body function and dysfunction. That’s all. Most medical scientists and physicians recognize that other aspects of the human experience (e.g., emotional, psychological, social, aesthetic, and spiritual) are better understood from non-mechanistic perspectives. We know, intellectually and from personal experiences, that these other aspects of the human experience are essential players in effective modern medicine. When we come to the deepest and most profound questions…questions about the nature of self, the mystery of being, and the meaning of life and death…the medical scientist doesn’t have any better or truer insights than the psychologist, the philosopher, the poet, mystic, or prophet. When mortals come before the Ultimate Mysteries, all of us…whether medical scientists, physicians, poets, or prophets…should feel extremely humbled, and much, much more aware of our limitations than boastful about our particular insights.”
Dr. Stephenson. A picture that is most definitely outdated by the overhead projector.
I feel honored and extremely thankful to be learning from such a wise man. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

Friday, September 3, 2010

So, You're a Doctor Now?

Lecture title this afternoon: So, You're a Doctor Now. 

Wait, what? I think their intention was to make me panic. I can assure you that the last thing I feel like is a doctor. This week has been a very, very clear indication of that. I'll be waiting another 7 or 8 years before that is actually true, and probably longer than that before it actually feels true. But, the question for which the lecture was named and the subsequent topics that followed allowed me to compile all of the emotions that I have experienced this past week into a pretty big realization.

Life never stops.
One achievement only sets you up for an even bigger pursuit. And that, I believe, is on purpose. Now, this realization came after a lot of thought, a lot of doubt, and a lot of “How in the world did I get myself into this”. But, despite an overwhelming reality check earlier this week, a reassuring phone call home, and some pep talks from some great been-there-done-that doctors, I’m starting to see everything a little more clearly. A surgeon out of Ohio articulates his experience like this, "When the phone call came in the early summer announcing that I had been accepted, I drove around like a madman, happy and delirious...I couldn't exactly articulate why I was so happy...I had been chosen was all I knew. Chosen to embark upon a life of service and honor. And all that jazz. But it doesn't last; life rolls on and consumes you and the next thing you know you're anxious about grades and AOA status and what specialty to pursue and which residency program to apply to..." He said it perfectly. That’s how I feel. I just got here, so why are so many people talking about boards and residencies and licensures? Can’t we just relish in the fact that we are med students a little bit? This same physician goes on to say that this experience, being a doctor, is all a “great Gift.” Right now, it just seems like a whole lot of work…and not exactly the great endeavor I had so clearly envisioned.
I was talking with Alison Roberts this past weekend and she mentioned that she just can't wait to be grown up--free from the stressful life we lead as college students. I've thought the same thing. For some reason, I have always imagined life in the future as easier. Don’t ask me why. But, so far it doesn’t seem to work that way. It doesn't get harder necessarily, but it definitely doesn't get easier. I have realized that it's not a bad thing, but it's just reality. There are always new challenges, new problems, new adventures or journeys. I’ve picked up on the not so nice realities of being an adult thanks to observing and talking to the older and wiser people in my life. (they’ve also imparted some of the oh-so-nice parts…)

But, this "grown-up" delusion was confirmed for me this afternoon when a 52 year old doctor who presented a lecture on surviving in medical school (a slightly relevant topic) stated that he was still waiting to find out what he was going to be when he was “grown up”. Is that because we think life becomes hunky dory, maybe even easy, when we grow up? I’ve decided I don’t like the term grown up. To a 4 year old, I guess I’d be a grown up. Weird. I think the part I don’t like about it is that it makes it seem like we can stop living and pursuing life when we are “grown up.” But, there’s always some new adventure to pursue(it may be good, it may be bad, but it’s an adventure none the less). Life never stops. Thankfully. Although, it is quite overwhelming at times…
Sometimes we carelessly wish life would stop. I do quite frequently. But, honestly, I don’t want it to. For some reason, when it does, I still hunger for more. I'm thankful for that hunger. I pray that it never ceases.