Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I am so thankful for rest.

I will always fight for it. To have rest and reflection is to have life.

While unpacking and repacking to move to Bay City, I have thought numerous times, I have too much stuff. As I dropped a glass Pyrex bowl on the garage floor, and it proceeded to shatter into a million pieces I thought to myself, "Good. One less thing."

Having things is stressful. Simplicity as a basis for living is especially attractive as I have all of my things in one place and not enough places to put them. It makes me reminisce about life in Haiti. I'm doing some major down sizing. One Pyrex at a time. It's incredibly freeing. I'm tempted to try to not buy one new thing for year (inspired by a story of a woman who did this).

This is where I admire my Mama. She lives a life of simplicity. I was using my parents bedroom as a temporary storage space and amidst the clutter, noticed a book entitled One Thousand Gifts on her dresser. The subtitle reads, a dare to live fully right where you are.

I skimmed the pages and found this quote:
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
- Sarah Ban Breathnach
It made my heart happy. And reminded me of the many things for which I am grateful. 
- I am thankful for friends; like Katie, whom I was able to spend a few hours with over out-of-our-price-range-but-seriously-delicious seafood. 
- I am thankful for my home. 
- I am thankful for my dog. 
- I am thankful for neighbors who I can drink wine with on their back porch and who let me go walking with them around the block. 
- I am thankful for my car that just drove me to a beautiful wedding celebration in TX and is about to take me to Chicago for another. 
- I am thankful for dancing. 
- I am thankful for Spotify. 
- I am thankful for the redeeming love of Christ and how it transforms lives.  
- I am thankful for the coming year in Bay City. 
- I am thankful for skirts. Especially the one I just realized can also be a dress.
- I am thankful for camping and perfectly roasted marshmallows. And stars. And rivers.
- I am thankful for people who challenge me. 
- I am thankful for cocoa puffs.
- I am thankful for nail polish and cuticle pusher backers. 
- I am thankful for everyday epiphanies. 
- I am thankful for this journey of life and for its many encounters with our one true Creator. 

God is so good. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Moving/Reflection Day

Times flies. Mom, Dad, and Ryan came to move everything out of my apartment and into our garage until I can get my life back in order after I take a board exam Monday (!), travel to TX and Chicago for weddings and camping adventures (!!), and start rotations in Bay City (!!!). My place is emp-ty. It's so weird.

Also weird is the fact that only two night of sleep separate me from step 1 of the board exams for medical school. I'm actually at Fee Hall right now. Studying on the floor is not ideal. I would have laughed if you'd told me I'd be here a few days before boards, but I'm tired of coffee shops and my apartment. Blah.

But, I was just thinking that I should add some of my thoughts here so I can look back and relish in the fact that I am no longer in this stage of life someday.

- I can't stand working by myself. I go kind of stir crazy. Thus I am a terrible serious studier. It took medical school to make me realize this. I used to think I was kind of good at it. I am not.
- I can't wait to work with people in 2 weeks. I get to work with people in two weeks!! That seems unreal.
- I wondered today if First Aid or the Savarese study review books or perhaps endless numbers of pharm and micro notecards will be useful for the next couple board exams...this was my thought as I thought about all the ways I'd wished I studied these materials throughout the last year. Kind of a "welp, I hope going through them now is still helpful down the road." We'll see...
- I feel like I did after finishing organic chemistry in undergrad. My thought is that if I could do it over, I'd do a lot of things differently and thus make the whole experience less stressful. To be clear, if I could do these two years over, I would not. Not that I wouldn't choose to be a doctor, but it's a once and done forever kinda deal. I wouldn't discourage people from doing it, just to really know you want to be a doctor.
- Studying is a lot like exercising. Both beneficial and not bad once you get your butt out of bed and start at it. It's the starting that's the hardest part. And the more you just think about doing it, the more discouraged and unmotivated you get. As Coach Boze once said, "Don't think. Just do."
- I'm incredibly thankful for a group of friends in medical school who are supportive and encouraging. Never slow to remind me that this test, while cumbersome and irritating, ought not be given higher priority than it deserves. For example, we can still be the same kind of doctor we aspire to be whether we score in the top ten percent or just barely pass. And for friends and family who aren't in med school, to remind me of my life outside of studying.
- I'm scared I may not pass. A ridiculous statement, I know, but I really am. But, experience for the past two years has taught me that that fear of not passing is often inaccurate. I've been afraid before, and passed, worries, right? It also reminded of this quote from The Alchemist:
The Alchemist: Tell your heart that the fear of suffering (or failing) is worse than the suffering ( or failing) itself. And that no heart has ever suffered (or failed) when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.
Santiago: When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quinoa Tabbouleh

 Quinoa Tabbouleh Ensalada! 
Probably not the most time efficient meal to make one week before boards, but the slicing and dicing was therapeutic...and the meal, fresh & healthy. Plus I've been wanting to make this for forever.

Combine the following in big bowl and refrigerate. 
1.5 C Quinoa (cooked, using 3 C water) It's ok if the quinoa is still warm when you add it
3 Tomatoes, diced (next time I will use a pint of cherry tomatoes halved to save time...)
1 Cumcumber, diced
about 1/3 of a bunch of mint, finely chopped
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
15 oz of garbanzo beans
1 lemon squeezed over top of it
And I added parmesan cheese on top too, but I don't think it's necessary

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Ryan has been wanting to make a stepping stone in honor of Papa to put in the cemetery. Papa loved to fish. Ryan loves to fish. So Ryan made a fishing inspired stepping stone with some of Papa's lures and we shared some of our favorite Papa moments.

Papa was the best at sitting and swinging. Nana said the other day she could hear his voice saying, Why don't you just sit and stay awhile? as she left the cemetery on Memorial Day. I never saw him in a hurry. It's getting harder to remember him exactly as he was. So I'm becoming more and more thankful for times when we tell stories and remember him. Remembering feeding the squirrels, picking veggies from their amazing garden, his instant coffee (now that I'm a coffee drinker I don't know how he drank that stuff), his big green chair, and my favorite, when he whispered in my ear that as he watched me get baptized it "brought a tear to his eye." I love playing his mandolin. I try to imagine him playing it and it makes me smile. 

Ryan said the sinkers in the stone are there because, "Papa told me that if you put sinkers on your line you can cast twice as far. And it's true. It really works." 

Friday, June 1, 2012

CCHF: Nashville

 I'm in Nashville, TN for my second CCHF (Christian Community Health Fellowship) conference.

Community: Jesus style
I don't want to be anywhere else. It's been awesome. Just what I needed in the midst of the Board prep. It seems like I'm getting exponentially more emotional with every breath I take, but I had to fight back tears multiple times today. I think it's because I feel as though I've suppressed the part of my heart that I treasure so much; that is healing for broken people. Healing for broken people is a blanket statement in every sense of the phrase. But, I feel like it's been overshadowed most recently by studying/being preoccupied with boards. Not only for other people, but also for myself. I've forgotten my brokenness has been healed. I've unknowingly placed my desires before the path the Lord has called me too.

The moments that I want to remember:
1- Hearing John Perkins and H. Spees recount the reconciliation they saw in Mississippi. It's what marked the beginning of CCHF.
2- Listening to the stories of two nurses in Grand Rapids who serve and empower the homeless in their city.
3- The powerful words of Psalm 23 that penetrated my heart.

Community: Restaurant Style
Tonight I went to dinner with some friends at a old home turned into a family style restaurant where the menu included: cornbread, homemade peach jam, biscuits, pickled cucumbers and beets, mashed potatoes, fried green tomatoes, turnip greens, fried catfish, fried chicken, ribs, beans, banana pudding, sweet get the idea. The way it works is as soon as you get there you join a table of people who are already there. The tables are huge. So we had dinner with 3 other groups of people--all at the same table! No cell phones are allowed. And you all share the same dishes which must be passed to the left. So you're asking a complete stranger, who is now a friend, to pass the sweet tea. So cool. Every restaurant should do it. It makes everyone happier. The world would be a better place.