12.29.2011

Christmas Break book reviews

Alas, this poor medical student cannot go even two weeks without giving herself tasks to accomplish.  This break, I chose to catch up on some reading...I found a few good books and dug in! Here are my thoughts, recommendations, and warnings:

Books a-c:  The Hunger Games series


Technically, I did not read these books over Christmas break, but used them as study breaks during the two weeks before as I was cramming for my final block exam.  However, I am including them here.  They are AMAZING! My sister in law started reading them last year, and although she recommended them highly, I was skeptical because of their premise...a future world where children are required to battle to the death.  BUT while that very brief synopsis is accurate, it does not accurately portray the amazing character development and social questions raised by these amazing novels.  I really enjoyed these books.  They are quick reads...once you start, you can't put them down!  Plus, the first movie (portraying the first book of the series) comes out soon, although I am a little concerned that the film will not live up to the book and the world it created in my mind.

Book 1:  I am Nujood:  Age 10 and Divorced


This book was also really amazing, but very different.  It is about a 10-year-old girl raised in Yemen, her life growing up, her struggle after her father married her off at 10 years old, her mistreatment by her husband, and ultimately, her courage in fighting against the injustice of her situation. The book is written by Nujood, with the help of an established author, so you feel like you are hearing the story straight from this brave young girl. Her tale is heart-wrenching, but it is also very educational and inspiring. Her victory over her situation has inspired many young girls in similar circumstances to fight for their freedom as well. And when you buy the book, proceeds go to Nujood and her family. I really enjoyed this book, and I think it is a great read...I finished it in a day.  Go buy it and read it!

Book 2:  Let's Take the Long Way Home


Gail's story is a memoir of friendship, of struggle, of life, and of loss.  This book was not an easy read for me.  I almost stopped reading it a few times, but I just couldn't let it conquer me...so I persevered.  I am glad that I did.  The story is very touching.  Gail talks about her special bond with her best friend Caroline, their relationships with their dogs and the added bond those relationships give to their relationship, and the connection they share due to their similar struggles with alcoholism and smoking addiction.  Then, Caroline gets cancer, and Gail walks us through the days of Caroline's battle...and ultimately, Caroline's death.  I definitely had to wipe away a few tears.  This book was very touching, but also very troubling.  If these topics interest you, I would recommend the book.  Otherwise, it might just make you cry.

Book 3:  The Other Wes Moore 


This book was a very interesting.  I enjoyed it a lot.  It explored how two boys could grow up with the same name, with similar situations (no dad around, living in the rough inner city of Baltimore), but have two extremely different stories.  Wes Moore, the author, turned out to be a Rhodes scholar, a military officer that was highly respected, and a man with multiple other impressive accomplishments.  The other Wes Moore is spending the rest of his life in jail after being convicted of armed robbery, a crime that resulted in the death of a  security guard who was also a husband and father of five.  This book is the first Wes Moore's attempt to understand the complex paths that lead us in different directions in life.  It was very insightful, very interesting, and incredibly inspiring...it makes you want to make a difference in this country!  I highly recommend it.


Now throw in a few not-worth-mentioning brainless novels, and you have a pretty good idea of how I've spent my free time :)  Hope you have all enjoyed your Christmas and have a great New Year!!!

12.25.2011

Oh Night Divine

This is my absolute favorite Christmas hymn.  Please take a moment to really pay attention to these beautiful words...


O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!





Wishing you all a very merry Christmas!

12.19.2011

One Semester Down...

It is a little bit crazy to think that I have completed my first semester of medical school!  The past few months have flown by...filled with a lot of studying, a lot of discovery, and even more appreciation for the amazing gift I have been given...working towards doing the thing I was made to do.  Amazing.  I am so thankful, and quite frankly, astounded, that I am one semester into this experience.  That means I am 1/4 of the way through my medical school classes and 1/8 of the way trough med school as a whole.  Do I even know enough for that to be true?! I hope so!

Two days ago, I received an email from one of our associate deans congratulating me on completing my first semester successfully.  This afternoon, I get my final grades back.  Over break, I am going to be working on getting a research project set up for next summer.  But mostly, I am going to enjoy this glorious break that consists of lots of time with people I love, lots of reading, lots of working out, lots of sleeping, and very, very few thoughts about school! That can wait for January 3rd! :)

Merry Christmas, everyone!


12.11.2011

This weekend was full of so much fun (and not nearly as much studying as planned)!  On Friday night, Mikey and I went to the MED (ministers, elders, and deacons) dinner at Magnolia's downtown for his work.  The food was delicious, the company was amazing, and after the dinner was over, we even got to spend some time with two of the younger couples in ministry at our church!  We had a great time :) Here are some pictures we took that night!

At the MED Dinner

With an awesome little nutcracker that I fell in love with when we were wondering around waterfront park :)

At the pineapple!!!

AJ and Allison at the pineapple downtown

With my beautiful friend Chelsie :)

And then on Saturday night, we had an ugly Christmas sweater leaders christmas party for Genesis, the young adult ministry, and it went great! It was catered by Qdoba (YUM!), and we did an awesome white elephant gift exchange.  I even enjoyed playing the game mafia, which isn't normally my cup of tea :)  My wonderful friend Sarah even took some pictures of us, and I will post those when I get my little hands on them :)

12.07.2011

Watch and Pray

Last night at Genesis, we sang these words:

I hear the Savior say, "thy strength indeed is small. Child of weakness, watch and pray. Find in Me thine All in All!"

And then this morning on the bus I read these words from James 1:3:

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow!


Both of these messages spoke straight to my heart. I have felt my faith being tested over the past few years...moving, marriage, faith struggles within my once very Christian home, battling depression and anxiety, waiting for things like having my own family and my own home in order to follow the call I believe God has placed on my life to be a doctor. Through all of this, I have been very aware of the incredible blessings all around me...my husband, my family, a few very amazing friends, a larger group of friends to laugh and goof around with, the first real steps into becoming a doctor, a home, plenty of food, freedom to think and believe what I choose, a wonderful body of believers with whom I can seek God. But with all of these blessings and all of my love for God and belief in Him, my faith...my simple trust in God to be who He says He is and to love me as He says He does, has been tried. And I have found that my strength is not great enough to make it on my own...so I am dedicating the next few weeks until Christmas to giving Him thanks for the smaller blessings of life that I tend to overlook, to doing at least one thing every day just to honor Him and bless someone else, and to praying at least one time every hour I am awake. This is my attempt to refocus, to reunite with my Savior...I want to watch, giving thanks for what I find, and I want to pray, hearing more from God about who He is and what He has for me.

I am sharing this on my blog because I may post some of what I experience and discover over the upcoming days...maybe every day, maybe just once or twice. And I also want to encourage anyone who might be reading this to know that God is bigger than our questions, bigger than our fears, and much bigger than our inadequacies.

12.01.2011

The best way to spread Christmas cheer...

Is singing loud for all to hear!!!


Yesterday, MUSC hosted their annual Holiday Tree Lighting event for kids from local schools and programs, along with some of the current residents of the Children's Hospital.  I was happy to be a part of the event, reading a little bit about Advent and how Christians celebrate the Christmas holiday.  We also got to sing some Christmas carols with the kids, visit with Santa, and enjoy some of the MUSC Children's hospital staff doing a flash mob dance to "All I Want for Christmas is You!"

A great way to kick of the holiday season! Hope you are all enjoying this wonderful time of year!

The Flash Mob getting their groove on!

Santa greeting the kids!

11.27.2011

Thankful

I am thankful for:

1.  My husband.  Mikey is loving, kind, considerate, hilarious, talented, humble, wise, and just plain awesome.  I am blessed beyond words to be married to him (almost 3 1/2 years!!!)

2.  My family.  It was so great getting to spend time with my parents, my sister, my grandparents, and my in-laws over this Thanksgiving holiday.  I had a great time catching up with everyone, and I was reminded once again how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life who give me such support and love.

3.  My friends.  I am so lucky to have some amazing friends who love me for who I am, who are always there for me when I need them, and who are amazing in and of themselves. I am so thankful that they honor me with their friendship!

4.  My career.  Ok, so maybe being in school does not quite make medicine my career yet, but med school is a full time job...and I love it!  It is not all fun and games of course, but I get to learn super interesting things, work with amazing people, and prepare to really impact peoples lives in a major way in the future!  I am definitely right where God wants me to be, and I am extremely thankful for that!

5.  Lazy holidays to take some time to spend with all of my favorite people, doing some of my favorite things (like hanging out with said people, reading, sleeping, eating, and exercising to my heart's content)!

6.  Great conversations with people I love.

7.  Wrapping up an amazing Thanksgiving holiday by cheering on the Steelers with Mikey and the pups!



11.10.2011

my theology

"The whole point of what we're urging is simply love-love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God" -1 Timothy 1:5

My theology:


God is good.  He is perfect, beautiful, holy, righteous, gracious, glorious, creative, powerful, and King.


God made the world.
The world is not so good.  Not so holy.  Not so beautiful.



There is no sinner or saint, no man or woman, no righteous or unrighteous, no ruler or subject among us.  There is only human.
Broken.
All of us.
Those of us that know God and those of us that don't.


But
wholeness,
holiness,
is
not
impossible.


Because God is loving.  He IS love itself.


He loves me.
He loves you.


He made me.
He made you.


He saved me.
He saved you.


He has restored us.  Given us the opportunity to be beautiful, like Him, like we are meant to be.


The difference is our heart, our future, our hope.


When we know God, we don't magically stop sinning.  But we want to.  For God. For His holiness and goodness and beauty.


So when we look at other people, no matter who they are or what they have done, we should look as fellow prisoners, seeing our common ground, our common desperate need for God.


And we should love.  We should share God through our love.  We should share God in love.


And it should always be about God...not about rules, not about categories, not about risks or benefits.


God first.
God last.
God only.


I pray that God keeps speaking to my heart every day, reminding me of who He is, who I am, and who He has called me to be.  I want to honor Him.  I want to glorify my King, the only one who is perfect and glorious and holy in Himself.

11.05.2011

pupdate!

It has been a while since I have given everyone an update on our pups...Oliver and Berkeley.
Berkeley is now almost 8 months old!  She just got spayed last week, and she was so unbelievably pitiful for the first day or so after her surgery.  However, she quickly bounced back, and we spent the rest of the week trying to keep her from wrestling with Oliver and jumping all over the place.  It is so great to have her back to her normal, healthy self.  She is healing up nicely!

It is just so crazy to believe that the little 11 pound puppy we brought home 6 months ago is already a 75 pound puppy/dog.  And although she has eaten 2 kindles, 1 droid smart phone, multiple pairs of shoes, AND the windowsill in the room we keep her in, she is an amazingly lovable pup!  She is getting better everyday, and she has become such a sweet girl.  She loves to cuddle and to play.  She loves her walks, especially with her dad!  And she really loves her "big" brother, Oliver.  Here is a picture I took of them on Mikey's phone yesterday...sorry the quality is so bad. 
But aren't they adorable?


Here is a pic from when we first got her to remind you of how much she has grown!  


11.01.2011

Things I have learned this study week:

1.  Med school is hard, but wonderful.

2.  All good hair salons are closed on Mondays, even when you desperately need a good haircut to reward yourself for finishing your practical exam before jumping back into studies for your written exam!

3.  Barnes and Noble does not open until 9, so do not get there before that hoping to study with the aid of a venti skinny marble machiatto...you will just have to study in your car...without caffeine...until they open at their appointed time.

4.  Husbands who mute every football game for an entire week so you can concentrate on your studies are the best ever!

5.  Friends who encourage you drawing all over yourself with washable markers to aid in your study of anatomy, namely dermatomes and nerve pathways, are the best to keep around during study week...they make you feel like less of a dork and more of a fun and lovable character!

Oh...and I have also learned a bunch of stuff about the human body and how it works.  That too.

10.05.2011

quotable

"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; and small minds discuss people"
-Eleanor Roosevelt

I loved this quote...and strive to live by its philosophy!
Inspired by the life, work, and words of Eleanor Roosevelt.


10.01.2011

Love is in the air

For the past two weekends, I have been joining Mikey and his family in celebrating the love of two sets of grandparents. Mikey's grandpap got married last weekend to a very sweet, lovely lady.  The wedding was a small family affair, and it was very lovely!  I was so happy to get to participate in their happy day!



And Mikey's other set of grandparents had their 50th wedding anniversary this weekend.  50 years.  That is just amazing.  And wonderful.  We had a great time last night celebrating their love for one another and the lives that they have brought into the world...5 kids and 16 grandchildren!  And I am especially grateful for their oldest grandchild...my amazing husband!


They love hearing the family sing together...(there are so many talented vocalists and musicians in this family!), so Mikey, his mom and sister, and his aunt and two cousins did a few songs.



Mikey with his littlest bro (middle) and one of his cousins, being goofy at the end of the night! :)


I just wanted to do this quick post to congratulate the two happy couples!!!
Love is in the air :)

9.25.2011

gross anatomy



One thing that most people fixate on when they hear that I am a medical student is the fact that I participate in gross anatomy lab.  I find it funny that the term for anatomical structures visible to the eye, without the aid of a microscope, is "gross structures."  This seems so apt for how people view the gross anatomy lab...a place where I, and the rest of medical students throughout much of medical history, go to dissect a real human body.  This, before anything else about my burgeoning medical career, is what I am asked about most frequently, and indeed, with the most fascination and disgust.

"They are real human bodies?"
"You do that?"
"Is it creepy?"
"Do you like it?"

The first two questions are easy to answer...yes. Real, dead human bodies.  Lying on tables, embalmed, shorn of all clothing and the hair on their heads.  At least twice a week, I walk into a room full of body bags, unzip the bag belonging to what I reverently and affectionately refer to as "my" body, and get to work.  This is a rite of passage for doctors-to-be...our first "patient," the first human being who has placed their body into our hands...also our greatest teacher, an individual who has made a completely altruistic gift of their body so that I, and my fellow medical students, can know everything we can about the human body in order to aid those who are still living.

The second two questions are more difficult to answer...sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes I truly have no answer at all.  It is a little creepy, a little disgusting.  There is no denying that.  And yet, somehow, it is not nearly as bad as you, or indeed I, would imagine.  I think it is because the people whose bodies are lying in the room made a conscious, educated decision while they were living to give their bodies expressly to MUSC, expressly for our education.  This makes the "grossness" of the dead body much less disturbing, and it reminds us all of the real person we should be honoring in our studies.  It implores us to respect the bodies and to recognize the true beauty and majesty of the forms we uncover throughout our year in the gross anatomy lab...the efficiency of the nervous system, the complexity of the blood vessel networks, the organization of the muscles in just the correct way to do the job for which they were designed.  And this discovery of the beauty of the human body, in all of its intricacy and purpose, is what I really do like about anatomy lab.  I like what I find.  I like knowing these structures and recognizing the clinical implications of them not functioning properly in a living person...in my future patients.

But this is far too much to explain in the casual questioning of various friends, family, and acquaintances.  And so when I am asked these questions, I try to do them justice, but I also recognize that these hidden struggles and gifts of gross anatomy lab have now separated me in some way from the rest of society.  What I have done, what I have seen, what I have discovered is not easily understood through explanation.  It must be experienced. And that is why after these hundreds of years of human dissection in the medical field, gross anatomy lab continues.  These lessons are meant to be learned.  This experience is intrinsically tied to the transition from patient to physician.

9.24.2011

medical school to date

Wow.  It is hard to believe that I am five weeks into medical school and preparing for my first official block exam.  The time has absolutely flown by.  It has been hard...a lot of studying, a lot of time in class, anatomy lab, hospital visits, standardized patient interviews...and everything that makes up a normal life, like sleeping, eating, and time with friends and family.  Despite the overwhelming amount of entries on my to-do list every day, I have absolutely LOVED every minute of the journey so far.

God has blown me away with his love, with his faithfulness, with the beauty of the world he created and the people he made in his own image.

God has also used this short entry into the medical field to speak life into me... "This is it! This is what you have been waiting for! You were made for this!"

And all I can do is keep thanking Him for this glorious burden, this weighty gift.  I am blessed.

9.04.2011

Mikey's First Flight Lesson

This past Monday was Mikey's 25th birthday, and to celebrate this momentous occasion, we (myself and my parents) got him a flight lesson.  Since he was a little boy, Mikey has loved all things having to do with planes.  Although he became a musician and minister, young Mikey wanted to be a pilot.  And this past week, his childhood dream was fulfilled...he took his first flight lesson, and will likely be signing up to start training towards getting his full pilot's license soon!

I got to ride along on this intro lesson, and I was so impressed with his instructor, and primarily, with Mikey.  He picked everything up so quickly.  By the end of the hour, he even did a take-off by himself and most of the landing...it was amazing! I was so incredibly proud of him, and I am excited for him to get to continue on...here are some pictures and a video to give you a taste of all the excitement!

Mikey getting excited before the first takeoff..

Me hanging out in the back seat during the flight :)

Mikey takes the controls

We flew over some really gorgeous areas...it was a bit foggy, but still lovely!

Mikey and his flight instructor towards the end of the flight...
I loved how the sun looked in this picture!

Gorgeous sky


8.28.2011

water dogs

Today, after church, Mikey and I took our pups to the James Island County Park.  The dog park there is so great, with a good sized lake on one side that the pups can swim in.  Oliver and Berkeley had so much fun!  Here is a video of them swimming in the lake...I thought they were so cute!



Now we are off for Mikey's flight lesson...his big present for his 25th birthday! :)  Not to worry...more videos and pics will be uploaded shortly :)

8.20.2011

life update

This past week has been absolutely insane! Mikey and had a lovely stay-cation at the end of last week and then a super fun visit to Atlanta, GA at the beginning of this week.  We got a lot of great time together.  The braves game we went to was awesome, with the braves winning on an RBI on a 3-2 count, with two outs already in the bottom of the 9th.  Excitement!  Then on Friday we went to Bodies (the exhibit) and walked around Atlantic Station...both were very cool, especially the exhibit. Mikey even liked it, although he was very skeptical going in.



THEN, on Wednesday, I started my MUSC College of Medicine orientation, and I haven't slowed down since.  We learned a lot about the program, what to expect, what we stand for (as students and as future physicians), and what support systems are in place when things get rough...there is so much to learn!  And I cannot even tell you how excited I am to get started on Monday!!

To top off the festivities, I had my White Coat Ceremony this afternoon, and family from in-town and out-of-town, as well as a group of some wonderful friends, came to make the occasion especially memorable.  I was truly humbled to have so many people there to support me and cheer me on as I take this big step into my future career as a physician.


Getting "coated" by one of the Associate Deans of the COM.

With some of my wonderful support system :)

With my super awesome husband!!


Let's do this!

8.13.2011

crossroads

O. M. G.

In the past week, I had my last day of work, most likely until I start residency in four years.  I have been working at my mom's office, and while the job was perfect for this past season of life, I am so extremely excited to be heading into a medical career!

I also had my last day as a "nursing" volunteer at the Dream Center Clinic.  Hopefully, I will be back in the coming years to shadow the doctors as I make my way through medical school, but I will not be triaging patients or volunteering on a regular schedule any more.  It was so bittersweet to hug the nurses and doctors goodbye, listen to their very encouraging words, and realize again how truly blessed I have been to know and learn from them.

The rest of the week was spent at the beach, watching movies, and generally soaking up some sweet, sweet time with my husband before classes start up.  Next week, I have orientation, and the following Monday, classes begin.

It. is. finally. here.

If you have a free moment in the next week, please send up a little prayer for me and this huge life changing event that is so quickly approaching.  I am absolutely pumped to get going, but I am also extremely aware of the incredible task ahead of me.  I pray to take it seriously, to grow in leaps and bounds, in skill, knowledge, and wisdom.  And I also pray to enjoy this journey. 

Craziness.  Pure, joyful, scary craziness.

8.07.2011

give 'em a break

Lately, God has really brought home to me the importance of giving people the benefit of the doubt.  So often, we forget that people who may appear to have it all together on the surface actually have a lot going on behind the scenes...personal issues, family issues, medical issues.  There is so much we do not know about not only the person we consider an acquaintance, but often also the person we consider a close friend.

You may think you know a person's circumstances, but chances are, there is something, maybe a lot, of which you are completely unaware.  It is a lot easier to vent our frustrations or feel "righteous" indignation when we claim that a person "should know better," or whatever your excuse of choice may be.  I know I've used a lot of excuses in my life.  But the truth is that these responses to our fellow man are actually uninformed and selfish.

Remember, we cannot see another person's heart.  That harsh word or selfish action may be a coping mechanism to a much deeper problem.  So next time you or I want to jump to a conclusion or feel justified in our judgement of another person's attitude or actions, let's give them a break.  There may be a lot we don't know.

"The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
-1 Samuel 16:7

7.31.2011

joining together

"Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love"  -Ephesians 4:15-16 (NASB)


I just love these verses.

The body of Christ grows due to love, due to the working together of the individual parts.  The parts must be working properly, playing each individual role, but it is not so much each part that is vital, but the joining of the parts...each part matters, but what matters most is the fitting together of the parts.

The church is meant to be unified...to work together...to love.  And in doing these things, the church grows.  We become more like Christ.

How beautiful.

7.23.2011

blessed on my birthday

First of all, I need to give a big THANK-YOU shout-out to my friends and family, especially my amazing husband, who made my birthday on Thursday so absolutely amazing!
I am incredibly blessed!

Birthday breakdown:

1.  Mikey stayed home from work in the morning, so we got to make breakfast together and watch a cute movie before meeting some friends for lunch!  (And I got flowers from Mikey delivered during the morning...gorgeous pink tulips, my faves!)

2.  I met up with two of my favorite people, Sarah and Melissa, to get pedicures, and then we stopped by Gloria Jeans for a little pick-me-up treat! :)



3.  Went on an absolutely yummy and fun dinner date with my absolute favorite person, Mikey, at Virginia's on King in downtown Charleston!! :)


4.  On Friday, we went with some of our best friends to Cafe Medley on Sullivans Island for gourmet ice cream and absolutely delicious pastries...very cute. And very fun!


5.  After the Cafe, we went to the beach for a nice walk and to just hang out...it was the perfect celebration! Very laid-back, but also special and fun!




Thanks again to everyone who helped make my birthday so special!
It was a truly amazing day(s) :)

7.20.2011

dog-sitting

This week, Mikey and I have been dog-sitting my parents' dog, Oskar, who is a 70 lb greyhound.  All of the pups have been getting along really well, and although our house feels a bit like a zoo for the week, it is fun having another dog to keep Berkeley in line as she is learning her dog-manners :)

Oliver is not afraid to take on his 40lb heavier sister...
this afternoon he was beating her up in his own terrier way :)

Oskar loves his dog bed, which inspired me to make one for Berkely and Oliver.
I made this bed out of an old sheet tied around two old king-sized pillows.
Unfortunately, Oskar is the only one really interested in the bed :)

Here is a pic of all the pups hanging out together in the backyard.
(I took all of these on my phone, so I sadly cannot enlarge them without making them super blurry)

7.14.2011

book plug

I just finished Rob Bell's new(ish) book Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, and I really enjoyed reading it.  *gasp*


I have heard from a lot of people, most of whom have not read the book, all about how subversive and heretical it is, and while I cannot say I am quite on the same page as good ole Robbie Bell on every point he makes, I really do like a lot of what he is saying.  Things about God's kingdom coming, about living for heaven, like heaven, here on earth...loving people, helping others, taking care of the earth, doing good...and doing these things not because they are rules we are meant to follow, but because we are passionate about what God is about, in the future and the present.

God is good.
God is love.

I believe these two truths wholeheartedly.  I also agree that even when we don't believe the same things, whether we are in different denominations or different religions, we should love one another.  We should take care of one another.

Bell raises a lot of good questions that I think we all should be asking, or at least considering.  I am deep in thought.  And I think you should be too.  Pick up this book.  Yell at it, get frustrated by it, refuse to agree with some of what it says...I did.  But also consider it. Ponder it.  Let the claims it makes and the questions it raises grow you, challenge you, and strengthen you.  I did that too.

Seriously, give it a shot.  I am also looking forward to reading Francis Chan's apparent rebuttal to this book...Erasing Hell:  What God Said About Eternity and the Things We Make Up.  I'll keep you posted!

7.12.2011

an interesting idea

(Fuhrman's Food Pyramid...centered around vegetables, unlike the usual USDA Food Pyramid)

This afternoon, I watched a documentary entitled "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead."  This documentary is all about the benefits of micronutrients, which wikipedia describes as "nutrients required by humans and other living things throughout life in small quantities to orchestrate a whole range of physiological functions, but which the organism itself cannot produce." The documentary centers around two men who, when we meet them, are obese and sick, and both decide to start juicing to get more fruits and vegetables in their diets.  These are the foods that contain high quantities of micronutrients.  For 60 days, they go on a juice fast, which is meant to help them get healthier...losing weight, lowering blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol, getting off numerous medications.  The fast also is meant to "reprogram" their taste buds to start enjoying the taste of fruits and vegetables above less healthy and more processed foods, so when they get off of the juice fast, it is easier to stay disciplined and eat healthy.  And for both of these men, it works!

I was very intrigued.  While I am not sure about personally participating in a juice fast (although I am not totally ruling out the idea of a shorter one), I do think it is a great solution for a lot of severely unhealthy people out there!  And really just a great idea in general.  I am going to try to eat more fruits and vegetables...make more smoothies, etc.  Has anyone out there heard anything about this micronutrient diet stuff?? Or maybe even tried it?? I would love to hear any opinions and ideas!

7.10.2011

enlighten us

This morning, I read these verses from Ephesians 1:


18  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,19  and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might20  which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21  far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.


This is truly my prayer this morning, for myself, for you, for everyone.  If this world were to truly understand the great hope...the hope of perfection, of perfect joy and love and peace...the hope of an inheritance that cannot be destroyed or taken from us unjustly...the hope of overcoming this life, with all of its pain and struggles...then, I truly believe we would already be in a better place.  God has saved us.  God has set us free.  The single mother working two or three jobs to make ends meet, the AIDS victim in Africa without access to the necessary drugs, the abused child scared of its own family...all of these victims of the cruelty of this life can take comfort in the beauty, glory, and power of God, given to us through Christ.  And we who claim this inheritance should be the hands and feet moving towards these people and so many others, offering that life, that hope during our time in this world, as much as we are able.  To love as Christ loved, to let the prisoner know he has been set free...this is our calling as Christians.  And we can answer the call because we know in whom we have believed.

7.09.2011

pUpdate...and then some

So it has been a while since I have posted anything about our puppy's progress...I was a slack dog (cheesy pun intended), and didn't post anything after her last vet visit, which was about two weeks ago!  This was the first time we've taken Oliver to this new vet, and he and Berkeley behaved very well for their dad :)

Oliver weighed in at 12 lbs, and Berkeley was a mere 42 lbs, just shy of 4 months old. She is probably almost 50 lbs now!

We were given an A+ for both of their health and well-being.

Berkeley is currently going through her teenage puppy stage.  She has gotten a lot more energetic, and she tries to test her boundaries sometimes, which can be a bit frustrating when we KNOW she knows what she is or is not supposed to do.  So we are living by one main motto with her...consistency!  If she does not listen on her own when we give her a command, we make her listen.  But even in this difficult time with her, she is learning a lot, and she really is a great dog! In a couple of months we are probably going to get her spayed and then, once she's healed, enrolled in puppy obedience classes!  We are both looking forward to the helpful hints and dedicated training time inherent in these classes.

All in all, she is doing famously!  We took her to Mikey's parents' house for the 4th of July and she laid calmly in the shade most of the day, and she slept right through the fireworks show we attended later at night!  And she has gotten better and better and heeling while she walks on the leash.  We are such proud parents :) lol.

Here are some pictures over the past couple of weeks of Berkeley and Oliver (but mostly Berkeley...lol)!

Sleepy girl, taking a nap on the sofa.

Berkeley with my Dad when we went to their house for July 4th weekend.

She kept wanting to rest her head on Mikey and be right next to him during the ride to his parents' house on July 4th! It was so sweet!

We took both of the pups to play in a field by our church today.  They loved it!

 Oliver with the ball, being chased by Mikey, being chased by Berkeley :)

Tuckered out after too much fun in the sun :)