Tuesday, August 29, 2006


take one for me, will you? a breath, i mean. i feel like i haven't had enough lately. or too many--not quite sure which one.

we had our first big exam this morning. thirty questions. i studied for SO long. i finally had to decide yesterday that i had reached the point where i needed to be fully confident in my knowledge base. but after the tests today, maybe i should have buried my head a little deeper in the books. it wasn't that i didn't know the information....it was that i just couldn't connect it. i know how important this stuff is. and to be totally honest, maybe it is just the new pressure of this huge responsibility that is sucking the energy out of me.

so, in short, i am not feeling good about my test results. definitely not confident in the fact that i did well . i just know that i did. and that will have to be good enough. i have to keep in mind that God--in His Divine plan--has already accounted for many many many many mistakes, mishaps, and mess-ups. i have to remember that as long as i do my very best, He'll work with that. i think that just the simple fact of me being here--having this opportunity is a testament to His networking and door-opening skills.

i have a looonnnggg road ahead of me. and right now, i can't even imagine the end. totally feeling overwhelmed. i have a TON of reading to do...a LOT of studying to get done...and even MORE to learn. and i am finding it harder and harder to focus when all this seems like so much and its relevance seems like so little. but i'll keep chugging away. because God wants me here--i know that much is true. and i'll get through my reading--from the closest book you see to the one farthest away (i found that if i line them right in the middle of my floor, anytime i need to get anywhere in my little cottage i end up tripping over them....subtle reminders of what needs to get done). and i'll try my best to stay positive about it--because i am well aware that not everyone gets this opportunity. and i will pray for motivation, because i really need some right now. and i will hope that the end of this road comes sooner than later.

so thanks for your prayers. for your positive thoughts. for your encouragement and support. but most of all, for your prayers.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


you know when you read something and it just hits you...like a brick wall, or bullet train, or meteor from Mars?? you know what i'm talkin' about??

i read something like that today. it was a rare moment--a break from my textbooks (which, by the way, seem to magically be multiplying). i picked up "Blue Like Jazz", by Donald Miller. and this is what i read (and prepare yourself, it is kind of long...):

For a very long time, I could not understand why some people have no trouble accepting the grace of God while other experience immense difficulty. I counted myself as one of the ones who had trouble. I would hear about grace, read about grace, and even sing about grace, but accepting grace is an action I could not understand. It seemed wrong to me not to have to pay for my sin, not to freel guilty about it or kick myself around. MOre than that, grace did not seem like the thing I was looking for. It was too easy. I wanted to feel as though I earned my forgiveness, as though God and I were buddies doing favors for each other.
Enlightenment came in an unexpected place: a grocery store. I was on my way over Mount Hood to spend some time in the high desert with a few friends. I was driving alone and decided to stop in at Safeway to pick up some provisions for the weekend. While standing in line at the checkout counter, the lady in front of me pulled out food stamps to pay for her groceries. I had never seen food stamps before. They were more colorful than I imagined and looked more like money than stamps. It was obvious as she unfolded the currency the she, I, and the checkout girl were quite uncomfortable with the interaction. I wished there was something I could do. I wished I could pay for her groceries myself, but to do so would have been to cause a greater scence. The checkout girl quickly performed her job, signing and verifying a few documents, then filed the lady through the line. The woman never lifted her head as she organized her bags of groceries and set them into her cart. She walked away from the checkout stand in the sort of stiff movements a person uses when they know they are being watched.
On the drive over the mountain that afternoon, I realized that it was not the woman who should be pitied, it was me. Somehow I had come to believe that becuase a person is in need, they are candidates for sympathy, not just charity. It was not that I wanted to buy her groceries, the government was already doing that. I wanted to buy her dignity. And yet, by judging her, I was the one taking her dignity away. ...
Rick (the author's friend) says that I will love God becuase he first loved me. I will obey God because I love God. But if I cannot accept God's love, I cannot love Him in return, and I cannot obey Him. Self-discipline will never make us feel righteous or clean; accepting God's love will. The ability to accept God's unconditional grace and ferocious love is all the fuel we need to obey Him in return. Accepting God's kindness and free love is something the devil does not want us to do. If we hear, in our inner ear, a voice saying we are failures, we are losers, we will never amount to anything, this is the voice of Satan trying to convince the bride that the groom does not love her. This is not the voice of God. God woos us with kindness, He changes our character with the passion of His love." From Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller, p. 83-84, 86

Sunday, August 20, 2006


oh man. i got a little piece of heaven here today. and bbbooooyyyy was it nice. rain + chai + being outside on my porch in the middle of the storm = me very happy :) (even though i was doing homework).

this past week went by SOOOOO s....l....o....w....l....y...... by wednesday i though it had to be friday...then when friday came, i couldn't actually believe it was here. and speaking of friday, i went to the "first cut party" thrown for the freshmen. it was in a cow pasture out in the country. and, with my great luck, i managed to step in a giant pile of cow poo with flip-flops on. it was slimey....gross. but despite the little bit of the party i took home with me on my feet, i also took home a bit of optimism--about the people here, about the community here; about the fact that i am thinking that i chose the right place--or, rather, the right place chose me.

and on a more scholastic note, we started anatomy last week. and starting anatomy means we started in the cadaver lab. and there has been quite a bit that has happened since our first day of lab on tuesday:

i have decided to (temporarily) take a subbatical from eating red meat and crackers in my soup as a result of my (awesome) observations in the lab. the red meat looks just like human muscle and the crackers-in-soup heavily resemble adipose tissue. too much for me.

my emotions have been on a roller coaster--perhaps coming to grips with the fact that i am working on dissecting someone's grandma has gotten under my skin--or theirs (yes, pun was intended).

and we, as first year students, got "the talk". you know the one that you always hear phantom whispers of in medical school?? the talk that tells us we must dissociate--we must, from this point on, throw our emotions by the way-side when situations arise where human emotionality is not welcome. people are depending on us, on our stoic grace and our knowledge base, to successfully support, treat, and hopefully heal themselves and those they love. emotionality has its place in the comfort of life outside of doctor-hood, they told us; but seldom does it find itself comfortable within the profession.

and, as a result of this talk, i've had to re-evaluate myself, my own desires, and my future profession. and quite frankly, i disagree with them. yes, there is a place for emotion. and although medical professionals are supposed to be strong and courageous and knowedgble, they are also people. people who chose a hectic lifestyle of dedication to their patients, their communities, the greater world of healing arts because it moved something inside of them, it attracted their hearts and stimulated their minds to actively pursue health in others. and because they are people, who happen to be doctors, if a situation arises where human emotionality is stirred enough to flow out from the depths of its storage place, i say let it loose--let the tears and joy and sorrow and excitement and refreshment and disappointment and tradgedy and grace flow freely.

patients see the doctor side in humans through diagnosis and the human side in doctors through emotions. i think my patients deserve to see the whole me.

Monday, August 14, 2006


well. it is official. i am a medical student.

hold on, let me say it again. i am a medical student.

nope. still not sinking in.

i kind of feel like i am at summer camp. in my little cottage, with a rental car i happen to be driving around, constantly introducing myself to people as "hi, my name is ____. i am from ____. in undergrad i studied _____. i hope to specialize in ____." fill in the blanks as you choose.

it is feeling more comfortable here today. lots more comfortable, actually. i still don't know many people, but i fully realize that it will just take time to make connections---and i am cherishing my reflective, alone time right now. had class this morning--we got a new 'patient'. and believe it or not, it was actually fun. so fun. we talked. we contemplated. we tried to put puzzle pieces together to come up with a diagnosis. and then we researched. and in the meantime we learned. and that is what it is all about: working together toward a common goal. and i think it is pretty cool that the goal just happens to be making someone else's quality of life better. :)

Monday, August 07, 2006

the beginning.

well. i am here. in lewisburg. and while i never thought this day would come, it has come--and gone. quickly--way too quickly, it seems right now.

but i am here. sitting at my desk. while my chicken is cooking for dinner. one full day--the first day--of orientation behind me. and many unremembered names later, i am confident--but nonetheless apprehensive--that THIS is where God wants me.

and yes, i was that nerdy this morning that i took a picture of myself on my first day of school. it was like big-kid first grade all over again.

it is comfortable here. the people are nice. my little cottage is cozy. it is quiet and hot (which i love) and rainy and thunderstormy. and there are no bugs, except spiders in my bathtub. and apples are $3.99 per pound (a foreign USD amount to me, living forever before in Washington state where apples are abundant). and my landlords are really nice. and i have a roof and food and bounds of knowledge awaiting my learning.

we talked today in orientation about changes. the change coming here. the change that needs to take place in personal spending habits. and perhaps most importantly the emotional change that will take place in all of us (us being the first year students) by the years end. and as much as i am scared for that change--how it will affect me personally, my relationships, my outlook on life, i am trusting that God will change me as well...for the better.

and guess what God did for me today already?? he introduced me, completely randomly, to 2 other christians! how cool is that?? out of the almost-200 students that were at orientation today, i met 2 wonderful girls that both turned out to be christians. so church buddies, here i come :)

His fingerprints continue to pop up in the most unexpected places. in notes from home. in blessings of waived late fees. in hard working companies who really care about their customers. in early flights and cheap books and new beginnings. yes, God really is in everything....you just have to look hard enough to find Him.

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