Wednesday, October 29, 2008

dessert stealer.

i was in the nursing home in the afternoon, shortly after lunchtime. it didn't smell like a nursing home; the rarely-bathed-chemically-tries-to-be-clean smell didn't linger in the air like it usually does in the try-to-be-clean hallways of other nursing homes i've stepped into. no, this nursing home smelled different...older, maybe.

the halls were white. the walls were white. black scuff marks streaked the side rails of the hallways, evidence that wheelchairs frequently wheeled astray & into the plastic barriers guarding the peeling wallpaper. the nurses station was the center of the second floor, with each wing of rooms branching from a mecca of files, folders, phones, & frenzied nurses bustling to & fro in an attempt to take care of the somewhat unruly patients.

there were odd sounds that echoed down the hallways. yelps. moans. the background noise of TV's turned up for hearing-aided ears. and even the hiss of the oxygen pumps could be heard if you listened close enough. it was obvious there was a bit of excitement in the air--residents were milling about, weaving in & out of their rooms, down the hallways...some trying to make an escape on the elevator. they had their annual halloween party tonight...and the chaos in the hallway was partly due to the blocked-off dining room where staff was decorating. one seventy-something year old woman pranced down the hallway in a neon green fuzzy scarf & purple spandex. another man flew past the elevator in his wheelchair pretending to shoot everyone who walked by with his imaginary gun. i was even informed by the large woman in room 108 that johnny successfully escaped over the weekend & was found walking down the street outside in little more than his pajamas.

i was about three patients into our visit when i noticed an inconspicuous man wearing a red zip-up sport jacket walking the hallways. in the middle of charting my patients physical exam, the man stopped walking & perched himself at the center of chaos in the most inconvenient place possible near the counter of the nurses station. his head was covered in reddish brown hair that was growing more sparse each day. and although easy on his feet, it was obvious from his habitus that he had known some other handicap. he large tongue protruded much more than normal as he licked his lips every few seconds and his thin fingered hands rubbed his protuberant belly much like Santa Clause might.

he was thinking something--that much i could tell. but between charting & my own thinking, i hardly noticed what he was doing just a few feet away from my stack of patient files. a few moments passed and i looked up to find the back of the red jacket facing me and the man standing with his face shoved in a corner in the hallway about 6 feet from the nurses station where he had just been standing.

why in the world would this man put himself in the corner voluntarily??

and then, without warning, red-jacket-man turned around and bee-lined for the nurses station counter again. holding a small round plate with streaks of brown mousse on it in his left hand, i finally noticed the large tray of desserts that had been set for later delivery to other residents on the counter right where he was standing.

which is about the time i glanced up toward his balding head of hair. and what i saw was a 60-something year old man with chocolate mousse all over his face, not to mention the globs of whipped cream & choclate that had escaped his mouth & landed on the front of his red jacket.

he did it. he STOLE another residents dessert right from the nurses station and devoured it in the corner of the hallway.

that large tongue of his went in-and-out and in-and-out faster than before--probably in an attempt to hide the evidence of what he'd just done. but the damage was done, evidenced not by the globs of leftovers he didn't notice on the front of his jacket but mostly by the 6 other desserts he had ruined when he "set" his emptied dessert plate right on top of them.

the nurses aid in black scrubs came running down the hallway after she saw him meandering around the dessert tray. he made a run for it, hobbling down the hallway as fast as his skinny little legs would carry him.

but not without a GIANT smile on his face. he was darn proud of himself for his steal...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

lessons from the weekend.

i headed to atlanta this past weekend to visit family who was (were??) celebrating their 60th birthdays & 40th wedding anniversary. after a last-minute change of plans, i changed my plane ticket to an earlier time flying out of NC instead of WV....and in the meantime i learned a few things.

(1) no matter how fast you think you are, it is impossible to run across 3 concourses in the Charlotte airport & still make your flight in 8 minutes.

(2) the man at the gate will NOT let you on the plane after the door has closed, even if you offer to ride on the wing.

(3) Starbucks will inevitably mess up your $4.75 self-sympathy-coffee: Grande Soy Decaf No Whip No foam Pumpkin Spice Latte.

(4) you know you need to go to the gym more when you shins are sore from your 3 concourse run in the airport.

(5) 5 year-old soccer games are just about the funniest thing on the planet.

(6) coffee is good.

(7) after a 1 hour flight time took over 6 hours, sometimes it is just better to drive.

(8) people you love are always worth it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

holding on.

i'm sad today. sad because i'm in west virginia again. sad because this week isn't starting out optimistically, because of the state of affairs in this world; sad because of the lack of personal responsibility of the citizens of this country. sad because my love is in another state 4 hours away and sad because my heart doesn't know how to embrace God's plans.

i should have seen it coming, the sadness. it comes each month. seven days. lots of tissues. emotional lability (or instability, depending on who you talk to). usually it manifests itself in feelings of being totally & completely overwhelmed. then there are months where frustration takes the lead & still others where my world is just knocked off its axis.

but this month, it is just sadness.

i'm emotionally empty. which makes me wonder where these tears are coming from...and why they bothered to show up in the first place. and i'm emotionally overwhelmed with the present & the future.

i've been trying, really, i have. i've been trying to let go & let God. but gosh it is hard sometimes. i've been trying to take things in stride, to let life unfold and not worry about who will iron out the wrinkles. and i've been trying to soak up each moment without even a fleeting thought about my independence one year from now. looking in the mirror, i can't help but wonder where the faithful person is who once wrote this, who totally trusted God with her future & feelings & failures. who wanted to be emptied more than wanting answers; who wanted to be faithful more than wanting favor; and who wanted God's will above her own....i can't seem to find her today.

i'm just sad about all of it.

i suppose it is because i don't want to let go. i cherish closed fists, holding so tightly to the functionality of my life as it stands that on days like this CHANGE is the worst thing that could happen to me. but the trouble comes when i try to convince myself for the four hundreth time that change is good.

change is good. change is good. change is good.

nope, still not working.

i think i'm overwhelmed by the sheer amount of change that seems to dominate the landscape of our future. i'm overwhelmed by the number of seemingly uncontrollable factors that could send our pendulum of hope swinging into a giant black hole. and too, i'm overwhelmed by my own (annoying) propensity for "what if's" that seem to invade the spaces of each thought about the future.

the way i approach life during weeks like this (& probably more, if i'm willing to admit it) is probably much like someone approaches losing a loved one. because the truth is that many aspects of my life i am totally in love with right now; i've grown overly attached to them and like a heela monster, just can't let them go.

"A natural response to the possibility of losing someone is to hold in tighter or to try to gain more control. Ironically, this does not lead to a life of freedom & joy, the very things we were pursuing. Most of us do learn to let go. We let go of our childhood & accept adult responsibilities. We let go of our teenage children & our attempts to control them. We let go of finding happiness in possessions or careers. We even learn that we have to let go of other people & not be dependent on them for happiness. To learn these lessons, we have to accept the fact that these things or people were gifts in the first place." --Hank Dunn, Hard Choices for Loving People

apparently i classify as "one of those people" who never has learned to let go--and my seeking has left me with a white-knuckled grip on the things in my life that don't belong to me in the first place. which leaves me totally bewildered by families like this, who seem to so easily keep thier heads above raging rapids when the tides of life change too quickly (check out more updates here).

i've got lots to huge pile of kleenex to throw in the garbage....and an entire book to guide me through the process of really letting go and holding on, both at the same time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Our bodies begin to shut down after 72 hours without food. The molecules we use for energy are filtered & rationed. Muscle begins to breakdown to provide the energy we need to stay alive. And after just 96 hours without food, our body creates new molecules that, left for days, can become toxic to the brain. In other words, we need to eat.

She hadn’t eaten in at least 48 hours. A myriad of tubes & beeping machines stood at her bedside, weaving under & over her seemingly lifeless body. The florescent light that flickered above gave her skin a yellow, jaundiced tint. If you watched long enough, she’d open her eyes every few minutes—her iris’ jumped back & forth, up & down, as if she was trying to focus on something none of us could see. Then, eyelids would close again silently leaving us with only the faint memory that they opened at all.

When I saw her for the first time, I was surprised to find out she had already lived over eight decades. I guess it’s the printed blue hospital gowns & tangled mess of sheets that skews a bystanders perception of age, and maybe of human life altogether.

I found out she had been married twice, her second husband stood faithfully at her bedside. No tears were shed—he knew she had to leave him at some point, probably much sooner than he’d hoped for. Between the two of them, they had 17 children—all of them from their previous marriages. But they had been married for a long 33 years and at the moment, it just seemed too soon to say goodbye to their “new” marriage.

Only two of the seventeen children were in the room. They informed me that a nasogastric tube (NG tube) had been placed the night before. I barely noticed the thin tube filled with white liquid among the octopus of clear tubes & blue tubes, smooth tubes & corrugated tubes, that emerged from her sheet-covered body. They said it was a hard decision—but that “Dad just wasn’t ready yet”.

She wasn’t breathing on her own—a BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) covered her mouth & nose, sending air into her lungs & sucking it back out again. I’m not sure how long she’d been on the machine, but once a patient is on BiPAP it becomes increasingly difficult to take them off as hours & days progress. Similar to intubation, a BiPAP causes airway & lung damage—damage that, in the elderly, is often irreversible.

But despite the BiPAP this patient’s lungs were already damaged. She had small cell carcinoma, an extrememly aggressive form of lung cancer that can infamously spread to any & all parts of the body in a matter of weeks. She was a survivor though—she’s lasted at least a few months. She’d fought. Chemo. Radiation. Surgery.

And now her fight was nearing its end. Her body was starving. Her lungs had stopped working. Her cancer had spread to the liver. And her body was, quite literally, giving up on her.

Was she ready? Was she ready to die? Is anyone really ready?

As I stood there I couldn’t help but think of all the pain she went through. Chemo drugs take a toll on the body—nausea, vomiting, cell damage, kidney damage. Radiation is supposedly very painful. Hypoxia had surely taken over as well, altering her lucidity, speech, & even brain function. What HAD the last few months of her life been like?

They were probably painful, emotionally & physically. Overwhelming. A bit discouraging, perhaps, due to the nature of her cancer if nothing else. And yet, she was still here.

Would I make the same choice? Would I choose to live my last days & weeks, maybe months, strapped to an IV pole sending toxic chemical throughout my body? Would I choose to shoot radioactive rays through my body in an effort to kill a cancer that would certainly eventually kill me? Would I make the same choice? Would I want my childrens last memory of me to be a body, covered in sterilized sheets with tubes & machines at the head of the bed? Would I make the same choice?

...would you make the same choice?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

hot topics.

I didn’t understand what it was for the longest time. I think I first heard the term in 7th grade. We were required to write “topic reports” on some current event in the world, something every seventh grade sociology class makes students crank out. On this particular day, I was waiting in line to talk with the teacher & get the “stamp of approval” on my chosen topic (of which I can’t seem to remember). The girl in front of me got a stern look from the teacher and was asked “Are you SURE you want to cover that topic?” She shot back with a confident answer about how the youth in Asia were so important to her & she’d had exposure to them. She just seemed really passionate about her chosen topic.

Hmm. Weird, I remember thinking. Why is she *so* interested in kids in Asia? I mean, I hear they have dirty water & stuff but so do kids in Africa…why Asia?

It wasn’t until a few YEARS later when I reflected on my witnessed conversation that I realized she wasn’t talking about youth in Asia, her chosen topic was EUTHANASIA. Chalk up one blonde moment for me.

And today I remembered that same seventh grade conversation again. I just started my geriatrics rotation—which is actually much different than I envisioned. I’m a bit of a guinea pig for a “newly established” rotation curriculum (if you can call it that) through the hopsital I'm working with. And because of some scheduling conflicts, I’m working with a case manager at the hospital this week instead of an attending physician.

I was pleased to find out that she is a lovely woman who is quite passionate about her job—not to mention fantastically good at it. And it is actually a breath of fresh air to witness the goings-on behind the scenes of physician orders & patient medical management. A bit of a reassurance, I guess, knowing that I wouldn’t want her job—not to mention the fact that I desperately missed using my stethoscope today (although my back thanked me for the relief from my 10 pound white coat stuffed with instruments & books).

So back to Youth in Asia—err, Euthanasia. Also known as Physician Assisted Suicide, I noticed on my last absentee ballot that it was on the table for passing in Washington State. It is legalized in Oregon & an up-and-coming “hot topic” in many other state legislatures.

To be honest, I’ve tried to avoid the topic altogether thus far in my life, having only vague opinions about the subject—most of which are driven by my faith & the set of morals I’ve established based on that faith. But like many other “hot topics”, my personal opinion is constantly in flux, constantly being molded by the patients I meet, the stories I hear, and the suffering I witness in medicine. And truly, Euthanasia is just a jumping-off-point…there are so many other topics that center around death & dying, palliative care medicine, hospice houses, and other end-of-life issues.

Our culture shies away from death, as if it is some disease to be caught, some preventable & entirely undesirable end effect that the magic of medicine can save us from. But the miracles of modern medicine simply prolong the inevitable—sometimes improving the quality of life, sometimes giving many more decades of memories to families who would have otherwise missed out, and sometimes turning a quickly fatal disease into a process of protracted suffering. What most people don’t realize is that our approach to death is actually a direct reflection of our approach to life.

We discovered that most people meet death as they met life:
some head on, some with denial, & some with passivity.
There is a “death style” as well as a “life style”.
How we die will be an expression of how we have wanted to live,
& the meaning we find in our dying is likely to be
at one with the meaning we have found in our living…
[A] person who has learned how to let life go
may have not only a richer & more flexible life,
but also one that better prepared him for his decline.
–David Callahan

Although I’ve personally been exposed to what I would consider a fair amount of death, some accompanied by irretractable pain & suffering, I’ll be honest in admitting that I’ve shied away from accepting my own death. My faith tells me to embrace it, but I’ve become rather complacent about the whole ‘experience’—perhaps not willing to let go of my life as it stands right now.

And so, I think this rotation will be especially good for me. I’ll share the stories of the patients I come into contact with, those suffering, those hopeful, & those who are excited to meet Jesus. And in the meantime, I’m hoping to get a better grasp on issues that will be important for my future in medicine, issues like euthanasia, advanced directives, DNR’s, & palliative medicine….

And I’m hoping you’ll think a little more about them too...

Monday, October 20, 2008

goodbye's are the hardest.

goodbye's are always the hardest. i used to be good at them. i used to hold in my tears, mask my sadness, and move on. perhaps it was because of the constant transition i experienced in childhood, travelling from one home to another at least twice each month; transitioning from one extreme to the other, mom's house to dad's house, the city to the country.

i used to joke about how "some day" we just knew it would make me stronger. because as a young teen, there were so many times i just cried. cried that no one else could understand how i felt. cried because i felt so alone, so prematurely independent. and cried, because i couldn't fathom stability in my constantly changing environment.

but that "someday" is here. and i can't help but smile looking back at God's provision. i don't think that today's transitions would be nearly as easy, as smooth, and as hope-filled had i not been in that valley so many years ago. it is so clear now that hindsight is always 20/20--that God really is in control of all things, no matter how dark the night may seem. and often times, He provides little "treats" , of unexpected time together, an extra $20 for a date, unexpected gas money, or an injection of grace that make my heart flutter with gratitude.

i've been thinking a lot lately about the past two years. i told my mom on friday that i couldn't fathom doing it all over again...and i am so grateful that i don't have to. life right now seems crazy and i'm longing for the days when jon & i won't have to be on the lookout for yet another separation...but in the meantime, God is filling my gratitude cup...

*gas prices have gone down here, making my weekend drives of 4 hours one-way much more affordable :)
*i've found myself happily occupying my time with what we have already instead of wishing for things to jump into my shopping cart
*my geriatrics rotation scheduling was messed up by my school, giving me a 3-day-weekend this weekend!! (which equates to one extra day with jon!)
*God is slowly but surely calming my heart about the upcoming year...and each day i'm reminded that this life is less about me & more about His Glory
*our friendship with one another is the strongest it has ever been :)
*i'm looking forward to the next year & am setting goals for myself for when jon is away...

there are so many more things to be grateful for :) i bought the book i mentioned last week--and it really is a great reminder that this country was founded on humility & faith. i'm hoping our thanksgiving season is full of the same.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

sugar cookies.

i don't like crunchy cookies. not at all. my grandpa did, & i'd bring him batches of cookies that i had burned--err, purposely made crispy for him. but not me. and so you can imagine my joy when we came upon this oh-so-soft sugar cookie recipe. a recipe so yummy i honestly couldn't believe that they came from our kitchen & not one of those little pre-made-pop-in-the-oven packages.

Soft Sugar Cookies

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1/3 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

preheat oven to 375. Beat butter & shortening on medium-high for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, & dash of salt. Beat until combined, scraping bowl. Beat in egg & vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Sir in remaining flour. Divide dough in half. If necessary, cover & chill dough for 3 hours or until easy to handle (we didn't...they turned out fine).

roll 'em out on floured surface.

bake for 7-10 minutes or until edges are firm & bottoms lightly browned.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

a princeth.

"i hear there is a princess in here that has been injured!!"
"yeth. that'th me!!"
raising her hand above her blonde hair blue-eyed face
"well what happened, princess?"
"i th-tuck my princeth wand in my eye."
"what?? why did you do that?"
"does it hurt?"
"yeth. juth a yittle bit...when i b-yink"
"well lets look at it..."
"'th puypule."
"yes i can see're whole eye is purple!"
[mom nudges me...'purple is her favorite color']

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

patient advice.

she was 92. admitted for high blood pressure. she sat happily munching on her pancakes & syrup, savoring every sugary bite. had it not been for her gray hair swept up in a bun on top of her head and her wrinkled sun-kissed skin, i might have mistaken her 4'9" frame for that of a 10 year old--she was just so intent on those pancakes.

i had to wait until she finished...she refused to let me take the tray from her before she was through. and so i waited. and in the meantime i asked her what her secret was--to living to the ripe young age of 92, keeping the heart of a child, the health of a 20-year-old, and a mind as sharp as a tac.

"eat a good breakfast",
she said.
that is it? that's all? are you sure?
i responded.
"oh yes",
she replied,
"and never stop doing what you love."

Monday, October 13, 2008

MORE than enough.

i had a good day. a really good day. i bounced out of the office today at 4:59pm, relishing in the joy that those little snotty noses & smiley faces brought. i held babies. i got hugs from little princesses. i talked "Wall-E" with a four year old. i found monster trucks inside rib cages. and i went on treasure hunts for belly buttons.

the innocence of it all is almost overwhelming. and i love it. i think i could do this for the rest of my life...i *really* think i could do this everyday and still love it after 30 years.

and yet, i'm acutely aware of the tradgedy, heartache, and alienation some of these kids feel. because guess what? sometimes i feel it too. and sometimes life seems too unfair to be driven by God. seems too unkind to be guided by the hand of a Lover. and too cold to be held close to the heart of the One who died for me.

but then, on days like today, i remember that despite the circumstances that may swirl around the billions of people on this planet, they are here...alive. and then, on days like today, i feel more than grateful that life itself is MORE than enough.

read'll feel it too.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


dear starbucks,

my hips just wanted to thank you for bringing back my favorite drink of all time. it will go down in history as "the one" that grew my pantsize into the double digits, "the one" who slowed me down on the treadmill at the gym, and "the one" at the forefront of my mind at the beginning of each day during the fall season.

i'm wondering if you might consider selling a packet of "weight redistribution" next year alongside this yummy beverage--i'd like some of the blubber i'm gaining on my rump to travel a little northward, if you know what i mean.

i'll have you know that i've been a faithful customer this month--and last, too, since you publicized those small cups of lust you call Pumpkin Spice latte's. i've downed four of them in total, with plans for many more in the upcoming least until you bring eggnog latte's back. at which point i will write you again thanking you for blubberizing my body for winter.


your almost-too-faithful-pumpkin spice latte-customer

Friday, October 10, 2008


I knew I’d see tragedy at some point during this pediatrics rotation. The innocence that smiles back at me each day combined with the many evils of this fallen world make for some predictability in the destruction of livelihood experienced by some of this world’s youngest.

It is hard to imagine such destruction here. In this country, full of medical technology and a justice system that although somewhat flawed keeps most child predators behind bars. But the destruction exits. And about a week ago, its hard-knock evidence walked right into my exam room.

My preceptor warned me before I went into the room. But I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see. How could I be? My mind couldn’t fathom the actions taken against an innocent child by a grown, supposedly-loving parent.

He was just over 6 weeks old. The grandmother held him close, protected from the critical eyes of the world by a blue polka dot blanket. I noticed on his chart that he was well underweight for an infant of his age. He didn’t cry. Didn’t grunt. And in fact, had it been on a busy street instead of in a pediatrician’s office, I might have guessed Grandma was holding a doll.

But she certainly was not.

I asked her to put him on the orange exam table so I could better look at him. And as soon as his head popped out of the polka dotted blanket, I knew that this child was different. Not born different; born quite perfect, in fact. A premature entrance into the world by about 2 weeks, his lungs first inflated when he was just over six pounds. His head was speckled with chestnut colored hair, APGAR scores were above 8; just a short stint in the nursery brought him into the arms of his parents at home.

Most babies are loved from the minute they take their first breath; I’ll be bold enough to assume this innocent little boy was as well. Most are doted over, caressed, and comforted; and the fortunate ones are kept clean, warm, and well fed. I can’t imagine life with a newborn—but when the time finally rounds the bend for us, I’m not expecting it to be a walk in the park. Parents have every right to get frustrated, exhausted, and overwhelmed.

Which, for as much as I can assume, his parents did. But someone, one of the ones that was supposed to be doting and loving and care-giving, crossed a line. Something must have snapped. And it only took three seconds to change this child’s life forever.

He lay restless on the exam table. His unfocused “doll eyes” rolled backwards as I tried to get him to follow my dark figure against the bright light. The beginnings of hydrocephalus were evident from his very large, overly rounded head. Reflexes hypertonic. Neck flaccid. Abdomen protuberant. At over 6 weeks of age, he was the size of a small newborn. He didn’t exhibit the typical suckling reflex, nor did he turn his head toward stimulus. On the orange exam table that seem to envelop him in a color too bright for the dreary world he would live in, he seemed as small as a child’s teddybear. And as he lay there, flaccid & non-responsive, I couldn’t help but think about how he might have been just a few weeks earlier—the happy, normally developing baby he was discharged from the hospital as.

He was shaken. At just a few weeks of age, someone close to him stole his ability to develop as a normal child—stole his ability to see, eat normally, control defecation. He suffered numerous seizures, one lasting over 20 minutes. There were 6 spots in his brain that showed active bleeds on the CT scan. And even a few weeks after the incident, rib fractures were still detected on chest xray.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is something I’m only supposed to read about in textbooks. The retinal detachment. Increased seizure activity. Whiplash. Hypertonicity. Poor feeding habits. Altered growth patterns. It is something that only happens to the “worst” babies, right? Something that doesn’t happen in my neighborhood, to the children born healthy with full potential to someday change the world?

But the little boy that lay before me had taken the brunt of the world’s tendency toward evil. And even in five years, he will likely still have the developmental level of a 9 month old—if that. And in ten years, he will still be wearing diapers and eating pureed food from the hand of someone who will hopefully love him.

Despite the tradgedy that literally rocked his world, I have to remember that jesus loves him. That God has a plan for his life. And that He still works miracles. This little boy will likely never speak full sentences and the chances of him walking unassisted are slim. But in a world strewn with misfits and sinners, his physical limitations will forever be a reminder that this Earth is not our home. The braces that may someday encompass his legs will be cast off. The blurred vision will someday become clear. And the broken & betrayed heart will someday again be made whole.

Just wait, little child, just wait.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

holiday bustle.

i can't believe it is october. and i really can't believe we are almost halfway through the month. where did the time go? and WHAT IN THE WORLD have i been doing??

i'll readily admit that i'm the type that likes to dream-up big plans for the holidays. maybe i watched too much of Tiny Tim's family as a child--all huddled around a humble Christmas table, their family unity prevailing over the excessively commercialized holiday season. and in the midst of all my dreaming, i seem to have lost track of time. because wow, i checked the calendar this morning while i was writing in patient's charts and would you believe that it is the MIDDLE of october?

i have christmas gifts to make. and things to organize. and presents to buy. and things to wrap (well, actually, jon does the wrapping because my present-wrapping skills resemble that of a preschooler). and cookies to bake. and recipes to try. and...and...and...

isn't it amazing that already i'm getting overwhelmed by the amount of "work" (which i really thrive in) that the holiday season involuntarily brings? and yet, i'm finding that as time goes on, my heart longs for a holiday that is more raw...more native...more Christ-centered.

i heard about this book last year. and i still need to order it. because, quite frankly, it may be a nice reminder of what the true Thanksgiving holiday is about. the lavish spread we feast on each year hasn't always been the tradition. and i think this book will be just the reminder we need about humility, a hearts true thankfulness, and the overflowing storehouse of gifts God has poured out on this country.

and then just today i found this new thanksgiving tradition. and although jon & i don't have children yet (give us a few years, mom), i think the year-round reminders to be thankful may elevate our awareness of just how blessed we really are.

so i'm going to try my best to approach this holiday season with a calm, and ever-so-grateful heart. with the love of family & friends, an incredible relationship with my husband, and the immense magnitude of God's grace & forgiveness in my life...there is still a bounty left to be thankful for.

i think i'll start tonight :)

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Born twins, they’d developed to be to very independent individuals. One had been sick earlier in the week & was visiting the office again with his brother, now much bigger than him.

He recognized me right away, as did his mom, & I was greeted kindly at the door.

His twin brother, I was informed immediately, was autistic. The mom warned me that chances were slim I would get a good exam on him, given his behavioral apprehension toward strangers.

So with solid reassurance from his much-smaller twin brother, I approached him gently. And as we looked for green monsters in his ears and listened for Thomas the Tank Engine in his chest, he relaxed. Totally relaxed. I let him listen to his heart. He got ahold of my otoscope and took advantage of the chance to shine something very bright directly into his brothers eyeballs.

We had fun. He said two words to me the whole time and otherwise used nonverbal signals to communicate. It was obvious he was on the higher end of the autism spectrum in functioning.

And he was sick. And I left the room to get my preceptor so she could confirm my findings.

When she finished her exam, she left the door open to the room. And no sooner than her and my feet left the room, our little nonverbal patient jumped off the examining table and ran to the door frame. He opened his arms as wide as the would spread, looked directly at me, and screamed,


The shock on his mom’s face was priceless. And my heart melted and splattered all over the ground, right then and there.

No doubt that right behind him was his now-fully-recovered twin brother whom I’d seen earlier in the week, yelling the exact same thing.

Needless to say, they made my day.

Friday, October 03, 2008

daily {pixels}

if i ever live in chicago, this photographer is SO getting my business. in fact, if i owned my own jet, i'd just fly to chicago and have her take pictures of my now-non-existent children. or my toes, whichever seemed more reasonable on that particular day.

i'd like to know what she does to those eyes...they are all natural (or so she says). :)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

a seed of fear.

For the time being, it’s almost more than I can bear. I’m a planner—I think that is well established by now. And I’m a worry-er—also well established. And being both of the above makes me embarrassingly needy at times, filling my head with nightmare-ish thoughts and plunging me into a spinning pool of “what ifs”.

And I’m here. I’ve been plunged. My head is spinning. My heart is needy. And my calendar needs to be filled in for July 2010.

But it’s in the patience that character is developed, or so I’m told. And it’s in the waiting that the heart grows fonder. And it’s in the downs when we appreciate the ups, in the cold of winter when we most recognize the value of the sun’s warmth. And in the depths of the unknown lies the yet undiscovered comfort of the Lord’s embrace.

Great acts of faith are seldom born out of calm calculation.
It wasn’t logic that caused Moses to raise his staff on the bank of the Red Sea…
And it wasn’t a confident committee that prayed in a small room in Jerusalem
for Peter’s release from prison.
It was a fearful, desparate, bank of backed-into-a-corner believers.
It was a church with no options…
And never were they stronger.
At the beginning of every act of faith,
there is often a seed of fear.
–Max Lucado

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

best reason for hospital visit

What brought you into the hospital today?

My teeth.
And I was murdered yesterday...."
- patient admitted to CCU with toxicology screen positive for PCP

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin