Monday, January 7, 2013

Somethings I Wish I Knew Then {Medical Mondays}

Linking up for Medical Mondays!

Finishing up residency I remember having a conversation with Doc about money. We were wondering how life would change with a "real" salary. We made it just fine on a resident's salary but a big jump was a comin'! I wish I knew then that it is human nature to spend what you earn. We bought a big old house and began refurbishing it, we had 3 more children for a total of 4, and we started seriously paying off our school loans.

If I had it to do over again, I don't know that we would have done much different...I loved that house and my sweet neighbors, even more. We paid off significant debt. And well, that last baby was a surprise but our family wouldn't be complete without her! However, I think maybe we would have socked away more into a rainy day fund that could have been a great start to college savings funds, retirement, etc.

I wish I knew then that the more you have, the more responsibilities weigh. If you have a lot of stuff, it is just more stuff to take care of. When we moved from our first real house (that was 7 bedrooms) into our 2nd (which had half the square footage), we sold A LOT of stuff.

Then, we moved again into a home that has about half the square footage of the 2nd house. I have to say, there has come much freedom in less stuff. My kids aren't as chaotic with less toys. They play outside more. I feel less harried. Our entire house can be cleaned up in about an hour on a really messy day. Freedom.

We have more time to focus on the priorities of life and getting rid of the clutter is a big part of that. It gets to be a bit fact, I better get going on my job out toys to make room for the new Christmas toys that came into our home over the holidays! What an opportunity to teach my kids about giving to others and priorities! 

Wishing you all many blessings (and a clutter free new year!)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Heart.

A few days ago, all 4 kids piled in the car to run errands. We were driving down the street singing along with the CDs Doc made for us (because there isn't the selection of {contemporary} Christian music stations available here that we were used to back in the big city). There came a pause between songs and I heard Ladybug's little 4 year old voice from the seat behind me.
She said, to no one in particular, "When I grow up, I want a heart like Mommy's."
I said, "What made you think of saying that, Ladybug?"
She said, "I don't know. I was just thinking about it."

The next song started in and the conversation moved on to something else in the back. I drove on, kind of flattered, kind of convicted. I thought about my heart and hoped that the outpouring of the things in my heart are good. Jesus said, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45 NIV84)

The natural question about all this is... how do our hearts become full of good or bad? If I want the outpouring of my heart to be good, how do I get good in there? Here's what I found from scripture...

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

So, we must take an active roll in guarding our hearts and trying to only letting good things in. But, what does that look like? It made me think of this verse in Philippians 4:8...

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I guess my mom was right when she used to tell me, "Trash in, trash out."

Back to the music we were listening to...we generally listen to Christian music but I love music. I don't even like to label music as "Christian" or "secular". To me, music is music, but I've found that whatever I have been listening to the day before, is the song I wake up with in my head the next morning. I think we do not realize how much our heart is a sponge that soaks up all the things we expose ourselves to. The thing about that sponge of a heart is that once the pressures of the world close in and we get squeezed, that stuff comes back out of our mouths. If I am constantly listening to angry music, playing violent video games, watching violent movies and hanging out with angry people,  then I'm going to react in a more angry way than I might have otherwise acted. And the opposite is true. If I am soaking up positive good things, my reactions will be more positive.

Now, let me clarify...I love a good James Bond movie. I have been known to break out in a rap from the 90's when it comes on the radio and I don't think that playing Halo will make you kill people. What I am talking about is when you go about your day, you can surround yourself with positive things, people and experiences and what will come out of you will be more positive.

The goal in my life is to be like Jesus. So if that is my goal, it seems like I need to be the bouncer at the door of my heart and let all those true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy things in to the party in my heart!

I hope so much that what Ladybug meant when she said she wants a heart like mine, is that she recognizes Jesus in her Mommy.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Somethings I Wish I Knew Then {Medical Monday}

It's the FIRST Monday of the Month 
and you know what that means?

It's Medical Monday!

Doc and I met and dated the end of his 3rd and 4th year of medical school. By the time he asked me out, his toughest rotations were over {i.e. transplant surgery, etc.} He did well in med school, had doctors encouraging him to stay local and do his residency and was confident and happy. After we got engaged, we decided that it would be wise to consider moving away from our home town for a while to establish our own marriage and family. We ranked an out of town residency as first and an in-town residency as second. We ended up matching with the out of town one. He graduated from med school and we got married the next weekend. We went on our honeymoon and a week later moved 10 hours away from our families and friends. I had him and he had me and that was all we needed...or so I naively thought.

Which leads me to what I wish I had known...

I wish I had known that almost everyone in their first year of residency has doubts. Doubts about their abilities, their knowledge, their intuition. Everything is new. There is added responsibility. It is just a scary thing. I wish I knew that was coming. I saw my husband go from happy and confident to unsure and stressed. Our new marriage had a rough start to say the least. 

I wish I understood back then that there are seasons of life that you just have to walk through with the faith that you will come out stronger on the other end. The first few months of residency, the first six weeks after having a baby, the first few months of a new job. They are seasons. They will pass.

I wish I knew that my happiness was not wrapped up in his. He is not responsible for my joy. And more importantly...I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for his happiness. I can do kind things for him and I should.  I can try to keep the house clean, the laundry done but ultimately, he has to decided to live focused on the good or the bad. I wish I knew that back then. I tried really hard and felt like a failure A LOT.

I wish I knew that the whole insecurity thing would reappear with his first real job. Not as bad as going into residency, mind you, but he had to walk through it. Confidence only comes with experience and familiarity. 

I wish he knew that he didn't have to compromise his limits to be a good doctor. I wish I knew to tell him that he was working too much, sacrificing too much time with the kids and that his identity was defined by more than the M.D. after his last name. Truth be told, I don't think he would have listened to me anyway. He came to those conclusions himself. It just took longer for him to understand the price he was paying. Doc is an amazing doctor. The danger in that is being drawn to that part of your life because it becomes easy. People love you for taking care of them. Usually, you can diagnose and fix whatever is ailing a patient. Your relationships at home are different. You can't write a prescription and fix your wife's loneliness. You can't do some surgery and fix your kid growing up without you. That is the hard part.

In those early days, I wish I knew that the blessing in all of that hard stuff, is that you value what you have to work for. He cherishes our family and the time he gets to spend being Daddy. He cherishes me and our relationship. {We like each other, too, which sounds silly, but the fact is, sometimes you can love someone very much without liking them or who you are when you are with them}. It is a good place to be, now. I wish I could go back and tell that myself, "Life will be hard, harder than you ever imagined, but you chose your spouse well. Pray for him. Get on your knees when you are frustrated and trust. Trust that God has a plan and one day, you will look back and understand that the blessings you are enjoying wouldn't be nearly as sweet without the hard work and sacrifice you have to walk through to get there. It will be worth it." 

James 1:2-5(NIV) 
 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Medical Monday is an opportunity for any and all medical/med life blogs to link up and meet others. So join us!

Are you confused if you qualify for the party?

Do you work in healthcare?
Doctor? Nurse? EMT? Chiropractor? Vet? Dentist? Therapist?
Are you the spouse or SO of a healthcare worker/student?
Are you a nursing student? Medical student?
Intern? Resident? Fellow?

You get the picture, right? 


Our once a month bloghop for bloggers like yourself, where we can build a community of support and friendship, learn from one another and share our stories.

Here are the rules:

  1. Follow your co-hosts via GFC.
  2. Link up you medical/med life blog. If your blog name does not clearly state how you fit in to the med/med life world, please write a little intro or link up a specific post which clearly demonstrates your connection.
  3. Visit at least 3 other link ups, comment, introduce yourself, and tell the your stopping by or following from MM!
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Complete step one by following your co-hosts:

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Now, link up below and have fun! The link up is open through Friday, so be sure to come back during the week to check some great reads!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sharing Something Cool!

My friend, Lisa Leonard, whom I was blessed to meet at The Whatever Craft Weekend, has an amazing online jewelry business and now she is embarking on a new project! It is a reality TV show featuring her family! I love how her faith is interwoven in all she does. Her family shines with the love of God! Please watch the trailer. Share. Get the word out! I, for one, would love watching a reality show about someone real and positive!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hello Monday {Our New Adventure in Life}

Hello new state, new town, new house and new neighborhood.

Hello unpacking boxes for a week straight. I was getting really tired of you. I'm glad you are almost done.

Hello cool weather and warm hats, scarves and fingerless gloves that are newly listed in The Orange Bird Shop! Everyone needs one this time of year!

Hello being married to a 40 year old. Forty looks good on him!

Hello old friends and new ones.

Hello big smiles on my children's faces when they get to hang out with their "cousins." We will get to see them a lot more being close.

Hello new adventures. An old friend has a plane and invited us to go flying with him. {Hello secret wish to be a pilot. You just grew bigger!}

Hello Doc starting his new job. He is nervous but will be fantastic, as always!

Hello starting school again {once I open the last boxes of school stuff today}.

Hello new life. I like you so far.
{Linking to the amazing Lisa's blog for her Hello Monday series!}

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Friends {Worlds Colliding} & A Giveaway

A wonderful part of life's journey, lately, has been the opportunity to meet new friends! I got to meet Lisa Leonard, in person, at the Whatever Craft Weekend and I "met" Kristi from Barn Owl Primitives when she emailed me and Birdie about including our Orange Bird Sweet Owl Wallet in her Favorite Things Giveaway! Now, worlds are colliding {I love it when that happens} and Lisa is giving away one of Kristi's "Be Real" canvases that Target picked up and is now selling!

{Photo Credit to Lisa Leonard}
 {WOW! Target!! Kristi is famous!!}

I just love these gals! Please go over and read Lisa's post and enter for a chance to win the canvas print! It is soo cute and has such a great message! Have a blessed weekend!!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Who Gets To Drive?

Back in January (Sunday, January 15th, 2012 to be exact) I gave up control. I decided that I wanted God to lead me. I stopped spinning my wheels to make things happen, trying to be good enough and do the right thing. God was gently asking me to let Him really lead me. I have been a Christian for all my life. (By the way, I cringe to even label myself that name, Christian. I know that it has come to mean something politically, socially, etc. and I do not wish to be put in the box of that stereotype. When I refer to myself as a Christian, I mean, follower of Christ...nothing more, nothing less.) We always went to church growing up. I was baptized and did all the right stuff on paper. I truly tried to live a life pleasing to the Lord but I found myself feeling unsatisfied in my Christianity.

Imagine for a minute that my relationship with Christ was like a road trip. I was given the keys to the car. I was driving to Heaven, so to speak. I was on my way. Jesus was there, sitting in the passenger seat. I was allowing him to be my navigator but I was pretty sure I knew where I was going and how to get there. I mean, I knew a lot of scripture. I had a basic understanding of where I needed to be driving.

Every now and then, Jesus would suggest a different route, one with a scenic view, something He wanted to show me. Many times that route required turning off the main road. That bothered me a little bit. After all, why would we turn south when we were supposed to be going east? I was busy. I had kids and had to make dinner and needed to do laundry and shouldn't we just stick to the main route, God?? I mean, when I am on the highway, I don't have to listen closely to your direction. I just drive. Absentmindedly. Many times absent spiritedly. I never doubted that I would get to Heaven but I have to admit, sometimes that drive became SOO boring...kind of like driving through western Kansas on your way to Colorado. You know when you see those mountains, it is going to be amazing and driving there is just the price you have to pay.

Since Christmas the year before, (both Doc and) I had been increasingly edgy about our trips. Uncomfortable. Stopping at gas stations to stretch and looking around at the other drivers wondering if they were feeling edgy, too. Finally, I had a talk with Jesus and told Him that I was not satisfied with this trip anymore. I still wanted to end up at my final destination, but was there any way to make things more interesting? "Why don't you take the next right," He said. And we went down a side road where we ended up spending Christmas serving others more than ourselves. What a refreshment! I returned to the main road more willing to follow my Navigator's suggestions. I started taking the side roads, stopping to take in the view, enjoying the company of my passenger, asking Him to tell me about what I was seeing and why He wanted me to see it.

Finally, it dawned on me. WHY WAS I DRIVING??? God is the Creator. He knows where all the good stuff is. He knows which roads open up to breathtaking views, life changing experiences. So, January 15th I found myself sitting in church with a heart that was longing to give up the keys and let Jesus drive, but a mind scared of what that would mean in my life. He asked me to do something: to give up the control. He simply asked me to raise my hand to worship during a praise song (something I am perfectly comfortable watching those around me do, but not comfortable doing myself) risk looking foolish as I veered off the highway of traditional rule following and legalism in favor of humbly obeying and agreeing to go where He sent me, even if it makes me uncomfortable. I stood there and argued in my spirit with Him. "I don't want to. I feel silly." He gently told me that I was all talk about traveling with Him unless I was willing to trust Him and do as He asked. So, there I was. Driving the car with the exit coming up and I needed to decide whether I was happy staying on the highway with only the occasional scenic side trip or if I was going to pull off at the exit, get out of the car and let Jesus drive from here on out. So I raised my hand. So simple, so hard. It was the moment I got out of the car and turned over the keys.

I wanted righteousness, not just fire insurance. I wanted the fullness of Christ, not just status quo.

I think this is what Paul means when he writes about Christ living in us...

Galatians 2:19b-21
(New International Readers Version)
I died so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. I don’t live any longer. Christ lives in me. My faith in the Son of God helps me to live my life in my body. He loved me. He gave himself for me.
21 I do not get rid of the grace of God. What if a person could become right with God by obeying the law? Then Christ died for nothing!

(Easy to Read Version)
I have been nailed to the cross with Christ. 20 So I am not the one living now—it is Christ living in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in [c] the Son of God. He is the one who loved me and gave himself to save me. 21 I am not the one destroying the meaning of God’s grace. If following the law is how people are made right with God, then Christ did not have to die.

(The Message)
19-21What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.
   Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God's grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Since then, I must tell you, I screw up. There are times that I ask for the keys back. I drive for a while and then I remember and I pull over and get back in the passenger seat. He is always willing to trade back, thank goodness. I can't wait to see the things He has for me (and my family)! 

We are currently 14 days away from our move to Indiana. We are packing and trusting as we let God drive. It is going to be an amazing adventure with lots of breathtaking views, I'm sure, but I can't help but ask Him every now and then if He's SURE we are going in the right direction! He always assures me He knows the way!