Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Most Funnest Tree Ever

So the 'rents were gracious enough to let us get our own tree this year. Normally they put up 2 fake trees for Christmas, 1 upstairs - that is very nicely decorated, the 2nd is downstairs and is usually the "kids tree" b/c the decor isn't really for show. So Cheryl and I asked if we could take over the "kids tree" and get a real one, which they were more than happy to allow (MIL says this is going to make her want a real one every year).
Since being married Cheryl has taught me to be more and more frugal...she didn't know this would come back to haunt her. Last year, after Christmas, some of my favorite lights went on sale, i mean like dirt cheap (around $1 a box, maybe $1.50); we ended up purchasing a bunch of those big 'ol colorful Christmas lights! This year...they went on the tree...enjoy
Disclaimer: the lights didn't really "haunt" Cheryl, she actually liked them a lot.

Monday, November 03, 2008

2 in 1 day?

Most people already know that i recently was able to upgrade my computer. Because of school, my computer is my lifeline and the good 'ol VAIO just wasn't cutting it. So now i am a proud owner of a MacBook Pro. That's right, i am no longer held down in the world of Windows, i have moved on! Anyway, the day after i got it, we had a little fun with the built in camera. Stupid but fun!

Army 10 Miler 2008

A few weeks ago, cheryl participated in the Army 10 miler in Washington D.C. She ran in it last year and had a lot of fun...so here is round 2. It was also a good time for us to meet up with our buds "the clark's", cheryl's friend anna was also running in the race. enjoy

Game face

little pre-race ispiration...i told her she had to run it at a pace 10 seconds faster than what her goal was ;) which she did!

the runners...that's our friend Anna and her dad

lost of people running

Almost there! just another 25 yards to go...and look at the smile! 10 miles at a 9:24 pace...way to go.

Ah...all finished. The trains smelled so bad on the way home.
Here's my update you pains in the neck!

Friday, April 25, 2008

What's up Big Haircut?

She just keeps pushing the limits doesn't she? Good thing she's hot. The only thing i want to say about these pictures is, when I was trying to get a nice picture of Cheryl facing the camera, she always ended up looking like she was on drugs. I finally said, "give me a goofy smile," and voila, a nice picture of cheryl smiling. I think she looks awesome, enjoy. Oh yeah, and the results of the previous post will be coming soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Survey Says...

Let's see what everyone thinks of me. No, I'm not being narcissistic, I just thought this would be funny. We were given a welcome packet way back at orientation, and it had this cartoon in it. I stumbled across it and thought it would be funny to share; let's see which one of these 12 options I most closely resemble...according to the 5 people that read this. Although this is a cartoon, there is definitely some truth to it. We'll see what the majority thinks, then we'll test it against what Cheryl thinks. There is only 1 rule to this...since i'm sure most won't want to lump into one category, you CAN select two. I think you should provide a brief explanation of why you selected them.
Sorry if the text is small, if you zoom in a little you should be able to read them. I have tough skin so bring it on!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Still don't like myself...round 2

NOTE: If you are just joining me, you may want to read the post below this one, otherwise, you may not fully understand what i'm talking about.

When Cheryl came home the night of that frustrating day, we had some really good talks. I explained how her email did not upset me in any way. It was a great reminder, encouragement and conviction all wrapped up into one. I explained how the rest of the day was well spent - I wasn't discouraged, I really felt like i had moved past my frustration and was even able to prepare for the next days exam. But little did I know that tomorrow was just going to be another chance for me to...shine?

Not so...but let's discuss this idea first. Prayer is a crazy thing. Cheryl and I were talking recently and I was explaining to her how the closer I feel in my relationship to Christ the more difficult I find it to pray. When I'm closest with Christ, I have this heightened sense of His will in my life...I don't think this is uncommon. However, when I go to pray and be before Christ I find I have little to say. It isn't b/c I think I know the answers, but it's an ultimate realization that I don't know the answers. I don't really know what to pray for. Sure, praying for others isn't that difficult, but when it comes to me, most of the time i'm silent or just praising God for the Holy Spirit in our lives, who intercedes for us and conveys our message. Then i'm reminded that God does care what i have to say, ask, seek and I should ask...but now the response is tricky, which brings me to the idea of having the chance to shine.
When we pray and ask for courage, wisdom, boldness, faith, etc., do we think that Christ sends it to us? Do we expect that the next moment, the next hour, the next morning we will wake and BE courageous, wise, bold or faithful? Sure God has the ability to work that way, but God knows us...how would we grow or learn if our request were granted as if He was a genie in a bottle? So when we pray, God may grant us with the OPPORTUNITY to be courageous, an OPPORTUNITY to be wise, bold, faithful. It's up to us to recognize this and allow God the ability to work through us and "give freely". I see these circumstances as God's answer. He knows we can be faithful, if we are just given a chance to be; sometimes we fail to see it, sometimes we fall when we do see it. God definitely used Cheryl to help me see that I was failing in my chance to persevere, to rely on Him, and yet, the very next morning I fell again.

A little background on that morning. The exam was Nutrition...as far as med school goes, not a heavy hitter for boards and doesn't really rank high on the list of important things we need to know. It's important, don't get me wrong, but with Pathology and Physiology taking up a HUGE chunk of boards, this just doesn't quite match up. The nice thing was the material was easy to study (well put together, organized, etc.), but as usual, the amount was insane; just a lot of info that i can't seem to fit anywhere in my head (I told Cheryl a few weeks ago that i felt like my brain was full). A few students had to take the exam earlier b/c they were leaving for a conference that day...and through the rumor mill, I learned the the exam "was insane". Oh goodie, now as an added bonus to an already tough week, I have a not-so-important exam that is going to crush me no matter how much I study. Usually I don't let the rumors get to me, but like I said earlier, this week was different than most.

On exam days, I typically get up early; anywhere between 4:30 and 5:30 depending on the exam. So that morning i'm up, working on the few hours of sleep I got, trying to review what i've studied the past few days. Meanwhile there's that voice in my head that keeps reminding me, "this exam is going to be awful...this is such a pain...I don't know it well enough...memorize every detail...this exam is going to be awful." And so I enter into a territory I haven't been at in my med school years. In the past (and this morning), when I would study and feel overwhelmed, I try to study faster. I try and read faster, I try to memorize faster, I try to squeeze it all in faster; this usually ends up counteracting what i had originally intended. I just get more and more frustrated - "I can do this, I can remember this, I won't let this beat me" - anyone notice a reoccurring theme there? I did, and it made me stop dead in my studying.

It's the same with every sin, isn't it? When we do recognize the sin, WE try and beat it - "I know this is wrong, I'm going to stop thinking it", and yet the only thing we can do is think about the thing we were trying to avoid; "that which i ought to do, I do not and that which i ought not to do, I do." Lust, greed, gluttony, envy, gossip, anger...pick your poison. For some reason we've convinced ourselves that WE overcome these sins...when we're told to "flee from the sin" ultimately we should be fleeing to Christ to carry us through it, to rely on Him to protect us and "deliver us from evil." We will overcome them, but it's by Christ, not ourselves.

I sat at my desk, staring blankly at my papers, "I'm doing it again...this is the OPPORTUNITY to rely on You and I'm blowing it." Nothing more humbling than realizing you screwed up that fast. Well, I still wasn't too happy with myself, as I pictured Jesus standing next to me saying, "i'm right here, what's the problem?" But isn't it great that His love for us is unconditional?

In that moment I knew what I needed...Him. With just an hour left to study and what seemed like a mountain of papers to get through, I had to walk away. I could have studied for a week straight, I could have memorized every word on each piece of paper, but none of that would have mattered if I didn't let God walk in front of me. I went downstairs away from my desk, prayed and read some scripture. It wasn't a magical time where i turned to the exact scripture I needed to read for that moment, it was just time for me and God. It was time for me to find forgiveness, time to recognize His presence in every hour of my life, and time to offer it to Him. It was a good time.

The rest of that morning, I casually looked over my papers as time allowed, but i didn't feel the pressure, I didn't feel the stress, I didn't feel the need to absorb it all. I don't think it was because they were taken away, but rather that I wasn't bearing the weight.

I didn't like myself, even after it was over, I still didn't like that I let those "things" take control of me; even now i'm annoyed that i ended up there. Hopefully, this will just be a reminder for the next time.

Monday, March 31, 2008

I don't like myself lately...(part I)

The title really says it all. It's always fun/scary/embarrassing to sit back and reminisce about the past. Sometimes i'm remind of high school days - the drama, baseball, mentors, girlfriend, friends - all the fun stuff that you thought would never end. Every once and awhile i think back to college, usually i'm reminded of my time in IN; it's where i found some of my closest friends and also learned a lot about myself. And some of my best moments of nostalgia are when i'm reminded of how Cheryl and I started, and ended up - it all really happened fast and was so much fun.
These memories were years ago; i used to use that term "years ago" lightly, but now that i sit and actually think about how long ago that was, I feel old. However, recently i've been flashing back to quickly, at least for my liking. Last week I had exams, it was not a fun week (they usually aren't), but these week proved more difficult than most. The pressures of school have been getting to me. Whether that consists of workload, drama (med school is just like high school), boards, etc., everything just felt like it was raining down wherever i went.
For over a year and half, Cheryl would always say how impressed she was at how i handled school; she would point out that i stayed pretty optimistic and didn't complain, I just did the work. I try not to get stressed, i just figure, it has to be done, there's no sense in complaining b/c it just wastes time. I attribute that perspective as a result of "tough love" from my pops...i keep hearing, "just do it and get it done," over and over. Used to tick me off - "no dad, i'd rather sit here annoyed, complaining and just delay the inevitable," (yes i had amazing syntax as a child). But now, my skin crawls whenever i'm walking around school hearing my fellow students, in the exact same boat as everyone else, whine about how much work they have (scratch head)...what? But i digress...i promise, this is more about me than anyone.
So last weeks exams...like i said, school had been frustrating and time consuming, not to mention the annoying things administration decided to dump on us in the middle of it all. So after a very frustrating exam I came home and I swear my head was about to pop off...like a cartoon where steam comes out of their ears...that was me. I called Cheryl and just let a lot of stuff out. I know, b/c we talked about it, that she literally didn't know what to say at the time. Then I called my dad, and if anything was left over, he got to hear it - "it doesn't matter how much we study, these exams are ridiculous; how is this testing our knowledge, how is this preparing us" , you get the idea.
After about an hour I checked my email...from Cheryl:

"I was thinking about what's been happening with school lately. I'm really praying that it doesn't get you down. You are goign to be such an amazing doctor and I fully believe that God made you to be in that position. I know you were probably joking about quitting but I'm sure there is some teenie bit that would be truth b/c it would be a relief to not have to deal with all this junk. Please take a breath, maybe a break with the dogs or just yourself and God and get back to who you are. You are amazing and it upsets me that these people who have so much control over your past couple years and the next couple years can cause this frustration and discouragement. Don't worry, I'm not scared that you're going to quit...I just don't want your spirit to be broken. I love you so much and want you to have the best experience and I know that bad experiences will come and you'll learn from them, but I hate seeing you go through them and it's hard when I have nothing to say back to you to help you. Anyway...I hope you understand the point I'm trying to make.
Have a wonderful day. I can't wait to see you when I get home.
I love you so much!"

The short of it is...my wife is amazing and i don't deserve her. I know she was worried how i would take this, but i can assure you as soon as i read this i just sank. My heart rate slowed, my breathing calmed; I had an immediate reflection on what had just passed...and I didn't like myself; how could i forget so quickly how gracious God is to even allow me to live each day? How can I not be reminded that becoming a doctor, taking these exams, studying, is a blessing? What is stopping me from seeing this as an opportunity to persevere? Why did i lose sight of what is really important so quick?...but it didn't really stop there, I had another opportunity to disappoint myself the very next morning...(to be continued)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Man's Best Friend - The Movie

Because I love my dogs...