Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Half Way Through Holy Week

I am taking a break tonight to remind myself that we are in the middle of Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter. Last Sunday the kids and I celebrated Palm Sunday at the Basilica, participating in the "parade for Jesus," as G-Bear called it. She loved waving her palm branch in the air and processing into the sanctuary with the rest of the congregation after the service started outside on the front lawn. Later that day, once T had gotten home, we made Easter eggs at Grandmo & Papa's house together:

But today I am struggling with a headache from the tension of my day, and the joys and childlike delight and trust from last Sunday seem very far away. I guess that is part of what we remember during Holy Week--how the hearts of so many were turned away from hailing Jesus to hating him in the span of just a few days. My "Jesus Calling" reading today again hit the mark, drawing me back to what I need to remember in the midst of weariness and overwhelming responsibility:

"I am taking care of you. Trust Me at all times. Trust Me in all circumstances. Trust Me with all your heart. When you are weary and everything seems to be going wrong, you can still utter these four words: 'Jesus, I trust you.' By doing so, you release matters into My control, and you fall back into the security of My everlasting arms......Search for me as for hidden treasure. I will be found by you."
~Sarah Young, "Jesus Calling"
based on Proverbs 3:51, Deuteronomy 33:27, Jeremiah 29:13-14

Happy Holy Week.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jesus Loves The Little Children

Another sweet moment to share...Here is G-bear singing her new favorites song, "Jesus Loves the Little Children." I am pretty sure there are few sweeter sounds to God's ear, either in heaven or on earth, than the voice of one of his precious babes singing about his Great Love. Yes, G-Bear, we are all so precious in His Sight.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Dinner together again

What a night we had tonight! Our first meal at home back together as a family, a 70 degree night, and a fabulous meal made by our friends Jacob and Andrea. We dined like kings and queens on our porch for the first time since September!

Here are some shots of the crew enjoying the feast. Thanks to Jacob and Andrea for blessing us with an amazing meal!

G-Bear sharing her apple appetizer with an enthusiastic E-Bear.

Dinner is served!


Happily Ever,
Queen B

Monday, March 29, 2010

He's Home!

T is home safe and sound! Pictures and more details to come...for now it is onto another call day for me and a full day of surgery for him today. Talk about coming home to hit the ground running!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mommy = Exercise

Someone asked me recently when I last went running. Reasonable question, as I have loved running since high school. "Um," came my answer, "two years ago?"

In defense of my "Mommy Exercise Regimen," which does not currently allow for hours of solo running workouts, I would like to direct everyone's attention to an archived post on mommy fitness written a few years ago one of my dearest college friends. I laugh so hard I could cry every time I read it. Motherhood is the best, and so are the workouts. Can I get an oof-dah?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup

No matter what specialty of medicine I end up practicing once I graduate medical school, I will be confronting the epidemic of obesity that has overwhelmed America and its devastating health consequences. Partly for that reason, and partly because I want to promote healthy eating for my kids, T, and myself, I am always interested in new studies on healthy eating. I will try to post my finds and tips here as they come up.

I just came across an interesting study published by a group of Princeton researchers (hooray, alma mater!) on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). You can read a summary of the study here or read the abstract in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior . The study found that Rats who had access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same. High-fructose corn syrup is a processed sweetener used in place of sugar almost ubiquitously in commercially processed foods--everything from soda to fruit juice to yogurt to tomato soup. Now to be fair, the nutritional peril of HFCS compared to plain sugar (sucrose) is far from conclusive: a study published in the journal Nutrition in 2007 compared short-term HFCS v sugar consumption in lean women and found no difference in measured body metabolic responses. The American Medical Association has done reviews of medical literature in the past and has stated that " it appears unlikely that HFCS contributes more to obesity or other conditions than sucrose" but calls for more independent research on the issue. Perhaps this new Princeton study will affect some thinking, but the controversy remains.

Based on research I have read, my conclusion is that HFCS is worth avoiding in place of sugar when possible, if for no other reason than most high calorie foods commercially available use HFCS. Last fall, I decided to make an attempt at removing all HFCS products from my shopping list, instead opting for products that use sugar or making my own versions from scratch at home. First, I was amazed at how many of the "healthy" foods I was buying used HFCS: my yogurt, my pasta sauce, my granola bars, my cereals, the kids crackers, the list goes on and on. I have managed, with some hunting, investigation and habit-changing, to find non-HFCS substitutes for all my favorite products, for about the same price or cheaper, in some cases. Dannon natural yogurt in place of yoplait, Cascadian Farms Organic granola, bars and juices (often on sale at Target or our Rainbow grocery store!) in place of Nature Valley or Quaker Oats, etc. The results have been more fresh fruit and veggie snacking, more home-made foods in our picnic lunches, and (this is just my biased opinion) better satiety for all of us. I am open to changing my mind, but for now HFCS remains on my "try not to buy list."

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fire! What would you do?

One of the hardest things I have had to do in medical school so far happened one night while I was on pediatrics call. My team was called to the ER to help stabilize children who had been terribly burned in a house fire. There is nothing like looking at a child slightly older than your own, crying in pain and terrified, smelling the stench of burned skin and hair, and watching skin peel off a child's face, arms and legs as you try to take off her clothes. Please pray for these precious children.

Terrible things will happen in life, but there are steps we can take to help
prevent them. Fire safety is something I have never spent much time thinking about, but I am thinking about it a lot today. According to the U.S. Fire Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under 5 are twice as likely as the rest of us to die in a fire. Each year, thousands of children are injured or killed in home fires, and 40% of them are under the age of 5. What would E-Bear and G-Bear do if they woke up to fire in our house? What would T and I do? How can I keep something like this from happening to the people I love?

The U.S. Fire Administration website is a good resource if you are looking for ideas on how to improve fire safety for yourself or your family. They even have a kids version that looks like it would be great for elementary-age kids to playfully test themselves and practice thinking about what they would do in a fire situation.

Here are some of the many ideas I got from the USFA website that I am going to implement in our home. If you aren't already ahead of me on this, you should do this too!

1. Kids are curious about fire: Matches, lighters, and other heat sources are the leading causes of fire-related deaths for children under age 5. In fact, toddlers actually cause a large number of home fires by playing with lighters and matches. Children have a natural curiosity about fire and you can’t underestimate their ability to strike matches or start a lighter alarm.
*Teach your toddlers to tell you if they find something "hot" by looking at pictures of fires, pointing out fireplaces, candles, matches, lighter. Tell them that "hot" things can hurt them, and only adults should use them.
*Don't ever play with fire in front of kids, because they might try to imitate you, and keep all heat and flame-producing objects locked away out of reach of kids.

2. Go check your smoke alarm!: TWO-THIRDS OF HOME FIRES THAT KILL CHILDREN HAPPEN IN HOMES WITHOUT WORKING SMOKE ALARMS. Go check your smoke alarm, right now! Make sure it has a back-up, working battery, place alarms on every floor, especially in hallways near bedrooms, in your basement, in your kitchen. Replace batteries once a year, check them monthly to make sure they work. Talk to your kids about what the alarm means--don't expect them to know what the loud, scary noise means. AND...teach them what to do if they hear the alarm go off. Which brings me to....

3. Have a fire safety practice day: MAKE YOUR FIRE ESCAPE PLANS AND PRACTICE IT WITH YOUR KIDS, EVEN TODDLERS. Make a picture of your house layout together, including all doors and windows, and drawing at least 2 routes out of each room. Consider different scenarios, with fire starting in different places, and develop a plan with options. Teach kids to crawl to get away from fire to stay under the smoke. Choose a special outdoor meeting place and teach your kids to never go back into the house and to wait for you there. Practice makes perfect, especially with toddlers, so have fun practicing your plan together.

4. Tips for babies: Keep a harness or sling easily accessible near your child's room to ease the carrying of your baby if you have to evacuate quickly (hands free is better). Keep bedroom doors closed, this prevents smoke from entering a room, and may give you or firefighters extra time before smoke and gases overcome a child.

We are going to be having a fire safety day in our house. Do it too! And share these ideas with your friends.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On the eve of my first night of call for pediatrics, I am praying for my patients, both the ones I know of now and those who I will likely meet tomorrow. Here is a Prayer for the Sick from Saint Augustine. Please offer it up with me, either for someone you know who is sick, or for the children I will be seeing tomorrow.

Prayer for the Sick
"Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And for all your love's sake.
Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Amen. "
~Saint Augustine

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Morning Muffins

My mornings are earlier and more on-the-go this week now that I am on my peds rotation. In preparation for the week, I made a batch of my sister's amazing "Healthy Morning Muffins" and stuck them in the freezer to have them at the ready when I am flying out the door. KT swears by these muffins and now I do too--nothing else can get me through a morning of running around and hours of pre-lunch patient rounding like these babies. Plus, they are really good way to get whole wheat and fiber into my kids, because they gobble them down too!

Here is the recipe if you too need something to get you through your mornings. The start up cost of the various cereals involved may be intimidating, but remember that each batch makes 40-60 muffins depending on size and you can get several batches out of each box of cereal. Overall, I have found these muffins to be very inexpensive and easy to make for how delicious, healthy and convenient it is to have them on hand. Enjoy!

"Healthy Morning Muffins"
5 C. of wheat flour

1 T, plus 2 t. baking soda
2 C. of Old Fashion Oat Meal
2 C. All-Bran cereal
1 C. Bran flakes cereal
1 C. Grape Nuts Cereal
1 C. Course ground walnuts (or almonds)

2 sticks (1C) unsalted butter (melted & cooled)
1 qt. well shaken buttermilk
2 1/2 C. brown sugar (
I use much less, about 1 cup)
4 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spam muffin cups.

2. Whisk together 1st 7 ingredients.

3. In separate bowl, whisk together last 4 ingredients, then add cereal ingredients to this bowl and stir it all together. (Batter will be thick and you need to give it a good stir).

4. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake in middle oven for 17-20 min. You can add blueberries or other fresh fruit in the middle of the cup of dough if you want....

5. Remove muffins from cups and let cool.

(The batter will keep for about 10 days in the refrigerator if covered tightly with plastic wrap. You can also make all the muffins at a time, cool them, and store them in freezer bags to remove when you need them.)


Happily Ever,
Queen B

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Baby B.E.

Since my mind is on kids tonight, having started pediatrics today, I would like to share the latest pictures of my sweet, first-cousin-once-removed B.E. (the daughter of my first cousin and his wife). If cousin relations are as mysterious to you as they are to me, look here for a great visual aide on just how to name your cousin relatives appropriately.

Here is beautiful B.E.!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

On to Pediatrics!

Back to work for me today, this time to 6 weeks of pediatrics at the county hospital. I am looking forward to soaking up every learning experience and taking good care of other kids in the hours that I can't be with my own. My pediatrician sister-in-law is my inspiration on this rotation, and I am sure to find myself frequently wondering, "what would HJ do in this situation?" So, with Easter stickers in my pocket, a Tiger cover on my stethoscope and a smile in my heart I hit the ground running tomorrow. PICU, here I come!

Starting another rotation made me even more thankful for my dear med school friends tonight, who brought over a potluck dinner to share with the kids and me before our weekly bible study. We feasted on turkey burgers, baked beans, salad, potato salad, ambrosia and brownies before tucking the kids in to bed and talking about our weekly readings. It is nights like this when I realize how much of a ministry friendship is, in and of itself. My friends welcomed served me in my own home, caring for my needs in truly renewing way. I couldn't be more thankful for that renewal tonight, and I look forward to a time that God gives me the opportunity to bless others in a similar way.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lions, hippos, giraffes, oh my!

T is back at Tenwek after a weekend safari in the Masai Mara National Game Reserve. He was told on Friday by one of the Tenwek administrators that he would be staying in tents in the game park. He packed himself, preparing to sleep on the ground, with plenty of water and some food for the two day trip. After traveling over 3 hours by rough, tough "roads" they arrived at the park and pulled up to.....The Fairmont Hotel??!! You should see the pictures of this place--easily the most luxurious place T has stayed in a long time, perhaps his whole life! Needless to say, T was not sleeping going to be sleeping on the floor, but in an amazing, palatial tent hotel "room" right next to the Mara River.

According to T: "We were sitting on the deck eating lunch alongside the river when a crock swam through...Next thing you know a herd of 15-20 hippos
swing by..." Who knew hippos swam in herds?! "One minute you think you're going to have to sleep in shifts as to be on the lookout for lions, the next minute you're sipping Kenyan tea and eating lamb chops next to the swimming pool!" This is the point when I start thinking, 'hey, wait a minute.....mission trip much?'

Needless to say, I am breathlessly awaiting the pictures when he returns. He saw a cheetah (super rare), 2 lions, 4 elephants, several giraffe, 4 rhino, lots of gazelle, wildebeast, warthog, all in an open air land cruiser with no ceiling, open windows and elevated seating.

After all his fun, he still won me over by saying, "I would have given just about anything for you to have been here this weekend." Aww, that's my guy, and I am crazy about him. He also said he couldn't help wondering what G-Bear's reaction would have been. I think I am pretty sure I know the answer: "Oh, wook, daddy, chweeta. He's pooping."

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Overheard in the house this week...

As the week comes to a close, here are the top 6 things overheard in our house this week.

6. "Papa! Papa! Come see! The fower BOOMED! It's purple with wellow." G-Bear to Papa, eager to show off the blooming flower in the "Watch 'Em Grow" flower pot he gave us last weekend.

5. "Good job, mommy, your not a baby any more!" ~G-Bear to me, after I used the restroom successfully.

4. Me to G-Bear, as we looked at a family picture: "Do you know where E-Bear is in this picture?"
G-Bear: "Where?"
Me: "He is right there, in Mommy's belly. Baby E-Bear is in my belly in that picture."
G-Bear: "Oh, how does he get out?"
Me (perhaps against my better judgement): "Well, I had to push him out of my bottom."
G-Bear, laughing: "Silly Mommy, that's not how he comes out. That's just for poopy."

3. "Nah! Nah! Bah ba gible yahma mam gabi nama yima gabaa pa! Nah!" ~E-Bear, frustrated and letting me know it.

2. "Sawweee." Amazingly, E-Bear to G-Bear after I told him to say sorry for wrestling with her over a book.

1. "I need my daddy. I need my daddy to feel better." ~G-bear, cute and heartbreaking at the same time.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Friday, March 19, 2010

Which zoo, mommy?

Tomorrow is Saturday and T will be heading on an outing away from the hospital to one of the nearby national park reserves to see the wildlife. He told me to tell G-Bear that he would be seeing "lions and elfuents" tomorrow. These happen to be two of her favorite animals that, along with giraffes, we frequently visit at one of our two amazing nearby zoos, the Como Zoo or Minnesota Zoo.

I reported the exciting news G-Bear.
She responded enthusiastically, "oh, what zoo is daddy going to?"

The idea of giraffes, lions and elfuents in her own backyard might be too mind-blowing at this stage. I tried to explain that he was going to a park in Africa.

She replied, "oh, he should take us with him!"

My sentiments exactly :)

Happily Ever,
Queen B

A day in the life...

Today T and I were able to briefly connect over ichat! What a blessing to have a few minutes together over the internet. The kids, however, were decidedly unimpressed that they couldn't see or hear daddy to talk with him. He was able to share a day in the life of the doctors at Tenwek. He seems so inspired and encouraged by the work of so many devoted people there.

8am: Morning group devotional, followed by start of day
(Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday are operative days, Wednesday is clinic day)
1pm: Break for lunch. The physicians head home to have lunch with their families, who live in rows of houses in a neighborhood-like set up 100 yards from the hospital.
2pm: Work resumes
4-5pm: Last scheduled OR cases, clinic patients
Evening: Bible study, home to dinner

In addition to the missionary doctors who work at Tenwek, there are many native Kenyan interns and residents, training there for their residency. What an important way to make an even wider and more lasting impact on the region's healthcare system.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Hmmm, sounds good?

I was out to dinner tonight with my best friends from medical school to celebrate Match Day. I asked the waitress about the soup of the day, and she replied, "Ox Tail Soup." The only thing funnier about her reply (at least to someone who has never had or heard of Ox Tail Soup) is that I actually have an ox tail in my freezer right now. When we bought at 1/2 grass fed cow in January (we have converted our house to free-range and grass fed beef), apparently I got the back 1/2, because the "ox tail" came too, appropriately labeled.

So, if anyone has a good recipe for Ox Tail Soup, please pass it on to me. If it is good enough to be the soup of the day at Hell's Kitchen, where we had a great dinner, then it must be a good way to use the ox tail in my freezer.

Just don't tell T what is in the soup......

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 2 in Tenwek

100....The number of patients T saw in Tenwek clinic today.
2........The number of operations he performed after his clinic day today--an ankle fracture and then a compartment release for a patient who had suffered a snake bite in the arm.
0.......The number of snake bite-induced injuries he has treated in his life before today.

He was headed to bible study tonight with his colleagues. And I could feel him smiling through his email.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

On the Eve of the Match...

Tonight is a big night in the lives of my fellow fourth year medical students: the night before the infamous Match Day, the day when all senior medical students receive their single residency program acceptance. Match Day is very much like rushing a fraternity or sorority---you interview at lots of programs but you only get accepted to one of them--and like rushing, it can be a very stressful time for many people, especially if you are hoping to get into a particular location or program.

I am feeling fortunate that I am not going though the Match tomorrow. T still has another year of residency remaining, and so I am decelerating for a year so that we graduate next May together. But I still have butterflies in my stomach tonight, knowing that tomorrow I will find out with all my med school friends where they will be going to practice next year. Bittersweet in many ways, because tomorrow marks the beginning of the end of our time together in medical school.

Today, however, was the Gold Humanism Pre-Match Day Retreat (and even though I am not matching with my class, I was in charge of today's retreat!). The Retreat is a really special day, receiving generous funding from the Minnesota Medical Foundation, and is just another impressive testimony to how supportive the faculty and administration at my medical school are of compassionate patient care education. It serves as a day for the senior class to gather together and reconnect (we haven't all be together in over a year), reflect on our medical school experiences, and renew our commitment to a compassionate, altruistic, respectful, empathetic, self-sacrificial practice of medicine. The day involved speakers and small groups, skits and a band from our class, awards and a panel on how to succeed as residents.
This is a picture from the retreat, along with a portion of my opening address to my classmates. I had just finished admitting to them ways I have failed and fallen short in compassionate patient care during my clinical years, in order to emphasize that we all inevitably fail and fall short. But, what is really important is where we find the motivation to renew our commitment to these ideals in patient care:

"So where do you, where do I, find the motivation to renew our commitment to these values? What I know about myself is that the motivation to live up to these values is not within me alone. To regain it, I have had to plead in prayer to a God who is far more loving and more compassionate than I am able to be on my own. I have had to ask for help to be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, and gentle. Especially around this time of the year, as Easter approaches, I am renewed by the thought that if there is a God who could die on a cross to pay the penalty for my failures, I can surely get up tomorrow and offer compassion to my patients. I hope today will be one of many days in your career when you take an opportunity to reflect on your care of patients, attributes like the ones above, and how you can do better. If you haven’t already, I hope you seek out your source of renewal so that, after days of falling short, we are able to get up, dust ourselves off, and start again."

To my dear friends who will be matching tomorrow, know that my heart is overflowing with excitement and love for you tonight--knowing personally so many of the labors you have gone through in the past 4 years. You are the focus of my prayers tonight, that God would give you a heart to trust that the outcome tomorrow is all part of His amazing plan for your life. Peace be with you.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Safe in Kenya!

Prince T has arrived safely at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya! Hallelujah! He will be operating there for 2 weeks with one of his attending physicians from residency. What great news. He has already discovered several friends from his medical school days, some working there permanently and others there on a brief visit.

As I think about the next 2 weeks for T and me, I realize that all of us have important work to do, wherever we are, whoever we have to serve. I am reminded of a quote from Mother Teresa,

"Do something beautiful for God today."

Whether in Africa on a mission or at home in the routine, the world is in desperate need of our love and sacrificial service. Let's all do something beautiful today!

More updates and pictures to come!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

No, no....yes, YES!

Two big developments in our house the past few days: A new word for E-Bear and potty-training successes for G-Bear!

Yesterday morning I greeted E-Bear in his room as I always do and asked him if he would like to get out of his crib. "NAH!" was the surprising reply. Hoping his response was just a coincidence, I repeated my question.
"NAH!" came the unmistakable reply again, this time with a vigorous head shake, back and forth, for emphasis. A big grin spread across E-Bear's face. I have a feeling this is going to be one of his new favorite words.

Not that I can really complain. At least NO was not his first word, nor his second, as it is for many kids. Plus, E-Bear has plenty of pleasant words already that he uses to charm his many admirers---he has been saying "Please" for several weeks already! But, I can already tell that adding NO to his lexicon is going to mean trouble for his mom. Better step up my creative parenting skills!

On a much more positive note, HOORAY for G-Bear, who has gone three days without having a potty accident! Anyone who has talked to me in the last several month knows how much of a struggle potty training has been for G-Bear and me. She has so many strengths, but using the potty chair has not been one of them. After weeks of cajoling, time outs, entire afternoons of sitting on the potty, and promises of treats or gifts from MoMo, G-Bear and I finally began making progress when I took away her pull-ups, put her in training pants and let her pick out a treat at the grocery store that she could have if she went pee pee or poopy in the potty and not on the floor. She chose Dum-Dum lollypops and Fruitloops. Well, after three more weeks and many rounds of lollypops for the whole family (G-Bear generously insists that EVERYONE, including E-bear, choose a lollypop from her lollypop jar every time she is successful on the potty), I really am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. She is now going several days between accidents, and last week she even woke me up several nights asking to go pee pee. Hallelujah.

I do not exaggerate when I say that potty training with G-Bear is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life--harder than anything in college, getting into medical school, passing my boards, ANYTHING. But, on the flip side, the closer we get to our goal together, the more I can see that helping G-Bear be potty trained will be one of the things I am most proud of accomplishing in my life. This experience has also helped me understand in a more personal way what it means for God to bear my struggles with me and for me when I am struggling with something (as I do frequently!). It has been so hard for me to be patient with G-Bear at times, but God is infinitely patient and loving toward me all the time. What an incredible example of great parenting!

Lord, help me to be more like you as I parent my precious little ones, whether the day brings many NO!'s or more YES!'s...

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Snowmen beware...Spring is here!

Ah, spring arrived even to the hinterland of Minnesota today: we had a high of 63 degrees and the first sunshine in a week after 7 days of gloomy rain. But oh, what a day it was! It was so warm today that even our monster Christmas Eve snowman, who withstood the entirety of the winter months, couldn't persevere.
Here is a picture of us with Snowman-the-Magnificent in front of MoMo and Papa's house on Christmas Eve. He was nearly as tall as T, complete with a carrot nose, stick arms and mouth and bush rosettes for eyes. G-Bear has enjoyed saying hello to him every week since then when we go to visit MoMo and Papa.

Today, at long last, was a different story. Mercifully, the grass has reappeared and upon our visit only a small, lone pile of snow remained, conspicuously located where Snowman-the-Magnificent used to reside.

Oh well. So long, friend. Maybe we will see you again.....just not anytime soon, please. Happy Spring!

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Let's get some gas...

Green Eggs and Ham has been a storytime favorite around our house lately. We were driving home this afternoon for naps when we passed the corner BP gas station and the following conversation occurred:

G-Bear: "Hey mommy, how 'bout we get some gas?"
Me: "Um, sweetie, that gas is sort of expensive. Why don't we wait and get some gas for the car tonight at Sam's Club on our way to dinner with MoMo and Papa?"
G-Bear: "What?"
Me: "Gas costs less money at Sam's Club. How about we get it there on our way to dinner?"
G-Bear: "oh, some Sam-I-Am gas? That's a good idea!"
Me: "No, sweetie, Sam's Club..."
G-Bear: "No, Sam-I-Am gas! Let's get it there before dinner!"

Hmmm, wouldn't Dr. Seuss and Sam Walton be delighted to be so closely linked?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Goodbyes have never been easy...

Today Prince T is on his way home from New Orleans, where he has been at a conference for several days. He will be home tonight before he leaves again tomorrow, this time for his Kenya medical mission trip. We have been saying good-bye to each other at the airport quite frequently lately, which is something we have rarely had to do since we got married nearly 4 years ago. No matter how rarely we have to do it, I still struggle with saying an airport good-bye almost as much as I did during the 6 years that we dated before getting married. The pit in my stomach, knowing how much I will miss him, is still the same.

Maybe T was feeling the same way, because he sent me an awesome podcast via email today. It is a sermon by one of our favorite Christian leaders, Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. The podcasts are available for free at , and I highly recommend them. The one T sent me is called "Sexuality and Christian Hope." Now don't get the wrong idea. In this sermon, Keller highlights how amazing and radically different the Christian understanding of sexuality, marriage and singleness are from that of the rest of the world. It promises to be thought provoking and encouraging no matter what your status in life.
One part I really loved focused on the Christian idea of marriage (not to say that there aren't outstanding comments on singleness and sexuality):

"When you fall in love with somebody, you shouldn't just be falling in love with what they are, you should be excited about their future as well. You should be attracted to what God is going to make them, so far as you can discern. Falling in love, in the Christian sense, means saying: 'I am excited about your future, and I am excited about being a part of getting you there. It is going to be hard, but we're going to get there together." That hope that you are going to get there--stainless and without wrinkle, radiant and beautiful--is the goal of marriage. But what a long journey! And yet, it is our understanding of that journey that makes marriage both realistic and yet joyful. If you believe marriage is just a duty, you don't see the glory of it, and if you think it is just to make you happy, you are going to be absolutely disappointed."

What a journey! I am so glad to be on it with T. As I send T off again, I am excited to see what is in store for him in Africa, how he will grow and how he will serve others. But that doesn't mean I won't miss him...

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Welcome to our adventures! We are very much in the middle of things here, so do your best to keep up if you can. Our latest dramas involve potty-training with G-bear and erupting teeth with E-bear. All fairy godmothers on deck, please!

I am currently home full-time, in the midst of a 6 week break from medical school. Prince T is leaving for a 2 week medical mission trip to Kenya this weekend, and I am bracing myself for the perfect storm of both starting my pediatrics rotation with Q4 call and having my prince charming across the Atlantic. Fortunately, it is Lent and I have been reading an amazing book called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. We all need occasional reminders to look for help in the right places, so today I will share mine from this book:

"Rest in My Radient Presence. The world around you seems to spin faster and faster, until everything is a blur. Yet there is a cushion of calm at the center of your life, where you live in union with Me. Return to this soothing Center as often as you can, for this is where you are energized and filled with My Love, Joy and Peace. The world is a needy place, do not go there for sustenance. Instead, come to Me. Learn to depend on me alone, and your weakness will become saturated with My Power. When you find your completeness in Me, you can help others without using them to meet your own needs. Live in the Light of My Presence, and your light will shine brightly into the lives of others. "
~From "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young inspired by Galatians 5:22, 1 John 4:12

Happily ever,
Queen B