Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jeff is happy and sad.

I am happy that tomorrow is thanksgiving.
I am sad that Aubrey has to work.
I am happy that Aubrey has a good job that she likes.
I am sad that Aubrey is on call for Thanksgiving AND Christmas Eve. Lame!
I am happy for the impending Christmas season!
I am sad for disagreements about how to celebrate Christmas.
I am happy for Christmas carols that celebrate Jesus!
I am sad that my nephews and niece live so far away.
I am happy that we get to go meet baby Caleb on Friday.
I am sad about this whole Presbytery debacle.
I am happy when studying the Bible.
I am amazed at its complexity.
I am distraught by theological factions formed on partial understandings.
I am hopeful because Jesus is the Lord of his church.
I am sad about the stuff in the post below.
I am happy that my wife is brave, wise, spiritual, godly, well-spoken and honest enough to write it.
I am praying for a little olive shoot to go around my table.
I am happy about our new (used) car.
I am happy about cheap gas.
I am happy about our Y membership.
I am sad that I don't know the future several years in advance as a planning tool.
I might also be happy about that.
I am definitely happy that God knows the future. And plans it.
I am happy that Lucy is getting better at using her bed, not mine.
I am happy that I figured out what was driving Lucy crazy last night. (apparently she can't relax when the washing machine is running.)
I am thankful for the gift of righteousness.
I am going to post this list now, even though I'll probably think of good additions later on.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A story.

I've had this post tumbling around inside my head for a while, but just haven't been able to write it. Or write much of anything, for that matter. The last several months have been some of the hardest I've had.

I was convicted recently, reading some Buechner, about how we should tell our stories, stories that can call us like a beacon to the safe harbor that is life in Christ. And reminded that our stories are reminiscent of his story - the one great story of redemption. But I haven't wanted to tell my story. I guess I feel a little ashamed, and sad, and just can't bring myself to write words that I wish were not true. But I've been feeling a little dishonest here, and realize more and more that I need all the prayers I can get. Burdens become harder and harder to carry, the more alone you feel.

Over the last 15 months, we have been trying to get pregnant. Unsuccessfully. At first it didn't seem like a big deal. The average time it takes a couple to get pregnant is 6-8 months, or so my doctor told me, and so I tried to remind myself. But as the months have worn on, it just has gotten harder. I've decided struggling with fertility is a week of sadness and disappointment, followed by 3 weeks of anxiety, then maybe two days of hope, only to have the sadness and disappointment start all over again. I wish I could somehow make myself not care as much, not hope as much every single month. Even though every month I try to convince myself that I'm certain I am not pregnant this time, my cycle begins, and again I'm heartbroken. I hate what it does to me. While I'm excited for all my friends who are expecting, at the same time part of me just aches every time I hear someone else's exciting news. How do you tell a friend, "Congratulations! When is the baby due? So...Did you know I can't seem to get pregnant?" Every pregnant 15 or 17 or unmarried 21 year old I see at work just makes me question why God does things the way he does.

Of course I realize that 15 months is not a long time. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. Sarah waited until she was 90 to have her son. Jeff even waited almost 5 years to find the church job he wanted. And many, many women struggle for years and years to get pregnant, or have miscarriage after miscarriage, or even have to bury their own children. If we were playing a game of sorrows, I know that mine do not even come close to winning. And I can look around and know just how many blessings he has poured over me: a wonderful husband, great jobs for both me and Jeff, a beautiful home, a family that loves me and loves the Lord, a sweet church family, my health, and the biggest wonder of all - that he made me alive in him when when I was dead in the dark prison of my sin.

I think part of why going to Honduras was so good for me was that it gave me a whole week free from all the worry and stress of temperatures and ovulation and LH surge and all those medical terms that often consume me these days. I needed to be reminded that Christ is enough.
Enough to fill the emptiness I sometimes feel.
Enough to soothe the hurts and aches that threaten to overcome me.
Enough to quiet the questions and jealousy that come against my bidding.

So that is my story. An unfinished one, but one that is daily being written by Christ, as he moves in me and makes all things new.

Psalm 27:13-14 "I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wedding Crashers

So Aubrey and I crashed a wedding today. We got there late, so mostly we just crashed the reception, which is the better part to crash anyways. The son of one of the elders at our church in Charleston was getting married up in Clemson, and so a bunch of our friends from Charleston were going to be there. I've only met the groom once, and I had never met the bride (still haven't), so it was normal that we weren't invited. But Aubrey's parents were. They were the grooms landlord, so go figure.

It was a great wedding to crash. It was in an old, unheated, stone church, and it was about 40 degrees today, so it was a little cool. But otherwise great! The food at the reception was excellent, barbeque, and shrimp, and venison. Just the kind of party you would expect the McClellans to throw.

But mostly it was great to see a bunch of old friends. Pastor Craig was very passionate in his righteous indignation on my behalf on a certain issue, and that was encouraging. I don't know that I've ever made so many good friends at one church as when we were in Charleston.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

This post is hand written

One of my pet peeves is restaurants that advertise "homemade" items on their menu. Such as "homemade biscuits" or "homemade apple pie." I object! If something is made in a restaurant then it is by definition NOT homemade. It is restaurant made. Unless the cooks are baking at home and then bringing their wares in to the restaurant to sell, which, for the record, I highly doubt. Or perhaps the cook actually lives in the restaurant, so it is his home, but again, I don't think so.

I noticed a variation on this fallacy tonight at the grocery store. Aubrey and I were perusing the cake mix aisle, and one of the boxes advertised with the slogan, "Scratch baking made easy." Again, I must object, if you are using cake mix from a box, you are by definition not baking from scratch. Scratch baking has not been made easier, it has been replaced. Which is fine, its not that I object to baking from mixes, but lets not kid ourselves.

Well, I must go. We bought homemade pillsbury "break-n-bake" cookies, which Aubrey just baked from scratch, and they are ready.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I realized today that after eating fresh, delicious tomatoes grown a mere 20 feet from where they were consumed all summer, there is just no going back.

Eating a tomato grown who knows where that was picked before it was ripe?? Eww.

I guess I'm done eating tomatoes until the spring.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


A Sesquipedalian, appropriately enough, is a person who likes big words. While I have sesquipedalic tendencies (new band name?) I don't use big words as much as some people I know. Lately I've found myself learning lots of new words, which I will share for your edification.

Excorcitation - apparently a blend of "exhortation" and "excercise." Which fits, because this particular excorcitation was a real mental workout to get through.

Hebdomadal - occuring once every seven days. "I go to a church which meets hebdomadally."

Limn - to portray using words. "I am attempting to limn my thoughts in this post."

Agglomeration - a jumbled cluster. "I am limning an agglomeration of words."

Trope - a rhetorical device of using words in a non-literal sense.

Aporias - expression of doubt. "My aporias over correct word usage is troubling."

Somnolent - sleepy. "Is this post making you somnolent?"

Obdurate - stubborn. "I am obdurately somnolent."

Florilegium - a collection of literary pieces.

Almost all of these new words were from one book I was assigned to read for class, which was clearly above my reading level.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Christmas crafting has begun....

I came home from call yesterday determined to get at least one present done and scratched off my Christmas list. Mission accomplished, in spite of the frustration that is using bias tape to cover curved edges. Oh well. Next time we'll just leave the edge square and try to make mitered corners. A good tutorial for how to sew it on is found here. I did finally, though, figure out how to make bias tape using a rectangle of fabric and cutting it in one long piece, mostly with the help of this little diagram. And a ruler. I really do have yards of the stuff leftover, so expect to see some cute green, purple, and teal polka-dotted bias tape on projects in the future.

I actually got two little projects one, though the second one is not actually for Christmas, but for a birthday that might be upcoming.

Now I just need to actually decide what else I need to make so I can finish some more things. Christmas feels awfully close all of a sudden.

ps - Photos will come, eventually, but likely not for a while as I'm not one to ruin a good surprise.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Honduras, Part 4.

I didn't even know I had this much to say about the trip. But apparently I do. As far as medicine goes, one thing I do that I feel is probably the most beneficial is to do joint injections for those with arthritis. The great thing about joint injections is that they can benefit someone sometimes as long as 6 months. So someone who could barely walk or work because they were in such pain can suddenly move nearly pain free. I was able to do probably at least 100 injections, mostly shoulders and knees, but also in fingers, wrists, elbows, ankles, thumbs and just about anywhere two joints come together. I was also able to inject a few carpal tunnels. It was great practice for me, since I don't get to do nearly this many in my own clinic. But now I feel much more practiced with some of the joints I don't do as often.

To round up the photos, here are some other photos of the people - who are just beautiful.
We saw lots of horses. And kids riding horses.
He might have been the cutest old man I saw last week.

There are lots of good big sisters in Honduras.
This guy cracked me up. Like some kind of secret service agent, he was all business.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Honduras, Part 3.

If I had to pick a single favorite part about the trip, it would be getting to meet and spend time with a wonderful Honduran doctor named Janela. She and I both graduated about the same time from medical school, and she is a believer who has been working in a small clinic since she finished. We had some good discussions about how we do things in the US, local patterns of antibiotic resistance, cultural beliefs about medicine, and lots of other things. My academic medicine spanish vocab is a little limited, so I had to work harder to understand, but I was very impressed by her knowledge. She was even reading Nelson's pediatrics. But I was able to teach her how to do joint injections, and she taught me how to fix someone's ingrown toenail by removing part of the toenail. (Sounds fun, right?)

My other favorite thing? As always, the kids!
Some were serious.
I made some cry. (Nothing new there, unfortunately.)
Some were even red-headed.

And some were just cute.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Honduras, Part 2.

As I've said, each day we drove out from the village we stayed in to different smaller villages to set up clinic. The first 4 days we set up clinics in churches, and the last day we used a school. Here is what the outside of a typical clinic looked like for us.
And here is the inside of a different building, but fairly typical of the churches we saw. (Although this one was one of the larger churches we used.)

And from my seat inside, here is what I could see out the window, very different from my usual view in clinic.
If you couldn't already tell from seeing these buildings, the poverty was often almost overwhelming. This is what two different "towns" looked liked where we worked.

They waited very patiently in long lines, often in the rain, to see us.

I certainly wish we could have done more for these people. The small amount of vitamins and medicines we gave will probably not make a lasting change. But every person who came through heard the gospel, and hopefully by us being there, and taking time to care for them, they were able to see maybe a small glimpse of the father's love for them, which is something that can make an eternal difference.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Honduras. Part 1.

What will most likely stick out to me most about this trip were the roads. I do not think I've ever been anywhere with roads quite like these. But I guess I've also never been to central America during rainy season. It did rain on us every day, and so basically every place we traveled required the use of 4X4 trucks. But because we were able to get to these remote places, lots of people were seen who rarely, if ever, make it to a doctor.

Mud was also a recurring theme this past week. Thank goodness for my marmot precip jacket and my sierra designs pants that kept me clean and dry. And I'm also thankful to God, to whom I prayed more than I ever have while driving. Fishtailing on narrow, mountain roads is really not the best sensation. But he (with the help of our drivers) brought us safely to and from our destinations each day.

We forded several small rivers over the course of the week. This was the largest.

And occasionally we came across cows in the way. Like this one. But I discovered that it is hard to photograph a moving cow when you are also moving.

And my favorite little tidbit - having to have some real "horse" power by using these two horses to pull all three of our trucks up the hill.

For more on the trip, check back tomorrow.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I arrived safely home last night after two good flights and a short drive.

I discovered that half my residency program got food poisoning this week and 10 residents and 4 attendings had to call in sick. Yet another reason to bring my own lunch. And apparently, leaving the country may be the best way to avoid food-borne illness.

The trip was great - it's always a blessing to meet other believers and spend time with them, and at the same time try to use my gifts in a way to hopefully spread his kingdom. There will be more posts later. I'm going through the photos, and will hopefully have some posted soon. But for now, I'm tired.

Until then.... here's what most of Honduran countryside looks like. And even the photo doesn't do it justice.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween in review.

Well, with Aubrey still in Honduras I had to man the candy bowl myself this year. I didn't want the doorbell ringing all night, so once the trick-or-treators started, I grabbed a lawn chair, a book, the candy and a dog, and sat out on the front porch. Lucy is pretty afraid of strangers anyway, so she definitely wasn't a fan of strangers in costumes coming up to her and petting her. Thankfully she's more patient with children than adults.

What's the deal with parents driving slowly down the street while the kids walk from house to house? A little walking is not going to kill you.

Our neighborhood is suprisingly lame for halloween. There were not that many kids, and from my perch on the porch it didn't look like there were very many houses participating. I didn't even get rid of all our candy (not that I mind!). You'd think we would be a prime neighborhood. We're practically the definition of suburbia, our neighborhood makes a short loop, easily walked, the houses are close together, and we have a good number of kids in the neighborhood. I don't know what the deal is.

I always think its funny when the kids just walk up to me and don't say anything. I usually say, "Hi, what do you say?" and they say "Thank you." Good enough, they got candy anyways. One kid replied "Happy Halloween."

One little kid very politely asked if he could choose any piece of candy he wanted. I tried to deflect his attention and gave him Milk Duds. I was trying to get rid of them first because they are my least favorite.