Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Blind Side.

Jeff and I went to the movies tonight.

We rarely go to the movies, mostly because Jeff doesn't really enjoy them the way I do. I have to really talk up a movie for Jeff to want to go. Thankfully, we've seen enough Pixar movies that it doesn't take much convincing to get him to go see those. Hence, the last time we saw a movie it was to see Up.

I had read a good review about The Blind Side (and another one about Michael Oher) in World magazine, and was looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. With a little convincing, Jeff agreed to take me tonight.

We LOVED the movie. It was great. Jeff even enjoyed it. It was uplifting, funny, moving, and free of objectionable content. This is the kind of movie I can get excited about seeing. And the best part is that it's based on a true story, about a family who loves the Lord and looks out for the orphan put in their path. Of course, it's not framed exactly that way in the movie, since the director of the film, and the author of the book it's based on, aren't believers. Still, it's a wonderful movie that you walk out of with a good feeling inside.

Of course, it helped that the adorable former coach of my alma mater makes a cameo. And this on a very, very happy day for Gamecock fans everywhere.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Favorite Authors: Jerry Bridges

Once, when I was an intern at Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs, I had the duty of teaching a mens bible study. The teacher I was taking over for? Jerry Bridges. The word "inadequate" is inadequate to describe the way I felt. Nevertheless, Jerry Bridges has been an influential author in my life, and being able to meet him on several occasions has only enhanced my appreciation for him. Here are three books I liked:

Pursuit of Holiness. I read this in the fall of 1996, it was the second book of real theology that I'd ever read. And it helped change my life. This book helped teach me what a serious christian life looked like. (not that I didn't have other good sources teaching me that...) Thirteen years later, I don't remember the specific content of the book, so much as I remember the impact it had on me. And the picture of the guy running on the front of the book.

Respectable Sins. Our small group read through this book together last year. It is very insightful, and takes the time to walk you through all sorts of sins that we don't focus on much. But the most helpful chapter for me, was towards the beginning, when he explains the proper way to apply the gospel to your life as you become more aware of you sinfulness. The point, after all, is not simply to beat yourself up for being such a sinner, but to allow the gospel to do its transforming, sanctifying work in your life.

The Bookends of the Christian Life. This is a new book, and I actually haven't read it. But I did hear the series of lectures that the book is based on. I'll give away the answer. The two bookends of the Christian life are the atoning death of Jesus, and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. All healthy christian living takes place by the power of these two truths. They hold everything else in place.

Note: my dad mentioned last week in conversation that Transforming Grace, by Bridges has been one of the most influential books in his life. I'll have to check that one out.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Pictoral Thanksgiving

These are the things that I'm thankful for.

[Note: due to the second commandment, pictures of the Trinity and their accomplishments (vis-a-vis my salvation) will not be added.]

A belated thank you.

My senior year of college I had to take this computer science class. It was a prerequisite for the program I was in. I hated it. I felt like it was a complete waste of time. I skipped it as often as I could - which wasn't too hard, since all the material for the class was on a CD they handed out at the beginning. Mostly, I think it annoyed me to have to take this class I was uninterested in, when there were lots of other interesting classes out there I could have taken instead.

We learned about html, and had to make a little web page. Again, this felt like a complete waste - what would I ever need this information for? I certainly didn't foresee ever having some sort of personal web page I'd be updating.

I have to admit - although I'm no expert, I still remember enough to personalize my own blog by changing the html. And now I'm doing some work on Jeff's other blog, which is still ongoing. I think we're going to get there. A little knowledge of html ended up being something that was actually useful.

Maybe those college bureaucrats in charge of curriculum foresaw something I didn't.....

So thank you, Mr. Professor of the computer science class I rarely went to, whose name I don't even remember. I guess I got something out of your class after all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I just started a month of pediatrics. I'm definitely enjoying this more than urology - though that's not really saying much.

I still feel like I don't quite have the hang of things yet. We work with two really excellent pediatricians, but the peds service runs quite differently than our medicine service. There are many, many more details that need to be "sweated," and as someone who strongly dislikes details, it's taking some time getting used to. Honestly, when dealing with kids, you really do need to think about all the details, so it's stretching me in ways that are necessary. Kids are impressively resilient, so it's a nice change taking care of patients who get better so fast. Exhibit A for their resiliency - there was a 15 year old girl who had her gallbladder taken out yesterday. Not even 4 hours after surgery she was already digging into her lunch tray - which included a big piece of cheesecake. This morning she ate bacon and biscuits with gusto. [Let's just say this is impressive in that we typically encourage our adult patients to try a low-fat diet for a while after surgery as this will help deal with some of the side effects of surgery.]

Every morning I get to start my day out by examining all the newborns we take care of. Most mornings there are 3 or 4 to check out, plus I often get to spend a little time holding someone as they chill out in the nursery. Unless they're screaming, it's a fairly relaxing way to begin. This morning I held this little twin daughter of one of my OB patients - a baby I spent much time watching on ultrasound. She fell asleep snuggled into my neck. It was wonderful.

In other news, I think the baby had some hiccups today. Maybe.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Four things I think I think.

1. I think I like the name of this post, and I think it would make a good name for a regularly recurring feature. Unfortunately, people will think I stole the name from the similarly titled "Three things I think I think" which is a regularly recurring feature on the back page of Sports Illustrated. People will be right.

2. I think we had a great time this weekend while my parents were visiting from Colorado. We had breakfast at our favorite local digs, played scrabble, drank coffee, chatted, ate a big, early Thanksgiving dinner, and my parents got to hear me preach. Mostly, we just enjoyed being together as a family, and thanks to Mom and Dad, we now have our first piece of decor for the baby's room.

3. Aubrey and I both think that our nightly walks around the block with our dog are one of the best parts of each day. I think Lucy thinks that too.

4. I think that if you so desire, and you have a moment, and its not putting you out, that you should check out my new blog. It's called "The Moose are in Need of Reproof." It's a serious blog with a silly title. The blog is a joint effort co-written with my friend Ken Shomo. Not to worry, I will still be blogging here, sharing my thoughts that I think I thought.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Parental visit

My parental units are visiting this weekend from Colorado. We are looking forward to much fun, good food, a visit to our favorite breakfast place, and plenty of Scrabble.

It has also given us a good excuse to get a good thorough fall cleaning done. We went all out on the cleaning. We've filled about four big trash bags with stuff we decided to finally get rid off, and have taken two trips to the local Crisis Pregnancy resale store with stuff to donate. The room which is destined to become the baby's room has been collecting all the junk we haven't wanted to think about for the last two years, and we finally got that sorted out. It always feels so good to throw stuff away.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pear Butter.

I originally posted this over a year ago, but spent part of yesterday afternoon making a big batch of pear butter and was reminded why I love it so much. I had it on some waffles this morning and it was delicious! So here's the recipe. This stuff really does make a great Christmas present - not the typical cookies or cake, relatively inexpensive, and very tasty.

Pear Butter works for me.

Working in a doctor's office, there are lots of people around who I'd like to give Christmas presents to, like the nurses who work on my pod, the secretaries who order us lunch everyday, our residency coordinator who fills out paperwork for us, etc. But I don't want to spend lots of money, because it starts to add up. This year I decided to make some Pear butter, which just sounded tastier to me than apple butter. I also don't have a food mill so I just used my blender.

Pear Butter
4 pounds medium pears, quartered and cored
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla

Place pears into a large pot over medium heat, and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pot and keep them from sticking, about 1/2 cup. Cook until the pears are soft, about 30 minutes. Press pears through a sieve or food mill, and measure out 2 quarts of the pulp.
Pour the pear pulp and sugar into a large saucepan and stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in the orange zest, nutmeg and orange juice. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to mound in a spoon. When the mixture begins to thicken, stir frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. This will take about 1 hour.
Ladle the pear butter into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles by sliding a metal spatula around where the pear butter touches the glass. Wipe jar rims clean, and seal with lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. The water should cover the jars by 1 inch. Check with your local extension for exact processing times for your area.

Keep all the peelings, cores, and leftover pieces of fruit that does not go into the pan, and these you can turn into Pear Honey

Pear Honey
Place all the good leftover pieces in a pot and cover with water. Simmer gently over medium heat for 20-30 minutes until the juice has turned a nice brown color. Drain through a cheesecloth.

Measure this syrup and combine it with half as much sugar in a pot, and boil slowly until it thickens to the consistency of honey. (This will take a while. I actually stopped before it was quite this thick, but it thickened up even more once it is in the fridge.)

Pour into jars and process the same as the pear butter.

Now, you have plenty of beautiful and delicious jars to give away as gifts, and have even used up all the goodness from the pears, creating an inexpensive but nice gift. That definitely works for me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thou shalt not move the ancient green electrical access box.

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon. Every summer, as I go out to mow the lawn, I notice that my neighbors have mowed their own lawns, plus they have generously also mowed about two or three feet of my lawn. I always squint my eyes in their general direction, and suspiciously wonder if they have truly done this out of good natured benevolence, or if they are trying to subtly claim the extra bit of yard as belonging to them. However, when its 99 degrees out, I quickly unsquint my eyes, and give thanks that I have a bit less yard to mow.

Strangely however, this phenomenon does not carry over into fall leaf raking season. Every fall, as the beautifully colored leaves begin to descend, as if magically, I gain the lost edges of my yard back. A laser-straight line can be perceived, separating the pristine leafless expanses of my neighbors yards, from the ankle deep leafing fields of my own. And this line never fails to perfectly straddle the division between the two water access panels on the one side, and the edge of the green electrical box on the other.

No doubt it was leaf-related disputes like these that led to the law in Deuteronomy 19:14:
You shall not move your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Abide with me.

Yesterday was a long and strange day.

After church, we went to a funeral for one of the older members of our church. He had been diagnosed with lung cancer a few months ago, and honestly, our prayer has been that he would die quickly, and at home. He loved being home. He was born, lived his whole life, and died, all within a 2 mile radius. And our prayers were answered. He lived by himself until the end. His funeral was brief, but sweet.

I was also scheduled to work in the ER yesterday. Because of the funeral, I was running late, and drove almost straight from the funeral to the hospital. By the time I got to the hospital, I also had a patient who was ready to have her baby. I ran in, put on my gown and gloves, and then 3 pushes later had a beautiful little baby girl.

Then, I started my ER shift. Just before I arrived to the ER, a five year old had come in and died. A five year old. Apparently due to an ATV accident. The ER doctor was shaken. The nurses were crying. Even though I wasn't there when he came in, I had arrived just in time to see the parents get there. Watched as they were put into an empty room. And heard his mom's screams as she was told. It was awful. Horrible.

And I thought back to the funeral earlier, and the birth I had just attended. The highs and lows of this life. And loved again the hymn we sang at the funeral, and thought how it was just what I had needed on that day, and what I am praying for all three families.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Too young.

People tell me I look too young to be their doctor a lot. Every time I'm on call, someone asks me if I'm sure I'm old enough to be a doctor. I never really know what to say. I don't think I look that young. It sort of gets old.

I went to the dentist yesterday. I'm not going to say how long it had been since I was last there, because I'm a doctor and we are supposed to set a good example of taking care of our teeth. But I will say I got a perfect bill of tooth health.

After the hygienist vigorously cleaned and flossed, the actual dentist came in to check on things. My first thought when I saw him was, "Wow. He looks like a frat boy." My second?

"He is not old enough to be a dentist."

I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Dwight Schrute School of Thought

Amid the ongoing debates on how to make health care affordable, Aubrey threw in her two cents, now I'm going to throw in mine. (Actually, Aubrey's thoughts were worth considerably more than two cents, mine are worth slightly less) I say, we're lucky that health care is as affordable as it is. As Dwight Schrute once said:
Why tip someone for a job I'm capable of doing myself? I can deliver food. I can drive a taxi. I can, and do, cut my own hair. I did however, tip my urologist, because I am unable to pulverize my own kidney stones.
I think there's much good sense here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Project Nursery.

We finally started working to get the nursery ready yesterday. At 10pm. I'm not sure why I was suddenly struck to go through the boxes of stuff that had been shoved into the extra bedroom upstairs, but I was. And so we started. Since we've moved in, that room has been the "where-should-we-put-this?-I-don't-know-just-stick-it-in-the-extra-room" room. So there were boxes of old toys, several old posters, old pictures, random baskets, old papers - you name it, it was in there. We made a huge pile of stuff to be donated to our local crisis pregnancy center resale store, and an even huger pile of trash.

THEN, we moved on to the craft room. Let me just say that I LOVE my craft room. It's nice to have a place where I can keep all the craft stuff, and not have to drag out the sewing machine whenever I want to sew. The downside of having a special place to do it all in is that I don't have lots of motivation to keep it neat. I can leave fabric pieces strewn about across the floor when I'm in the midst of a project, and then just close the door. Which I've been doing a lot of lately. It looked like a fabric store threw up. And the closet in the craft room - I had completely forgotten that it had a floor. Jeff and I thought that maybe the pile of stuff just went all the way to the center of the earth. But after going through it, and throwing stuff away, I'm happy to report that not only is there a floor, but the carpet looks pretty nice.

There is just a wonderful feeling that I get when I get rid of stuff. Like a weight is lifted. I was able to drop everything off today and wow - our upstairs is looking so much better. And now that things are neater I might even get motivated to start doing some nursery sewing soon.

I would say that I wish I had a before picture, but truthfully, that room was so bad I'd be ashamed to post it. So maybe later I'll take an "after" picture, and leave the rest to your imagination.

Winning isn't everything (or is it?)

Its the baseball offseason again, and free agents are shopping their wares. The GM's are all meeting in Chicago this week, and we're all eager to hear which players will be moving teams and which will be staying. All of this means we're about to be inundated with the oft-used, but regrettable stock phrase, "Its not about the money, its about winning championships."

Now when I was a lad, still but knee high to a yak-pup, I participated in many organized sports. And if there was one moral lesson to be taken away from the experience, it was that winning wasn't everything. Sure, we played to win, but it was more important that we play fair, do our best, encourage our teammates, and shake hands with the opponents after the game. And considering I played for mostly Christian school teams, giving glory to God was also a consideration.

Apparently somewhere between youth sports and the professional level, this lesson is being lost. And not only is it being lost, but it is being replaced with the exact opposite lesson, "Winning IS everything." And not only has the emphasis on winning won the day, but it has simultaneously managed to usurp the moral high ground that used to be reserved for honesty and fairness. One gets the impression these days that players who say they simply want to go where they can win a championship really think they are being more noble and self denying than their money grubbing colleagues who will simply accept the largest contract regardless of which team offers it.

It would appear that winning and money are the only two factors in the lives of a professional athletes, and by throwing money under the bus, winning has managed to come out on top. Of course, given the financial incentives that accompany winning, there's rarely much sacrifice involved when a player decides to go to a winning team. Winning leads to money. So what they're really saying is that "Money isn't everything, getting paid well to win is." How noble. They've decided to lust after both fame AND fortune, rather than just fortune.

NBA star LeBron James was the latest to use this line, amidst ongoing speculation related to his upcoming free agency. But just to be safe, he clarified today:
"Let's get this clear: I said the max contract doesn't mean more than winning," James said. "I didn't say 'I don't need a max contract' or 'I'm not going to get a max contract.' All I'm saying is that winning is more important to me than money at the end of the day."
Lest his greed be mistaken for altruism, James wants to make one thing clear: He really, really wants to make boatloads of money while simultaneously pursuing fame and titles. But as he says, money isn't everything, its about winning. What a great guy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I just started two week of a GI rotation. Mostly, I guess, this entails me watching them do colonoscopies and EGDs.

This is, I'm realizing, maybe not the best rotation to do while pregnant. Undigested food in the stomach? Disgusting. The smells? Also disgusting. I nearly tossed my cookies.

I think I've got a pretty strong stomach. Blood - doesn't bother me. Snot - no problem. Childbirth - bring it on. But I've ALWAYS had this thing about gross food/vomit/etc. Just ask Jeff. I refuse to throw away food that looks disgusting. I call him to do it. I get totally grossed out when there are bits of dinner floating in the sink that have come off of our dirty dinner dishes. Ewww. When I was little, just the sight of cooked peas could gag me. (Thankfully, this I've outgrown - I really love peas now.) So apparently my aversions run deep. And seeing something like this up close and personal INSIDE someone's stomach? Almost more than I could handle.

I guess even I have my limits.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Today during church, as soon as Jeff started preaching the sermon, our baby started moving around. It was quite a good sermon. Apparently the baby thought so, too.

Maybe we have a little theologian in the making.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Friday, November 06, 2009

My first official ultrasound

We had our official anatomy scan on Wednesday. It was great.

First of all, I wasn't trying to crane my neck while simultaneously holding the probe and trying to get a good picture. There was actually a professional there for that. She was super nice - and quite good. She was able to find everything quickly and without any trouble.

Then there was the warm ultrasound gel. I've heard women talk about how nice it is, but having never had I couldn't personally testify. Now I know, though, and I'm going to petitioning our program to pick up a warmer.

Everything seemed to be in the right place and growing well. Our baby measured something like 4 days ahead - so he/she is growing right on track. There are sweet little feet, hands, back bone - everything looks good. Now that I'm feeling the baby move much more reliably and have had a good scan, my anxiety is slowly waning.

And no, we didn't find out the gender. We've been thinking all along we wanted to wait and be surprised. So everyone will just have to wait a little longer.

Pictures to follow soon!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Disjointed post.

I've been doing a bunch of sewing over the last two days - trying to finish a bunch of things and actually get caught up or maybe even a little ahead (!) on projects. After I got pregnant, I just didn't have it in me to sew for a long while - the fatigue combined with nausea just prevented me from doing it. It's nice to be back in the saddle. Or sewing room chair, as it were. With all the crafting going on, I haven't had much time to think about a coherent post. Here are some of the things floating around in my head.

1. I wore this shirt to work today, and I think it makes me look more pregnant than I really am since I got numerous comments today asking me when the baby is due. It's actually kind of nice. Yesterday, on the other hand, I wore a non-maternity shirt (obviously cut fairly loose) and one of my patients was really surprised that I was pregnant, and said that I wasn't really showing. (Trust me. I'm showing.)

2. The funniest thing anyone has said to me asking about being pregnant came at the urology office last week, where I'm currently rotating. (Incidentally, I was wearing the same shirt I am today.) An older black man, he looked me up and down with a twinkle in his eye and said, "How long you been in trouble?"

3. Speaking of the urology office.... it is a rather interesting place to rotate. Let's just say that patients have very interesting euphemisms to describe their various urological problems, and talk to their urologist about some interesting topics that I don't hear about much. Since I'm trying to keep this blog family friendly, I'll leave it up to your imagination.

4. We think Jeff felt the baby move yesterday. Hopefully more of that to come.

5. For the first time in a long time, I'm going to a baby shower tonight and am actually excited about it.

6. If old wives' tales are to be believed, our baby is going to have a LOT of hair. Even with medication, this heart burn is something else.