Thursday, December 29, 2005

Guess what the Butler family got for Christmas? The stomach virus. Yep, Jada had it the Monday before, Payten got it on Wednesday, and then Mom had it for Christmas Eve. Wait, we're not done yet. I got it yesterday...for the whole day. It's a weight loss plan I don't recommend. I've decided it's just not worth it. Dehydration is so not fun. My stepmom Lecia was amazing to help like she did. I was really thankful she was there to try to ease things as much as possible. I'm probably going back to Memphis tonight or tomorrow, and none of my family will hug me bye! lol.

On a much better note, Christmas was such a blessing this year. I was really looking forward to coming home and seeing everyone, and I was also pumped about what I got people for Christmas. All of the family functions were better than they've ever been. It's fun when all the kids (including myself) start maturing and we can all cut up together. I must add that the Butler function might not have been as funny if I hadn't introduced "jowling", a skill that my buddy Will in CA enlightened me with at the Union Reunion. We're probably going to open a Facebook group for it, so stay posted. You can check out some of the best of the best at Beware, some are a little scary.

I love my family. Christmas is such a neat time with them. Every time I come home and see how my siblings have matured and grown, I love them even more. I really do have the coolest four siblings ever. And my parents- they're no less unique. All four are incredible as role models. They do go a little overboard about Christmas gifts, but they love getting us stuff. Sometimes I wish I had words to express to them my gratitude for what they're showing me about life and how to live it instead of just what they're generously equipping me with in a material sense. I am truly blessed.

Friday, December 16, 2005

So all the siblings came to visit Thursday night. Brody, Britt's brother came down early from Ohio. He just graduated from Cedarville and is moving to Missouri. Jada, one of my four siblings, come up from UU after finishing her finals. We all went to eat with my friend Zach to use the lovely gift card he, Britt, and I received after winning the Halloween costume contest. I know that was forever ago, but we had yet to use it. So we did. Then Jada and I finished our Christmas shopping today. We have gotten to age where we are commissioned to bring home our own presents from Santa and the grandparents. It works out great because no energy or effort is wasted. Everybody's happy. And it was great to spend time with her.

Britt's fam is here tonight and will be here through her graduation tomorrow, then to move her out on Sunday. I haven't really come to terms with her leaving yet. Don't worry; I'll blog about it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cleaning day...

I really like things clean. However, I hate getting them that way. I can always find things I think are more worth my time. I'm trying to grow in this. Bathrooms absolutely gross me out. I want them really clean, but it makes me gag to think of doing it myself. I've gotten to where I can clean my own bathroom, but I'm still grossed out. I know. It's ironic. But these are the reasons I didn't go to medical school. I get grossed out easily. Now way could I deal with someone busting up the ER with blood squirting and insides protruding. Yeesh. I, the pharmacist, will keep my post behind the glass/counter/whatever my barrier might be. I know there are many great pharmacists who work in trauma/ICU/surgery that see this stuff all the time. But if there's one thing I do know about my career path, it ain't headed that direction.

About life in general, I love how things have slowed down after finals. There are definitely still items on the agenda, but none bring the stress level of an exam or a class assignment or even an ASP deadline...even though I still have a few of those. I get to catch up with friends- some from various parts of the globe, read books that won't necessarily further my education, and hang out without feeling guilty because I know I should be studying.

Jada (one of my sisters, Mom and Lee's) is coming to stay with me tonight. A big group is going out to eat. Britt's brother Brody is coming in as well. Her whole fam gets here tomorrow for her graduation on Sat. and then her departure on Sunday :o(
I haven't cried yet...we'll see...

Then Monday I'm having all my girls from Sunday School spend the night for a Christmas party. Hopefully most of the 12 or so freshman high school girls will be able to make it. Please pray about this. I want us to have fun, but I really want to get to know my girls better. I also want them to get to know each other better. God's been doing awesome things in answer to prayer. I really love my group and this opportunity.

I thought I would add, cuz it's funny, that I'm hoarse, congested, and phlegmy because Britt and I unexpectedly launched into one of our laugh-so-hard-my-face-might-explode episodes last night. It came out of nowhere. It just crept right up on me. She's hilarious.

Now I won't have a hilarious roommate anymore...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

As you know I've been a month now in my huge room upstairs all by myself because Brittany, my best friend and roommate, has been back in Dallas doing a nutrition residency. Because of the massive snow there yesterday, her parents sent her back a day early, so we got to hang out last night. I didn't realize how much I missed her until I slipped back into goofy, talk-with-a-lisp, girly mode. Times with her in our room (cutting up, pondering potential life choices, and laughing about the silliest things) remind me to be thankful for this time in my life. I'll never have it again. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm going to miss her when she leaves for good on the 18th of this month. But I'm so thankful for what God has taught me through her. I love you, Britt.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I haven't blogged in a while...for many reasons: I didn't want to take away from the plea for the compassion child; I didn't know what I wanted to say; I didn't really think people read this anyway. (Wow, that's a lot of punctuation. You grammar folks out there are probably gnawing on your fists. ) My life has been in its usual state of insanity. We had the big ASP faculty breakfast and the ASP Christmas party last week, which was the last week of classes before finals. I have one on Wed., a take-home due Friday, and the big daddy on Monday. THERAPEUTICS! Eesh, does that not send a chill down your spine? It does mine. J/k, it's not that dramatic. I actually enjoy studying for this class, because it's the stuff I need to know to be a good pharmacist.

Now the real stuff...I've been pondering and learning so much this month. As you may or may not know, my mind's constantly running, but the thought process is not always productive or efficacious. But lately God has been showing me how to optimize my time in that area. By that I mean I've been able to shut the analysis down when it wasn't necessary. I've started to let myself just live things through instead of working to foresee any and all possible mistakes at the risk of obtaining scars. Did someone say, "grace"? Because I've completely negated its worth and work in the process I'm in when I refuse to let go of what makes sense to me. This is the sweetest time of my life so far. God has been revealing my true worth in Him, and I'm so excited. It all started when I went back through Search for Significance , a Bible study (and book) by Robert S. McGee with Nat, Meg, and Britt this fall. I started to understand how deceived I was to give man's opinion so much weight in my perception of reality. What a constraint! And how fickle is man? I know you're laughing if you know me, because I'm the case study of that. But the freedom comes in knowing that I don't know everything, hardly anything, and no one else does either! But God knows it all, and I know Him, and He loves me. So we're set. Really, I've come to believe that. And I can sleep at night because of it. That peace is pure and priceless. I wish everyone had it.

That's been on my heart lately as well. As Pastor Sam has been going through Ecclesiastes at church, there a few themes that seem to come up every Sunday, such as:

  1. Get wisdom. And reverent fear of God is the first step toward that. (Psalm 111:10, Prov. 2-all of it)
  2. Live it up. "Everything is meaningless..." may sound dreary at first, but looking at it from another direction can be a bit freeing. The catch here is WE DON'T KNOW THE LIMITS!! We're limited by human minds. But God's not. I'm sure you've all heard this before, but come with me here...

If you purchase a new hi-tech gadget with a million features and options, how do you get the most out of what you paid for? How do you use it up to its full capacity? Read the manual! Who else is going to know how best to manipulate the beast besides its designer?'s the same way with us. We're creations. We don't know it all...about life or love or happiness or ANYTHING. But God does. AND He gave us the manual. Yep, so go on and break out your Bible. We've all got a lot of catching up to do.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Hey guys, this is a great opportunity to do a small thing and make a huge difference. I have been a Compassion International sponsor since my freshman year of college, and it's been so rewarding. I keep in regular contact with my little Lena in Indonesia. Now it's your chance to jump in. I was given the task of finding the child shown above a sponsor this Christmas. It's 32 dollars a month, and the money goes directly to supporting the children. You can check out their website at . Seriously, think about it, pray about it. See what you can do. Even if you don't want to commit full-time, they take donations at Christmas time and divide the donations up equally among the children to buy them Christmas gifts. You can donate easily and quickly online. Many of my friends are sponsors as well, and I know musicians such as Andrew Peterson and Bebo Norman are huge supporters. In fact, I think both of them have actually gone overseas to visit their Compassion children. Let me know what God lays on your heart!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

God has really been challenging me lately. Namely, I experienced a real spiritual gut-check yesterday. Just in my thoughts I came to the question of, "Is my perception of God's best for me God's idea of His best for me?" I don't know that I can answer yes to that question. I expect to process His will and His plan like other areas of life, such as here's what I've observed from past experience, here's the precedent that's been set, here's what I can expect. But how limited is that? It's safe, yes, that's what I cling to. But how small is my view of God in that line of thought? I'm for real about agreeing with John Piper in being a Christian hedonist. I believe Jesus in John 10:10 that He really did come to give me a full life and to show me what living is all about. But I think God's calling me to accept the fact that He may not always give me the vision of what's to come before He asks me to make the step of faith. That's not comfortable for me. I like well-calculated risk and rational decision-making. That's not so much the standard in utter dependence and obedience in Christ.

Most of this thought process has resulted from the realizations that in a year and a half, I will not be in school anymore. I can honestly say I have no idea what's next. I'll probably have loans to pay off, so directly to the missionfield may not be an option. Do I want to do a residency? Do I want to give away one year of my life to a hospital for the practice experience and meager pay? That will only help me get ahead if I plan on being a clinical pharmacist in a hospital. Do I? I have no idea.

And now back to Memphis...things are crazy busy, as always. I've recently joined Facebook and MySpace, and I'm absolutely addicted. I miss Brittany, my roommate and best friend who is currently in her hometown of Dallas to do a one-month residency there. We were like a married couple: live in the same room, share a bathroom, debrief about our day, laugh about ridiculous things at midnight that would not be funny during the day, etc.

Things with ASP are hectic, and they will pretty much stay that way until I'm out of office in April. Sure is growing my prayer life. Church is great. I've gotten more involved with the youth group this past week, and it's really been a blessing. I went to see some of my girls in a cheerleading competition on Saturday, and they were awesome! I was so proud. It really made me miss cheering. Yeah, I said it. It was fun, though.

Friday night, Huntingdon played George Carver High School in Memphis at Whitehaven. So Justin and Zach went with me, Mom, and Lee to the game. It was so good. The boys did great. It was close, too: 6 all at halftime. Then H'don kicked it up a notch and brought it home. This pic is of Kellen, my little bro, and me. He's # 16 on the football team, a sophomore. Oh, and did I mention this kid's a gem? Has a heart of gold. I love my fam!

Monday, November 07, 2005

I spent the weekend in Birmingham, AL. Our APhA-ASP chapter made the trip for our Midyear Regional Meeting (MRM). Region 3, composed of the southeastern portion of the US plus Puerto Rico, is very strong when it comes to ASP. I always have a good time, and the people are the best. I was able to hang out with all my friends that I made during the Summer Leadership Institute in DC this summer. It's funny that we only got to spend about 30 hours total with each other, but great friendships were formed. I'll take a moment to send a shout-out to all my homies in Region 3:

  • my girl Sadie from Campbell University over in NC
  • my buddy Daniel from UGA
  • Shelly from USC, South Carolina, not Southern Cali
  • Lisa from Ole Miss
  • Wheeler, also from Campbell, met her for the first time
  • I'm sure there are a few more that I'm failing to mention, but all of Region 3 is great.

Our chapter also ran a candidate for regional member-at-large. Deryk, one of our chapter's first year Members-at-large ran and did an awesome job. He was elected! I was so proud.

All in all we had fun. Then I got home Sunday afternoon and decided to play sports at the ROC (recreation outreach center) at GBC...

great idea...or so I thought. I'm not much of a b-baller, so when they offered wallyball (volleyball in a racquetball court where you can use the side walls), I definitely volunteered. I was having fun until I jumped up and came down on my ankle instead of the bottom of my foot. Word to the wise: go with the foot, ankles don't work. I definitely thought I had broken it because I had a similar injury a couple of years ago. And it was my whole body weight coming down on the joint. So my anxious curiosity got me to the ER, and the X-ray said no break. I was pumped.

So crutches for two days, the whole RICE treatment, and then easy on it for two weeks. I left Nat out to dry because we won't be running at 5:30. I figured I will gain a few pounds, but I'm hoping for the best.

I know this is a direct result of prayer. This happened last time. I prayed for humility and God let my leg break. It definitely slows me down, grows compassion, and centers me. I've been praying for a growth spurt lately, and I guess this is it. I don't want to take life and health and communication and transportation for granted. I'm hoping this will grow some resourcefulness that will come in handy on the missionfield and in all aspects of life. I was definitely ticked at first. My first thought was, "I don't have time for a broken leg." That definitely showed a lot of humility. (Please note the exaggerated sarcasm.) Whether it's the easy way or the hard one, I want God to keep teaching me. As long as I never become un-teachable, life will be full. (John 10:10)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

It's been a great week. I had a huge test on Monday, went to work for a bit, then worked at GBC's Pumpkin Party. There were so many parents and kids in the Faith Building. Brittany and I ran one of the games. Some of the kids were absolutely precious! I wished I would have had my camera. The rest of the week has been pretty laid back. I went to the Memphis game against UAB on Tuesday night. There were a lot of people there from Career I. We had a big time cutting up and dancing with the Memphis band. They're so ghettro-fabulous; I love it! And it was great to see Daryl Hackney, UAB's QB, up close. He's the bomb. He's one of the tightest QB's I've ever seen in college football. I know my experience isn't that extensive, but he impresses me. Tennessee sure could use him. That's a sore subject...I'll move on. Then Wednesday night I got to see Shaq play in the Grizzlie's opening game! It was great. I was about 20 rows up from the floor! Those kids are huge!!! I knew they were big, but seeing them for real was mind-boggling.

I've also got to talk to some of my friends from back in the day this week, whether via email or phone conversation. McLean, Josh, Jess, Wendy, all kinds of peeps. It's good to catch up and always interesting the changes God has brought us through.

I leave for Birmingham tomorrow. It's the Midyear Regional Meeting for Region 3 of APha-ASP. That doesn't mean much to anyone but me, but it's the organization that I'm the president of at our local chapter level. We get to meet up with our friends in the southeast and discuss ideas, opportunities, and policy. I like the legislative stuff. It gets kinda heated at times. It's always a good time. As pharmacy people, we always make time for social gatherings. And Birmingham's nice, so it'll be fun.

I apologize for the lack of exciting content in this post. But life is good right now. God is really answering prayer in revealing Himself and drawing me to Him. I'm not any "better" as a person, but He's never expected me to be. I'm learning that. He just asks that I love and follow Him. I'm learning how to respond in the same simplicity with which He pursues. Life is good.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

So the results are in, and this fabulous dental hygiene trio won the costume contest at the Career I ( my old Sunday School class) Halloween party. Britt is far left in the Colgate Plus White toothpaste costume. My friend Zach is chillin as a homemade (yep, he literally constructed this beast, with a shoulder harness and all!) Ora
l B toothbrush. And I am the lovely box of floss on the right. If you look closely, you can see that I have a hinged flip top, floss, and the floss cutter attached to my costume (all compliments of the Zach Cordell creativity institute) . We had so much fun. There were some other great costumes...such as the lovely and literal Hawaiian honeymoon couple (Meg and Matt). Don't get scared, they didn't gain any weight (it's just a costume!). lol. Maybe some of you guys remember "happy trees" on PBS by my buddy Bob Ross. Well, my friend Clark paid a remarkable tribute to him. Clark, by the way, is our resident CPA and karaoke star. He's hilarious! Karaoke is a waste without this man on board. Clark actually one second place in the costume contest.
Natalie, my other roommate and running buddy and her boyfriend Brad came as...can you tell? Look at him first, then see if it comes to you. He's an outlet, and she's a plug! See the electrical cord? How funny is this? These two are so much fun. They both are playful and somewhat hyperactive. Never a dull moment...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Renewed and refreshed, I return to the daily grind after my fall break spent in Huntingdon with fam and friends. It's always such a good time getting to see all my immediate family (of eight between two households) and most of my extended. Since I've grown enough to glimpse their value, I always get hit with overwhelming gratitude to God for how many amazing people He surrounded me with as I was growing up. It's so rare these days to have biological and step-families love the children with the same furvor and intensity. I know it exists. I have it. I don't deserve it, though. They offer so much to learn from: work ethic, self-sacrifice for a greater good, wisdom-both general and spiritual, and unconditional love. I have a lot to live up to. But God is definitely big enough to pour life and love out of this broken vessel.

Switching gears...I got to watch Huntingdon thump Gibson County in high school football. It was nice to be for a team that shows up and plays like they know what's up (unlike TN). I was so proud of the boys. It was also a great opportunity to run into old friends. And on Saturday I watched the Union girls' soccer team play. Daron, one of my sisters, is on the team. She's had a lot of trouble with her calves. There's a pain of unknown origin keeping her from being able to play her best. It's really frustrating because they've tried a couple things already. She's a trooper, though. I'm very proud of her, as well as of all my siblings. I don't know that I worded that right, but hopefully you get the picture.

Things in general are good, fast-paced, but I'm surviving. This past week, after Bible study on Wednesday night, God started showing me a lot of areas in my life He wants me to let Him integrate. This has been one of those great growth experiences where each step brings a sweet freedom with it. He's blessed me with the understanding that He still wants to make God-sized changes in me. Our Bible study, The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee has been rocking our faces off. He talks about four lies that Satan gets us to believe, and then four truths from God's Word that combat the deception. One of the truths is that because of the Holy Spirit's work of regeneration, we are no longer bound to our past, whether it's good or bad. Our identity lies solely in Christ's love, sacrifice, and redemption. So if we allow anything else to define our self worth, we are being deceived and living less than the fullest possible. It's really freeing to think that I can wake up tomorrow and (because of the power of Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead) be loving and compassionate to those whose path I cross. Those who know me know that's not always natural for me. But God's big enough.

Friday, October 07, 2005

So I'm studying...and stressing. I had to head to Nashville for some pharmacy meetings this week, despite two major tests that are looming. So now it's crunchtime. The meetings went well. It's always good to build relationships with successful practitioners so I can envision how pharmacy should be practiced post-educationally. It also assures me that I picked a great career. Things are busy, but rolling steadily along. No nervous breakdowns yet in the year of the ASP presidency. God has been faithful (for some reason I still get surprised by this) in molding and shaping me in leadership as well as providing me the flexibility I need in times of crisis to maintain sanity. Living with my girls here in Memphis is still a blast, and I love it. It's not really conducive to the academic life, but I manage. Teaching the freshman girls of a private high school here for Sunday School is great. I'm really enjoying getting to know them and hopefully impart some Biblical wisdom. If nothing else, I want them to have a Christian influence who loves them, knows what's best for them, but isn't hounding them as a parent would. I still love Germantown Baptist and will miss it dearly when I move to Nashville next year. When I was driving in for the meeting on Wednesday night, I started getting super excited about my new life there come May. I like newness and big changes for the most part, and I eagerly anticipate this one. And not just because it means I'll be done with the didactic portion of my education. I'll sorely miss my homies here in M-town, but God is faithful. I was praying for my future church home and group of friends in Nashville on my way back to Memphis today and was overwhelmed with a sense of assurance from God. Here I am busting out into tears on I-40 about feeling God let me know that He's got it all worked out (psalm 139:16), and that it's gonna be awesome. I'm excited. Now about therapeutics and kinetics...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Meg and Matt got married yesterday. It was a fun weekend. They are a beautiful couple, and I was proud to be part of the wedding party. Nat and Britt were honorary bridesmaids and wore their own matching dresses. I'm pretty sure we all cried when Meg walked down the aisle, and we all had a blast at the reception. I mean, who can avoid having a good time when there's a chocolate fountain involved? I mean, seriously. It was good to run into some old friends from Union as well as a few acquaintances from high school. Most of them weren't expecting to see me since Meg and I have only become close in the past two years. It's all about the fellowship at GBC. I love that church.

So the other fun time this week was when I had to go to Memphis Health Department to get my TB scare cleared up. We are required as pharmacy students to get TB skins tests once a year before we enter into the hospitals and clinics for our classes. So mine came up positive. I mean my arm had a large welp, and I was ready to scratch it off. No fun. So they took a chest x-ray that came up negative. However, it wasn't until a month later that I was actually able to get an appointment with the TB doctor at the TB Control Center at Memhpis Health Dept. So I bring in my x-ray, and they tell me I'm high-risk because I work in a hospital, I've been out of the country, and I've always tested negative. So I'm on drugs for 9 months. Yep, nine months. I won't even live in Memphis in 9 months. But I'll be taking this drug that's hard on my liver and causes decreased appetite. I've yet to experience the latter. But I've reconciled myself to it. I won't ever be tested again. I'll probably have to get a chest x-ray every 3 years or so just to make sure it hasn't reared its head or anything. Things could be much worse.

I'm learning about patience...which I love. lol. right... But at least I'm learning. There are worse places in the journey to be. God's rocked me with James 3:17, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate and submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." That's the wisdom I'm currently praying for. I want my heart to have all those things. He'll do what most glorifies Him. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The FAB Four (in order from left to right: me, Natty-Tat, Megums, and Britt)

We threw Meg in a car after telling her what to pack and headed to Hot Springs, AR for her getaway weekend with the girls before she gets hitched. And it's all happening next weekend, Sept. 24th. We're all excited. Matt's great, and God has truly blessed them as a couple.

And so I conform...or maybe I'm just curious. I want to keep track of the events of my life in a public forum...I think. I tell myself this is a trial run. We'll see what happens.

Tonight I'm sad because Tennessee lost. It's really frustrating to be so invested in an event in which I serve no role other than "spectator". I can't figure out if it's our coaching or if our boys just don't want to play hard. Keep in mind my perspective tonight was limited to the 30-second updates on Fox sports because I was sitting in the inpatient pharmacy (in the basement) of the VA Hospital Memphis. No TV's...which means no details. Ainge finally showed up...sort of. And we lost by a bunch of field goals? Really? Did we? Then why didn't we kick a few of our own? Were we greedy? Was that our fatal flaw? Who knows? I don't know that SEC football is going to come through for me this year as a major form of entertainment. More times than not I am left agitated and discontent. Maybe I'll adopt a hockey team or something...hmm.