Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Christmas celebration is over, and it's been a great one. I love getting to be around my family and old friends. However, I'm not super-excited about jumping back into things on rotation in Nashville. I look forward to learning more and being exposed to more, and of course this residency circus promises to be an adventure. But overall, I get that creeping, overwhelming sense of the monkey on your back. Those of you in school, especially with me the past few years know exactly what I'm talking about. It's that feeling that you should be doing more. Studying more, learning more, getting more done. Ugh. It's the worst. It handicaps you from being able to exist completely in your present situation because you're stressing about the future.

About a month ago, I had been reading through Psalms and trying to get a hold of God's Sovereignty through the writings of David. And peace came easy. Then I let go of it at some point. And started depending on my own strength (which we all know leads to disaster).

Now I start the slow trek back up that hill. And just in time, because I can't afford to enter 2007 with a deceived perception. I want to live fully the adventures God has coming my way. I want to abide in the peace He freely offers with just the knowledge of Who He is.

Sidebar: Congrats to Ben Doc and his new fiance on their recent engagement. And last but certainly not least, Congrats to my girl Britt and Caleb on their more recent engagement!

Friday, December 22, 2006

"I'll be home for Christmas" today. I'm going to brave the headache that is I-40 and truck it back to cozy, little Huntingdon. I need to see my fam. Being up in Nashville without school and only the residency stress to keep me company has been a bit of a downer. I need rejuvenation. I need to be reminded of all the amazing family God has blessed me with and what I mean to them. And more importantly, how I can learn to become more like them.

I hope each of you has safe travels and a blessed Christmas. The exciting thing is that this is where it all starts for those who believe in Jesus. This is the celebration of the beginning of His story. It still baffles me that He came "while we were yet sinners" (Romans 5:8).

Monday, December 18, 2006

L.A., take it back!

We don't want it. Yeah, that's right. Your weather. You can keep it. It's nice and all to be 70 year-round with a nice breeze, but just let us experience it when we visit. Don't be trekking it over here to Tennessee. We like our Christmas cold-ness. So go back. What's the point of me getting a new coat for Christmas if I have to wait until I move next June to a colder climate to wear it? I've given up all hope for snow, but seriously. I want it to be chilly. I miss the natural rosiness of everyone's cheeks and nose. It's cute.

We're not trying to be California over here. We like that we experience both winter and summer. But now we're just getting a year long summer-autumn. I would at least like it to drop below 50 at some point before Christmas day. Maybe?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

From the Facebook group "The Wit and Wisdom of Jada Butler"...

I couldn't resist. These are a treat...

Did ya'll know everyone's got tonsils? Sick! Get it, tonsils!"--Submitted by Matt Owens

"Prussia? You're just making up countries now." --Submitted by Daniel Freeman

"There is no such person as President William McKinnely! Ya'll are makin stuff up...oh and he was an SAE too...yeah I bet. Ya'll are really makin stuff up now!"--Submitted by Jacob O'Brien

"I am lost as the day is dawn."--submitted by Meghan Deakins

"Sick, Mowens, are you afraid of getting melanoma or something?" (In response to Matt ordering a well done hamburger)--Submitted by Matt Owens

"Yeah I like Japanese food...its American."--Submitted by Meghan Deakins

"My hands don't stink...they smell like the world."--Submitted by Kyle McCann

"I could beat her up with sticks and cans"--Submitted by Meghan Deakins

"I hate water... it tastes like liquid air!"

"Jesus wasn't white; He spoke Arabian!" - submitted by Jacob O'Brien

My personal fave..."It's cold as Methuselah in here."

Please don't get the wrong impression. She's a smart girl. She definitely made better grades in the chemistry department at Union than I did. She just doesn't always think before she speaks. And that makes her way fun to be least for the laughs. No, seriously, we love her. You would too, after you stopped laughing.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

What about your friends?

Anybody hearing the old TLC song? Come on, you know it.

I always go on and on about my family and how much I love them. And I do. They're great, and I'm overwhelmingly blessed to have them. But I also have a bombin' group of amazing individuals that I get to call "friends".

I love how hard times brings them into the spotlight or sifts them up like gold-diggers panning for gold in the stream. I know, what a dumb analogy, but you get it. Just this week I've gotten to speak to so many of my friends who are miles and oceans away. This is not an exhaustive list, but to name a few:

  • My girl Reagan up in Philly. I draw so much strength from a fellow loud sista' who loves life and sees everything as an adventure and a learning experience
  • Donna, my airport driver who's picked me up more than once now and listened to me whine through tears. Plus, she always laughs at my jokes. You gotta keep those close.
  • Nat, a consistent communicator, always willing to lend an ear and a word of encouragement
  • Britt, my girl that I get to talk with the lisp with and laugh about life and love with
  • My roommate Katie, who listens and supports and shares about her life and lets me share about mine
  • My friend Jenn down in Texas, who loves me unconditionally and makes me believe I'm a minister to her
  • TB, my med school friend, always willing to share a meal or hang out...and did I mention the bomb at some flag football?
  • Cesar, an old friend from high school, who I've recently gotten back into contact with in the last month
  • Tim Yzzy, up in Washington state, catching up about life and surprisingly encouraged me with a convo he had with a friend recently
  • last but certainly not least, the tried-and-true buddy across the ocean, Mr. Casey Stafford. finally got to talk to him on the phone today. It was exactly the encouragement I needed. That's my dog, right there.

I can't wait to see and speak with more over the holidays. I'm thankful that God has chosen to bless me with friends. They make life so much more enjoyable, and sometimes it takes them to make it bearable. The unconditional love of Christ has been much easier to accept and understand through the friendships He has given me.

Praise the Lord for friends!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

After driving back to Nashville from home today, I went to Kairos, the Bible study for young people held at Brentwood Baptist on Tuesday nights. I love hearing from Brother Mike Glenn, and I usually enjoy the music, and I needed some restoration and refreshment. And it was dead-on, as usual. On my trip back, I was able to speak with Katie Rae, the woman that discipled me at Union. We hadn't talked on the phone for an extended amount of time in months, so this was also needed and therapeutic. She shared some great Truth (as she usually does) about practicing the presence of God, and it was exactly what I needed to be reminded of.

Tonight he spoke about the Christmas story and made the point that God never complained that Jesus was born in a stable. He just used what was there as a place to get started. Not to diminish His Sovereignty in the orchestration of the event, but He didn't set them up in a four-star hotel. And the Bible never mentions an innkeeper. God can do whatever He wants with what He chooses to use. That was his challenge. He just wants to get started. Same thing with Abraham. Abe wasn't bringing anything to the table, and God (obviously) knew that. But that's where He wanted to get things started.

So the same applies to us. Nothing DEPENDS on us. He just wants to get started. And we need to bring what scraps we have to offer for the process. That's our celebration of the Christmas story. We need to join in what He's already started, and let Him get started on and in us.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Anaheim and residency madness

I've had a blast so far in Cali. I had fun with Will Saturday, meeting his friends and seeing LA. Then I got to hear John McArthur preach Sunday morning. It was really neat. He's a great teacher and a thorough Biblical scholar. He referenced his statements throughout the message with exact Scripture passages. Very impressive.

Best part: when he came on stage to preach, the 70-person choir was still standing, so he made a motion with his hand for them to sit, and they did. Then he said, "Wow, I didn't know I could do that. That's about all I can command around here. Me and Benny Hen." How funny is that? I busted up laughing. I couldn't believe he dropped that from the pulpit. It was nice to hear a little humor from one of today's greats.

Then I came to Anaheim via Will's gracious travel service (he drove me all the way down here). I was immediately thrown into the ASHP chaos once I found the correct hotel. (I got him to drop me off at the wrong one by mistake.)

I had a blast with my roomies and all the old friends and pharmacy contacts I've made throughout the years. I met and spoke with different programs around the country to see where I might like to end up next year. The showcase is so helpful. I was able to narrow down my 24 interests to about 5 good programs that I'll be applying to. I'm not going to list them on here since they might be subject to change, but if you're interested, email me and I'll fill you in. I'm excited. And just to give some hints, I'm not going to end up in TN. I'm not even applying to any programs here. So come visit me wherever I go!

So yesterday, I woke up at 1:45 a.m. to get ready, pack my stuff, and leave for LA from Anaheim. My friend Sara and I were on our way to meet other UT friends outside CBS studios to get in line for "The Price is Right". We were told we needed to be there by around 4 in order to secure a spot in the audience. Ugh. I had two hours sleep. But we got on the show. It was an all-day process of getting in-line, waiting, being told to come back, then more waiting. Then they started taping. My friend Paula had made these great neon green shirts with glitter on them for us to wear. There was eight of us, total. We kept hoping they would call anyone from our group, but it never happened. We still had fun, though. With such little sleep, we were delirious the entire day. But it was worth it to see Bob Barker way up close before he retires. He's so nice; the whole set crew is. And the stage is sooo much smaller than it looks on TV. Very sneaky, the TV people.

Now I'm hanging with Will in LA. It's a really neat city. We're eating sushi with my pharm school friends and previous roomies tonight. Then I head back on Sunday evening. I have a busy month of applying, writing, working, volunteering, and wrapping to get back to. Ugh.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Catching Up

Okay, so I've been meaning to blog for over a week now, and I haven't been able to sit still long enough to get something banged out. And I don't really have time now, but I'm practicing discipline. There are so many cool things that have been going on and that I've been learning. I wish I had time to tell them all, but I don't...maybe later.

Part of my hectic-ness has been due to my trip today. I leave for Anaheim, CA for this beastly pharmacy conference which involves hospital pharmacists, residency programs, and residency applicants from all over the country. Enter me. I have emailed about 24 programs that caught my eye initially. I've been able to narrow it down some since then, and this conference where I'll get to meet people and ask questions will help do that even further. My goal is to pare down to only 5 to which I would like to apply. Friends from my class and from our faculty will be there, and I'm also excited about spending time with them. It should be fun.

Before and after the conference, I'm hanging out with my gracious friend Will, who will be driving me all over California, from what I understand. J/k, but he is going out of his way to haul me to my hotel then pick me up later in the week. Since he lives in LA, we don't get to hang out much, as you can imagine. So it should be lots of fun to hang out with a friend, see LA, and see HIS version of LA. Plus, did I mention the kid worked for Clint Eastwood's company? How cool is that?

On life in general, God has been teaching me so much lately, and it's been so sweet. After Hungary, I had been asking for more faith in His Sovereignty in order for me to stop stressing about stuff and start truly TRUSTING that everything would work out...even if we got some bruises along the way. And I can't tell the small miracles I've seen since then. It's so wierd why we don't just ask for this stuff in the first place! How many times in His Word does He tell us to do that? Humans, ugh. I just finished a great month at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital and met some nice people. I was with Paula, a girl from my class, and once again, made a closer friendship with a classmate, which has happened now on almost every rotation. God so provides.

I better be going, but I'll update cuz I'm taking my computer with me. Please pray for discernment, wisdom, humility, and that God will orchestrate my desires in order to lead me down the path that brings Him the most glory. My ultimate desire hasn't changed. I want people to know Jesus. They need Him, and He deserves their worship. So pray that God will make clear what residency will best grow me and equip me to be a better pharmacist and a better minister.