Saturday, November 27, 2010

What is Love?

The dictionary defines love as a tender, passionate affection and concern for the well-being of another person.  Love is so many things that it is hard to describe adequately.  I don't know if our finite minds can truly understand all the depths and hidden parts of true love, but here is my humble attempt to define what love means to me.

Love is not just a feeling, it is a choice and a commitment. It cannot truly be expressed or given without God’s help.  Love spills over from the core of who you are. It is expressed and experienced in 1000 different ways. It always takes into account the recipients needs. It lives to die. Loving someone means trusting them to love you back – even the ugly parts. Love is a gift from God – a picture of His supernatural love for us. Love protects and defends, it never abandons or exposes. When you love someone, you ache for them every minute you’re apart. You want to please them, you want to help them be everything God meant for them to be. Love is an investment – an investment in another person, and an investment in eternity. You commit to constantly learn and appreciate this person and you acknowledge the importance of your relationship in God’s kingdom. The way you love is a spotlight – it illuminates God’s love for humanity and His love for each of you. Your love is an example to those around you – to your friends, family, and someday, your children. Love is a lesson that you will learn over and over again. It is something that you need to teach each other and those around you. It is beautiful and sometimes scary. It is not something you fall in and out of. It is the backbone of a relationship. It has the power to hold everything together.

What is love to you?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sighing a Breath of Relief

Finally!  Neurology is over!  Hip-hip-hooray!  My mood was about a bazzilion times better today, and I felt like my shoulders actually moved when I took a breath!!!  I couldn't be more extatic to be moving onto soft tissue service!  I even get to do a ovariohysterectomy tomorrow!!!  And we have a really interesting case of a dermoid sinus in a chocolate lab that is going to surgery tomorrow as well!  It's going to be a fabulous week.  Still have long hours, still won't know all the answers, but at least now I can breathe!

Oh, and I'm super-duper missing my man right now!  He accidentally left some clothes here from when he came to visit this weekend and they smell so much like him I can't stop!  It's stupid, I know, but what's a girl to do when her man is 200 miles away?  :)  Anyway.  There are still times when I have worries about how we'll handle certain things in the future, but more and more, I just am overwhelmed with affection for him both when we're apart and when we're together.  He's so sweet and takes good care of me!  He helped me buy a phone, cleaned out my shower drain, and did the dishes this weekend!!!  I know, right?  What a keeper!

Stay tuned!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Stressed to the Max

I feel so heavy right now.  Just so completely weighted down by everything that is going on.  I absolutely hate neurology service.  I thought it was getting better, but then I was attacked again in rounds today.  My brain just shuts down when they start asking me questions in a certain tone.  It won't back up, go forward, anything - it just dies!  I looked so incompetent today.  It's just so frustrating and discouraging it makes me want to cry!
On top of it all, I think I might be getting sick!  I was able to fight it off a couple of weeks ago, but putting in these kind of hours and being in a constant state of stress for such a long period of time is really wearing me down.  Rem is supposed to come up this weekend, but he's been really busy too.  If he doesn't come, I think that will further push me into even more discontentment and angst.
I can't wait till next Wednesday when we switch to Soft Tissue Surgery - it's gonna be like heaven!  Just please, Lord, get me through till then.  Please calm my mind and help me remember the things I learned about the nervous system.  I know the information is up in my brain somewhere.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Disappearing Act

So if you were wondering, yes, I'm still alive.  I haven't disappeared off the face of the earth.  I just live at the hospital now.  Speaking of, I have 10 pm treatments (whoops).  I'd better go get those puppies taken care of.  Neurology is horrible and I can't wait for the next week and a half to be over.  And in 23 days I'll be home for a while - which I am completely and totally living for right now!

Monday, October 25, 2010

So Beyond Exhausted

Whew!  I am soooooo tired.  I got to the VMTH (Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital) at 6:30 this morning and didn't leave until 7:15 tonight.  I still have to go back, because I have 10pm meds duty and am lucky enough to have to be back by 6 am tomorrow morning!  Yay for surgery!  I have to put on about 10 layers of concealer to hide the huge dark circles under my eyes.  I guess this is good training for having a baby someday - I hear new parents don't get much rest either.

I've been in a funk the last few days too.  I think it was because I had a little time off this weekend.  It sounds funny, I know, but there was just enough time to do absolutely nothing.  I couldn't go home to KC because I had to be back at the VMTH at around 7 both Saturday and Sunday, but had too much time on my hands to just sit and think about all the quality time with Remington that I was missing.  This was compounded by the fact that we didn't really talk much on Sunday.  I know he's busy and I don't expect him to stop socializing because I'm not around, but I guess I was just feeling a bit needy and wishing that he would skip going to Perkins with everyone and talk to me instead.

He appologized via text after I had fallen asleep last night, which made me feel a little better except that when I responded to the text I never heard back from him :(  I know he's not ignoring me and that he really does want to talk to me, but I'm just really struggling with the long distance thing right now.  I think I start to have doubts when we are away from eachother and especially when we don't get to really talk in a while.  I can't name any super specific doubts, but several of them definitely stem from my general lack of self-esteem which I know is totally silly and unfounded.  I don't know.  Being this tired doesn't help me sort through any of this either.  *sigh*

Bottom line - I'm grumpy and discontent, which means that right now I'm going to go spend some time in God's word and fix my attitude and give him my heartaches and doubts.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

White Coat - a.k.a. "I Made It!"

Oh my goodness!  What a stressful week!  7 tests in 5 days and I'm still breathing!  And I made it through without gaining any more D's!  I am so relieved!  This weekend was wonderful.  Remington came down on Friday and stayed till this morning.  The rest of my family just came down on Sunday to help me celebrate and attend our White Coat Ceremony.  It was really neat.

Now I'm just realizing that tomorrow, I start seeing real patients and am responsible for their healthcare!  I am totally and completely freaking out right now!  I am so nervous!  It doesn't help that my first rotation is reportedly one of the most difficult and that the senior clinician I'm assigned to is very intimidating.  I'm so keyed up about all of it that I can't talk about it anymore!  I'll try and write more later - hopefully it will be good news and this will all be turning out better than I thought (maybe I'll even be having a little fun)!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

In a Fog of Daydreams

So today hasn't been very productive.  I went to small group accountability/Bible study this morning.  It was really good to spend some quality time with Alicia and Kim again.  Then I came home, ate some lunch, picked up the apartment, and started the laundry.  I did a little bit of studying before becoming distracted and making a run to Hobby Lobby to get materials so that I could make a "Remington box".  As I was cleaning off my desk, I came across some little mementos of our time together that I want to save, but didn't have a place for.  I figured HobLob would have plenty of options and ideas for me.  The box turned out well (if I do say so myself) and I can't wait to keep filling it with memories!


I really think I might be falling in love with this man!  Being away from him this long is really hard.  And whenever I think about him, I can't help but smile!  He is so incredibly sweet and kind.  I can definitely see us getting married someday (in fact, I'm starting to think of it more often than I should)!  People always warn you to go slow and that if you've never dated before, to be careful not to fall for a man just because he's the first one who's shown interest.  That advice is all well and good - for an 18 year old.  I'm not saying that I've totally disregarded those warnings, but I think at 25 I have had a good chance to get to know myself and what I both want and need in a life partner. 

It's so weird to think that I could potentially (and theoretically girls, don't worry nothings been said yet - just my girl-brain jumping ahead) be married before I graduate vet school.  Haven't really thought about the logistics, but when our relationship reaches that point, I know neither of us will want a long engagement!  But then again, I'm not sure I could plan a wedding during clinics!  It's not important right now anyway - it's a long ways off and I really shouldn't be building up these ideas in my head.  But the idea of being HIS makes me very happy.  Who would have thought that the cute new guy at the Halloween party 2 years ago would be such a big part of my life now!?!

Anyway, enough of my daydreaming!  I need to get back to some serious studying.  I have 7 tests in the span of 5 days.  This week is going to be a gauntlet of massive proportions.  Please pray for perseverance and the ability to focus and absorb what I am supposed to be learning.  Just one more week, but it just might be the hardest week of my entire schooling!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quick Update

I’m so exhausted right now! Good news is that I did okay on my second equine exam (not as high as I had hoped, but decent). Now finals will be just a tiny bit less stressful. I still have a ton to get done this week, especially since I’m going home again this weekend! I’ve got a quiz and a test, plus starting to study for next week’s big food animal cumulative final!

Things with Remington are going well. I’m getting more and more of my questions answered. He’s so sweet and we really get along well. He’s been attending a new weekly Bible study with some other people from my church back home. I like that he’s a part of it even though I’m not there and didn’t suggest it or anything – it’s totally his initiative and interest. I wish there was someone more spiritually mature he could trust and talk to. I don’t think he’s had much input from godly men with Christian worldviews in his life and no offense, but the young adults in our class just don’t cut it either.

I still haven’t let my heart go completely, although it’s on a much longer leash these days! :) I think I’ve come to a realization. All of my past experiences have just been crushes (some of them very big and serious crushes). The fun thing about a crush is that a relationship with that person is highly unlikely or nearly impossible for various reasons. Because of this, it’s a lot less risky to let your emotions have a foothold. You don’t have a real relationship with the other person (at least not a romantic one) and things aren’t going to escalate to a point where any major decisions need to be made.

I think part of the reason that I am so hesitant is that this relationship is REAL. I’m not dating Rem just to have a boyfriend. I’m asking myself questions that eventually all lead to “can I marry this man?” The possibility that the decisions I make now could have a huge impact on my future weigh heavily on my mind. And who says love has to strike you like lightning? Maybe an attractive, sweet, quiet man will let you know he cares for you. Maybe you’ll get to know him and want to care for him too. Maybe you’ll be good partners; maybe you’ll become best friends. Maybe sometimes love grows slowly. And maybe, being the careful and serious girl that I am, that is what is best for me.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lots of Life

Whew!  It has been so long since I've blogged!  Sorry!  I just couldn't get all the Africa blogs up, so I decided just to publish the titles so I could write about what all has gone on since then!  It's only been a little over a month since I got back but, boy, have there been some changes! 

Remington, a guy from Oasis that I thought might be interested in me, invited a group of us out to the lake for the weekend.  It was so much fun!  I really like the jet skis!  When we were in the hot tub Friday night, he totally grabbed my hand!  Ok!  So those vibes were definitely real and not figments of my imagination!  Saturday night he and I were talking on the couch and he kissed me!!!  It was unexpected, but sweet.  My mind was working overtime that weekend!  It was a little difficult for me to digest, having just gotten back from South Africa as I was still getting over my little flirtation with Andre. 

We didn't really get to settle much that weekend, but were finally able to talk over dinner at Pei Wei on Monday night.  He said that he's always thought I was cute, but really started becoming interested in me when I went to lunch with him and his ex-girlfriend last spring!  And I've always thought he was cute, but didn't know him that well or always thought of him as someone else's boyfriend!  He asked how I wanted to handle things and I told him that I'd like to take things really slow due to my inexperience and the fact that school would be starting in 2 weeks!

Anyway, to make a long story well, shorter, we've been hanging out and talking for about a month now.  We said we were "casually dating", but neither of us were seeing other people and we basically treated eachother like boyfriend/girlfriend.  He is adorable and even got me a going away present when I left for school! :)  This past Sunday while I was at home for the Labor Day holiday, he asked me if I would be his girlfriend and I said "yes"!  I really like him, and while there are still some things I need to know more about before I let my heart go, I feel like it is going really well and am excited to learn more about him!

He is a wonderful, smart, and sweet man who totally took me by surprise.  I can't believe he really likes me!!!

Wednesday, August 4th

2:30pm (Missouri)
          Well, I made it back to the US in one piece!  The flights weren't too bad.  Colleen and I took some dramamine during our longest flight and got some pretty good sleep.  The food was worse this time, but the movies were working.  I watched Flicka 2 and Clash of the Titans and also listened to Keisha's album.
          As we got closer and closer to home, I got more anxious to be there.  I still would rather be back in South Africa, but if I can't, then I'd rather be back in Kansas City ASAP!  Two more hours of driving and we'll be there and I'll get to love on my precious puppy once more!!!

Tuesday, August 3rd

Monday, August 2nd

Sunday, August 1st

Saturday, July 31st

Friday, July 30th

Thursday, July 29th

Wednesday, July 28th

Monday, July 26th

5:56pm (SA)
          We woke up early to drive out to a farm to dart and skin test 9 buffalo.  I got to treat one buffalo's dart wound and get a blood sample from another one.  It was pretty cool.  We then drove about 3 hours to our next destination.  On our way there, we stopped at the world's tallest bungee bridge and both Kim and Colleen jumped!!!   There was also some really good shopping there and I bought 2 beautiful statues.
          Our accomodations here at Plattenburg Bay are amazing!  Probably one of the nicest places I've ever stayed in!  We have a heated 4 poster bed with curtains, a rustic tub and an incredible view of the mountains!  And the best part is that all the rooms here (and most everywhere in SA) take skeleton keys!  I love skeleton keys!!! All of the rooms are equally beautiful and unique.  I think I may want to honeymoon here!  There were drinks and a large bonfire out in the boma before dinner was served in a very classy, candle-lit dining room.  The staff here are super friendly and accomodating.  I am so in love with South Africa and may never want to return home!

Tuesday, July 27th

5:36pm (SA)
          This morning we worked for 5 hours darting and transporting 10 golden wildebeast!  They sell for around $50,000 US dollars each, so the staff were very unsure about having students help.  At one point, the general manager said to us, "I know you guys are just students, but we really need to hurry this along."  This just totally made him look like a jerk and a retard who had obviously never done this before!  Our work wasn't slow by any means and Bredan hadn't even darted another wildebeast to work on at that point!  Moron! 
          While we were waiting for the rest of the group to bring us the first wildebeast, we saw 2 ostriches mating!  The male did this silly little dance to get the female's attention and then totally ran away once it was all over!  Typical male!  And I guess after Brendan darted the final wildebeast, she decided to go across the dam!  Brendan was already whipping off his jacket to go after her in the hippo infested water!!!  She made it across okay though and I think we were all relieved that Brendan was able to stay dry!
          They also tried to send us out on a game drive without lunch!!!  We asserted ourselves at this point and ordered something before we left - we'd been working for them all morning and were starving!  This reserve is much smaller than Kwandwe and not as natural.  We saw rhinos (one with a baby!), zebra, waterbok, spring bok, wildebeast, giraffe, lions, nyala, antelope, and hippos!  I think I got some really great pictures!!!  Now I'm just trying to warm up from the drive before dinner.
          PS - there were 3 nyala at our door when we got back to the room - so beautiful!

9:41pm (SA)
          We had another braai tonight - lamb, chicken, and I even got to try a little ostrich meat!  We have to be ready early again tomorrow, so I'm headed to bed!

Sunday, July 25th

11:55am (SA)
          Brendan's family is so adorable!  Billie really took to Kim and she helped him make a pretty arrangements out of some nearby grass/weeds with his empty juice box.  Whenever he pulled something that he didn't particularly like or didn't want to use, he'd throw it towards the pond with all his might while yelling, "rubbish"!!!  So cute!
          This morning we got to do the elephant back safaris!  We each got to ride the elephants for about 20-30 minutes (shorter than normal since we had such a big group).  Vicki and I rode behind Corbin on Mokwa.  He is a 21 year old bull elephant who loves to cause trouble!  He is super stubborn and is constantly challenging the handler's authority!  He was named after a type of hardwood tree here in South Africa.  There are 2 other elephants here as well.  Taba means "happy" and he definitely lives up to his name!  Duma means "rumbling thunder" and he is the peacekeeper in the group.
          After our rides we took a walk with the elephants down to the feeding area/watering hole.  We stopped a few times to let the elephants munch on some sweet thorn and so we could take lots of pictures!  Feeding the elephants got quite messy!  There are 2 ways to give them their feed.  You can either drop a handful of pellets down their trunk (and they will get it to their mouths) or you can give them the "trunk up" command and they will happily lift their trunks and open their mouths wide so that you can actually place the food right onto their tongues!!!  It was quite a sight looking between two large tusks into a giant elephant mouth!
          We also visited the AEBS gift shop while we were waiting for the rest of our group to finish their rides.  I purchase a lot of beautiful things for entertaining at home in the future.  I can't wait to use them!

10:42pm (SA)
          After a very late breakfast, we had 2 lectures given by Brenden, followed by lunch.  His entire family is here and his mom made a wonderful chicken soup which we ate outside in the sunshine!  We had another lecture after lunch about bomas (corrals) and then headed out for a game drive.  We saw giraffe, wildebeast, blesbok, and antelope.  The drive ended at a beautiful lookout spot with drinks and fun conversation.  Andre pointed out some constellations and then we went to dinner where Brenden's mom prepared traditional boboti which was like a kudu mince meat pie.  It was pretty good, but dessert was even better!  A scoop of homemade ice cream surrounded by passion fruit yogurt!  Yum!
          We're leaving early tomorrow for another reserve so I'd better get to sleep!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Saturday, July 24th

10:32 pm (SA)
          This morning after breakfast, Brendan taught us how to use the radio tracking devices.  We all went out in the land rovers and attempted to find the male that we had darted and collared the other night.  Unfortunately, we didn't have much luck.  But while we were looking, we had to drive down this incredibly steep hill and Jonty didn't even have his foot on the pedals!  The land rover just went down on it's own with him steering!  And because Jonty is such a wonderful game driver, our vehicle got to drive down the the base of a cliff and listen to our own echos.  We shouted "M-I-Z.....Z-O-U" of course!
          It was time for Peter to leave to catch his flight back home, so after taking a group picture and saying goodbyes, we had a tracking contest to take our mind of the sad part of the trip.  They had taken a radio collar out and hidden it in the bush for us to find.  The tracking devices were trickier to operate than I had thought they would be and since we'd never done anything like it before, it was quite a challenge!  The other group had been bragging the previous night about how they knew that they would win which made it all the sweeter when my group found it first!!!  Yay!
          Then it was time for more goodbyes.  This time we had to leave Jonty and Robin which was really hard because we spent so much time with them everyday.  I absolutely hate this part of trips!  It's so sad!  After I gave Jonty a big hug, I told him to keep practicing his Chewbacca impression because the next time I come, I expect to see improvement!  :)  They were absolutely incredible guides and were always so fun to be around.  I wish they could join us for the rest of the trip!
          We stopped at the gift shop on the way out to spend some of the rands that had been burning a hole in our pockets!  I think I did pretty good by only spending the equivalent of around 50 US dollars.  We ate lunch at a very unique place called Nanaga Farm Stall.  They are know for their pot pies and had all different varieties!  Their bathrooms were also interesting in that you had to pay 2 rand to get into them!  We kind of cheated and just went in as other people were leaving!
          We arrived back at AEBS just in time to see the elephants being put to bed in their bomas.  They aren't allowed to wander around at night because they will just walk right through the fences on the property.  They each received a huge pile of hay and more than 100 oranges!  They really like them! 
          Tonight's dinner was the best so far, not necessarily in terms of the food, but the company and conversation.  There were so many guests at the restaurant that the tables were split up and our group was divided.  Colleen, Dr. Cott, and I got to sit with Brendan and his family.  His wife, Carrie, is so nice and easy to talk to!  This entire experience is just more than I could ever have hoped for!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Friday, July 23rd

10:52 am (SA)
          Right now we are waiting for a large (~1600 lb) eland to wake up.  He somehow jumped the fence and ended up separated from his herd on a neighboring farm.  It took a lot of drugs to get him to go down.  The capture team then loaded him on a truck and transported him across the road to his proper enclosure.
          Before that, we worked on two buffalo.  They had already been separated from the larger herd and were being kept in separate bomas with a few others.  Brendon darted them and 4 students got to go in and work with them - taking blood, treating the dart wounds, testing for TB, and reversing the anesthetic agent.  The bomas were nice because they had an upper level where the rest of us were able to go and watch what was going on.

10:45 pm (SA)
          What an amazing day!  We've done soooooo  much!  If I had to leave Africa today, which I don't, but if I had to at this point, all the money and travel would be worth it!  After we left the buffalo, we went to dart and transport 2 white rhino from bomas on another part of the reserve.  I was one of the lucky ones who actually got to work on one.  It was difficult because my rhino was led into a huge truck and since I'm so short, it was quite a stretch for me to be able to reach him.  I did it though!  I treated the dart wound with penicillin and antibiotic topical spray and administered reversal drugs in a vein in the rhinos ear, which was very tough to get a needle through!
          Our rhino adventures continued on and we darted 2 more from the helicopter (one white and the other a black rhino).  We ear-notched these for identification purposes and put microchips in the rhinos as well as their horns so that they could be traced back to the correct rhino and reserve if they ever ended up on the black market.  So many rhinos have been poached already since the beginning of the year.  It is so sad that people actually make a living killing such amazing creatures!  After we finished notching the black rhino, myself and two other students were able to ride back to the main compound in the helicopter.  It was a really short ride, but it was really neat to see everything from the sky (especially the groggy rhino waking up)!
          Two hours of lecture in our living room followed a quick lunch of cucumber sandwhiches.  I've noticed that many of their sandwiches don't include any meat here.  Interesting.  And not very appetizing.  Peter gave us a lot of good information on carnivores and general wildlife care.  He's a really good teacher.  We went for yet another game drive before dinner and were lucky enough to see an ardvark (which Jonty says is pretty rare to see)!  We also saw a mongoose and a bat eared fox! 
          Right as the sun was setting we found the north pride male who had beat up the three young sub-adults.  He roared right after we pulled up - it was really awesome to watch - his whole body moved!  Then Robin showed up with the other half of the gang.  It was getting dark so Robin shined the red light on him so we could get some better pictures and he roared again!!!  This time, we had moved so that he was facing us and I could feel the vibrations from his roar through my chest!  It was breathtaking!  They call him "Brad Pitt" and he really acts like a spoiled movie star, moving his head so the wind blows his mane just right.  He even graced us with yet another roar when a third land rover pulled up!  What a ham!
          We arrived back at the house to find the chef's having a braai in the back yard.  Jonty and Robin pulled the couch and other seats out on the grass and everyone sat around the fire till the food was ready.  They also taught us a new drinking game that is a weird mix of several games now combined into a crazy fun time dubbed "Kwandwe Rules".  The girls loved it and are looking forward to teaching it to everyone back home.  It might be a challenge to get to sleep tonight with all the continued partying going on across the hall, but it's our last night here, so I guess I understand their desire to live it up.  As for me, I'm gonna hit the sack - it was a very long but rewarding day.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thurday, July 22nd

9:28 am (SA)
          Quick note:  we just saw some black impala while driving.  I guess they are pretty rare!

11:22 am (SA)
          Brendan darted a white rhino from the helicopter at a reserve called Samara today.  We got to watch the capture team place microchips in both horns as well as behind the rhino's ear (this enables autorities to  trace the horns back to a specific rhino/reserve in the case of poaching and black market trade).  Brendan took blood for DNA testing and also gave preventative penicillin in the dart wound and applied fly spray.
          After Brendan reversed the sedative, the capture team worked to get the rhino up so he could walk himself to the waiting truck.  Let's face it, no one wants to carry a full grown rhino!  Once he was loaded, we all got to climb up on the truck and touch him!  His skin was so rough and dry! 

4:38 pm (SA)
          We went out searching for the 3 male sub-adult lions again.  Brendan will try to dart the one that sustained the most injuries so that we can examine him and put a tracking collar on him.  Jonty found me a porcupine quill while we were out looking too!  I hope I can get it home in one piece!

12:44 am (SA)
          Brendan darted the young male as well as the older female with the 2 young cubs.  Our land rover followed the female.  We had to chase off the other 2 sub-adults (her sons) that weren't darted as well has her adorable 3 month old cubs.  Once we made sure they were a safe distance away, we got out and rolled her onto a tarp and lifted her into the back of a truck.  She weighed roughly 200-300 lbs and I was in charge of her head, which was super heavy!!!  I then got to ride all the way back to the compund with her in the back of the truck!  It was probably the best experience of my entire life!  I was sitting in a truck holding a lioness' head!!!  Those who were riding in the land rover behind the truck later told me how tiny I looked compared to the large lion!  Her paws were gigantic as was everything else about her!  I was literally shaking with adrenaline when I got off the truck!
          The other group followed the injured sub-adult male and cleaned up his wounds and put a tracking collar on him so that they could monitor him for the next few days.  When they got back to the garage at the compound where we had the lioness, we started prepping her for surgery.  Peter planned on spaying her.  I guess last year, another team of vets attempted to tie her tubes, but obviously with 2 young cubs, the procedure was unsuccessful!  Unfortunately, Peter was unable to complete the surgery.  There were 3 radio tracking devices free-floating in her abdomen that had caused a build-up of fibrous tissue that had somehow fused her uterus to her kidneys!  In order to spay her, he would have needed to open her up further to visualize the vasculature and make sure she didn't bleed out, but we were definitely in a less than sterile environment, so he and Brendan just closed her up and will dart her again in the future and place a slow-release birthcontrol microchip in her. 
          The surgery took about 2.5 hours (and she was under anesthesia for even longer).  There were 2 really scary moments during this awesome procedure though.  Peter had his hands in her abdomen when all of a sudden, she started growling and moving her front paws!!!  I grabben onto her left hind leg because Brendan put me in charge of making sure the catheterized vein remained patent and open so that he had access to it at all times!  Knowing that this was the fastest way to get her back under anesthesia, I held on with all my might and pulled her leg out so that there was direct access!  It was a heart-stopping experience!  The second time she started waking up, we were a bit more prepared and she didn't get the chance to move around as much as the first time when we thought she might come up off the table!  What a rush!!!
          After driving the lioness back to the area where we picked her up, we finished the evening with a late dinner of partially burnt lasagna (due to the fact that the chef had been out with us watching the surgery) and a game of Uno with Colleen, Meagan, and Dr. Dani Graham (a Mizzou alumni who works for Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus).  We were fuddy duddies and decided to stay at the house while the others went out to go check on the female lions recovery.  And now, it's time for bed!

Wednesday, July 21st

8:18 am (SA)
          The elephants came to the watering hole at breakfast again!  Just toast, yogurt, and granola today.  We're trying to get on the road to Kwandwe as soon as possible.  The fog on the mountains this morning at sunrise was absolutely beautiful!  It was also very windy this morning, but once we got through the mountains, the weather turned overcast and grey.  Andre said that the change in weather conditions was common to see.

11:34 pm (SA)
          Wow!  What a day!!!  After driving for three hours to Kwandwe Game Reserve ("kwandwe" means "blue crane" in Afrikaans), we threw our luggage into our rooms and headed out to try to dart an eland that had jumped a fence into a neighboring farmers pasture!  Brendan and Pete took a tracker and attempted to dart him on foot, but he was not cooperating, and they decided to wait until they could get a helicopter in there. 
          We went back to the main house for lunch and some snacks.  Colleen brought out her fruit roll-ups, gushers, and fruit-by-the-foot for the guys (Andre, Jonty, and Robin) to try.  Even Brendon and Peter had some!  They enjoyed most of the american treats except for the gushers - I don't think they liked the squishy juice in the middle.  Robin then took us out back where they had an enclosure with two servals (these are the wild cats bred with domestics to get "savannah cats").  Robin prefers to call them "gay cheetahs" which is pretty funny.
          Next we tranquilized and watched a $250,000 buffalo bull be relocated to a new herd.  They are hoping he'll become the herd bull in his new setting and bring some fresh genetics into the herd.  We then went on a little mini game drive and saw giraffe, oryx, spring bok, 2 white rhino, kudum and an old bull elephant.  Jonty even introduced us to a local plant called spekboom (also called hog bush) that you can eat.  It is bitter in the afternoon, but sweeter in the early morning.  The thing we noticed the most was that no matter what time you tasted it, it had the ability to suck all the moisture from your mouth - it was really weird!  At one point, we were too busy taking note of some weird type of algae in the ground and distracted our driver Jonty so that he drove us straight into a patch of mud and we got stuck!!!  After several failed attepmts to jack up the wheels so we could back out, we had to radio the other vehicle to come rescue us (which had them all laughing).  We then came back and watched a National Geographic special on darting wildlife starring our very own Brendon Tindall!
          Dinner was really good and was followed by homemade ice cream which didn't help us warm up any!  The plan for the evening was to try to trap some hyena, so while the trackers went out to set all the traps, Jonty and Robin took us on our first night game drive!  If any hyenas were caught, they were supposed to radio us so we could go help them, but they never caught anything which was okay with me because the game drive was so amazing (cold, but amazing)! 
          We saw 3 "sub-adult" male lions that were around 2 years old.  We were able to get really close to them for some pictures.  At one point, one of them started heading for the land rover and I think my heart stopped!  Jonty said that sometimes they get ornery and like to chase the vehicles!!!  Yikes!  All three of the lions were somewhat injured - I guess they got into a fight with the neighboring male lion from another pride.  We followed them for a good hour, waiting to see if they would decide to go hunting!  It was so surreal! 
          On our way back to the big house, we spotted a lone female giraffe, which was very odd (they usually travel in herds).  We watched her for a while (being careful not to shine the light in her sensitive eyes) and realized that she had a little baby with her!  She must have separated from the herd earlier that day to give birth!!!  It was so tiny and cute!
          I can't believe we've seen so much already!  Today was wonderful (minus a few camera issues - my digital camera died) and tomorrow we're going to be doing some rhino ear notching!!!  It doesn't get any better than this!  Goodnight!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tuesday, July 20th

9:54 am (SA)
          We shared our breakfast with elephants this morning!  After taking guests on rides, they are walked down to the feeding area and watering hole near the restaurant.  When we saw them, everyone jumped up and left their half eaten breakfast to go see the elephants being treated to a huge pile of oranges!  They absolutely love them!  It is so beautiful here and the weather is perfect!  This just might be the best breakfast I've ever had!  Eggs, bacon, cereal, yogurt, toast with strawberry jam, delicious peach/pinapple juice, and elephants to share it with!!!
          I can't wait to see what the rest of the day holds!

10:31 pm (SA)
          Everything is much slower-paced here in South Africa (or maybe they're taking it easy on us for the first day).  Breakfast took two and a half hours and lunch wasn't much shorter, lasting about two hours as well.  We finally got around to taking a nice hike around 4 pm.  Andre led us around the north side of the valley.  We were able to see some giraffe, impala, bush bok, wildebeast, and several vervet monkeys!  They also have huge termite mounds here too!  Some are nearly 3 feet high!  The hike ended with a surprise bonfire and drinks at sunset.  This place is just so wonderful!  After relaxing around the fire, they drove us back to the restaurant for dinner around 7 and we just got back to our rooms now!  All in all, this has been a very nice first day in Africa!
          The two vets also got here today.  Peter has a clinic near Pretoria and does specialty work with cheetahs as well as handling small animal clients.  He's more shy and reserved than the other vet, Brendan, but is really nice once he's comfortable.  Brendan works with many reserves and private parks as well as running a small animal/equine practice in the off season! 
          We also have 2 "game drivers" here at AEBS that have been shuttling us around and sharing their knowledge.  Walter loves to blast Lionel Richie in the combi and self-admitedly is the "garnish in all our pictures"!  Andre was a game driver at Kruger National Park for 9 years before coming to AEBS as the General Manager/Pilot about 3 months ago.  He's super smart and was the one who took us on the hike this afternoon!  It doesn't hurt that he's really cute too!
          Oh!  I almost forgot!  We had a dung-spitting contest up on the airstrip today courtesy of Andre!  Yup, I had impala poop in my mouth!  I promptly lost the contest due to the fact that I consider least amount of time the poop spent in my mouth to be a higher priority than how far I could actually spit said excrement.  It didn't really taste, but the whole thing was still pretty gross, but at least I participated.  Plus, now I have a great Africa story to share when I get home!  As they say here, "TIA (this is Africa)"!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Monday, July 19th

9:06 am (South Africa)
          We're flying over Africa now!!!  Wow!  I can't really believe we're really here!  A year and a half in the making and we're actually doing this!!!  I have a great view of a large river with its tributaries out of my window.  We just refuled in Dakar and still have another 8 hours in this plane (ug), but at least I smell breakfast coming!

Sometime later that night....
          We made it to Addo Elephant Back Safaris (AEBS) around 11:30 pm (SA).  I am so glad to be done traveling!  The road from Port Elizabeth (PE) to AEBS was rediculously bouncy and winding - it's a good thing I don't get car sick easily!  I had no idea Africa was this mountainous!
          Our accomodations are nice and I'm sharing a room with Colleen R.  Addie and Stephanie are just down the hall and Joshiah has his own little man cave in the back of the house.  All the others are down the hill in the owner's newly remodeled home (I think some of the staff usually stay at our house).  Our living room and kitchen are larger though, and we have a flat screen tv too (not that we'll have a lot of time to use it)!

Sunday, July 18th

5:50 pm (Washington DC)
          Our plane has just taken off and I'm watching it on my personal TV screen!  They must have a camera fixed on the tail of the plane!  It's really cool, I've never seen this before.  It's neat to watch.  South Africa Airlines is pretty awesome and I don't think I'll want to fly on any american airline anymore.  They gave out these cute little packs with socks, an eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste!  Their blankets are thick and warm as well!  We're being spoiled!
          Our layover in DC was about 6 hours long so we killed some time playing Uno and walking up and down the gate looking in the shops and restaurants.  We even saw Liev Schreiber and his girlfriend Naomi Watts with their two little boys!  She actually bumped into me while she was texting.  Now we're in for 18 hours of sitting/sleeping/reading.  And then.....Africa!!!

9:13 pm (Washington DC); 3:13 am (South Africa)
          I'm sitting by Vicki and looking out of the plane window right now.  The view is absolutely amazing!  It's so beautiful up here!  It almost seems like I could reach out and touch a star and it's so clear out that I can see the moon's reflection off the ocean thousands of feet below us.  "The heavens declare the glory of God...."  He truly is awesome!

Africa!!!

So, needless to say, I wasn't able to update my blog like I had hoped to.  We had very limited internet and phone access and I was lucky to get to talk to my mom twice!  South Africa was absolutely amazing!  I'm sure that particular word will continually pop up and be severely overused when describing my experiences while I was away, but there are just so few words to describe the awesome time I had.  This was by far my best trip ever and the first time I really didn't want to return home.  I really think I could live there forever! 

Here are my journal entries from when I was away (I'll try and arrange them in chronological order).  I may only be able to upload a few a day, so keep checking back for more entries!  I'm just as excited to retype and relive all my adventures as you are to read them, so here goes nothing!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Leavin' On An Airplane....

I've forgotten how tedious overseas packing can be!  Waaaaaay harder than packing for anywhere in the US or even moving!  I'm getting there though!  I can't believe that this time tomorrow I'll be on my way to South Africa!  It's finally here!!!

I'm going to do my best to send updates which may or may not get uploaded to this blog, so check in periodically to see what I'm up to!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Catch Up

Whew!  It's been a while since my last post!  School is done for the summer (YAY!!!) and the float trip was fun with all my friends.  It's nice when we can hang out without having to stress about the next test.  Now I'm back home in KC enjoying my full size bed and loving that I get to see Roxy everyday.  She's 9 now and starting to get a little arthritis, but I'm working with her and hopefully, it won't get too bad.

Holly and the rest of the Hochhalter clan left yesterday.  We went up to St. Louis to meet her and the kids on Tuesday.  I got to take Dani up in the Gateway Arch and then we all went to the Spaghetti Factory before heading onto Columbia to see my apartment and to tour the vet school.  Holly's parents and two sisters joined us on Wednesday.  Thursday we had fun exploring Union Station and DeMaris cooked dinner for everyone.  Friday my parents and I took, Holly, the kids, and their/our aunt Judy to the KC zoo.  We were disappointed that the Polar Bear exhibit wasn't open yet, but we still had a lot of fun.  We played games almost every night and Saturday some of the Johnston side of our family came up to meet my birthfamily.  It was a good time of swapping stories and memories.  Sunday some of the group went to church and then Jose Pepper's before scattering towards home.

Holly called my birthfather on the phone Wednesday to see if he'd be interested in having contact with me.  I guess he couldn't believe that she called and told her that he was getting ready to hire a private investigator to find me!  I was soooo ready to be mad at him.  I had prepared myself for the worst and was ready for a battle.  And one phone call changed everything.  I don't have to be angry because he wants to know me.  His wife has known about me from the beggining and I think his daughters might even know too.  God is absolutely amazing and definitely in control of the situation.  I'm going to send Matt a letter before leaving for Africa and go from there.

Speaking of Africa, I need to go run some errands to get ready for the trip!  I'll write more later.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Jumble

There are a million thoughts and issues rolling around in my brain right now.

I'm super stressed because finals are this Tuesday and Wednesday.  I hate finals.  I really don't think I'll have any issues this block, I've set myself up pretty well this time, but it's still really stressful regardless.  Just seems like time's running out.

My finances are severly stretched to their limit.  So I now have to worry/decide whether to take out more money to get me through the summer.  I don't want to increase my debt load, but I also don't want to start bouncing checks!  Sigh...

And I don't know if it's hormones or what, but for about the last 3 weeks, I've really been struggling with wanting a man.  The real deal.  A God-centered, compassionate, strong, attractive man.  I want to be loved so bad it hurts.  I am so crazy busy, but am still so lonely and find myself feeling empty.  And I know that a man won't make the emptiness go away, but I want to love someone.  I want to be pursued.  I wish to be known by someone who won't turn away. 

These feelings weren't helped by the fact that my best friend got married last weekend.  I am really happy for her, but at the same time, this wedding was the hardest to watch.  Probably because I've never even met the groom and she's moving hundreds of miles away and who knows when I'll see her again.  It just felt so final.  I was happy that she found the man for her, but I was left feeling very alone and sad. 

I need to have a long vacation to sort through and get over all my inner turmoil.  Except this summer's line-up has me busier than ever (even if it is a fun kind of busy).  I haven't even had time to think about let alone look forward to my trip to Africa!  It'll be here sooner than I think!

Anyway, I'd better get back to finishing these clinical problems for my companion animal final... ug!

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Journey

Just because God calls you to do or be something doesn't mean that He will remove all of the obstacles you will face in becoming that person and following His calling.  Those trials and struggles, the times you feel like giving up, when you doubt you'll make it through the next day - that's when you find your faith.  And maybe God just wants you to take the journey, not to see the realization of the dream.  It's when you can accept His will and purpose no matter the outcome that you know you've truly let go of your desires and placed them in His hands once and for all.

And if our God is for us then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us then what could stand against?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Surgical Goddesses

My surgery group rocks!  We finished first again this week (4 procedures in about 4.5 hours).  I wish I could have taken a picture of Randy's face when he saw that we were halfway done with cleaning up and wrapping packs when they were just finishing their castration.  His eyes about popped out of his head and it looked like he'd crapped his pants too!  Hilarious!  He was just so offended that we'd dare finish before him - he even asked Kim if we'd sutured everything!  Like we'd leave the dog with a gaping hole in his chest!  Bah!

It's not like we're trying to go fast so we finish before everyone else.  Our instructor even said that we were doing everything thoroughly and not making mistakes due to speed.  I can't really even pinpoint the reason we seem to fly though our procedures.  Maybe it's because we get together the day before and go through the procedure (but I know other groups do that too).  We always divide up the procedures and know which parts we're each going to do beforehand.  And we're not afraid to make mistakes.  We trust the instructions we've been given and we trust each other.  All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how surgery is turning out.

Being a doctor just might be fun after all!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Down the Homestretch

This weekend was nice.  I got to spend a lot of time with my family and even got to see my little second cousins again.  They're getting so big!  And I am particularly proud of Roxy Carley.  She did so well with the babies!  She was cute and got super concerned when they would fall down!  She's adorable!  I hope she's around when I have kids!

Came back to school and immediately had a test and a quiz this morning.  Did pretty well on both, although I changed my answers on two of the test questions that I initially had right!  I hate it when that happens!  Tonight I have anesthesia till 5, tomorrow we have surgery till who-knows-when, and we have another big companion animal exam on Friday that I need to do well on.  No rest for the weary!  But on the bright side, I only have one more month left!  Then onto my last summer vacation ever!  :(  I guess that part's not so bright!

Well, class is about to start, so I'd better finish up.  I get to learn about how to give a cow a physical exam... hooray?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Love's Pursuit

God loved me.  He sent a Man to rescue me.  He sent a Man to die for me.  I had never been worthy of such sacrifice, and I know that I never will be.  I am not good and can never hope to be, but God still loves me.  Still he pursues me.  I merit no favor.  I deserve no grace from God.  There is nothing I can do to coax God to save me.  Nothing I can do to deserve to whisper in God's ear, to feel His eye upon me.  There is no work that I could accomplish that would place God in my debt to coerce Him to act on my behalf.  But still, He does it.  Still....He did it.  God saved me.  I am certain of God's saving grace.  I stand convinced of His love.  And it has nothing to do with my faithfulness, for I have none.  I am faithless.  But He pursued me because He loved me.  He wanted me.  I was rescued.  Spared.  I did not know why.  But I did know who had done the sparing.  Was I worth it?  No.  But there must have been some reason.  I was loved with a love much greater, much vaster, than I knew, by a love so impassioned that it had pursued me.  Me!  As if I was worth that effort.  No, I was not good.  I never had been.  But I was loved.  I am loved.

Only God is good and God is only good.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Whew!

I made it through (well almost).  I still have my first surgery later this afternoon, but that's not for an official grade, and I feel pretty prepared for it - I have a good lab group.  The test today wasn't too horrible considering I only had time to go over my notes twice after I got home from the clinical procedures lab last night. 

I am soooooo tired!  I need a diet coke, but am wary of drinking one because we can't exactly leave to go to the bathroom during the middle of surgery....  And I can't go without it because then I'll get a headache :(  If you're reading this, I apologize for my complaining and general grumpiness, but I haven't gotten much sleep lately and don't feel like putting effort into sounding chipper.

Well, enough of my drab discourse.  I found some amazing passages in a book recently, I'll try and post them soon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Here Comes the Stress

It's like finals week all over again!!! 

Monday: Orthopedic Surgery Exam and Didactic Anesthesia Orientation

Tuesday: Surgery Lab quiz, Anesthesia Lab, and Clinical Procedures Lab

Wednesday: Companion Animal Medicine Test and first live-animal Surgery Lab

Ug!  My stress levels go up just thinking about it.  Originally I was excited to get my clinical procedures lab out of the way, but then I realize that I would be at school from 8 am till around 9 pm with an important test the next morning!  Please carry me through this Lord, as you have everything else so far.  Not by my strength or knowledge, but by Your grace!

PS - Dad is now recovering at home under the watchful eye of my mom and Roxy (who can't quite figure out why he's using a walker or why there is a wheelchair in the middle of her living room)!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Not-So-Relaxing Weekend

Suffice it to say, this weekend was not all that I had hoped it would be.  My time with Katie and her family on Friday night was wonderful and I stayed longer than I should have.  The drive back to KC was where everything started going wrong.  My mom took my dad to the ER around 9:00 Friday night.  He had chills and a fever of 103 degrees.  His left leg was also swollen and red.  At first the doctors thought it might be blood poisoning from a wound he sustained the weekend before.

So I spent a lot of my weekend at the hospital in ICU.  Dad's blood pressure was only about 60/40 when they got to the ER and so they wanted to monitor him closely.  Now they think it's just a skin infection (either staph or strep).  He was moved out of ICU and into a regular room last night and they put in a "pic line" today so that the antibiotics they're giving him will be distributed faster.  They hope that he'll be able to go home by Wednesday, but he'll have to go back every 2-3 days for more antibiotic injections.  The doctors are saying that it could take several weeks for it to really get better.

It was hard to leave and come back to COMO with him still so sick.  They say his life isn't in danger, but I really won't feel that way until he's out of the hospital and feeling much better.  I've been trying my best not to worry and put everything into God's hands, but sometimes it's a challenge and I find myself imagining horrible scenarios about diseaseas and conditions I've learned about in class.  But ultimately I trust in God to see my family through this - no matter the outcome.  And I'll continue to praise His name through it all.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Venting

Okay, I meant to write about this when it happened (Tues), but I've been trying to get everything done that I put off during finals (and it's quite a list).  Anyway, our group that is going to Africa this summer did another Yankee Candle fundraiser this spring.  I did pretty good with my sales and got people I didn't even know to buy things!!!  Well, there was this one guy who came to Sunday School while I was home and ordered something for his mom for Mother's Day.  I knew I wasn't going to be back in KC until that very weekend, so asked a friend if I could get the candles to hrm, if she would take them to Sunday School and distribute the 3 orders (including the 1 for this stranger).

So I had my parents make an extra trip to COMO to get the order, wait around late after work till my "friend" could pick up the order and it was all for nothing because this person didn't even go to church last Sunday!  Grrrrrr! I am sooooo frustrated!  Yes, I realized what I asked wasn't super convenient for her since she apparently doesn't go to church except to socialize when she knows I'm in town.  But when I asked for a favor, she could have said "no", or "I'm not sure I'll go to church, my attendance has been sketchy lately".  But what did she say?  "Sure!  No problem, I'd be glad to help!"

I am so sick and tired of this person never doing what she says she'll do.  Yes, ultimately it's my responsibility to get the order to the correct people, but if you said you'd do it - then do it!  I don't care about your excuses, it would have been one hour of your day - maybe not even that!  She could have distributed them and then left!  I can't believe I thought she would come through this time.  Never again will I intrust her with anything, big or small. 

So now, I have to somehow get the candle orders back from her in time to contact this guy (who I think lives a good distance from Olathe) and hunt him down before Sunday so he can have the gift for his mom.  This is exactly how I wanted to spend my weekend at home!  Ahhhhhhh!  I really don't feel like talking with her or pretending I'm not mad about this.  She just doesn't think about how her actions impact other people.  I'm tired of it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Starry Night

Driving home from Jeff City tonight, I noticed how amazingly clear and beautiful the sky was tonight.  I could see thousands of stars!  I was so tempted to just pull over onto a side road and find a spot to get out and star-gaze for a bit.  I didn't though, because of the time and I still had to prepare for class tomorrow.  But someday I'd like to spend an evening in the back of a truck with a bunch of blankets, food, music, and some good company.  It's one of my dreams and I can't wait to do it!  God's creation is so wonderful!

I am so thankful to Him right now.  HE IS FAITHFUL!  He got me through this tough block!  I didn't do it in my own strength, because I had none!  It was all Him!  And I know that I'll be leaning on Him through this block as well.  It's another tough one!  We had part of our surgery orientation today, and boy was it intimidating!  But I am more than confident that I am where God wants me and doing what He's called me to do.  I will rest in that tonight and not worry about tomorrow.

Goodnight.  And if you're reading this and haven't looked at the stars tonight, go outside and be awed by God's glory!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hot Guy Alert!

Dear Lord,
       Ya know the guy in #15-204?  The super cute one - tall, dark hair, broad shoulders, and a great smile?  Of course you do!  Well, I'd really appreciate it if You could introduce us.  PLEASE let him be single and a Christian.  And if it's not too much trouble, maybe You could put it in his mind that I'm decently attractive, funny, and smart so that he'll wanna get to know me.  Thanks a bunch!  Love,
                                                Lisa

PS - I could really use Your help on this last test, it's stressing me out!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I can't do this without You

Lord God, please help me.  I can't do this alone.  I need Your help!  5 days. 1 quiz.  5 tests.  1 very tired, very scared, very discouraged girl.  It's in Your hands - I give it to You.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I need You to hold me together

"You said You'd never leave or forsake me
When You said this life is gonna shake me
And You said this world is gonna bring trouble on my soul
This I know

When everything falls apart Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart You're the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart and my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong, You keep holding on
You keep holding on

When I see the darkness all around me
When I see that tragedy has found me
I still believe Your faithful arms will never let me go
And still I know

When everything falls apart Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart You're the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart and my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong, You keep holding on
You keep holding on

Sorrow will last for the night
But hope is rising with the sun, it's rising with the sun
There will be storms in this life
But I know You will overcome, You have overcome

When everything falls apart Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart You're the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart and my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong, You keep holding on

When everything falls apart Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart You're the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart and my strength is gone
I find You mighty and strong, You keep holding on
You keep holding on

You can hope, you can rise, you can stand
He's still got the whole world in His hands
You can rise, you can hope, and you can stand
He's still got the whole world, the whole world in his hands
The whole world in His hands"


Oh God...  I'm falling apart.  Please hold me.

Friday, April 16, 2010

On the edge

Well, I made it through another week.  God pulled me through these first two tests.  I can't pretend that the next two don't worry me still - they're the classes where my grades are the lowest.  I hate this feeling.  The uncertainty, the barely containable fear, the unanswered "what-if's".  I am trying so desperately to cling to His promise.  To hold fast to the love I know He has for me.  To let go of what I want so badly.  It is a constant struggle - I feel like I'm always balancing on the side of a cliff and any small breeze may push me over the edge.  I pray that I will be diligent and wise.  I pray that I will be strong enough to survive, whatever the outcome.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Whew! What a day!

(Sigh)  I am so ready for a nap!  Open House went really well!  Tons of people came and that's always good for the Vet School.  Griswald was a hit!  He was such a good boy, letting people pet him and performing his tricks for the adoring public!  I love him!  My family came up too, which was nice.  They just left a little while ago.  I am a little disappointed that no one else from home came though.  I told the Sunday School Social Director about it around 3 weeks ago in hopes that she would at least send an e-mail to the class.  Just kind of hurt that the people that say they love me and are my friends don't really seem to care or want to be a part of my life.  Oh well.  Sometimes I like my non-Christian friends here better anyway.  They honestly treat me better sometimes.

Good news - two of my tests for next week were moved back so we have more time to study!  And they're the classes that my grades are lower in too!  God definitely answers prayer!  I'm going to do my best to take advantage of this and study my butt off!  This block is super frightening.  Thinking on it too much puts me in deer-in-the-headlights mode!  But God did not give us a spirit of fear, so I will trust in Him to carry me through this yet again!

If you're reading this, please pray for me next week - I need all the help I can get!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Here We Go....

I'm facing an uphill climb towards next week - the dreaded test week from you-know-where!  This week is relativly calm-looking comparatively speaking.  Until you look at all the meetings and errands that still need to be done before the whirlwind arrives. 

God has given me a promise, however, and I will not be afraid (I'm going to try not to be anyway).  He sent me a sign not 10 minutes after I had begun to worry and pray about my school situation.  It made me cry and smile and realize how much my Jesus really cares about my life and loves me sooooo wonderfully!

So I am going to do my best to work hard this week and prepare for what is next.  If I do my best, He will see me through - just like He has so far.  And if everything should fall to pieces, I will run to Him for comfort and cling to Him through my sorrow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Falling in Love

Oh, Jesus, I am falling in love with you! I feel your presence all around me now, in this room, at this hour. I hunger for your Holy Word and thirst for the righteousness you give! I thank you for renewing my sprit and drawing me near to you. There is nothing that compares to you God! No one could ever take your place! You are holy and mighty! I find peace under your wings and at when I sit quietly at the foot of the cross.


Teach me, Father. Shine the light of your mercy and understanding on me. I will bask in your glory and grow in the knowledge of who you are and what you have done. I will claim your promises as truth for my life and my future! You have made a covenant with us, God!

“I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Praise God! Thank you Jesus for taking my place!!! I do not deserve such mercy and grace. I want to know your laws and carry them with me in my heart. I want to be hemmed in by You, Father. I want to become one with you – take over my person, Lord. Permeate every part of me! Have your way with my life. Lead me, guide me, change me, perfect me. I am a broken vessel before you. I give myself over to you. My plans are nothing next to yours. I trust in your unfailing goodness. I testify to your faithfulness and protection.

I know that this overwhelming desire is from you, Jesus. Thank you for wanting me. Thank you for revealing yourself to me. Please help me to remember times like this when I face mighty rivers that threaten to drown me and roaring fires that try to consume this Love that I have found. Carry me through the darkness. I will rely on you. I will trust in your promises. You will be my strength. Amen.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Consecration Hymn

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

(Here am I.  All of me. 
Take my life.  It's all for Thee.)

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

(Here am I. All of me.
Take my life. It's all for Thee.
Here am I.  All of me.
Take my life It's all for Thee.
Here am I.  All of me.
Take my life.  All of me.)


More to come...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

AaaaaaaaaaaaChoo!

I absolutely HATE allergies!!!  The past three days have been just awful.  First I'm stuffy, then I can't get to a kleenex fast enough!  Itchy watery eyes and sneezing every 5 minutes to boot!  Sigh, it's not even really spring yet!  What in the world are my sinuses going to do to me then!?!

I just finished reading "The Last Song" by Nicholas Sparks.  Finally!  A good ending!  Dear John stunk!  Although I haven't seen the movie yet.  I hope the Last Song movie is good and that Miley Cirus doesn't mess it up.  The boy in it certainly is good looking (although I guess he and Miley are dating in real life, which shows his lack of taste)!

I like to see the way God is at work in my life.  Just when I think I need to take control of a situation because He isn't letting me in on the plan, things change.  Christina and I had a good talk about that last night.  I need to learn to truly WAIT on Him and leave my worries securely in His hands.  To surrender my burdens and quit trying to pick them back up when God doesn't seem to be moving at a quick enough pace.  Trust.  Faith.  Waiting.  A tough assignment for a girl like me.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ahhh, Sweet Relief!

I love days off of school!!!  Waking up late, taking a leisurly shower, spending extra time getting ready (for the bunch of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I have to do today!).  Ok, so I do have a short to-do list for this afternoon.  Clean up the house becuase my best friend Christina is coming to spend the night!  Yay!  It's going to be so much fun!  I think I might even go see a movie this afternoon - I never get to with my crazy vet school life!  And I should study a little, but like that's gonna happen!

Have some more things to write.  Discoveries, revelations, venting.  But I'm not sure I can, not now anyway.  Maybe when I decide what to do about it.  If I SHOULD do anything about it, because, does it really matter?  Will it make it better (probably not).  Unfortunately nothing will.  So now I have to make a decision, because I need an end.  I'm a happy ending kind of gal, but at this point any end will do.  And if I have to be the one to end it, fine.  But do I need an end because I just would like one, or do I feel I deserve one.  Does it need to end so that I can stop defining myself by what others think of me?  Shouldn't I be able to do that last bit no matter what?  Good questions.  I'll have to think about it.

And in answering these questions, I will be brutally honest with myself.  I will not hide my head in the sand, avoiding my problems and my own flaws.  I will not blame it on someone else.  I want to understand myself so that I can change and become more like the woman God wants me to be.  That requires facing my fears, coming to terms with and fully exploring myself, even the dark corners that I am afraid of.  And through it all I know He will be there, right beside me.  Holding my hand and shining  His light in those places that need His transforming power.  The process may be painful, and I may not like what I find - but it will be worth it.  Becoming like Him is always worth it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Psalm 139

Lord, you have examined me and know all about me.  You know when I sit down and when I get up.  You know my thoughts before I think them.  You know where I go and where I lie down.  You know everything I do.  Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it.  You are all around me - in front and in back - and have put your hand on me.  Your knowledge is amazing to me; it is more than I can understand.

Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?  Where can I run from you?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there.  If I lie down in the grave, you are there.  If I rise with the sun in the east and settle in the west beyond the sea, even there you would guide me.  With your right hand you would hold me.  I could say, "The darkness will hide me.  Let the light around me turn into night."  But even the darkness is not dark to you.  The night is as light as the day; darkness and light are the same to you.

You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother's body.  I praise you because you  made me in an amazing and wonderful way.  What you have done is wonderful.  I know this very well.  You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother's body.  When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed.  All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.

God, your thoughts are precious to me.  They are so many!  If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand.  When I wake up, I am still with you.

This Sunday my church received its new pastor, Rev. Rick Power.  He preached a wonderful message from 1 John 3:1-3.  He said that God does not name us based upon who we've been or even who we are.  He calls us and names us according to what we are becoming!  Isn't that amazing?  That my Father, the God who knows me both inside and out, has a special name for me.  And that the name is not based upon the horrid person I was or the struggling person I am, but it is a beautiful name encompasing the Hope that God has for me.  A name of becoming.  A name only He knows.  A name He will help me grow into.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Get thee behind me....bunny?

Okay, so valentine's is over, the candy is all gone.  But, unfortunately for me, the stores have skipped right over St. Patty's day and have moved straight into easter!  Those little bunnies named Sunshine, Yummy, Honey, Topper, Flopper, and Hopper stare at me from their pastel picture boxes.  "Eat us, eat us," they cry.  The temptation, the torture!  I've got a little over a month before easter is here!  Will my waistline survive?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Self-explanatory

One more day.  One more day.  One more day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Love Never Fails

Love is not proud
Love does not boast
Love after all
Matters the most

Love does not run
Love does not hide
Love does not keep
Locked inside

Love is the river that flows through
Love never fails you

Love will sustain
Love will provide
Love will not cease
At the end of time

Love will protect
Love always hopes
Love still believes
When you don’t

Love is the arms that are holding you
Love never fails you

When my heart won’t make a sound
When I can’t turn back around
When the sky is falling down
Nothing is greater than this
Greater than this

Love is right here
Love is alive
Love is the way
The truth the life

Love is the river than flows through
Love is the arms that are holding you
Love is the place you will fly to
Love never fails you


Oh, Jesus!  My heart shudders!  Why am I so afraid?  You have been faithful to me and I know that you will always be faithful.  So why do I feel this panic?  Why all this worry?  Why can't I simply rest in you.  Do I really believe you can't see me through this?  Do I not doubt you, but myself?  I am faced with dying to myself again.  Dying to the dream.  It's yours.  Do with me and my life as you will.

*Sigh*  I feel your peace washing over my heart.  Thank you for believing in me even when I cannot.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Icky Icky Radiology

Bleh!

Radiology exam - DONE!  Don't feel too horible about it because we don't have our grades back yet.  I'm sure I'd be super depressed and in full-on panic mode if I knew my raw score.  Last year, this test was severely curved, so I'm counting on consistancy!

I was invited to two different activities tonight, but after a test like that, I just don't feel like doing anything but sitting on the couch and watching some mind-numbing drama on TV.  Griswald likes it when I take the night off.  He curls up in my lap and just purrs away!  Sweet boy.

It's a funny feeling when hope dies.  Kind of a hollow acceptance.  Another step forward, no looking back, absolutely no regrets.  We're going to talk about perserverance in small group tomorrow.  I still have to finish the chapter, but was already struck with the words of Jesus in Luke 22:31.  Here's my version (insert your own name if you like)

"Lisa, Lisa, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Lisa, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen those around you."

Wow.  God prays for me!?!  How absolutely amazing, awe-inspiring, and humbling!  Before our trials come to us, they are first passed through Christ's prayers and the merciful hand of God.  Knowing that I am being sifted and put through the flames for a purpose gives me strength to endure whatever comes my way.  School challenges, illness, hardship, heartache, misunderstanding, alienation, persecution, doubt, finance troubles, injury, and even death - all of it has been bathed in prayer and aproved by God for my refinement. 

Praise be to Him who has saved me!  All honor and glory I give to you, Lord Jesus.