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21 December 2009

a Surprise Blessing

  Travis Cottrell, Cindy Morgan, and Shaun Groves came to Westover Church Thursday night for a Gloria concert.  The proceeds of the concert went to the Compassion International foundation and they talked about the children you can sponsor.  For $38.00/mo you can provide food, education, housing, medical care, and much much more for a child.  Please consider sponsoring a child; it is truly one of the most selfless things you can do.  I wish I could remember how many thousands of children die from malnutrition each day! (I will find out and post it.... it was a breathtaking number that brought tears to my eyes.) For more information and/or to sponsor a child please visit Compassion International .  I have multiple sponsored nieces and nephews supported by my sister and brother-in-law.  You receive a picture of the child and can exchange letters with him/her.  Please pray about it.

    When I discovered they were coming to my old church I hoped to go.  Circumstances were as such, that it was not really possible.  On the day of the concert I received a phone call offering tickets for my mom, my dad, and me.  The possibility was exciting but I had no idea what the evening would hold.  We grabbed a quick dinner and headed to the church.  After seeing friends and finding our seats we began our adventure as a member of the audience/congregation.  The first half was classic Christmas hymns and carols including video footage of the Peanuts and old school Frosty the Snowman.  The second half was a worship experience. 

     Shaun talked about no matter how you arrived at the concert it was because God wanted you there.  It wasn't because your husband dragged you, a friend bought you tickets, or you felt guilty.  You were there because God wanted you to be there.... needed you to be there.... you needed to be there.  "Follow That Star" was one of the songs sung by Cindy Morgan.  With the first verse she had me with the tone of her voice, the musicality, and the melody.  With the second verse it took my breath away.  If I had the skill to write a song (writing is not a gift I possess) about the way I feel.... this is it.  It was as if the song had been written especially for me and her amazingly melodious voice was meant to sing it. 

     I have never been one to say that life as a Christian is easy.  In some ways, I think it becomes more challenging.  As one of my friends (an unsure believer) said... "When things go wrong, not only do you have to wonder if it's a sign from God that you are heading in the wrong direction.... you also have to figure out if the devil is unhappy with what you are or are about to do and is trying to stop you...."  Well put.  I think it's a great statement that just begins to touch on the struggle of believers.  I believe.  I know I am still alive today because of my Heavenly Father (there have been some close calls).  I know that he made me and has a purpose for me.  That being said, it does not mean that I don't question my hearing, wonder about his judgment, or think that he is overestimating my ability to carry a lot and still stand tall short.  Now is one of those times.  I'm working my way back...but right now God and I are often in a tug of war.  I think He's okay with that.  I am a firm believer that God likes questions.  He wants us to think things through... He did give us freewill after all.  He sees the whole picture and I see little tiny pieces.  I trust him.  It's just harder sometimes than others to trust without questioning.

     Do you question?  Have you ever been in a place (in your life) that you know is exactly where you are supposed to be.... just to have it taken away?  Did you feel lonely/betrayed/disappointed?  Who do you turn to when life gets hard?

      Below are the lyrics to the song "Follow that Star."  I tried to set it up to play but it was unavailable.  I highly recommend that you listen to it. It's a soulful melody with an amazing message.  If this song touches your soul I pray that a comfort and peace beyond understanding is so present that you know He is right there with you.  He loves you and I more than either of us could possibly imagine.  When times are tough... that is enough....

Follow That Star (Cindy Morgan)

Tonight, feels like there’s something in the air
Tonight, it’s like the sky is filled with prayers.
Maybe I’ll follow; follow that star.

Oh I, I felt this emptiness inside
Maybe this will be the night…
that I’m sure…just what my life is for.
Wake up each morning with hope in my heart
Out of a dark

Oh, God,
 I hear your name out on the street,
but what do you mean to me
You’re so grand, living there up in the sky,
could you care about my life?
Maybe I need, maybe I need a sign
Maybe a star I could follow
Lead me wherever and I’ll go
Cause it feels like your voice is speaking to me
Like there’s something you want me to see

So I’ll follow, follow that star
Follow that star
Follow that star

19 December 2009

A Need for a Change...

It’s 3am and I am wide awake.  This has become the norm… but like other norms I will be happy to break this one.  I’ve never been so fond of “the norm.”  In high school I repainted my desk to read “DoN’t bE nOrMaL bE HaPPy!” and I still find the statement appropriate. 

Why do we lump people into groups?  Why do we decide that because one group is doing something a certain way, others should also?  Why are all couples expected to have children? Why must pregnant mothers be given blue or pink clothes based on the sex of the unborn baby?  How can we decide, before the baby is born, whether it will like pink or blue?  I always make a point of gifting yellows, greens, etc… Why must a young boy play with trucks while girls should play with dolls?  What’s wrong with a young boy styling the hair on his big Barbie head?  Why should girls like to wear skirts and dresses?  (I do, by the way, but it is a recent development…) Why are handmade gifts so much more fun than bought presents? What can I make for gifts out of things I already have?  Would that old tablecloth work for a reusable grocery bag?  Can I also make an apron from that material?  Is there enough?

These are the kinds of questions that go through my head at 3am.  This is why I don’t sleep.  The “what ifs”,” if only(s)”, and “could its” rear their ugly heads.  I then lay here staring at the ceiling or the back of my eyelids until I pull out yarn and a hook, a book, or my blackberry.  Am I the only one who does this?  Am I the only one who is unable to discontinue my brain long enough to sleep?  You would think I would be super smart with all of this extra work for my brain.  When in actuality it makes my brain feel like slush…. Like the ice/sleet/snow on the ground that has been trampled repeatedly. 

So this is my thought process…. I will put my thoughts to paper/laptop in hopes that my brain will slowly shut down without doing major harm to the knowledge hidden in the deep dark crevices. 
I can guarantee no topics…for my brain is like a sponge and contains some incredibly odd information.  I love science.  I love logic.  I love questioning things and digging deeper.  This is a quest to renew my blogging.  It’s a quest for freedom and quest for peace.  Feel free to comment for comments are always appreciated and it’s nice to know I am not the only one who reads my musings.

Possible Topics:
                -current books read
                -recipes tried
                -societal norms
                -the food controversy (organic, local, hormone free….)
                -Biblical highlights from current Bible studies
                -Quotes of interest
                -General fun and nonsense
                -Lots of pictures!!!

                -Any suggestions?  Feel free to contribute

Prayer for a Contest?

I just entered a contest for what would be an AMAZING gift!  Is it wrong to pray to win?


http://www.mycharmingkids.net/

No luck!  Maybe next time!!!

16 December 2009

My Boy...

    I haven't posted much lately because things are a struggle and when I started this blog I never wanted it to be a depressing blog.  So with that said... I will shove aside the suffocating and overwhelming feelings of need/anxiety/ and panic... to tell you about my week.  I was blessed this week with one of the best welcomes I have had in a long time.  

   Before I went to grad school... for many years... I was a nanny for two boys in a very special family.  A lot happened in those years (good and bad) and we've struggled through together.  They have been a great support to me and hopefully I was a support for them.  Well, the "boys" are no longer boys... but young men.  the younger is in high school and the older just finished his first semester in college.  (Man I feel OLD!!!)

    When E found out I was in town I was invited to a play.  They younger of the two boys, "Bubba", had a part  (in a Shakespeare play!)... and I wanted to be there.  B, however, was unaware that I was coming.  We made it through the first half of the play and then during the intermission  Christy and I were chatting about whether B was at the age when speaking to us is "uncool."  About that time he turned and glanced in my direction, I made a "classically Christa" face, his face glowed, and ... in a swirl of hair, a huge smile, and a rush... I was wrapped up in a hug that I have missed dearly!  I can't even begin to express how my heart felt at that moment.  Unconditional love and honestly excited to see me!  How often do we receive people's greetings while wondering about ulterior motives or inner thoughts?  How awesome to be loved for exactly who you are... no ifs, no ands, no buts...
       This is the kid who:
  • got me hooked on Jackie Chan movies
  • laughed at my directional deficiencies in video games
  • humors my inability to play basketball (seriously!!!... I'm under 5ft... come on!)
  • lets me play his beautiful guitar
  • shares his Velveeta shells and cheese, cucumbers with ranch dressing, and chicken..
  • likes to cook with me...
  • lets me call him nicknames like Bubbaloo...
  • still loved me after I painted happy birthday on my car windows for the carpool line at school
  • laughs at my ridiculously stupid jokes
  • shares my love for the Big Bang Theory (the show)
  • has an amazing smile
  • has a contagious laugh
  • gives the BEST hugs!!!!
  • I love bunches and bunches....

       C was kind enough to take some pictures of me and B.... to think... he used to be shorter than me... and I used to take him to get his head almost shaved!  Enjoy!




...my goofy buddy who calls me a "DERD"... I answer to the name proudly :)
(derd= dorky nerd)

17 November 2009

Aging...

   On November 7th I became a different woman.  I am no longer "twenty-something."  I am now twenty-ten, otherwise known as "the big three-o" or "30"!!!  Woohoo!  My friends and family can attest to the fact that I have been counting down this day for years.  I craved a time when I would be thirty.  I don't fear a number like so many of my fellow females... Somehow though I pictured my life differently.  Here is what it was supposed to look like:

As a child I dreamed:
  • finishing up medical school and working on specialty certifications (pediatrics/orthopedics)
  • settling down, getting married (engaged), and planning a family
  • finding a small comfy house to call my own (a fixer upper that I can live in while I pay off my school loans)
  • getting an older dog from the pound to love....
  • spending time with my family / celebrating holidays at my home
As a twenty-something (the last couple of years) I dreamed:
  • graduate school pre-requisites would be finished
  • in grad school with a great average, friends, and loving the grind of school
  • enjoying my friends' babies/kids :)
  • loving on Lucinda Lou (my cat)
  • keeping an eye out for the man chosen for me
  • proud of myself for accomplishing some of my goals
  • healthy and not constantly dealing with doctors
    These are my musings of where I thought I would be on my thirtieth year.  In reality I have no job, no school, no apartment, and am struggling with where to go from here.  This is my new reality.  My old reality was my friend coming to Boston for my birthday to spend a weekend of fun, food, and fellowship.  In some ways I think I was gifted something even better.
  
      For my birthday there were many questions of what I wanted to do.  In all actuality I didn't know and I didn't want to have to plan anything.  It seems that in the last months my life has become a constant run of decision making.... It's not the little decisions that bother me...it's the ones that can determine the next five, ten, twenty years of my life.  I just didn't want to plan something.  So I cheated.  I told my sister my top two choices and she chose the one I wanted.  I  called the people who had been wanting to do something for my birthday and I ended up with five of my favorite people celebrating with me.  It was a night of food, singing, bowling, arcade games, skeeball, air hockey, Ms. Pac-man, etc....  It was great!

    It's funny how your birthday makes you think about where you've been and where you want to go.  I find that Christmas has the same sentimentality for me. If my plans had worked out as I first dreamed I wouldn't know either of my two closest friends.  I wouldn't have Lucy as a constant companion. I wouldn't have spent four months in a brownstone in the South End of Boston (with the best soft serve with mix-ins, ever!).  Life would be different, but would it really be better?


  I kept dragging my feet because I didn't feel like there was really anything to celebrate.  However, I was reminded by a friend "Christa you have a lot to celebrate.... for you it's important to celebrate the fact that you have continued to live for 30 years." (paraphrase)  Let me elaborate:  I am accident prone, health challenged, and not lucky when dealing with cars.  There have been a few wrecks I should not have walked away from in one piece and one that I said goodbye to my family in my head because I didn't think I would be on this earth 2 seconds later.  My Grandmama Pearl once said I was like a cat with nine lives.  Her favorite quote for me has been on a wall in EVERY apartment in which I've lived.....

"Christa, God must really have something really special planned for you.  There have been multiple times when you could have been taken from us but you are meant for something amazing.  Focus on our Father, your purpose, and the compassion you have for others.... The rest will work itself out...."

There are days when it's easy to believe and others that are a struggle but I was never promised an easy life.  I learn something important with each struggle.  I'm just trying to hang on and ride the waves without drowning :)

   How did you imagine your life would be?  Is it different than the reality you live each day?  How many gifts have you received because of the change?


23 October 2009



"A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities."

-William Arthur Ward

20 October 2009

Quotes

I changed the quotes in the column on the right.  The plan is for these to change much more frequently... The topics will also change....

If you are looking for any in particular.... just let me know!

Not me...

 
 

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

My first attempt:

              I certainly did not spend yesterday in my pajamas hanging out with my mama.  And we certainly did not spend the day watching Hallmark movies as we predicted the endings.  And if we were to spend our day in that manner we certainly would not have eaten breakfast at 11:00am.  Nope.... not us...

          I definitley did not leave a case of diet coke in the trunk lastnight during freezing temperatures.... and if I were to do that I certainly didn't wait until this afternoon to retrieve said boxes.  I definitely did not reheat chili and make grilled cheese sandwiches because I forgot to remove meat from the freezer.  And if that was the case I certainly would not have forgotten to do that same thing for three days in a row.

           Today I did not watch One Life to Live and General Hospital to catch up on the last two weeks I miss.  And if that were actually the case I certainly would not have been sitting there in my flannel pj bottoms and a bright green Limonada t-shirt.

       Now I am certainly NOT going to crawl into bed and sleep with a half ot the bed covered in books, camera, and misc items.... Nope, Not Me!
     

19 October 2009

Babbling and Nonsense

Have you ever noticed something on yourself in a different way than before?  I know, it sounds ridiculous but today I noticed my feet.  Yes, I have noticed my feet before.  But today as I looked down at my feet I thought "I like my feet.... I have cute feet."  For those who have seen them lately you will contradict me I'm sure.  Sure I need a pedicure and some tender loving care.  In the last month or two or four.... they have been neglected.  Other things in my life have taken priority and I have taken my feet for granted.  Well today I thought about it... really thought about it.  Can you tell I have too much time on my hands?


Here are my observations:
  • My feet are not typical in appearance.
  • My feet would be the correct size for a twelve ten year old.
  • My big toe has calluses from my need to walk barefooted....
    • while we're at it.... so does the ball of my foot, especially just below my little toe.
  • My little toe looks like a little hill, I don't know how to describe it. (But it looks nearly identical to my mom's little toe and my sister's little toe.... I love that!) It has the tiniest little nail on it and has a callus from my inability to find shoes that fit. 
  • On my left foot my toe next to my little toe is longer than the other ones (not including my big toe)
  • I can see and identify the tendons on the top of my foot and enjoy palpating the veins on the top of my foot (I know, I'm a dork).
  • The kicker.... On each of my feet, on the outer part, beside the pinkie toe is a scar.  The scars are from the removal of extra toes.... 
    • I know... you're thinking.... WHAT? 
    • Yup!  I was born with twelve toes (and twelve fingers).  My paternal grandfather was born with the same and since it skips a generation maybe one of my grandchildren will have them.


By now you're wondering why I'm telling you all of this...

It's so easy for us to look at ourselves and find flaws.  I do it everyday.  If only I was about twenty pounds lighter.  I wish my hair was curly.  If only I were taller (then I would appear smaller).  I need a haircut... I look like a wierd boy.

It's easy.  I bet you could name ten things you would like to change about yourself.  Can you name five things you love about yourself?  It wasn't as easy to name the things you love, was it?

I love:
  • My Eyes
    • the color and texture
      • same as my dad and most of my dad's side of the family
  • My Eyelashes
    • long, dark, and go from corner to corner (literally)
  • My Little Toes
    • the same as my mom and sister
  • My Extra Digits (scars)
    • a trait not everyone has...and maybe an odd but fun one I can pass on...
  • My Freckles
    • I wasn't so fond of them when I was younger but now it's not something I would ever change.
I hope one day that I can honestly say that I love everything about myself.  That does NOT mean that it will be perfect!  It just means that I will accept it as a part of me....a gift from my Maker....

16 October 2009

A Few Beach Reflections

I spent the last week and a half at the beach. Topsail Island.... I'm extremely lucky in that some of my extended family own a small house on the sound side of the island, right on the water. It's a great little place full of lots of memories from my childhood.

At this house: I learned how to bait a hook, I learned how to fish and remove the fish I caught from the hook, I learned how to put out the crab trap and kill the crabs we caught. We crammed most of the family in and people were on every bed, couch, and air mattress. The house was full of joking, talking, laughter, the smell of food, the sound of fish frying and crab slurping.... Many games have been played at this house... Scrabble, Uno, Yahtzee.....

There are many fond memories from my childhood there but in recent years this house has become a haven. Somewhere I can run away to to spend time in the Word and the nature the He created. It's a time of reflection...a time to calm the storms... a time to enjoy the simpler things of life... It's a time for laughter, movies, games, and sleep.... It was a retreat after surgeries..... and a place to hide and heal wounds..... And so... this is why I went this trip...

God had other plans.... The spots were running... Mama and I were excited to fish... family came to visit and fish.... and then we had "the incident". Mama fell down the stairs and broke her arm... The rest is history.... and interesting :)

In some ways it's nice to be back... but a part of me still yearns for the quiet, the meditation, the hours on the beach, the solitude, and the reassurance that I will be taken care of... no matter the path.....I love this tree. There are two trees at the back of the house. You can see them through the sliding glass door....the stand on each side of the pier that extends from the back of the house....

Each tree is twisted....and interesting. To me the trees seem to say.... I'm tired... I'm changed... but I'm still here... I'm still standing...

There is no telling how many hurricanes these trees have survived. I know there have been many that pretty much destroyed the house....(just in the part of my lifetime I can remember)....

The trees are a calm reassurance to me.... It's as if they say... "You're tired... You're changed....but you're still here... You're still standing...."

Psalm 94:19

18 September 2009

I Don't Know What to Say....

....the words just don't come out right.

Some days I dream of school. Some mornings I wake up with the frantic feeling of having overslept. This leads to worry of missing class. And then I realize....

I'm not in school... I don't have class.... my friends are learning joint mobilization, massage, and treatment. I'm trying to motivate myself to pack up an apartment that I love and leave the city I love.

Do you sense any excitement? I don't feel any. To be honest.... I'm pretty numb. I'm trying to make it through the next week and a half and then I'll deal with it. I don't think it'll be pretty and so I'm running away to the beach... going to hide.... going to regroup... and going to heal....


My dream would be the ability to sell my photography to pay my bills and enjoy friends and family. Odd jobs are going to be my friend..... We'll see what God provides. I was hoping for mission work but it is looking like my bills won't allow for that option.....

Enjoy each day as it comes for you never know what the next will hold....

Psalm 94:19

03 September 2009

A Reminder I Needed....

It's been an incredibly rough couple of days.... and I'm coming home. I'll live somewhere else for 9 months and decide whether I come back in June or not..... It's heartbreaking. It's embarrassing. It disappointing. It's not easily understood. It's not easily expressed. I know I did what I was supposed to do. I know this is not my fault. But the "what ifs" are overwhelming.....

And so... I find myself excited about a visiting friend for the long weekend, cleaning a horribly looking apartment, unpacking a suitcase of clothes bought for school, and wondering where this road will lead, how many tears must fall, and if I have the strength and courage to continue on this journey once again.....

I received this excerpt from a book in an email and it hit home with me.... A great reminder. Maybe someone else can use the same one.

Some of you may be wondering about your personal calling in life. Being married or not being married can indeed be a calling. So can having children or having no children, working outside the home or being a full-time mom, traveling on a job or staying in an office, working out of your home or being president of something, sewing drapes, cooking at the school cafeteria, finding a cure for cancer, or creating a better meat thermometer. Dare I say, your calling in life lies not in what you do but in who you are?

Remember this. Scripture says God created us for the express purpose of giving himself the joy of love us. In being loved, we return that love. That is who we are: persons loved by God. When we return his love, we do it in a spirit of response that produces service to him. That is what our relationship with him is all about. If we do things for God because we are trying to pay him back, we miss the point of the relationship. We are not asked to earn the relationship, we are asked to receive the relationship.

So what is the call for each of our lives? To receive God's love and return God's love. We can experience that in everything we do.

(Except from Love Me, Never Leave Me by Marilyn Meberg)

10 August 2009

Sweet Love

This picture is an older couple on the train the night I was so sick. The lady kept asking me if I was okay and the man kept telling me "it's gonna be okay..." They sat on the train holding hands the entire time and laughed and joked together. It was a great example of the type of marriage I dream of having one day.... It's the way I picture my parents being years from now. Okay, many years from now. This couple was celebrating their 55 year of marriage ;) How awesome is that in a world in which so many couples are divorced. What an amazing gift to give our children.

On another topic. I'm not kicked out of graduate school :) I will be studying, cleaning, studying, packing, and studying over the next couple of days. The plan is to take the two finals I missed this past Thursday this coming Thursday morning and afternoon. I will then be flying home that night :) I'm so excited to get a break. I will , however, have to take an exam when I return. No worries.... I have great friends and family who have already invested in airfare for the fall. They'll help me study :)

On that note... I'm heading to bed. I'm tired of beating my head against the wall...

I spent time this morning having a conversation with my Father about how much I want to be here for school in the fall. What I was willing to do, why it was important, and the ways that I thought it would all work out... the options I had in mind. (I know.. you're thinking... well that was stupid ;) ) I then turned my quote calendar over for the day and this was the quote:

"This day I will try to instruct God less
and listen to Him more."

Point made :) G'Night

07 August 2009

An Interesting Couple of Days...

I'm not really sure where to start. I just figured it would be easier to update here with details then to tell the same story a million times to people who care....

Let's begin with where I had planned to be right now and what I had planned to be doing. I should be cleaning, relaxing, baking, and enjoying myself at my apartment and wandering around my neighborhood. I should be finished with all of my semester classes except for my retake that's necessary. At around three today I should begin studying for the retake which is supposed to be on Thursday. Thursday afternoon I should be taking the retake (my last test) and then flying home on Thursday night for two weeks. That's what's supposed to be happening... Now.... let me tell you where I am.

Wednesday morning I was studying in the morning, running late to meet a friend at school, and in a hurry. In the process I got smacked in the head with a door (long story). I didn't think it was that big a deal. So I continued with my day. I went to school, met with my friend, took my Professional Socialization skill check, aced it, grabbed lunch, and began to study. As the day progressed I felt worse and worse. Pretty soon the nausea became vomiting and the minor headache from that morning progressed to migraine sort of headache and then became much much worse. I left the school (studying on the 4th floor) at around 9pm and headed home. The closer I got to home the sicker I was becoming. After a not so pleasant stop at the trashcan outside of the T station I called my mom... (part of my reason, I'm pathetic, was that if I passed out on the street she would know where to send an ambulance) As I got to my house I was unsure about making it up the stairs... felt like I was going to pass out. I told Mama I would call her when I got upstairs. At this point my head felt like it was going to explode (much different feeling than my typical migraines). I made it up the first flight and half of stairs (I live in a third floor walk up) and then woke up at the bottom of the half flight up against the wall. Apparently I passed out at the top and fell down to the bottom and landed against the wall. I laid there for a while, then thought "Ok.. I can do this... I can do this... I CAN do this...." So, I started going up the next full flight. I made it up about halfway and then awoke at the bottom of that flight. I sat there for a while and then crawled up the that flight and the next flight on my hands and knees. (I'm sure that was a cute site) I finally made it up to my apartment and called my mom. I proceed to tell her "something is wrong." With the help of my mom signed into my facebook account and a friend from school we discovered that there were no urgent care facilities near my house that were still open (1am) and that the best place to go was Boston Medical Center. An hour wait and a cab ride later.... I was at the hospital. After a vital check and questions asked I was rushed back to the acute care side of the ER. Shortly after was a gown, an IV, two residents, and a CT scan. The CT scan came back showing no bleeds but they still wouldn't let me go home.

During the process I saw many residents (trauma, surgical, neuro, emergency...) doctors, and a very nervous med student. Word got around that I had two gross anatomy finals the next day that I needed to be studying. At the very least I needed to be out in time to take them. After a few... "Hmmmmm"s and "...maybe's...." I had a resident (good looking...about my age... that made it worse) get in my face and this was what he said....

"Look Christa, get over it.... you're NOT going to make it to the exams... You're NOT going to be able to take them and do well... You are obviously CONCUSSED... there is something else going on... and your pupils are the size of a large pencil eraser... I will personally write you a note... Your professors will understand... well hopefully understand... (that was really reassuring!).... now lay back... close your eyes... and I will get pain meds to you REALLY soon." He was the only person I saw on a regular basis through my ER stay. He was the one kind enough to turn the light off over my head (every time someone else turned it on) and closed the curtain. After a while he was the one who taped a sign on my curtain with huge letters.... "CONCUSSION, MIGRAINE... NO LIGHTS... LESS NOISE!!!!!" Okay.. wow! At least he got me pain meds for the headache that wouldn't go away.


The CT results came back... no bleed. The bp started to go down... I was tired of being there. By the way... the doc (resident) apologized for getting frustrated with me and sat and chatted for a while before he left after his shift ended.

I then found out that I was being admitted. Woohoo! What that meant was I was transferred upstairs, asked a million questions, taught how to use a remote control, and ignored. I find it funny that they were keeping me for observation but no one really observed me ;)

I talked to my professor and let her know I wouldn't be there for the finals. That was something I was really worried about but it went well. Then in came another resident... woohoo!... He informed me I wouldn't be going home until Friday to which my response was "Seriously?" However I think my sad eyes did me good. After four hours he came back to let me know he had pulled strings and I was going home. YIPPEEEE! I, of course, looked at the clock to see if I could make it to my gross anatomy practical exam. No such luck.

My paperwork was completed, I walked the halls (to prove I wouldn't pass out), my IV was removed, I bled all over the floor (the needle they used was HUGE!), signed my forms, and called a cab... I was FREE!!!!!

I got home, called Mama, sent some texts, turned off my phone ringer, turned off alarms, and went to bed. Asleep within minutes and woke up nine hours later...

All of my classmates went out and partied lastnight. They are finished for the semester. Most of them are boarding flights today and tomorrow to head home. I meet with my prof on Monday to see where we go from here... Life is never boring but it's not always fun :) The best plans are made to be ruined?

I'm home. I'm fine. This afternoon will consist of cleaning and studying. My brain feels like it got juggled and I feel like I'm starting from scratch. Supposedly that will change in the next couple of days. Life goes on... The sky is a beautiful blue with puffy white clouds, the flowers are blooming, like very other day there is nothing on TV... Like I said... Life goes on :)

I hope this day finds you doing something you enjoy or looking forward to a weekend full of fun :)

04 August 2009

Today's Ride...

(posted Friday 7 Aug 2009)

No change here... things remain to same. In the middle of a week of finals. I feel good about the one I took today and okay about the one tomorrow. The key is I am studying really hard for the Gross Anatomy exams on Thursday. I'm trying to remain positive and doing all that I can possibly do.... So with that said... I'll share my conversation with a really energetic, life loving, positive, encouraging, tiny old man I met on the train today.... then it's back to the muscles I will know before I go to bed tonight :)

I was on the orange line heading home from school. I scored a bench seat in the T station, which is unusual for me, and so I was making flashcards as I waited on the train. A really cute old man came and sat on the opposite end of the bench and I was aware that I was being observed.

As the train pulled up I was inwardly hoping the man would go left when I went right. No luck. I found a seat and the man chose a seat one down from me (a seat in between us). I proceeded to use the seat in between as storage and continued my work.... not for long....
The conversation is as follows:
  • man: Hmmmm....
  • christa: [silence]
  • man: Hmmmmmmmmm..... mmmm....
  • christa: Hmm? (a little annoyed)
  • man: flexor forearm muscles..... interesting...
  • christa: (now very interested) Yes sir..
  • man: Must be a grad student.
  • christa: Yes sir?
  • man: A hard topic and an undergraduate wouldn't be writing notecards on the train.
  • christa: Oh.
  • man: Besides........ you look absolutely exhausted.
  • christa: (tired smile) Thanks.
  • man: A medical field of some sort..(I began to tell him).. No... don't tell me. It's pediatrics.
  • christa: My height? (a little annoyed again)
  • man: No. Why would you assume that? I watched you light up when you watched the kids in the station and their smiles were instantaneous. If you aren't doing peds you need to change your path.
  • christa: Oh I'm certainly peds. I can't imagine doing anything else.
  • man: I can't decide.... [me: Hmm?].... it's either a pediatrician or physiatrist or a physical therapist.
  • christa: [you could have picked my chin up off the floor. He named what I always said I would do and then named what I'm doing now.] Ummm... I was going to be a pediatric physiatrist.... now I'm in school for physical therapy.
  • man: [HUGE smile!] I knew it...
  • (after more words I found out that he, for many years, was a pediatric doc who specialized in medically complex children with neuro and ortho issues. Guess what I want to do!!!)
  • man: How's gross treating you?
  • christa: mmmmmm... not doing so well.
  • man: the topic or the memorization?
  • christa: the memorization. We're doing a semester gross class in eight weeks.
  • man: Well isn't that just rediculous! You are working with human cadavers, right? Where are you in school?
  • christa: MGH Institute (charlestown)...
  • man: DPT, right? So you're gross class is at Harvard Med?
  • christa: Yes sir.
  • man: Great program. Stick with it. Chin up... keep trucking and imagine the faces of all of the beautiful children you will help. It's one step in a long path to a dream God placed in your heart for a reason... Chin up... and because you can probably use it... listen to me. Look at me... Are you listening? "You can do this." I don't think you heard me Christa "You can do this" [keep in mind he was getting louder and louder each time he said it.]
  • (As we approached my stop....)
  • man: Christa? You CAN do this. Go study.... take a nap... study some more and remember there are people cheering you on.
  • christa: Thank you. (I was getting ready to step off the train)
  • man: Christa? (I turned to look at him) I'll be praying for you... from here on out... God Bless.
  • [ a huge smile of relief from me and I was out the door and on my way home]
Just a reminder that God always knows what you need. I am far from family and friends but a little man I had never met took a moment to share with me and through him I was blessed. My only regret of this train ride is... I didn't get his name. (or picture :) )

I hope God is blessing you this week in little unexpected ways. Smile at people as you walk down the street, pass them in the hall. Look them in the eyes, for some people it may be the only smile or gift of warmth they get all day.

A lot has happened since I wrote this post. I'm working on a new one with an explanation. It will be posted later today... for now... it is 5:19 am and I am heading to bed :)

02 August 2009

Restless...


"For when anxiety was great within me... Your consolation brought JOY to my soul."
-Psalm 94:19

There is a restlessness deep inside me this week that I can't seem to shake. This verse keeps running through my mind. I know it is His doing; not my own.

This is one of my life verses... I love that it says it brings Joy from anxiety. It doesn't just say that He removes the anxiety... He doesn't just remove it... He replaces it with an amazing emotion... an overwhelmingly good emotion... JOY!!!

I hope this day finds you filled with JOY!

A Topsail View..

I need a break from staring at notes, clinical oriented anatomy, Netters, and my whiteboard... I spent hours in the cadaver lab this morning at Harvard and now it's back to the books...

I had hoped to be able to go to Topsail this year but it's not going to happen. My next real break will be in three years... Guess my photos will have to hold me over ;) Enjoy.......
(these pictures were taken last year or the year before......)

01 August 2009

A study break....

"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. "

-Anatole France
French novelist (1844 - 1924)


My week and weekend have been very little other than study and yet I feel as if I know nothing. I found this quote this afternoon as I was trying to stay awake to continue learning about the flexor/extensor muscles in the forearm and the pathways of the arteries, veins, and nerves. I wholeheartedly admit that it is overwhelming. And the idea of going home in two weeks without being able to join my fellow classmates in September is terrifying.

Because you see, for the first time I feel like I am where I am supposed to be. That is not to say that it is easy. I'm here to tell you it is NOT easy! I spend 90% of my time studying and still feel like I don't get it. I reach times when it is as if my brain is crying out to me... "STOPPPPP!! I can't take anymore!!!!!"

In conversation with a friend I was trying to explain that "No, you are not the only one I haven't talked to since I've been here." "Yes I care about you." "Yes your friendship is important to me." And then came the sentence of all sentences... "I don't understand why you act like you are so busy. You're only taking TWO classes. It's not like you are taking a full semester load." Ladies and Gentlemen.... I am here to tell you... Yes I am taking two classes.... Yes I am busy.... Yes I am stressed.... Yes my hair is falling out by the handfuls.... Yes I often forget to eat because I'm deep in the books.... Yes a week sometimes passes without me realizing it.... Yes I am engrossed in my studies.... Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes!

But here's what you may not realize. My gross anatomy class is actually two classes consisting of a lab and a lecture. It takes place at two different schools on the opposite sides of Boston. The two schools are MGH Institute of Health Professions (Charlestown) and Harvard Medical School (Longwood Medical Area). I am at school six or seven days a week! When I'm not in class it is NOT uncommon to find me in a small room at Harvard studying with a skeleton or in the cadaver lab learning what SHIRLEY can teach me. My gross anatomy class is the same class that our professors took as a sixteen week (entire semester) class. We are learning the same things in eight weeks. Brutal doesn't begin to describe it. The other class is Professional Socialization. Learning skills...getting everyone up to the same level. The class isn't hard but it can be tricky to plan time with a partner to practice techniques for the skills checks.

When I do go home it's usually well after seven and I walk from the T station, through the neighborhood, up three flights of stairs, remove my shoes, grab a diet coke or water (depending on what kind of day it's been) and pull out the books. Sometimes I take a quick power nap and then study. Either way I usually study until around 12:30 or 1:00 then it's off to bed.... and the next day it all repeats itself :)

All of this to say.... I am sorry.... I wish I was more organized... I wish I had previous knowledge that made learning gross anatomy easier... I wish I wasn't stretched to the max... I wish I could add hours to the day.... I wish I had time to call everyone... I wish I was within a walkable distance for coffee with each of you. But I'm not. I'm doing the best I can and praying that my journey in Boston doesn't end in two weeks.... Please pray with me. Not that I will call you....but that I survive... not just physically or educationally... but mentally and emotionally....

The upcoming two weeks are packed.

  • Tonight and tomorrow is study time.
  • Tomorrow morning I'll be in the lab at Harvard for hours... then the rest of the day will find me reading notes, writing notes, using the whiteboard, drawing pictures, studying my bone box, and lots of prayer.
  • Monday: is a review session w/ my professor (lots of assignments to do before then) and then a practice gross anatomy practical. Then you guessed it.... studying :)
  • Tuesday: Professional Socialization final (written)--Gotta study for that at some point :) and then skills practice with partner for skill check.
  • Wednesday: Professional Socialization ("P. Soc") Skill check... pass or fail! on ambulation, guarding, gait training, assistive device education, stair gait education, and possibly falls... FUN!
  • Thursday: Gross Anatomy Final (written exam)(noon) and then Gross Anatomy Practical (cadaver lab test) (right after written exam)
  • Friday: half a day to breathe.... and then it's back to the books until the following Wednesday.
  • Next Thursday morning: I have to retake an exam I didn't make and A or B on.. and then Thursday evening I climb on a plane (with Lucy---huge prayer request) headed home for 2 weeks!!!
  • Somewhere in this schedule comes packing, cleaning, eating, sleeping, bathing, bill paying, and excitement.... Somewhere ;)
So when you think of me say a prayer. Not just for me.... but for all of the students who are going through finals and all of the students who are beginning a new semester. We are all striving toward a goal.... the dream of a heart... the purpose of our soul... and the part of us that gets up every morning to take another step in the right direction.....

Now.... back to the books :)

(the picture was taken today on my walk home from the T station after being in the cadaver lab..... It was a nice thirty minutes of Vitamin D and sweat ;) )

29 July 2009

Clouded...Muddy...Jumbled...Frazzled...

The words in the title describe how my brain feels. The vocabulary for my two classes is immense, the skills are mildly complicated, and the stress is great. All of this comes together to make my head...my mind... a mind that is filled with words... words that aren't even English...

For example.. fimbraie, fornix, fundus, cauda equina, spinal stenosis, psoas, hypertrophic, articular processes, iliocostalis lumborum, nuchal, spinalis, longissimus, multifidis, levator costae, sternocleidomastoid... Is that enough? No? How about some of the foot and arm muscles....subscapularis, supraspinatus, coracobrachialis...not to be confused with the brachialis... or the brachial artery.. not to be confused with brachial veins... or....

How about long names... like "posterior circumflex humeral artery" or "medial brachialantebrachial cutaneous nerves"? You know in the arm you have triceps and biceps. Did you know the proper name for the biceps is biceps brachii and that there are two heads? a short head and a long head. Did you know there is a little muscle in the arm called "anconeus?" It's a small muscle (relatively speaking) that connects at your elbow and travels down your arm about a third of the way to attach to your ulna (the little bone on the pinky side of your lower arm). It's an important muscle because it assists the triceps in extending the forearm, stabilizes the elbow joint, and helps with the ulna during rotation of the hand. This is all from one half a page of my notes..... That doesn't begin to cover it.

All of this to say. When it takes me a minute to comprehend what you say, or put words together to make a sentence... have a little patience. My brain is mush and I still have two weeks to go :)

Don't get me wrong. I love the field. I love what I'm learning. I LOVE working with the cadaver and my fellow lab partners... However... during my two week vacation it will be nice to not have my day revolve around coracoid processes, tuberosities, and supraglenoid tubercles. :)

I know the picture is a little disorienting but it seemed to describe the way my brain feels....

Much love and compassion.... from Boston.

19 July 2009

Refreshment in a Time of Drought...

Since I've been here (and right before I moved) things have been so hectic that it has been very easy to push my time in the Word aside. I know the benefits...I know how it makes me feel. It was just a decision to do other things and push it aside. There were times when I would think of it...crave it. But there just weren't enough hours in the day. Then the worry and anxiety began creeping in....and gained some ground. What a horrible feeling. Panic is not a stage in which I want to spend my day. So yesterday I pulled out my Bible and started digging. I looked up words like: worry, help, hope, and peace. I came across some very helpful and meaningful verses. Some that I've marked many times before and others that were a first in my digging studies ;) I'll post a longer entry about them later.... after my gross anatomy exam. But I wanted to share a quote I found this morning digging through Strong's Concordance (thank you Ele) and Matthew Henry's Commentary.

I was looking up Psalm 37:37
"There is a future for the man of peace."

In perusing Matthew Henry I found this from his section on Psalm 37:34-40. ( I changed the them and they to me....)
He is my strength in times of trouble...
He shall keep me AND deliver me...
He will help me to do my duties,
bear my burdens,
and to maintain my spiritual conflicts,
bear my troubles well and get good by them.
In due time (His time),He will deliver me out of my troubles.

He will save me,
not only keep me safe, but make me happy,
because I trust in Him,
not because I have merited it from him,
but because I have committed myself to Him
and reposed a confidence in him,
and have thereby honored Him.

Consider this in your comings and goings of this week. Who gave you the sunshine you are enjoying? Who gifts you every day of your life? Who is walking beside you to protect you and comfort you when you are lost? Who loves you more than we can humanly imagine? Who create each intricate part of your body to work in perfect harmony? Who prepares you for things in the future, good and bad? Who would lay down their life for you and gave his son for you? Abba.

18 July 2009

Shirley

To the amazing woman who gave up your body so that I may learn... And to the family who supported her decision....

I know not what your name was in life but in death I have named you Shirley.
 How amazing it is that you gave your body so that I may learn. You have become my greatest teacher.

Because of you.....

I know:
what a heart feels like.
what a heart looks like.
the layers of muscles.
the incredible amount of organs in one tiny belly.
what a spinal cord looks like (WOW).
the fascia surrounding the kidneys.
the layers of the foot (or will by the end of today).
what the sciatic nerve looks like (huge).
and the damage done to your lungs by the disease.
 I can imagine:
what struggling to breathe must have felt like.
the emotional strain of the hysterectomy.
and your family.
 I am amazed by:
your generosity.
your kindness.
and your consideration for me.
 and so I name you Shirley....
Surely you were lovely.
Surely you were thoughtful.
Surely you were compassionate.
Surely you were cared for.
Surely you were loved.Surely I will learn with your help.
Surely I will pass this class.
Surely I will help people.
Surely I will appreciate your sacrifice.
Surely I will one day make the same sacrifice.
Surely (Shirley) you are loved!
*To anyone who reads this:
Please consider donating your body for medical students. It is truly one of the greatest gifts we will ever receive. I can't begin to describe to you how amazing it is to see what you are learning... not only through pictures and diagrams but in its truest form. To read about the spinal cord is one thing.... to see the human spinal cord is an entirely different thing. There is not a day I spend in the lab that I am not amazed by something. The thoughtfulness shown by these individuals and their families is something that we as medical students do not take lightly. Shirley's sacrifice will be with me for the rest of my life. She is my greatest teacher....and is in turn a great helper to my future patients. There is currently a shortage of donors and medical schools are having to place 15-30 students per body.... To do/dissect is to learn like no other opportunity offers. Please consider this when planning for how you want to be remembered. Being an organ donor is great and saves lives. But don't write off the idea of total donation to a medical school.... They are both great options. By teaching doctors you are saving the lives of the people they treat.

12 July 2009

At Night...


...is when my mind catches up with me. All of the things I push aside during the day come in like a flood in the evening. How does that work?


It's the time when I want to call people but every one's asleep. I want to read a book but the textbooks seem to be calling my name. I wish there was someone to come home to. Someone to share my hopes and dreams with. Someone to share my disappointments with. Wow! That sounds so incredibly cheesy :) It's not that I am unhappy to be single or dream of being married all the time. It's not like that. It's just the random moments when the longing of my heart is stronger than the reality of life.

I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. In the program I'm supposed to be in. Spending my days with the group of people I'm supposed to have as colleagues. Living in the city of my dreams. Studying human bones and living in a cadaver lab..... I know that for once in my life I am in the place and position that God intended. I'm not sitting on the line. I'm here and I'm working hard to stay here.

I talked to a great friend for a long time today and was trying to explain how it feels to be here. Most days my day goes by and I wonder where it went and how it passed so fast. Some days I want so badly to be able to drive down the street and visit a friend for food and game night or drive and hour and be at my parent's house to cook a meal, chat, and laugh... Other days I don't miss it. It's not because I don't truly miss them. It's because there is some surreal phenomenon that occurs where my brain thinks they are still nearby. It doesn't comprehend that I can't meet Christy for coffee and errands after work. I can't text Traci to meet at Barnes and Noble. I don't have Thursday movie and game night with Laurie to look forward to each week. I can't pop in at Cheryl's house for a good meal, craft/sewing talk, and laughter. I can't crash on the couch at Mama and Daddy's house and cook food and watch all the good girlie flicks like.... Miss Congeniality, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Sweet Home Alabama... I can't go to the Watson's house and hang out with Bubbaloo. There's no shooting pool, crashing on the couch, getting lost in video games (literally lost :) ), watching Jackie Chan movies, and Big Bang Theory marathons. Today was a day when I craved my old life. I miss the love, the camaraderie, the comfort, and the laughter.... It's strange... a strange reality.

A storm has begun and the lightning outside my third floor window is amazing.... I'm heading to bed to enjoy the sound of the rain and thunder.... G'Night All!!!

11 July 2009

The Last Bunch of Days...

...have been a bit crazy. (I'm beginning to see a theme)

Amy came to visit last week/weekend. We had a lot of fun and she was instrumental in helping me study for my exams on Tuesday. The jokes and dinosaur names really helped me remember some of the little details needed. Monday I had to say goodbye to her at the airport... That was incredibly hard and tears were present. I think I often don't notice how alone I am here until my friends and family leave. It seems to highlight the hardest aspect of this process.

On Wednesday we had a white coat ceremony and I gained a white coat (with pin) for my wardrobe. It's a bit surreal. At the moment when I wear it it looks like I'm playing dress up in my Daddy's whitecoat. It will be heading to a tailor on Monday or Tuesday :)

On Thursday we received our exam grades and I was terrified!!!! I am pleased to announce that I passed both with more than just a few points :) Goals for myself now include being more confident and not second guessing myself. Multiple questions on the written test were wrong because I changed them from the right answers. Frustrating....

I don't feel very eloquent at the moment. The fact that it is almost three a.m. might have something to do with it. Today I did a clinical rotation at Spaulding Rehab Hospital in the cardiac/pulm floor. It was a good experience and it cemented some of my future job details. I really feel a calling to work in inpatient acute care. I enjoy the collaboration required between the therapists, nurses, doctors, etc... The pace is less laid back and more my style. Things are always changing and new patients are always being admitted. However today also solidified the fact that I do NOT want to work in cardiac/pulm every day. I can't do it. I want pediatrics. I want to work with children and their families. Children with CP, CF, Downs, brain tumors, cancer, etc.... I want to be a sense of calm in their storm and help them regain possible function. It's where my heart is...it's my love... It's the niche where I fit....

A couple of interesting stories from today:
  • An elderly gentlemen had an old tatoo of a woman (sort of pinup style). As we were talking I asked about the tattoo and once I assured him that discussing it would NOT get him out of therapy.... he told me a story. He received the tattoo around 1945. Things were obviously different then. He tried to go to a pool to swim and was turned away because the woman on his arm was without clothing. Keep in mind that the only private area of the woman showing was a tiny amount of the upper region of her backside. He proceeded to get a bathingsuit tattoo'd on his tattoo so that he could go to the pool. My how things have changed. He then showed me a small one on his arm... a heart with Mom in the middle. With a humble smile he proceeded to tell me that he thought that getting "Mom" in the middle would butter her up to the fact that he had a tattoo. He then added the fact that he was 14 when he obtained it and apparently it was from a really bad part of time lined with strip shows. I asked if it worked (the buttering up)... With an adorable laugh and a lot of chagrain he said..."umm... no :)" This same man told me that I would be a great therapist because I wouldn't let him stop doing his work or distract me. I take it as a compliment.
  • A conversation from today with a female patient around 65yo:
Pt: "You want to be a student?"
Me: "I am a student."
Pt: "What for?"
Me: "to be a physical therapist."
Pt: "What? Why?"
Me: "It's a profession that has helped me and one that I love."
Pt: "Hmmph"
Pt: "Well, I'm sure you'll be a good one...anyone can do that job."
Pt: "It's so easy you'll catch on with no problem."
Pt: "They don't do anything. Anybody can do that job!"
  • Another one:
Pt: "You're a student?"
Me: "Yes Sir"
Pt: "Are you learning anything?"
Me: (smile) "Yes Sir"
Pt: "Where are you in school?"
Me: "MGH Institute"
Pt: "Charlestown? like the one affiliated with Mass General Hospital?"
Me: "Yes Sir"
Pt: "Doctorate program?"
Me: "Yes Sir"
Pt: "Hmm... you're smart?"
Me: "Mmmm... I work hard."
Pt: "Hun, that wasn't a question. It was a statement. "
Pt: "Own it... you'll do great."
Pt: "How you liking Boston? You're obviously not from here?"
Me: "Why would you say that?"
Pt: "Honey I know a carolina accent when I hear one!"
Pt: "It's the state of great golf and great food."
Pt: (to the PT) "You been there? You should go! Beautiful state!"
[He was my kind of man ;) ]

Life is good. It's just different. I'm up most mornings before 6:30am. I'm then off to class and then to more class. When I'm not in class I'm in the cadaver lab at Harvard Med School. I study and then all of a sudden I realize it's 11pm and I need to be climbing into bed but still have a couple of hours of work left to be done. For those I haven't talked to... I can tell you that I've been thinking of you. I'm trying to get my feet under me and used to the schedule. I can tell my body is still adjusting to the changes that took place with the surgery. I'm more easily exhausted and it seems to hit suddenly. Fine one minute and the next minute I can barely hold my eyes open.

I'm heading to bed now... It's 3:30am and the migraine is getting worse instead of better. Tomorrow is a day of studying with hopes of getting behind my camera for some flower pics. I miss holding it in my hands and viewing the details God made by hand. I hope this finds you beginning an amazing weekend!

08 July 2009

Hi!

I'm not lost => Life is just hectic.

Amy, my sister, was here Thursday through yesterday and I had my first two gross anatomy exams today. So it's been lots of sight seeing, studying, and stressing ;) I have lots to share and had planned to do it tonight... But seeing as how it is now 4am...(I fell asleep on the couch) I'm heading to bed. A long day tomorrow... professional socialization lab (vital signs) and then the White Coat Ceremony.

But enjoy the pics.... Amy and I were watching the fireworks from the banks of the Charles River while you were watching on TV. It was AWESOME!!!! More pics are posted to flickr...and more will come....