Wednesday, March 31, 2010


It's coming, and my heart is heavy with a chilling dread.
I don't regret my actions, and I'd do it again.
Yet, come tomorrow, he'll know. Oh God, I'm afraid.
One voice in a sea of pain.

"It took a lot of guts..."
"I hope you don't suffer for what you wrote..."
"It was extremely matter what it costs you."
Words of comfort for a trembling soul.

We must sometimes surrender our security
in the pursuit and protection of what is true.
I refuse to pretend. I refuse to hide the truth.
And so, it is written. Come what may.

Yet, it's coming and my heart is heavy with a chilling dread.
I don't regret my actions, and I'd do it again.
Yet, come tomorrow he'll know. Oh God, I'm afraid.
Psalm 91:9-16

Ya llega, y mi corazón es fuerte y con un miedo escalofriante.
No me arrepiento de mis acciones, y había que hacerlo de nuevo.
Sin embargo, venga mañana, él sabrá. Oh Dios, tengo miedo.
Una voz en un mar de dolor.

"Tomó un montón de tripas ..."
"Espero que no sufra por lo que escribió ... "
"Era muy concienzudo .... no importa lo que te cuesta."
Las palabras de consuelo para un alma temblorosa.

A veces tiene que entregar nuestra seguridad
en la búsqueda y la protección de lo que es verdad.
Me niego a fingir. Me niego a esconder la verdad.
Y así, está escrito. Pase lo que pase.

Sin embargo, está por llegar y mi corazón es fuerte y con un miedo escalofriante.
No me arrepiento de mis acciones, y había que hacerlo de nuevo.
Sin embargo, ven mañana se sabrá. Oh Dios, tengo miedo.
Salmo 91:9-16

Monday, March 29, 2010

Santa Rosa '10

Napa/Sonoma - uno de los tesoros de California.
Napa/Sonoma - one of California's treasures.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Medical Monday III

"Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream
of escaping poverty: that one magical day good luck will
suddenly rain down on them - will rain down in buckets. But
good luck doesn't rain down yesterday, today, tomorrow, or
ever. Good luck doesn't even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter
how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is
tickling, or if they begin the new day with their right foot, or
start the new year with a change of brooms.
The nobodies: nobody's children, owners of nothing. The
nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits,
dying through life, screwed every which way.
Who are not, but could be.
Who don't speak languages, but dialects.
Who don't have religions, but superstitions.
Who don't create art, but handicrafts.
Who don't have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
Who do not have faces, but arms.
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the
police blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them."
- Eduardo Galeano, "The Nobodies"

"The people in a number of the stories are of the kind that
many writers have recently got in the habit of referring to as
"the little people." I regard this phrase as patronizing and
repulsive. There are no little people in this book. They are as
big as you are, whoever you are."
- Joseph Mitchell, McSorley's Wonderful Saloon

Thus begins Paul Farmer's book, "Pathologies of Power; Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor." It's an angry and a hopeful book, written with passion and authority. Farmer challenges us to face the urgent theoretical and political challenges of the 21st century on behalf of some of the poorest and most excluded people on the planet. So far, this book is fascinating.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Indignant Ex-Homeschooler

So, today was the first day of my 8-week classes. Finally! I couldn't *wait* for school to start again. Economics, Speech, English - oh my!

In Speech class today we all had to get up and give, yes, you guessed it...speeches. Our professor had us partner up with someone new and after 10-15 minutes of getting to know each other, we were to introduce our new friend to the class. I turned to a brunette with florescent green eyeshadow extending to her eyebrows and beautiful curly hair flowing over her shoulders. Interesting gal. We actually hit it off rather well; she's 19, grew up on a ranch in Texas, wants to go into social work and protect abused kids, and is the oldest of me. After chatting for a couple minutes, taking notes of each other's interests, goals and hobbies so we could report them to the class, she asked me, "so, where did you go to high-school?"

An array of thoughts rushed to mind.
  • Should I tell her the truth?
  • I could make up a school?
  • What if she asked me something specific about my "school"?
  • Aw, come on! The truth is cool.
  • ARC'ers never get it I really want to spend 8 weeks proving my normality?

Invisible deep breath. I smiled proudly, "I homeschooled through highschool." Her eyes brightened, "really?! That's so cool!"
Whoa. Sweet. Finally! She asked none of the usual stupid questions (did you wear your PJs all day? did you have any...friends? are there a million kids in your family? are you mormon? etc, etc, etc), but instead seemed intrigued about the whole process. We talked about taking college classes in high-school, the way I've been able to travel due to homeschooling's flexibility, and an assortment of other homeschooling perks. She looked at me and shook her head, "I love it! What a neat schooling opportunity...I would've loved to do that!" Cool. That was easy.

The time came to introduce our partner to the class, and after I had gone, she nervously stood up before the class, curls bouncing happily. "My parner today was Risa. She actually homeschooled through highschool, so she's really excited to be around normal people and get out of her house. I think it's really cool she's brave enough to jump right into college and socialization, don't you? *high pitched giggle*"


I could've strangled her.

Thus began my 8-week adventure in speech class.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Medical Monday II

The Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is the main pathway of communication between the brain and the rest of the body. It is a long, fragile, tubelike structure that extends downward from the base of the brain. The cord is protected by the back bones (vertebrae) of the spinal column which are separated and cushioned by disks made of cartilage.

Along the length of the spinal cord, 31 pairs of spinal nerves emerge through spaces between the vertebrae. The spinal nerves connect with nerves throughout the body. Each spinal nerve has two nerve roots (except the first, which has no sensory root). The root in the front, the motor root, transmits inpulses from the spinal cord to the muscles. The root in the back, the sensory root, carries sensory information (about touch, position, pain, and temperature) from the body to the spinal cord.

The spinal column is divided into four areas: cervical (neck), thoracic (chest), lumbar (lower back), and sacral (pelvis). Each area is referred to by a letter (C, T, L, or S). The vertebrae in each area of the spine are numbered beginning at the top. For example, the first vertebra in the cervical spine is labeled C1, the second in the cervical spine is C2, the second in the thoracic spine is T2, the fourth in the lumbar spine is L4, and so forth.

Friday, March 12, 2010

To dream the impossible dream...

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
I'm not stressed, I'm not worried, I'm not anxious...I just have no earthly idea how I'm going to get everything I need to finish done in the next 28 hours. Finishing everything seems absolutely impossible at the moment (unless I pull an all-nighter, ugh), but what makes me refuse to surrender is the heart-chilling fear of my MUN taskmaster. Ahh! He's scary and already mad at me and good lord! I'll get it done! I'll get it done!


Work from 12:00-9:30pm.
Friends house from 9:45 - 11ish
Research like crazy and write a policy statement on the "Effectiveness of the UN's Convention on Transnational Organized Crime"...11ish - ???

Work from 7:30am -2:00pm
MUN meeting where said policy statement must be turned in at 3:00
Work again from 7:30-9:30pm.

Gah! So yes...the magic must take place between 11pm tonight and 7:30 tomorrow morning. We'll see if my sanity stays intact. They say sleep deprivation is conducive to profound thought sometimes. I'm banking on it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


"Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time." -Sara Paddison

This morning was chilly and grey as I drove to work. The 3:45am traffic was light and once I pulled into the parking lot, I had a few moments to tilt back my seat and think before my boss arrived and the workday started. I closed my eyes and was flooded with painful memories, flashbacks, snippits from sermons, blips of encouragements from friends...a chaotic swirl of thoughts and feelings my mind desperately tries to control. It's not a new struggle; the battle of heart vs. mind. My mind tells me what I should do, how I should react, how I should feel...but my heart cries, remembers, hurts, is incapable of conforming to "logic".

It's often been said forgiveness can be one of the most difficult things to do. Ever.
I believe that. One moment I think I've done it - I've forgiven - and then there'll be an "episode", and I'm in hurt, angry turmoil all over again. How is it possible to "love the sinner, hate the sin"? The hating the sin part is certainly there, but loving the sinner? Really?

"The stupid neither forgive nor forget, the naive forgive and forget, the wise forgive but do not forget." -Thomas S. Szasz

What I've come to realize is that forgiveness is not acceptance. Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness is not allowing a situation or behavior to continue. Forgiveness does not mean pretending. Forgiveness does not mean trying to have a warm relationship despite a screaming and resistant heart.

Forgiveness is letting go. Forgiveness is not having wrong expectations of someone. Forgiveness is recognizing the past but not allowing it to affect the future. Forgiveness is don't have to love to forgive.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


My coworkers joke that spring officially starts the day customers line up out the door.

I know it's spring when our apple tree is covered in innocent, pink blossoms.

I know it's spring when robins can be seen darting across the wet grass, tugging at long, brown earthworms.

I know it's spring when the tulips open and the daisies bloom.

I know it's spring when the ridiculous amount of layers is no longer needed. A simple sweater will suffice.

I know it's spring when the chickens begin to cackle and eggs appear once more in the straw nests.

I know it's spring when there's a song in the breeze and a laugh in the clouds.

"Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawns." -Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk's 'I Love You'

Monday, March 8, 2010

Medical Monday I

I have decided to devote Mondays to medicine and all things medically related. Most of my Medical Monday posts will be snippits from my snazzy Merck Manual of Medical Information, a fascinating collection of definitions, disorders, graphs, treatments and very cool info in general.

And so, today begins my series of Medical Mondays. :)

High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) is abnormally high pressure in the arteries.
To many people, the word hypertension suggests excessive tension, nervousness, or stress. In medical terms, hypertension refers to high blood pressure, regardless of the cause. Because it usually does not cause symptoms for many years - until a vital organ is damaged - it has been called "the silent killer." Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of problems such as stroke, aneurysm, heart failure, heart attack, and kidney damage.
Blood pressure that is more than 180/110mm Hg and does not produce any symptoms is a hypertensive urgency.
Malignant hypertension, a particularly severe form of high blood pressure, is a hypertensive emergency. Blood pressure is at least 210/120mm Hg. It occurs in only 1 of 200 people who have high blood pressure. Unlike a hypertensive urgency, malignant hypertension may produce a variety of severe symptoms. If untreated, malignant hypertension usually leads to death in 3 to 6 months.
Treatement: Primary hypertension cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. Helpful measures include: losing weight, reducing intake of alcohol and sodium, moderate aerobic exercise and if necessary, drug therapy (no, not drugdrugs...pharmaceutical drugs).

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Today I...

Learned how to drive a stickshift. No, I'm not very graceful and yes, the truck lurches forth from the stopsign every so often - but! I drove around our neighborhood countless times and found delicious exhilaration in the shifting of gears. It's like experiencing the delight of driving...all over again.

Talked to a dear, dear friend studying many miles away at Biola University. It had been way too long since we'd talked and what with Jamaica and school and life, there was plenty to discuss. Somehow, I ended up with a journal beside me as we chatted, and though entirely a subconcious act, I filled a page with little snippits from our conversation:

Coming to the end of yourself...having to wholly trust in God.
Isaiah 46:4
"Leb" = hebrew word = emotion/intellect/will
Enable Your servant to speak Your word with boldness.
Deuteronomy 30:6
April 2nd

Coached five eager speechies who are prepping for a tournament this week. Its exciting and fun to work with them and speech memories of my own constantly, quietly rush to mind. What exhausting, fantastic memories.

Found more Jamaica pictures from a friend's facebook. I'm sorry...are you guys sick of Jamaica? I want nothing more than to be back there.

Today I remembered that this is the first day of the rest of my life.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nahum 1:3-4, 7

"The Lord is slow to anger and great in power...His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of His feet.
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble."

Friday, March 5, 2010

G'morning, world!

A friend came over last night.
The three of us girls snuggled on the couch.
With cookie-dough.
And watched Wives and Daughters for the first time.
And then we went to bed...and I slept for 12.5 hours. *Whoa!*

First time I've slept for more than 5 hours in more than a week.

Mmmm, that was only a little divine. ;)

Heart Dive

After reading back through a few of my recent posts, I realize how personal and introspective they've become since my return from Jamaica. It's been almost a month since I've been home (goodness, how time flies!), and yet I feel like I'm still in "recovery mode". At our team's debrief lunch together last Sunday, we gathered in a circle in Kathy's livingroom and spent over two hours sharing our experiences, thoughts, observations and things we'd seen God do during the trip. It was a powerful couple of hours, spent laughing, reminiscing, tearing up, and remembering the incredible experience. As we were wrapping up, one of my dear, dear, new friends - Dr. Wong - said quietly, "You know, I think Jamaica gets more and more powerful the farther away it gets. Even though we're not there anymore, memories and lessons continue to come to mind, and even though we're back home, I think God is at work in our hearts just as much, if not more. Jamaica will keep oozing out of us...."

I, I know, he's right.

Something happened to me, to my heart, while I was there. I'm not entirely sure what it was. I'm not completely sure at what point it happened, whether it was actually there or upon my return home. I'm not sure how to explain it....but something is different. I keep trying to rationalize my feelings, trying to analyze them, trying to put them into words - but I keep failing. I frustrate myself when I try to communicate the things I saw, learned, heard, experienced. I saw so much pain, so much hurt, so much dispair, so much sadness...and so much hope, so much beauty, so much peace, so many glimpses of the goodness and majesty of God.

It's the kind of thing that when World Vision News came in the mail today, I poured over the pages. It's the kind of thing that brings specific faces to mind when I read:

"Every year, about 9 million children die before they reach their fifth birthday. 99 of them in developing countries.
Sub-Saharan Africa - 4.5 million
South Asia - 3 million
East Asia/South Pacific - 800,000
Middle East/North Africa - 500,000
Latin America and Caribbean - 300,000
Elsewhere - 200,000
About 6 million of the deaths are from preventable causes with low-cost solutions."
What are we going to do about that reality? How is that going to change? Even though I'm not a doctor yet, it's hard being home knowing there's SO much to do. There is so much work left unfinished. There are so many people that need help. There are so many children who desperately need help. I held some of them.
And so, right now, 20 days after coming home, I'm still digesting Jamaica. Just as Dr. Wong said, I am continuing to experience Jamaica and feeling God at work in strange, mysterious ways that I don't fully understand. Exploring my heart is interesting and frightening and exciting. I wish I knew what lay in store.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Romans 12:1

We come unbidden into this life, and if we are lucky we find a purpose beyond starvation, misery, and early death which, lest we forget, is the common lot.
I grew up and I found my purpose and it was to become a physician. I chose the specialty of surgery because of Matron, that steady presence during my boyhood and adolescence. "What is the hardest thing you can possibly do?" she said when I went to her for advice on the darkest day of the first half of my life.
I squirmed. How easily Matron probed the gap between ambition and expediency. "Why must I do what is hardest?"

"Because, Marion, you are an instrument of God. Don't leave the instrument sitting in its case, my son. Play! Leave no part of your instrument unexplored. Why settle for 'Three Blind Mice' when you can play the 'Gloria'?"

-Cutting for Stone

Monday, March 1, 2010

The big and the small

Deepak cut away the knot I had tied. "I know you have probably done a lot of surgery in Africa. But practice doesn't make perfect if you repeat a bad practice. Let me ask you something, Marion...Do you want to be a good surgeon?"
I nodded.
"The answer isn't an automatic yes. Ask Sister Ruth. In my time here, I've asked that question of a few others." I could feel my ears turning red. "They say yes, but some should have said no. They didn't know themselves. You see, you can be a bad surgeon, and as a rule you will make more money. Marion, I must ask you again, do you really want to be a good surgeon?"
I looked up.
"I guess I should ask what does it involve?"
"Good. You should ask. To be a good surgeon, you need to commit to being a good surgeon. It's as simple as that. You need to be meticulous in the small things, not just in the operating room, but outside. A good surgeon would want to redo this knot. You're going to tie thousands of knots in your lifetime. If you tie each one as well as humanly possible, you'll experience fewer complications....The big things in surgery depend on the little things."
-Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese