Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Wonder

There are a lot of things that I wonder.

I wonder... where are we going to match for residency.
I wonder... where we are going to sleep from February 1st until whenever we settle for residency.
I wonder... how long it is going to take us to get home from this trip.
I wonder... what my kids are going to be when they grow up.
I wonder... where we are going to live after residency.
I wonder... if we are going to rent or buy a house in residency.
I wonder... how hard residency is going to be on our family.
I wonder... if I will actually homeschool everyone through high school or if we'll seek some other options along the way.
I wonder... what church we'll go to next.
I wonder... how long it will take to make friends where ever we land next.

I wonder about all these things and so much more but you know what?? There is one thing that I wonder at instead of wonder about.... that God knows about and cares about all these things even more than I do. He already knows the answers to all my wonderings and He is in control. Oh, the wonder of Him!!

It makes me think of that old hymn:
There's the wonder of sunset at evening,
The wonder as sunrise I see;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is the wonder that God loves me.

O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.
O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.

There's the wonder of springtime and harvest,
The sky, the stars, the sun;
But the wonder of wonders that thrills my soul
Is a wonder that's only begun.

 We've seen a lot of wonders along this trip and seen Him do many amazing things but the wonder that God loves me is the wonder that keeps me going. Oh, how grateful I am!

Like usual on Fridays I am linking up with Gypsy Mama. 
To join me or read more about wonder click this box.
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Get to Residency - a *hopefully* simplified explaination from a medical student's wife

I have been asked many times how the process of how getting a residency position works. If you know someone who has been through it you may have some idea but if you haven't I am going to try to give a simplified version of the process from the outsider's perspective of a medical student's wife.

FYI - Residency is a 3+ year paid training under attending physicians at hospitals and clinics that all doctors who desire to be board certified must complete.

1. Go to college, complete pre-med requirements, get into and attend medical school and pass all your exams.
 You need to go to and pass medical school and pass the national board exams, Step 1 and Step 2, in order to qualify for residency. Medical school is 4 years. At most schools the first 2 years are mostly classes (I've heard them compared to trying to drink from a fire hydrant) and the last 2 years are mostly clinical rotations.

2. Choose what specialty you want to pursue.
During your clinical rotations you get a taste of just about every kind of specialty to help you, hopefully, narrow this down.

3. Decide what type of resident training you want and what is most important to you in a residency program then research programs that offer the training you want in the specialty you want to pursue.
 It's important to consider the scope of training that you want, location, what benefits are important, etc.

I am not sure if every specialty offers a conference but going to the AAFP National Conference of Family Medicine Residents and Medical Students was helpful for us to give us a chance to talk one on one with many different residents and attendings from various programs across the country all in one place. It is an overwhelming conference though so go in knowing that. We were able to cross a few programs off of our list and pick up a few programs as well at the conference.

We used the AAFP website to help us narrow down our options. AMA's FREIDA website is also helpful to get a look at programs in all specialties.

4. Apply to residency programs through ERAS
The number of programs you apply to largely depends on how difficult to get into the specialty you are pursuing is and how good of a candidate you are. Your medical school adviser will help you make that decision.

The application involves various parts including: transcripts, personal statement, CV, letters of recommendation, programs you are applying to, and a photo. You can start putting information into your application on 7/1 (I think) but applications can not be submitted until 9/1.

On 10/1 every applicants' Dean's Letter is sent out to the programs that the applicant applied to.

5. Schedule residency program interviews
Once your application is complete it is uploaded by residency programs and they start looking over applications and deciding who to invite for interviews. Every programs has a different method for doing this. Some look at applications every day, some only look at them once a week. Some contact applicants by email, some by phone and some by snail mail.

6. Interview at programs that invited you to interview
In our experience, at most programs,  the interview involves a dinner with residents the night before the formal interview day. The formal interview starts as early as 7am and goes until as late as 4:30pm. The interview day usually involves about 4 interviews with residents, faculty, and the program director, a tour of the facilities, lunch, and sometimes a driving tour of the area.

Interview season runs from October through January.

7. Rank for the Match
After all interviews are over applicants submit a "rank order list" to the NRMP. In this list you place the program that you want to be at most in the first position and on down to the program that you want to be in least. This year you can submit your rank order list starting on 1/15 and it is required to be in by 2/20 at 9pm EST at the very latest.

There are various ways that I have heard that applicants have come up with their rank order list. One couple we met re-ranked their program list after each interview deciding where the most recent program fit in so by the time they got home from all of their interviews their rank order list was done. One couple was thinking that they would each make their own rank order list and have a friend pretend to be a computer to compare their lists to see where each program would fall. For us it has been a constant conversation about things that we like best and things that we aren't so sure on. There is no perfect program. There are definite good things and not as good things about each program. We are still praying and researching to try to figure out how we are going to rank our list. I have heard it recommended that students not rank any program that they are not willing to be at, that it is better to scramble than match at a program that you don't want to be at.

At the same time the residency programs also submit a rank order list of applicants. Each program has a different way of coming up with their list of preferred candidates.

Ranking is a double blind process where neither the applicants nor the programs can see where they rank on each others' lists. Both of these lists are submitted into a computer and put through an algorithm that compiles all the lists and determines the best fits for residents and programs based on the lists that were submitted.

8. Wait for Match Day
Match Day is the 3rd Friday in March. On the Monday before Match Day all applicants find out if they matched and all programs find out if they filled. If you don't match there is a new program called Supplemental Offer & Acceptance Program which I don't understand fully because I haven't really looked at it. Lord willing we will match and won't have to worry about it but just open up our envelop on Friday, March 15 and find out where we are going!

When students register for ERAS it is a binding agreement and they are agreeing to work for whatever program they match at. At the same time programs are agreeing to hire everyone who matches at their program.

That about sums it up as far as I understand it. Hopefully I got it right and you are not more confused after reading this!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Thank You

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Every year we each make a list of the things we are thankful for from the last year. We usually do it as we are traveling to or from where ever we are celebrating Thanksgiving that year. The list must include as many things as the number of years you have been alive. It is often tough for the kids to try to fit in all that they are thankful for in their small number. I let Abigail have a bonus one or two this year. I'll be posting our Thanksgiving lists later on today after I meet up with a couple more of the kids.

One thing that didn't make my list this year because how on earth do you fit it into just a line or two but I am prompted to write about it in 5 minutes today is my parents. I am so thankful for my parents. I am so grateful for their godly example that they gave me and the encouragement and challenge that they were to me over the years.

This year, though, how I am thinking about them is different. In a small way this year I am thankful that they are gone. I never really ever thought that I would ever say that but we are moving to the other side of the Mississippi late next spring/ early summer for residency (Lord willing). My parents were both born and raised and lived their whole lives in the small town that I grew up in. I think that it would be harder to leave New York if my mom and dad were still alive. Though they were OK with us going to the ends of the earth I know it still would have been hard on them and me for us to be far away from them. So many of the people that we've talked to on this interview trip have mentioned about being homesick and how hard it is to be away from home and have asked me how I am going to handle moving so far away from home. To me home has always meant mom and dad. Not having a mom and dad has kind of meant that I have no home. (Of course we have our own family unit now which is home to us but the idea of "going back home" is basically non-existent to me.) Home is heaven because my heavenly Father is there. My parents are there too because they both trusted Christ as their Savior. So, until I get to my real home - heaven, I am so thankful that I can be at home where ever God has us at the moment because He knows what is best. Even in taking my parents.

The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. Isaiah 57:1-2

Linking up with Lisa-Jo. Join me?
Five Minute Friday

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Stay

I always want to stay. I am not a fan of change. God rarely wants me to stay anywhere for long. We have had 17 addresses over the last 13 years. That equals a lot of change. A lot of NOT staying.

I like to make plans. Well, not really. My imaginary plans usually involve staying. When God asks me to go I often into denial for a long time. Even before this month long excursion I was in denial. The unknown-ness of it all paralyzes me and I can do nothing.

So far this trip has been great. We haven't been doing much "staying." We have slept in 7 different beds so far and spent a night in our van. We have met amazing people, been wined and dined (this is SO MUCH DIFFERENT than applying to medical school!), seen God provide in amazing ways, and seen 11 states.

I would have loved to have just stayed home but I would not have been able to see God do some amazing things and teach me so much.

I don't learn a lot when I stay. It is hard to go but I learn so much more when I do.

I am reminded of that song by Chris Tomlin I referenced a couple of weeks ago
"I Will Follow"

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow...

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I'll love
How you serve I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there's life everlasting
In you there's freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
and I will follow 
I want to stay when He wants me to stay and go when He wants me to go. I long to follow Him where He leads me - He alone knows what is best. Only in Him and going and staying when He wants me to will I find freedom, peace, and joy. He is all I need and I can trust Him. I will follow.

Linking up with the Gypsy Mama. Join me?
Five Minute Friday

Monday, November 12, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Quiet

Written Friday night late... finally posted Monday morning.

It's finally quiet.

A few minutes ago 6 little girls were running around being their silly, noisy selves. They're all now in bed. Quiet.

A few hours ago I was at a conference surrounded by missionally minded medical professionals and students worshipping our great God and being challenged from God's Word. Sessions are over for today. Quiet.

I love this quiet. A time to sit down and talk to God about all I've been hearing and to listen to Him. I have been challenged and I have a lot to process over the next few days, weeks, months, years.

In the past I've tried to avoid quiet. Put on some senseless noise just so it wasn't quiet. Now I long for it. Time alone with my Jesus. Talking to Him. Listening to Him. It's not something I can do easily amid all the noise of my everyday life. I need to be intentional and to use my quiet minutes on purpose to commune with God and not to waste them.

Five Minute Friday

Monday, November 05, 2012

Fiery Trials

This week the passage for the Hello Mornings Challenge Kept Bible study is 1 Peter 4:12-19. I loved Katie and Lara's intro to this week's passage: 
Most people don't feel like suffering. At least I don't feel like suffering. And I think it was pretty clear that Jesus didn't feel like suffering since He anguished in that garden before swallowing God's cup of wrath. But suffering rids us of self. When we reach the point of desperate dependence upon God, we step onto very holy ground. Precious ground. This week Peter again highlight's Jesus example to us regarding suffering - a humbling read.
Monday is "Initial Read" day and here are some of my thoughts...

It starts in v12 with "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you." Why am I always surprised?? I know my God. Jesus promises trials: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. It is not something strange happening. He is the one who gives us peace in our trials. He allows trials to test us, to prove us, to make us more like Him, to help us realize that we can not do it on our own. We need Him.

Verse 13 goes on to say, "but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation." I, though I know it was not Peter was referring to, immediately thought of Luke 9:58 "Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'" In some small way I get to share in the sufferings of Christ this month on our trip and in the spring, just like we have in other "homeless" phases of our lives. Jesus didn't even have a mini-van to call home like we have in the past and, Lord willing, will. I can have joy because my eyes are on Him, not on my circumstances. As as result - God gets the glory which gives me even more reason to rejoice.

There's a lot of great stuff in v14-18. Verses 17-18 really stood out to me in light of the upcoming election:  "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" I have heard a lot of pointing of fingers from people of the church lately but not much personal repentance. We need to repent, remembering that we will be judged, and remember in our every interaction with others, especially those who do not yet "obey the gospel of God" that they will be judged as well and live in a fear of what becomes of unbelievers that prompts action.

Verse 19 says that if we suffer because we are doing what God wants us to do we are to trust God, our faithful Creator, and continue to do right. I can trust God because I know Him and I know that His plan in my trials is to purify me, make me more like Him and make me rely on Him. I want to continue to do right. When things go "wrong" it is so easy to act in a sinful way - yell at the kids, hide, be grouchy, grumble and complain. I want to "continue to do right." I loved Piper's thoughts on this: 
When you have a good theology, a great trust in God and overflowing joy even in suffering, the obstacles to loving others and the incentives for abusing others are gone. People who kill and steal and trouble and annoy others are people who have not known God in his greatness, trusted him like a child and found in him joyful fulfillment. So they try to satisfy the frustrations of their life by doing wrong. But those who know and trust and delight in God are free from the slavery of sin and their joy in God overflows in patience and love. They do what is right from the heart.

 Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. 
Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. 
This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.  
So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. 
Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it. 
I Peter 4:12-13,19 The Message 

And, of course, as in every trial, God brings back to mind that quote...

In time of trouble, say, "First, he brought me here. It is by his will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest." Next, "He will keep me here in his love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as his child." Then say, "He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons he intends me to learn, and working in me the grace he means to bestow." And last, say, "In his good time he can bring me out again. How and when, he knows." Therefore, say, "I am here (1) by God's appointment, (2) in his keeping, (3) under his training, (4) for his time." ~Andrew Murray.

 I'm sure God is going to show me more great truths through this passage this week and I am looking forward to it.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

He is enough

I must admit I have been anxious thinking about our November trip. Some people would be excited to spend almost a month seeing various parts of the country, staying at various hotels and people's homes. I am excited but I also am and have a house full of homebodies. I am not sure how we are going to survive. And I've also been thinking about our mystery months this spring. I want to know what God is going to do. At one point on last Sunday afternoon Glenn mentioned the dreaded "p" word - packing. I told him flippantly that I would be OK with packing if he would just tell me where we were going in February or something like that. Oh, I'm such a great wife.  sigh :(

Sunday night we got to church and I really should have had a handkerchief handy. I'm pretty emotional and I know myself well enough to know that when my attitude needs some tweaking there are, most likely, going to be some tears during the service, especially since I'd already shed a few writing that post about mom. I actually did think "I should run to the bathroom and get some toilet paper" before service started but I didn't go.

One of the first songs we sang was:
"Forever Reign"

You are good You are good
When there’s nothing good in me
You are love You are love
On display for all to see
You are light You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy You are joy
You’re the reason that I sing
You are life You are life
In You death has lost it’s sting

Oh I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
I was doing fine until we got to those words: "The riches of Your love will always be enough." That still small voice asked, "Really? Do you really mean that? I thought that you were needing to know how November was going to go and where you will be sleeping February 1st." Tears started streaming as I chatted with God asking for forgiveness and asking Him to help me to trust Him with the unknown, knowing that He has provided for us SO MANY times before as the song continued. Some kind lady that I'd never seen before came from the back of the sanctuary to gave me a wad of toilet paper that she'd gotten for me. Another hug from God, telling me that He sees me. I cried as I talked with God and prayed the rest of the song back to Him, telling Him that I trust Him.
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here You are here
In Your presence I’m made whole
You are God You are God
Of all else I’m letting go

[Repeat Chorus]

My heart will sing
No other Name

Jesus is enough. Even if He never gives us another blessing ever again we have ten zillion reasons to praise Him and give Him thanks. I want Him to be my focus.

Then, of course, we sang this song for God to remind me who He is - the unchanging One who never fails, the One who always is enough, the One who never gives up on me and, most importantly, the One who has paid the price for all my sin. I sang with growing confidence in our Great God.
"One Thing Remains"

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing… Remains [repeat]

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me [3x]

On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death, In life, I’m confident and
covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can
separate my heart from Your great love...
Later on this week, in our Psalm Countdown to Match Day we read Psalm 136. If you ever need a reminder that His love endures forever just read that Psalm. I think that I have at least 1000 more verses to add to that Psalm.

God used one other song in my life this week (I don't know if we sang this one on Sunday or not... in my brain it is a Northridge song but we may have sung it at our church this week, I'm not sure.)

"I Will Follow"

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow...

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I'll love
How you serve I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there's life everlasting
In you there's freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
and I will follow 
Only in Jesus and with my eyes on Jesus will I ever be able to have the peace that I long for and live the full life that He has planned for me. I am so thankful that He is Jehovah Jireh - our Great Provider who will be all that we need and Jehovah-Shammah - the God who is there - everywhere - who will be with us for the next 4 weeks and beyond. All I need to do is keep my eyes on Him.

I am so thankful that Jesus truly is and will always be... enough.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Roots

Living in one town from the time I was born until I was married at age 21 gave me some pretty deep roots there. I know a lot of people. They watched me grow up, had relationships with my parents, invested in my life and I invested in theirs.

My kids, on the other hand, have lived in 5 different towns (6 for the oldest one). The longest they have lived anywhere is just shy of 3 years. They have made roots in each of those places but none of them are very deep and they have been uprooted often, which is painful.

We have another move soon, another uprooting and transplanting. It will be good but it will also be painful. Our next move is going to be a critical one. Our oldest will turn 13 there and live there until he is 16 or 17. He'll learn to drive there and make life changing friendships. The girls too are at life shaping ages. My kids may not have the same adults in their life their whole growing up years like I did but one thing I long for in every home and especially in our next home is other adults that love and speak truth into my children like I had growing up. There are adults who are now my facebook friends who made a huge impact on who I have become through those critical years that my children will be living where ever we live for residency. I am praying that God will bring those kind of people, great role models, people who will point them to the true source of life, for my kids as we go and check out possible future homes in the next month.

My kids can't make deep roots in any location because we move so often but I don't really want them to have deep roots in a location. I long for their roots, and my roots, to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. With our roots constantly growing deeper into Him our moves will still hurt but with each one we know that our master Gardener knows best where we should be.

 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph3:16-19

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama. Join me?
Five Minute Friday