Saturday, February 23, 2013

How do you pick a program?

I started this post and made the list below in late November, towards the end of our crazy residency interview trip. I'm posting it here to have a record of some of the things that we had to weigh in making our rank list decisions:

How do you pick a residency program? What is most important? What are vitals and what are just "it'd be nice if..."? These are some of the questions we need to keep asking ourselves over the next weeks and months before we get to submit our rankings.

Some perks that are included at one or more programs but not all:
* a solid, missional community of Christian physicians
* gorgeous mountains
* flat prairies
* $5 credit hour classes at the local state university for family
* former missionary doctors as attendings
* big city
* small city
* graduated autonomy
* do it all on your own from the beginning
* OB training by OB doctors
* OB training by family doctors
* longetudinal training
* service months
* opportunities to learn through moonlighting
* moonlighting is not encouraged
* lots of snow
* hot weather and no snow
* Bible belt
* Mormon country
* all expenses paid iPhone
* $100 towards a cell phone
* variety of meal plans and ability for family to join in or not
* help with moving expenses
* varying costs for health insurance
* a variety of salaries (all at least double the $22K highest salary we've ever had in a year so far)
* a variety of distances from a variety of loved ones in a variety of locations, none of them, with the exception of 1 very close to any loved ones but most closer to some than we had been

Well, our rank list is in. These aren't the only things we weighed. In our rank list we decided to place at the top the places that we thought Glenn would have the optimal training as well as the opportunity to work with missional people that could be future co-laborers or at least people who would understand what we ultimately want to do and why and will stand by us with prayer support.

We know that God knows best where we should be to best be trained and used for His glory and it is pretty easy for Him to tweak the computer matching up residencies and students for Him to place us there. I am so grateful for the amazing the work that He has done in our hearts to the point that we have held up our choices with open hands telling Him basically, "You pick, we trust You." There are things that we are really excited about each of the programs at the top of our list and we can't wait to see where God puts us. Only 20 days!

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
 but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. 
Psalm 20:7

Thanks Francis family

Today a dear family will celebrate the life of and lay to rest a great man of God, husband, father, grandfather, mentor and friend to countless people, Jeff Francis.

I smiled as I thought about my introduction to the Francis family Thursday morning when I liked Jeff's post about their 31st wedding anniversary that day and said a prayer of thanks for them then, when I returned to the ship that night, I cried as I read the news of his death.

In January of 1998 my parents and my brother drove me down to Chattanooga, TN where I was to start as a student at Tennessee Temple University. I got there about a week before school started so I couldn't move into the dorm and my family left me at the Welcome Center, a kind of campus guest lodging place. One day, while I was down in the lobby hanging out with the attendants, a police officer who was also head of security came in and told me that I shouldn't stay there anymore but I should go to his house. He told me his house was like a zoo with all his kids and I would fit right in. I wasn't sure what to say or do but Lisa and Jackie told me I should take him up on it and a little while later his wife came and picked me up. I stayed in their home until school started, played with their kids, was put to work, and was dubbed "Miss Company" (because Critter couldn't remember my name).

That was the beginning of my becoming a member of the Francis family as so many others had before and so many others have since. Their "family" is huge. When Glenn and I married the Francis family became honorary in-laws to Glenn and when Caleb was born the Francis family were his honorary grandparents and cousins/ uncles and aunt for his first year of life while we lived in Chattanooga. I can't even begin to tell you how thankful I am for the investment they took in my life. I learned about so much about marriage, service, hospitality, parenting, homeschooling, loving God, having fun, investing in the lives of others, and so much more in the classroom of their home, the church, and watching their whole family live life in and around Chattanooga. I am eternally grateful for the impact they have all had on my life.

Over the years I have gotten many quick emails from Jeff, "Hey, Miss Company, how's it going?," "Hey, Miss Company, did you see the pics of Kristen's kids that i just posted?," etc. We haven't been able to get back to Chattanooga since January of 2002 but Jeff and Gail have been two people on my list of people that I really want my kids to meet someday. As I reminded my kids about the wonderful Francis family I told them that I still really want them to meet Miss Gail here on earth but they will have to wait until heaven to meet Mr. Jeff.

I'm sorry I can't be there to help celebrate Jeff's life but my heart and my prayers are with Gail, the kids, and grandkids today and in the difficult days, weeks, months to come. I have 4 more people to pray for when I miss my dad. “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”’ Num 6:24-26

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's Working Wednesday: Praying ACTS with my Kids

What's Working Wednesday is my weekly post to showcase something that is working for me or my family at the moment. It may not work for us forever and it may or may not work for you.

Lately, for family devotions, we have continued to read through the book of Psalms backwards (only 23 days to The Match!!) and have been using Look Up to Lent (we have the paper version that we picked up at a church last year). 

I recently read an idea in a blog post that I thought would be good to implement in our home for prayer. I had heard of and tried praying ACTS before but had never tried it with my kids. The blog post recommended that the parent prompt the kids with words below in italics and let the kids finish the sentences in what I call "popcorn style"  with everyone saying words or phrases as they think of them (I've put some of my kids words in parenthesis).

Adoration: God you are so…
(powerful, merciful - you don't give us what we deserve, good, generous, loving, just, holy, true, wonderful, amazing)
Confession: God, I’m sorry…
(for not listening, not sharing, for annoying my sister, for my bad attitude)
Thanksgiving: Lord thank you for…
(my family, friends, for forgiving us, a chance to be here with Grandma and Grandpa, loving us, providing all we need, yummy food, my birthday is only 7 days away)
Supplication: Lord help me…
(be a blessing here, be a good friend, not to annoy my sisters, to get my school done quickly, please help my tooth to feel better, please help Uncle Doug, Aunt Kendra and Jack with his mom's passing)

We've used it over the last couple of weeks and it has humbled me and brought me to tears listening to my kids talk to God. They have such faith and I love listening to them talk to our great God and getting a glimpse into their hearts.

What tools have you used to help your children learn to pray?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Beloved

It's been a few weeks but I'm linking up for Five Minute Friday again. The word for this week?


I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine
Song of Solomon 6:3a

 One thing that I am so thankful for is that I am Glenn's one and only and he is my one and only. I do not have to worry about how I rank against any other woman. He doesn't have to worry about how he compares to any other man. I am his and he is mine.

One thing I prayed for early on, seeing friends and classmates struggle with broken heart after broken heart as temporary relationships ended, was that the first guy I dated would be the one I married.

Sure, I would have liked a boy friend in high school. There were no guys who really met my standards though and so I waited.

I would have liked a boyfriend at the one year Bible school I went to after high school. (I guess that would have required actually talking to a guy there though - hehe). God protected me though because I wasn't ready and the one He had for me wasn't there.

Just before meeting Glenn I had given up any hope of ever getting married and was planning on getting my teaching degree and teaching other peoples' kids overseas. I was sure I had things all figured out at age 20 ;)

When I was content with that plan and God alone God surprised me and brought Glenn into my life. He was my first boyfriend, my first kiss, my first everything. We love each other. Some days it is a feeling, some days it is a decision. Every day  though, I am so thankful for my beloved Glenn and for all the wonderful times and the difficult trials that we have gone through together and how we have learned and grown together over our 13 1/2 years of marriage.

I am my beloved's and he is mine and I am so thankful.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, February 07, 2013

10 Years...

Tonight, as I wrote the date down for "thank Yous," I was struck by the thought, "It's February 7." My mom's favorite number was 7 so my dad said that is why she held on until the wee hours of the 7th of February to pass from this life to the next.

10 years? Can it really be that long?? As I wrote the date a tear trickled down my cheek. A decade in glory with our Savior? I'm jealous, Mom. My dear mother-in-love came over and gave me a hug. Lydia asked me, "Momma, what's wrong?" "Nothing is wrong, sweetheart, it's just February 7th." Abigail sat on my lap and asked me, "How old was Lydia when Grandma died, mommy?" "Lydia wasn't born yet, honey. I wasn't even pregnant for her."

10 years is a long time. I've had 2 more babies. I've moved more times than I really feel like counting (probably 15 but I'm not going to take the time to count right now). I've walked with my husband as he's gone through 2 more years of college, years of waiting, and almost 4 years of medical school. We've been abundantly blessed and had many difficult challenges that I would have loved to have my mom to talk to about but that wasn't God's plan and He is good and has proven Himself faithful. He loves to listen to me.

Over these 10 years I've also had many friends lose their moms. I've been able to identify in some small way and pray for them like I never would have had I not lost mine first. For the privilege of sharing and walking with them in their sufferings I am grateful.

Today we are down to 36 days in our countdown to The Match, when we find out where we will land next. Reading Psalm 36 always reminds me of my mom playing the guitar. I wish I could find the '70s or early '80s worship song that she would sing with her guitar based on verses 5-9 but Third Day wrote a song on those verses too and so google is no help to me tonight. Instead I'll just post the verses and change the words slightly in my head as I listen in my memory to her sing along.
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
    You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. 
 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. 
 They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights. 
 For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light. Psalm 36:5-9
 I'm so thankful for His love, for His faithfulness, for His righteousness, for His justice. I'm thankful that I can take refuge in the shelter of His wings and for the abundance that He always supplies us with. I'm thankful that God gave me my mom for as long as He did and for the great memories and heritage that He has given me from her. I have chosen to look through the lens of God's goodness and He has always proven Himself to be good.

Happy 10 years with Jesus, Mom! I rejoice with you.

Thanks, God, for being there for me through these ten years and for how You have used my pain for Your glory. I love You. Please help me to steward this gift You have entrusted to me for Your glory.