One Month More

Now that July in Texas (my last one possibly – so weird to think about) has somehow already graced us with its presence, I realized I have yet again let my blog fade in the background of my everyday. You think I’d have all the time in the world these days to just write on and on, enough for a book – side note, I’d really love to actually write a book one day. Now as far as the subject, I have no earthly idea. I just know that words are powerful,  books I’ve read have changed my life in ways, and I’ve just got a lot of opinions on things.

Here’s my lousy attempt to wrap up my first half of summer in the country.

letters

I’ve rediscovered the lost art of old fashioned letter writing, and it is SO GOOD. I can’t tell you how much it makes my day to find an envelope addressed to me in our mailbox and recognize the address as one of an old college friend. I also have that same anticipation with each one I write and send on its way, hoping it will be the best part of that person’s day as well.  One of my dearest pen pals, Jordan, told me in her last letter that a friend had explained to her that all of Jordan’s letter writing/blogging/encouraging words via social media could all be considered forms of discipleship.  That thought had never crossed my mind, but when I started to think about it, it definitely made sense. When I sit down and intentionally (and consistently) think about what to say to a friend and ask for the Lord to give me words that will encourage them, that is pouring into their life even if it looks different from the traditional picture we have of discipleship of coffee dates and scheduled weekly hangouts. I already do feel like I’m getting behind on responding to people, but the beauty of letter writing is that it does not demand a prompt and hurried response much like a text or Facebook message. It’s ok to let a few days or even weeks go by to give you time to really think about what you want to say. So to all of you that asked to join in my back and forth writing, take heart. I promise it’s on its way soon.

bike2

I’m absolutely obsessed and in love with my new, beautiful, perfect road bike. Her name is Roxie. I promise I’m not weird for naming my bike and acting like it’s my new baby. Boys name their toys all the time. After wanting a good road bike for years and it being the only thing I asked for graduation, I finally am the proud owner of a Specialized Dolce Sport EQ in satin teal. This is essentially replacing my car when I sell it to live the true urban lifestyle, so I’m okay with the fact that it cost about as much as an old used car. I didn’t get a Baylor ring, and I saved my family thousands for not rushing a sorority. I think that justifies it. Thanks Mom! 🙂 The second I hopped on and tried it out, I could tell that it was worth every penny. I’ve already taken several rides, and a couple long ones in Waco and around here, and I could go on and on about how good it is. When you’re upgrading from a beat up mountain bike from middle school you somehow got around in college on, it’s a really big deal, folks. Also, my toned cycling legs are quickly coming back after a month of missing teaching BearCycle. If the side effects of riding just for fun happen to be more defined thighs and calves, I’m not mad about it.

      leisure         better          blue

My summer reads are extremely varied and simultaneous, and I’m okay with that. I have this problem with books in the summer. I never, and I mean really never, have time to read much for leisure during the school year. Having said that, I definitely make up for it in the months when all I can really do is stay on my couch in the AC. I might get through one chapter while I lay out at the pool before I’m so done with the unbearable Texas sun and sweat is dripping on every page. So far I’ve finished Leisure: The Basis of Culture (not exactly leisure reading but very good and thought-provoking) and Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science. That one is by Atul Gawande, a leading medical author, and I loved every page! I’m actually now reading a second one of his – Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance – that my mentor doc gave me when I told him I was reading his first. Gawande is a general surgeon in Boston and has written for The New York Times. He writes a lot about doctors being human beings (aka not perfect like society expects them to be), the constant pressure of performance, the healthcare system and how it could be improved, and just a lot of neat stories of behind the scenes of his life as a surgeon. I might be going to dental school now, but I’m still fascinated with all things medicine and who knows? I might also be a surgical resident one day. I’m now reading All In by Mark Batterson who wrote The Circle Maker that I loved and that challenged and ignited my prayer life more than any other book I’ve read. This one is about actually being sold out for the gospel and surrendering our entire lives for Jesus, not simply asking him to follow us and our plans. I’m also reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller with the tagline “Nonreligious thoughts on Christian Spirituality.” Let me know what’s on your summer book list!

       cg          shortys          food

I took a week-long trip back to my old stomping grounds, and man it was good for the soul. I told several of my friends when I left in May that I’d for sure make a visit during the summer before I left for good, and when my mom went to Montana to bring some things back from the cabin and would be gone for most of the week, I figured the timing was perfect. I had couches lined up to sleep on for all 5 nights and had texted everyone I knew in Waco for the summer basically saying, “If you want to see me, tell me when you’re free and I’ll fit you in!” It was so good making that all too familiar four hour drive, and it really felt like I had never left even though a month had already passed since I did. I hit up all my favorite local joints for pizza, coffee, drinks, and one more Waco t-shirt, all with people I dearly missed. I also headed to the beloved farmer’s market and Cameron park (via Roxie) one last time. It was certainly sweet being back, but if I’m being honest, it did feel different. I really realized for the first time that I wasn’t a college kid anymore and I felt more in the in between of that and grad life. I love love love all of my younger friends, but staying with them and even going to my old Lifegroup, I sensed a noticeable difference. I’m not trying to say I’m that much more mature than them, it was just more of a recognition that this season of my life was in fact over as much as I didn’t want it to be.  It sort of was an almost tease to be there that long, knowing that it would be my longest visit to Wacotown for at least four years. I thank God more and more each day for that place and those people.

Until next time, I’m eating Tex-Mex whenever I get the chance (it will NOT be the same in Philly), still filling out and sending 54,298 forms to Penn, watching way too many Grey’s reruns, avoiding the storage room where I need to sort, unpack and repack, and soaking up my last month of rest and stillness before the crazy starts.

Ingrid is my homegirl

IMG_6002

The past few days have been full of lots of lovely meals, glorious summer (daily) naps, talking the night away with two old friends, a spontaneous mom-and-me date night (jitas and ritas, what else?), and a quick trip to Dallas to see the one and only Ingrid Michaelson with my my favorite “long-distance” friend, fellow science nerd/future doc, and concert partner in crime.

It’s ironic because the last time we hung out together was at the exact same venue (House of Blues) about this time last year for the Johnnyswim show (swoon to the max). I can always count on Christina to be up for me crashing at her house and taking the city by storm via girls’ night – usually involving fabulous eats, drinks, and music.

We grubbed on delish Mexican and didn’t stop laughing at the shy, awkward waiter obviously trying to flirt with two girls too old for him. We made it to the venue with plenty of time to impatiently wait for the first of two openers to start. The first was a band called Oh, Honey and their music wasn’t the best I’ve ever heard, but they weren’t terrible. I will say the female vocalist definitely seemed to have had a few hits of something backstage, because let’s just say she was really “feeling the music.” The next band (and half the reason I bought tickets) was Jukebox the Ghost, and if you haven’t heard their stuff, you desperately need to. I’d say they are sort of Indie Pop and consist of a simple (but still very full, fun sound) of keys, electric, and drums. These guys are adorable and pretty darn talented. The lead vocalist who plays keyboard simply blew me away with his voice that’s both intense and powerful and still kills the emotional falsetto riffs.

After a painfully long intermission – literally we were fighting through the regret to both wear high wedges – Ingrid finally graced us with her presence. And did she ever make an entrance. Dang y’all. She is unbelievably awesome live, and I’m convinced she came out of the womb as a performer and entertainer. Her set was THE perfect combination of old and new, full band and solo piano/acoustic, emotional and crazy fun, and she interjects so many little comments and stories in between songs that are hilarious, raw, and at times inappropriate – but in a strangely charming way only she can pull off. She laughs at her self, slays every single note, and makes everyone in the audience feel like we were invited to just have a jam session in her living room.

Another concert, another unforgettable night. This one was definitely in my top 5 favorite shows ever (only behind Jon, Switchfoot, and Nickel Creek of course). It was a straight up party, and definitely a summer night out well spent.

IMG_5928

[Untitled]

Sometimes life gives you more than you can write about. Now is a season full of just that. I know it’s been almost two and a half months since I sat to write, and it’s ironic because more has happened in these last few weeks than probably anyone should have to deal with at once.

I realize this is a personal blog where I usually write about really anything that’s going on in my mind at the time. Still, I don’t have nearly the space or time (except I probably do since this summer will be the most event-less/least busy time of my life sans retirement) to write through all the emotion about everything that’s happened. For those of you that know me on Facebook or Instagram you know what I’m talking about. For the rest of my readers, I’ll sadly tell you that my father of a very young but extremely full 64 years suddenly and shockingly passed away on the night of April 24th at our vacation home in Montana. He went peacefully and with no one surrounding him but the northwest forest and Canadian rockies that he loved second only to God and his family. We are extremely saddened, and our family and town sense a very real and very large hole because of his absence. Even amidst the deep sorrow that comes given that none of humanity was ever meant to grasp the concept of death, we find peace, hope, and comfort in the fact that he is now experiencing the very thing for which we were created – the fullness of joy, absolute awe, and too-glorious-for-words state of being overcome by the glory of God and seeing Jesus face to face. I know this journey of grief will look differently for my mom, my sister, and anyone else that was touched deeply by my dad. I’m praying for grace daily to know how to walk through this individually and alongside my family. I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the outpour of love and support by everyone in Waco, back home, and even my future community at Penn Dental.

To add to the extreme dichotomy of emotions I’m living in, let’s remember I  just graduated from Baylor on May 15 and said far too many “See you later’s” than I ever want to. I’ve never been sadder to say goodbye to a season than that morning I drove away for the last time. I made a nostalgic “Waco Love” driving playlist, and let’s just say I cried almost all the way to Tyler. I am overcome with gratitude for God bringing me to that glorious place 4 very short years ago, and I will never be able to articulate just how much Baylor and every single person that was a part of my home team truly mean to me. Even through this past month of grieving, I experienced some of the sweetest times with some of my favorite people my last few weeks living as a college student in the city that won my heart. I won’t even go into detail on how gracious (most) of my professors were with working things out for me to finish with excellence and graduate just as I would have had this never happened. Long story short, I did get my first B(+) – not even in an upper level science class but a personal finance class, lol jokes – but still managed to finish the journey and reach my long-time goal of graduating Summa Cum Laude.

I’m home for the summer for the strangest few months of my life. This is nothing against my home, my family, or the people of my hometown, but honestly it’s just weird. These few months are the definition of limbo: I’m completely finished with the past season but the next one isn’t here until August. I’ve never known zero work, zero school, and zero of my people back in Waco that know me better than anyone. I really have never known how to rest, so that’s exactly what I need to learn to do this summer. I’ve got a lofty book list (a mix of theology, medicine, philosophy, and everything in between), am playing music more than ever, have some concerts and visits to see other TX friends lined up, but other than that, I am really the most available I’ll ever be in my life. I am making space for quiet and stillness – things I know I’ll be desperate for in a few months.

I have way more I wish I could fill in and update but I had to just start somewhere, and this is the jumpstart to my goal of more consistent blogging during this season when I have plenty of more time to do so. I want to write more about the books I’m reading, the letters I’m writing and receiving (my new favorite thing), the songs I’m playing, the meals I’m cooking, and the memories I’m making before all-out school mode begins again. Oh yeah, I’m only living in Texas for about nine more weeks, WHAT? I’m still definitely getting more excited every day for my next adventure of being an actual student doctor and navigating a new city life, without a car and without all things familiar. Crazy, but it’s happening.

Until next time, I’m researching road bikes, dreaming of writing a song, digging deep in the Word, sleeping and eating better than I have for a very long time, getting my butt kicked in boot camp workouts, and contently living in this time of in-between.

“Everything is interim…”

IMG_7566The dog days of summer are upon us, and I’ve definitely reached that point of the season when I’m so looking forward to the next that I can honestly admit that I’m just about ready to fast forward to August and a new semester. I am in fact a nerd and do actually enjoy school and busy schedules. This summer has been one of mental, spiritual, and physical recharging (i.e. sleeping incredibly more than I do Aug-May), trying to save up some funds, falling back in love with making music, diving into new and unexpected friendships that have marked my life forever (needing an entire post of their own), and of course tackling dental school applications and soon interviews (more exciting news on that to come!). Today I was trying to finish up my last Shauna Niequist read (if you’ve missed my past posts over the last year you should know that she is my soul sister and basically me in twenty years – I dream of having dinner at her table one day), Cold Tangerines – with a side of cold brew coffee -and the chapter titled “Writing in Pencil” resonated so deeply with me.  She basically highlights the [not always sunshine-and-roses] adventure that is discovering the difference between our seemingly immovable plans and God’s always-surprising yet perfect paths we end up on. IMG_7570 This summer is definitely one of those interim times of future-oriented thinking as I try to wrap my brain around how different my life (and bank account) could look the next four to ten years based on where I end up getting accepted and attending school after college. This road is ever-changing and every day I feel like God has something new to reveal to me about where He’s leading. I had a friend a few weeks ago put it in a new light, though, that really changed my previous view of “I just want to go where God wants me to go.” He said that God only wants to give us the deepest desires of our heart (Psalms 37:4-5 happens to be one of my favorite verses in the Bible) and that He is not only walking in front of us “leading us”, but right beside us and also behind us, nudging us to take the path we really want to (if it is a desire He has placed on our heart). He gives us new dreams for our lives and wants nothing for us but to thrive along the way of seeing those dreams become a reality. We are truly IN Christ and Christ is IN us, so can we ever really lose? Nope. I realized that no matter where I ultimately decide to go, I can’t really make the “wrong” decision. The point is not if I end up in Texas, Colorado, or the East Coast, it’s that anywhere I am, God will be there with me, molding and shaping me into who He has created me to be in THIS season and each season to follow. So I can sit here and think my life will look like ______ in five years (think something like starting an OMFS residency, most certainly not married yet, living in a “cozy” city apartment with a dog), but more than likely I could be beyond surprised by the goodness of God to make it look entirely different from my stubborn plans. I’m so thankful that “life with God is a daring dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we’ve said we’ll never do,” and that “with the surprises comes great hope.” Here’s to putting down the permanent marker and picking up a pencil, open to erasures and edits from an Author writing the best version of our lives we never saw coming.

Hot pizza, cool people

Few things make me happier than to have a great group of folks gather in my small college apartment, let them help with the prep work (grating the cheese is in fact a crucial task), sit around the table, and enjoy delicious grub in between fits of laughter, friendly arguments, and story-telling. Last night was the first summer dinner party to be hosted at what the boys lovingly named “The Shack,” and if it was any indication of the nights to come, I’d say it’s going to be a pretty eventful season.

Of course my default for any good dinner party is my artisan pizza from scratch: whole wheat thin crust, specialty cheeses, and creative toppings I’d say are restaurant menu-worthy but so much more fun since my friends and I get to dirty the kitchen (what else is it good for?) and throw around ingredients to each other to taste-test along the way.

For my basic, go-to pizza tips and other topping ideas check out my original pizza post here (https://eatpraylearnblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/becoming-a-pizza-pro/). For this get-together, I decided on prosciutto, arugula, and truffled cheese, BBQ chicken, and pesto margherita pies.

ImageFor the arugula pizza, I only added an extra-aged asiago, truffle English cheddar, and slices of fresh mozz before putting in the scalding hot oven (as hot as it will go). The last minute of cooking I topped with slices of proscuitto, and then when it finished I covered with roughly chopped arugula, shavings of parmigianno reggiano, and a drizzle of EVOO.

For pizza number two I pre-baked two chicken breasts in BBQ sauce, and other toppings included caramelized onions and green bell peppers. I went for a combo of mozz and pepper jack for the cheese on this one. This one is really all about the kind of sauce you use ranging from sweet and tangy to smoky and spicy.

The margherita pie was simply that (thanks to my sis for the fresh Romas from her garden), with the addition of my homemade basil pesto. Thick slices of fresh mozz and a couple handfuls of asiago and parm, and you’re literally in Tuscany.

We headed to my place after summer LifeGroup at Cameron Park learning how to play spikeball, showing the guys my secret tomboy football skills, frisbee, slack-lining, and hammocking (we do claim to be the #sportysection). This newly formed summer hangout group of Jenna, one of my best friends throughout college, Matthew who has been in our Lifegroup but left Waco last year to attend Bethel School (yes, THE Bethel in California), and his Waco BFF, Daniel (who happens to be a sophomore at a little place down the road where they bleed maroon).

One of the things I love about Waco summers is that you can become tight friends with people that you might not have the chance to during the school year. I’ve known Matt for over a year, but obviously since moving to California we haven’t really stayed in touch. I literally just met Daniel last week, and I feel like we’ve known each other forever. Bonding over pizza and frantically trying to shut off smoke alarms will do that sometimes (the best pizza calls for way-too-hot-ovens and that’s just that). Also, the fact that we all are united through living our life in Christ makes a big difference in these kinds of friendships that are based on so much more than surface-level small talk. These folks are seriously passionate, powerful, God-seeking, kingdom-minded, and wise well beyond their years. Every time I’m around them, just the way they simply walk out their life in the pure JOY of the Lord and speak revelation over others reveals more of God’s character to me than they know. Just last week, I asked if the guys could pray over me and Jenna during this time of applications, MCATs, interviews, and just overwhelming decision-making, and after that night I left with such a new sense of excitement and hope in the Lord from what they said and the pictures that God gave them about us. Long story short, this is an awesome group of the most genuine, encouraging, and hilarious people I could be friends with this summer and ultimately for eternity. I can’t wait for weekly shenanigans with these world-changers.

Image