an international adventure

This is a state sponsored hospital where treatment is free but medications are not provided but must be brought.

This is a state sponsored hospital where treatment is free but medications are not provided but must be brought.

This summer I had the opportunity to be part of the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy trip to Honduras. I’d been hearing about the trip since I started at Cedarville three years ago and knew it was something I wanted to do. ¬†This was my

first mission trip out of the country as well as the first time I was part of a medically focused mission trip so I didn’t really know what to expect. ¬†Rather than trying to guess, I decided to set all expectations aside and simply wait and see what God would do.

Our team leader has been doing this trip for several years now and many of the kids eagerly await his return each year.  The kids at this school sang a song for us when we arrived.

Our team leader has been doing this trip for several years now and many of the kids eagerly await his return each year. The kids at this school sang a song for us when we arrived.

Our hosts, Larry and Angie, have lived in Honduras for many years now.  One of their daughters, who is now a nurse in the States, was born and raised in Honduras and traveled with us as a translator.  While Larry and Angie are in the country as missionaries, they recognize that Scripture commands us to meet physical, as well as spiritual, needs.  It was in this way that we came and worked alongside them, making our work part of something bigger and long-lasting.

The main focus of our team was visiting schools and 11391311_10203193435235285_2908251452567988628_nproviding fluoride treatments for the kids.  We visited seven different schools and met kids ranging from kindergarten to about eighth grade.  When we arrived at a school, a couple people would visit each classroom with a translator and use a crocodile puppet to teach the kids how to properly brush their teeth.  They then handed out toothbrushes and toothpaste and sent the kids outside to the courtyard to brush.
Once they were done, the kids lined up and the rest of the team worked on pasting 11107164_10203193434475266_3348894119027795186_nfluoride onto their teeth.

When I heard what, exactly, we were going to be doing, I couldn’t see how fluoride treatments could make much of a difference for the kids. ¬†Here in the States, it’s something we do more for cosmetics than health. ¬†But when I sat down across from a little boy with eyes wide, revealing how nervous he was and I saw the rotted teeth in his open mouth, I realized how much the little container of fluoride in my hand could help him. ¬†10502158_10204564304362897_3582409918368933220_nNot only were we helping him keep his teeth healthy, but we were also preventing the sickness that could come with rotten teeth.

One day that ¬†really stood out to me was the day we spent on the island. ¬†This island is just off the coast, a couple minute boat r11391210_10204548670372057_8647342281984426411_nide when the tide is in or a half hour walk when the tide is out. ¬†What sets these people apart is that the Spanish they speak is so full of slang that they basically have their own dialect. ¬†They have difficulty communicating with others which has secluded them almost entirely. ¬†This seclusion and language barrier has created several issues for them. ¬†Because they cannot communicate well, they have trouble selling the fish they catch, which is their main source of income. ¬†If they can’t sell their fish, they can’t buy any other food. ¬†Thus, they eat mostly fish which has led to¬†the children being malnourished10502234_10203193431075181_7430821502444691518_n. ¬†When the kids first began arriving at the school for fluoride treatments, we thought they were all young. ¬†Eventually we learned that we could not judge their age bytheir size. ¬†It’s difficult for me to reconcile the image of those tiny bodies with the overindulgence I see daily in America

11264870_10204531100852830_5964514515299409176_nI have always been aware, in the back of my mind, how privileged I am and how many people don’t have that privilege and that has affected some of my decisions. ¬†But now I have names and faces and voices to constantly remind me that there are people who have a fraction of what I do and have a full life. ¬†Those beautiful children will always be on my mind, reminding me of one of the reasons I decided I want to be a pharmacist: so I can someday provide for them.

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discovering faith

1/6/2014

I wish I could¬†feel my faith. ¬†I know I have faith that God exists, that he made all, that he has changed my life and even caused specific things in my own life to happen. ¬†I believe that and I cling to that belief. ¬†But often I feel as though that’s all I’m doing–clinging to something I don’t really understand but know won’t let me down.

I feel like I’m stuck in a pool of still water. ¬†I suppose the change I’m asking for is one that often comes through hardship and I certainly don’t want that. ¬†What I want is to really know, deeply love, and completely trust the God I believe in.


When I wrote these words in my journal I had no clue what I was asking for.  While I realize that the events of the coming months were not because of my prayer, looking back I can see how God was preparing me for the events about to take place.

A couple weeks later,¬†I received two phone calls within the span of a weekend. ¬†Two family members had been diagnosed with cancer. ¬†On top of that, my cousin’s husband of one year was still battling the melanoma that was spreading throughout his body. ¬†I was lost. ¬†I didn’t know what to pray or even how to pray. ¬†I tried over and over but all I could say was, “Please, God. ¬†Please, God.”

In the coming months, I tried to have the kind of faith I see in those I look up to. ¬†I tried to believe that God was working all things for good and that we would someday look back and see His plan. ¬†I tried to faithfully read my Bible and pray and worship. ¬†I tried. ¬†But I discovered that sometimes the best thing–the only thing–you can do is sit and cry out to the only One who knows the ache in your heart.

In July we celebrated the end of my aunt’s chemotherapy. ¬†It was a welcome ray of sunshine in the midst of what was turning out to be a difficult year. ¬†My grandpa’s chemo had started off rough but they had figured out the issue and things were going better. ¬†As the summer progressed, I clung to that hope.

Fall came and my cousin and her husband celebrated their second anniversary. ¬†Oh, the joy that surrounded that day! ¬†As weeks went by, though, the melanoma began to make itself evident. ¬†There are no words to describe the next couple of months. ¬†December saw his admittance to hospice and steady decline in health. ¬†I didn’t know what to do for my cousin. ¬†All I wanted was to fix everything, to take away the pain that filled her and renew her joy. ¬†Again, my prayers consisted of two words, “Please, God. ¬†Please, God.”

In January, the day we all dreaded came. ¬†I went home for the funeral with an ache in my chest. ¬†When I saw my cousin, I could do nothing more than hold her and attempt to take some of her pain so she wouldn’t have to carry it. ¬†I had no words for her; no Bible verse or prayer. ¬†I just hugged her and cried with her. ¬†Even now, when I pray for her, I can’t say much more than my simple cry, “Please, God.”

While the ache of losing a loved one is a lasting one, we all breathed a small sigh of relief when the calenders flipped over to 2015. ¬†Twenty fourteen had been a hard year, one that has left scars that will never disappear, but it was over. ¬†Through all that had happened, I had learned the value of simply resting in God. ¬†I no longer felt like I was stuck in a pool of still water. ¬†I did not understand one bit the circumstances of the previous year but I was clinging to the simple fact that he is God and he loves me. ¬†And even while I wept, he surrounded me in his love. ¬†I discovered that faith is something that is both a feeling and a decision and it looks much different on the outside than it does personally. ¬†Sometimes, though, you can’t feel it and you have to make the decision to believe anyway.

Apparently, though, we weren’t done. ¬†Last week our neighbor’s daughter, a girl not much younger than me, was suddenly hospitalized and passed away a couple days later. ¬†“Reeling” and “shocked” are the words that come closest to how everyone is feeling. ¬†All I could think was, ‘Twenty fifteen was supposed to be better.’ ¬†I won’t lie, the words “why, God?” went through my mind more than once.

My family had tickets for a Rend Collective/Chris Tomlin concert the next day. ¬†Oh, the beauty of how God orchestrates our lives¬†far in advance! ¬†Rend Collective opened with six songs, immediately ushering us into God’s presence. ¬†As the words to¬†My Lighthouse¬†filled the room, I was struck by how amazing it was that my whole family, after everything that had happened in the previous fourteen months, was standing with me worshiping. ¬†‘This is faith,‘ I thought. ¬†‘This is what I was looking for.’ ¬†I had tears running down my face from the ache in my heart but I could still stand and sing, “I won’t fear what tomorrow brings; with each morning I’ll rise and sing; my God’s love will lead me through; You are the peace in my troubled sea.”

I still haven’t figured out how faith works or how it develops. ¬†I don’t understand how my simple crying out seemed to lead to a development of faith. ¬†At the time, I barely even had the faith to pray for healing. ¬†I don’t understand why all of this happened–I don’t think we ever will. ¬†But as I was singing, I discovered a deep longing for Heaven had developed within myself. ¬†While I will do God’s work on this earth for as long as he has determined I should, I am no longer satisfied with this world. ¬†I was not created for this temporary place with its short joys and lasting pain. ¬†Rather, I was created to¬†be with God!

This is by no means the end of my journey in discovering and developing faith.  I do, however, hope and pray for a year filled with joy and healing for my family.

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fall

One of my “resolutions” for this year is to write more often. ¬†With that in mind, I have given myself weekly writing prompts and will occasionally share my musings and written adventures here.

Fall is warm sun on your skin and a cool breeze in the air. ¬†It’s flannel shirts and jeans.

Fall smells clean.  The air is clear, no longer heavy with heat and humidity.  The breeze carries the scent of leaves and bonfires.

Fall is a carefree time filled with spontaneous walks through the woods.  The satisfying sound of crunching leaves creates a background track to the laughter and conversation of friends reunited.

Fall is balmy days and cool evenings. ¬†The question, “do I need a coat?” is heard nearly every day.

Fall is the chance to finally break out the favorite pair of boots and endless supply of scarves.

Fall is the last chance to get some sunbathing in. ¬†It is football and chili and s’mores.

Fall is thunderstorms–the pounding of rain, the crack of lightening, the boom of thunder that reverberates in the chest. ¬†The smell of clean air.

Fall is camping. ¬†The smell of rain and wet leaves and smoke hangs in the air. ¬†There’s a slight chill–just enough for sleeves to be unrolled or sweatshirts pulled on. ¬†It is Dad reading by the campfire and the Buckeyes or Browns on the radio and card games played by the light of a lantern.

Fall is muddy shoes and trail runs and sore, satisfied muscles.

Fall is family and excitement.

The beginning of fall is the end of summer, but it is also the dawn of the best time of the year.

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father/daughter bonding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.1 miles: done!

About a year and a half ago I started running with the ultimate goal of running a marathon with my dad.  Last weekend I hit a big milestone in that journey: the completion of my first half marathon!  We ran the Dayton River Corridor Classic which has a course that follows a bike path along with river.  It was a beautiful day, perfect for a long run.  The starting line was chilly but the sky cleared within the first couple miles leaving us with a beautiful, blue sky for the rest of the run.

My goal time was about 2 hours 16 minutes–a 10 min/mile pace, which is what I trained at on my long runs. ¬†My official time was 2:05, putting me right in the middle of the finishers (301 of 601) and number 17 in my age group. ¬†I had a great time (something I never thought I’d say about running) and am looking forward to the next one!

 

mile 6

Feeling good at mile 6.

 

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One more mile!

 

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The first of many medals I plan on earning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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life lessons from college

1.  Hot glue fixes everything.

2. ¬†If hot glue doesn’t fix it, tea does.

3. ¬†You will always look back on the previous year and think, “I was so immature.” ¬†If you ever stop thinking that, you’ve stopped growing.

4.  Always celebrate birthdays.  Regardless of tests, work or other responsibilities.  It can be as simple as getting pizza with a couple friends.  Celebrating in the midst of it all keeps life from getting bogged down with the mundane.

5.  Remember that everything ends.  Even organic chemistry.

6. ¬†Invest in relationships NOW. ¬†As a junior, I’m facing the fact that most of my friends will be leaving in two years and that’s pretty rough. ¬†But for now they’re stuck here with me so I’m doing what I can to cherish those friendships.

7.  Knitting is cool.

8. ¬†Learn how to say no and not feel bad about it. ¬†You can’t attend every event, volunteer with every group, donate to every organization. ¬†And they don’t expect you to.

9.  Ask people who are more mature than you to invest in you.  You will learn so much.

10.  Find someone younger than you to invest in.  You will learn so much.

11. ¬†Stop complaining. ¬†Everyone is busy, everyone has drama, no one knows what the future looks like. ¬†(I’m pointing to the mirror on this one.)

12.  Buy some nice pens and never let anyone borrow them.

13. ¬†Collect some worthless pens for aforementioned “borrowing”.

14.  Everyone under the age of 17 is basically 12.

15. ¬†Gen eds (or anything you are being required to do that seems completely irrelevant) may seem like a waste of time. ¬†Get off your high horse, put away the saddle and realize you don’t know everything. ¬†(Again, speaking to myself.)

16. ¬†Sometimes you don’t like the rules and sometimes you don’t agree with them. ¬†Deal with it. ¬†You put yourself under someone else’s authority and, in doing so, agreed to follow the rules. ¬†If you don’t like the rules, leave.

17. ¬†Family is important. ¬†Even if you’re not one to get homesick, you’ll find that your little brother’s football games are a lot more important when it’s not possible for you to see him play. ¬†Invest in your family; especially your younger siblings.

18.  Somehow, a strand of Christmas lights can make any room look homey.

19. ¬†If it’s important, make time for it.

20. ¬†Life is happening now; don’t miss it by always looking at the future. ¬†To quote Switchfoot, “This is your life–are you who you want to be?”

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impossible dreams

Last night the junior class council planned a bonfire complete with s’mores and apple cider (the latter of which, to be honest, was the only reason I went). ¬†Toward the end of the night, as the crowd was slowly dispersing, I broke away from my friends to stand near the fire. ¬†As I was standing there, the guy next to me started talking to me. ¬†But it wasn’t one of those “are you having fun? ¬†Isn’t the weather nice? ¬†Do you like bonfires?” kind of awkward conversations. ¬†He asked my name then asked me, “If you could do anything at all without any consequences whatsoever, what would you do?” ¬†My first reaction was, “This is kinda weird. ¬†I don’t even know this guy.” ¬†But I answered his question and, as he continued to prompt me with more questions, getting me to give a more complete answer, I found myself having a good conversation with a stranger. ¬†By the end of it, this guy knew some things about me that most of my friends don’t know. ¬†Not because they’re secrets, but simply because no one has ever asked.

I’ve been thinking about that conversation ever since. ¬†It was a mere 5-10 minutes of me just talking about my impossible dreams but it was one of the highlights of my night. ¬†It made me realize how little my friends know about me and how little I know of them, not because we’re keeping secrets but simply because we don’t ask. ¬†I’m always so caught up in my own little world–my schoolwork and struggles and fears–that I rarely invest time in such seemingly pointless conversations. ¬†But this is what life is made of–impossible dreams and our timid steps to recreate them in reality. ¬†Sometimes those dreams are my escape and sometimes they’re my motivation but they are part of me. ¬†And I’m not the only one. ¬†We all have our own strange and impossible dreams yet, even though they reveal so much about who we are, few people know about them. ¬†Simply because no one has ever asked.

When this guy was asking me about my dreams, asking “why?” and “what would you do then?”, he wasn’t just talking to fill the silence or pass the time. ¬†He was genuinely trying to get to know me; he wanted to hear my answers. ¬†In fact, he didn’t talk about himself once. ¬†He just listened. ¬†That’s something I don’t do enough of. ¬†It turns out that this short and unimportant conversation wasn’t so unimportant after all.

 

Along those lines, here are some interesting tidbits I’ve discovered over the last couple weeks:

six running trails across the country–I would love to explore the country via running trails!

These oven mitts are the cleverest thing I’ve seen in a while.

Nerdy jewelry–what could be better?

If someone buys me this shirt or this shirt, I will wear it for my half marathon in a couple weeks.

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the beginning of junior year: an update

My junior year of college is now in full swing and it’s awfully exciting. ¬†Since there are many people who are important in my life and I cannot call every one of you and update you on what’s going on, I’ve decided to dust off this blog and give you a peek into my latest adventures. ¬†That is, after all, half the reason I created it in the first place.

To answer the first question people have: my summer was good.  I lived in an apartment down here in Cedarville.  My time was split between working full time as a pharmacy technician, taking physics at a nearby community college, and running.  That left time for a 50th wedding anniversary party (Congratulations, Grandma and Grandpa!), two weddings and a couple visits home.  Though I regret not being home for the summer, I did grow in unexpected ways and did truly enjoy my summer.

This year I am living in a unit with seven other girls. ¬†Five of us are pharmacy majors and it’s already been so much fun! ¬†As far as classes go, I have a lighter load this semester since I’m only taking four classes. ¬†That, however, in no way means I’m working any less hard. ¬†One of those classes is the dreaded Human Structure & Function (essentially A&P). ¬†Besides studying for that class, I fill my free time with intramural soccer, Club 517 (the ministry to middle schoolers I’m part of), working, unit dinners and tea drinking (it’s an important thing in our unit). ¬†I’m also looking forward to using this new-found free time to become more involved in pharmacy related outreach (more about that in the future, I’m sure).

Speaking of pharmacy, as many of you already know, I have completed and passed the PCAT (pharmacy admissions test; comparable to the MCAT for doctors) and am now beginning the next step of applying to the school of pharmacy. ¬†It’s hard to believe that in just¬†one year I will be weeks into my first year of the doctorate program, wearing the coveted white coat, having earned the title “student pharmacist”.

This year holds a lot of exciting potential and I can’t wait to see it all unfold. ¬†As I wrap up, I’d like to share a couple of prayer requests for those who’d like to know how to pray more specifically for me. ¬†Because of my various involvements, I am in a position to share Christ’s love with a number of people in specific ways. ¬†Please pray for wisdom for me and softened hearts for them. ¬†I know this is personal and slightly unusual but it’s important to me.

Thank you so much for your support of me–your encouraging words make such a huge impact on my days.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I just discovered two spiders hanging out above my bed that I need to take care of.

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