Thursday, February 28, 2013

thankful thursday

This Thursday I am thankful for:

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good friends.  Its been a stressful week, and I am very thankful for good girlfriends that will sit with me (or call me), dig into my heart and comfort me with good biblical truth.

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coincidental scripture.  I love when things will be going a weird way and I will glance at my phone app for verse of the day and it happens to coincide with the situation I am dealing with or be exactly what I need to be reminded of.

verse of the day: 
"God's way is perfect.  All the LORD's promises prove true.  He is a shield for all who look to him for protection."  Psalm 18:30 (NLT)

date night.  It has been a while since we have had a true date night.  And thanks to a valentine's gift from my parents, we had a good excuse to have one.  So last night, we headed over to Hammerheads for a delicious night out.  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  Elk burger on a pretzel bun, with brie, added mushrooms, and a HUGE side of smoked mac-n-cheese.  Yeah.  This is one of my favorite spots and is well worth the wait when there is one.

This week I am linking up with:
Thankful Thursdays ButtonYourSiteTitleThe Fontenot Four

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

checking in

Things have gotten a little crazy around here.

But God is good.  Here's some good reading until I post again.  A pastor from church was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago and his story is being written here : Traveling Sloan
May we all be able to "suffer well" like they have been, and like we are learning about at church from Job.

Monday, February 25, 2013

medical clinic recap

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This weekend I had the privilege of volunteering for the medical clinic at my church Sojourn.  This was the 3rd or 4th time that I have done this, and every time it is just as exciting to see the love that is shared. Our church's main campus is in the middle of some of the more impoverished area of our city.  There are many needs that we can meet, but many we can not.  There is much hurt around us and for one day we try to make it go away.  

In the past, I have always served in the Family Care area, organizing and handing out hygiene products.  This time though, since it was most likely my final time to get to be a part of the clinic, I felt like the Lord was leading me to do something different.  To stretch me in some way.  So I ended up being an advocate.  Advocates are like tour guides.  We learn the layout and direction of flow in the clinic and guide the people we serve through it.  They may not get to see every part of it because of time constraints, but we try to help them in as many ways as they need while they are in our care. So what exactly are we guiding them through?

For one day every quarter, my church turns its old 3 story building (once an elementary school in the heart of Germantown) into a fully functioning care center or medical clinic.  There are SO MANY volunteers to make this whole thing run smoothly.  Of course there are always hiccups along the way, but God provides every time.  This year one of the problems the night before was that someone forgot to rent the curtains for the doctor's area... kinda important... but after some imaginative thinking, some long black sheets pushed into the ceiling tiles worked just fine. 

Let me guide you through our clinic.
Volunteers arrived at 10:30am for training.  Doors opened for care from 12-4.  People started lining up in the cold before 10:30am.
at noon they were let into the staging area to await assignment to an advocate

we then guided them to tables where another volunteer would aid them in filling out medical forms
Next they had the option to see a Chiropractor or go strait to the nurse's station where there were about 16 volunteer nurses giving general medical evaluations

We could also let them go to another region of this room to have glucose levels checked for diabetes screening.
Next stop was upstairs.  Visitors could get signed onto the wait list for dental screenings or on the list to see a doctor.  While they waited we grabbed some lunch.  Taco Salad!!!  No one leaves our clinic hungry.
 If they did not want/need to see a doctor or dentist, we then went "shopping".  Our store is run off of donated items so everything is free to our guests.  We have toiletry/hygiene items.
And a good assortment of canned/boxed food and fresh produce.  Not shown: across the hall was our over the counter pharmacy run by pharmacy tech students from the local school.  Guests could get normal things we take for granted: cough syrup, cough drops, tylenol, advil, antihistamine, vitamins...
 And last but not least, The SPA:
volunteers painted nails
the local massage therapy school gave free massages
And licensed cosmetologists gave free haircuts
This massive undertaking is a little bit different every time we put it on, but no matter what, every time, lives are touched.  Relationships are built.  God is glorified. 
And that is what I love about my church.  It is all about meeting people where they are.  Not in their faked perfect lives, but in their dirty, hurt, messed up ones.
Did we make everything better for the people we served?  No.  There is much work to be done in all of our lives.  But we did bring joy to them for a day.  For a day these families and individuals don't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.  For a day they get to feel that people do care about them.  And for some, Jesus becomes less of a story and more of a reality.  They are pointed to the Ultimate provider and healer.  And in most cases, the volunteers' lives were touched as much as the ones we served.

Glory be to the Father.

EDIT:  view the Medical Clinic video by Sojourn Community Church below
view more Sojourn YouTube videos at: SojournLouisville

Saturday, February 23, 2013

it's going to be a good good day

It's a beautiful day to serve our neighbors.
Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, February 22, 2013

sample swap with ThatWinsomeGirl

Last week I talked about how my friend Amy over at That Winsome Girl turned me onto the Ipsy beauty subscription service.  Last month we decided to utilize our growing sample supply and do a little swap.  I had a few products that just weren't for me that she wanted to try, and since she is subscribed to four different programs, she had quite a few things for  me to try.

This all began from her post here about the January Ipsy bag.  She received the SOHO concealer brush and Nailtini nail polish in Frappe, while I received the shadow brush and Nailtini nail polish in Bloody Mary.  I have plenty of shadow brushes and have too many red nail polishes, so I asked my dear friend if she cared to trade.  She was very excited to!  She then took it a step further and started sending me lists of things she was willing to part with from other services, so I started cleaning out my stocks of things I would never use.

I quickly realized that I was getting the better end of this deal, and sought to fill in the gap a bit.  I remembered that a few years ago I had offered her a vintage apron to use on her dress form for her jewelry show display.  Of course I kept forgetting to send it to her right after I offered it and well at least she has it now!  Then I threw in a handmade burlap rose from my little table arrangement.

I popped it all in the mail and waited for the trade to be complete!

And I waited.

And waited.

Haha, poor Amy right about this time had a ton of parties to plan and prep for so she was a little delayed in sending mine out.  But oh my.  It was worth the wait.

The haul.
Of course there were the items we swapped; the Nailtini in "Frappe" and the SOHO brush.  Both of which I LOVE and am SO glad we switched. 
Next were the nail lacquer items that didn't work for her:  Essie nail lacquer in "sexy divide", Color Club polish in "blue-ming" and "put a pin in it", Julip Nail Vernis in "Holly". 
The makeup samples:  what looks like a full size Stila bronzing serum, and a sample size of Urban Decay's Naked Skin Beauty Balm; both of which look like they will be best used in the summer when I have a little color to me. 
Last was Epsom Salts white tea bath salt.  I have never used bath salt before and can't wait to try it out.  It smells really good!

The things I sent her: Photos by Amy/ThatWinsomeGirl (I sent this weeks before beginning the blog so I never thought to take my own).  I love seeing photos of how she really may be using the extras :).
cute little apron for her display
a burlap rose
a few beauty products
Not shown: SOHO shadow crease brush

I really hope that we might turn this into an annual event!  I really had a great time searching for things to send her and enjoyed my box of goodies that she selected for me!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

thankful thursday

This Thursday I am thankful for:

My husband. He isn't always perfect, and half the time drives me nuts, but I am no better.  He has really been growing as a leader in and out of our home and I am very proud of him.  Add to that his desire to seek the Lord and lead by example, and I just couldn't ask for a better man.

Nights to be creative.  Last night I FINALLY got to use a Groupon I had been sitting on for a while.  I may not have been super excited about the painting that we were able to get a reservation for, but its growing on me and it was a good excuse to get out of the house with some sweet girls.

A great job. We've been having some pretty cool results lately and its fun to be a part of that.  Over a year's worth of work is finally starting to pay off.  I also greatly enjoy being around my coworkers on a daily basis.  We really are quite a little family in my lab.  This job has really been a testament to God's sovereignty in my life. 

This Thankful Thursday I am linking up with:
Thankful Thursdays Button

The Fontenot Four

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

rank order list : our dice throw

Today THE list is due.

The list made up of the programs he interviewed at over the past few months.
The list of locations I explored to the best of my abilities.
The list of places I have fallen in love with.
The list of places I am just 'okay' with.
The list that has influence over where we will be for the next 5 years.
The list that we labored over because the order is as important as the programs you place on it.
The list that we excluded nothing from.
The list that we have prayed for.
The list that I have placed way too much importance in. 
The list that means nothing.
Because the decision has already been made.

Verses of the day:
"You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)

"We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall." Proverbs 16:33 (NLT)

"Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.  What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”" James 4:13-15 (NLT)


I have been praying that whatever the decision is, I will be happy with it.  That I will trust that these biblical truths are real to me, that I will trust that the decision is God's purpose for us, and that I may delight in Him and his plans.  Because if I'm honest, there a few locations that I'm not so excited about.  And even fewer that I am all out excited about.  But He knows what is best for me in all things.

And it will be an adventure.
We have thrown our dice.  Now we just have to wait.
March 11th.  We know whether he matched to something on his list.
if yes...
March 15th. 12pm. He will open an envelope. And we will know.

Monday, February 18, 2013

weekend replay

This weekend was a whirlwind.  Kyle's parents came up for the annual Farm and Tractor show and stayed with us Friday/Saturday.  This will be the last year we do this together.  Every year, my MIL accompanies my FIL to the show on Friday while we are working.  And every year, I accompany my MIL (and this year, friend Jill) for a day of shopping on Saturday while Kyle goes with his dad back to the show to help him take it all in.

Sunday, my church began a series on the book of Job, which I have been eagerly anticipating, followed by lunch with some friends, and later I cooked dinner for my brother and his friend.

The highlight of the weekend, though I was not a participant, was that my parents picked up their new mini-aussie pup!  His name is Kobe and he is 6.2 lbs of pure precious.  They got their first ever female dog and first ever mini Australian Shepard (Addie) back in the spring from Alangus Aussies.  The next time the breeder announced puppies were on the way (from her other female), my dad decided last minute that he needed to get in line for a 2nd.  So he paid the downpayment and surprised my mom for Christmas this year.  Nine weeks later, they have provided a little brother for Addie, and she seems to be taking to her new role as "big sis" very seriously.  She loves on him, steals his toys, and keeps an eye on him everywhere he goes.

She is teaching him all about the serious task of frisbee catching:
And he is just so proud of his new accomplishments:
He has also, in the 4 days of being home, mastered how to sit, down, shake, and high-5.  Such a smart boy!
Welcome to the family little guy.
(Photos and video courtesy of my parents)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ipsy review: Feb 2013

If you missed the explanation of what Ipsy is, you can check it out here. This month's bag was a "red carpet ready" theme.  The bag was shiny black lined in bright red with the Ipsy logo sewn inside.  Inside were these goodies:
This month, subscribers received a shadow palette sample from Coastal Scents with four handpicked shades by Ipsy.  There were two different options that could have been put in a bag.  The one I received was gold tones.  While the other was black and silvers. While I am not entirely thrilled with the colors in my bag (though they are growing on me), I have used Coastal Scents from a previous bag and LOVE the quality of these highly pigmented shadows so was nonetheless pleased to see a recurrence of this product.
Next was the MicaBeauty gel eyeliner in black.  It looks like from the Ipsy site that there were 6 color options that might have been received this month: black, brown, bronze, green, blue, and purple. I was extremely excited to get this in my bag.  I have tried it out using my angled liner brush from a past Ipsy bag and I was very pleased with the results.  This was my first experience with a gel liner and I liked the amount of control I had with it and its staying power.
Third in line was the Lash Card, meant to aid in the application of mascara.  The trial pack came with 4 cards.  They are meant to be placed behind the lash line to keep smudging from occurring on the lid. This was the product I was least excited about.  And by least, I mean not at all. While I am sure for some it is handy, I feel like this is a waste of money, and so, would never consider purchasing them in the future.
Fourth was Smokey Lash Kapow Mascara by POP Beauty.  It is a trial size sample that would probably last a decent amount of time for me.  I will eventually use this when I run out of what I have.  So while not super exciting, it is useful.
Last, I had the Pixi Flawless and Poreless primer.  This primer is unlike others I have tried.  It is a creamier consistency than the gel like primers I own and is meant to help control shine and clear pores.  I do enjoy this product and was glad to get to try a Pixi product for the first time.

Each company offered 20-30% off an order within a month or two of the Feb glam bag receipt.

While not the most exciting of bags, I definitely feel like it has provided me with some good staple products that I would not ordinarily purchased for myself at the store, all in much higher quality brands than I ever spend money on.  Well done Ipsy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

photo shoot : baby bays

Back in the fall I was honored to take the maternity pictures of my good friend Lauren with her husband Jeff, before the birth of their precious little boy Jeffrey Lee Bays III (JLB3), or "Baby Bays".  My husband and I have been in community with his parents for almost a year now and they are some of our very best friends. 

And then about a month after he was born, I had the privilege of getting to photograph JLB3 and his parents for their first family photos.  
Last week, he turned 2 months old and I got to take some more pictures of this quickly growing baby.  He is really starting to show some personality and that was really fun to catch.
Isn't he just so precious!?  Such a handsome little boy.  It is so awesome to get to see how much he changes every time I see him.  And I get to babysit him this weekend.  So. excited.  Which is your favorite?

Friday, February 15, 2013

before residency: interviews

Our Travels: 
Trips to the west by air, north and east were by car.  

Residency interviews were a unique experience.  My husband secured various interviews for general surgery residency throughout the country, mostly in the southeast coastal region.  While the whole process can be pretty pricey, we decided to make the most of it and turn four of them into vacations of a sort.  The various stages of the process are as follows.  And if you just don't want to read all of this information, please, at least skip down and take my advice for post-interview time.

the residency dinner:
A few locations were gracious and provided the hotel for us the night of the interview.  Most, if not all programs, provided dinner at a local restaurant the night before the interview.  This gives applicants a casual opportunity to ask the kinds of questions you wouldn't normally ask during the interview.  Though I believe the main point of these dinners is to allow the residents to feel out the applicants and form their own opinion of them, since only a select few may actually interview them the next day.  Mostly they want to know if they could stand working with you for the next several years.  So while more casual, it is still a part of the interview process.  Best to behave.  Enjoy a drink, it may or may not be covered by the hospital, but either way, this isn't the best time to show them you can party hard with the best of them.

I was invited along on most occasions but only ended up going to one of the dinners.  For the most part I did my own thing.  Sometimes because I wasn't feeling well, others because the programs didn't make it as clear as others that I was invited. In those situations, I used the opportunity to scope out the city and enjoy a good book with my dinner. I would advise, though, that spouses go if they can.  In hindsight I wish I had attended more of the dinners.  This is also your time to possibly meet the resident's spouses who may just be your best friends in a year.

the interview day:
Interview day starts pretty early so make sure you have done all of your ironing the night before and don't go on to the after-party if there is one after dinner.  You are going to want some sleep.  You have a long day ahead of you.

Usually the day starts with a conference of some sort.  Maybe M&M (morbidity and mortality) or a journal club.  There might be a breakfast but I would still grab a muffin on your way out of the hotel.  My husband was offered breakfast at the conference a few times only to find that there was just a few pastries and maybe fruit when he could have had biscuits and gravy at the hotel.
The rest of the day was filled with 3-5 separate interviews usually consisting of the Program Director, Assistant Program Director, Chairman, a few select attendings, and possibly a panel of residents, singularly or in groups.  Biggest suggestion for this time is to have plenty of questions ready.  Probably 75% of the individual interviews my husband attended, their only question besides "Tell me about yourself" was, "so what do you want to know?"  Because lets be honest, they don't want to take the time out of their day anymore than you want to sit there in your suit or skirt and pretend to be more interested than the person before you.  But it is all part of the dance.
And that is my favorite part of the medical residency interview... while you are trying to impress them, they are equally trying to impress you.  How many other interviews have you been on that you can say that about?  They are trying to impress you.  Because they ultimately want you to see how cool they are so you will rank them highly on your list.
Other than the interviews, there is going to be a presentation by someone important there to tell you about their pay, benefits, working conditions, and perks.  Followed by lunch, most likely in the cafeteria, and a tour of the hospital campus.

So then what?  Do you hop in your car, begin the long trek home or speed to the airport?  Perhaps.  But don't forget that if you have a little spare time because your interview was on the weekend and you don't have to be on call at your home institution the next day, you might want to take a little time to look around the city.  Because in all reality, the location is almost as important as the program.  Maybe you will be stuck in the hospital all day, but your spouse won't be, or your family who comes to visit will need to entertain themselves, or how about that random day off you might be blessed with?  You might want to do something other than sleep (not likely).  No matter what the reason, you will be in that city for 3-7 years, depending on specialty and research (longer if you do a fellowship or accept a position there), and it might mean the difference between dealing well with a bad program or being miserable despite a good program. 
Or maybe you don't have any time to explore... so here is what you absolutely should do:  keep a notebook with you in your suitcase and take 10 minutes before you head home to write down all the details of what you just witnessed.  Everything you learned about the program, your intuition about the people you might work with one day, the perks, the pay, what you thought about the little bit of the city you saw.  Because in a few months you will need to weed out who you want to be #1, #2, ...#10, or #15 on your list.  And after a while, all of those interviews you were so excited to get- they run together. You forget who paid what amount, who gives you an iPad in your second year, who gives you extra money for the cafeteria and who makes you pay for your own food, what program had residents who were all best friends and who seemed miserable.  This information is usually in some of the handout information, but do you really want to sort through the giant stack on your desk every time you can't remember a detail only to find out that what you are trying to remember isn't in that stack but was told to you at the resident dinner?  Or you could have all of the programs information that was important to you in the same notebook for easy reference.  This is a great job for a spouse to take over.  Your medical student is going to have just been through a brutal/boring 7ish hours of nonstop information, so they might need someone to ask them questions to get all the details on paper.

So all in all, enjoy the experience.  See some new places.  Shop around for the best deals, book your flights early if possible.  Eat some darn good expensive but free-to-you meals.  And if you are married, try to include your spouse in this time because they need to be happy with the places you put on your rank list as well.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

subscription service review: Ipsy

For a little over a year now I have been subscribed to a makeup subscription service called Ipsy.  I was first introduced to the concept by my good friend Amy over at That Winsome Girl.  Amy and I grew up two houses from each other and became best friends in middle school.  We haven't seen each other since my wedding but have kept in touch online over the past 5 years.  She has in the meanwhile become quite the domestic queen, serving up amazingly elaborate homemade treats at every get-together she and her husband host, and whipping up some pretty amazing jewelry in her spare time (her Etsy shop is here).  Definitely check out what she has to offer on her blog or in her shop.  You will not be disappointed.
The neighborhood trio (Gracie, Amy, and Me) Photo from Amy
When Amy turned me on to the concept, she was subscribed to Birchbox and had just gotten in on the ground floor of MyGlam glambags in Dec.2011.  I subscribed to MyGlam shortly after her, but after a few months of service issues, she cancelled her subscription and I stuck with it.  A few months ago, MyGlam made the brand name switch to Ipsy.  And about the same time, Amy came back.  Ipsy has really gotten their act together and is really beginning to deliver great products.

What is Ipsy?

Ipsy is a beauty product subscription service that was started by Michelle Phan, a youtube beauty guru.  For $10/month (this amount includes shipping), you receive a makeup bag, and generally 4-5 deluxe size samples, one+ of which is usually full size.  Bags ship around the 10th of the month and can be a fun little surprise in the mail if you don't pay attention to all the product hints on their Facebook page.  The Ipsy website has many interactive features to allow you to rate the products you receive, and interact with others in the Ipsy network. Each month a few of the assorted makeup stylists on staff produce how-to videos of recommended uses for each of the products in the bag. They also host several competitions for larger samples or complete sets of products through the website or Facebook page. Most companies that provide the products also give discount codes for full size purchases made within a few months of trial. 

Currently, Ipsy is only available at the $10/month price in the USA.  For an additional $4.95 S&H fee, they will now ship to Canada.

Subscriptions are limited, so if interested, join their waitlist to be informed when subscriptions are opened.  They usually open it up each month as customers come and go. 

To me, it is an opportunity to try something new each month.  Usually there is a product in there that I have never been bold enough to try (lipstain) or not seen the use of before (gel eye liner).  Whether I am in love with what I receive or just happy to receive some snail mail, I truly enjoy this service.

What if I don't like something I receive?

This is where it can be fun.   Remember my Valentine's post that mentioned generosity?  Make someone's day.  Hand over the goods to someone that could use it, or would enjoy that color of eye shadow or lipgloss that just isn't you.  Another option, switch with someone that got a product you would rather have.  Or take it to the extreme with your friends who also subscribe to similar services and host a swap party for a fun girl's night.

Each month I plan to have a review of what I receive in the mail from this service.  Feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comments below.