First Year of Residency is Done! And…Work-Life Tips to Keep you Motivated!

Yesterday marked the end of my first year of residency! I can’t believe how fast the year flew by. As I reflect on the past year, I can say that overall it has been a good experience. I definitely had some very tough moments but I also feel that I have grown so much in my confidence as a doctor. I have worked with some incredible co-residents, staff physicians, medical students, nurses and other wonderful health professionals. It was inspiring to work together as a team, particularly through the challenges of a pandemic!

I wanted to share some of the strategies I used through the past year to keep me motivated:

Weekly goals: this could be something as simple as exercise for 10 minutes a day or read for 15 minutes before bed. Having a goal gives us something to work towards and gives a sense of achievement when completed.

Going out in nature: walks in the woods, lying on the grass in the backyard and daydreaming with the clouds, tuning in to the sounds of birds, the leaves rustling in the wind…nourishment for the soul!

Meeting up with friends and family: this was a challenging one given the restrictions imposed by the pandemic however still possible with all the incredible technology we have today, and now that restrictions are loosening as vaccination rates ramp up, it has been fantastic to physically be with friends and family

Hobbies: I love to play the piano and get a lot of enjoyment out of playing with other musicians too. Despite the pandemic restrictions, I still treasured those moments when we were permitted to play on stage at church on Sunday mornings.

Time-management: between a 2 hour or more daily commute to and from the hospital, managing the household, helping kids with homework etc, it has been essential to be as efficient as possible with time. I generally do most of my reading via audiobooks or podcasts during my commute or when doing mundane household tasks such as cleaning and laundry. Delegation and sharing tasks is also important! I could not have made it this far without the incredible support of my husband…I can’t remember the last time I actually washed a dish as he is the lean, mean, dish-washing machine! Dirty dishes miraculously disappear in his presence! Just one of the many things he does around the house. And now that our kids are getting older (9 and 7 years old), assigning them tasks not only helps me out but gives them a sense of responsibility (at least I like to think so….although their groans and complaining don’t always support my theory!)

Quiet time: Alone time is not always easy to come by but I find is essential for me to re-charge. It is also my time to seek quiet solitude in prayer, thanksgiving and Bible-reading.

Of course, even with all these strategies, I was not always on top of things. No one can be 100% of the time. We have to be kind to ourselves and not beat ourselves up when things slip. The important thing is to get back up when we fall and keep going!

On to my second (and final!) year of residency! Stay tuned!

One Thing Remains…Your Love Never Fails

As I was having my devotional time today, I sang a song at the piano that I learned a few weeks ago during music practice. The words of this song remind me of God’s unfailing love towards me. The words are so powerful as to induce a sense of confidence that nothing can ever separate us from His love. It also makes me think of the binding love between people, a parent and child, a husband and wife, couples, siblings, friends, family. The enduring sense that no matter what, this love is never giving up.

One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)

Verse 1

Higher than the mountains that I face

Stronger than the power of the grave

Constant in the trial and the change

One thing remains

One thing remains


Your love never fails, it never gives up, never runs out on me

Your love never fails, it never gives up, never runs out on me

Your love never fails, it never gives up, never runs out on me

Your love

Verse 2

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

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

Words and music by Brian Johnson, Jeremy Riddle and Christa Black Gifford

I hope you enjoyed the lyrics and the video below (I particularly like this version because of the piano intro and prominent bass line).

Sunday Morning Music and Fellowship

Sundays are usually a whirlwind of madness in our house as we try to get the kids out of the house in time for church. My husband and I teach classes before the service starts and on mornings like today when music practice is thrown into the mix, it is one busy morning. I love it!

Ready for some praise and worship

Ready for some praise and worship

The morning started off early with worship practice. Depending on the Sunday, I play piano with different musicians which offers a nice variety of styles and songs. Today, I found the songs particularly reverent and despite a challenging practice on Thursday night as we tried to mesh together as a team, it worked out beautifully this morning.

After practice was done, it was off to my class to prepare my sheets and props for the 4 to 5 year old kids. Despite the challenges of uncooperative or rowdy kids, teaching them is so refreshing. There is something about being around young children that just reminds me to have fun and appreciate the simple things.

After the class, I ran down to the sanctuary to play piano for the service as I tried to untangle my own two kids from around my knees. I found it very inspiring that the pastor’s message today was on worship and how we are not there to gain something for ourselves but simply to glorify God and thank him for his goodness. As the service came to an end and the voices of the congregation rose up in volume and blended for the last song, it was just so beautiful. I didn’t want it to end!

So despite the usual Sunday madness and the fact that we normally want to pass out on the couch after the service, it is always so worth it to be in the company of great people, lifting up our voices, hearing the laughter of kids and being surrounded by such a warm community!