Summer Rest and Reading!

The past few weeks have been restful and refreshing as I have gotten to spend precious time with my dear husband, beautiful children and wonderful friends and family. I have had moments to pause and realize just how much I have to be thankful for!

One of the nicest things about being on summer break is simply enjoying the pleasure of reading books! My husband recently introduced me to the website bookbub.com where you can download books from Amazon and other sources at ridiculously low prices ($1 to $2 usually) or even free. If you are a booklover, then bookbub is a must have! Needless to say, my Kindle is bursting at the seams!

So what’s on my summer reading list? Here are a few select titles that I have enjoyed:

  • The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly by Matt McCarthy: The experiences of an Internal Medicine Intern
  • Praying for your Children by Elmer L. Towns and David Earley: A great guide to diligently praying for your children with guidance from scripture.
  • At the Feet of Jesus by Joanna Weaver: This is a great devotional to take a moment from our busy lives and simply spend time in God’s presence daily.

My other reading materials this summer included Case Files Obstetrics and Gynecology in preparation for my OBGYN outpatient clinic that begins in just 2 weeks time! I love the Case Files series in general because you work through several cases and it provides clinical pearls and practice questions at the end of each chapter.

Learn-French-Comprehension

My other goal for this summer has been to practice my conversational French in order to become more proficient and have better communication with my future Francophone patients. I want to provide the best possible care to my patients and not let language barriers be a hindrance to this. So far, I have been focusing on learning anatomy and history taking in French as well as listening to podcasts on a variety of topics in French. Just 10 to 20 minutes a day has produced drastic improvements in my comprehension and vocabulary!

Pictures from Summer 2018!

 

Featured image: View of Ottawa, Summer 2018 by potentialdoctor.com

 

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First Day Back at Medical School…Year 2

Today was the first day back at medical school and I am excited to have started on the next block…Reproduction! From looking ahead at the schedule for the next month, we will be covering plenty of topics that interest me such as prenatal diagnosis, obstetrics and breastfeeding. The block will be heavy in anatomy and histology which is a big challenge! Although it takes me time to master anatomy names, I do enjoy this part of the medical curriculum. Histology has been one of my favorite areas since the beginning of medical school. I feel like my brain just gets it which is very rewarding!

This afternoon, I had my first session for my Community Health Alliance Project (CHAP). This is where we each get to volunteer with an organization out in the community in order to give us more exposure. My community organization is in the area of Mental Health. I chose this because I do not know much about mental health issues yet I have seen it affect people around me. I am curious to know more about it, how it is managed and how I can help to break the stigma around it. The people at the organization were very welcoming and seem extremely passionate about what they do. I was very inspired by the inter-professionalism and I am excited to be a part of the team for the next few months.

I am hoping to try and keep a balanced approach to life during this second year of medical school. I know it will not be easy but it is my sincere wish to keep God and my family as my top priorities, to make time for exercise and rest, as I give my best effort to my school work!

PS… If you love to read as much as I do, or if you’re simply looking for something new to read, please do visit my “Books to Read” page. I have updated it with several new titles that I read over the summer. I hope you will find them as useful or inspirational as I did! Enjoy!

The Beauty of the Written Word

Image courtesy of startupremarkable.com
Image courtesy of startupremarkable.com

While I was growing up, our home was filled with all sorts of fascinating books which fueled my interest in learning. Our kids seem to have inherited our “book” gene and they both love to leaf through books regularly.

Yesterday, my son Caleb and I had a lovely day together out-and-about, with the highlights of the day being a visit to the Chapters bookstore and our local library.

I love the fascination of a child over things we as adults have forgotten are fun. A case in point being Caleb’s request to go up and down the escalator at Chapters. His eyes opened wide with excitement every time we reached the top or the bottom just so he could dramatically jump off saying “look mummy, I’m spiderman!”

After his escalator escapades, Caleb planted himself firmly on the floor surrounded by a pile of books. When I suggested that he could move to a chair, he simply responded “but mummy, I have to be close to the books” and continued reading while on the floor.

As I wandered through the aisles keeping a motherly eye on him, I watched passersby slowing down as they noticed Caleb. They smiled and chuckled at this young boy in the middle of the floor, his head buried in books. I felt really proud of him for his thirst for knowledge and I am constantly amazed by the attention span he has for a 4 year old.

As we made our way home for lunch and then out again to the library, we spent an hour or so reading. As I lifted my head and took in the many rows and rows of books, I felt so grateful that my children have access to a plethora of riveting books that will form the basis of their knowledge, capture their imagination and be embedded in their memories.

An excited Caleb at Chapters
Caleb having fun at Chapters

Living a Fruitful, Contented Life

I am on to reading my next book and I have to say this book has surprised me and challenged me in ways I never expected. I picked it up at church one day from a stack of books that were being given away to the public. It was published in the 70s and its pages were yellowing and the binding had come undone such that some pages fell out and floated to the ground when I opened it. The cover had an old fashioned image of a shepherd with cute, cuddly sheep running around him. I was about to put the book back when a person behind me cleared their throat and said, “That’s a great book. You should read it”. So I decided to take it home with me…where it landed a spot on my bedside table for the next 3 months.

Whenever I need a new book to read, I usually sift through books we already have at home since my husband and I are both avid readers and we literally have hundreds of books stacked throughout the house. I often manage to find something to read before having to spend money to buy one! So lo and behold, I came across this beat-up book with the shepherd on the cover lurking on my bedside table. I decided to start reading it.

The book is about an actual shepherd’s perspective on God as the good shepherd taking care of his sheep. It’s simply called “A Shepherd Looks at the The Good Shepherd and His Sheep”. There is nothing like an experienced shepherd to actually tell you about sheep! Jesus liked to speak using parables in the Bible and it sometimes leaves readers perplexed. What does he mean referring to me as a sheep? Well, I love how the author of this book (Phillip Keller) explains in great detail how a shepherd actually takes care of his sheep. You would think this would be boring to read but no, there is a purpose for every task he does. His sheep mean everything to him and he works very hard to give them everything they need to thrive.

One of the analogies I loved from this book is how the shepherd unlatches the gate early every morning to allow the sheep to go out of the sheepfold, corral or boma to find fresh pastures. The sheep cannot stay in the fold all day for it is covered in dust, dung and other unsavory things. Every morning is a fresh beginning for these sheep and an opportunity to be revitalized and strengthened by the dew on the foliage they eat.

The shepherd wants what is best for his sheep. The shepherd knows what ground is best to feed on, which areas are safe to walk on. He will not lead the sheep off a cliff or where there are dangerous crevices. The sheep learn to recognize the shepherd’s voice, run to it and have complete trust in it. Without this implicit trust, the sheep cannot benefit from the shepherd’s direction.The sheep live a seemingly uncomplicated life, they have surrendered and trust their shepherd for their best interests.

I am half-way through the book and it has inspired me to think about what gives me direction, what my priorities are and how I can live a fruitful and contented life:

  • Seeking daily refreshment: Life gets so busy at times but I am learning the importance of setting time aside daily to refresh my mind and body. My new goal is to have my devotional times first thing in the morning before the family wakes up. I realized that even with all good intentions, if I don’t schedule an actual time, there are days when things are busier than expected and then God gets last place on my agenda. I tried waking up early today today and although I was a little groggy, it was great to have the house quiet and to just focus on my thoughts, sing, pray and read. I contemplated my previous day that had been a challenge with the kids, acknowledged it had been tough and then cleared it away from my mind, focusing on how to make today better. Clearing our thoughts in this manner is like a virtual exit from the dusty sheepfold of our minds, seeking new, positive thoughts to refresh us for the new day.
  • Having an outward focus:  Although it’s important for me to have goals and a vision for my future, I cannot let that trample on the time or relationships I have with family and my outer social circle. I am challenging myself to think of and uplift more people in the course of my week be it through a phone call, visit, email, note, or text. It’s time to get out of the sheepfold and into the outer world where I can have a positive impact!
  • Letting go of the worries: This is easier said than done but I have found myself to be much more contented when I let go of yesterday and embrace today. I cannot change yesterday, I can only affect what happens today and this largely depends on my attitude. I can plan for tomorrow but I cannot worry so much about it, that I miss out on today. I don’t know how many tomorrows I will have, I only have today at my immediate disposal. My shepherd leads me into green pastures and even if a storm comes, he knows how to get me out.

Even though there are so many uncertainties and potential worries, I am finding that by refreshing myself daily, focusing on others and not getting caught up in the daily worries, I am happier and more productive.

A Shepherd Looks at The Good Shepherd and His Sheep by Phillip Keller
A Shepherd Looks at The Good Shepherd and His Sheep by Phillip Keller