Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reigniting the Flame

There have been several periods of my life where I have lived with a very distant, unimpassioned relationship with God. The last year or so has been one of those times as life struggles with finances, health, previous church, and the occasional/rare difficult clinical rotation have stacked on top of each other. But today I felt a spark of that spiritual flame in my heart. Who knows what will come of it but flames can only start with a spark and that is the great encouragement. I am very thankful that we found a church that has helped me (and Katrina too) to reconnect with God. Check it out at

God Bless!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Opening Up Again

So it is time to start over with this whole blog thing. I stopped blogging over a year ago because I was so worn out by the rigors of medical school and the short-sighted idea that blogging is about having people read what you have to say. Really, the purpose is cathartic, to share your thoughts so that they are not stuck in your head, weighing you down, keeping you from freeing your mind and being present in the moment. The person who realized first that I needed to open up again was my dear wife Katrina. I am very thankful that God brought this woman into my life that now knows me better than I know myself and encourages me to be what I need to be.

With all the seriousness out there, I wanted to do something less serious for the rest of this post.

  • What color are your socks right now? No socks, bare feet just like God intended.

  • What are you listening to right now? My wife and son on a Skype video call with Grammy in Florida, with the movie 'The Waterboy' paused on TV.

  • What was the last thing you ate? A 100 calorie bag of Pop Secret with Parmesan Garlic 'Colonel Seasons' popcorn seasoning.

  • Can you drive a stick? Of course and I wish I still had a stick shift. Driving is so much more fun with a stick!

  • Last person you spoke to on the phone? My mom called a bit ago to discuss hotel arrangements in Omaha next weekend where we are meeting them for a fun weekend out of Des Moines before they follow us to Des Moines for a week in Iowa.

  • How old are you today? 30. It's a good age.

  • What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? I would have to say football is my favorite but I like to watch Baseball, Golf, occasionally Basketball, and I'm even getting more into NASCAR.

  • What is your favorite drink? This is a tough one. I really like a good cold soda or iced tea, but every once in awhile an ice cold beer from the tap in a frosted glass is wonderful!

  • Have you ever dyed your hair? Yes I have... and I'm sorry but I don't think I have pictures. For Halloween in 2005 my roommate Nate and I decided to dress up as Gilligan and the Skipper. So to get into the role of the Skipper I tried to dye my hair blonde. Unfortunately it turned out a weird orangish yellow.

  • Favorite food? When I read this the thing that came to mind first is cold, leftover fried chicken. Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

  • What is the last movie you watched? Apparently we are watching an Adam Sandler movie marathon on FX today. We watched the Wedding Singer earlier. Yesterday we watched The Red Baron (not great), She's Out of My League on Friday (great except for the excessive language), and recently Invictus and When in Rome which are both really good.

    Favorite day of the year? Another tough one. Probably any day that I get to be back in the mountains of Colorado, especially with my wife and little boy. I sure do miss home.

    How do you vent anger? Passive-Aggressive. Not good at all. When I do better I usually am writing or doing something athletic.

    What was your favorite toy as a child? That's tough, I know I had quite a few favorites at different points. Since I played sports I did a lot of shooting hoops, chipping golf balls in the backyard, and pickup games of football on the street. Video games and baseball cards were also a pass time for me.

    Favorite Season? Definitely Fall when the leaves are changing, the temperatures are in the 60's, football season is on, and daily attire consists of sandals, shorts, and a hooded sweatshirt.

    Cherries or Blueberries? Neither really. Cherry pie is good. Cherry flavored stuff is good. But plain cherries are not great. Never tried a lot of blueberries.

    Living situation? Living in a condo on the very south edge of Des Moines, IA with my wife Katrina, son Ezekiel (22 months), baby girl due in October, and cat Edmund. I am in my 4th year of medical school at Des Moines University. I am completing a 1 year fellowship in Osteopathic Manual Medicine and thus will have a 5th year of medical school.

    When was the last time you cried? Last Monday when I talked with my preceptor Doctor about struggles I've been having in the clinic. I'm an emotional person, she's an emotional person and one of my top role models in medicine so it was hard for me to ask for changes in my learning environment. She was so supportive and understanding!

    What is on the floor of your closet right now? Shoes, some clothes, a storage bin, and probably a variety of items deposited there by my son 'Z'.

    What are you most afraid of? Finances. We have been struggling with money for over a year now and it has taken its toll on my mind, body, and spirit. We struggle to get money and then to use it wisely.

    Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? Spicy with cheese, mushrooms, and ketchup!

    Favorite day of the week? Friday, a great mixture of work and play.

    How many states have you lived in? Three; Colorado, Ohio, Iowa. One Canadian Province for a few months - Ontario.

    Diamonds or pearls? Pearls. Diamonds are too fancy. Pearls say 'real beauty'

    Did you get an H1N1 vaccine? Yes, being a healthcare professional we have to take precautions for our own health, and to not be carriers of illness.
  • Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Convinced or Conviction

    What is evidence?
    Is there not a difference
    between what convinces
    each of us
    regarding truth?

    Why should a dimensionless God
    constrain himself
    to dimensions which I can observe
    which I can comprehend?
    Would I really be convinced?
    Would I really be forever changed?
    Would my faith grow
    or would I require more

    Acts 2

    The flaming Holy Spirit
    is but a glowing ember
    in my soul today...
    but not extinguished.
    It awaits a breeze
    a blowing wind
    my own internal Pentecost
    my own collision
    with ignition
    my own collision
    of dark soul carbon
    pure God-breathed oxygen
    and spiritually passionate heat.
    From somewhere far within
    I hear a faint sound
    that maybe, just maybe
    is God taking in
    a long, deep breath.

    Friday, April 3, 2009


    Why is it that so many of my fellow Christians want the government to stay out of the religious realm of charity and caring for the poor (because big government is anti-God...), YET want the government to be dominant in denying equal rights based on our religious views?

    Seems like hypocrisy to me. Thoughts?

    Friday, March 27, 2009

    Great Pharma Humanism

    So today while reading the news online I saw an advertisement for a new drug from a big pharmaceutical company named Allergan. Before I reveal the name and purpose of the new drug, let me share with you some statements from Allergan's website about their honorable mission...

    From the main page: "We combine this strategic focus with a diversified approach that enables us to follow our research and development into new specialty areas where unmet needs are significant."

    "We know we are successful... when our efforts make a meaningful difference in the lives of the patients and communities we serve."

    From the about us page: "With a heritage of nearly 60 years of discovery and research, our products have made a meaningful difference in how medical conditions are treated and in the quality of patients' lives worldwide.

    From the Research & Development page: "We vigorously invest in research and development to discover and develop new treatments that meet the needs of specialty doctors and their patients.
    Allergan's world-class research and development (R&D) program embodies our efforts to bring the best of medicine to life."

    "research and development expense was $1,055.5 million ($1 billion), $388.3 million, $342.9 million, $762.6 million and $232.7 million in 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002 respectively."

    So with that great humanitarian vision and massive investment in research and development Allergan recently announced FDA approval of their newest 'meaningful' medicine Latisse for the treatment of the previously unmet needs of patients suffering from hypotrichosis...

    Hypotrichosis... definition: inadequate or insufficient eyelashes.

    Yes, we now have an FDA approved pharmaceutical to help people get fuller, longer, darker lashes...

    What a freaking crock! While people are suffering and dying from all forms of disease, and ordinary citizens are giving money out of their relative poverty to support research, Allergan is investing millions and millions of dollars to create prescription strength mascara!!!

    Allergan is not all bad. They are making some donations to the Make-a-wish foundation, and some of their other drugs and pipeline potential drugs have some real value. But seriously... mascara! MASCARA!

    At least doctors won't have to wait for 7 years for the patent to expire in order to prescribe a generic. Maybe I can line up some free samples of Covergirl or Maybeline to give to my poorer patients.

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Out of money? Print more...

    So a good friend of mine shared this video with me and I felt the need to verbalize my thoughts on the issue:

    This is a topic where I definitely follow a more conservative, even libertarian ideology. You absolutely cannot just print more money without the gold or other item of universal value to back it up. It is idiotic public policy. Here’s the problem in our two party system:

    Party 1 = we want public services like schools, jails, etc, but we don’t want to pay much in taxes and we want the government to stay out of things.

    Party 2 = we want the government to step in and do more, tax the wealthier people to pay for it, or come up with some other way to pay for it.

    For somebody to get elected they have to please just enough of both sides that we’ve ended up with: Government step in and do more while not concurrently raising taxes. People want the government to help them, or help the companies they work for, but they don’t want to pay to do it. So where does that leave our government? Borrow from other nations (who aren’t lending now that the global economy is tanking) or print more money. So what is worse, letting General Motors, AIG, and other multi-million employee organizations shut down or keep those millions of people receiving paychecks that are worth less? Where do we cut funds from? Schools, Universities, Research, Jails, Medicare, Medicaid, Military, Food Stamps, Non-profit grants, Roads, Police, Fire Protection… what deserves less than the others?

    Maybe now would be the time for the greatest unification of church and state in American history. What I mean by that is maybe now would be a phenomenal time for the Christian Church to step up and say to the state, ‘we will take care of the poor, the needy, the sick, the hungry. We will volunteer our time to work on infrastructure projects or to police our streets. We will volunteer to help clean schools or make lunches for kids. We will spend our Sunday mornings knitting hats for babies or repairing cars for single moms, instead of just sitting and hearing a sermon we’ve heard 32 times before. Christian kids can bake cookies and make sandwiches during Sunday School for the poor or other workers. Christian executives and wealthy individuals with savings will take temporary pay cuts or cessation of salary for a period of time. Christian doctors will offer an evening a week seeing patients at free clinics. Churches will offer free job re-training, counseling, housing, etc.

    Maybe that would be a more Godly, Christ-like response from us than to just be upset about the government printing more money to solve problems we aren’t willing to solve ourselves.