Friday, March 17, 2017

I can do hard things

I'm a freshman in high school- 14 or 15 years old, riding the school bus to school in the morning.  I'm looking out the window, deep in thought.  I'm thinking about life and God and my own spirituality.  And I think about trials and how we are promised that we will have great trials in life to the brink of breaking us and causing us to doubt our faith.  And I (naively) think to myself "Bring it on Satan, my faith is strong enough to withstand anything."

For some reason, I have held on to this seemingly insignificant memory for about 15 years now.  I had no idea what my life held in store for me at that moment, and yet I had the (audacity?) boldness to claim that my faith was strong enough to never break- no matter the circumstance.  I have often reflected on that moment and wondered to myself if I am as strong as I thought I was back then.  Would I still have said that knowing what I know now?

We just received the news this week that Ben did not match into a residency spot for the second year in a row.  Therefore- this week has been one of the hardest in my life to date.  We tried to scramble/soap into a spot and that also did not work out.  There were a lot of emotions between finding out the news and now- as you can imagine.  But I don't feel the need to talk about that. What I want to talk about is faith.  My word of the year- if you remember.

Last year when we didn't match, I felt my faith was shaken for the first time in my life.  I felt so sure that God was going to pull off a miracle and that we would match into a program and life would be great.  I was so convinced that it would happen that way and then when it didn't, I wasn't able to cope with that.  I questioned my faith and whether or not having faith even made a difference.  Do prayers really work? Does reading my scriptures even make a difference? Would anything have been different if I had been more or less faithful?

I have struggled with these questions for a year now and have continued to seek out what faith really means and does it really matter? Did I truly lose my faith? Where do I stand with God now? How do I move forward? And I think I did a pretty good job of convincing myself that my faith was gone and useless.

As the match this year grew closer I suddenly wanted to start earnestly praying again and reading my scriptures and seeking out the spirit.  It's funny how we do that when something hard is about to happen and we realize we need the Lord's help.  I was reading my scriptures every day, praying, seeking for inspiration at church, etc. And once again I convinced myself that everything was going to be ok and that we would match.

And yet, we didn't.  So I once again fell back into that trap of thinking that faith doesn't matter.  All of the prayers said on our behalf and by us didn't matter.  Reading my scriptures didn't matter.  Because it didn't get me the outcome that I thought we should get.  Fortunately that was a short lived thought and I prayed that night that God would help me to see his hand in this circumstance.  That I would realize that my faith does matter and that everything really is going to be ok.

And believe it or not, my prayers were answered.  I have seen God's hand in our lives through this week of hell.  And I know I wouldn't have been able to see it if I hadn't asked God for that.  (omg my prayers matter!) I was overwhelmed with peace and calmness yesterday and I realized that my faith wasn't broken after all.  And us not matching has taught me something about me.  I can do hard things. My faith can help me withstand anything.  And I needed this to happen so that I could learn this lesson for myself.  And God knew that I needed that.  After all of this, his hand is stretched out still.  Faith makes all of the difference because it changes me.

I am reminded of the story of Abraham, when he was asked to sacrifice his son.  God knew that Abraham would obey him and that he had the faith to choose God.  But Abraham didn't know that.  He needed to be tested to the brink of his strength to learn just how strong he really was.  He needed to learn just how faithful he truly was.  And God blessed him for it.  And he will bless me too.  It's important that we are aware of our own strength and there's really no other way to become aware of it than to put it to the test.

I listened to a song called "Blessings" on repeat yesterday.  I first heard this song about 2.5-3 years ago at Time Out For Women.  Here are some of the words:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things.

Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near?
What if trials of this life are your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel you near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
And all the while, you hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

...

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a great thirst this world can't satisfy?
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?

I have faith that all things will together for my good.  And that His plan will be better than the one I have planned out for myself.  This has always been true in my life, so I know that it will continue to be true in the future.  

To answer some FAQ's- as of now we will be staying in Danville, doing another year of prelim general surgery at Geisinger and will apply for the match again next year.  That is at least the plan- you never know what God has in store for us.  Thank you to everyone who has prayed, fasted, gone to the temple, etc on our behalf.  We greatly appreciate it and have felt nothing but love and support during this hard time.  So many of our friends in Danville have been nothing short of Angels and I know that we are in the right place for now.  It's truly been a blessing to be here for the last year, so I can only imagine what blessings lie in store for us in the upcoming year.  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Faith

Well it's 2017 and my last blog post is from June of last year.  I'm sure you are all really surprised by this.  Based on my facebook feed, 2016 seemed to be a rough year for everyone involved in society.  However, it was a really good year for me and my family.  I hope to make 2017 a great year as well.

So of course I've been thinking about resolutions and goals.  Who doesn't this time of year? Although I typically consider myself a cynical person, for some reason I still make resolutions every year and foresee that I will remain doing so for the years to come.  The key to goals is setting realistic goals, right? So I try and pick things that I know I will actually work on- even if I don't succeed 100%.  Last year was the first year that I chose to do a keyword for the year- which was "Embrace" and I really enjoyed using that word.

This year I want to do something similar and I have decided to go with the word "Faith." I want to explore the concept of faith and in particular how my faith can empower my life and enrich the life of my family.  We often hear the phrase (in the LDS world at least) that our "faith can move mountains." And I want to feel that power- that ability to move mountains.  As a way to focus on my faith, I have committed to reading the Book of Mormon every day this year (follow along +Bofm365 on Instagram).  Reading at a slower pace I think will be beneficial in truly devoting myself to God by pondering his words and finding themes of faith throughout.  I have already been pondering a verse in 1 Nephi- chapter 1 verse 20 which says "But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." The Lord will choose me because of my faith.  So my faith matters.  Which is what is motivating me to choose this word for the year.  I'm looking forward to furthering my understanding of Faith and hopefully using my blog discuss and analyze further.

All thoughts on faith are truly welcome- I hope you will join me through the comments section or through my social media.  Let's make 2017 a great year!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Major Catch Up Sesh

Sigh.  Alas, it has been almost 5 months since I last posted.  Bad news.  Good news though is I have a LOT to catch you all up on.  As if you don't already know most of this- thanks to social media and such.  I will only give a few highlights so as to not have this post take you at least a year to read.  Med School.  Woof.  The most stressful day/week of our lives came and went in March with the match looming over our heads.  So here's the deal- we did not match into an Orthopedic residency, as hoped for.  We did, however, match into a pre-lim year in general surgery.  Our hope for matching into ortho was in a small town residency program in Bethlehem, PA.  We did an away rotation there in the fall, as you might recall from previous blog posts.  The general surgery year we matched into is also in PA- a small town called Danville- but is not the same city or program as the one we were hoping for.  It is about an hour north of Bethlehem.  Although we were of course disappointed with not matching into what we wanted, we ARE however, very grateful that we matched and have a place to go after graduation.  Matching is always better than not matching.  To answer the ultimate FAQ, the plan as of now is to reapply to the match this upcoming fall after Ben works his butt off and shows them he's an amazing resident.  We will apply to multiple programs, but will mainly be focusing on the program in Danville or the program in Bethlehem, that we originally hoped for.  If things go according to plan (and they don't always), it looks like we will be in PA for a while.  The good news is that I love PA- it is gorgeous here, I'm close to a lot of amazing cities without having to actually live in them, and the people here are ridiculously friendly and welcoming.  

So let's back track a little.  Flint turned a year old in April! I thought maybe I would feel a little more sad and think "Oh no where has my baby gone?!" But it really hasn't been like that.  To me, Flint just keeps getting more and more fun and I am thoroughly enjoying this new stage in his life.  His little personality continues to shine through and he is becoming more independent and assertive.  We had a great day at the park with friends for his party.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  


Ben graduated from medical school! Time really did fly.  I met Ben right when he came out here for Medical school and just like that 4 years are behind us.  I'm so proud of him and all that he has accomplished.  Being a Doctor is a BIG deal!!




We soaked up the last little bits of St. Louis before it was moving time.  We went up the arch with my in-laws.  And ate at all the yummy places I could think of- or at least had time for.  Of course I couldn't get to them all.  


I also chopped my hair off.  


And then it was time to leave.  This whole moving thing has been so different than I imagined.  I felt like we were in limbo between match day and actually leaving because we knew we were leaving and the anxiety and stress that precedes moving was killing me inside.  But once I actually got in the car and we started driving away, I somehow felt this huge relief.  (After many tears and puffy eyes of course) And this move was different than any other move I have gone though before.  It hasn't been as hard because I have my two favorite people with me to take on this new adventure with.  And I always have the comfort of knowing that I have plenty of reasons to go and visit St. Louis.  I'll be back for sure.  


Danville is a very small town. Population 5000 and the hospital literally takes up half of the town's size.  It is HUGE.  It's quaint and quiet.  It's a huge change from St. Louis, but so far I have been pleasantly surprised at how much I have liked it.  We have been doing our best to get out and explore.  We've done farmers markets, splash pads, etc.  The town is small enough that you can literally walk to anywhere you want to go.  It blew my mind that on memorial day they did a parade and the entire town walked to the bridge (Danville is located on the Susquehanna river) to watch a flower drop, then walked to "downtown" Danville to watch the parade, and then walked to the memorial park to watch the little program that they put on.  We walked the majority of the city and it didn't even take any time.  haha! I love our house that we are renting.  It's 2 stories with 2 and a half bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs with a dining room, living room, kitchen and sunroom (with a hot tub!! holllaaaaa) downstairs.  There is also a great deck and fire pit in the back yard.  It definitely has it's quirks- hey it was built in 1875- but it already feels like home.  



We also planted a garden in the back yard- I'm pumped for some tomatoes and cucumbers soon!



We also live 3.5 hours away from DC so decided to get away for our 3rd anniversary.  And we beat all of the DC traffic by biking everywhere.  It was great!




We also live 3 hours from Philly and went down there for a couple days.  Saw some art, 


ate some donuts, 


and of course played in the splash pad in front of city hall.  Flint is a huge splash pad fan.  And if you haven't noticed- he is walking now! He literally started walking (as in using it for his main way of moving) when we got to PA.  Something in the air here I guess.  



Our last hoorah before Ben starts on Monday was spent on the New Jersey beach yesterday.  These pictures are a little deceiving though.  Flint hated the sand.  We convinced him to sit in it for a few minutes here and there, but overall he hated it.  And he HATED the ocean.  I think it was because the water was kind of cold.  Who knows.  Babies amiright? It was still a very fun day and Flint was perfectly content to sit on his towel and just dig in the sand with his hands.  (Just no feet!) And it was only 70 degrees and overcast so we basically had the entire beach to ourselves.  It was awesome.  Definitely happy about living so close to a beach.  





So life is good so far.  I might feel differently in a month or so once the reality of being married to a medical resident sets in, but that's yet to be seen.  I guess with Ben being gone all of the time, I will have lots more time to blog! haha... we will see ;)




Thursday, January 21, 2016

Is it 2016 already?

Something in me can just not keep up with this blog as much as I think/want to.  And somehow it is 2016.  Like how? 2016 means that I have been out of high school for 10 years now.  That I've been out of BYU for 4 years now.  That I was living in Jerusalem 4 YEARS AGO.  That my baby is going to be 1 soon! That I will have been married for 3 years.  That I've officially been out of the career field for a year now.  That Ben is graduating from medical school.  That we are going to (hopefully!) match in a couple of months.  Like how?! Time really does fly, as cliche as it sounds.  2015 was one heck of a year- mainly with the whole becoming a mom thing.  I think 2016 will be a good one though, even though it will bring a LOT of changes.  Mainly the whole Ben graduating and us moving to who knows where thing. (Not stressful at all......) It'll be good though.  I'm trying to embrace change as it comes.  I've never been good at that, and this is going to be my year! Or so I tell myself.  I tell myself every time that a big change is coming that somehow this time it is going to be different.  I'm going to be able to just jump into my new situation and not even let it phase me.  (More often than not, this change is in reference to a move to a new place.) I'm going to get in there and make a bunch of friends right away and just absolutely love every minute of it.  That has yet to happen.  So this time around I'm going to give myself some time and not set too high of expectations.  Just embrace my need to warm up to new things, people, and places, and hopefully at least shorten my warming up time.  I can at least do that, right?  For those of you who don't know, I chose the word "embrace" for my 2016 buzzword.  And I'm really concentrating hard on it.  I feel like I'm onto something great here.  Embracing things/places/situations/people is really key to a lot of happiness to be had out there.  Mastering this will take longer than 2016 has time to give, but hey I'm trying.  Maybe it will be my 2017 word again, who knows.  

So a little about what we've been up to.  As always, I like to sum it all up with some pics.  We went to Journey to Bethlehem this year- which is this amazing thing that the great Harvester church does every year.  I've been going every year I was in town since I was in high school.  It is SO fun! And free! Highly recommended.  
We also went to Our Lady of the Snows to see the Christmas lights.  Again- another free thing that is awesome and Christmas-y.  Plus they have a petting zoo where you can ride camels.  Pretty sweet.  
 

And they have a life size nativity made out of legos.  (PS they charge for this now but just know that it is a trick! Aside from the nativity being cool, the rest of the lego exhibit looked like my baby brother's bedroom.  Literally just all of the lego sets put together on a table.  That's $7 I'll never get back.  And don't trust the old lady sitting outside that tells you it is totally worth the money.  I'm here to tell you it isn't.  BUT the lego nativity is cool!) 

Oh hey I also turned 28! My day included breakfast in bed, as you can see, a tour of a chocolate factory, a falafel bar for dinner (when else can I get Ben to eat falafel?! He didn't by the way...), and fun presents. Overall a great day.  And it's true... 28 is great!


I also took my bow tie shop to the next level and did a couple of shows in December.  My friend Kristy also has a shop and inspired me to join her.  The first one was up by Crown Candy in old north. It was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed myself.  


Plus we got free pics with Santa.


And a full pound of bacon between pieces of bread from Crown Candy.  (Oh I mean BLT's)


The babe turned 8 months old.  


Here's my second show:


I was proud of my bow tie Christmas tree.





Christmas was great with my brother and his wife coming in town.  Here we are for Christmas Eve dinner.  

                     
We did our annual gingerbread contest on Christmas Day this year.  The latest we have ever done it.  For all of you wondering- ours was this one.  We didn't win.  Better luck to us next year!


We did get to enjoy some Pappy's after seeing Wicked, which was great.  And the babe couldn't eat those ribs fast enough.  haha! He really eats anything.  We have yet to find a food he won't eat.  It's amazing.  

Then we made a quick last minute trip to Utah, due to Grandpa Wilson passing.  He was a great man and will be missed.  Here's Flint hanging out at the Chicago air port.  

And Flint got to see snow for the first time! I don't think he was to impressed...




Also- Flint got his two front teeth in on Christmas Eve.  I was so nervous his teeth would change his look so much that he wouldn't be as cute.  (I know that's weird).  But it turns out, he is still as cute as ever, if not more so.  Dang I did good on this one :)


Texting his peeps.  So old school with his flip phone.


And BAM he is 9 months old.  Say what?! The growth between months 8 and 9 was cray cray.  He learned to army crawl and then regular crawl, pull himself up on his own, and grew teeth in.  Oh and he has started eating us out of house and home.  Like seriously.  He eats more than I do.  And who knows where it all goes.  He's still a skinny little dude.  haha!


Here he is, ready to eat more even though he just finished his lunch.  *heart melt*


This babe is just the best most angelic and sweet thing you'll ever encounter.  How I got him is beyond me, but I thank God every day for it.  Being a mama is the BEST.  I can't state it enough.  Literally.  

Anyway- I'm currently getting into reading blogs.  It's been fun so far.  I'm feeling inspired to start something.  Not sure what yet (although it will be food insprired...cooking, reviewing, kitchen tips, all of the above, etc), but something.  It's all coming together in my head.  I'm starting a cooking club and our first meeting is on Thursday.  I'm excited and I will let you know how it goes.  

Peace.

Monday, November 30, 2015

We are finally back home

So we ended our time in Pennsylvania with another trip to Philly, since Ben didn't come with us the first time around.  We did a walking tour around the whole city which was a lot of fun and we got to see a lot of cool things, including this mosaic.  There were a lot of cool mosaics on South street.


We met up with Travis again and ate lots of good food, saw the sites, and walked over 11 miles.  Crazy!



On our way home to St. Louis, we stop in Dayton, Ohio to see the national air force museum.  Ben's grandpa, Bernie Fisher, was a medal of honor recipient and we got to see his plane that he was flying when he saved a fellow soldier.  So cool!


We also had some fun in the NASA portion of the museum. :)


Here's Grandpa Fisher's picture displayed.  All 2 o


When we got home we had 2 weeks before having to head out for our final rotation.  So we made the most of it with lots of fun things.  We went to the zoo and saw the new polar bear exhibit!




We got a new bike trailer and went on a family bike ride. 


We went to the Haunted Hayloft at Purina Farms.




And we went apple picking at Eckert's farm.  









I also threw a Halloween party for friends since we were going to be out of town for Halloween.  And I managed to make the babe's costume as well.  Isn't he the cutest bald eagle you have ever seen?!


And of course Ben and I had to match him. Merica.


We then headed to Kansas City for our final rotation.  We stayed with my Uncle Denver.  It was fun to be with family.  We carved pumpkins with my cousins Haydn, Phoenix and Memphis.  



I also learned that the babe LOVES leaves.  We would go out almost every day and he would just play away in the leaf piles.  Thankfully this fall has been abnormally warm, so it was possible to do this.  


The babe also turned 7 months old.  I can't believe how fast time is flying, despite how cliche it is for new mothers to say that.  


We also happened to be in Kansas City for the BYU vs. Mizzou game and got to go.  It was my first BYU game.  I know, I know.  I went to BYU and never went to a football game.  


We had awesome seats thanks to Ben's cousin getting us tickets! 



As fun as it should have been, we finally found the one thing that the babe just can't handle.  Cheering.  He is such a chill and sweet baby all the time so I guess there had to be something that pushed his buttons.  And oddly enough it's people cheering.  Every time anyone cheered for anything, he would start crying and screaming.  And of course there was a lot of cheering at a football game.  On the bright side, it was so loud in there that no one cared that we had a screaming child with us.  haha.  He could handle the loud canons, loud music, and loud announcer, but something that cheering he just couldn't handle.  Who knows.  That's the last time I'll be taking him to a sports game for a while...  :) 


We also got to go to church right next to the temple, which was so beautiful.  



My bow tie business is also doing well.  And the babe really does make the perfect model.  


On our last night there, we went and saw my cousins in the high school musical, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream coat." It was a lot of fun! That music is sooo catchy.  And fortunately there was only one time that everyone cheered loudly enough to upset the babe.  haha.  Other than that he loved it and watched the entire thing!


And now we are HOME.  For good.  4 months away from home will really make you appreciate living in your own house.  That is for sure.  And now the holidays are here.  How did that happen?


I made this turkey costume for the babe for his first Thanksgiving.  I have to admit, I'm quite proud of it.  And it was a great surprise for my parents.  


I didn't make this Santa costume, but he is still so adorable! I can't get over it.  The holidays are so much more magical with a baby in your family.  


He loves the Christmas tree. 



And we are getting our Christmas swag on over here!


I got my tree up this year.  And if you remember the tree fiasco of last year (if not, you can go back and read about it), then you will be happy to know that thanks to a lot of saran wrap, we were able to get the tree up in a single evening! And it looks better than ever.  (In my oh so humble opinion.) 


We also got family pictures done.  Here is a sneak peek at one of them.  


So that's the Fisher family update for now.  We are finally back home and loving it.  I will not be leaving St. Louis again for a LONG time, if I can help it.  

Also- if you are in search of an extremely quick, yummy meal perfect for fall I have the perfect recipe for you.  Corn bread waffles with chili on top.  All it takes is a package of corn bread mix made in the waffle iron and topped with Chili (we used canned, but you can make your own) and top with sour cream, cheese, avocados, tomatoes, etc.  Seriously takes like 10 minutes to make and it is delish.  I had to tell someone, so why not blog about it?