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Evolution of A Princess... Life Lessons from a Two Year Old

It’s 7:30am, and she comes floating through the house in her favorite princess dress. An early riser, she shed her pajamas an hour ago and has been roaming freely through the morning, but now she’s decided it’s time to get ready for the day. Her first selection is blue tulle with a velvet bodice and sequin straps. She has a princess wand accessory which she waves around, commanding her kingdom to arise and prepare for the magical day ahead. She is a princess, confident and poised, full of grace.  But 10 minutes later, she momentarily disappears    and returns wearing a knit dress and her favorite sparkly leggings. She’s holding a stuffed bunny, one she rescued and is now responsible for feeding, rocking, and petting. She is a veterinarian, with no regard to her former life as a princess. She’s compassionate, gentle, and totally consumed by this furry little creature.  Within the hour, she has evolved into her final outfit of the morning- a spring top and striped leggings with her favor

2021: The Road Before Us

This morning, I woke up before anyone in my household, quietly slipped into my hospital scrubs, threw my hair up in a bun, slogged into my snow boots, and headed out into the cold dark morning. I knew it would be an icy commute to work but as I opened the garage door, I stood stunned for a moment, taking in the beauty of it all. A blanket of snow covered everything in sight like a blank canvas, a fresh start, after what had been the most difficult year I can ever remember (both personally and worldwide). The sky and the ground were the same color, and the sun was hours away from showing its face. “Hello there 2021,” I whispered cautiously as I felt myself slowly exhaling a year’s worth of heaviness. I breathed a prayer of thanks for a new year and for the deep knowing that I could face whatever lay in the 12 months ahead. I set out down my neighborhood street, my tires crunching through the thick barrier of perfectly fallen snow. If I could just get to the interstate,  I hoped it would

Death to Comparisons

Since working in pediatric oncology and bone marrow transplant, I have attended more funerals than I would like to count. These are funerals of children who were someone’s beloved daughter, son, sister, brother, niece, nephew, grandchild, student, classmate, and friend. These children faced tougher battles in their young lives than many adults will ever comprehend. These families were robbed of future years with their beloved child, and they are left clinging to the memories of a young life gone too soon.     When I attend a child’s funeral, I am always struck by the vast number of people who were impacted by their life. It is not proportional to their years, as some of the youngest children have impacted lives around the world through the testimony of their faith and strength through their journey.  I see people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds mourning the loss of the child, some who did not even know them personally. I see grieving family members being em

Sparks of Freedom

Between the viral pandemic around the world and the heightened racial tensions that have exploded around our country, 2020 feels like a year where the entire world is literally on fire. It is a fire that is blazing with no clear end in sight, and the heat of it has impacted nearly every person in one way or another.   But fire not only burns; it also refines. When we go through fire, we don't escape unchanged. Though it may be a painful transformation, we are made new.  Speaking of fire, that brings us to the holiday that Americans have deemed Independence Day, 2020. The day of grand fireworks, patriotic music, all the red, white, and blue you can imagine, all centered around social gatherings to celebrate the U.S.A. Leading up to this day, I’ve been feeling the tension between celebrating our beautiful country and at the same time lamenting the ugly parts of our [ongoing] history. Can I really say, "Let freedom ring!" when it has become so apparent to me that so many in

Releasing Hope and Butterflies

A jar of caterpillars sat next to a vase of flowers as the centerpiece on our kitchen table for many days leading up to Easter. They were the talk of every mealtime, as the girls gathered around and pressed their faces together to see how much their beloved critters had grown since the last meal. We watched them grow from tiny baby insects     into plump, furry, hungry caterpillars, day by day.   To our girls, these weren’t just bugs; they were special members of our family, each deserving of a unique name.  Fuzzy Wuzzy. Archie. Isla. Kyla.  Banana Boat.  Suddenly, cocoons formed, and the caterpillars retreated into their hiding place, suspended from the vented lid of their jar. At this point, they weren’t much to look at from day to day, but we knew something special was happening inside.  So we waited. And waited.  When the timing seemed right, we transferred the cocoons into their butterfly habitat (read: when we realized we had accidentally thrown away th

COVID-19: A Medical Memoir from a Healthcare Provider Turned Patient

2020 was the year of Big Dreams for me.  In January, my husband and I spent an overnight getaway to strategically plan our year, discuss our goals, and set a plan for the course of our family's next season ahead.  In February, I was meeting regularly with my life coach to talk about my big dreams and some new ambitions I've had swirling around in my brain.  I attended a Dream Big event with Bob Goff, one of my heroes in the faith and inspirations for living a larger life outside of myself. Then it was March, and life as we knew it came to a screeching halt.  I awoke from my year of dreaming, eyes flying wide open, to the harsh realities around me. I experienced turmoil in my personal life that rolled into collective angst during an unprecedented worldwide pandemic.  The surreal scenes flashed before my eyes not only as a healthcare provider, but also as a patient.   It was a Tuesday when my symptoms began.  Chills, fever, a nagging cough, body aches.  A stop at Urge

Just Another Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, a day filled with lovely gestures from people who are dear to us. Cards, flowers, reminders of how much we are loved, or reminders of how much we've lost. For some people, it was just another day. Today, I stood in a hospital room as the walls closed in. The chest compressions weren't enough. The countless rounds of epinephrine weren't enough. My silent, pleading prayers weren't enough. A hope unexpectedly lost, a heart no longer beating, an entire family shattered. Meanwhile, for the world outside that room, it was just another day. Life and death are simultaneously happening all around us; some days one is simply more apparent than the other.  I spend a lot of time in a place where first breaths and last breaths are simultaneously taken under the same roof, so this irony is never lost on me. I think about it as I walk the hospital halls, imagining the first shrill cries of a newborn and the happy tears of a new mother.  In the