Saturday, May 25, 2013

Belize 2013

It's been quite a while since I've done a blog post!  Now that I'm finally in my 4th and FINAL year of optometry school, I hope to be a little bit better about keeping up with this blog.  So, before I tell you all about my trip to Belize during my week off between the spring and summer semesters, I feel as though I should update you on some very important things :-D

1. I PASSED part I of National Boards!!!  That right there is a HUGE weight off my shoulders.  Every 3rd year optometry student in the nation took this test on March 19th and 20th.  We found out our scores on May 8th.  I didn't check my until the 9th when I was home from Belize, and what a huge relief it was to see the "P" (which stands for pass) next to my score! 

2. Fourth year is under full swing with my first rotation at the school.  We have 3 rotations (summer, fall, and spring).  One of them has to be at The Eye Center at Southern College of Optometry, and the others are a private practice site, and an institutional site.  Since I'm at the school first, I'm counting down my final days of living in Memphis.  After I'm done here, I will [finally] move back to North Carolina for my private practice rotation in Charlotte, NC.  My final rotation will be from the middle of January to the beginning of May in Baltimore, MD.  I'm looking forward to seeing some old, but not forgotten friends while living there for a few months :)

3. I have so many things to look forward to this summer, so be on the look out for many blog posts!  I will also [hopefully] be keeping up with my healthy lifestyle blog posts!  I've been thinking about some cool things to talk about, so contrary to what you've been thinking regarding "checking" on my blog over the past few months, please continue to stop by for updates! 

So without further adieu - Belize 2013

What an awesome experience to be with 25 other people completely on fire for God and driven to serve through optometry!  We had 24 students and 2 staff doctors.  The gorgeous Jacque Short did an AMAZING job planning the entire trip through a mission organization known as Praying Pelican.  I actually traveled with Asbury UMC to Belize through Praying Pelican in 2006!  It was neat to look back through old pictures and see what things had changed :).  Our group joined a church group from Pennsylvania who was there participating in a food ministry.  They delivered meals to the village, but were also able to tell locals about our clinic during their visits.

Sunday: We had church all morning and it was fabulous to see the local people welcome us with open arms and allow us to participate in the service.  People from our group (as well as the other group) got to give testimonies and read some verses from scripture.  We also participated in leading a few worship songs.  After lunch was served, we had clinic all afternoon until dinner.  The clinic was set up right down the road from the church, which also served as the girls' room, the dinning room, and the meeting area.

Monday: In the morning we had clinic and in the afternoon (around 3:30) we got to participate in children's ministry.  We did things like soccer, balloon animals, coloring book pages, bracelet making, and pipe cleaner eye glasses. Finally that night, we got to attend a concert at a local park in Caledonia (the town where we were serving).  Who was singing?  The Heavenlies - a Belizean band who our Praying Pelican leader sings for!!  It was great to have the opportunity to see him in concert while playing with the kids!  Brandon and Ryan (two guys from SCO on the trip) also took the liberty to teach some of the little boys how to be gentleman by getting one kid, Vincent, to ask me to dance :)

Tuesday: The morning and afternoon were the same as Monday, but at night, we had another church service!  It was a sad yet powerful church service as it was our last night in Caledonia.  Jacque was presented with the Belizean flag and a plaque with a Bible verse.  We also all got little trinkets to remember our trip!  The one I picked out was a wooden ring.

Wednesday: SNORKELING!!!  It was amazing to get to snorkel in the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world and stay overnight on the cute little island known as Caye Caulker!  We got to swim with stingrays and see the majestic under water beauty that God created.  It's absolutely mesmerizing.  I hope to return to Belize for a 3rd time in the near future :)

Taking a break from clinic for some yummy coconuts

Our amazing server

So many glasses to give away :)

My absolute favorite picture!

My dancing buddies from Monday night's concert

Me and Vincent with his "couches"

Hanging out by the river in Caledonia

Talking with a local who had come by our clinic after lunch on Tuesday

I loved these trees!

She made me glasses in one of my favorite colors!

Jacque being presented with the flag and plaque

Our Island, Caye Caulker from our water taxi

Does this place need a full time optometrist?!
One of the few pictures of me actually working in clinic ;)  I promise I helped a ton! haha  

The church slash girls' room slash dinning room

Whew!  Sorry that was long.  I hope to be better about blogging from here on out!  I also hope that y'all enjoyed my selected photos from Belize!  Until next time, just remember to let it roll, and keep God first! :-D

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Just a quick hello to remind everyone who reads this blog that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.  I'm just up to my eyeballs (pun totally intended) with notes, study guides, flashcards, and practice quizzes to help me prepare for Part I of my national board certification.  The big days are Tuesday and Wednesday March 19th and 20th. That means just a little over a week more of preparation, and then it's time to tango with FIVE HUNDRED QUESTIONS!  Whew.  Prayers appreciated :-D.

Anyway, I'm also hoping to try a new "diet" after the NBEO (National Board of Examiners in Optometry) exam.  I put the word diet in quotes because I feel like that word is associated with weight loss goals, which isn't what I'm going for.  I just want a healthier lifestyle where I feel more comfortable in my skin, more confident and more energetic.  Healthy living has always been a passion of mine, but talking the talk is MUCH easier than walking the walk, and I just want to see the results that all my hard work at the gym should be generating.  But the problem is with unending stress (studying for tests, trying to figure out where to spend the tail end of my 4th year, and the anxiety of clinic) my eating habits are not conducive for my goals.  So once boards are over, I should have a little more time to breath, clean the apartment and prepare meals/snacks.  I would like to try and significantly limit the amount of processed foods I consume, and see what happens.  The "clean eating" lifestyle is quite a trend/fad right now, but I'm becoming more and more convinced as I read more information about it.  I've been thinking about it, but continued putting it off, because I didn't have time to cook.  Bigger issue - I hate cooking, but the end results are so much more rewarding when you had to overcome a challenge, right?

So once again - prayers are ALWAYS accepted :)  Life's such a wonderful roller coaster right now, but I'm very thankful for the friends and family who've supported me through all of my life's journeys.  Without a doubt, I'm one blessed southern gal!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year - New Me

So it's that time of year again - time to make resolutions and pray that they last longer than 2 weeks.  Well for me, I'm really hoping to make 2013 my healthiest year yet!!  I am going to attempt to cook more often, plan my meals ahead of time, prep lunches for the week, and create a work out schedule that I can stick to around class and clinic. 

A few months ago, I did a 2 week clean-eating challenge for myself.  I had pre-packaged lunches, which was very convenient, but time-consuming on Sundays.  I pray that I can find the time to get this done on Sundays, and figure out ways to make it easier.

In addition to trying to be healthier, Tyler and I are going to try to incorporate more of a gluten-free diet to see if it helps with his inflammation. Being gluten-free definitely requires a lot of research, label-reading, and cooking, but it will totally be worth it if it can make him feel better.

With all this said, I thought I would share my first recipe of the year that fits the healthy and gluten-free goals we've set.  Tonight I prepared salmon with a brown sugar & soy sauce glaze served with baked sweet potatoes, and lemon pepper steamed asparagus!  It was absolutely delicious.  I still need to work on my timing with cooking, but eventually that will get better :)

Here is the link for the recipe for the baked sweet potatoes:

Just add olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano

I marinated the salmon filets in 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 2 tbsp of soy sauce, then baked them in a skillet.  Finally I steamed the asparagus and added some lemon pepper seasoning over top!  Other than the time it took to bake the potatoes, this meal was rather simple and super delicious!

The final plate (a little blurry)

I will try to post recipes/meal ideas to the blog as I try them.  Hopefully, sharing the goodness of a healthy meal will aid in a future enjoyment of cooking.

My other resolution - stick to a study schedule for National Boards.  Part I occurs for 3rd years March 19th and 20th.  I plan to make a schedule that will help me prepare gradually for the exam.  Prayers for my success in this stressful time would be MUCH appreciated!

Happy New Year, everyone!  What are your resolutions??  I hope you make 2013 your BEST year yet!!!