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!!!  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Back to the healthy additions!

So my whole "bimonthly" commitment to creating "Delicious and Nutritious" blog posts lasted all of one post... 9 months ago... wow!  So here I am about to try it again!  I hope you guys like it :)

I'm going to change up the "format" a little bit.  I do believe that my first set up was a wee bit ambitious!!!  Basically, I'm just going to share one (maybe two) new recipes to try that are healthy and share a workout idea and maybe an inspirational story.  That's all.  Before it was a lot of work to commit to around studying, but this way will be more manageable.  So without further adieu, here's my delicious and nutritious blog for December!!  :-D

New Recipe to Try

My new favorite breakfast recipe is pumpkin pie oatmeal!  Oh my goodness, it's to DIE for, and a clean recipe that gets you going and stays with you throughout the morning.  The prep requires a little more than a standard bowl of cereal or oat meal, but I think it's WAY worth it.  I will tell you exactly the way I make it, but you may discover that with your microwave, you have to tweek things around a bit, but here's exactly what I do.

Pour 1/2 cup of oatmeal into a bowl and mix with 1 cup of water.  Place in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Pull out from the microwave and mix in 1 egg white.  Put back in the microwave for 1 minute.  Make sure to keep your eyes on it for the last 20 seconds or so, so that it doesn't spill over the edges of the bowl.  Mix in about 3 spoon fulls of pumpkin (I use canned pumpkin, and store the extras in a small container in my refrigerator.  This way I can pull out spoon fulls from my refrigerated container throughout the week!) and mix until the oatmeal until it takes on a beautiful orange color.  If you want to heat it up for another 15 seconds or so to warm up the pumpkin, you can.  Mix in pumpkin pie spice (I don't have a suggested measurement here, but you know, just add some until it's the amount you like!) and maple syrup (I use sugar free maple syrup, but light syrup would be just fine.  It gives the oatmeal a little bit sweeter a taste.  A little bit is just fine).  Optional: top with some pecans!

I hope you get a chance to try it and love it as much as I do.  Here's a link to the blog from where I obtained the recipe.  I obviously modified my version for one, since the blog's recipe makes 4 servings!  
Clean Eating Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Again, feel free to play with the proportions to make a morning recipe that you're sure to enjoy!!

Workout Idea

Follow this link for lots of suggestions to work out specific areas of your body you want to improve.  Start a routine working a different part of your body on a certain day!  Good luck :)


Feels good to get that done!  And speaking of done, I'm finally done with the semester, and looking forward to 3 weeks off!!  This marks the last time I will have this much time off, unless I take it off for myself for vacations, etc.  We're currently cleaning the apartment right now, which was VERY needed!!!  We're going to try to have people over tonight, and I'm really looking forward to it!  Can't wait to be home in NC for the holidays!!!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Figured out the problem! TURKEY

I had made these pretty collages of things I'm thankful for.  I realized they took up a lot of space, so I'm not sharing them :(. I also realized that my blog was storing pictures I had downloaded for possible use in my blog that I didn't end up using.  That was so much wasted space.  Anyway, I should have room now to show you my turkey!!

My FIRST turkey roasting!!!!!! So proud! 

Thanksgiving 2012

This time of year is so wonderful because everyone is in such a great mood as they remember all the things they're thankful for.  I'm very thankful for my old friends, new friends, family, health, husband, traveling, crafting, and fitness!  This year, we kept things pretty low key as Tyler had surgery on Wednesday, but don't worry, the holiday was still celebrated with the standard fare.

On Thursday I ventured into roasting my first turkey.  I tackled a 14-lb bird and was actually quite successful! I made some yummy turkey chili soup with the left over meat, but we still have about 1/2 a gallon-sized ziplock bag full of turkey meat!!  So many left overs.  We had green bean casserole, turkey, rolls, cheese-stuff celery, stuffing, and pumpkin cheesecake.  I ran out of time to do anything with the sweet potatoes that we bought, so I'll have to do something with those goodies later.  I might save them to go with the giant ham we have in our freezer thanks to my friend, Amy. 

Apparently, I cannot upload a picture of my turkey :( I will try to figure that out and get back to y'all!

On Friday, I tackled the crowds starting off at 5:00 in the morning for Black Friday specials!!  I got some amazing deals and shopped until I dropped.  It was a great time for sure!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pre-Thanksgiving Schenanigans

Last weekend, I got to travel to Asheville, NC with many other friends at school to the NCSOS Fall Conference (North Carolina State Optometric Society).  Students are allowed to attend for free, and we got to sit in on Continuing Education (CE) lectures, and look at booths set up by various venders at the Vision Expo.  It was a great time filled with meeting lots of doctors and reps from the NC area.  I even met an Alcon rep who had her wedding reception at the same place Tyler and I did.  Some of our teachers from SCO were teaching some of the CE courses, so we got to listen to them!

The meeting was held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.  What a beautiful place!  The scenery was gorgeous and so was the weather.  Only the first morning there was cold.  Within the Grove Park Inn is a Dueling Piano Bar called Elaine's.  We met some of our teachers there on Saturday night and had a ton of fun!  There were also some neat gifts shops with local handmade crafts where I was able to get some Christmas shopping done!

In the giant fireplace with Dr. Scott Ensor, Dr. Pam Schnell, and my friend Jeanne

Hotel and travel Buddies :)

Lovely backdrop

The beautiful construction of the Grove Park Inn

Jeanne won a cheese basket the first night of the Vision Expo

At the dueling piano bar

They'll write something on the window if you pay them money.  Yeah for optometry jokes!

Me and Jeanne

Don't know why we allowed Dr. Ensor's request to come to fruition.   He doesn't even give us pharm grades anymore.  But hey, we at least made him laugh.

Apparently, we let Dr. Walker rule, too.

I had forgotten something, and had to come back.  Love that some staff doctors paid $22 to have them write this on the window after we had left!  Oh dear.

Last night, Tyler and I went to see his school's production of Twelfth Night by Shakespeare.  We found it quite ironic that all the actors were female (because St. Mary's is an all-girl school) when in Shakespeare's day, all the actors were male.  They did a very, very good job.  Pictured below is Tyler with on of his former students, Dakota.  I got to see her perform in their production of The Wizard of Oz last year.  I love attending high school plays because you get to see so much young talent!

Tyler and Dakota, who played Olivia in Twelfth Night

Now it's time to finish cleaning the apartment to prepare for Thanksgiving.  I bought all the necessities at the very crowded grocery store today.  But I would say that I did quite well!  I managed to save $23 with coupons and deals.  The big purchase was obviously the full turkey that I'm going to tackle roasting for the first time this year!  I also got items needed to make a white turkey chili with all the left over bird!  Please pray for me in this endeavor.  :)