Easter Weekend

Again, I had to work Easter Weekend, just like last year. But guess what folks… this is the last time (for a long time) that I will work 12 hour shifts on a weekend!! Yay!!

I will start with Thursday, because that’s when we played handbells at the Maundy Thursday service. I really enjoyed the piece we played (What Wondrous Love) – beautiful and mournful and  exciting, just like Easter. I really love being part of a church that celebrates all these traditional elements of spiritual holidays. In college, I probably would have seen such things as archaic, but now I have grown into it!

On Friday, we had our 3rd surprise party of the year for our friend Chris PR – his first ever!  It was not what you would expect of a surprise party. Well, there were decorations, and wine, and cake and icecream, and dogs and good friends:

But our activities included Bananagrams and puzzling:

Yes, we demolished that 500 piece puzzle. And of course, the always fun “giraffe kissing”:

 

Finally, amongst med school partiers, no birthday is complete without sharing around the Peak Flow Meter:

So as you can see, a good time was had by all!

Saturday was Chris’s day off but I was working a 12 hour shift on bone marrow transplant. So what did my sweet husband do? Bring me lunch!! Right after that he got a call… one of his patients was ready to have her baby! Everything went well, he got home at 3AM and went to church the next day, napping intermittently. He’s something else! On Sunday I was again working a 12-hour shift on a hematology/oncology floor. After that I came home and had leftovers with  Chris before he left for his overnight shift.

Easter Monday, now… that was a good day! My mom ran the Boston marathon and did SPECTACULARLY, and this after she had suffered some crippling Achilles tendon pain. God healed her and she was able to run a 3:40! I am so proud of my mom and her 8:30 miles.

I also got to visit all of my church ladies. As a deacon, I was assigned several people to visit, and chatting with them has been so  fun and rewarding. This time, I delivered a bunch of Easter flowers that our church gets for them every year.

Well I could go on and on, about how one of my ladies fed me delectable chocolate chip meringues, or how we had Faith Fillers last night and wise ladies from Bible study tackled heavy questions like “how to influence your husband to faith” and “what is heaven like” and “why shouldn’t people live together,” or about how school is almost done for this semester. But instead I will just say… praise the Lord! He has given me a wonderful life and most importantly the ultimate gift of His Son’s sacrifice. I am so thankful and whatever may come,  I know He is in control. Happy belated Easter to all of you!

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‘Tis the season… of Lent

It’s been over a year since I started keeping this blog, a year in which I have seen God’s incredible faithfulness to us through many things – the Match, house-buying, moving, starting school again, work, and residency.  And now it is that time of year again. Lent!

As I wrote in this post from a year ago, I was not very aware of Lent growing up. As a devout non-denominationalist, I thought Lent was a Catholic event and undesirable because it required deprivation. But now that we are Presbyterian, my eyes have been opened to the wonderful parts of Lent; it is a season of prayer and thoughtfulness and reflection.  Recently one of my friends mentioned that Lent is her husband’s favorite time of the year, and I can understand why.

But let’s back up. To kick Lent off in style, I went to a MFC Girls Night Out Mardi Gras party the night before. Chris was working an evening shift, and the location was literally around the corner, so even though I didn’t know the ladies well, I had no reason not to go! I wore all the Mardi Gras beads I owned and acquired a few more during the party.

There were a couple wonderful international ladies there who were quite surprised that Mardi Gras is an American “holiday.” That led to a long explanation about how, in most cases, it is really just an excuse to party, like St. Patrick’s Day. “But isn’t that Irish?” asked one of the ladies in surprise. Yes, I explained… and it too is a convenient excuse to party.

Mardi Gras was a rather sober party for me because I had given blood that day and, in case you don’t know, it’s a bad idea to drink alcohol the same day you give blood. However, I really enjoyed the two different kinds of king cake they had, and of course Girl Scout cookies were present. It was a great social time with some lovely Rochester ladies, and a good send-off to the Epiphany season.

So… what to do for Lent? I added this blog last year, so I decided to give up something this year. After lots of thought and reflection, I decided: CNN.

CNN has become my autopilot. When I’m bored, I’ll type in CNN, even though the articles haven’t changed from a few days before… even though all the news is at a 2nd grade reading level and skewed to the left… even though some of the proofreaders could use another day job. Sorry, CNN fans, you know it’s true. And after all, those things never kept me from going back to the website. Of course it’s good to be well-informed about the world, and helpful to know about pop-culture, but what I was doing wasn’t research. It was… addiction.

Instead of turning to CNN in a moment of boredom or frustration – instead of filling every waking minute with something to read – I need to be still. And that’s what I’ll be doing for the next 43 days.

***

I had to work on Ash Wednesday, but I came home to find my husband waiting up for me with something on his forehead.  On Thursday we went to handbells together and played some of the beautiful minor-key music of Lent. Today we had Bible study and discussed our Lenten observations.

Everybody observes Lent differently. Some ignore it; it’s not part of their spiritual culture, and that’s fine. Some people give up cheese or chocolate. (!!!!) And some add a Bible study or a devotional.

Whatever you add or give up or continue doing, I pray that this Lenten season will be a rich experience. I hope that it will draw you closer to God and that you will celebrate Easter, God’s ultimate gift to us, with your faith strengthened by your time in the desert.

Easter Feast!

Easter was great. I worked 12.5 hours on two different floors and STILL thought it was great. That just shows what a wonderful holiday this is.

Even though, officially, it’s not always a holiday. I feel like to Christians Easter should be THE holiday. Jesus being born was important, but Jesus dying and saving us from eternal damnation is even more important – right? But I guess because it’s on a Sunday and it’s a “Hallmark Holiday” rather than a Federal one, many employers don’t recognize it.

I can understand it from their point of view. I mean, it creates enough of a scheduling mess trying to work with the 6 federal holidays!

But I digress from the point of my post. Easter is one of my favorite holidays. “He is risen.” “He is risen indeed!” Words of hope combined with all the joyful celebratory rites of spring. Dyeing and decorating Easter eggs. Easter egg hunts and piles of candy. Bunnies and chicks and pastels. Beginnings.

In the hospital, everyone knew it was Easter – although, understandably, most of my patients didn’t want to dwell on the fact that they were in the hospital on a holiday when customarily they would gather with friends and family to celebrate.

In the break rooms, there was an abundance of food, even from people who don’t celebrate Easter. Cinnamon rolls and fruit with cream cheese dip and milk and juice and chocolate muffins. Mmmm.

I had a good shift but when I was done I was exhausted. I limped to our friend’s house for an Easter feast… and was not disappointed. We had a delicious variety of deviled eggs and salad and homemade butternut squash ravioli with a brown butter sage sauce. (Mmm you are not a gourmand until you have tasted delicate crispy sage leaves fried in butter.)  And for dessert, a chocolate lava cake (or as they prefer to call it, a “self saucing” cake) with fresh fruit. My mouth is watering just writing about it. Maybe I should have some more lunch.

As we feasted we joked about our lipid consumption – which was admittedly overboard. But we justified it because – it’s Easter!! It’s a Feast Day! And what better way to celebrate than good food, wine, friends, and talking to family.

Celebrating the fact that Jesus came to earth to suffer and die for our sins. And after being buried, he conquered death and rose again. Victory over death!!

That is our birthright. That’s what we claim on Easter, and celebrate. Cheers!