Woodard Weekend Wrap-up

If you have been following my blog of late, I apologize for the constant mention of Med School this and Med School that.  For the past year it has been a topic of uncertainty as our dialog orbited around the what ifs and when.  But now it is a sure thing.  And with the sureness of acceptance, the ease of breath and sense of peace in the place we will call home for the next 18 months has settled in.  I have begun to see the community around us take shape.  A new found excitement about Vermillion and the surrounding area has blossomed with the spring rain.  In so many ways the weekend activities represented the security and freshness of life in our home.  What is more, it is a mere glimpse into what God has promised – salvation and new life in Christ.  Today we celebrate our risen Lord and the hope we have in Christ.

  1. An early Easter gathering.  Unfortunately David had the Sunday shift at the Care Center this week, but that comes at a small price for what is to come next week. Since he couldn’t attend Easter services or partake in the tradition Easter Sunday dinner, we decided to invite his Dad for Easter lunch on Saturday.  It was my first time hosting a holiday meal and I was chomping at the bit for the opportunity to prepare a full course “fancy” meal and use serving dishes we received as wedding presents. The menu was the traditional ham and scallop potatoes with salad green and my personal favorite, Strawberry Pretzel Dessert.  Conversations flowed from family Easter traditions and father-son intelligence on history and the like.

    Baked crust from Strawberry Pretzel Dessert.

    Baked crust from Strawberry Pretzel Dessert.

  2. A trip to Ponca.  After eating, we decided to take a trip to a nearby Nebraska State Park, Ponca.  Scenic outlooks and fossil finds kept us plenty busy.  I will let the pictures do the talking.   It is a trip we are sure to take again.
    Sporting my hiking boots.

    Sporting my hiking boots.

    David after throwing a rock into the river.  Boys will be boys.

    David after throwing a rock into the river. Boys will be boys.

    Ponca State Park

    Ponca State Park

    View of the 3 State Overlook

    View of the 3 State Overlook

  3. Glass jars.  I stumbled upon a rust stained glass jar on our way out of a walking trail at Ponca.  The weathered glass would be a perfect fit in my anything old goes apartment decor.  I am very pleased with the how it turned out.
    Close up of the glass jar I found.

    Close up of the glass jar I found.

    Glass jar center piece arrangement.

    Glass jar center piece arrangement.

  4. Sunrise Easter services & breakfast.  Hillside Community Church hosted an early sunrise service in celebration of Easter.  A co-worker and her daughter joined me for the worship and brief message on the resurrection.  I then joined their family for breakfast and egg dying.  We indulged in a cheesy kale quiche, hot-out-of-oven monkey bread, and a juicy pineapple.  We decided to dye Easter eggs with a twist, natural dye.  We tied rubber bands around raw eggs and boiled them for 20 minutes with peelings from a yellow onion.  We got the idea here.

    Naturally dyed Easter eggs

    Naturally dyed Easter eggs

Woodard Weekend Wrap-up (name subject to change)

Weekly buzz. I thought the easiest way to record and share weekly Woodard happenings, was to publish a weekly buzz every Sunday.  This week (mainly this weekend) has been packed full of joy, celebration, and remembrance.

  1. Triple Chocolate Chip Muffins. Yum!  I have been on a chocolate crave of late.  I’m sure to many of my friends that comes as no surprise.  My college roommates can attest to my chocolate chip and peanut butter obsession.  I got to enjoy these hot-out-of-the-oven, melt-your-in-you-mouth muffins with a friend from church and warm cup of coffee in my Guatemalan hand painted owl coffee cup.  Don’t worry, I will share the recipe in a later post.

    Triple Chocolate Chip Muffins

    Triple Chocolate Chip Muffins

  2. USD Second Look Day.  The med school David will be attending starting this fall hosted the Second Look Day on Saturday for admitted students and their guest.  David sized his white coat, got the skinny on the curriculum, and mingled with the class of 2018.  He was giddy! I was so thankful to be a part of the Look Day and share in David’s excitement.
  3. Spring walk.  After the Look Day, I took David on my running trail path for beautiful spring day walk.  We felt at such peace for choosing USD and couldn’t stop talking about both our excitement and anticipation for the Fall.

    Our spring walk to a fishing dock.

  4. Baptism Sunday. By far one of my favorite church services to attend is Baptism Sunday.  It serves as a reminder of God’s love and the promise of new life that Jesus’ death on the cross accomplished.  This Sunday, I had the pleasure of witnessing two people whom David and I started discipling make the public proclamation of their love for God, dedication to the gospel, and obedience to Christ.

Invisible Blessings

It was a blessing in my life and in our marriage that I did not see nor understand.  I had mentioned in a previous post about “a year of disappointment”.  I did not go into much detail about this disappointment and how it drastically changed our intent to move to Vermillion, South Dakota.

As news of David’s acceptance into the University of South Dakota’s (USD) Medical School begins to spread.  I thought it appropriate to write about last year’s disappointment, and share the unseeingly blessings that bloomed in a time of fog and uncertainty.

The place where David will be spending the majority of his time.  Congratulations David!  I am so proud of you!!

The place where David will be spending the majority of his time. Congratulations David!

David’s journey of preparing for Medical School started much before we met – studying for the MCAT, shadowing doctors, maintaining a competitive GPA, traveling abroad for a Medical Missions Trip. I joined him in this rocky terrain of applications, interviews, and awaiting acceptance letters during our engagement and now first year of marriage.  In December 2012, David and I took our first trip to Vermillion, South Dakota.  He interviewed with the faculty and we were both introduced to the curriculum David would be enrolled in upon acceptance.  The reality of David becoming a doctor set in. I was realizing the time and energy and commitment of applying was just a tip of the ice burg.

As January 2013 passed with much excitement – we got married!  And as the winter brought its annual gift of snow and spring brought the promise of warmer days, we waited and waited for an acceptance letter.  Finally, after much anticipation, the letter with a USD return address  arrived.  This is it.  David nervously opened the letter and I eagerly waited for him to read it.

11th on the waiting list.

Not exactly ideal.  But it was a promising spot.  On average 20 people on the waiting list end up with admittance into the school.

Each week David called.  And each week he crept his way up the list by one to two spots.  As May came, David was still number 2 or 3 on the list.  So we made the decision, took a leap of faith and began looking for places to live in Vermillion.

June came and went.  Number 1 alternate.  July came.  We waited and waited.  By this time David and I are both unemployed.  The uncertainty of our year ahead started to set in.  Disappointment lurked. We would mostly embark on the rocky terrain of med school applications and interviews for another year.

Like I said, it was a time of disappointment.  So close.  Any closer David would have attended the White Coat Ceremony and started classes in August.  But instead of numerous hours spent studying the human body and instead of time scheduling around class and studies for dates, our year was nothing like we planned.

And as for those invisible blessings I mentioned earlier, they all came as a result of not being accepted.  Because if he was accepted we would not have had experienced these blessings in the same way.

  • Conflict brought about intimacy in our marriage. David was hired as a CNA at a Care Center.  And I as an Educational Aid.  David worked night shifts, I worked a convenient school day schedule with personal fitness training on the side.  Needless to say our schedules were backwards which caused a lot of communication mishaps. But the conflict that aspired from such wonky schedules created a deeper intimacy between David and I.  We cherished the time we were awake at the same time and learned (not always easy) how to be intentional with each other, how to care for each other, and how to serve on another.
  • Humility with a vote of confidence.  Any kind of rejection is a slam to the ego.  As a wife it was not easy to see my husband’s confidence shrink while uncertainty rose to greater heights. Not to mention the lessons of humility that accompany care and patience with the elderly.  My prayer early on was asking God to rebuilt David’s confidence, showcasing His faithfulness and goodness.  And He did.  David got multiple interviews (unlike last year) with more than one offer to attend medical school in the Fall.  What a vote of confidence from God!
  • A cherished trip to San Diego.  David’s mom, Jo, was receiving cancer treatments at a facility in Mexico.  As she took a drastic change for the worse, Jo was checked into a hospital in San Diego.  Upon realizing time with her was ending,  David’s dad flew us and his sister to San Diego.  A trip that would not have been possible if David was in school.  I will forever cherish this trip and the time spent with Jo – crying, laughing, and talking.  Whenever I looked at her in that hospital bed I would smile at her knowing should would return the gesture and I would have a mental picture of the joy she held.
  • Generosity from new friends and old friends. I wish I could go into every kind and generous gesture we have received from others, but the list would not end.  It has meant everything to me and David to stay in touch with our friends back in Colorado and Wyoming.  Numerous calls have been made, texts sent, and letters written from friends that continued to encourage us.  New friends in Vermillion have blessed us with their hospitality and kind words.  Many of them have taught me that generosity doesn’t just come in monetary form, but from homemade meals, bags full of groceries, and “get-well soon” packages.

What are your invisible blessings?