Sunday, November 2, 2008

November 4

You all know what I'm going to say, but it makes me feel better to say it anyways...Please, pretty please, with a cherry on top, go out and vote! Even if you don't think your vote makes a difference, go and do it anyways! Who knows, it might even be fun and make you feel like this...

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Beginnings!

Hooray! Just wanted to announce the birth of a beautiful baby girl ~ Alivia Thomas. She was born today (5-16-08) around 2:30 pm weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces. You can’t imagine the excitement here!

Skid Row

Street Art

One of the questions I am always asked is, “Do you know what field of medicine you want to go into?” and truthfully, I have no idea. It’s something that I have struggled with—what population do I want to serve? Older people? Little kids? Everything in between?

One population that has always interested me in the homeless. I remember in high school going to a soup kitchen to help serve food, so when I was invited to go to Skid Row, I jumped at the opportunity. Skid Row was totally unimaginable to me. I had read articles about it in the LA Times (if interested, google Steve Lopez Homeless), but it still didn’t prepare me for what I was about to experience.

This quarter I took a missions class for my religion course. A pastor from Skid Row spoke to our class one evening about missions for the homeless. From my perspective, his views were fascinating in ways that we shouldn’t help the homeless, but I didn’t feel like he covered ways that we could help. A couple of months later, we were invited to a prayer meeting at his church and a couple of us were interested in going. We drove to downtown LA and had no idea what to expect. We met him at the Nazarene church and he gave us a tour of some of the ways that his church is helping. For example, they have an after school program for children (he estimated that there were 400 homeless children). After that, we went into the church and sat down quietly and prayed to ourselves. At the end of the meeting, everyone stood up and we held hands and the Pastor prayed.

After the prayer meeting, we received our official tour of Skid Row. For me, this was where I was out of my element. He told us about the Skid Row Brigade, a group of homeless people that clean up the streets 24 hours a day and then he took us over to a mural that was also aimed at cleaning up the streets. Some of the paintings were really inspiring.

I thought this sign was cool.

Gabriel the Archangel

Close Ups

After that, he walked us down the main street of Skid Row. We walked past The Lamp, a resource for the mentally ill, and then past numerous other homeless shelters. I had never actually seen people sleeping on the sidewalks, but we had to step over people to get past. The pastor also warned us to watch where we were walking, because there might be needles lying on the ground. The main stretch of Skid Row was packed with people. Some were lying on the ground sleeping, most were just standing around. We also walked past a park that looked surprisingly nice for the area, and the Pastor pointed and said that it was controlled by the Crypts and had significant drug activity. Needless to say, we didn’t stand around too long. Finally, we came to another park where guys were playing basketball. The homeless people had started a basketball league with 3 on 3. They discussed the program with us and told us how popular it was and also how they felt it was helping. For example, every week they chose something they wanted to emphasize like self control. They tried to teach that the way you handle yourself on the court if a call doesn’t go your way can also relate to how you handle yourself at home if you argue with your wife, or how you handle issues with your boss if you’re angry, etc. It was really neat to hear them talk about it and one man told us how it was basically a way for him to stay off of the streets. One of the scary things about this encounter, though, was that we stood there and talked to them for about half an hour. When we walked away, the Pastor asked us if we noticed the cross tattoo on one of the young men. It was in the corner of his eye, and the Pastor told us that was a sign that he had killed someone. The guy with the tattoo was only 22 years old, and it just seemed so unreal.

Overall, I learned a lot about the culture of Skid Row, but it also left me feeling more depressed. The entire situation seems so hopeless, and then I wondered what one person can do. I’ll admit, I also felt like I stuck out the entire time. Our group was literally the only white people that we saw the entire 4-5 hours that we were there. I have never felt so white, out of my element, and unsafe in my life; it felt like a little target was painted on me. Still, I was definitely glad that I went and it made me realize how blessed I am to have grown up in a loving, safe, Christian home. So, thanks Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Laura Story Might To Save

This week I bought a new CD by an artist that I had never really heard of--Laura Story. I was browsing Itunes and just really liked it. If you're a fan of Christian music, this CD is incredible. Included with the CD was a music video about one of her songs, "Mighty to Save." It's just humbling to watch and it puts life in perspective for me.

Check it out!

Sunday, April 6, 2008


I was looking through Postsecret and decided that I wanted to share my favorites from the ones that I have seen...

Spring Break Extravaganza!

So, I haven't decided yet if I want this to be more entertaining and a way to stay updated with friends or to be more of a journal where I can look at it and remember what was going on. Seriously, my memory seems to have gone to pot, which probably wouldn't be very reassuring if I told a future patient that. :)

So, last week was Spring Break and I was able to go home and do all the things that I love! I went to Graples, hung out with friends and family, did the whole Easter thing and had my 24th birthday. Easter is one of my favorite holidays and it was fabulous to be home. Laraine (my sister-in-law) is an amazing artist and always decorates eggs with me. Anyways, this year she drew a fetus on the egg (she's pregnant) complete with a placenta on the other side. Even though it's a little strange, I love her for it! I opened my Easter basket and then in the afternoon, my family decided that we wanted to go to town. We never really thought about the fact that nothing was open due to it being Easter, so the only store we found that was open was Savers. I had forgotten how much I love thrift stores. Some people might view it as ghetto, but I view it as finding the coolest things ever for the best price. Plus, I just like browsing the random crap.

On Sunday, my parents threw me a surprise birthday party and it was just nice to be in a whole room of people that you haven't seen in a while and that you absolutely adore. Monday (my actual birthday), my family went to dinner and then put me on the plane. You need to understand, that I have this "curse" on me when I fly. Now, it's not that I don't like babies, I just am not one of the people that fawns over them all of the time. But whenever I fly, if there is a baby on board, you can bet that the baby will be right next to me. This flight was no exception, but what did happen is that the mother started having a panic attack. Now, it's a small flight and we're sitting in the fourth row and across the aisle from me is the mother, father and baby. I'm reading my book, when I start hearing some commotion and I look up and the mother isn't breathing (she's gasping for breath). I started to get concerned and so I pushed the call button for the flight attendant. The flight attendant comes on the intercom and makes some stupid announcement "Ladies and Gentlemen, I will be making my way through the cabin when I finish blah blah blah." Another minute goes by and the husband pushes the call button and no joke, she seriously comes on and makes the same announcement while she is FOUR rows away from us. So, half of the plane yells at her that it's a freaking emergency and all she did was come and ask the lady if she wanted an oxygen tank (keep in mind that she asks the lady who is not breathing for an oxygen tank). Luckily, one of the passengers from the back of the plane came up and asked if she could help (She was a doctor! Yay!). Anyways, we landed and the lady was okay but it was the most memorable flight that I have ever been on so I felt the need to share!

Friday, January 25, 2008

A home of my own!

So, this post is mostly for my parents, but I have now moved into my own home!!! All by my self! It's a little studio apartment and since my parents had never seen it, I figured I would share. Just be forewarned that it's still in the unpacking stage...

This is the view on your right as you walk in the door. It's my kitchen. Right underneath the ledge is the table that Andy gave me.

This is kind of panoramic photography, so bear with me. Basically just a continuation of what you were seeing. On the other side of the stereo is the coat closet, and if you look below you'll see the coat closet and the door that goes outside.

This is just more of the couch. The couch is on the same wall that the outside door is on. Next to it are the bookshelves which are beside the bathroom door.

This is taken from the front door if you look left. The bathroom door, my bed, and then my closet.

More of the same, we're halfway around the room now!

This is just a zoomed out version taken with me standing on my bed. The big overstuffed chair is at the end of the desk, and then we're back to the kitchen again.

This is my closet. It has the full length shelves on both sides.

Sink and Shower curtain...

This is the kitchen, (and look Mom! I still have the peach!

The new rug that I was so proud of!

Just a final view from my kitchen. You can look over the mini bar and see the door going outside.

Anyways, hope you enjoyed this little mini home tour. It's small, but I LOVE not having to share the space with a messy roommate!