There are very few areas of my life in which I tolerate detail. In fact, my job is probably the ONLY area in which I truly welcome minute organization. I call this the “Depth versus Breadth” axiom. I will gladly spend hours calculating and adjusting the treatment protocol for a DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) patient:

– what’s the fluid rate?
– how much insulin in those fluids?
– any glucose? how much?
– what’s the potassium? supplement? how much?
– what about magnesium? supplement?
– where’s our secondary infection?
– how much do the owners REALLY want to spend on ms. kitty?
– oh, and don’t forget the other three emergencies waiting on you

I welcome this flavor of chaos. I thrive under the demands, the stress, the mental power required. But ask me what my meal plans are for the next few days or when I plan on doing my taxes, and you will receive a blank stare and noncommittal shrug of the shoulders.

It wasn’t until recently that this inability to commit to details became flagrantly obvious to me. It happened during a trip my sister, my best friend, and I had planned to San Francisco. I took care of all the major details – bought the plane tickets, reserved the rental car, found a relative to crash with, and drew out a very basic itinerary (like: “oh, the first couple days we will stay in the Bay Area, and then we’ll drive around Napa Valley for a day at some point, and then we might take a few days and drive down to L.A., and then we’ll just make sure we’re back in the Bay Area before our flight leaves!”) And basic worked initially – until it didn’t. You see, not all people welcome the possibility of getting lost in a major city, or waking each morning asking “so, should we leave for somewhere in the next 30 minutes?”.

The difference in vacationing styles quickly formed a rift in our group that almost cost me a best friend and any pleasant vacation memories. And at the time I just couldn’t understand why some people couldn’t just RELAX and roll with the punches! So we missed our Alcatraz tour because we slept past all the ferry departures and had to drive onto the island and consequently got stuck in work traffic on the bridge for 2 hours and almost ran out of gas….good memories right? Someday we would all laugh about this absurdity, right? That two doctors and one nurse could be so ridiculously disorganized.

In my mind, it was part of the “experience” to set the major decisions and then let the smaller details work themselves out as circumstances allowed.

The vacation proved to be the catalyst to my revelation however, that not everyone can function well in a swirl of uncertainty. In fact, there was one area in which I did NOT function well in uncertainty – my medical cases! Subconsciously I had realized this at some point in my education and had developed a focused laser beam of anal-retentiveness towards my career. That focus had yet to encompass any other areas of my life – and truthfully I am not sure I want that influence to expand.

The Breadth I practice in my budget, my homemaking, my meal-planning, is a welcome balance to the Depth I choose to plumb in my job every day.

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December Wallpaper

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I recently finished reading the biography Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. Such a vivid and intimate look into the life of such a great man of faith I have never before experienced. There are so many gems of theological wisdom hidden in the life and words of that man, but probably the most resonant for me was Bonhoeffer’s reiterate admonishment that faith equals obedience. The one who believes in Christ will obey the Will of God. And the Will of God is found in the Word of God. Reading the Word of God is to enter into a personal, intimate encounter with God Himself. It isn’t academic and it isn’t merely dutiful. To succumb to either is to drift towards legalism. Studying the Scriptures is a chance to hear from the God of all Wisdom.

I encourage setting aside some time this holiday season to read this tome, even if you aren’t a “history buff” (I am certainly not!). 😉

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November Wallpaper


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(click on image for bonus Thanksgiving pictures)

Well, I realize this month’s free wallpaper is coming rather late and for that I apologize (to all 3 of my devoted readers – ha!). I have been caught in the wormhole that is ICU/Emergency for the past six weeks. Not to mention on top of that I have been studying for and taking my veterinary medical boards exam, preparing and presenting my Clinicopathological Conference case to students and faculty of the vet school, and compiling and polishing my CV/Cover letter for grown-up job stuff. In review I’m pretty sure my stress meter is broken and that if David Tennant showed up right now offering me a life of adventure aboard the Tardis I would say YES without reservation (if it was Matt Smith I would be a bit more hesitant).

That being said, I was granted by God’s mercy a 68 hour reprieve from work and was able to meet my family at the grandparent’s farm over Thanksgiving. My roommate tagged along as her family was way up freezing-north somewhere chipping the icicles off their noses. Now, my roommate is fairly awesome because she is like me. Well, not really, but we are similar in many ways, including our attention to detail and our acute powers of observation. After meeting and hanging out with my family, my roommate made several comments about how much she enjoyed being a part of our family gathering and observing how open and loving we are to each other. She pointed out how my sister had no qualms about publicly discussing all the ‘boy troubles’ she had been having the past few weeks and how interested my aunt and great-aunt were in her struggles in nursing school. She also observed how affectionate we were towards one another – being amiable in the mornings before proper caffeination, giving and receiving hugs, lounging together on couches and recliners in front of James Bond and Star Trek marathons. She really helped me see in a whole new way the great blessings I have in my family and that I had perhaps been taking that for granted. I know that my family prays for me, but actually remembering that they pray for me and that many young people do not have that kind of spiritual and emotional support system is another matter entirely. It was quite an eye-opening experience and yet another reason why I am so thankful that God has blessed me with such a wise and wonderful roommate.

Go under the Mercy; Sleep under the Protection.


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October Wallpaper Download

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“Every morning in Africa,

a gazelle wakes up.

It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion

or it will be killed.

Every morning a lion wakes up.

It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle

or it will starve to death.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle:

when the sun comes up,

you’d better be running.”


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September Wallpaper Download

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What is beauty but something is responded to with emotion? Courage, at least, is partly emotional. All the splendour of life. But if the best of life is, in fact, emotional, then one wanted the highest, the purest emotions: and that meant joy. Joy was the highest. How did one find joy? In books it was found in love– a great love… So if he wanted the heights of joy, he must have it, if he could find it, in great love. But in the books again, great joy through love always seemed go hand in hand with frightful pain. Still, he thought, looking out across the meadow, still, the joy would be worth the pain– if indeed, they went together. If there were a choice– and he suspected there was– a choice between, on the one hand, the heights and the depths and, on the other hand, some sort of safe, cautious middle way, he, for one, here and now chose the heights and the depths.”

Sheldon Vaunaken, “A Severe Mercy”

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August Wallpaper Download

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Ah, steeds, steeds, what steeds!
Has the whirlwind a home in your manes?
Is there a sensitive ear, alert as a flame, in your every fiber?
Hearing the familiar song from above, all in one accord you strain your bronze chests and, hooves barely touching the ground, turn into straight lines cleaving the air, and all inspired by God it rushes on!

                                                                 – Nikolai V. Gogol, Dead Souls, 1842, translated from Russian

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July Wallpaper Download

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Colorado Springs was hit by its worst natural disaster in 30 years – the Waldo Canyon wildfire.  It destroyed close to 18,000 acres and over 300 private homes in a little over two weeks’ time.  Amidst the devastation it was a lesson in courage being surrounded by people who saw and spoke against the fire while simultaneously acknowledging God’s Sovereign hand in it.  We as Christians have a hope that extends beyond material possessions and this photo was a great reminder to me of the beauty and magnificence of God’s creation even amidst what seems to be hopeless devastation.

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June Wallpaper Download

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Internal Medicine – The ‘House’ of Vet School

I just recently finished my first required senior clinical rotation – Small Animal Internal Medicine.

Despite my trepidation at taking on such a broad and deep field, I seemed to have escaped the six weeks relatively unscathed, having learned several new skills and improved others.

Time is money, as they (whoever “they” are) say, and no one likes to see the minute hand move past 5 at the end of the day. The clinicians do not have time to treat you like a junior vet student, and at this point you cannot really afford to be acting like one. For every one of my cases, after gathering history from the client and performing a physical exam on the patient, I was required to form a Problem list, Rule-out list, and Diagnostic plan. This forced me to form mental catalogues in which I could organize my rule-out diagnoses by body system.


– Primary GI – foreign body, enteritis secondary to food intolerance or toxic substance ingestion, developmental anatomical dysformation, primary neoplasia, autoimmune condition, trauma such as gastric dilatation & volvulus

– Secondary GI – inflammation/infection such as pancreatitis/hepatitis/cholestasis, paraneoplastic syndrome, central nervous system dysfunction

From this algorithm a list of diagnostics and the information you hope to glean from them is much easier to form.

Due to the hectic atmosphere of our IM department, I quickly learned to move confidently in forming and initiating my diagnostic plan. This included communicating effectively (employing well-placed pleasantries) with the other departments in our hospital, such as radiology, ultrasound, and occasionally surgery. Many a time I would traverse the 300yd hallway with a request in-hand to diagnostic imaging where I would communicate in subtle tones that while I wasn’t officially deeming this request an emergency, we would like it very much, please and thank you, if it could be done as soon as possible. No one will do anything even close to spectacular for you if you are a grouch.

Finally, the all-important client communication. This is the part of the program where we take all that gibberish from above about -itis’ and para-cancer thingys and translate it into layman’s terms without making you, the client, feel like a third grader being lectured on the finer points of astrophysics. I gained some experience with this in Community Veterinary Services and Small Animal Surgery (both junior year clinical rotations), but frankly in CVS the most intense it gets is delineating the twelve different kinds of flea/tick products and why the client still needs to buy one for Fifi who “never-ever-ever goes outside”, and in Surgery the clients seem to accept the fact that they will never understand all the intricate, surgeonesque feats performed on their animal – as long as Roofus is eating well and doesn’t look sad in his cage.

Internal Medicine, on the other hand, is quite a different beast. This is the place where clients learn that their dog is a new diabetic and will need to be given twice daily injections of insulin (with a real needle!!) along with diet and exercise modifications, monitoring for complications of hypo- and hyperglycemia, frequent urine cultures and blood glucose curves. I had one such case and immediately learned the need for communicating without causing information overload – a disastrous outcome that would reflect heavily on the patient’s wellbeing.

In conclusion, these last six weeks expanded my knowledge base, showcased my tenacity and initiative, and gave me experience in effective and empathetic client communication.

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May Wallpaper Download

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This is one of those photographs that I continue to be amazed that I ever captured.  I had just had my Pentax k-x DSLR for a couple months and was still getting the hang of all the little bells and whistles after transitioning from my dad’s old 35mm Pentax.  One of the reasons I had decided to go with a Pentax DSLR was that along with my dad’s relic came a very nice zoom lens still in pristine condition.  It was manual focus, of course, but I was determined to master it.  This photograph is a result of that determination – the melding of the new (camera body) and the old (lens).

I hope you enjoy viewing this work as much as I enjoyed composing it.

Purchase this print and more at my online store on ViewBug.

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