Although a new chapter of life is beginning, I would love to maintain the friendships and relationships that God has blessed me with over the past 23 years of my life. This blog will not be a complete story of everything that is going on in my life (and I'm sure you're all very thankful for that) but I want to provide a way in which to stay in contact and to provide at least a glimpse of the places that I'll go, the people that I'll meet and the lessons and knowledge that will come about through various experiences.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ethiopia (part 1)

It is amazing to think that my time in Ethiopia has already come and gone. I remember thinking about which school had the best global health opportunities when I was applying for PT School and thinking how great it would be to go to Ethiopia when I heard about the trip that Regis goes on every year. Fast forward almost 3 years and this trip that I was so excited about is in the past yet the lessons that I'm learning are still being ingrained in my brain and Ethiopia is a topic in almost every conversation that I have. I promised some people that I would attempt to blog about my experiences and had every intention on doing this while I was abroad but for a variety of excuses it didn't happen. Then I had every intention of doing it immediately once I got home but with needing to travel from Denver to Poulsbo, WA the day after we got home there were more pressing things to do. This is blog 1 of an undecided amount of blogs on my trip. I don't currently have pictures to post as I took more than 1500 photos and need to edit them before I'll allow people to see them but I'll be posting them in the next few weeks on my facebook account.

Before I even begin to talk about my trip it is necessary to say a big THANK YOU to each and every one of you for your prayer and financial support for this trip. I know a lot of people who do not like to ask for money when they go on trips like this but that is one of my favorite parts of the preparation for the trip. This is not because I like to ask for money but I truly believe that the support both financially and prayerfully remind me that this kind of trip is so much more than just about me. When I get to go on trips such as this I feel like I am representing the people who have sent me and supported me. This trip was not just a Regis Physical Therapy trip but it was so much more than that and from the bottom of my heart-- THANK YOU

As most of you know, the majority of our trip is spent doing clinical work in a variety of hospitals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was at Black Lion Hospital (BLH), a government run hospital with one of my classmates. Each of us worked side by side with an Ethiopian PT and at BLH saw patients together. This was important for a couple reasons. First- most people at BLH don't speak English so having our clinician there at all times provided a means for translation. Although we always had a translator available, it was amazing how difficult it was to treat patients with the limited information that was actually translated. We often discuss in courses how almost 90% of the information that we need as PTs to treat a patient is established during the subjective interview process. Well, take a 10 minute conversation that was had in all Amharic and then have 1 sentence translated into English and I often felt like I only had about 5% of the picture that I needed to see. Although this was very difficult, I believe that it help my critical thinking and decision making skills so that's definitely a positive. Second- the goal of this trip is education and working in collaboration with an Ethiopian trained PT allowed for education to take place in both directions. The PT that I worked with (Negatu) was a very skilled therapist and I learned a great deal from working with him and having discussions with him. He also asked a bunch of questions about patient care that allowed me to give my opinion on the matter as well as allowed me to demonstrate different techniques that I would use in management that he hadn't seen before. I truly believe that this opportunity is mutually beneficial which is awesome. Working alongside a therapist from Ethiopia also allows this trip to be sustainable. So often groups from the Western Countries go abroad and set up clinics and see a bunch of people and then they leave. Although this is beneficial, the model that Regis uses is not just to see a bunch of people while we are in Ethiopia but to help advance the profession of physical therapy and advance the knowledge and skill set of the therapists in Ethiopia so that in the 10 months that we aren't there people are still receiving the best care possible.

MCRC (Mother Child Rehabilitation Center)
One of my favorite parts of this trip was the time that we got to spend at MCRC. MCRC was establlished initially to care for women and children and to try and break the cycle of poverty and some of the non-financial effects that poverty has on people. They offer dance classes, music lessons, job training, etc, etc, etc. to teach people that they have value whether they have money or not. The therapist that my colleague, Wes worked with at BLH also worked at MCRC so for the first week the three of us were at MCRC every afternoon treating and caring for anyone that needed treatment associated with MCRC. The reason that I say this was one of my favorite parts of the experience is because it has the most long term potential for me. As some of you know, I have dreams and aspirations of owning a PT clinic and having that PT clinic associated with another clinic somewhere abroad. Throughout my time at MCRC I got to talk to the director and discuss the potential of them starting a clinic and also discuss how I can get more involved in that in the future. I'm not sure 100% where that will go but it's excited nonetheless.

This is a good place to stop blogging for now so that I don't just go on and on for page after page. I will continue where I left off at another time. Again thank you all for your support!

Monday, September 3, 2012

I'm a slow learner.

Before I get started with where I want to go, I want to have a disclaimer on this post. When I started this blog, I told myself that this would be a place to tell you (whoever reads this?) what has been going on in my life. Though this doesn't exactly meet that requirement, I feel like using a blog to write about the lessons that I've learned and am learning is justifiable. I never intended on using this blog as my "platform" to write about my views on life/politics/faith/etc but I also think that sharing lessons of what God is doing in my life could be valuable (?) (I sure think it is!)

This comes about due to a few conversations with friends that I've had in the past few weeks and also as the result of God continually telling, or screaming at (as I said I'm a slow learner) me to listen to what He's trying to tell me. I've had an interesting past 8 months of my life and I'm so thankful for the fact that I have friends who ask me hard questions like, "how are you growing through this?" and "are you learning more about God's grace through this?" So this blog is a result of those questions and God's faithfulness and patience with me. I know that this was a really hard but important lesson for me to learn in my life and I hope it challenges other people to ask these questions as well. 

It all started for me when things didn't go according to how I planned my life to go. Although this was a lesson I learned through specific scenarios to my life, this is a lesson that applies to any time something doesn't go according to how we plan; jobs, relationships, friendships, etc. When things go "wrong" we are left with the question of where to turn and also where do we find our joy? Or as the pastor of my church in Denver has said, "When trials come, we are left with the question of who or what we put our faith in and secondly whether that thing will save us (and provide us with joy)." I know for me, it is a struggle not to trust in the relationships I've made, my friends, my family, my education, and my abilities to provide the happiness/joy I want in my life. Now for the lesson that I've learned (and you can call me dumb for not learning this lesson quicker) No matter who your friends are, no matter how great your family is, no matter how intelligent you are, no matter how great your relationships, they will all fall short of providing true joy because at some time or another they WILL fail. So that sounds depressing but there's great news! God will NEVER fail to provide for us.

So this leaves me with the question I've tried to ask myself for the past couple months, "am I relying on God for joy and happiness in my life or am I relying on other things?" For me it's really hard not to say things like "when ______ happens I'm going to be so happy" instead of simply trusting God to provide as He sees fit.

For fear of rambling, I'm just going to issue this question to everyone who's read all this- "who/what do you put your faith in and if/when trials come is that person/thing capable of saving you and giving you joy?"

"But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the LORD, and He answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.... Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people!" ---Psalm 3 (selected verses)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Casper: more than just a friendly ghost

Week one in Casper, Wyoming is finished and though it's not the same kind of tired as being in school and studying hours on end, I'm exhausted. Hands on learning is awesome but it also requires you to be on your toes constantly and really tests how well you really know your stuff!

Casper is a pretty interesting town. I don't have internet in my apartment so whenever I have stuff that I need to do I have to go find free internet somewhere. Thankfully McDonalds has free internet and they don't close early... I think the workers at McDonalds are starting to wonder why in the world I keep showing up with my computer every night and leave at about the same time.

I've asked all the locals what kind of stuff I should do while I'm in Casper and almost without fail their response is "well there's not much to do." I had a couple people recommend going to the rodeo or on fly fishing trips. Although these things sound interesting to me, I can't help but say "I don't think I'm in Southern California anymore." I'm planning on going to Yellowstone with a couple of my classmates in the next couple weekends but apart from that weekends will be kind of interesting to see how creative I can be. I even volunteered to go into the hospital tomorrow to help with a couple patients and everyone made fun of me for being an over achiever. When I told them that I really don't know anyone in town and have nothing else to do they gave me the benefit of the doubt, however.

If anyone knows of things to do in Casper let me know!

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's about time.

There have been many times in the last few months that I've thought to come on here and give everyone an update but then busyness gets in the way and lets face it, this isn't my top priority. 

I'm done with my first full year of PT school and am definitely relieved that this past year is done. It's amazing how much information professors can throw at you in a short amount of time and also amazing that I feel like I've actually retained most of it. I've had classes that I've loved and classes that I've hated but overall I'm very happy with the field that I'm in. 

I'm moving up to Casper, Wyoming tomorrow for my first clinical experience at Wyoming Medical Center. It's going to be an awesome learning experience and I'm very excited to not be in a classroom for those 6 weeks. I was told that I'll get to sit in on a couple surgeries (both spinal and orthopedic) which should be very exciting and interesting. I've spent hundreds of hours in clinics but this is the first time as a student and with that title comes a lot more opportunities! 

I love living in Colorado and though I haven't spent as much time in the great outdoors as I would like, I've been able to go on a few hikes this summer and spend some time in the mountains camping. After summer semester finished, I packed my car and drove into the mountains and spent 2 nights away from people. It was a great time to recharge and read. All I can say is that God's creativity cannot be matched. 

I'll just let this short post suffice for now. I'll try to be better at updating this with pictures of trips and lessons that I'm learning. Thank you all for being a part of my life!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A whirlwind month

It's been quite a while since I've been on here to write an update in my life and to be honest it could be a while before I have the time to sit down and write again because I start graduate school tomorrow morning. In anticipation of school beginning I thought that it would be a good idea to stop work and go and have some fun and enjoy life for a while---that was a month ago. In this past month I've done very little relaxing and a lot of traveling.

The day after I stopped working my family got in the car and started our long drive from California up to Washington. I thought that it would be a good idea a few months ago to sign up for a marathon on the way to Washington and low and behold there was a marathon in Bend, Oregon at just the right time that we could stop on our way north. I told my brother-in-law, Cody that I found a good marathon for us to run and he agreed to it so our plans were set. On the way to Bend we stopped at Crater Lake. It was absolutely beautiful! Its amazing how blue the water is and how little (3 ft.) the depth can change in a year. We continued on to Bend and went to collect our timing chip and tried to relax a little the night before the race. My only other marathon experience was in San Diego with nearly 45,000 other racers so when we showed up to the starting line to find about 150 people it was quite the shock. The Haulin' Aspen marathon is 99% on trails and the majority of those trails are single track mountain biking trails through the woods. It starts at 3500 feet of elevation and climbs to nearly 6100 feet in elevation before it starts its decent at mile 13.1. In preparation for this marathon Cody and I had run a few hills but weren't really expecting what was in store for us. The first 9 miles were very fast and actually rather enjoyable but then... THE HILL! We came out of the woods onto a service road and from that point until mile 13 was straight up. For the first 9 miles of the race we only saw a few racers but then on the hill everyone came together and it became apparent that running up the hill was not in our best interest. We tried to run as much as we could but ended up hiking the majority of the hill. Our half marathon time was 2:05 which is extremely respectable considering the fact that the entire first half was up hill. Our goal for the race was "to finish" but when we saw our first split at 2:05 I started thinking about finishing under 4:00. I think the saying "what goes up, must come down" applies to everything, except this marathon. At the 13.1 aide station they told us that it was "all down hill from there!"---They lied. We began the decent and I was feeling pretty good but then the toll that the first half took on my body caught up to me and even though they said it was "all down hill" we ran over rolling hills for pretty much the rest of the race. My legs were cramping up and I started to get light headed and I decided that my goal of "just finishing" was starting to look more likely than the sub 4:00 time I had dreamed of at the top of the hill. We ended up finishing with a time of 4:43:10 which is embarrassing to write but that was still good enough for top 40% and I was 3rd in my age group. I guess when the marathon claims that it is a challenging marathon it might be good to take note and actually train hard---lesson for later in life maybe.
After the marathon we got in the car and continued driving up to Washington. We stopped in Tacoma at one of the scariest hotels I've ever had the privilege of staying at. There were five of us in the room and being the one that's not married I always get to sleep on the floor. I decided that sticking my air mattress directly up against the door of the hotel room would be the safest because that would keep the door shut if anyone tried breaking in. It didn't help that the bottom of the door was bulging out a couple inches... 

After our night in Tacoma we drove the rest of the way into Seattle and picked up C.J., Keri and Anneka and drove back south to go hiking at Mt Rainier. I had never been to Mt. Rainier so I was pretty excited to see it up close and personal but as we got closer, my hopes of seeing it began to fade due to poor weather conditions. We debated turning around but decided that it would be fun to go hiking even if we couldn't actually see the mountain. This turned out to be one of the best decisions of the trip because as soon as we got in Mt. Rainier National Park the skies opened up and we saw Mt. Rainier in all it's glory! 
The following day we went on a ferry ride to Friday Harbor and convinced Cody further that my parents know somewhere everywhere they go (my Dad's cousin was on the boat right behind us). 
The rest of the trip to Washington was spent at a family reunion in Mt. Vernon celebrating my grandparents 61st wedding anniversary. Yes we realize that normal families celebrate the 5s or 10s but we decided to change it up a little. It was great to see the majority of the DeGroot side of my family and was also really cool to see God's faithfulness to the 4 generations that were represented.

As soon as we got back to California from Washington, I started packing my stuff in my car so I could move to Colorado and also go visit Jocelyn in Iowa. One of my roommates from Dordt (Devin) decided that he wanted to fly to California just to give me some company on my way to Denver. We left early on a Wednesday morning and arrived in Golden, Colorado that night. I got some sleep and got in my car again the next morning and finished driving out to Iowa. Somewhere in my mind I remembered someone telling me that Iowa was basically under water all summer but when I was driving I forgot that fact and had to take a pretty good sized detour on the way. I also had to pull my car over a few times because I was in a hail storm the I didn't think should be messed with (there were several cars that had cracked windshields or no back window). I spent a week in Iowa visiting with friends from Dordt and spending time with Jocelyn and then finally arrived back in Denver after a little car trouble this past Thursday. 
I got to meet my classmates at a bbq Friday night and start orientation tomorrow morning! Its intimidating to think about the next three years of school but I think I'm ready! 

I realize that was a very long winded blog but there has been a lot that has happened in the past month! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A fun week

It's amazing what you find out about the area you live when you have people come to visit. A couple weeks ago my girlfriend (Jocelyn Bousema) came out to visit me and due to that I took a full week off of work and we went about touring Southern California. I've lived in California for almost 13 years yet there are so many places and things that I've never done.
The first day that she was here I made waffles and then we went to Newport Beach and went whale watching and saw 3 blue whales (70 ft. long) and also saw hundreds of dolphins. After whale watching we went to Huntington Beach and layed around until dinner time and went to Ruby's on the Pier for dinner.
The second day I took her up to Team PT to show her where I work and then we went to Pizza outside of Angel's stadium and took in a baseball game (Angels beat the Mariners).
Friday a couple of my friends came with us back to Huntington Beach and we spent a little bit more time taking in the sun and enjoying time together and also time away from work. That night we went to Angela and Cody's House and hung out with most of my high school friends so that they had an opportunity to get to know Jocelyn as well.
Saturday morning we went to Sea World in San Diego with my family. On the way there we dropped a car off at one of Jocelyn's friends house in Escondido (turned around about 20 times trying to find her house). While at Sea World we saw the dolphins show, shamu show, sea lion show, etc and had a great time just being together with my family. On the way back home my parents dropped us off in Escondido and we spent the rest of the night hanging out with jocelyn's friends and family.
Sunday morning we went to my church and then in the afternoon we went to a friend of mine from high school's wedding. Beau's my first high school friend to get married and it was fun for me to see all my friends in a little bit different setting.
Monday morning we decided to go hiking up in the mountains near my house. I never realized how beautiful it was so close to where I live. There is a hike that you can do where you wade through a river for a ways and then end up climbing a rope up a small waterfall to continue on your hike. Jocelyn was a trooper and even though she was really cold from the water she was determine to continue on the hike.

Since she went back to Iowa all I've been doing is working and running trying to train for my marathon in 2.5 weeks. Its crazy to think that my last full summer break is nearly over and then its off to colorado to start school!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

You make all things work together for my good

I was listening to this song and thought of this chapter. Thought I'd share... Hope you enjoy!
Romans 8:18-39
Present Suffering and Future Glory
 18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
More Than Conquerors
 31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?36 As it is written:
   “For your sake we face death all day long;
   we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[j]
 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.