Be Still And Wonder

Medical School is an adventure, an exciting, brutal,  tearful,  exhilarating adventure.  It’s comprehensive education of our minds, bodies, and spirits; I suppose just like many other fields with intense training. And yet in this experience I find it hard to refocus so often. It is hard to remember who put me here (my Creator), and to take time to appreciate His creation outside of school.
But. The other day I was cooking dinner and heard something outside on the sidewalk. It was a high pitched distress squeal. Tyler runs outside to find our puppies tormenting two baby cottontail bunnies.

Baby bunnies the 1st day we found them

They were promptly scooped up, named, bedded in a kitchen towel, and being looked at as prospective pets in 6 minutes flat. I was a little surprised at how quickly they had come into the house. After some research we learned that they were so intricately designed that fewer than 10% survive if reared by humans at this age (their eyes were not yet open).  Hmm, problems problems. After some brainstorming we decided to leave them in the nest at night where the mom typically visits twice briefly to feed them and then we would take in during the day while the dogs ran around. So far so good on that! They are growing!

And of course we had to take them to school because all medical students love therapy pets after tough exams. And every smile and excited gasp that we heard reminded me again; creation is so beautiful and it’s Creator so deserving of wonder. Sometimes in the slough of power points, drudgeries of school, and other responsibilities it is easy to stop and wonder at a living, dynamic, and complicated organism. It’s crazy y’all!

Blake thinks it’s crazy too!

Curling up with the little furballs as the weather is cooling, the foliage turning more gold, and watching as everything outside seeming to slow down just a little even when school is only speeding up was a blessing this week.

Mackenzie voted to have therapy bunnies

Progress reports to come so stay tuned in! Oh, and there might be an introduction to Willow and Espresso the puppers coming soon too.

This is a picture from Wednesday – a little bigger than the first picture!

3 days after we got them. Soo big already!

Enjoy the pictures here and comment with how you make time to stop and wonder at the beauty of creation around you as you pursue your life and responsibilities!

“Be still, and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10a

3 Steps to More Family Time

Howdy! Thanks for coming back. Monday came in full swing yesterday, my 1st  neuroanatomy exam is over, had my wisdom teeth out and while writing most of this yesterday I was waiting to drive over to the clinic and the student lounge smells insanely good with box after box of hot, greasy, free pizza. And my stomach was growling for it but I coudn’t eat till after surgery… Patience soul, patience. Missing out on free pizza is still good for the waistline I tell myself. But hey, God is good and I don’t have to study tonight.
Yesterday wasn’t that much crazier than any Monday for most of you (or Tuesday, let’s be real)  and we still have the ever present time management and work/family balance struggles. You may have read my post about why we should prioritize our families and as promised in the post, here are a few practical applications of that devoted time. So maybe your time management won’t be perfect, and your balance won’t be in the shape of a zen yoga master after reading this but I hope you find it practical and helpful. 🙂

Schedule it
If you don’t schedule time for the gym or your daily quiet time it isn’t going to happen. If you don’t plan your meals ahead of time you will be making 6 trips to the grocery store this week. If you forgot to schedule that wisdom tooth appointment you will forget about it (thankfully I scheduled this one!). Some people do not like routines or to do lists, efficiency eventually convinces us to use them though. Family time is much more than a to-do list so make sure that scheduling fun time doesn’t stress you out – that would defeat the purpose. My husband and I schedule a date night at least once a week just to spend time together and not worrying about life’s responsibilities.

Keep it reasonable
Calling a family member every day is not sustainable. Neither is spending 4 hours with a spouse and kids after cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen 7 days a week. Figure out what is reasonable for you and your family is the first step. Spouses are an ultimate priority; they need time every day. Same goes for kids right after the spouse. Extended family beyond that needs to be scheduled in a way that no involved party gets burned out and your spouse and kids don’t miss out on time with you. Kids grow up and leave home, spouses age, and work never ends so make sure you don’t miss out on the best things in life while they last.

Plan to Have Fun
Making time happen is much easier if you have a go-to. New or unexplored park opening in your town? Head there after dinner to check it out this week with your family. No need to wait until the weekend. Find a new recipe on Pinterest (or here) like mushroom couscous? Have a date night at home cooking with your spouse. This is one of Tyler’s and my favorite ways to spend time together. Going to hang out with extended family? Make it a game night; my favorite game with groups is Apples to Apples. We always end up in stitches.

Comment below with your favorite way to spend time with family even with a crazy life! And feel free to share with your friends.

Foraged Mushrooms with Cous Cous

Cooking is an adventure, for the palette, for the hands, for the soul.  Even though medical school is crazy, I need adventures outside of pathology power points. Today I had to share a recent adventure with Hen of The Woods, or Chicken of The Woods, mushrooms gifted to us by another med student. Just look at it, it’s gorgeous.

Chicken of The Woods Mushroom

So wait, you’re  studying to be a doctor and you go find weird mushroom to eat?  Yes! They are fantastic and a fun way to experience the outdoors. My dad helped us search for the Morrel mushrooms growing up on a ranch in southern Oklahoma every single spring.  When mushroom hunting, I always triple check the ID and take time to understand what grows in my area though. If you are interested in getting started yourself be sure to check these 5 easy to ID varieties!

Back to the recipe….My friend brought be some Chicken of The Woods mushrooms and I knew something fantastic was waiting for dinner. A recent trip to the Tulsa Farmer’s market contributed a gorgeous Chinese Eggplant, and a trip to Trader Joe’s a couscous blend that was perfect for a warm, hearty dish with a bright sauce to complimented the flavors.

Trader Joe’s Couscous
Farmer’s Market Find: Chinese Eggplant

As a note I do not add salt and pepper indications to my recipes because you should season as you like to season.

If you don’t have forageable mushrooms in your area feel free to substitute Portabella or another firm mushroom variety. Comment below with your favorite mushroom dishes!

Foraged Mushrooms with Couscous and Lemon Cream Sauce

A  delightfull dish of foraged mushrooms, farmers market finds, couscous and a silky lemon cream sauce. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Keyword Chicken of the Woods, Cous Cous, Fall Dinner, Mushroom
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 390 kcal
Author Ashley Watson with coffeeandgratitude.com

Ingredients

Main Dish

  • 2 C Mushrooms (Chicken of the Woods or other firm variety)
  • 1 medium Chinese eggplant
  • 1/2 C Olive Oil
  • 2 C Couscous

Sauce

  • 1/2 C Plain yogurt
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Cook couscous according to package directions. While it is cooking, saute sliced eggplant in olive oil until tender ( 5-7 minutes) set aside. Saute sliced mushrooms until they appear softened slightly (5-7 minutes). Stir together sauce ingredients. Plate sauteed vegetables over serving of couscous and top with cream sauce and chives or parsley for garnish. If you prefer more lemon flavor add 1/4 tsp zest. (add salt and pepper to taste as well, there are no listings in the recipe so you can add to your taste preferences) Enjoy! 

Lessons from the Other White Coat

A deep reverberating hum emanated from the white box in front of me. It sang of life, vitality, and vigor.
The box  was home to 30,000 honey bees I had raised since high school and collected from a swarm near our barn. Now in early September, it was time for the annual honey harvest. I love so many things about fall, but honey harvest ranks near the top. Typically we only harvest as much as we need for a year, about 5 pints. As I continue to write my husband keeps asking for more so maybe we should have collected more…Anyway, while working with the incredible little insects I wear my white bee suit (other white coat if you will) and learned a couple of lessons.

Beekeepers

Respect Others
When you wear a white coat, with bees or people, you respect them. Bees are small, mostly docile, and open to sharing their honey (sort of). But one wrong move taken as disrespect and the entire hive swarms out with stingers blazing. Hot searing pain shoots up whatever part of your body they have selected and you immediately regret whatever you just did. It isn’t hard to show anyone they are important, and the consequences of ever thinking you are greater than someone because you are bigger or smarter is unforgettable. Thankfully this year I was not stung but my poor husband had one crawl up his pant leg. Ouch!


Take your Time
When working with patients or bees there is no rushing or hurrying if the job is to be done well. Rushed timing equals more squished bees equals more angry bees equals cross and unhappy beekeepers. Rushing patient care also results in more mishaps and angry patients and families. Taking time is a discipline, working through problems methodically is a practice and emphasizing genuine compassion for others is a life skill.

Honey Biscuits

Eat the Biscuit
Life is sweet, sometimes. And when God has put sweet things in our way, we take advantage of them. A successful patient recovery, a hot biscuit drenched in golden nectar made by bees, whatever other small successes and joys you have, – take it in with gratitude and enjoy the rewards of a job well done.

Wildflower

Family First

Thanks for joining me today! It’s Thursday. And that means I had 4 hours of morning lecture, a clinical lab this afternoon and entirely too many things on my to do list. Oh yeah, and my not-so-Instagram worthy life included avoiding calling my mom for over a week, (I average calling once a week) and barely having talked to my husband the last 2 days. Not feeling so hot as a daughter and wife today.  Sound familiar? It happens to a lot of us. Soo, yes this post is for me too. Work, school, and life place so many demands on us we too often forget the people who helps us be all that we are – our family. So why should we prioritize time with our family regardless of the chaos? Here are three reasons:

Family Makes a house a home!

They know you love them
We know people care for us when they bother interacting with us. Interaction comes in any flavor you like and is an essential component of compassion and love in a family dynamic. Your family might have been super supportive of your decision to take a new position or start a new school pursuit, but their enthusiasm will quickly wane if they feel they are being traded for your endeavor. Don’t get me wrong, family cannot come replace our necessary jobs and wanted pursuits, but they can be integral parts of our every day lives.

Healthy relationship come from time investments
An investment is an initial sacrifice made for a future return. When we sacrifice time for our family now we build relationships that last in the future; and who knows they might even be there for us when we need them most. Every day we make choices to say “yes” to some things and “no” to others. Family can’t have all our time because we all know there are innumerable other responsibilities in a given day besides calling our mom. BUT we can choose to say “yes” to our family on a regular basis and choose not to let our jobs and other passions consume us.

They care for you
Nothing is more challenging than being in a new environment with no friend support and being too far away from family for immediate help. While you don’t have to live up the street from your family your whole life, choosing to build networks of solid friends, church family, and your own family will make a stronger community that supports all its members when life gets tough.

 

Coming soon are some practical ways to make the most of those time investments! 😉

 

Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.

Ecclesiates 4:9-12b