(but do you have any good book recommendations?)
(but do you have any good book recommendations?)
this weekend adam and i went to charlotte to visit one of our very favorite families. these five special people became ridiculously important to me while i was at school in charlottesville. all three of the children were also in our wedding. ella was a jr. bridesmaid, ava was a flower girl, and jack did what jack does best...stole girls' hearts (while bearing rings).
and i wouldn't want to forget to say how much i love amber and chris too. they played the role of my adopted (much younger) parents when i moved across the country from my real ones. and they let me invite myself over to their lovely home whenever i saw fit. it made the world of difference. oh my, i can not, will not, could not imagine college without them.
we miss these folks so very much when we don't see them, and it had been way too long since we saw them last.
they live in charlotte, nc now conveniently. and we finally got our bums down there this weekend to play.
any mac sticky note users out there?
i use my sticky notes for everything. and like a purse, a car, a closet, or a camera, sometimes you've just got to clean that thing out! too much miscellaneous junk can overwhelm a soul.
whenever someone i love says something that makes me laugh, or has a memorable exchange with me, and i really don't want to forget it, i'll type it onto a sticky. i read them all the time and they make me smile. but at this point, i just can't think anymore through all the stickies. so i'm doing some cleaning.
i decided to dump a few of them here so that i can still refer to them from time to time, as i see fit. maybe they'll make you laugh too. i've completely forgotten the context for most of them. i do apologize.
"i have always liked halloween. it is fun to dress up and eat chocolate. it is a real part of my memories throughout life. i like the reformation too though."
"it's warmish i would say. you may touch it if you'd like."
-dom, referring to a chocolate brownie, if i recall.
adam: "that kind of thing just freaks me out."
me: "oh, don't worry about that. it's such a freak thing."
adam: "i'm not worried about it, it just freaks me out."
(perhaps, we should delete the word freak from our vocab, ad.)
"in this weather, no man is hairy enough"
-adam, when it was really cold?
"love you, praying for your brain."
-adam, sometime during my thesis writing?
and a recent favorite:
me: "i just had a funny memory. did you throw up fritos after the reba concert?
sis: yes. cause they had free bags. and i ate 50 hundred. and i have never eaten them again.
me: me either. i ate them till i fell asleep before "does he love you" which was my favorite song and i missed it. depressing seven year-old, i must have been.
i don't really talk about my job much on the blog. and it's funny that i don't, because it's such a huge part of my life and who i am and how i spend my time.
maybe it's because by the time i get home from work, i don't want to think/write about work. but i actually enjoy talking about my job, so that can't be it.
but anyways, i really do work. and i do stuff there. and i really love the stuff i do.
let's see if i can sum it up:
i do research.
i do research at duke.
i do research on a study called SLAM DUNC.
our study has nothing to do with basketball. it's just a long acronym. (for something...)
all of our patients have HIV and they also have depression. our study is testing an intervention that integrates depression care and HIV care. did you know that a lot of people with HIV also have depression? well, it's true. and it's really difficult for them, as you can imagine. and often times their depression goes un-managed. and when they are really depressed, they don't take their HIV meds. and then their HIV gets worse and their health gets worse and on top of all that, they remain really depressed.
when someone can help them get their depression under control, they are healthier; mentally and physically. because when they feel less depressed, they take thier HIV meds better. then, their viral loads go down (good) their CD4 counts go up (good) and often they just feel better about things in general. oh, it's so good to see.
so our intervention helps to manage depression at the ID (infectious disease) clinic where they receive their HIV care. it's really neat, it's sustainable, it's cost effective, and it seems to be working really well. yay for research!
my role is to help meet and enroll patients, talk to them throughout their year in the study to measure their adherence to their meds, measure their depression, and collect data on lots of other aspects of their lives that we think are important for our study. i also do a lot of other stuff...
analyzing data, entering data, helping with papers, abstracting information from medical records...
right now, i'm even working on an abstract for a big HIV conference that is coming up. here's hoping it gets accepted. which, among other things, would mean a paid trip to Florida to present it...so, you know, yes please.
so there it is, in a nutshell of course. sometimes it gets a bit crazy around here. and sometimes it's incredibly emotionally exhausting. but i love getting to intersect the lives of all these people who i would never otherwise know. and to learn a little about what it's like to live with and battle HIV. and to try to be an encouraging and kind voice in their day. and to not take my health for granted.
and i could go on...
but i won't.
what do you do every day? and who do you meet while doing it? it's so worth it to stop, think, and being grateful for employment. so here's to monday!
personal topic ahead. just warning. if you don't like personal things, don't read. also, if you are a man, don't read. unless you don't care, then fine. ok,
so one thing that freaked me out about marriage was birth control. probably because i was terribly freaked out by the idea of birth. and me having it. and i went through a pretty obnoxious time of not wanting to go to the doctor. not wanting to talk/think about you-know-what. and not wanting to figure out birth control.
and then eventually i got over it because my wedding was fast approaching and i needed to get my act together. said my mom.
so, i started on the pill.
the transition was a little hard. i had a wave of immediate side effects, all of which were gone by the end of month one. but it was pretty traumatic at the time. and i thought it would never work to be on the pill. but then, it did work. and i loved it. and it turned out to be a great decision for us. and i really did remember to take it. which i thought would be hard. but it wasn't too hard. and it made things so simple.
recently however, since i've settled into married life...i decided to switch over to a more natural method of birth control, fertility awareness. and i can't sing loud enough praises. i love knowing exactly what's happening with my body and when and why. it's really quite empowering. and i even have a super cool app on my iphone called kindara that allows me to chart my temperature each morning (and all the other "body signals" of fertility). i read this book, recommended by my sister, which told me all i needed to know about using the fertility awareness method (fam). it really has been one of my favorite decisions of life. ever. it-makes-me-feel like a nat-ur-al woomaan. nevermind, bad joke.
i mean, you have to be committed and consistent with charting. so it's not quite as low-maintainence as a bcp. but if you are slightly ocd, like me, and you are crazy about charting and temperature taking, and knowing what's up, then it is pretty darn effective at preventing the whole baby/birth thing.
when friends ask me for advice about birth control, i hesitant to really give too specific of advice about what will work for them. i think it's great that different things work for different women, at different times, and that we have the freedom to experiment and pick the method that seems just right for us. and that there are so many different options out there. i wish i hadn't been so darn intimidated by it before i got married.
what do you ladies think? was the birth control decision hard for you? are you happy/unhappy with your method? have you/would you ever try FAM? seriously, i wish i'd had this talk with you a long time ago! could have saved myself a lot of unnecessary angst.
you know when you have expectations? and you try to hold them loosely? because you trust God, you really do. but unknowns are hard. and they are so, unknown. and so, you still hold onto them, loosely. or sometimes it's actually, tightly.
but just then, God takes those expectations out of your shaky little hands and breathes His breath over them. and they explode into something far more beautiful and exciting than you could have possibly hoped.
i believe this happens. i have seen it with my own eyes. once or twice, or ten times...
wednesday night our home was filled with people who my shaky little hands have been holding onto for months. before i even knew their names. and i had expectations for who they would be. where they would come from. what their hearts would look like. and whether i'd get the chance to really know their hearts.
and He did it,
he chuckled at my expectations as He took them and put in my hand, instead, His most wonderful plan.
and it was wonderful.
and each and every one of them are so wonderful.
and i can't wait to get to know them little by little.
and so our small group begins.