Friday, May 23, 2014

7QT on loneliness, studying pharmacy, chemo man, lillies, and cardinals

#1

It's been a rough week. And it's not even over yet. 100% studying & worrying, 0% hubby time (ok more like 80% studying, 15% cleaning out my closets just because that's what I do to avoid studying, 3% household chores, and 2% hubby time). Gee, I feel like I've been all alone all week. It's just me here. And the books. Oh. let's not forget the cat. The only one keeping me company all week long.


We're hoping this is our final push...and that Greg will start working days when June comes along. Hoping we can finally live on the same schedule instead of always complaining about not spending any time together and worrying that we're growing apart.


  

 

 #2

The one that always keeps me company
when I'm studying :-)
But you know what? I might have mentioned this before, but although spending 6 months of our first year of being married on completely opposite schedules has been pretty rough on me at times...I am now beginning to see the benefits of it...and just how it all fits into God's plan for our marriage. I have grown tremendously in my faith over this past year. Since throughout the year, I was always [physically] lonely, had no one to talk to or spend time with...I relied completely on God for everything. I started praying a lot more. I started talking to God a lot more. Just spontaneous conversations at random times during the day - those are the best ones. I started listening to Relevant Radio...which is seriously the best radio I have ever listened to (By the way, they have a free app..and it's great. Not only radio but prayers, archives of old shows, etc. It's probably my most used app right now...along with SportsTracker for my runs). Never going back to listening to junk again. Heck, their commercials are better to listen to than are most of the songs and other junk played on the popular secular radio stations. Every evening, as I'm cooking or washing dishes, even on my daily runs around the neighborhood, I'm always always listening...and being catechized. And I have learned so much more and grown so much more in my spiritual life. I feel so much more absorbed in God and our beautiful Catholic faith now. I used to always confess the same sins over and over again... I used to very often forget my morning and/or evening prayers because I was too tired or too lazy...or just quickly racing through them in 30 seconds to collect my brownie points with God. Well guess what? I haven't even noticed when the change happened in my life, but I now never ever ever miss morning or evening prayers...and I talk to God all day long. Being able to just freely talk about my worries and offer up my sufferings to God lifts such a heavy burden off my heart...whenever that burden is there. Even when my husband says or does something that gets on my nerves or disappoints me...I am gently reminded by God to NOT take it out on my husband...instead, God comforts me with His Presence and His promises. Living in and being conscious of God's presence so close (in our hearts) every day really transforms one's outlook on life. It kind of makes me feel invincible. Nothing can touch me, no one can hurt me...God is here, He sees, He knows, He hears my every prayer, every sigh...sees every tear.

#3

Another reason why this opposite schedules challenge was totally God's plan for us is the fact that it really gave me a peaceful, quiet, empty house to be able to focus on studying for pharmacy school, as well as for prayer and reflection. My prayer life is transformed - definitely worth it. But also, the amount of studying and concentration that pharmacy school requires is great...and I needed all the peace and quiet time I could get to study and do well on my weekly exams. I cannot even imagine anymore how I would have studied if my husband was in fact home with me every afternoon and evening. I get distracted by the slightest thing (sometimes I think I have ADD...or at least some form of attention deficit...which, by the way, I think we all have, to some degree with all this technology we have) and having my husband by my side would definitely be a major source of distraction. I know this because when he is home on weekends now...I never get ANY work done. When he's here...I wanna be alongside him all the time...whether it is on the couch watching TV, or getting things done around the house, or cooking, or even helping him do yard work or work in the garage. I cannot for the life of me, sit in the house, separated from him, and concentrate on studying, when I know he's a few feet away. And yeah, God already knew that. God knows me better than I know myself. I would not have predicted that...but God knew...and that's why he separated us for a few months...truly for my own good.

This prayer came at the perfect time! From UnveiledWife.com


#4


This "trial of opposite schedules" was also a great learning experience for me. Through it, I really learned how to better deal with internal suffering (turn to God for comfort), how to deal with loneliness (turn to GOD for company), how to offer up my suffering, how to suffer in SILENCE (instead of always complaining and whining and stressing out my husband) and how to PERSEVERE in said suffering (as Jesus persevered while walking the hardest walk of His earthly life...up the mountain to Golgotha).

Personal conclusions from that experience:
  • GOD KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING. 
  • GOD KNOWS US BETTER THAN WE KNOW OURSELVES
  • STOP FREAKING OUT AND WORRYING (it offends God...because it shows that you don't trust Him)
  • SUFFERING CAN BE VERY GOOD FOR OUR SOUL AS IT CAN INCREASE OUR
    • self-discipline
    • perseverance
    • prayer life
    • closeness to God
    • trust in God
  • GOD BRINGS GOOD OUT OF EVERY SITUATION (NO MATTER HOW MUCH IT HURTS AND HOW LITTLE WE UNDERSTAND AT THE TIME)
  • GOD IS BIGGER THAN ANY STORM IN OUR LIVES
 ((I love writing in bullet points. The nerd in me is still in note-taking mode from the past 5 years of constant note taking [all in bulllet points] of college. And I could live my life off (bulleted) to do lists as well haha.))

 

#5

THAT WAS A GOOD VENT.

Let us proceed.

So what else has been going on this past week?
Basically studying...and a whole lot of procrastinating by taking pictures of my cat everytime she blinks (as well as cleaning out closets and gardening). Let me just show you my lovely week of studying (outside in the beautiful weather, Thank GOD!) in pictures:

It felt great to be up bright and early in the morning, with a freshly brewed hot coffee, to studying outside in the beautiful weather.

The cardinal that visits us every single day (Cardinal = the "state" bird of Illinois...yes, you can get car license plates with this bird on them). I swear this is his favorite spot to sit and he has been sitting on our fence every single day for the past 2 weeks (we first spotted him 2 Sundays ago). He must like us, hehe.

"The cardinal is watching me." haha

This must be the birdy's wife. This is how a female cardinal bird looks. And she is always always there near him.

See, I told you! Mr. Cardinal on the left, Mrs. Cardinal on the right. Every single day!!!!!! They must be in love. They keep chasing each other.  Or the birds and the bees business LOL

 Oncology notes for Pharmacotherapeutics Final Exam

CHEMO MAN. This is what pharmacy/medical/nursing schools use to help students memorize the side effects of the most commonly used chemo regimens.

As I am taking beautiful, flawless notes...because I am actually trying...because this was my last therapeutics exam ever. I thought: might as well enjoy my note taking for the last time!


Writing and re writing (basically, consolidating) notes is how I get A's in pharmacy school! It really is! I hate reading hundreds and hundreds of pages of lecture notes the day before the exam. I'd rather read my few handwritten pages of notes with the most important concepts!

 #6

Tomorrow I get to bid farewell to pharm school!

Just kidding.

We have 3 "mandatory days of APPE orientations" right after Memorial Day (APPE = Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience). Basically, mandatory orientations which I'm sure will include talks that tell us to dress professionally and behave professionally. Girls, that means no yoga pants, and no wearing tights as substitute for pants. And no 5 inch heels. And tattoos. And excessive piercings. And guys: iron your shirts! And shave. And be on time. Basically, do not embarrass yourself and your school, which you represent.

But no more final exams. EVER!

However, I have to now brace myself: ROTATIONS ARE COMING!
And I will soon have to start looking into residencies....since the application process opens in the fall.
And OH YEAH! Board/licensing exams next summer! I am thrillllled! Not. But I'm getting waaaaay ahead of myself here. For now I'm worry freeeeee! And I got plently of things to take care of around the house...things I have abandoned and ignored the past few months due to my neverending studying. Last summer as I finished my 2nd year of pharmacy school, even though that was the toughest year in pharm school, that feeling of freedom wasn't really there when I was done. Not just because I knew I had another year of school and another year of rotaitons. ..but I swear to you I barely even remember when and how the last quarter of 2nd year happened...because I was so busy wedding planning. I was waaaaay focused on bridal shower, and the wedding, and fixing up our house, and shopping for furniture, and my full time internship...that yeah..I didn't even notice it was summer. Not until the wedding day came and went...and we went on our honeymoon to finally breathe after all the stress. That's when all the lovely marriage bliss began.

 

 #7

 Promised to show you the "after" pictures of our first garden. 

(Finally got hubby to take a trip to Menards and buy some 2x4's and build me this lovely garden. The weather's been rough here so the plants are still in their early stages of growth. But it's all set now. All that's left to do is to let nature (God) do its wonders! And garden-fresh, pesticide-free veggies coming late summer 2014, hopefully. Should have red peppers, green peppers, peas, red beans, carrots, parsley, onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Oh...and strawberries. I also have a grapevine that my aunt gave me, planted in the corner of the yard...but not sure if anything will come of it because it looks dried up and kinda dead right now.


(Disclaimer on the pictures. I am a super duper gardening amateur...so do not imitate what is presented in these pictures. Seek more professional advice instead! All my basic gardening knowledge comes from quick 5 minute phone conversations with my mom and youtube videos on how to plant/prune cucumbers. And if there is anything you see that I'm doing wrong, be so kind as to share your advice! Thanks!)



oh and will you look at my beautiful lillies!

Love, Agnes

As always, leave some love in the comments! :-)

Monday, May 19, 2014

As I'm Starting My Last Week Ever of Pharmacy School Finals

Have a pharm school final exam in 5 hours....
....Oh perfect...let's blog instead of studying

Just thought I'd share some thoughts from my journal from this morning...as I arrive at the MWU library to study for my last ever week of final exams.



And some fun memes I found last night while entertaining myself with high and frequent doses of pinterest instead of studying for Quality Assurance in the Pharmacy.

F.Y.E. {For Your Entertainment} 

No, Really. 
Everything has an acronym in pharmacy. 
I could talk to you in acronyms all day long. 
i.e. 
"Let's order this patient's BMP, FPG, PPG, CBC, and INR and let's adjust the dose of his TZD to 2 BID AC and meanwhile check his FEV1 to make sure he's not SOB [=Short of Breath, not Son.of.a***] and also assess the ADR's and DDI's of his PRN meds."


 An IV drip of starbucks coffee is what I need to survive this week.
SLEEP???
SLEEP IS A SIDE EFFECT OF CAFFEINE DEPRIVATION.


 Yup

 ...and made my grumpy and impossible to live with. Just ask my husband.
I probably would've killed me yesterday if I was him. 
I was that crabby and whiny.


 A Better description would be: a FOREIGN LANGUAGE DICTIONARY


 He He He


ALL OF THIS SO I CAN BE AN......


I wish I was at Hogwarts instead...



And pics of the baby of the family [for now lol]
Just because she's soooooo darn cute. I can't resist taking photos of her from every angle possible.


 My cat be like: "woah, enough with the pictures, yo!"



Alright. Forrealz now. Back to studying. QA Exam in T minus 5 hours.

Love, Aggie

Thursday, May 15, 2014

7QT about My Mother on Earth, My Mother in Heaven, Gardening, and Random pictures

 Hi guys! I'm still in survival mode and actually really worried, specifically about my upcoming therapeutics final. It's on oncology...cancer chemo. Very important but so.very.complicated. Each drug has a million side effects. And there are a million different drugs. And they all work by different mechanisms. And they're all used in specific situations...a lot of those being trial & error because the cancer is not responding. So I'm going to try to keep this week's 7QT short and sweet...for the sake of my grades...and my sanity. It's almost over. And I still can't believe I'll be finally officially done with my EDUCATION after being in school non-stop since 6 years old.  
As always, see conversion diary for more quick takes.

 

#1
I have not yet posted about Mother's Day...so to honor this wonderful lady:

I unfortunately didn't get to see my mama on Mother's day as my parents sold everything, packed their bags, and moved 2 states away to live on a farm last fall.  

 

#2

But at least I got to see my mama in heaven coronated (coronized?) (help?)


 My parish had an outside mass to celebrate the Coronation of our Lady of Czestochowa (aka The Black Madonna aka Queen of Poland) on Mother's Day.

I already told you the story behind this story here. But basically, our parishioners donated lots of monies for our priest, Fr. Sebastian, to travel to Poland to obtain an original, painted replica of the Holy Image of Our Lady Of Czestochowa at the Jasna Gora Sanctuary in Poland last summer. Since our parishioners were do generous with their donations, Fr. Sebastian had a lot of money leftover, so he decided to order golden crowns for Mama Mary and Baby Jesus. He then traveled to Rome (you can drive there from Poland) and had them personally blessed by Pope Francis. And this past Sunday, Fr. Sebastian organized a huge outside mass to which he invited many priests and the local bishop. I'm glad we got there early because over 1000 people showed up! It was such a beautiful mass. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the Blessed Mother was being honored on Mother's Day.




The Bishop, He was soooo tall. I was humbled by his presence...not just due to his tallness lol

The bishop jokingly said at the end of the mass that the beautiful altar and the other preparations our parish prepared for his arrival made him feel like he was the pope. He had a good sense of humor but I could tell he was also a very holy man.
The Homily: Fr Sebastian telling the story of Our Lady Of Czestochowa, such as why she was named Queen of Poland, and why her appearance is so dark (why she's called the Black Madonna).
I encourage you to look up the story, it's very interesting!

The Coronation of Our Lady of Czestochowa at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish, Romeoville, IL

#3

We went out for dinner with some of my pharmacy school classmates to celebrate our last week of class. 

Where is Waldo Agnes?
My delicious combination plate at Greek Islands. Of course, for my appetizer,
I just had to have Saganaki, or what I call "The Cheese on fire"

#4

Went out to Menards on a little gardening shopping spree. I was one of those people that dept store workers hate...the one that comes 1/2 hours before closing. Haha. But there were still quite a few people there so I didn't feel bad!

I got me some lillies, petunias, tomato plants, red pepper and green pepper plants, onions, a strawberry plant

Finally the long awaited day came when hubby built me a garden space.
I was so proud to create our FIRST VERY OWN VEGGIE GARDEN! Yay!


Of course the little stinker was hanging out with me.
He must think I'm the coolest thing on the planet cause I am followed everywhere. 
My cat is my #1 fan, hehe.

 

#5 

Random picture of us in September 2013...in which we just got back from our honeymoon and still have that honeymoon / freshly married bliss on our faces.

 

 

#6

Picture on Easter of the year 2014. Gee, can you tell I gained like 99 pounds since our wedding?

That's why I've been busting my butt jogging for the past month. Best decision ever.

 

 

#7

Check out a post I just wrote on J.Fulwiler's #SOTG

On the Awesomeness of Something Other Than God

Part of my Amazon Review of Something Other Than God

 

Oops, this turned out lengthier than I aimed for. Whenever I say "this will be a quick quick takes," it never ends up that way. 

Hope you enjoyed it at least. Leave some love in the comments.

Love, Aggie

On the Awesomeness of Something Other Than God

 Please don't ask me what I was thinking when making the above face. 
But it makes me laugh everytime I look at it. haha.

Here to promote present this wonderful book by Jennifer Fulwiler (whose super awesome blog is Conversion Diary). The book is called Something Other Than God and you can purchase it through Amazon, Ignatius Press, Barnes n Noble, or your local bookstore. I think you should also read my post on #SOTG in which I include a myriad of ridiculous selfies and other pics of the book. YESSS, I was SOOO excited about the arrival of the book that I carried it with me all day on campus snapping shots of it (even though I knew I wouldn't be able to read it for a while due to being in the midst of my 3rd year pharmacy school final exams) and YESSS, I made my husband follow me around and take pictures of me with the book. Poor Greggie. But he does like the above gif and he takes pride in having taken those pictures.

As mentioned (and if you have been reading my blog, you may know) that I'm uber busy with my final- final pharm school exams ever! Unfortunately, with the hundreds and hundreds of pages of notes that I have to read in order to conquer those very last final exams, I was not yet able to get through Jennifer's entire book. Instead of reading her epic conversion story, I have been reading ridiculous amounts of material on treatment of cancer, pharmacokinetics, and quality assurance in the pharmacy. I have been eagerly following the book reviews, reading blog posts of fellow bloggers who have already inhaled the book whole, in like one night. Even with the cah-ray-zee amount of pharm school studying that I have to do, I could not resist the book any further, and I decided to at least read a little bit of the beginning as well as flip through it to see if anything caught my attention. And OH BOY, I should not have done that. Now I'm having a really, really, really hard time staying away from the book. But I know I must. For my own good. It would be a good idea to  PASS my very last 3 exams in pharmacy school and not have to repeat another year and dash out take out student loans for yet another $40grand in tuition. Thus, I must overcome the temptation to finish SOTG in one night, just like some of the other readers.

But anyways, I just wanted to share some excerpts of SOTG that caught my attention while I was "flipping through," excerpts that were just SO.DARN.GOOD.  Once I read the full book (after my last final exam next week), I will write a REAL review...a well thought out one...not just one with excerpts like I am today. But, unfortunately...priorities first. Whaddyagonnado?

Before I jump into the actual book...if you're not familiar with Jen's book and/or her blog, here is the background story....as seen on the inside cover of the book:

"Jennifer Fulwiler told herself she was happy. Why wouldn't she be? She made good money as a programmer at a hot tech start-up, had just married a guy with a stack of Ivy League degrees, and lived in a twenty-first-floor condo where she could sip sauvignon blanc while watching the sun set behind the hills of Austin.

Raised in a happy, atheist home, Jennifer had the freedom to think for herself and play by her own rules. Yet a creeping darkness followed her all of her life. Finally, one winter night, it drove her to the edge of her balcony, making her ask once and for all why anything mattered. At that moment everything she knew and believed was shattered.

Asking the unflinching questions about life and death, good and evil, led Jennifer to Christianity, the religion she had reviled since she was an awkward, sceptical child growing up in the Bible Belt. Mortified by this turn of events, she hid her quest from everyone except her husband, concealing religious books in opaque bags as if they were porn and locking herself in public bathroom stalls to read the Bible.

Just when Jennifer had a profound epiphany that gave her the courage to convert, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition-and the only treatment was directly at odds with the doctrines of her new-found faith. Something Other Than God is a poignant, profound and often funny tale of one woman who set out to find the meaning of life and discovered that true happiness sometimes requires losing it all."



 WHAT THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING ABOUT SOTG
Reviews by the "famous people" from the back of the book. Kinda cool when you know who they are. Makes you feel like you're a good Catholic for knowing these guys. Their words about SOTG speak for themselves.



WHAT THE NORMAL FOLK IS SAYING ABOUT SOTG
aka my favorite Amazon review of the book

Who says that Catholics are irrational, backward-thinking, sexist, anti-sex, cannibalistic, statue-worshipping, papist loonies?

Answer: Definitely not Jennifer Fulwiler! Gosh, it is just so darn refreshing to read Ms. Fulwiler's honest account of her life as an atheist, her search for meaning, and her doubtful approach to Catholicism. She came at it from a true "outsider's perspective", studied it intensively, sought logic in what she found, reasoned it to death, asked all of the hard questions, found answers that were true and satisfying, and came away a true convert. In this book, she puts into words so many things that I always understood about Catholicism, but have been unable to articulate clearly. And, in doing so, Jennifer Fulwiler manages to single-handedly debunk the pervasive anti-Catholic stereotypes that abound today. What a tremendous read! I will come back to this book again and again. Thank you, Jennifer!


WHAT I'M SAYING ABOUT SOTG
aka my Amazon Review of the book

Addicting, inspiring...and just plain HILARIOUS!


I would honestly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Whether you're looking for a good read that you just cannot put down for hours, or one that touches you so deeply you cannot stop thinking about what you have just read for days and days, or a book that makes you almost fall off your chair from laughing so hard....This is THE book for you.

I have been reading Jen's blog (Conversiondiary.com) for about 3 years now and I got to experience some of her amazing writing as well as accompany her on her journey of writing and revising this book. I have watched her on youtube and heard multiple interviews on the radio...and she never fails to MAKE me CRY...And this is exactly what her book does. It portrays her personality so well. Jen is such a great storyteller and that's reflected in this book. She portrays her conversion story in such an honest, heartfelt, and profoundly REAL way that one just cannot fail but be amazed at what GOD has worked in Jen and her husband's lives. Truly miraculous.



WHAT JEN IS SAYING IN SOTG
(along with my fascinating comments)
Warning: SPOILERS ahead, so stop reading if you don't want the book spoiled.

Jen's mentality/beliefs "back then"

Jen's battle of the mind with the issue of abortion


Jen coming to a conclusion that Pope Paul VI's predictions about contraception were true...that in the near future, it would make women mere objects of sexual pleasure.


Again, Jen's battles in her mind. Her desires vs. God's desires?


As Jen melted...and slid down to her knees


Jen's epiphany about true happiness


Are you conviced now that this book is super insightful and just plain awesome? 

And that Jen Fulwiler is a really cool person? 
(And smart, and an awesome mom, and now a CATHOLIC!)

Well, then, go read it. Heck, if you can't afford it I'll give you my copy (once I'm done of course.)