When I sit among the women of our local Side By Side chapter, I sit among power. Wives of physicians, some physicians themselves, some experts in other fields, some nursing stay-at-home moms. A group diverse in age and background and current employment, but always powerful.Read More
Some days when the deadline for writing my On the Side devotional is looming—or loomed last week and is now bearing down on me like a bullet train—and the words are stuck in my head, I scroll through old issues to see what topics we have covered as a team.Read More
It has been said that all the world is a stage, and the people are mere players. If that is true, then sometimes I feel like a supporting character in my own life. My husband’s career has been center-stage for so long, I can’t remember a time when our life didn’t somehow revolve around it. It determined where we lived, and how long. It determined when dinner was, and when we could go on vacation. It was the reason we moved away from home, and the reason we moved again, and again, and again. And I have been the one making sure all the endless “little things” got done along the way. I am pushing the plot of our lives along—but standing outside the spotlight.Read More
Kicking and screaming…most of the time. Protesting in the loudest and most ridiculous ways imaginable. Much like a disobedient child, who is being drug from a store by a parent; misbehaving just because they didn’t get what they wanted. That’s me. Why? How do you follow Jesus?Read More
The Christmas season is upon us! I love the smells, the lights and the traditions. One tradition we have in our family is to not put any Christmas gifts under the tree until after the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve. It is a tradition born out of practicality: we had curious toddlers in our house for more than 10 years. But even now, when our youngest is 11, we still keep all the gifts safely tucked away until late Christmas Eve. It is so much fun to see the surprise on their sleepy faces Christmas morning!Read More
Medical life takes grit. We wrap our minds around MCAT scores, acceptance letters, residency placements and job contracts, knowing it’s not easy. There’s risk in leaving a paying job and moving across the country. And it’s scary. Will you land on your feet? Will you live on this budget? Will you make friends? Regardless, we have hope. We see the endpoint, or the little milestones on the way—the white coat ceremony, the match and the job signing.Read More
Behind the smile I was shouting, “Oh goodness mercy of course!” I have been the new girl showing up at the team meeting, the book club, the Bible study far, far more often than I have been the one standing with friends. It can be excruciatingly hard. It can also be invigorating.Read More
I don’t drag out my MD for just any occasion. Typically, I keep it tucked away. But today I thought I would speak (indirectly) to residents, especially first-year residents or interns, so it seemed appropriate. Perhaps you ladies, who are reading this article, will pass along my remarks to the young physicians in your lives.Read More
We were doing a residency rotation in Florida when the triplets were four. One dreary overcast Saturday we were enjoying family time even though Wade was on call. We didn’t understand that in Florida rain can turn to sun in less than a minute. That day it did just that. And three four-year-olds began to wail. I couldn’t understand why the sun was making them cry. As I attempted to console them, I was asking why they were sobbing: “Daddy will have to go to work now.”Read More
CMDA’s Advocacy Department is focused on serving as your voice to the government, media and public on bioethical and public policy issues. Much of the grassroots advocacy efforts we take on both federal and state levels depend on your individual involvement.Read More
I’m in my early 60s. This means I have about 50 years of clear memories of news events, politics, fads and fashions, stemming from the early 70s. I even remember when JFK died, although I was just a little girl; the reactions of the adults around me were so remarkable that I still remember exactly where I was. In all of that time I will tell you what I have learned: God is the only One we can trust to tell us the truth and the only One who can give us peace.Read More
The dog groomer took some sort of hiatus. And while I don’t begrudge her time off, away or whatever she needed, we have three dogs in this house. Two fairly large, all fairly fluffy dogs. And furthermore, finding a good groomer in our area is like finding gold at the end of the rainbow. It eludes most and did us for a long time. Finding a replacement was impossible.Read More
My middle daughter has a problem with trust. She often asks me, “Mom, are you going to take me to dance today?” or “Mom, are you going to pick me up from school?” She frets over small things like have I signed a permission slip yet, or have I made that orthodontist appointment yet. It is frustrating as a parent to feel like my precious girl doesn’t know that I am taking care of her, that I am here for her.Read More
As I write this, I am on Day 8 of a self-imposed quarantine for COVID-19. Dr. H and I managed to come down with it at almost the same time; so have several of our family members. No one seems to know just who gave it to whom, but at this point it doesn’t much matter. All of our happily vaccinated and boostered selves are doing better now, by God’s grace, and we are very thankful about it.Read More
I knew I’d broken it before I hit the ground. I heard it snap. Breathing hard on the concrete, between cries for help, my mind moaned, “not again!”.
9 years ago I broke the same ankle, my right one. It was early Christmas morning and I was sleepily walking down the stairs to get baby Tylenol for my teething son. One wrong step and down I went. This time it was December 23rd. I think next year my family may cocoon me in bubble wrap and prop me up in the corner until New Year’s.
The joke in our house is that Tigger married Eeyore. I bounce from idea to idea with romantic notions of how perfectly photographic and memorable things will turn out. My husband does the actual research to determine if the event/location/idea is actually something we can do, achieve, make happen. I want to jump at the idea and be spontaneous, and he wants to research the idea and be prepared for every contingency. My girls and I took a road trip this summer with only a tenuous sketch of a plan. More than once, one or three of us commented on how we wish Dad was with us and had planned the trip. My Tigger needs his Eeyore.Read More
“I wish I could do more!”
It’s one of the most common sentiments we hear from supporters who are passionate about bringing the hope and healing of Christ to the world through healthcare professionals.
Sometimes we hear that Christians are the hands and feet of Jesus here on Earth. It sounds saintly, but it’s not actually in the Bible anywhere. I know, because I checked. I’m not sure where the saying came from originally, and perhaps we don’t need to know. But we do know this: As Christians we are part of the Body of Christ and it makes sense that putting Christ’s love into everyday practice with the people around us is like being the hands and feet of the Body of Christ.Read More
I recently found a love note from a young wife to her medical student spouse. I’ll warn you; it’s mushy with ignorant glee. See for yourself:
“I love you. I’d love you the same if you were a park ranger. I’d love you the same if we had nothing because even then, we would have each other and God’s blessing and love for our marriage. We are so richly blessed by agape love. Everything else is details—icing on the cake. The way you’ve used the intelligence God blessed you with over the past two years of medical school is astounding. Today you are crossing into unknown territory. I feel so privileged to be sharing the experience by your side….”
Some investors take a long shot with a small amount of their money—and every once in a while, it pays off.
If you were among those who took a chance on Bitcoin, Ethereum or other cryptocurrency a few years back, you’ve probably seen some extraordinary gains.
So, now what?Read More
Many generous seniors bless the ministry of CMDA by giving directly from their individual retirement accounts. For those who qualify, IRA gifts offer a convenient, cost-effective and powerful way to bring the hope and healing of Christ to the world through healthcare professionals.Read More
The census taker arrived just as Wade was pulling in from a long stretch at the hospital. He told me to go on doing what I was doing—cooking supper with three toddlers at my ankles—and he would answer the questions. When the census taker asked Wade how many hours he had worked the week before, I stuck my head out of the kitchen to hear his answer. “All,” I wanted to scream. He worked all the hours. Wade answered 130. I watched at the gentleman looked at his form, looked at Wade and looked back at the form. “Sir, we are only given two squares. Is it ok if I just put 99?”Read More
“I’ll just sleep while it’s red,” I reasoned. At the time, this made perfect sense to my sleep-deprived brain. Happily, I woke up a few seconds later with my foot still on the brake and the traffic light now a lovely shade of green. I thought I was the only intern this had ever happened to, but I soon learned my husband had once had a similar experience. After a different long night on call at the hospital, he had been awakened at a green traffic light by the horn of the driver behind him!Read More
I love genealogies. Thanks to my beloved Grandpa Sam, I have a detailed genealogy going back to 1690 on my father’s side. It traces our family’s journey from the Isle of Mull in Scotland to the East Coast of the U.S., and eventually to Colorado. Looking at its 300-plus years of history, I wonder who these ancestors were and what they were like. If each one could tell their story, what would it include? I do know one fought in the Revolutionary War, and one had 18 children!!! I also know that none of them had any clue that their great-great-great…granddaughter would be writing this from a laptop computer in Palm Desert, California.Read More
Most people understand the importance and power of having a completed will or trust in place. Through your will, you can provide for the needs of your loved ones and give meaningful support to CMDA and the other causes close to your heart.Read More
Most people understand the importance and power of having a completed will or trust in place. Through your will, you can provide for the needs of your loved ones and give meaningful support to CMDA and the other causes close to your heart.Read More
Many people make the mistake of leaving their IRA, 401(k) or other retirement funds to family, and then giving entirely different gifts from their will to charity. In most cases, this is the exact opposite of what should happen.Read More
Cliffhangers might be an amusing way to end a novel or sitcom, but it’s hardly the way to conclude your own life’s story.
Yet, this is exactly what will happen if you don’t complete or communicate your estate plans. Your loved ones will face the ultimate “cliffhanger.”
Without completing and sharing your will or trust, your family will be burdened with uncertainty about how you wanted your belongings to be distributed. They won’t have any clarity about the provisions you wanted to make for your family or for the causes close to your heart.Read More
The snowstorm out my window made a rainbow of white as we towed our 23-foot travel trailer down the mountain pass. We hoped all would stay in order: truck first, trailer second. Ironically, in those white-knuckle moments, I was telling my medical man what the Lord had been teaching me recently—to hold loosely.Read More
Reduce Taxes and Burdens by Giving Property. Sometimes the cost and hassle of owning real estate outweighs the benefits your property once offered.
Can you relate to any of these ownership headaches?
For many, the iconic, self-made millionaire is the epitome of American life. The familiar, if not trite, mantra goes something like this: “Work harder than everyone else now and collect your millions later.”Read More
“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” – Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
Peace seems scarce these days. In fact, we seem to be living on a peace spectrum that runs anywhere from shaky armistice to literal dumpster fire. Even as I write these words, which you may read later, I am sure that if there isn’t something disastrous going on today, there will be tomorrow.Read More
The call came maybe five months after we moved into the house I had dreamed of my whole life. Big front porch. Two porch swings. Rockers. And the icing on the cake—azalea bushes circling the big huge trees in my new front yard. I was anticipating the first of many, many years of Easter photo sessions in front of those bushes. But for that phone call.Read More
CMDA members Drs. Greg and Ali Tsai live and practice medicine in Manhattan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis when the pandemic initially broke out in the United States. Greg is an ENT physician, while Ali is an OB/Gyn who works part-time with a homeless shelter.Read More
As I have said in the past, “As wives of doctors, we are the people, who take care of the people, who take care of everyone else.” Since 2020 has now mercifully drawn to a close, I think it’s okay for us to take a moment to look back and take stock of how we are doing and think about what we need to do going forward to help take care of ourselves.Read More
The May Day pictures from my daughter’s fourth grade moving up ceremony are some of my favorites. The girls are dressed in matching white dresses with ribbons around their waists and flower crowns in their hair. Those flower crowns alone made them appear angelic. But the fact that those little friends had skin tone ranging in every color made the photos seem like a little slice of what heaven will be. In hindsight, I was feeling pride about that. I thought we had found the way to move race relations forward in this next generation. I thought we had reached a better place—these girls cared far more about what they had in common than the skin tone that might otherwise separate them. Oh, what I was feeling was definitely pride bordering on smugness in the ease with which this could be “fixed.”Read More
We don’t watch It’s a Wonderful Life every Christmas—it is always on our must-watch list, but I am pretty sure that is because it is my favorite and so the family tries to appease me. But trust me, if schedules are too busy, and we don’t get through our entire Christmas list, this is definitely the one that doesn’t get watched.Read More
In a few days, we will be voting on who will be the President and Vice President for the coming four years. To say that this is important to us all is an understatement. It is not only important to the United States of America, but it is also important to the entire world, especially in light of COVID-19 and its subsequent fallout. Countries all over the world have been affected by the pandemic and by the economic consequences of it as well.Read More
I once finished the Chicago Marathon. I ran right through the city uninhibited by the two million people who lived there. It was really something. I ran freely through a maze of normally congested streets. There were people pressing in on every side, yet I was unrestrained to work toward my goal. Do you know why?Read More
The meeting with my co-leader was held two weeks before the start of the new Side By Side session. I had my planner, my Bible and the study book. She had the same. But Deb also had a box of organized, color-coded, individually-bagged Scripture reminders for each student, for every week of the semester. On top of all of this, she also had already written meticulous notes on each lesson in her beautiful penmanship.Read More
I haven’t been able to write for weeks. The peace of mind, which I so typically enjoy, has eluded me recently. Every time I’ve tried to put pen to paper, I have found horrible angry things drying in the ink on the page. I almost despaired of writing this article, but my husband, good man that he is, suggested I write about “peace of mind.” He figured I’d have to walk through some Bible verses and pray a bit to regain my peace of mind, so I could effectively write about it, and he was right…thankfully. I hope you will walk through this exercise with me.Read More
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…You…were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself…’” (Galatians 5:1a,13-14, NIV 1984).Read More
Last month, one of my Side By Side sisters, Christon Sawatsky, pushed me out of my comfort zone. Christon asked me to post a statement for Side By Side surrounding racism and the death of George Floyd. I am not proud of my initial response to her. Frankly, I was just not sure what to say. I am thankful, however, for her insistence I write the statement. To begin, Christon urged me to examine my own life by looking in my heart for the presence of racism. She had already done this and had been doing research to more fully educate herself. Christon was gentle but insistent with me, pointing out she did not believe that I, a white woman, understood the real truth about the plight of my black sisters. She also said she had heard that Side By Side was not a welcoming place for our black sisters. I did not know why this was the case, and I truly believed it was not true. I never imagined it because I thought I welcomed and loved everyone. Didn’t everyone else?Read More
“Mom, Tatonka is the only chick who wants to be held,” my eldest observes. Yes, the smallest of our chicks is often perched on a shoulder, held in a hand or hiding under someone’s knee as they sit crisscross apple sauce. The chick knows my kids are safe and, of course, she wants to feel safe.Read More
Renowned British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge once said: “All news is nothing more than new people experiencing old things.” Over the last weeks accumulating into months, the word “unprecedented” has quickly become a favorite and frequently used description of the COVID-19 times we are living in.Read More
Beacon Christian Community Health Center (www.beaconcchc.com), in conjunction with personnel from South Korea and Europe, created a first-of-its-kind comprehensive outpatient protocol at the start of the height of COVID-19 cases in New York City.Read More
Let’s face it, I would never be “voted off” the island. I tell my kids this all the time, and they are smart enough to agree with me. Mostly it’s because I can cook, but also because I’m good in a crisis and have a working knowledge of first aid. My husband says that out of our entire family I would be the one person voted “Most Likely to Survive if Dropped Alone in a Wilderness Area.” He actually tells people that I don’t think a campfire is big enough, unless it can be “seen from space.”Read More
He does not recall where he may have been exposed. While he works in a medical setting, every precaution was taken from the time (and perhaps a little before) it became a common mandate. Could it have been in the community?Read More
One of the perks of moving around the country is that we have added a beautiful cast of friends to our family. We often joke that the “writer” of our family sitcom thought the cast needed to be jazzed up a bit when he brought certain characters into our storyline. We love the variety of loved ones who are brought to live life alongside us!Read More
Of course, everything is a bit on hold right now. So far I’ve only seen an official count of two cases of the coronavirus documented here, and so we’re several weeks behind most of you. The country has had a bit of a different approach to the virus.Read More
My life hasn’t always been busy. My husband’s residency, for example, was not a busy time for me. He, of course, had an overloaded schedule, but I had left the workforce and entered life as a stay-at-home mom. Difficult? Yes, beautifully difficult. Rushed? Not so much.Read More
I have spent the majority of my adult life trying to be perfect. That is a terrible admission to make, but those who know me will say it’s true. Never able to relax, and hardly ever able to lean back and rely on Jesus to be good enough for me.Read More
If you’re reading this, you already know this is a big and extremely relevant problem for the vast majority of dental and medical graduates under the age of 45. It’s not uncommon these days to graduate dental school with $300,000+ in debt. Heck, I have friends who graduated with close to $500,000 in debt (and when I say friends, I may or may not be referring to myself). This isn’t news.Read More
“Whatever you do, work at it with all you heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV 1984).Read More
After training for a few months, I met some of my dearest girlfriends for a Side By Side reunion weekend in Minnesota a few years ago. We ran a 10K together, and by “together” I mean we were all either IN the 10K or the sister-5K but our paces were varied, so the together part was definitely at the beginning and the end.Read More
Last year I read a book by Os Guinness entitled Impossible People. I read something that really set me back on my heels: “The truth is that the world, as Christians have known it for many centuries, has gone—gone and gone for good…gone so decisively, any simple return or reclamation is out of the question—Christian culture warring has been in vain” (p. 45).Read More
“Everyone who is called by name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7, NIV 1984). In Part 1 of this blog series, a search for the meaning of life was presented. That was due to observations of recent events suggesting a concern for humanity’s appreciation for life. In that search, a scientific basis for the meaning of life was presented, but then it was argued to be self-limiting. In contrast, a Christian worldview was presented, and a clearer meaning for why God created us was introduced. Simply, God created us for His glory. As I mentioned in Part 1, being informed that our existence is for some known or unknown God’s glory may instill negative emotions. However, the purpose of this blog is to grow in greater understanding of what it means to be created for God’s glory. To better understand that meaning, let us first look at the biblical meaning of the word “glory.”Read More
Paddington and Winnie, I know them well. As a mom, I’ve read a few chapter books aloud and these bears, Paddington Brown and Winnie-the-Pooh, are two favorites. And what’s not to like? The epitome of their problems revolves around honey and marmalade. As I read, I have confidence it’s going to be okay. Chapter after unfolding chapter, everything is hunky-dory.Read More
When Wade and I were going through our pre-marital counseling, our beloved minister had us take a personality test. It was more than just our thoughts on ourselves, though. I had to fill one out on Wade, and he me. We had to have several friends fill out the test and mail them in, and then all the results were sent to our minister who carefully went through a weekend retreat with us and two other couples to discuss how our unique personalities would affect our relationship, our interactions with each other, our view of the world. It was amazing. And a bit jarring.Read More
“…To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11, ESV).
Everywhere I go I carry a little brown NIV Bible. This particular Bible possesses significant sentimental value to our family. Firstly, it is the Bible my father used during my wife’s and my wedding. In between the pages are love notes from my wife, drawings from son, an ultrasound of my daughter, our wedding vows and other cherished memories that are all used as bookmarks. Furthermore, inside the cover is a note written by my father. This note details some of his emotions regarding his role as a first-time officiant of our wedding. Despite his fears, he found comfort in the fact that his role was ultimately “all about God.” In other words, it was a moment for God’s glory and our glorification of Him. That is the ultimate message that will be discussed in this blog series.Read More
By now, some of you have just finished your first month in a new job, which also may have meant a new home and a new city.
I empathize. My husband and I moved 3 times in 6 years in between med school and career. Each location seemed more remote and further away from family than the last. Finally, we reached the exotic location where we would live for the next 30 years; Lincoln, Nebraska. When we got here, we told our real estate agent that she was our best friend in town. (She was the ONLY person we knew in town!)Read More
As you practice your faith, the words “follow the Lord” are often heard and shared. The direction of the Lord does not have a yellow brick road. The words are meant to send you to prayer and develop your sense of discernment. As a dentist, dozens of people will ask you to follow them. These requests are loud and clear and often do have a yellow brick path. Some follow their golden paths before them. God blesses each of us with guidance, and for some it is easy to determine the guidance because many of us in the dental profession can use wise counsel and success to guide our steps. There are roles in every community for successful dentists. I respect the best in my community and love all my colleagues for their shared commitment to excellence. The dangers of greed and ethical challenges are to be lifted up to the Lord likewise to turn our steps to bless those around us. We are guided by the Lord’s work in our hearts, often to avoid missteps as often as we discover blessings.Read More
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV).Read More
Our new home is not exactly a new house. It has been standing here for almost 100 years. Never having owned an old home, I was concerned about the home inspection prior to our closing. My girlfriend looked at me and said, “Relax. That house has been standing forever. It is fine.”Read More
Like most of my writings, much of what I have to say is me preaching to myself. Recently I have been struck by several encounters with patients who were either very irritated or irritating. Either way, what should our response be? When someone is being demanding or has unrealistic requests and is upset when we cannot fulfill them? Or maybe they are just plain rude? What do we do?Read More
Richard A. Swenson, MD, received his B.S. in physics (Phi Beta Kappa) from Denison University (1970) and his M.D. from the University of Illinois School of Medicine (1974). Following five years of private practice, in 1982 Dr. Swenson accepted a teaching position as Associate Clinical Professor within the University of Wisconsin Medical School system where he taught for fifteen years. He currently is a full-time futurist, physician-researcher, author, and educator. As a physician, his focus is “cultural medicine,” researching the intersection of health and culture. As a futurist, his emphasis is fourfold: the future of the world system, western culture, faith, and healthcare.Read More