Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Honeymoon in Kaua'i: Bicycling down the Canyon

beautiful Hawaiian flowers

The happy couple...not wanting this to be their last day

What a ride!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mission: Monte Plata (part 3)

There are so many pictures of our mission trip, that I've decided to mush them down into one video. I will give a quick synopsis of what we did during our two weeks in the D.R. Our group of 35 broke down into 2 groups: 1) clinic group and 2) surgery group.

The surgery group took over 2 operating rooms of a local hospital and 4 surgeons and crews performed major and minor surgeries for hundreds of people.

The clinic group had 4 providers as well. We went into a different village each day giving primary care to the people and free medications. Every day we would load up our big yellow bus with medical and pharmaceutical supplies and head out to places unknown to us. Thankfully, our Dominican staff was on top of everything. All went smoothly. Even in the rain, we saw close to 100 people/day.

Each day, with both groups, began with a song of praise to God sung by both the mission workers and the patients. "Te alabare" (lit: I will praise you) was apparently well known by all in the area.

At the end of the mission trip, my friend Daniela and I took a few days journey down to beautiful Barahona. A nice ending to a beautiful and fulfilling trip. Turn up the volume and sit back and enjoy!

If the video doesn't work when u click on the black box, follow this link (but you will navigate away from this page unless you have tabs)

a little side note: the quality of the photos looks a little bit blurry to me in this video. But it is probably because we have to shrink them all down in size. None of them are blurry in real life. (just a perfectionist's disclaimer)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mission: Monte Plata (Part 2-Our Clinic Group)

Once again, these photos are in no particular order (sorry). Let me explain a little about what we did with this MMI (Medical Missions International) trip. There were 35 of us Americans from various medical and some non-medical fields. They divided us up into 2 groups. One group did surgeries. They went each day to the local hospital and used 2 of their Operating Rooms to perform minor and major surgeries. The other group, which I was a part of, was the clinic group. I'll explain what we did more in the next post. For this post, I just want to show who was involved.

Above from Left to Right: Dr. Val Creswall, MD Infectious Disease Physician
Jenny Eckerd, Nurse Practitioner. I really loved working with these guys.
Dr. Sue Giovanni and fourth year Med Student Luke Schnell. They all worked very well together. Some of the Dominican Members of the Team: William, the gatekeeper who signed the people in and helped with crowd control and, Delores the team's optometrist.

Even my friend Daniela showed up to help out a few days. She helped William with registration at first then moved over to help translate for the docs.

This here is a GREAT guy, Steve Trembley. He is a hard-working farmer who was in the peace corp many moons ago. While in the Peace Corp, he was stationed in La Vega, Dominican Republic. It was there that he learned Spanish. Steve was not only great to work with but he had a wonderful sense of humor!

The four young 'uns. From Left to Right, Heather Hall age 16 (the baby of our family), Ashley Waswick age 18--Both Ashley and Heather worked as our runners and help alls. Next in Blue is Liz Barton and then me. Liz and I mainly did translation. Liz was another GREAT person to work with and I really enjoyed getting to know her. While we were on our trip, she found out that she got accepted to Med School. YAYAYAYAY!

This is us at our first debriefing, trying to figure out how this clinic idea is going to work.

Same time, getting debriefed and asking questions.

This is Brian. He was one of the groups "pastors" and also helped us keep the flow of the clinic going, helped with crowd control and etc. He had a real knack especially with the kids.

Dr Creswell and Luke "hamming it up" at lunch time. No joke, for 2 weeks straight we had our choice of ham and cheeze or peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches every single day. yummm.

The Pharmacist Ella who had the busiest post. She gave out an average of 4-500 meds daily. Her helper Julie is behind her. Julie is a great lady who runs a christian adoption agency in Kansas.

Shelly helped with the intake of patients. She learned how to do blood pressures and weigh the patients.

Ashley again. While on the trip, Ash turned the big 1-9.

William again and a guy who helped us with translation one day.

The very expressive and vibrant Liz Barton closes out this post. Miss you all very much!! Please come to NY to see me some day soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mission: Monte Plata Region of Dominican Republic (part 1--Ambiance)

From the start, let me apologize if these pics are out of order a bit. It's very hard to organize in HTML format. Ok, that said. This first picture: The rooster. No discussion about the Dominican Republic would be complete without including the roosters. They are everywhere. And they are very noisy. Did you know that roosters don't just cock-a-doodle-doo at sunrise. Oh no....All night long these buggards crow. One lovely rooster found a perch up in a tree so he could be right at ear level. What a treat to hear that at midnight, 2am and all through out the night!

Look closely at one of the lovely bathrooms we got to use:
The wasps who lived above my head on the balcony. Never got stung. In fact they all seemed far too interested in the trillions of flowers around than in me. (Thank God)

Outside the school where we were housed:

Stairs we walked up every day leading to our temporary living quarters. Each step is an attribute of Christianity: Faith, Hope, Temperance, etc..

I got to sleep out on the balcony. We dragged two dilappitated mattresses out there and someone let me borrow a mosquito net they had brought. Besides the noise of the roosters and the motorcycles, I thoroughly enjoyed my sleeping quarters.

The others weren't so fortunate. They were 12 to a room in bunk beds. No thanks!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Life's Theme Song

Somewhat slow and sad, but my heart's cry. This song first touched my heart while in high school. I'm not sure if anyone else has the same sense I do of wanting to glorify God with their life but so often failing. I know that He is still working and am so thankful, that it is not my strength that will accomplish this, but His great mercy.

Praise You
Words and Music by Elizabeth Goodine

Lord, I come to You today With a simple prayer to pray.
In everything I do, Let my life, O Lord, praise You.
Praise You, praise You;
Let my life praise You. Praise You, praise You;
Let my life, O Lord, praise You.

Lord, You formed me out of clay.
And for Your glory I was made.
Use this vessel as You choose.
Let my life, O Lord, praise You.
Praise You, praise You;
Let my life praise You. Praise You, praise You;
Let my life, O Lord, praise You.

click the link below to hear (it might navigate you away from this page):

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Who am I?

This is a question many philosophers and people in general have grappled with for centuries. As we grow up, many of us struggle to find our true identity. Sometimes, when I see all my flaws so clearly, and I'm tempted to throw my hands up and say, "Well I am who I am." But then I know that's a cop-out. With God's grace and my willingness, I am able to change....thankfully. And there are times when we change and wish we hadn't. Like, growing older and losing abilities that we used to enjoy. Or sometimes our feelings towards people can change. Often we lose interest in something that used to captivate us before. One thing that seems definite for us human beings is change. Perhaps that is why this question is never fully answered. We can't just say, "I am who I am".

As I thought about this today, I thought about how only God can truly say that about Himself. God calls himself the "I AM" or the "I AM THAT I AM" He requires none else and He still is. His existence is not a question. It may be a question for the puny minds of some of us, but it's not in reality. And most encouraging....He doesn't change. He has created us and desired a personal relationship with us since the beginning. We may change. We may flounder and flip and flop in our relationship with him. Sometimes we're hot and sometimes cold or luke warm. But he remains faithful.

For me, once I have acknowledged my many shortcomings and downright failures, and realized that He remains true to His promise to me and that He still is who He is (despite the fact that I am ever changing), it is then that I have come to appreciate and love Him more. To love the great "I AM".

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meet the Bhutanese! (updated)

What a fun time I've had recently!

Coming home from a conference in NYC back in mid-September, I shared a row on the plane with some scared and very out-of-place looking people. Any of you who know me very well, will know that I love most foreigners (almost to a fault) and I love talking to strangers. So, I struck up a conversation with them. In broken english, they explained to me that they were from the very distant country of Bhutan, which neighbors Nepal. They became refugees living for 17 years in a camp in Nepal due to religious and ethnic cleansing in Bhutan. (that is the short story of it...for more info, google "Bhutanese refugees in Nepal")

Anyways, through great international effort, many Bhutanese are now being resettled all over the world.

Somehow, I have been blessed to be on the receiving end now, of a very special friendship. Below are two of my friends Kumari in orange and Maya in white both about age 20.
(note the colorful Nepalese scarf they draped over me as a token of their friendship ;))

Below are three of the four young guys who have been also very special to me. Narayan, 17 years old, is on the left in the gray sweatshirt, Bikash, 16, is in the middle and Narayan's younger brother Pashu Pati, 16 is on the right.

Here they are again, all excited about their new computer!

Below was a very special day when some family members of the above friends arrived. Maya, Narayan and Pashu Pati's aunt, uncle, cousin and grandparents arrived. They invited me to come to their new home to welcome them. In the photo below, they are searching frantically for their I- 94 forms which allow them to stay in the US.

(thankfully they did find them, after a short scare)

Below is Gopi Neopane, the mother of the three Neopane kids I've mentioned earlier, with Asmitah, her 5 year old neice on her first day arriving in the U.S.

Still not used to the coooold Syracuse weather, the Bhutanese often sport coats and hats indoors. But they are also great hosts, always serving tea, milk and ethnic food to their guests.

Gopi Neopane's Grandparents on the day they tired.

Maya and her cousin Asmitah.

Vegetables are always on the menu at the Neopane home.

Being treated as a welcome new part of the family. They call me DiDi (which means sister)

We had a blast at the Museum of Science and Technology and then watched the Majestic India movie and Ring of fire about Earthquakes.

Rock wall climbing at the MOST.

Stay tuned for more great photos to come! (Lord Willing)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Beautiful Fall Foliage at a Fulton I will set the scene for everyone. I work with a nurse in the E.R. Her name is Ruthie Ripley. At age 40 she began running marathons. She's run one in every state and ran through her time battling breast cancer and etc to get to this big day of running her 100th Marathon. This momentous marathon was held in the location of her first marathon ever...Fulton.

Above, Julie Corsoniti, (my boss) checking in for her race. We all got up around 5am this freezing cold sunday morning, October 12, 2008.

Elaine Devereaux, another nurse I work with and a marathon fanatic brought yummy chocolate chip cookies to share.

I was unprepared for the beauty that I would encounter in Fulton this fall day. I didn't even know they had a lake there. this sign shows, they do...Lake Neatahawanta...who knew?

More of the pretty lake as the sun rose.

Here's Missy, Social Worker (in the white), Ruthie center, and Annette, Social Worker (in red). They are always that smiley, though it may be hard to believe.

Dr. Skopek, the Ironman himself. It takes a real man to be able to wear pink with pride. He wore it in honor of Ruthie's Breast Cancer fight.

Diane Goode,RN lacing up for the big run.

Kate, Social Worker. was like 30 outside. Let's get running!

Diane Traver's is a nurse and friend of mine #1540 with arm around Ruthie. Not sure who the man in the way-too-short red shorts is, but...yikes!

On your marks! Get set!

And I'm gone...completely distracted by the beautiful scenery around me....that was the last of the race pictures I took (oops).

More natural fall beauty.

See the fog rolling on the lake and the ducks....sooo peaceful.


Some of the dew-kissed foliage up close...

So, now, once I caught the photographing bug, I just couldn't stop. This was along the side of Rt 481. The fog in the field with the sun rays...couldn't resist.

More rays of sunshine burning through the fog.

This too is along Rt 481...Oneida Lake, maybe?

Check out this picture, I didn't retouch it or anything. You can see the fog just rolling up and the foliage reflecting on the water. Who knew Rt481 had so much beauty?

Train Tracks run out to the horizon...

Well then I just kept going...I reached Syracuse, and it was only 8:30 so I still had a couple hours before church was going to start. So, I kept photographing.

Downtown Syracuse.

And more...of Downtown Syracuse in the fall.

I just couldn't get enough.

To some they're just dead leaves...but to others they are beautiful works of art. (usually they're just dead leaves to me)

Continuing down James Street.
Into my back yard. The Poison Ivy turning colors amid the lush green English Ivy.
The jungle of my backyard...ahhhh such beauty. So that's all...hope you enjoyed seeing these as much as I did taking them.