Sunday, May 29, 2011

Finally a DMD!

I almost can't believe it...but I am officially Dr. Sledge! Graduation was Friday morning, and it was a GREAT day!

Angie was so sweet to come and sit through that long ceremony! It was held at the coliseum, and I'm telling y'all, that place was packed. All the health professionals graduate together-med school, dental school, nursing, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dental hygienists...it's a bunch of people! And of course the DMDs and MDs are near the end, so my family were troopers to sit through it all!

My brother Neil wasn't able to leave work for the graduation, but he came to the after-party!

Wade and me. She and I have been from ABC to DMD! Kindergarten, elementary, junior high, high school, Chi O's at Ole Miss together, and finally dental school. It's been fun Wade!

Lane and me:

Taylor was sweet to snap some pics from the audience:

This pic is really dark, but that's me walking across the stage to get hooded. The tradition goes that you receive your diploma and then are given the doctoral hood. The dental hood is a lavender color, with the inside of it being the University of Mississippi colors. Hotty toddy!

Travis' girlfriend, Caroline, was graduating from dental hygiene school, so since they had two graduations to celebrate, Taylor's parents were sweet enough to throw a big party at their house. Lisa made chicken casserole, crunchy romaine salad, and fruit salad, and Taylor's grandmother Evelyn made some yummy desserts. It turned into an all day affair-some other friends came over later that afternoon and we grilled out and took a boat ride on the reservoir. The weather was perfect!

Here is a pic of me and Caroline:

My brother's girls made cards for me-how sweet and creative are these?

As hard as it was, and as often as I complained, I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go to dental school, and I'm beyond excited about this next phase of my life! I start work next week, and I'm so excited to finally be in the working world. Y'all come see me!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beach Babes

So here are the blue skies and sandy beaches I promised!

Mom and her Danielle Steel--the never-fail beach read!

Got my toes in the water, toes in the sand....

Ahhhh....

Cute mama, shopping at seaside:

I get so excited when I get a good picture of the three of us!

And now...perhaps THE most precious thing you've ever seen....this is Itsy Bitsy. We met her today in an art gallery. She belongs to the owner, and she will just about fit in one hand. She has two or three beds scattered around the store, one of which is outside between two small easels and some glassware. And, get this-she wears pearls. No lie. Real ones. I think I just found Teddy a girlfriend!

PRECIOUS.

Hope you are having a great week-fit in a little relaxation if you can!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Little Ones

We celebrated two different little ones this weekend-our sweet friend Kaelyn and Taylor's new little cousin, Coll. Kaelyn turned one this week, and her mama and daddy threw a great party, complete with barbecue, balloons, a smash cake, and lots of pink!

It's always funny to watch little kids open presents...at this age, they are pretty much more excited about the paper and bows than what's inside!

Then today we got up early and headed over to Louisiana for baby Coll's baptism. This was my first time to meet him, and he is precious!

I love this pic of all the Sledge men (minus Taylor's brother Travis):

This baby is certainly not lacking in the attention department!

Mawmaw, Erika, Coll, and Grandaddy

I'm so proud to be part of such a beautiful and sweet family!

Last Friday was our Senior Awards banquet for dental school. Here are a few pics I took:
Wade and me. We have been through practically every kind of school together that a person can go to! Kindergarten, elementary, junior high, high school, college (chi o's together too), and now dental school. We're finally through, Dr. Wade!

Absolutely, positively, could not have made it through dental school without these three!

Fraternity bros.

So thankful for sweet Lane and her friendship over these last 4 years-and looking forward to many more!

Tomorrow I am headed down to the beach for a couple of days! Originally, this was supposed to be what I have dubbed a "BFF" trip-Emily and I had planned a girl's getaway a good while back. But due to a crazy series of events including a trip date mix-up, a broken plane, and debilitating back pain (poor Em!)....it just ain't happenin'. She joked today that it seems like fate just doesn't seem to want us to take this trip together! I was pretty bummed out (and still am, of course, that we are not getting to take the trip together)...but, by some literally miraculous coordination of calendars, my mom AND my sister are both free to go!!! I seriously cannot believe it.

So stay tuned for blue skies and sandy beaches!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It is Finished

So night before last was the Gaither vocal band concert at church, and I didn't really know what to expect. I was absolutely delighted by the whole thing! I had no idea that it would be a concert, variety, and comedy show all rolled into one! I can't wait til they come to town again! I'm going to include a couple of videos so you can see what I mean.

One of the main guys in the band is a man named Mark Lowry. I knew nothing about him going in, but now I am a huge fan! He is a comedian, singer, and songwriter who has been traveling the country for the last 30+ years entertaining people. Here is a YouTube video of him at one of the Gaither concerts-it's long, but if you have time, watch it!! I just watched and was laughing so hard I just about cried! And not only does he make you laugh, he really has a way of putting things that makes you think.

That video was an intro to the song Mary Did You Know. I was listening to him sing that song Thursday night, thinking to myself, wow, this guy has such a BEAUTIFUL interpretation of this song, different than I've heard before-almost like he wrote it or something. At which point, my friend Carrie, who was sitting next to me, leaned over and said, "You know he wrote this, right?" Oh. Ha! Here is that video as well:

And one last video. The band performed this song Thursday night, and it was so beautiful. The video quality on this one isn't great, but it captures the sound really well.

Later today we are headed to a birthday party for our friends Carrie and Joel's little girl. Kaelyn is such a cutie-hopefully I will get a few pictures to share! Then we are headed across town to an end of the year party/crawfish boil for my dental school class. I still cannot believe that it's finally here...I felt like dental school would last forever. But BELIEVE me, I am SO glad it's over! Working world, here I come!

Tomorrow we're getting up early to head down to Hammond, Louisiana for Taylor's little cousin's baptism. I'll try to get some good pictures of that too. Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Homecoming

Call me old fashioned if you want, but there are few things I love more than some good, old, real southern gospel singin'. Or should I say, saaaaangin. So naturally, I am super excited that the Gaither Vocal Band Is bringing their Homecoming tour to my church tomorrow night. I signed up to volunteer. I'm not sure exactly what that will entail, but I am very excited about it!

If you are not familiar with Bill Gaither and his troop of singers, they have been around since the 80s have included a smattering of vocalists, a couple of the more well known ones being David Phelps and Michael English. Basically, they're the bomb. I will try to give y'all a full report after tomorrow!

Testing

I am currently sitting outside a random McAlisters in Germantown, TN, typing this on........my iPad!!!! I can't believe my crazy husband did this for me. We had an early anniversary/graduation dinner last night in Oxford at City Grocery (and for those who may be wondering, we are not moving our residency to Oxford ha! We have just been there a lot lately!).

Ok, so since I wrote that first paragraph we have actually arrived home from Memphis and I have learned a lot about this new tool in just a short period of time! But first, back to how I got ahold of it! Sweet Taylor surprised me night before last with an early anniversary dinner (I will sadly be out of town on the actual day) and told me he had gotten me just a "little present" to "do some reading" when I go to the beach with Emily next week. Of course, when I opened the package a few minutes later, I FREAKED out. I am so thankful to have a wonderful husband-and not because he gives me nice gifts (although I surely appreciate them!)-but because of the way he treats me every single day, and the way he leads our little family. I am very proud to be his wife! So happy early anniversary Taylor!!!!

One reason I am really excited to have this iPad is that my old computer is a total piece, if you know what I mean. It has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly through these four years of dental school. It honestly blows my mind that the thing hasn't collapsed into a thousand pieces, or spontaneously combusted, or something. So the iPad will function as my computer now! I can still use my poor ol laptop for saving large files, archiving pictures, etc-but the iPad will be for everything else! Woohoo!

Ok, so since I am trying this whole blogging from the iPad thing for the first time, I'm not going to make this post too long in case I do something wrong and it disappears. I am trying out an app called Blogsy that, according to my quick research, is the most functional blogging app. So we shall see!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lepers

I am humbled today.

One of the most sensitive and sometimes difficult facets of the healthcare profession is dealing with those patients who have very contagious diseases, some of which have a stigma associated or general public attitude toward them. Aside from the contagion, along with these diseases might come ulcerations, foul odors, decay, deformities--all manners of unpleasantness. It is human nature to recoil away from these things, and yet my calling in life asks me to instead reach toward them, with a smile on my face and healing in my hands. I must confess--sometimes this is not the easiest thing to do.

What does the Bible say on this issue?

In Mark 1:40-42, the following is recounted: "And a leper came to Jesus, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying, "If you are willing, You can make me clean."
Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed."

A couple of things to note here: first of all, this has many implications, at least that is what I think. There is the surface one, which I am looking to today--of Jesus' compassion, his lack of hesitation to reach out and touch this man whose disease was painfully evident to all those around him. A second implication would be the parallel of this man's leprosy to our sin and uncleanness before God. That is a whole 'nother topic that should probably be explored by someone more qualified than myself. But I just have to reflect on this whole healing business. In case you are not familiar with leprosy, William Barclay describes it as such: "The whole appearance of the face is changed, till the man loses his human appearance and looks, as the ancients said, "like a lion or a satyr." The nodules grow larger and larger. They ulcerate. Become staring. The voice becomes hoarse, and the breath wheezes because of the ulceration of the vocal chords. The hands and the feet always ulcerate. Slowly the sufferer becomes a mass of ulcerated growths. The average course of the disease is nine years, and it ends in mental decay, coma, and ultimately death. The sufferer becomes utterly repulsive - both to himself and to others."

There was a stigma associated with leprosy. Lepers were declared "unclean" by the religious authorities of the day and were forbidden to come into the temple. They were ostracized. Social outcasts, separated from their families and friends, and forced to live in communities of only other people with their disease or one like it.

Can you imagine?

And Jesus, in his love and compasson, didn't hesitate a second to reach out and touch this man. This man with a contagious, incurable disease. A disease that created unpleasant smells, distasteful sights. A man whom no one else in the community would get near, let alone touch, for fear of catching it.

Now--if I truly believe what I say I do--then I know that this man's physical disease pales in comparison to my spiritual one. God sees our pitiful spiritual state just as we view the physical one of this leper. And He not only reaches down to touch me, but sacrificed his most precious, precious One, so that I could be clean.

Surely I can reach out and touch another, with warmth and surety, using the skills I have for healing--and with a lack of hesitation--knowing that the same has been done for me, and is done for me, every day of this life on earth.

Something to think about.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Osama bin Laden

Last night as Taylor and I watched raptly the news, awaiting Obama's announcement, I felt a lot of emotion. I felt the need to jump up off the couch and bounce around for joy. I felt the need to call my military friends and thank them for their service, and to ask how they felt. I remembered the feeling of visiting Ground Zero in NYC, and the somberness that surrounded the place. Taylor and I got out our nicest champagne glasses and made a little toast. (With milk! ha!)

But I felt something else too. A little nagging in my heart at the strangeness of rejoicing at death. And not the kind of rejoicing that I experienced when my grandparents passed away and went to heaven, where I know I will see them again. This was a vengeful sort of rejoicing. Not that I felt a hatred toward this man--I actually didn't. What I did feel was a hatred and a sadness for the acts that he committed, and a mourning for the loss of life that he orchestrated.

So all of this raises the question--is it right, as a Christian, to feel a righteous vindication after the death of this man? Ezekiel 33:11 says: "Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways!" 2 Peter 3:9 says: "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

I know that, yes, the Lord is patient and is taking his time with us because he wants all to come to repentance and to faith in him. Even the very chief of sinners. Just look at Paul in the Bible. But I also know that the Lord has a righteous anger against those who oppose him and his people. For example, think about the miracle of the Red Sea. The Israelites were allowed to cross, and Pharoah's army were swallowed up and killed by the sea. This was a miracle done by the Lord. I don't imagine that he took delight in the death of these people--but it was necessary to accomplish His purposes.

I do not profess to have all the answers. I don't even profess to know my own feelings for certain about the issue. It is just something for us all to consider. Click HERE for the link to a post that a friend of ours, Ann Lowrey Forster, wrote on the topic. She writes from the perspective of teaching her three small children about what happened, should they ask.

Whatever the right answer in this situation, I am thankful that our troops' morale will be boosted, and that we once again are united as Americans, if only for a brief while, and that justice has been served for the families of the victims of 9/11.
God bless America.