July was unbelievable. I'd been in Vermont long enough to start to feel settled and have routines, but not so long that I took anything for granted. I had the opportunity to explore more of New England, travel to the Northeast Kingdom (Vermont is great with names!), hike and bike, and fall in love with this state. CPE challenged me in ways I wasn’t expecting (I plan on writing more on this later) and my cohort grew from colleagues to friends. It was a rich and full month. At one point, I literally said to God, “no more blessings! I don’t deserve it! It’s too much and you’re too good!” I hope and pray that everyone gets to experience such months.
What I'm Learning
CPE brought many surprises my way and one of them was my newfound penchant for doodling. After having been in grad school for the past two years, I'm used to taking notes in class so when I started CPE, I need something to do to keep my hands busy and my mind engaged. I ended up drawing these pages that I turned into adult coloring pages for my patients. The one above is a design and motto that I gave to one of my peers, but it was also given to patients. I've never considered myself to be an artist before, but drawing these little doodles became a meditative practice and a way for me to connect with my peers and patients in a new way.
What I'm Reading
I had been hearing about this book for a while and after a long wait at the public library, I was excited to finally read it. It's a fictional book that mirrors real life- an unarmed black teenager gets shot and killed by a police officer and his community is left reeling in the aftermath. The story is beautifully written and never feels heavy-handed. It's not a book to give your non-woke friends to convince them you're right, nor it is a book that is basic and explanatory to those who have been committed to the work. It's simply a good story, well written, and an opportunity for empathy.
What I'm Preaching
In June, I met a patient who listed her religion as "Presbyterian" and I was so excited to finally see a Presbyterian that I went straight to her room, even though she had guests. Turns out her guests were her pastor and elders and they invited me to come preach at their church in the Northeast Kingdom, a beautiful and rural part of Vermont. I had an incredible weekend visiting the community and felt so welcomed into their church. It is such a sacred experience to be in a worshipping community thousands of miles from anywhere I've ever called home, and still be a part of the family. I preached a sermon called "Dearly Beloved" on Ephesians 1, which was a powerful experience to prepare and deliver. I even sang during it!
What I'm Watching
If you're my Facebook friend, you probably know that I was VERY skeptical of this show. I loved season 1, till it went rogue at the end and I feared I was losing the Anne of Green Gables I so dearly love. The first few episodes of season 2 seemed to confirm my worst fears. Thankfully, I stuck with it and I’m so glad I did. Season 2 brought new life and love into the Anne that I love and it made it richer and truer than ever. I absolutely loved season 2 (particularly the second half) and can’t wait for season 3!
What I'm Listening To
This is really just my way of sneaking in two books into one post. I have had so much time to read this summer, which has been such a delight. I almost always prefer reading books to audiobooks, but this was another case of the library waitlist being shorter, so I opted for the audiobook. I'm glad I did because it's even more powerful of a story hearing the author read it himself. I have learned so much about class and socioeconomic status and privilege this summer. I’ve probably interacted with more people of the lowest socioeconomic status and class this summer than I have in all of my life. Vermont is the whitest state in the country, so my eyes have focused on the disparities that exist within a nearly (but certainly not completely) homogenous environment. Vance’s book was a great addition to my learning this summer.
What I'm Enjoying
Lake Champlain has been my refuge and sanctuary this summer. I cannot say enough how much it meant to me to have this lake at my disposal. I spent many afternoon and evenings on, and in, the lake. The water brings me rest and peace in ways that nothing else can. Living on the lake has been one of the highlights of my summer and I am so, so grateful.
Where I've Been
We had a few extra days off for the 4th of July, so I headed farther East than I've ever been in this country. I left work on Tuesday and drove over to a campground in New Hampshire. I camped that night and then early on the 4th, I hiked the long loop trail on Mt. Lafayette. It was 9 miles and 3500 feet of elevation gain, so needless to say I was sore for days afterward. The views were incredible and it was fun to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail at the same time my mom was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
From there, I drove to Portland, Maine (with a long delay from my A/C compressor in my car breaking down 😭) to visit a friend from college and his fiance, who just moved to Portland. I had a wonderful trip and fell more in love with New England than ever before. This part of the country is spectacular in the summer and it was so good to be with old friends again.