Saturday, February 01, 2014


My sporadic behavior in writing in my blog is consistently inconsistent.

Post-grad life has been wonderful. Instead of staying up to 2AM desperately trying to complete a handout on necrotizing enterocolitis and studying for quizzes where questions have been arbitrarily chosen to make me feel why I ever bothered to study, I am watching episodes of the The Walking Dead trying to catch up with the season 4 premier in a week.

2013 was an excellent year for me. Here's a small list of some of the neat things I did:

  • Graduated with my PharmD! (Dr. Dinh is in!)
  • Got the honor of being maid of honor for my best friend's wedding during rotations 
  • Traveled to San Diego, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Cancun, and Ensenada
  • Went on a cruise with some of the best people in the world 
  • Got licensed in CA and TX
  • Got a job and new car
  • Paid my first student loan
  • Gave my first tithe!!!!! 

I turned 25 a few weeks ago too. I feel great and excited to see what else the world has to offer post-school. I'm thinking about starting a separate blog featuring all the hilarious and heartwarming conversations I've had with patients at the compounding pharmacy and free clinic. Even though I've graduated, the learning has continued and I've gladly welcomed all this new knowledge from my colleagues and patients. Cheers to a great New Year in 2014! 

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

074 sweet and salty

Dr. Dinh is in! Photo credits to Joanna Rao

After each adventure into academia, I always say to myself, "That went by so fast!". I will continue to utter this phrase with every life moment that passes by, waving its hand, directing me into whatever unknown awaits.

My pharmacy rotation experience is likened to walking through fire, but excellent in every way imaginable. I remember nights when I was a blubbering mess because of my self-inflicted idea of failure in disappointing my preceptors. But more often, I remember months when I joyfully looked forward to the next day of what I would learn and how I can grow. The past year taught me perseverance, time management, humility, teamwork and most importantly, how to love others.

These past nine months was a taste of the working world. I would describe it as salty and sweet. The grind of each day, whether it be 6AM to 8PM, 9AM to 5PM, or 12PM to 8PM, brought on the salty taste of hardwork that is often left unappreciated and unnoticed. Yet, the reward in helping a patient, praise in one's work, and human redemption was a sweetness that balanced the saltiness of each day.

The working world is drastically different from school and I found that being a Christian in the professional world takes on a slight variation of the flavor while I was in school. Here's what I brought to the table:

1) Spend time with God. In prayer. In the Word. On your commute to and from work. In the shower. While you're making food. I set an alarm early in the year on my phone labeled "Dad Time" to remind me to do devotions at 10PM every night. During the first few months of rotations, it was a glad reminder to take respite after a long day of work. As the months wore on and with different rotations, I fell into the habit setting a special time (not always at 10PM) aside to either do devotions, read the Word etc. The alarm is still set at the same time as a reminder for me that setting apart time with my Father is important. The time I spent in daily prayer and/or Word was critical in my attitude day to day.

I recall the story of Jesus visiting the sisters Mary and Martha. Martha was so busy preparing the house, she did not have anytime to spend with Jesus. On the other hand, Mary sat at Jesus' feet to listen to him. Martha was upset with Mary and implored Jesus to tell her sister to help her to which Jesus gently responded,
"Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
This story in Luke 10 is an important reminder to place Christ as our number one priority despite the hectic life that consumes us with worldly things.

Keeping this lesson in mind and with much stumbling along the day, by the end of my rotations, I was not running on empty fumes but by God's grace and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2) Work hard. In school, it was very easy to share the Gospel with others. At work, company policies and work etiquette often discourages the discussion of faith in the work environment. Opportunities to share the Gospel may seem more difficult to find without a discerning eye. While I waited patiently for those opportunities, God reminded me to live out the Gospel through strong work ethic. For me, living out my testimony pointed me to 2 Cor 5:17. I am in Christ and the old has gone and the new has come! For me, obedience to Christ looked like coming to work on time, turning projects on time, being proactive, helping others and not cutting corners. I was saved to do good works and I want to live it! People would notice and entrusted me with more responsibility professionally, and to my surprise, personally. And these are the moments to share what God has already done on the cross, and what a good work He has done indeed!

3) Love like Christ loves. I admit, this portion is tough to swallow. It is much easier to love the person who has been super joyful to have you counsel them on how to take their medication than the jaded patient who likes to perpetuate their bitterness onto others or the preceptor who enjoys lording their superiority at your own cost. Yet Christ calls us to love one another. Not to exalt ourselves, but Him!
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:33-34)
Matt 5:46-48 takes it a step further to love those who don't love you back. Definitely an area I am still growing in.

4) Listen to others. As a pharmacist and pretty much most jobs, you're going to be interacting with co-workers, clients, customers, or patients daily. It's sometimes easy to pass off the next person you're serving as a statistic/profit in your daily queue to simply get things done. However, each person you are serving has a story and a soul. Listening goes a long way and tuning an attentive ear gives rise for opportunities to glorify Him!

5) Speak with kindness. Listening to others and speaking with kindness go hand-in-hand. I don't mean sucking up to your employer or being a push-over but I mean speaking with thoughtfulness and consideration. Saying "You suck and need improvement" and "I noticed you have been coming in late more often. How have you been doing lately? What can we do to avoid this from happening more often in the future?" can mean the same thing but one sounds much nicer than the other and is more likely to respond better. Open communication is key for any type of relationship. I'm not the best when it comes to speaking with kindness, and each day I pray for God to grace my mouth and mind with wisdom.

Much of what I learned while on rotations is a revamped dish from some lesson I learned while in school. Though I feel most of them originate from my favorite, humble pie. I definitely pushed this food analogy too far, but it's past the point of no return now.

Switching gears, right now I am studying for my NAPLEX, MPJE, and CPJE and in the meantime, looking for the elusive "job", and considering re-applying for residency depending on where my interests are in the next few months.

I wait in great anticipation with what God has already planned ahead, trusting in His sweet goodness and sovereignty.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


This past Sunday was my 23rd birthday and next Monday will be one year since my baptism, my spiritual birthday. There has been so much reason to celebrate, not for my physical birth or even my public declaration of faith, but a celebration that this was the year where I learned what it mean to deny myself. I celebrate my death. I celebrate that Christ not only died for me, but He died as me.

I thought the price of obedience to God looked like a relationship born out of duty, humility, and letting go of worldly desires. It isn't even close. It is so much better - infinitely so!  Obedience to my Dad is trading in my petty wants and desires for His desires - which is by no means an easy feat - for ultimate joy.

If I could compare my own desires to a pocketful of sunshine - doing well in school, traveling to all 7 continents, being an awesome pharmacist, getting married, sleeping in til 9PM, eating anything I want and not suffering from imagined-GERD - then the joy of God is like the very sun itself multiplied by the number of stars in strength and magnitude. That is how weak my desires are compared to the desires of my Dad and what He wants for me. How could I refuse? I can't! Haha! There is so much more to be said but I was not gifted with words nor eloquence but I was given His joy for my obedience.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


This Sunday I went to my first Christmas church service at Sugar Creek in Texas. Not saying I haven't attended a Christmas service before, but this year, Christmas fell on a Sunday. There was a lot of singing, praise was infused with classic Christmas songs, prose, special performances and the pastor gave the message. I don't even remember the pastor's name and am embarrassed to say I don't remember much of the message either but it was probably about the nativity scene.

A duet came on the stage and sang this song. The lyrics are about how Christ could have had the choice to enter the world with all pomp and circumstance - all of heaven's power at his fingertips! He could have descended upon us like a rushing wind, a furious storm, or a blazing fire but no, Christ came like a winter slow, quiet, soft and slow in the form of a baby. One of us. Grace came to us in the night, nestled in a manger. It's really beautiful when I think about it. A powerful, awe-inspiring being, God in the flesh, reduced to the form of a crying babe to be with us and to save us. Light finally came to scatter the shadows.

We ended the service by candlelight. There was probably close to 500 of us in that room each holding a small lit candle singing "Silent Night". The scene was very still and quiet like a winter snow. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

071 Friends I Can't Wait to Meet Revisited

It’s been about a year and half since I wrote this post about people I am looking forward to meet in my future. I am revisiting this list because not only have I met these friends I have added more.

Nomadic Herdsman: Ok, the likelihood I am going to run into one of these guys is low but after reading The Alchemist, who wouldn't want to meet a shepherd boy turned adventurer in search of his dreams? Can you imagine the stories and seeds of wisdom just frothing out like a root beer float? I'll meet you Santiago at the Pyramids.
-----> (Update 12.23.11) Ana Laura Gonzales; it took me awhile to realize this one but my Pequena is a living embodiment of Paulo Coelho’s Santiago. She has a Personal Legend and the universe is conspiring to help her achieve it!

Prophetic Artist: Amy Shain (07.30.10)

Wine Aficionado: Stephen Anthony Lee (05.31.10)

Knight: ---

Parkour Dude: ---

Recent additions:
Boy with the Bread: Aka Peeta Mellark from Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games Trilogy. I adore this character. He’s kind, witty, charming and self-sacrificing. And he can bake bread and paint! HE’S SO GENUINE! Even though he is a fictional character, somewhere in the world a personality like him exists. What a friend he would make!

A prince: I’ve always wanted to meet someone royal just to say I have!
-----> (Update 09.18.2011) Prince Henry Ankrah; my very own mentee! Who would have known? And such a godly man as well. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Henry and Chioma Ankrah!

Walking Sunshine: This friend is the sort of person who radiates warmth and light by merely standing in their presence. You feel strengthened by their light like sunrays and you know a conversation with them will leave you with a smile and feeling better.
-----> (Update 12.23.2011) an individual who was also right under my nose! Thank you Miss Hanna Sung for entering my life and reminding me of how much I am in love with my Jesus.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Little blogger, how have I neglected you!

I come with no comics, interning stories, or any sort of the ramblings that I usually write about but I come with the Doggelganger - a New Zealand pet adoption agency that matches your face with a dog you resemble most!

One day, one day, you will be mine Merlin. 

Monday, July 25, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Al was going over his lecture on antidepressants. Sometimes when I am in class, the lecture passes by like how adults talk in Charlie Brown. I honestly try to stay engaged in lecture most of the time, but there are days when the lecture is especially boring.

Dr. Al has been one of my favorite professors in pharmacy school so far, next to Dr. Chan and Dr. Guo. He always makes me laugh and that day in lecture was no different. Let me introduce to you, melatonin, or how Dr. Al puts it, "The Hormone of Darkness".

Less than 10 days, and I will be done with my first year of pharmacy school. Aaaah yeeea!