Friday, March 21, 2014

Match process took me down a road I wouldn’t have chosen.....

I read this inspirational blog post from another Dr's Wife about their match day process.  This is worth reading!!!  God has a plan for you and your spouse!

match process took me down a road I wouldn’t have chosen

Hello reader : )

I don’t presume to know where you are with your hopes and fears regarding finding out where you’ll be headed for residency...what I do know is that the match process took me down a road I wouldn’t have chosen, and it was one of the more difficult periods of time in my life. It’s not hard to share though, because on this side of it God has allowed me to see at least some His purposes, and now even if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing. I decided to write this all out, just in case God might use any of it to encourage people who are going through the match now. If you want to skip the story, there are some song lyrics at the end that were really meaningful to me as well :-) The story is written from my perspective as a Christian, which is honestly the only way I know to tell it. I’m not sure how it would’ve turned out if I had not had faith that there was a bigger plan that I couldn’t I’m really thankful that I did and do. God is good.

I went into the residency application process with a firm belief in God’s sovereignty and control, and I’m thankful for that as it carried me through the months leading up to Match Day without an overwhelming amount of worry or anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I did worry and have scary “what if” thoughts, but for the most part I trusted God with where we ended up (or at least I thought I did!). My husband and I made decisions on the order of his rank list together, and he considered me and my wishes a great deal, choosing not to even apply to many programs that would have been good for his career but hard for me. In his school’s very public Match Day ceremony where everyone stood on stage, opened their letters and announced where they were going, there were so many overjoyed people who were immediately in celebration mode upon seeing where they matched. I sat there in anticipation of it being my turn to be the excited, celebratory one. I had subconsciously convinced myself that our first choice must have been God’s plan, and I wasn’t spiritually or emotionally prepared for some of the other possible outcomes.

My husband went on stage and read aloud where he would be going, which was our second choice (but if I had had my own personal rank list, would’ve been further down the list). I still remember the look of surprise and quick flash of excitement on his face when he read it, and then the way his expression fell when he saw my reaction. I was devastated. That sounds dramatic, but it really is the word for how I felt. I was immensely disappointed and was almost immediately in a place of despair about what my life would be like in this place that I really didn’t want to go. For the rest of the match ceremony, I was holding back sobs and trying to act as happy for him as I could, and he was feeling so much sadness for how I felt and trying to suppress his own excitement in going to a program he had much respect for.

In retrospect, I tried to think back to our rank list conversations and remember how that program came to be our second choice. And I tried to figure out how on earth I went through the process not being more prepared for getting our second choice. I would’ve been fine with some of the programs further down the list, but for some reason, I was not prepared for this one. The only thing I can figure is that God used this to stretch my faith to places I didn’t think it could go, which was great preparation for the upcoming challenges of residency.I cried a lot for the first few days, less as the weeks went on, and by the time we actually moved, God had lovingly given me real peace with where we were headed and even a bit of excitement. I might have reached that point sooner if I had been more honest with God about my feelings after the match. I don’t remember feeling angry at God, but I did feel very forgotten by God. This program seemed good for my husband, but what about me? Did that not matter? It took me several weeks to finally break down and admit those feelings, but when I did it was significant. It opened me up to allow God to heal me and give me hope, and that’s what He did. Some people might say that we are ultimately subject to the residency matching algorithms and that God can work good from that no matter where we end up being matched. But I firmly believe that we are not ultimately subject to the residency match process any more than we are subject to the fate written on the piece of paper inside a fortune cookie. Yes, this process is big and intimidating, but God is bigger. The same thing we’re trying to teach our two year old is what God is constantly teaching me! Through all the moving parts of how you did on your boards, where you apply, where you are offered interviews, how charismatic you were during your interviews, and how you and the programs all rank each other...God is working to put us exactly where He wants us. We are not subject to the system, the system is subject to Him.

Sometime in the last couple of years, I was encouraged about God’s sovereignty by the story of Mordecai in the book of Esther. Mordecai overheard a scheme to kill the king and reported it to the officials, which in turned saved the king’s life (Esther 2:21-23). His act of reporting this scheme was recorded in the book of chronicles, but no other accolades are mentioned. Later, an official named Haman grew to hate Mordecai because he did not bow down to him. Among other events, Haman planned to have Mordecai hanged for this supposed disrespect, and intended to go to the king to have this plan authorized the next day. All in God’s plan to save Mordecai’s life--God caused the king to not be able to sleep that night, and in his sleeplessness he decided to read through the book of chronicles. In reading this book, he providentially came across Mordecai’s reporting of the plot to kill the king. In turn when Haman approached the king the next day to propose his plot to hang Mordecai, the king instead ordered Haman to give Mordecai high honors for his deed from the past that had saved the king’s life. All of that to say--if God wanted Mordecai to live, He could’ve accomplished it a thousand ways, including just striking Haman dead. But instead, He worked through the intricacies of the situation as it was...keeping the king awake all night, causing him to rummage through an old record book and find that particular record on that particular night. Things like this are all through scripture, and it encourages me to think of God working this way...entering into the way things work and directing the outcomes for His glory. No matter what happens, there is such security for me in that. For many weeks after the match, I daydreamed about if Match Day had gone differently and would’ve jumped at the chance to change programs if that had been an option. But within a few months, I stopped daydreaming and wishing things had gone differently. Even though I couldn’t yet see the reasons we were here, my faith had grown and helped me to not only trust God but also find real contentment in what He was doing with my life.

Now here I am, five years into this place that I never would’ve picked. And very honestly, if I could go back knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t change anything. God taught me so much and brought me closer to Him through this, and that is worth all of it. I don’t even think about whether life would’ve been better at my first choice--I honestly don’t care. I can see now that God wanted us here, so this is where I want to be. I can see how He is using this program to prepare us for a future in medical missions that we have been hoping for, and we’ve experienced rich community here in great churches. I want this life where God took me (albeit kicking and screaming), not where I would’ve picked.

So if you get your first choice on Match Day, praise God! And if you don’t, be honest about how you feel to God but still praise Him. Either way, you will be where He wanted you all along, and He can see so much more of what we need than we can. Below are excerpts from songs that I absolutely wore out listening to leading up to and after the match. I just needed to remind myself of truth all the time, because I couldn’t keep that perspective on my own.

I do not ask to see the way my feet will have to tread;
 But only that my soul may feed upon the living Bread.
 'Tis better far that I should walk by faith close to His side;
 I may not know the way I go, but oh, I know my Guide.

 (His Love Can Never Fail)

 His call we obey, like Abram of old, not knowing our way, but faith makes us bold; 
 For though we are strangers we have a good Guide, and trust in all dangers, the Lord will provide When Satan appears to stop up our path, and fill us with fears, we triumph by faith; 
 He cannot take from us, though oft he has tried, this heart-cheering promise, the Lord will provide

 (The Lord Will Provide)

Whate'er Thy providence denies, I calmly would resign;
 For Thou art just, and good, and wise, O bend my will to Thine.
 Whate'er Thy sacred will ordains, O give me strength to bear;
 And let me know my Father reigns, and trust His tender care.

(My God, My Father, Blissful Name)

Well, that’s the end of my long-winded story--thanks for listening! God is good and faithful, praying that you can find hope in that no matter what Match Day

Sunday, March 9, 2014

My Love....

Love this girl!! The weather was beautiful today in Boston so Addison and I took advantage of it before our next snow storm this week!


Monday, March 3, 2014

AMA Alliance Match Day Article

This is one of the many articles I have written for the AMA Alliance newsletter last year.  I thought it was appropriate to share since Match Day is around the corner for fourth year medical students.  It's a new journey with lots of changes.  Just remember to look for the BEST in your move or program! Good Luck!!

As fourth year of medical school quickly approached that meant one thing...Match Day! My husband, Gary, and I found out we would be moving from Oklahoma City to San Diego. I moved to San Diego 71⁄2 months pregnant and tried to find my way around a new big city. This was hard! The California Alliance quickly welcomed and got me involved in their organization. As I became more involved with the county, state and national AMA Alliance I found myself often challenged to stop and look back at some of the lessons residency has taught me as a physician spouse.
Three important lessons I have learned:

Get Involved
Depending on your husband’s specialty will determine the number of hours he will be working. Take this time and get out to meet other spouses, get involved in your county and state alliance, find some community involvement, meet up with friends or just take time to your self (with or without kids). Get involved!

Long Lasting Friendships
I have a passion to help get physician spouses connected with one another and see long lasting friendships grow. This is something that really hit home for me when Gary was a second year resident. The hours were long I had a one year old daughter and I often found myself throwing a pity party out of frustration. I was quickly reminded by my
mentor that residents work long hours and that does not change once they get out of residency! It was a decision that I had to make and decided to make some new friendships, so I enrolled our daughter in Gymboree, got involved in a bible study at our church and got involved in the county, state and national alliance.
I talk with medical student and resident spouses and have noticed there are a lot of lonely spouses looking for a friend that share the same common interest. We have all been there and know that feeling. My challenge for you is to find a new physician spouse and make a long lasting friendship!

A Life Long Family Commitment
One other aspect of medical life is the need to continue to learn. Medical advancements are made every day, and physicians are expected to stay up to date on the latest and greatest ways of
helping patients. One of the biggest differences between medical student graduates and college graduates is that after medical school a doctor’s education is just really starting to become fine tuned toward their future career. The transition not only affects the future career of the physician, but also that of their spouse in most cases. With moves being made to different cities and states, spouses often find themselves having to leave careers, family and friends behind. Gary and I left our friends and family in Oklahoma to move to San Diego and it was hard leaving “home”. I have met many wonderful friends and have great support from the alliance in California. Always remember the alliance will always be there for you in every state!

The Alliance has not only been a support my family and me through four years of medical school but also three years of residency. I encourage you to find a mentor or another spouse that you can share ideas, feelings and just have fun with.
The 2012-13 Physicians In Training Committee have plans for some exciting new things. Look for more information soon. If you ever need anything or have any questions please feel free to email me at:

Best of Luck! 
Ashlie Schooler 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Peanut Butter Balls

I made these Peanut butter Balls this afternoon and they are so good!  Below is the recipe.  Enjoy!!

These easy treats will disappear fast!
Serves: Makes 25-30
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter (substitute other nut butters, if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup+ powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
  1. Mix peanut butter and butter together in a mixing bowl. Gradually stir in powdered sugar until combined well into a dough ball. If needed, add more powdered sugar a little at a time until mixture holds together in a large ball. Cover and let peanut butter dough sit for about 15 minutes to firm up, or cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to form balls.
  2. Shape into 1-inch balls, place on a baking sheet, cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow to firm up. Dough balls should hold shape before dipping in chocolate. Add more refrigeration time if necessary.
  3. Melt chocolate according to package instructions.
  4. Dip peanut butter balls one at a time into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper lined baking sheet, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
The peanut butter dough can be made ahead, tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for a couple of days until ready to form the balls. Once peanut butter balls are formed, they can also be covered in plastic wrap ad refrigerated until ready to dip in chocolate.

Finished peanut butter “dough” should be firm enough to make a ball that holds together. Additional powdered sugar (confectioners sugar) may be needed. Just add a tablespoon or so until the correct consistency is reached. If peanut butter dough seems too soft, tightly wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to firm up before forming balls.

Warm hands will make the dough soften. If dough begins to soften, return the dough to refrigerator to firm back up for a little while. The same can be said for working in a warm space. If it’s hot where you are, you may need to keep returning the dough to the refrigerator, and/or add more powdered sugar to thicken up dough.

If concerned with peanut allergies, substitute an almond butter or other nut butter that is allowed for the peanut butter.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Meet Pete....

Is it strange that people can "love" reading about a cat?!?  Addison, our daughter who is 4 years old, loves Pete the Cat. We read all of the books over and over.  One thing I really like about the books is  how positive they are and the message they send to the kids.  If you have never read a Pete the Cat children's book I encourage you to pick up Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. You won't be disappointed! :)

Tonight my husband drew our daughter her very own Pete! He put an A on the guitar for her initials.  
We love it and can't wait to get it framed. 

“The moral of Pete's story is:
No matter what you step in,
keep walking along and
singing your song. Because it's all good"


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Well, Hello Taxes.....

I have done our taxes since we got married 10 years ago and my husband started medical school.  We only had one or two W-2's and has been very easy to enter in Turbotax. It was always nice for us to gladly accept our big refund from federal and state.  This year was a little more complicated having to file federal and in two states with trying to figure out all the deductions.  Once I got it all entered I see this "You Owe" staring me right in the face.  As I hung my head I kept thinking, what did I do wrong? Did I miss some big deduction?  I finally realized our days of getting nice big refunds are over.  I noticed hitting the "file returns" button was not to fun and I complained all evening! I have talked with a CPA about what the new taxes are going to be for us starting in July when my husband starts his "real" job and I had a mild heart attack learning all of this new tax bracket stuff!
I know this is just the start with taxes and glad my husband will be done with training in June but I will let a CPA take it over from here! Thanks for reading my vent post.  It is a huge shocker when you are use to getting money back! :)


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Get ready for Medical Mondays on February 3, 2014!

I will be co-hosting Medical Mondays on February 3rd.  If you have a blog please plan to join us at and link up with other bloggers in the medical profession.  It's always a great time to read other blogs!