2013 has been a pretty eventful year for the West Virginia based Hamptons. Since actually printing, addressing, stamping, and sending out real Christmas cards takes a significant amount of time and foresight, I opted for a digital Christmas card. Hopefully between the combination of text and pictures, you can get a good idea of what our year looked like. Since 2013 was a busy year, I tried to break things down for everyone and provide the top 5 life events for us this year.
1.) I graduated from medical school
Well, this was a pretty big deal. After a few hundred thousand dollars in loans and eight years in higher education, I took a very short walk across a stage and came down the stairs on the other side a doctor. I’m glad my brother was there to take a video of it because I really don’t remember very much about the exact moment. It was all kind of surreal, and it flew by really quickly.
It was, however, a great weekend to spend with my family and Bethany’s parents. We sat and laughed and ate and laughed and ate a little bit more. After all this time, it seemed fitting to share this time with the people who were with me through the years of worrying, praying, crying, stress eating, laughing, and more of the same. As graduation weekend flew by, I was continually reminded of how far God has brought me. It is only by his grace and mercy that I can now call myself a doctor.
When 2013 began, Bethany and I were cherishing our last few months in West Virginia as I finished the process of applying for Ob/Gyn residencies. Our plans, however, were radically changed when I wasn’t offered a position at any of the residencies where I applied. Initially, I really struggled with feeling like God had somehow stopped watching over me. My fears of failure and rejection that I’d been battling for years seemed to be coming to fruition, and I was given the choice of whether or not I was going to trust that God really did know what he was doing.
Initially, I signed on for a one year internship at the hospital in Lewisburg to allow me a transitional time as I prepared to go through the application process for Ob/Gyn again. However, Bethany and I were still actively praying about what God had for us. I slowly began to realize that God was no longer leading me toward a career in Ob/Gyn. I still love delivering babies and scrubbing in on gynecologic surgeries, but I realize now that God is calling me to stay in Lewisburg and finish the family medicine residency here. The months surrounding this whole ordeal were definitely a struggle, but God took his time with me and showed me that his plan is ALWAYS perfect!
During this time, I clung tightly to Jeremiah 29:11 where God promises that he “knows the plans he has for me.” I also spent lots of time staring at the pages of Philippians 4 where I’m urged to “be anxious for nothing.” I’m promised that if I pray to God instead of worrying, I will be filled with “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.” God never promises that my life will be easy, but he continually promises that he will be with me through the dark times.
3.) We moved
The House with the Yellow Door was the first home that Bethany and I shared together, and it was the perfect first home; however, this year brought the need for a change. Originally as I was searching for Ob/Gyn residencies, we were planning on moving out of West Virginia to somewhere exotic like…Michigan or Ohio. When we realized that we’d be sticking around our wild and wonderful state for a few more years, we decided a move was still in order, so we packed up all of our belongings and moved “to the country.” Truthfully, our new house is 2.3 miles down the road from our old house, but we traded our little neighborhood and our short walk to downtown for an expansive view of the mountains that we’ve come to love.
Our new home is beautiful and boasts a dishwasher and stainless steel appliances, but our new front porch looks naked without Orange Cat waiting for us to come home every day. We miss that little guy. People asked why we didn’t take him with us, but I think it takes a special kind of crazy to steal the little neighbor lady’s cat regardless of how much he might love you.
This trip came to be after a 6 week medical mission trip to Sierra Leone was unexpectedly cancelled. Originally, we’d scheduled a 2 day layover in Paris at the end of the trip, so we were not only disappointed that we were missing out on the mission experience, but we were also going to miss out on sharing a day together in the most romantic city in the world. My genius wife solved this problem by sending me on an intense scavenger hunt through Lewisburg (and I mean a literal scavenger hunt with very well sculpted poems as my clues) which ended in a wild finale back at our house with a multicultural lunch consisting of tapas, French wine and cheese, and tiramisu where I was presented with my graduation present—a trip to Europe!
During our two week excursion through Europe, we visited Paris, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Florence, Rome, and Barcelona. We met wonderful people, ate exquisite food, saw lots of historic sites, and shared memories that I will cherish forever! I could take up pages writing about this adventure, but I’ll settle for sharing a few pictures.
5.) Bethany submitted a paper for publication
One of the many blessings that is coming to be through us staying in Lewisburg is that Bethany gets to keep working at her job. This is my chance to brag on her since she’s far too modest regarding how awesome she is! She does research at the medical school where I graduated from and is also responsible for overseeing the students doing research in her labs. One of her projects involves studying ischemia reperfusion injury on cardiac myocytes after undergoing revascularization post MI. (In real people talk, she is studying the damage that heart cells have undergone after someone has been treated for a heart attack). She also works with a professor who is studying the difference in gait patterns between runners wearing traditional running shoes and vibram five finger shoes.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone, but she is GREAT at her job! Several of her students have won awards for the research she’s directed them in, and she’s been the primary workforce behind several projects in her labs. I’m so crazy proud of her because after hours upon hours of hard work, her lab has just submitted an article for publication, and the next one is in the works for release early next year.
2013 has been a wild year, and Bethany and I are excited and hopeful for what 2014 holds for us. We pray that God will continue to pull us closer to him as we go through this next year.
We also pray that each one of you will have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed year in 2014.