Not about eyes…

What would it look like if you truly believed you were loved?

It’s a question that I pondered this morning while getting ready to face yet another day.

What would it really look like?

I’ve “known” all my life that I’m loved – but that doesn’t mean that I act as if I truly believe it.  I doubt. I judge. I struggle to accept. I run and hide. Because deep down, I wonder if it’s really true.  Would they love me if they really knew me? Would that love disappear if I stripped away my carefully created facade and showed the world the bruises and scars underneath?

Some days, I really doubt it.

And it’s not just friends and family members whose love I question: no, it’s my savior’s as well.  And I don’t think I’m alone in this.

We doubt His protection – that He truly wants the best.  We feel that maybe he’ll listen on the good days. But on the days where it’s obvious just how short our efforts fall?  Well, maybe on those days we’re left to fend for ourselves. And what other choice do we have? We are called to be perfect, just as our Father in heaven is perfect – and perfect? That’s something we’re not.  We’re told of the greatness of God and his desire to shower gifts on his children, but this mentality quickly turns the all-powerful God into little more than a cosmic vending machine. And blessings? What about all the bad things that happen to those around for no reason at all?  Where are the blessings then?

Yes, we could make excuses all day.  But, at the end of the day, when all the excuses for doubting our savior’s love fall to the side – we are left with the realization that we doubt because it’s the easy thing to do.  Coming face to face with the unconditional love of a perfect Father who delights in bestowing love on his children is a terrifying reality that rocks us to the core. We can do and have done nothing to deserve this love – but yet it was freely given over 2000 years ago as our savior shed his blood on the cross.

To know this love is to be in awe of it, swallowed in it, changed by it.
There is no room for passivity.  There is no “Jesus Plus”

And so the question remains, what would it look like to live like you’re loved?

We can hold so tightly to our lives, our pride, our control, choosing to live in ruts, routines, and silly superstitions.  As Rachel Platten so aptly put it, “We whisper little prayers to be somewhere that we’re not, and if we’re good, it’ll take us there.”

But maybe, just maybe, if for a second, we let that love sink in, we could begin to let go. We could stop our worrying about the little things (that feel like very big things) of this life that are quickly passing away.  We could open up our hearts and lives to those around us – no longer afraid of losing love, knowing instead that we are found in heaven’s perfect love story.

Maybe for once we could just live – joyously free, careless in the arms of a careful father.

Eye See You

It seems insane, but somehow it has already been 3 months since I graduated from OSU as a Doctor of Optometry.  What’s even crazier though, is that this past week marked a full month in my new position as the Brain Injury Vision Rehabilitation resident at UHCO.  It’s been a wild ride, but I’m so grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had in just this short time.

Since becoming a resident, a lot of people have asked what role, exactly, an eye doctor can play in treating brain injuries. After all, don’t OD’s spend their days asking, “which is better, one or two”? For me, the easiest description is this:
I see the patients that most other docs don’t want to see.  Many of them are non-verbal, some are non-mobile, and others are both. Or, they are on the other end of the spectrum, and simply cannot sit still for more than a minute or two at a time. They may be fully sighted, but a majority have visual deficits  – from uncorrectable vision loss due to ocular abnormalities, to cortical vision loss, to visual field cuts.  On a daily basis, there is very little asking “which is better, one or two”, or sitting calmly behind a slit lamp examining ocular structures.  Rather, there is a lot of yelling, jumping, and working from the floor – all to try to obtain the most information that we can in any that the patient will allow. 
Because we all deserve to be seen.
In my short time on this earth, the one lesson I have learned is that we all long to be seen and loved – not for the masks we wear or the successes we share, but for who we are inside.  Some admit this more freely than others, but at the end of the day, it holds true – we all long to be known.
And so we seek this satiety of this knowledge in friends, in family, in partners, in jobs.  We hide the longing in the hustle and bustle of our day to day lives, thinking that if we never sit still, it will eventually disappear.  But when our head hits the pillow at nightfall, we feel it again – the endless longing for something more – something that this world cannot satisfy.  Something that we may find in the solace of an all-knowing, ever-loving Savior alone.
And while I struggle to fit the pieces together, as I hear Him say, “I see you, little one, and I love you:  all of you – forever,” I am drawn to Him and to His people who I get to work with every single day.  They may be outcasts, marginalized by society, but they are just as seen and just as loved by the Almighty Father.
And so, while my job is not, and hopefully never will be easy, it is fulfilling. For, in the moments that we share, I have the opportunity to be the hands and feet – or, maybe the eyes – of my Savior, and that’s good enough for me.
‘Til the next time,

When I Fall in Love…

This blog post brought to you by the week after Valentne’s Day, and another day of flying.

Growing up, I was never one to believe much in love. It seemed much to far-fetched for me.  Falling in love was something that was reserved for movies – not ordinary farm-girls like me.  As I grew older, however, the power of love became more real for me as I came to grasp my parent’s love, the love that my friends extended to me, and most importantly the unconditional love of God.  Despite this realization, relationships have never been something that come easy for me. I’m introverted, can be a bit awkward, and am frankly often too stubborn and particular for my own good. To that end, I have never been in a relationship.  

But that is not to say that I have not fallen in love.  No, if truth be told, I fall in love on a daily basis, wherever I go.  I fall in love with the beauty of sunsets, the splendor of mountains, the vastness of oceans.  I fall in love with the warmth of sun on my skin, the smell of the earth after a rain, the sound of streams.  I fall in love with communities and people from all walks and worlds. I fall in love with my patients , wherever my 4th year rotations take me, be it the clinics around Columbus, a VA in North Carolina, a private practice in New Mexico.  This past week, I had the privilege of falling in love again – this time at an interview with the people that make what would otherwise be an ordinary optometry office into a beautiful family that serves its community and welcomes all who enter its doors.

And every time that I fall in love, I realize once again the incredible power of this unobtrusive force.  Love makes family from strangers and friends from all. Love bridges the gap between cultures, religions, color, gender.  Love knows no bounds – it is not limited by space or time. Love conquers fear and crosses all barriers. To quote 1 Corinthians 13, love never fails.

With that in mind, wherever you may be on this Sunday – the blustery cold of the northwest, the suns of the south, the pews of a church, the heights of a mountain, or the center of a crowded plane like I am – know that you are enough. You are worthy. And you are so very loved.

Til the next time


2019: The Year of the Doctor

Well, somehow we have made yet another full rotation around the sun, placing ourselves smack-dab into the year 2019.  With 3 weeks of this new year solidly under our belts, I’ve found that I’ve finally stopped writing 2018 on every chart that I complete, and that I no longer question why a patient is back in the office when we just saw them 2 days ago (oops, wrong year.. again. With each passing day, I am also becoming more aware of the changes that are coming in this year. In 2 weeks, I move across the country to my final extern rotation site. In a mere 3 months, I will be walking across the stage at The Ohio State University and receiving my Doctorate of Optometry.  In the following months, I then hope to complete a residency in Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation, at a yet undetermined location.  Yes, 2019 is about to be an exciting year.

And so, in preparation for these changes, here I am blogging and working at giving my humble website a much needed facelift.  
Enjoy! 🙂

The Adventures of H & Lars

Hello all!

Welcome back to my blog 🙂

After an extensive hiatus, I have again returned to chronicle yet another exciting period in my life.
For those of you who have been here from the beginning, there are a couple of changes to note.

The first? My name! Due to recent branding efforts, I decided it best to no longer blog pseudonominously.  No worries though – my good friend Kealyn will surely be making appearances in the future!

In addition to now blogging as myself, you will note that what was once “Unfettered: The Adventures of a Smalltown Girl” has now become “The Adventures of H & Lars,” in an effort to accurately describe this new season in my life.

Which begs the question: WHO IS LARS?

Unfortunately, Lars is neither my boyfriend (single – 24 years and counting!), my dog (I’m looking for one btw, so if you have connections, lemme know..), or my pet plant (accidentally killed the last one.. sorry Verne..), but rather my beautiful car that I get to travel ACROSS THE COUNTRY in this year for Optometry school.  I’m thrilled.

And I hope you are too.
Because that’s why I’m back!

As a final change, you’ll hopefully notice that some modifications have been made to my website to *try* to make it more professional.  (Okay, so I added a resume.)  Chances are I’ll continue to edit it for the next year as I begin to use this as a platform to find a job and the like. In any case, feel free to explore!

Til the next time!


How Do You Even Write..?

So I think it’s been a sufficiently long time since I blogged… I guess that means it’s time for a life update. In the typical numbered fashion.

Here goes.
1. Summer
Summer was fun.  So there’s that. Insert lots of vacation, little bits of work, more food than was necessary, and freedom for MY LAST SUMMER EVER.
2. Opt-II life
So, as can be expected, I’m back in school.  Last year I was super excited to be an optometry student. This year – ehhh… I loved the freedom of summer, so coming back to the life of studying and classes and such has been quite the struggle. Slowly but surely, however, I’m getting back in the swing of actually using my brain (it’s a really feeling after turning it off for the summer). Today, in fact, we have our first clinic proficiency, which is both terrifying and exciting.  In this, we have 15 minutes to perform slit lamp  and tonometry (checking pressures) on one eye of a patient.  I’ll let you know in about 5 months how it went 🙂
3. House manager
I’m co-house manager at the frat house this year, which is my newest and most interesting adventure.  For instance, my first night back for the year, someone blew out all the pilot lights on our stove.  Cue waking up the next morning to the smell of propane.  Thankfully though, we got the house aired out without any major problems (i.e. Explosion, sickness etc).  Day 1 survived.
This week’s adventure has been mice.  Sunday night, upon returning from a weekend trip home, I was greeted by a dash of gray flying by my feet.  Not terribly concerned, I made a note to get some mouse poison and a few traps in the coming week.  However, when I met another mouse friend Monday morning in the kitchen while eating my breakfast, my chill plan to eventually take care of the mouse problem was upped by…6 days.  Nine traps, 3 boxes of poison, and 2 sonic mouse…things…later, I felt more than prepared to take care of the pests.  In my mind I pictured catching a mouse in each trap for most of the week, and then being rid of our rowdy rodents.  Current mouse count? One.  Just one. But hey, one down, 599 to go.
Well, I should prolly peace out for now – the first group of proficiency peeps should be about done.  Maybe now it’ll be my turn…
Later y’all!

Counting: My Saturday in Numbers

Hey All!
So this is me sucking at blogging.
      I guess it’s good that I don’t do this for a living…
In any case, I’m Back!
      Well, at least for 10 minutes, but whatever.
The past month or so has been relatively uneventful, but that’s a post for another day, because today, all the bore of the past 4 weeks was solved in one fell swoop! Here’s what happened:

5. Pieces of Pizza
For some reason, people are appreciative of you attempting to carry 3 boxes from a moving van to the house and up a flight of stairs.  This is something that I truly don’t understand, but hey, it meant free pizza – delicious pizza at that! So obviously I had to eat 5 pieces.

Shut up. Calories don’t count on Saturdays.

4. Wrong turns
And so we meet the return of Directionally Challenged Kealyn, who, even with her phone out and maps up, managed to make 4 wrong turns in a single trip.  My “I can actually navigate” pride is a bit wounded.  But that’s okay.  I did (eventually) make it to my destination!

3. Hours of Driving
I love to drive.  It’s probably one of my favorite pastimes.
Just kidding.  Gas is much to expensive for it to actually be a hobby for me, but I do genuinely enjoy driving.  So when I had the opportunity to drive 3 hours on a Saturday afternoon to (attempt to) help one of my best friends from Opt School move, of course I agreed!

2. Missing Keys
Unfortunately, before leaving the house this morning, I COMPLETELY FORGOT to pick up my house keys for the city house.  Which I realized when I was 7 minutes from my destination.


Thankfully, i don’t live alone.

1. Dead Car
Victor, my beautiful, stubborn old van, has been struggling for a while.  And today, I think he finally called it quits, threw in the towel, and gave up his ghost (transmission).  Thankfully, however, he was very thoughtful and waited until I pulled into my friend’s parking lot.

I think I may hold a small funeral for Victor for all of his wonderful service during his past 7 years in my possession.  Anyone who is interested, may join. Condolences and memories of this old friend may be posted in the comments.


Yeah, today was interesting.  Now to see what tomorrow holds!

-Catch ya on the flippity!

Life Update… Aka Study Break

Hello all!

Oh wow.  My blogging has obviously gotten away from me this semester, but I wanted to take a quick study break to give you all a quick life update.

So, what’s been up?

Well, this semester, I had the pleasure of joining the Professional Students Orchestra (I played trumpet!), an H2O City Life Group (super cool group of people around my age that gets together and talks about life and God) annnnnd… Yeah.  That’s about all the new groups that I joined lol.

overall, this semester hasn’t been crazy stressful, but somehow I still have managed to keep busy for the past like 3 months.  I’m not entirely sure what I spent all my time doing… I mean, aside from studying.

Other notable events, were:
1) attending a fantastic lecture from Dr. Patrick Quade of the College of Vision Development (COVD).  He talked a lot about the benefits of Vision Therapy on both children and patients with traumatic brain injuries.  It was honestly one of the best lectures that I attended all year, and I can’t wait to find about more about COVD and vision therapy in general.

2) attending Dinner with the Docs.  This was a largely networking event, but I honestly just went for the food (it wasn’t as good as I had hoped).  I did, however, hear some interesting stories from current optometrists.  So I guess the night will count as a win.

3) attending the EYE spring banquet.  I’m admittedly not a huge one for going out to parties, but this was a super fancy event meant to celebrate the fourth year EYE members, several of which have lived in the house with me.  All in all, despite my hesitancy to go, it was a great night, and I am definitely looking forward to attending next year.

4) attending Scholar’s Dinner.  This was actually a super recent event, in which I had the opportunity to meet the optometrists who provided my scholarship this year.  Some parts were a bit awkward, but the food was excellent, and my donors seemed really cool, so I was very glad to have had the chance to meet them.

5) figuring out how to get onto the house roof.  So yesterday, because of all the great weather, I made it my goal to figure out how to get onto the roof here at the house (where I’m currently sitting and writing this post).  Twenty minutes and several scratches later, I found myself overlooking this fabulous city that I am currently living in.  Seeing the city from up here has really reminded me of all the reasons that I fell in love with the city when I first moved here… It’s just beautiful.  There’s so much diversity and life constantly surrounding me, that I’m almost constantly in awe of.  I’m so glad that I get to spend the next 3 years here 🙂

Speaking of three years… Somehow, this semester (and consequently school year) is already nearing it’s end.  In fact, in just (I think) 3 more weeks, I will be completely done with my first year of optometry school.  It is absolutely crazy.  I cannot believe that the year is almost over!! As much as I’m not ready for this year to be over, I’m definitely looking forward for a break from the stress of almost non-stop studying that it feels like I’ve been doing recently.

Finally, I would like to officially announce that I will be biking 100 miles in one day this summer in support of cancer research, as well as running a half marathon this coming fall to support a local children’s hospital.  Both of these will be pretty taxing on my body, but I’m excited to have an excuse to get in better shape over the summer.

Well, catch y’all on the flippity!


I think it’s bedtime..

Hey Howdy Hey beautiful Internet world!

Holy cow.
I am exhausted.
With a capital E.

It’s been a long day.  From class at 8 (with a minor delay of getting a ticket, having to move my car, and struggling to find a parking spot), to Panera with two of my favorite Opt-1’s (THERE’S A PANERA AT THE HOSPITAL NOW!!), to studying and making dinner, to my first ever orchestra practice (that was rough… Maybe I should stop telling people that I play trumpet..?), to a nearly 3 mile run, to another round of studying, and finally to this moment where I am cuddling in my hammock with my stuffed penguin writing about my day, I think it’s safe to say that Groundhog Day 2016 was a success!

And now, I should head to bed so I can start do it all again tomorrow!

Jk. Tomorrow will be completely different… After all:

Tomorrow is Opt 1, Semester II, Test I.


Yeah… It’s bedtime.

Good night moon… Good night stars…
Good night Internet.. Good night cars…


Love always,

Monday Afternoons

Let’s be real.  Is there any better time to write a lovely “This is my life” blog post than a lazy Monday afternoon?  I think not. So without further ado here is my most recent life update: Monday Afternoons

Holy cow.
I am exhausted.
It may only be going on 3 in the afternoon, but I feel like it should be time for bed.
Okay… Not quite. But I am super tired.
Let’s chalk that up to a great weekend of pledge week activities (i.e. Games/trivia night, initiation (and then a hunger games binge watch..), and skit night/after party) and a lack of coffee.
Side note: Coffee may be my new addiction this semester, as I realized this past week that I can get a 12 oz cup of coffee for a mere $.69 at the hospital cafe. 😍
Anyway, so what’s new in my life?
Well, with two weeks of the semester now under my belt, I’m finally beginning to fall back into the school routine.  Thankfully, my schedule this semester is absolutely fantastic.  I may have an 8:00 class every day of the week except for Monday’s, but I’m also out of class by 3 every day except for Wednesday’s. This beautiful schedule not only forces me to be up and productive in the morning, but also allows me to get a great deal of studying done in the afternoons/evenings, and still have time for fun! (so far anyway..) Additionally, it currently seems like only 3 classes will require any intense studying (well, I guess it was pretty much the same last semester…), which is sure to free up my time as well.  Shout out to hours of playing piano, cooking, watching random movies/TV shows, and pretending to be artistic.
Long story short, it looks like it’s going to be a stellar semester.
In other news, in addition to being initiated as a member of EYE Fraternity (or frarority) on Friday, I also was in clinic for the first time as an optometry student.
I loved it.
For me, anyway, it is very easy to forget the joy of working with and helping others (a large reason as to why I’m in the field of optometry) when I spend most of my days studying somewhat dry material in a single room with the other 64 first year optometry students.  Being in clinic, though, was the perfect reminder of why I love optometry and was super excited to become an optometrist.
As a final bit of school related news, I am pleased to say that I passed my first final of my second semester today!
This semester, our online coursee was Microbiology, which included 8 chapters and 5 quizzes that could be completed at our leisure.  Last semester I waited until almost the end of the term to take the online final, which only increased my pre-finals stress.  This semester, I instead wanted to finish the course early to relieve as much stress as possible.  After finishing all of the quizzes the first week of classes, I studied periodically for the past two weeks, and decided to take the final this morning.  Twenty minutes and 55 minutes later, my testing was complete, with a passing score of 85ish.  No complaints here!
Though it may seem some days like my life only consists of school and frarority life, I am some days reminded of the beauty of the world outside of this tiny bubble of grad school.  My most recent highlights from life in general have been:
1. learning to cook with quinoa
For those of you who have never tried it, quinoa is the current suupergrain of choice. It cooks essentially like rice, and contains an impressive number of vitamins/antioxidants/etc.  I have yet to perfect using this as a rice substitute, but my chicken quinoa stirfry last night was pretty on point, if I do say so myself… 🙂
2. Letters!
So, as a random fact, I love writing and receiving letters (hint. hint hint hint. hint). It should come as no surprise then that my highight of the day was receiving a hand written letter from my little brother in the mail this afternoon. Day made <3
Annnd…I do believe that’s about it for now.
Catch y’all later!