Ode To Google

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O Google! You have searched and made known all things to me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up.

You discern my thoughts from afar because google assistant is always listening to my every word.

Your Google maps tracks my path and my lying down and is acquainted with all my ways. It is creepy.

Even before I go to search a word or topic, behold O Google, you know it altogether and suggest it before I even enter the word. You know it because your untiring ears have picked it up from my conversation.

You hem me in behind and before, and lay your irritating adds upon me.

Your overwhelming knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is alarming. I cannot explain it.

Where shall I go from your ever-spying eye? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to the heavens in an airplane–you are offered to me for only $10 an hour!

If I make my bed in a grimy third-world shack, behold, you are there!

If I wake in the wee hours of the morning or sit in the midst of my favorite people, even there your brilliant colors shall lead me, and your instant knowledge of the world and everyone I know shall distract me.

If I say, “Surely if I delete this no one else will ever know, and my little secret is safe,” even then it is not hidden from you; the knowledge could be retrieved someday, for “delete” and “erase” mean nothing with you.

For you know what happens in my private life; you can record my words, my messages, my interests, and my geographic movements for months back.

I praise you, for you deliver the information I want at the snap of a finger.

Powerful is your data processing and information filtration; my mind knows it very well.

My thoughts are not hidden from you, when I message my friend privately.

You guess my unformed question; in your vast silicon books are written all the answers.

How necessary to me is your constant presence, O Google! How vast is the sum of your helpful abilities!

If I could count them, they are more than the cups of coffee I must drink to keep up with the world you have created.

I awake, and I am still with you for my phone lies under my pillow.

Oh, that you would continue to distract me with unnecessary knowledge and gadgetry, O Google!

Search Engine of Brilliant Color, never depart from me!

Some speak against you with malicious intent; and your enemies declare your omniscience evil.

Do I not hate those who hate you, O Google?

And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I count them my enemies and loyally build my life around your services.

Search for the answer, O Google, that I may know it—now!

Observe my surfing habits carefully that you may predict my purchases!

See if there be any way to make money off me.

Lead me in the broadening path of information overload and the death of concentration and deep-thinking.

 

***Disclaimer: As you may have noticed this is written off of Psalm 139. I hope this does not seem like sacrilege, because I do not mean it as such. Psalm 139 is one of my favorite Psalms. However, the words and layout fit my topic perfectly—so I decided to use it.****

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3 Travel Tips for Your Next Flight

Good morning! I am sitting on a Copa airplane at the moment, flying high over who knows where on my way to Chicago. My eyes burn and I’m so tired I feel a little sick. In the past 24 hours, I have had the most frustrating travel experience in my entire wandering career.
Through my travels to Costa Rica a week ago and my returning trip today/yesterday, I feel more travel savvy than ever. 😉 It has been over a year since my last trip in the silver bird. I felt a little rusty. But since I am now 1:30 hours from my final destination, I have several tips I learned on this trip to help you on your next air travel trip.

#1 Do NOT try to take your water bottle that still has water in it through airport security. I know. Most of you already know the lovely 3-3-1 (or whatever the numbers are) rule that TSA drills into you. I knew this, but in the flurry of people in O’hare security line, I forgot. So I waited for my little carry-ons to be manually checked. I said, “Just throw it away.” It was a nice water bottle with my college logo on it, but I didn’t want to go to the bother. What do you know? The TSA official basically refused to do so. She practically made me let her walk me out of security, where I conspicuously emptied it into a nearby trashcan. Then I had to cut into the overflowing security line, to get reunited with my bags. After two TSA officials argued briefly about whether I should be allowed to hop in line (since I had already gone through once), they let me go. It was just a bunch of annoying bother. Moral of the story—REMEMBER TO EMPTY THE BOTTLE.

#2 Make SURE you have an address for wherever you are going. You must have it or they will not let you through migration—even if you were born there and are a citizen. Duh! I arrived before the migration officer and presented my passport confidently. Then he asked me where I was going. I threw out some names un-confidently. Mistake. If this happens to you—fake it till you make it. It won’t make them any difference. Anyway, he wouldn’t let me through until I could give him an address. So I trotted off to a corner, because my only method of communicating with someone to find the address was via Whatsapp on my phone. It was quite dead, so I had to wait a nice while till it charged enough to let me get the address. I made it, but didn’t understand why if I was a citizen of Costa Rica and had a card to prove it, that they should care where I go.

#3 If your itinerary is changed in any way (especially if you booked with an online agency like Priceline), CALL THE AIRLINE IMMEDIATELY AND CONFIRM THE CHANGE. If you don’t, you may end up like me, 12 hours late and $200 poorer—just because I “missed” my flight. I did not miss my flight at all. I showed up exactly according to the new itinerary Priceline sent me. However, somehow this schedule change never took place in Copa Airlines computers. I was denied boarding, spent annoying amounts of time on the phone with Priceline, and ended up going back home and returning to the airport in San Jose this morning to catch an early morning flight. Copa said it is Priceline’s fault and charged me the $200 ticket change penalty. Grrr…that got me. “Penalty?” Really.
I plan to try to get a refund from Priceline, but I can’t say I have much faith. I also missed class this morning, and will arrive just in time for my sister’s baby shower. Thanks Priceline. Thanks Copa. I’m really feeling the love for you guys right now.

The joke of the whole hassle is this: My cousin (who had taken me to the airport) and I were standing by while the Copa officials got me all set on a new flight. Then the young official looked up and asked me (concerning the $200 I owed), “Are you paying with a card or effective?” We had us a good little chuckle over that one. He was translating directly from Spanish, but—bless his heart—in this case it was the wrong word. He meant cash. The Spanish word for cash is efectivo. 😊

Enough grumbling. Overall, my week in Costa Rica was fantastic!! Seeing my people down there, getting my cousin married off, and topping off the trip with a good soak at some beautiful hot springs…good stuff. Plus, there was good coffee and conversation, gorgeous sunshine, and warm weather instead of bleak skies and soggy snow/rain.

Having said that, I do love winter and would sorely miss it if I moved to a tropical country. I sat by silently as my friends agreed together how horribly cold they will be when they get back to the States and on and on. As much as I enjoyed the week of warmth, I do not mind the cold. In fact, I enjoy certain aspects of it—hot drinks, cozy blankets, crackling fires, cute scarves, frosty breath, and not being icky and sweaty all the time. I’m a happy midwestern girl and proud of it. Give me my seasons or give me death. Ok, it’s not quite that bad.
See ya next week!

“I Think I’m In Love”

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I wonder if anyone else in this freezing, college library has any idea what a wonderful time I am having?! Do they have any idea how my emotions soar with the gorgeous soprano of the Oasis Chorale soloist on “Ndikhokhele Bawo” as I work through the flashcards for chapter 11 in Medical Terminology? (If you have not heard it, click on this link and go do that before reading further. It is a treat.) Do they have any idea what fun I have, surrounded by my water, food, books, and with earbuds in? I am in my own little world of music and study. I love it!! Really, I do. It is a little weird, I know. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes it’s positively awful—like the days I’m low on sleep, or have to write a super boring paper about EMG’s, or when I can hardly muster the brain power required to comprehend a difficult concept in chemistry.

But as I drove to school this morning—the day was fresh, I had just spent two hours studying for my A&P exam this morning and was feeling confident—and I spent my 20-minute drive mentally walking through the muscles of the body and speaking them to myself out loud. At some point, I made the sudden realization—I’m in love. I am in love with studying.

Following are things about studying that I love. It is rather geeky I suppose and from the memes on Pinterest I don’t have all that much company. (Insert disclaimer: I do totally identify with those memes many times. Except on days like today, when I’m feelin’ the love. 😉)

  • I love sitting in my corner of the library with no human in my field of vision, buried in my studies with my earbuds in, listening to my youtube study playlist. Aaaaahh…pleasure.
  • I loooooove crossing off completed assignments from my planner only slightly more than neatly filling them all in on my calendar. (Ok, actually a whole lot more.) #j (by this I am referring to the judging part of my ISFJ personality)
  • I love gaining knowledge. It adds more depth to life. (This is true of gaining more knowledge in any area I’m sure.) I love learning how the human body works. I find it fascinating to actually know what is going on, say, when I contract my muscles to pick up something. Knowing that there are millions of little microscopic sarcomeres contracting when I pick up my 10 lb. backpack is just cool!
  • I love the feeling of slaving away, feverishly writing out complicated biological processes until my hand muscles just about can’t keep writing and my hand-writing becomes increasingly sloppier. Then sitting back and knowing that I know the content—that I understand the process. Thrilling I know. 😊
  • I love the feeling of studying something one day, and suddenly something “clicks” in my brain. It suddenly all becomes clear. That extremely confusing concept/process from one or two chapters ago now makes perfect sense because of what I just now studied. Two chapters ago I just had to memorize the steps and terms, having only a shaky grasp on the concept, now I understand. And I wonder how I could have thought it was so difficult back then.
  • Also, I cannot forget to mention my all-time favorite thing about studying/being a college student. I LOVE going to coffee shops!!!!!! I just love the feel of being in a charming coffee shop, sipping my coconut latte—extra hot, only one shot of syrup—with my laptop, studying and having all the college-student-in-a-coffee-shop-like-I-always-dreamed-of feels. 😊 Mmmmm….

So no. If you thought I had some new romantic revelation—I do not. (In fact, I was thinking about writing a post on the perks of being 23 and single. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to hear on that.) But I am in love with studying and learning, and shall leave you today with this incredible quote:
“All knowledge is connected to all other knowledge the fun is in making the connections.” -Arthur Aufderheide

12 Marvelous Years

Twelve years ago I was 11 years old.

Twelve years ago I was a little girl who had just watched her daddy take his final breath.

Twelve years have passed where I have observed with secret longing and pain the tender father-daughter moments around me.

Twelve years have passed of not knowing what it is like to have a dad beyond childhood.

Twelve years now I’ve known that I will never be so priviledged as to have my dad walk me down the aisle.

For twelve years I have carried weights upon my shoulders that I shouldn’t have to.

And for twelve years I have known that my children (should they ever be) will never get to know the wonderful man without whom I would not be.

These things are sad. They make me cry. And there is so much more I could have said.

But these 12 years have also been marvelous years.

Twelve years I have known that this is not the end–I will get to see my dad again. I have known that he is in eternity safe with our God.

For twelve years I have lived with the secure knowledge that I was dearly loved by the most important man in my life.

For twelve years, I have remembered the last hug and kiss and his “I love you.”

For twelve years, I have known that he loved my mother and was always faithful to her.

Now I am 23 and studying to be a nurse. In fact, perhaps his hospital stays influenced me a little. I trust he would be proud. I think he would have loved this stage of life. He would have loved watching his daughters date, interacting with his sons-in-law, and doing cool man stuff with his teenage sons. He would have loved middle age life with the wife of his youth. But these things were not meant to be. And that’s ok.

I said these years have been marvelous and they have. They have been difficult sometimes. But life itself is a beautiful gift. And the knowledge I live with though I do not have my dad any more, blesses me beyond measure. For I could be living knowing my dad is not here because he simply doesn’t care about me. Or because he has chosen another woman over my mother. Or I could have a dad who I see every day, but whose presence I fear and dread. This is the life of many.

And so I hold to my assertion. Today marks 12 years of a life of loss, but simultaneously, marvelous blessing.

P.S. Here he is just so you can see how handsome he was. 😉

A Hint of Jesus in CHEM 130

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Last Monday in Chemistry class I was encouraged. Let me tell you why. So we have one classmate who is struggling in the class and insists on blaming the book, the instructor, and the school system in general. He has been the cause of tension in class on several occasions as he publicly puts down the instructor and school.

On Monday he was once again making some comment on how behind he is and so on and so forth. I don’t know why, because to me there is absolutely no relation between the two, but he said, “…I’m as lost as Noah!”
Our sweet, little instructor turned from what she was writing on the board, looked at him, and said with confidence, “Noah wasn’t lost. He had faith.” To which I believe said student made some unimpressed comment or grunt. She replied with that same confidence, “You should try it. It would really help you.”

I sat there amazed at her comments and impressed with the kind, but completely sure way she spoke to him. That was that and class moved on. But that 30 second exchange made my night. I concluded my instructor must be a Christian, and I loved how she not only rebutted the student’s disparaging and completely incorrect remark about Noah, but turned it around and challenged him to consider faith for himself.

When I am out and about in the world and see other’s sharing their faith, or wearing clothes that have some form of the gospel on them, or when I see bumper stickers affirming God/Christianity or the sign of the fish—I am always so encouraged. Christians are becoming less and less popular these days. In spite of all the talk about tolerance and inclusivity, it seems like Christianity is somehow the exception. It just confirms to me that there is something different about Christianity. It demands too much, and so it is bothersome to most. They want to avoid it at all cost.

True Christianity is exclusive. We can’t deny it. It cannot be “included and tolerated” along with everything else, because as soon as it enters the picture it excludes all else. Because Christianity is so exclusive, people often think of Christians as harsh and intolerant. In reality, we should be the kindest, most loving people, yet without compromising what the Bible clearly teaches about the only way to God—JESUS.

May we all be courageous! Who knows who you will be a blessing to as you live out Christ for the world to see.

Time To Introvert

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Hello my friends! I missed my Wednesday post. Life and lack of discipline happened. Let’s not dwell on that. However, since I am determined to keep up my blogging schedule you get a post today and another one on Wednesday. [That J part of my personality kicking in there. 😊 I’m an ISFJ, the Defender, according to the MBTI. You should go check out your personality type here. 😉 It’s lots of fun!]

Back to topic. First, let me describe to you where I am right now. I am sitting in my quiet room, on a blue-sky fall day, in a deliciously empty house. I’m in a comfy, old recliner with soft piano music and water sounds playing in the background; a cup of coffee (fresh ground, fresh brewed of course!) beside me.
Why am I describing this to you? Because so much of my life these past few weeks desperately lacked this. When my life lacks quietness and white space, my soul and mind and emotions hit the fan. This fan hitting is not pleasant for me or for those around me.

In the last 2 weeks especially, the tension inside has been mounting as I run from school, to work, to social activities, and never just REST. I tend to overcommit myself. I have been wearing myself down emotionally because I haven’t stopped to process life. To sit in quietness and BE. To do something I enjoy instead of just frenetically trying to do what needs to be done to keep my head above water.

I have learned two things this week end. #1 I am an introvert who needs quiet space occasionally even though I love a party and am usually one of the last to leave. #2 Spending time journaling about what I’m feeling and crying it out, and having a day at home to sleep in and putter and just be, is extremely good for my overwrought, overstimulated-by-life-in-general soul.

So this beautiful October Sunday afternoon, I have decided to check out. Week 8 of this semester with its mountains of homework looms before me. But this afternoon is white-space, introvert’s recharge for this girl. When you sit among the people you love, but the noise of conversation, crying babies, and just the very presence of people makes you want to scream—it is time to step back.

A very wise friend of mine advised me yesterday to schedule white-space [down time, to do WHATEVER I want, to recharge and relax] into my life. To make it a part of my planned activities so that it happens. She told me how the week of her wedding she took one whole day off to sleep in and do no wedding stuff. She said it was wonderful and made the time she did work hard go better. I think I will try her suggestion.

Be refreshed this week! If you have any tips on this topic, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Critical Book Review of Silas Marner

Silas Marner, written by George Eliot (pen name of Mary Ann Evans), is a story about sin, its consequences, and the redemptive power of love. After experiencing abuse from church leaders, Silas escapes to the quiet, ignorant town of Raveloe and becomes obsessed with gold. After misfortune once again disturbs Silas’s quiet life and his gold is stolen, he is providentially sent a orphan child with golden curls. Silas believes this gold-haired child is his returned gold, and he purposes to love and provide for her as a father. Although Silas Marner contains seemingly too many characters, Eliot wove together unforgettable characters and a story with universal life themes.

The novel seems to contain too many characters for the reader to keep track of. Because the story contains a main plot and a subplot, Eliot has many people entering and exiting the scenes, creating confusion and requiring careful reading. Another example of this occurs in Chapter 6 when Eliot records a conversation among ten men. At times the men are referred to by their occupation, sometimes by their first names, and still other times by their surnames. These writing patterns tend to make Eliot’s novel cumbersome to read and confusing to mentally organize.

Unforgettable characters provide continuity and predictability in the novel. Silas Marner, a miser, acts like a legendary miser. Storing his gold in the floor, counting his gold daily, and distancing himself from society all align with the reader’s preexisting idea of a miser. Dunstan Cass, the son of wealth and plenty, lives a life customary of the rich. Readers can easily imagine this spoiled child getting his way, lying to achieve his purposes, stealing with little conscience, and gleefully tormenting others. Readers of Silas Marner connect well with the main characters for their remarkable normality and predictability.

The zenith of Eliot’s work has to be the power of the central themes. Eliot understood the ambitions, fears, and patterns of human nature, and she skillfully wove these into her story. The theme of redeeming love is seen clearly in the life of Silas, the miser. When even the church, who should represent hope and love, abuses him, he turns to the emptiness of gold. When even this is taken from him, he accepts the providential gift of the child, and purposes to love this replacement of his gold. As Silas loves on his child, he begins to open up about his past abuse, becomes more acquainted with his community, and returns to religion. The secondary theme of sin and its consequences is equally powerful. While Silas experiences redeeming love through the adopted child, the squire’s son bears the weight of his poor decisions, reckless behavior, and lack of discipline. “As a man sows, so shall he reap” is evident in the life of the squire’s son. Through these two central themes, Eliot proves a deep understanding of human nature, urging readers to evaluate the transforming power of love, their lives, and the future consequences of their actions.

Through Silas Marner, Eliot has given the literary world a masterpiece of unforgettable characters and timeless truths. This book has the capacity to transform the way one thinks about sin, strengthen one’s faith in the redemptive power of love, and encourage one to ascertain the effects of the choices he is making currently. Because of these reasons, George Eliot’s Silas Marner will continue to be a popular classic for years to come.

GUEST AUTHOR POST: Louisa Friesen is an English teacher at United Christian School. Besides teaching school, she enjoys writing, reading, and extroverting outside of her school responsibilities. This review was written around the same time her students were writing their own book reviews.

Creation, Natural Selection, and Big Personalities

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Today is Wednesday. According to my new blogging schedule, it is time to write. Something. While I studied in the still of the morning (my favorite time to study) with a mug of steaming coffee nearby, I thought I’d write about race and melanin and why we have the whole spectrum of human skin color. I was studying the integumentary system by the way. That is what brought up this topic.

But then I went to A&P class this morning, and then the promise of pizza lurred me into the introductory science club meeting of my college’s science club. I didn’t have all that much interest, but decided a sneak peek and of course the free pizza didn’t hurt.

Forty-five minutes later and hunger pangs quelled, I had come to 3 conclusions:

  1. I would not be joining science club. (For various reasons, including lack of time and lack of passion for intended projects. 😉
  2. I had wasted a precious 45 minutes of my time. (I guess the pizza made it worth it though.)
  3. I do not gravitate towards people with big personalities, wearing kaleidoscope-printed leggings, and obsessed with recycling, global warming/climate change, and composting. (Don’t get me wrong, these have their place and are fine and good. They’re just not me. The exception might be the middle one. I don’t know enough about it to make a statement.)

So I ran to the Marketing Department and got my picture taken per their request, and here I am now writing to you before I hit those books again.

So where does creation and natural selection come in? Well, that is part of the skin color topic I originally planned to write. We learned in class that Northern peoples have lighter skin so they can produce much needed Vitamin D even though exposed to little sunlight. This is versus dark skinned people living closer to the equator who have lots of melanin and therefore more protection from UV radiation. Their darker skin also makes it so they require more sunlight to be able to produce the amount of Vitamin D they need.

Of course, evolutionists would say this evolved slowly over time and is a good example of natural selection and evolution. Sans it being a proof of evolution, I did think it made sense scientifically. However, I wanted to be sure I was not swallowing something that is not true. So this morning I did some quick googling on what creation scientists attribute variation in skin tone to. Here is the article from Answers in Genesis website, that I read. It calmed my fears and affirmed my previous conclusion–that climate did affect skin color and natural selection was at work. Note: natural selection does not equal evolution. However, there is one notable difference–I believe it happened over a much shorter period of time after the dispersion at Babel. Not over millions of years.

Ok, so I basically wrote my little article after all. 🙂

 

 

 

I Corinthians 13 for the Millennial

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Though I can contrive the cleverest Instagram captions for my pictures, but have not love, I have become sounding brass and a clanging cymbal.

And though I have the gift of saying all the “right” things in a social context, and understand how to present myself just so, and though I have all the right “in” shirts and shoes, so that others follow me for fashion tips, but have not love, I am nothing.

And though I donate $100 on GoFundMe and share so my friends see what a compassionate heart I have, and though I give up the second pair of Birkenstocks (🙈), but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy someone else’s 500followers; love does not boast of its 1,000th like, or its popularity on social media, it is not puffed up with its friends gushy compliments on the last profile picture; it does not condescendingly comment on that poor girl’s lack of selfie-taking skills; it does not seek its own success by hanging out with the “right” people; it is not easily annoyed at the “less” talented people who wish to share their skills occasionally too; it thinks no evil; it does not rejoice in iniquity; but rejoices when people are real and honest about who they are; love bears all things like less-than-high-maintenance-supporting environments.

Love endures all things. Love never fails. But where there is physical beauty—wrinkles and a few extra pounds will someday occur; where there is a soaring voice—it will become quavery and raspy eventually; where there is quick wit and intelligence—it will become dull. For we sing the best and look the best and have the fastest come-back only until a one better comes along.
But when that which truly matters comes into focus—our prized points of pride will fade away.

When I was focused on the transient, I though impeccable style, social media popularity, and physical attractiveness were what mattered, but when I truly began to understand what matters, I put away such childish notions.

For now, I see in a mirror, dimly, but in eternity it will be so obvious. I will wonder at all the time, energy, and emotion I wasted on those things. Now, I know in my head what matters most, but then, I shall know it as well as God does now.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is—not acclaim, beauty, intelligence, social media stardom, popularity, talent, or even faith or hope—but LOVE. And that is attainable for each of us.

Welcome to my blog!

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I’m a 23-year-old pre-nursing student from lovely, little Shipshewana. I originally started this blog on my 21st birthday because I always thought it would be a fun thing to do! After stagnating these 2.5 years, I take it up once again. Perhaps more “intentionally” (see what I did there) and with more potential for content this time. I am in college, working, and enjoying life! You will hear anything from study tips to the new cheesecake recipe I just tried out! Let me know what you like, don’t like, or want to hear more about. And if I be speaking mostly to a handful of loyal family and friends only–then may I write well for the enhancement of my own writing skills and for your enlightenment on what is currently transpiring in my life and mind. To the future! 🥂