Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ode to Twax

"I've never met anyone quite like you"
The reason why a biology degree I'd pursue.

Practically everything you say is funny,
Although I no longer find corn meal yummy.

The salamanders were cuter than a bug's ear,
But we sure wish you'd stay another year.

You said "We didn't come here to eat"
But boy are we glad we got to meet.

You laid out on the sand to soak up the sun,
While the rest of us just slept on the beach like a bum.

We searched high and low for a five lined skink,
Too bad our semester has ended in a blink.

We expect to see you in the halls on your lawn chair,
This would show us that you really care.

Muchas gracias, thanks Dr. Twax,
You taught us to explore nature to the max.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

20/20 vision

This weekend I feel like I have learned a couple of new concepts.

1. I don't always have to know God's future plans for me.
    In Numbers 13 &14, the story is told of the 12 spies who went to spy on Canaan. The only reason God told them to go in the first place was because they had thought it to be the right thing. God had already promised to give them this land, ergo the name "Promised Land". However, they took the duty upon themselves to check to make sure the plan would be in their favor. When they looked to see what they would be up against, they trembled in their sandals and ran back to camp. They knew their strength was not enough to overpower the giants in the way of the land that was to be theirs. The one secret weapon they had forgot about, God, was the only way they could be successful, yet only with their consent could the power harnessed. They started whining and complaining of what the future could potentially, not necessarily what it did hold. They had given up the fight before the enemy even knew there was the possibility of one. God ended up not allowing anyone over the age of 20 to enter into the land after the years of wandering. He decided that if those people were not willing to trust Him about the plan, He would find others to fill the position. I know that God has plans for me. Now, whether or not I know these plans seems to be irrelevant. What is of utmost importance is that I trust God to get me through the plan even if it seems monstrous and totally undoable. God has perfect timing; He is never too early or too late.

2. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will."
    Mirror neurons are quite fascinating. Studies were done that monitored the brain activity of primates while they ripped a piece of paper. There was a certain path that the impulse would travel every time the paper was ripped. Next, the primate was able to watch a paper being ripped. The impulse followed the same path. Finally, the primate was blindfolded, but was able to hear the paper being ripped. This also stimulated the same neuron to fire. Changing this a little to apply to humans; we may not be doing the action, but seeing it stimulates our neurons to fire and give us the sensation. So, whether that is a good or bad action, our brain automatically responds to the stimulus. A big problem is that most people have the wrong pair of glasses on. We see the world through our "worldly sunglasses" when we should have on glasses that help us to focus. If we make God our focal point, our mirror neurons will be reflecting something worth reflecting. Perhaps, it would be best if we would all get our eyes checked so we can see the truth behind the facade. Maybe then, our focus would become a bit clearer on what matters most.

3. Apparently, God has it all under control; no need for me to worry about what He has under control.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's all about Him

Looking for the Invisible...

So why, exactly, would I choose such a name?

Well, many reasons have led me to this decision:

1. God has blessed me with a plethora of friends this year at Southern
2. God has blessed me with a brother and sister who have committed the next year to being missionaries
3. God has blessed me with a desire to explore His nature, which happens to be beautiful
4. God has blessed me with a semester of classes that are enjoyable, yet challenging
5. God has blessed me with parents that are willing to lay down everything for me

This isn't a very complete list, but you can see that I owe much thanks to God. I breeze through most days without giving a second thought to the blessings bestowed upon me. I often take life too fast to stop and look at what God has put directly in front of me.

Two weeks ago, my Vertebrate Natural History class took a weekend trip to Cherokee National Forest. God decided to show me a thing or two about Himself.

On Sabbath we took a hike up to Bob's Bald, but ended up getting poured on. From the moment we reached the top, we knew that there was no possible way to get to the bottom before the showers would start. In spite of this wet spell, we had a splendid jaunt back down the trail. What I originally thought was going to be awful turned out to be magnificent. Before the rain had started, clouds were covering most of the sky and consequently the sun. After the downpour, warm rays of light begin to stream through the trees and reach toward the forest floor.

Along the path, many mud puddles had come to be. Most would be discouraged in trying to avoid all the holes of filth, and rather frustrated that all were there. However, few would take the time to stare into the face of the watery pit. Those who took a moment to look could see that there was beauty even in this pool. By looking down in, I could see what was up above.

I think that most times I have the outlook of a traveler that is surrounded by many puddles, and just wants to get to the end of the trail without having dirty boots. Obstacles are often put in my path: nasty situations that seem to be only trouble for me. However, I have to take the time to look and see that within each of those hardships, God has placed a glimpse of beauty for me to enjoy. So instead of seeing a mud puddle, look to find the hidden splendor.

God has given each of us a pair of lenses with which we can view the world. Sometimes we put filters on our eyes to change the outlook. Other times, we are unable to see the magnificence because we forgot which one to use. His hands are always reaching out toward us; we just have to be willing to focus on Him.

I know this life is short; tomorrow is not guaranteed. My life is a mere flash in the scope of time. The things I say and do could have no effect. I am simply a flower by the wayside that can be seen, but is usually passed by unnoticed. My purpose in life is to praise Him with the time I have been given. 

"For you make me glad by your deeds, O Lord; I sing for joy at the works of your hands." Psalm 92:4 

Although He may be invisible, I can still see Him all around me.