Sunday, April 19, 2015

When you first knew what you really wanted to do in life

It's taken me a while to get this typed up and posted but I want to capture these bits and pieces of my family history. Mom went to her 60 high school reunion last fall (!!!) and her class started a Facebook group to keep and touch and continue sharing. The group was asked to share what they remembered about when they first knew what they wanted to do in life. When my mom and I went to lunch downtown at Elmer LoveJoy's and she shared with me some of her thoughts on this that she'll be sharing with her class too.

When she was in 7th grade she knew she wanted to become a college professor after listening to the Quiz Kids radio show. She thought up a question about Cardinal Richelieu to try to to stump the Quiz Kids, and she figured it was a pretty hard question since her 7th grade history teacher didn't know it, but it didn't get used in the show.

The next year she sent away for college catalogs for the Big 10 colleges and Vassar (because he'd heard that Chiang Kai-shek's wife went to Vassar) but got a big shock when she discovered how much Vassar cost! Still, she had a plan: she bought a pedigreed West Highland White Terrier, Heather, with the plan of breeding her and selling pups to save up money. Heather's first litter had three puppies, but just shortly after they were weaned Heather died from an infection. Mom sold two of the puppies (and didn't even break even, after Heather's vet bill) and kept one of them, Pinky, but Heather's death made her lose heart in her plan.

My mom with her Westie, her mother and siblings Tom, David, and Connie
She ended up getting a scholarship at Kent State, and later a very nice fellowship in German and Russian for her Master's at Indiana University - she ended up going to a Big 10. The fellowship also allowed her to travel to Europe. After her Masters, she taught German and Russian at the University at Buffalo (where she met my dad) and later switched to a PhD program in International Economics. I remember her working on her dissertation, I think I was about 10 when she got her doctorate. She has taught International Economics and related course for over 30 years now.

This got me thinking about when I first knew what I wanted to do. I started journaling when I was 10 and that quickly expanded into writing stories about horses. I fell in love with the Lord of the Rings when I was 14 (I think I re-read it three times in one year!) and I knew I wanted to write epic stories like that. But then when I was 15, my godmother Barbara took me along with her kids to Disney World, and I fell in love with the Living Seas exhibit, and asked one of the people working at this giant aquarium what kind of training I would need to get a job like this. "Marine biologist" they told me.

My journals during junior and senior year were full of my being torn between my love of science and my love of writing. One of my mother's friends taught Biology 101 at the University at Buffalo, and she got me into his class my senior year (which had the nice side benefit of giving me a lot of freedom from the regular high school schedule). I loved it! Even the labs. I took copious notes and when studying for my tests, I recopied my notes into a fresh notebook so that they were neat and organized (one night I stayed up all night doing this). But still, the love of the writing was right there along with the love of science.

My first semester at Oswego State I took the prerequisite classes for a Biology major (Chemistry, Calculus, I forgot the third); and two required humanities courses, one of which was a writing course. I didn't like Chemistry and Calculus at all, but I loved the writing class. So I began to have doubts about my major. But then an environmental group (Greenpeace maybe?) gave a talk on campus and I was so inspired by it, I became determined again to push myself through all the tough science and math classes and continue the biologist track.

After getting the pre reqs out of the way, I got to take specialized biology classes my other three years in college. I remember specifically Biochemistry, Ecology, Animal Behavior, Limnology, Oceanography, Stream Ecology, Forestry, and Plant Biology. None of them excited me like General Biology had, I couldn't see a career in any of them, and I wasn't excited enough about Marine Biology anymore to continue to the master's level. But my senior year I took a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) class because I had heard it had a lot applications in Forestry and other natural resources management areas - and I had finally found my niche! I got my Master's in Geography and loved all my classes, and I have been working in the GIS field now for 21 years.

But I've never stopped writing, either, and I view it as more than a hobby. These stories in my head keep begging to be written, but over the years I've discovered it's not just about getting them down onto paper, it's also about seeing them change as I change... and finding the heart of the story.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A study on Proverbs for girls

I've been meaning to write up some of the things I've learned from my Bible study on "His Glory" (my theme this year), but right now a study I'm doing in Proverbs with my girls is foremost in my mind.

I wanted to put together a summary with some pictures to help us remember the important points we studied in Proverbs. Here's the two page summary I came up with:

Proverbs is a book about people, the good and bad things they do, and how we can be wise about interacting with people so that our lives are not ruined, but successful.

 Proverbs 1:4,5 says this book was written to three kinds of people:
1. those who are simple, so they can know what to watch out for
2. those who are young, to gain knowledge and discretion;
3. For wise people so they can become even wiser

Proverbs 1:22  and many other verses in Proverbs describe several different types of fools. "How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?  How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?"
1) The Simple Fool doesn't know that sin has consequences.
  • Will believe anything; is easily swayed. Doesn’t think ahead to what could happen.
  • Doesn’t take the time to learn about what is good or bad (Proverbs 22:3)

2) The Self-Confident Fool doesn't believe that sin has consequences.
  • Argument, persuasion, and advice from well-meaning friends fail to convince these fools of error. But correction by authorities, which publicly shames this fool, may change his ways.

    • Chooses to ignore wisdom and go their own way.
    • Proverbs 26: 11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.
    • Proverbs 14:8 Wise men give thought to their ways, but a fool is easily deceived (falls for lies easily!)
    • Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools ignore wisdom and instruction.
    • Proverbs 14:3 A fool’s proud talk becomes a rod that beats him, but the words of the wise keep them safe.
    3) The Committed Fool doesn't care that sin has consequences.
    • Proverbs 27:22 says, "Though you crush a fool in a mortar like grain with a pestle, yet will his foolishness not depart from him."
    • Psalm 14:1  The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile.

    4) The Scornful fool (the mocker) hates the truth and makes fun of it
    • Proverbs 13: 1  A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,  but a mocker refuses to listen to correction
    • Proverbs 9:7, 8   Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults… Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.
    • Proverbs 21:11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.

    Which type of fool was Samson?

    5) The wise person listens to instruction, and becomes wiser, and successful
    • Proverbs 12:15 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.
    • Proverbs 14: 13   People who despise advice are asking for trouble;   those who respect a command will succeed.

    The wise person is described in Proverbs 2:1-10
    • God holds success in store for them
    • God protects them & guards them
    • God shows them every good path – gives them direction and fulfillment in life
    • Wisdom will save them from the ways of wicked men
    • They understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God
    • Their lives are full of light and joy. Proverbs 13:9
    • They are able to flourish even during hard times. Proverbs 10:25:  When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away,  but the godly have a lasting foundation
    Wise people are known by what they say:
    • Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed. Proverbs 12:18, 19
    • “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:2
    • James 3:5-7 A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.  And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison

    Wise people aren’t proud, and they check in with God instead of going their own way

    • We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer. Proverbs 16:1 This one is repeated a lot!! A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart. Proverbs 20:2, 16:9, 19:21, 5:21, 24:12
    • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. Proverbs 3:5,6
    • “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12
    • “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor  Proverbs 29:23
    • “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Prov. 11:2

    Proverbs teaches you how to identify a friend that will cause you trouble:
    • They will quarrel (argue) a lot. They may be nice to you, but if you see that they hate other people, they may turn on you too: “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.” (10:12)
    • A troublemaker causes division; gossip separates the best of friends. (16:28)
    • If sinners entice you, turn your back on them! If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away.  But these people set an ambush for themselves (Prov 1:10,17,18)

    Proverbs teaches you the keys to success and happiness
    • He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house (14:27) and it robs them of life (1:19)
    • Whoever is kind to the poor… will be rewarded for what they have done (19:17)
    • Work hard and become a leader, be lazy and become a slave. (12:24)
    • The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich,  and he adds no sorrow with it (10:22) Rich people who do not know God are never satisfied and end
    • up full of regret
    • Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow (13:11)

    Proverbs teaches the difference between true love and tempting but false love
    • True love respects both you and God. False love tempts you to do the wrong thing (sex outside of marriage) Proverb 5:15 Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife (or husband. Wait for true love!)
    • False love is at first beautiful and exciting, but eventually it is disappointing. Then it leads to bitterness, and finally it leads to death. (Proverbs 5:3-5)
    • 1 Cor 6:16  Do you not know that he who unites himself with another is one with her in body? For it is said, "The two will become one flesh." 
    • When the relations hip ends and you separate, you lose part of yourself as you tear away from another person.
    • 2 Cor 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership has light with darkness?
    • Proverbs 19:4 Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the LORD can give an understanding wife.  (Your best chance of having a loving marriage: trust God to provide your husband/wife and trust/obey Him throughout the marriage