Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Irony: posted

You know, giving is so much more fulfilling than receiving. It's fulfilling in a way that receiving never was, and never can be.


Thursday, October 26, 2006


The kind of dreams I have that I hope come true are more the ones where I've published a book or two, and I'm teaching in the university system.

I'm currently compiling (slowly) research on the history of building codes. As it turns out, there isn't a comprehensive history to be found ANYWHERE, and if I can't read one, I might as well try to write one.

Then there's law school. It's creeping back into my brain right now, though I wish it would go away. Now is not the right time. Definitely. I'm thinking about grants (because SMU is EXPENSIVE, and I don't want to get another OU degree), though I'd have to quit my job to get them, and I'd have to be in school full time. Neither of those was I contemplating, to be honest. But maybe a good three-year sabbatical from work would do me good... perhaps get me to focus in a direction? And maybe I can work my research on building codes into that degree? Perhaps do a dissertation on it?

There's something strangely comforting about an academic existence. It's the fabric I was cut from, to be sure.

I think I can also get grants to write that book. From whom, though? ICC? The government? What government official will lobby for a comprehensive history on code development?

I can't move forward on ANY of this until the registration is secured, though.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Living the Adventure

Last night happened so fast, I really couldn't stop it...

I showed up at the bike shop to embark on my very first group ride. I showed up early, though, and found myself blurting out to the manager that I wanted to change out the pedals and shoes to a clipless system before we left. I really don't think my mind had any say in this move; it was all my mouth.

So here we are. It's my first time out with a pack. I have no clue where we're going or how long we'll be gone. We're safely maneuvering down semi-busy streets. It's dark. It's raining. And I'm negotiating my way along, now "one" with my bike.


Only fell once. Threatened to a few more times before I realize that I CAN get out of the other pedal if I remember to do so before my centroid moves beyond the point of no return.

What an adventure.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

University Celebrity

Congratulations to my friend Matt for winning first place in the Collegiate Inventors Competition!!!!

See? Weather is cool.




Monday, October 23, 2006

And now a word from our sponsor...

Took the MEP portion of the ARE this morning. It was easier than I thought.

But here's the problem.

I don't study. I know I know, I SAY I study, and when I DO try, it is with the purest intentions. It mostly involves collecting a pile of books I think would be a good idea to have a look through.

But I don't.

Not until the weekend before.

Then I cram. But it's not really called cramming. Because you can't cram for a state board exam. You either know it or you don't. The questions are so unpredictable and vary widely.

See, I think by association. It's horrible on conversations and blogging, because I'm usually all over the place. It's also a big hindrance to why I am not teaching right now. I feel, well, ineffective at it because of my associative thinking skills. I chase too many rabbits down too many rabbit holes. But I digress. Again.

I am becoming more and more frightened of architects as a general species. If the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards sees fit to hand me a license, what other associative thinkers who just know how to take a test are out there really practicing architecture???

Anyway, I think I aced it, but I can't do my happy dance just yet.

Have to start studying for General Structures.

hehehe yeah, I said "studying". *wink wink*

(EDIT: Okay, in all fairness, I DID learn a bit about HVAC systems this weekend that might've saved my butt.)

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

More than words on a page

I think I've spent more than my fair share of time wondering what "God's will" is for my life. This has included a myriad decisions and situations. And everyone I've consulted in this quest has only pointed me to one source: the Bible. Now, admittedly this has frustrated me more than anything because the answers I was looking for were not IN the Bible. I flipped through Job and still couldn't figure out where I should work. Song of Solomon didn't tell me who I should date. I'm sure I'm not the only one trying to gain some sort of clarification through God's Word.

What happened wasn't a resignation to "fate", but a realignment of what my definition of "God's will" is. And as it turns out, it's not what I thought it was at all.

Romans 12 is a wellspring of information about how to discern God's will in our lives.

Romans 12

Living Sacrifices

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship. 2Do 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.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[
b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[
c] Do not be conceited.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[
d]says the Lord. 20On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."[e] 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Remember the conditional logic of a previous post? First, let's look at the opening paragraph. The antecedent here consists of several things. First, consider God's mercy. And I mean really consider it. Do any of us really deserve it? Is mercy ever really even deserved? I think that's the point of mercy: to give good when good is not deserved.

Now that we've considered God's mercy, perhaps we should think of what we can give back to God. Paul writes that we should give our entire bodies to Him, as a living sacrifice. This doesn't mean shutting down in a servile depression, rolling over into the fetal position, a helpless ball. This sacrifice is LIVING. It is the little things we do that are to be the sacrifices we make. Why? Because of God's mercy to us, not because anyone deserves it, or because we're feeling particularly generous that day. The only One with the right to choose to be merciful is the Lord Himself (Romans 9:15-16). That's right. We DON'T have a choice.

Let me repeat that.

We DON'T have a choice whether to be merciful or not. We simply must be.

Continuing on, Paul urges his readers to not conform (this sounds active to me, as if we are purposely doing this) any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed (this sounds like a passive response to an outside influence, to allow something to happen rather than cause it on our own) by the renewing of your mind. Praise the Lord that He Himself will come in and do the work for us, if we submit to Him!! If we allow ourselves to be transformed. I can attest, it is such an act of death in order to gain. Mark 8:36 asks us what we profit if we gain the world, but lose our very self? Our own soul? It is so tempting to want to gain the world, because it's what we SEE!!! We can't "see" God. But if we TRUST Him to bless us and watch over us, we can more easily forfeit the things of this world, to gain our own soul. To get our life back!! I don't know about you, but there are some days I try so hard, striving for the things of this world, and all I really want in the end is to have my life back.

Now, here comes the consequent of the conditional logic statement in this paragraph, and the focal point of this piece here. Paul says that upon letting ourselves be transformed, THEN we will know what the will of God is. We will be able to test and approve His will. This sounds to me like we will be given some sort of "insider" knowledge if we go all the way to "approval" level. Furthermore, this sounds way more assured than merely "not knowing God's will for my life". The two concepts seem so contradictory. One seems secure, the other seems out of control and fearful.

So how do we do this? Where's's the practical application that will lead us to full knowledge of God's will? I thought you'd never ask....

Verses 3 through 21, the rest of the chapter, explain fully what God's will is for our lives. No, you won't find the "Magic 8-Ball" answer in here for any big decisions you have. And I'm sorry if that's what you were looking for, but that isn't how God defines His good, pleasing, and perfect will for our lives. Just look at what Jesus has to say about it. In Matthew 6 He says to seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness. Everything else He spoke of earlier in the chapter (about food, clothes, possessions, money, activities) will be added unto us. God is not so far beyond our economy or your social circle to leave us hanging if we choose to abandon our own self-fulfillment to pursue His kingdom. I think we forget that.

So what is God's will? What does the pursuit of His kingdom involve? Let me list out a few from Romans 12:3-21:
  • Don't think of ourselves more highly than we ought,
  • Behave as memberor of one body, concerned about the welfare of all the parts, and uplifting the individual abilities of all the parts
  • Love sincerely
  • Hate what is evil
  • Cling to what is good
  • Be devoted to one another in brotherly love
  • Honor one another above yourselves
  • Keep spiritually fervent!!!
  • Be joyful in hope
  • Be patient in affliction
  • Be faithful in prayer
  • Be generous
  • Practice hospitality
  • Bless those who persecute you
  • Don't curse anyone
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice! Mourn with those who mourn!!
  • Live in harmony with each other
  • Don't be proud or conceited, but be willing to associate with anyone of ANY position in life.
  • Don't repay evil for evil
  • Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody
  • Live at peace with everyone (as far as it depends on you)
  • Don't take revenge, but leave room for God's wrath.
  • Feed and give drink to our enemies
  • Don't be overcome (this sounds like passive acceptance) by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Okay, everyone, here's the short list. *grin*

Can I just point out one more thing before I sign off?

Romans 12:5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

So each member belongs to all the others, right? The way a wife belongs to a husband and a husband to a wife? And should be treated as a wife would want to be treated by a husband, and a husband by a wife? As Christ loved the church? We all belong to each other?


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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ode to Tofu

I never thought I'd say this, but I really like tofu!

As long as I've been without meat, my taste sensibilities have shifted where I taste the amino acids in protein much more strongly than ever before. With animal protein, it's a taste overload. Those of you who probably think you could never survive without meat probably don't realize that you could, after a few months of being without it and simultaneously indulging in a high-protein plant-based diet. Now, if I add the same spices to a lentil soup that I would to, say, a sausage gumbo, I personally cannot tell the difference between my meatless dish and one I'd have eaten a few months ago containing an animal product.

So, I bought some extra firm tofu a while ago. I used to eat tofu sparingly in college when I lived with my roommate who is Indian. I tried cooking it up a few different ways, just to be a good sport about trying new foods, and with a genuine interest in the challenge of making something with such a bad reputation actually taste good. But I never could quite get it right. I tried "crumbling" it (does tofu really crumble???) and making a food resembling a "ground" meat of some sort, but that never worked. There's so much water in tofu that you really only end up boiling it for the first 30 minutes. By the time the water evaporates, you're not even sure what you planned to do with it to begin with.

Back to my story, though. I had this Extra Firm slab of gelatinous soy food product in my fridge, marinating in its own package of water, for a few weeks (okay, it was more like two months). I decided to go for broke last night (trying to live, remember?) and added some olive oil to the pan, with some chopped garlic cloves, large onion wedges, and the obligatory salt, pepper and sage.

Oh wow! What used to be a "slightly creamy tasting, barely palatable, strange eating sensation" became a real useful food product for me! I sliced the tofu into thin strips and laid them in the oil and threw the onions on top (for presentation, mostly, although I live alone, so this may possibly come off as odd). The slight carmelization of the onions and garlic created a brown glaze for the tofu to sizzle in, along with the oil. I quickly sliced some lettuce and tomato and avocado to recieve my lovely meat-replacement dish.

I swear, it tastes just like chicken. And no, I'm not just saying that. I can actually taste the amino acids in my protein-laden plant-based diet.

Just like I can taste the sugars in the plants I cook on the stove, converted from the cellulose plant fiber being broken down by the heat.

It's not just a healthy way to eat; it also satisfies my continual desire to treat every day as a science lab. (But without having to worry about a grade!!!!)


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Find me on the practice field

As I consider life and all that it has to offer, I can't help but consider marriage. Now, I realize that I am unique and important independent of a relationship. I have a lot to offer independent of a relationship. On any given day I've got a million things I want to try out on this planet before I die. Heck, just today I was revisiting my desire to get my law degree. But I digress.

If you're anything like me, sometimes you have to be reminded several times to do something. Especially if it's not anything high on your priority list. Well, God knows this and sometimes has to introduce something in a repetitive manner in my life in order for me to catch on. He did that with a book in the sidebar here, When God Writes Your Love Story. It's been an intriguing read so far. It's definitely spoken to me.

The part that coincides most with where I am in life (besides, well, all of it) is the part about the family.

When we condition ourselves to run away and disown those who are most familiar with us, we're preparing ourselves for a disastrous future. Our lives consist of relationships. God designed us for family. Intimate family relationships are among the most difficult things we must deal with as humans, because closeness leads to the exposure of who we really are, inside and outside. We young people have a very short period in our life that God seems to give us for practice.

Family isn't just in our past; it's very much in our future, too. And I guarantee you that if you train yourself to model Christ now to those most familiar and close, you will be superb at it when you get married.

Family is our practice field. We take into our future marriage what we learn in our life with "them" [meaning our immediate families] in the here and now. If we learn to snub and disown those closest to us now, we're setting habit patterns for broken trust and emotional heartache in the future. If we train ourselves in the here and now to verbally abuse our family members, we will be conditioning ourselves to bite rather than bless in the future.

Isn't that the truth? If I could re-type out this whole chapter on the family, how our immediate family tends to receive the brunt of the darkest end of the spectrum of who we "truly" are, I would. But I think you should just read the book.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006


By the way, this blog is under construction. As I perilously weave my way through the prickly underbrush of html, I may leave behind a few broken links or other mistakes. Patience is essential while I attempt to ace my crash course on code writing.

In other unrelated news, I saw my very first Kelvin Helmholtz wave form cloud yesterday. I'd offer up my right arm, but I need it for drafting, page turning, and riding my bike.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Conditional Logic in the Bible

Before I drift off to sleep to the sound of the rain lightly beating the shingles of my third floor aerie flat, I thought I'd jot a quick note about a verse I've been mulling over lately, and the implication of conditional logic on its veracity.

To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said, "If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32

Now, I've heard the second half of this passage all my life. In fact, I think that many who do not claim to be followers of Christ have heard this statement: You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

But I beg a second look at this concept, in its entirety, which happens to be Christ's own words. Looking closely at the entire context of this statement, it appears we have a conditional logic statement. Basically, that is an if-then statement.

If P, then Q.

We use conditional logic every day without thinking about it.

If you leave your headlights on, then your car battery will be dead.
If you don't put your perishable food in the fridge, then it will rot.
If the internet connection isn't working, then you won't receive your email.

How about this one:
If P, then Q.
If Q, then R.

If you leave your headlights on, then your car battery will be dead.
If your car battery is dead, then your car won't start.


If you leave your headlights on, your car won't start.

And so on...

Consider the conditional logic in this verse:

If you hold to My teaching, (here's the antecedent)

you are really My disciples. (this could be an antecedent or a consequent)

Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. (here's a consequent)

Basically, what I have to say is this: maybe you're the same way as I am. You've wondered why you haven't felt truly "free". Well, upon reading this verse, I don't think freedom is supposed to come without a price. I can complain about not feeling truly "free" and wonder when this glorious "freedom" is supposed to arrive, but the consequent must have an antecedent. And in this case, the antecedant is that we hold (actively) to Jesus' teaching. That we become a disciple. Only THEN can we know the truth; only THEN can we be set free. Lately, I haven't been much one to hold to His teaching. I haven't been carrying my own load (Gal 6:4-5).

So, to all you fellow left-brained, highly analytical peeps out there, I feel your pain. You want a formula so badly you can taste it. Well, I'm happy to say that Christ obviously knew that people like us would one day be running around with our pocket calculators and Excel spreadsheets trying to make sense of the world. With as uptight as our kind can be, it's uplifting to know that our Saviour thought of us, and was kind enough to leave us a bit of hope in such a simple formula.

Good night.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Ours is a Forbidden Love

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

I lessthanthree teh IBC

Okay, that is total 1337 speak for: "You are my world, IBC. I pledge my undying devotion to your regulatory oversight."

Well, maybe not THAT devoted.

You know what? Life is too short to live in ph33r of the unknown. Sometimes, you have to take a little leap of faith. And not be afraid to fall. To go for broke. I'm going for broke on this one.

I figure, those who are afraid to fall usually push off with a little bit of hesitation. And they don't give these things their all.

Here's to the leap, and whatever follows...

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Who am I? Where am I? What am I?

A good friend of mine gave me a timely reminder that I'm a thinker. Perhaps all of this sitting and grunting and sweating to the mouse pad and keyboard has skewed my thinking somewhat.

The cloud lifts moment by moment, day by day. I'm drooling over the engineering section of the ICC's product catalogue. I want to make structures out of food products.

My mind goes back to the Bailey's Crossroad project. I KNEW we could get away with putting those dwelling units by the garage. I KNEW the code equivalency could be met. And I did it. I read and I argued and I proved my point. And we won, you know? Sure, I had to draw a few lines here and there. I didn't enjoy THAT part, to be honest.

I just don't think I went to grad school, wrote endless papers and midterms, researched and compiled an original thesis, so that I could sit here and draw lines all day.

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The sad fact is that as an architect, and as long as I choose to be protected from the harsh Texas elements, I can NEVER get away from my job. Not unless I choose to live in a cave somewhere, but even then the distribution of forces down the sides of the walls will haunt me in my dreams.

What if I lived in the open prairie? Well, the sky and landscape are all architecture.

How so, you say?

Just read my forthcoming book.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dear Heavenly Father,

I am so sick and tired of being about what I want to be about. I have a feeling that being what YOU want me to be about will be much better than this. Heck, ANYTHING has got to be much better than this. Change me, please?

Your Daughter.

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Where Class is ALWAYS in Session

When I hit rough spots in the road I begin to analyze the situation and ask myself "What am I supposed to be LEARNING from this?"

And I've reached a place where I see a lot of wisdom needs to be gained on my part.

And only GOD grants wisdom.

Time to pray, yeah? Yeah.

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Caffeinated Post #1




Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Rubberband Effect

Relationships inevitably come with a little bit of strain at times. Even with the God of the Universe. Because no matter who it is with, at least ONE of us is imperfect.

Lately I've been in and out of a phase of "distance" with God. I feel Him one day, and it's a great day. The next day, He's gone. It's like a cosmic game of hide-and-seek. On other occasions, it is ME who is the one causing the distance between us. And I could be wrong, but this is just how I perceive things right now.

The amazing thing is that once the relationship gets ironed out, and the murky waters start to clear, I feel so much CLOSER than I did before. And I think it is the same way with human relationships as well. We will inevitably experience strain in even the BEST of relationships with the best of people. And our two choices are to walk away, or face the circumstances and work through the trouble. I am amazed at how much CLOSER I feel afterward with those I choose to stay and work things through. I call it "the rubberband effect" because no matter how hard the strain and stress on the relationship, once one or both parties decides to stop pulling against the other, there is this unseen "force" that pulls the two back together with such ferocity that their relationship "cures" to a much stronger degree than it was before. (Yes, I am mixing rubberband and cement metaphors, but this is my blog, so I grant myself impunity.)


Monday, October 09, 2006


I find those times of incredible discomfort to be the sources of unprecedented growth.



The truth about my cloud obsession is that the thrill doesn't lie in the tornado as much as the supercell that births it.

Here is a picture of a cloud I would give my right arm to see, the Kelvin-Helmholtz wave.

I'd also love to see lenticular clouds, but the KH apparently only lasts a few minutes, caused by a much faster moving layer of air above the cloud. Here are examples of lenticular (lenticular meaning "lense". I really oughtta brush up on my Latin) clouds.

If you want to see more eye candy, follow this link: http://valuca.funtigo.com/?preview=y&g=25544746&cr=1&rfm=y?cool

By the way, thanks to my chase partner, Jenna Blum, for sending me the link!

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More than wind on the prairie...

There are so many things flashing through my mind at any given moment. Sometimes I wish I had a way to jot them all down in their fullness without losing a single facet to their essence. But alas, I haven't yet developed a system that would capture every last thought and hold it captive until a suitable resting place for it could be found.

So I'll just have to remember best I can...

There are many good things to be said about boundaries. Sometimes, it is okay to leave some things unsaid. And sometimes it is okay to get angry. I'm learning a lot in this journey through adulthood. Currently, the most important lesson is that I was wrong about marriage. I used to think that marriage was primary to life, and sex was primary to marriage. It seems that I had it all backwards. Indeed, LIVING is primary to life. Discovering who you are is primary to life. Understanding yourself in relation to God and to others is primary to life. Getting to know who you are, THAT is something to consider. Marriage has nothing to do with it. If you can't figure out the primaries beforehand, your marriage is likely headed for rocky ground. I think as women we are taught that we should WANT to get married and if we aren't, well, God loves us anyway. Just because we're apparently undesireable by members of the opposite sex doesn't make us undesireable to God and unusable by Him.

I am currently wearing out my (pirated) copy of In Search of Sunrise 3. In the middle of the set, this voice cuts in and shouts "And the Bible says 'Your body is the temple'.... LIVE!!!!" I had never put the two together before. I am sure that the sampling was done in such a way as to take the whole thing out of context, but really it isn't.

We are taught that by our body being the temple, we should refrain from certain questionable activities. Sex and drugs are those first two nemeses. Perhaps alcohol and rock music if you're really up to it.

But if our body IS indeed the temple, what are we doing with our hands, our minds, our passions that entail serving God by.... LIVING?! I am not just making my body a temple by keeping my temple "clean", but I'm also making my body a temple by going for broke, by enjoying everything God has planned for me. By living with gusto I am making a pleasing temple for the Lord, too. By being a passionate person about my job, about my relationships, about my talents and interests, I am making my body a living temple for the Lord.

So, if I'm so worried about keeping things OUT of my temple, when do I find time to discover what to do WITH my temple??? Why don't I release that camera shutter a bit more often? Why don't I pick up the violin and improvise with my song bank once in a while? Why don't I put down mindless pursuits and pick up a pursuit that will CHALLENGE my mind? What am I so afraid of? Failure?

Why are we so afraid to fail? Why do we dig holes for even that one tiny talent that is actually so managable, but which we see as either a burden or a chance for failure? Why do we prioritize so that the "sure bets" in our life have greater importance than the "risks" that are a way for us to build that temple? Why do we skip out on chances to glorify God with our bodies, all the while focusing on restrictions?

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Friday, October 06, 2006

On becoming a legend

Oklahoma University is known for one thing: football. In fact, it's been said that George Lynn Cross ( a former OU president) once asked for more money for the university, and when asked why by those holding the purse strings (the state senate), he replied "I want a university the football team can be proud of." There's no mistaking the life-or-death hold college football has over the state.

As with any legacy like this, there will inevitably be stories of true heroes who either beat insurmountable odds or shone brightly on their own and who gave that season its own story. They became, in a sense, legends. I was thinking about this as I drove to Oklahoma City this weekend and as I approached the southern edge of the metro area, I began seeing signs for the Sooner Legends Inn and Suites. Here is an example of how someone took events of the past and built on them.

Those "legends" of OU college football never set out with the goal of making a name for themselves. They never had fame or glory in their sights. They went out and did the one thing they were good at. They focused and achieved. Now we are proclaiming loudly the quality of the legacy (and the comfiness of the pillows) of the Sooner Legends. Bring your kids and see the rich heritage our past has for their future!

But legends and legacies are not marketing gimmicks. They are real sacrifices made by real people who wanted nothing more than to do what they're good at, and do it better than anyone else. Their drive was completely disconnected from the result. They wanted nothing for themselves other than the satisfaction of a job well done.

So, what are we doing today that will make us a legend tomorrow?

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Will someone please remind me how I got off on this tangent to begin with?


Thursday, October 05, 2006

NIN9 lives

If you have a cat, you know it can be similar to having a two-year-old child around... EVERY DAY. They have minds of their own, sometimes demand constant attention, and get into EVERYTHING.

Crystal (the hitchhiking wonder-cat) has a fascination with everything that is big-people-sized. This morning, I was reading on my bed and happened to look over at the dainty calico standing on the treadmill belt. Her completely nonchalant look was punctuated by a few non-genetically inspired black marks on her face and paws. The cat (which she is affectionately referred to as) had decided to explore the underside of the treadmill belt, probably chasing a piece of dust as far as her now-blackened paw would go. I scooped her up and took her into the bathroom along with the pet bath wipes. No luck with removing the marks; the grease will have to wear off.

She's like the freckle-faced, red-headed stepchild whose chipped front tooth betrays her propensity toward misadventure.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It isn't easy being green

Why am I a vegan? I would have to say it stems from my persistent desire to be a human guinea pig.

In April of 2004, I was diagnosed with PCOS and associated Type 2 Diabetes (insulin resistant type). Upon being given this unfortunate news, I was given a bit further unfortunate news: I would be taking a pill for the REST of my life.

I can't articulate here how devastated I was. I rarely took Tylenol if it could be avoided. I stopped taking antidepressants in college cold-turkey because I didn't want to be tied to medication. And here I was staring my mortality in the face. So long adolescent bravado. Welcome to the world of death (served fresh daily).

The up side was that the medication worked. I started taking one pill a day for the first week (gradually increasing to three daily) and the same day I started the medication I instantly felt better. I thought it could be the placebo effect, but the next day was just as good. I lost a little bit of weight (something that for years had been a constant and consistent struggle) and had more energy. I had always been a healthy eater, perhaps an under-eater. And running had been a pasttime since high school.

But I only felt good as long as I was consistent with the meds. There were days I'd forget to take them, and by the end of the day (say 7 at night) not only had I not taken any, I'd be so out of it that I couldn't make the connection WHY I felt so confused and lethargic.

Then I discovered veganism.

It was an article I read not too long ago. Someone had taken a group of diabetics and put them on a vegan diet. An amazingly high percentage of them were able to cut back on medication (even without exercise) and some went completely off of it. It sounded too good to be true. So I tried it. *grin*

Despite the fewer options I have at restaurants (becoming even FEWER as I discover just how many menu items have meat products in them), I wouldn't ever go back. It's been over two months now, and I've never felt better... perhaps not since I was a child. Some of the noticeable benefits include:

1. sharpened memory
2. better focus on tasks
3. increased energy
4. improved mood
5. greater interest in my hobbies
6. weight loss
7. higher athletic endurance
8. less reliance on medication
9. mental clarity
10. better organizational skills

There's a lot I owe to that one little journal article.


What is it worth?

I find it amusing that I am living the life I always dreaded.

For the longest time (I'd say over a year) I've been trying to get OUT of it.

I tried finding new jobs (including wife/mother), thought about moving, buying property, even abandoning architectural registration altogether.

I find it amusing that ten years ago, I saw women who were where I am at now, and felt a deep dread wash over me. I was paralyzed by the thought of being my age, and single. Yet I was never able to comprehend the idea of being married. It was like being in a relational No Man's Land.

And yet, here I am. 27 (closing in on 28 pretty fast) and not married. And the irony of it: that I'm absolutely loving it more than I ever dreamed possible. Instead of walls of rejection, I see fields of opportunity. I see more freedom here than I ever knew was possible.

It took me so long to figure this out.

And what a loving God I serve! In all the months (years?) of searching, of threatening to abandon my station for something "better", God was preserving my life the entire time. Instead of shutting me down and chastizing me for wanting something else (read: something "more") He preserved my job and the relationships around me until I could see more clearly that I am actually happier here. He waited for me to stop kicking against Him and struggling to get free. And when I finally wore myself out and took a breath, I saw that being where God wants me is so much more rewarding than I ever imagined it could be.

There is a Chinese proverb (what's up with all these Chinese and their proverbs anyway?) that says "Opportunity has a forelock, but not a pigtail; once it is past, you cannot grasp it."

And now that I have started appreciating where I am now, and the opportunities I have here, I want to grasp it while it is still within my reach, before it is past.

I have an opportunity to learn and to teach. It's time to crack open the books again and reacquaint myself with the written word, which I so hastily abandoned upon finishing grad school.

It's an opportunity to grow spiritually and emotionally. To seek out mentors and put myself in a position to learn from those I admire and deeply respect. To watch closely their lives and mimic their godly responses. To be an imitator of Christ.

I could have holed myself up in a marriage in a the midst of my desire to run away from everything that was difficult (something I usually try NOT to do). But it's amazing how tempting it can be to take the "easy" way out. And I'm not even saying that the end result would have been easier! In fact, probably quite the opposite!!!

And in the end, I admit that I feel quite spoiled. Like I'm being lavished upon in a way that a loving Father would lavish upon His cherished child. The "good" things come my way. They may be wrapped in packages that seem less than desirable. But in the end they are all designed to encourage and spur growth.

All along, I've been kicking around this life of mine, and have just now realized how fragile and precious it is, and how much I ought to value it. Instead of twirling it on my finger, I've grasped it firmly and held it tightly in my arms.

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You know, there are times when I think that everyone else around me has problems.

Until I realize that mostly, I'm the one at fault.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

On recent events

I once had someone tell me that they thought Hawaii was the best place to live because he felt his kids could be raised free from all of the problems in the world. I remember reasoning in my mind years earlier where I thought the most assured place free from crime on this earth would be. I thought "small town, midwest" but nowhere are we free from the influence of sin. Certainly my hypothesis of a small town in the Rocky Mountain range has been disproved.

I wonder if the small Amish community whose lives and perhaps memories were forever punctuated by the school hostage situation this week ever felt they were completely safe from it as well. I wonder if they worked hard to ensure that a godly lifestyle permeated every movement of every being, and add a little extra "padding" between themselves and the outside world. Do you ever wonder what those people must be thinking right now? What kinds of questions are darting through their mind? What's keeping them up at night? What has changed?

So, I just did a search on www.biblegateway.com about the "world". I got plenty of Old Testament results, but I think the most are New Testament.

Important? I think so. Take a look for yourself if you like.

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No Doubt

Do you have friends who are the occasional emailers, who don't keep up all that often, but when they do they send you something you needed to hear? I have a friend like that who sent me these lyrics this morning from the band Petra.

I really needed to read this, and remember James 1:5-8 as well.

No Doubt
Words by Bob Hartman
Based on James 1:6

There are times when you feel like you can't go on
There are times when you feel like giving in
And there are times when you feel like you can't try anymore
There are times of trouble in believing
This test of your faith will last
As long as it takes to pass
Till you have no more doubt you'll endure
And your faith will emerge true and pure

(Chorus) No doubt it'll be alright
With God it'll work together for good
No doubt in the end it will be understood
No doubt it'll all work out
With faith He can move any mountain for us
No doubt in the power of Jesus
And after all is done we find out
All we really need to have is no doubt

There's a time to take a reckless leap of faith
There's a time to be cautious and to wait
And there's a way of learning from the past
That this time of trouble won't last
And sometimes we want to think we know
The ways He will choose to make us grow
But it's never the way of our choosing
And we can't always see what He's using

There will be winters in the seasons of our soul
With a cold and bitter wind that chills our lives
But our faith can be building a fire
That will warm us till springtime arrives

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Making Lists (and sticking with them)

10 Things to Accomplish After Procuring My Registration (in no particular order):

1. Become fluent in Spanish
2. Resume violin lessons
3. Participate in a duathlon
4. Finish a "century" on my bike
5. Travel on an Eastern European mission trip to work in an orphanage
6. Go to Europe with Ashley and visit a REAL club
7. Run a marathon
8. Become certified by the ICC
9. Lead another college (or high school) small group
10. Have my photography displayed in a gallery

(note: all meteorological-related pursuits are assumed)

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Finally I've created a blog to ease the pain of those bulging inboxes resulting from my caprice to send "Thoughts of the Day" to unsuspecting folk (perhaps such as yourself). I've decided to condense all of said thoughts into a single entry and establish a dumpsite where anyone can comment on my apparent need to tone down my overanalysis. Additionally, I plan to submit a few photos here and there for those of you who don't like to read as much as you just like to look at pictures (ie my coworkers).


Marcia L. Perez