Can or can’t

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Can or Can’t”, 01/02/12, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So about the only thing I have been able to take away from this entry was the first sentence where she quotes her son’s favorite coaching quotes.

“Whether you can or you can’t, you are probably right.”

A quick internet showed me that this quote is from Henry Ford. She then proceeds to illustrate the point of believing you can do something even if its hard by using a cheerleading competition her son was participating in. Nice as that is, I cannot relate.

What I can relate with is the feeling of utter anxiety at not being ‘enough’ in ones field, in ones life. What I can relate with is the internal fight to know whether I can or cannot do something. My Ph.D. honestly, utterly destroyed my confidence…my ability to say “I can”. Here and now, nearly two years later I am still struggling with the ability to say, yes I can do it…to know I can do it. Am I good scientist? Yes. Am I an intelligent person? Yes. If I don’t know an answer can I figure out how to answer it? Yes. Easy to say here on this blog. Difficult to live out in real life. Am I the brightest bulb in the batch? According to my previous advisor, no–but he did say I had a lot of energy and that my sheer drive and unwillingness to be said ‘no’ too would be why I would succeed in science. He was great at the ‘backhanded’ compliment. Whenever he encouraged me, I learned to wait for the ‘caveat’…it always came.

Christians have any number of responses for lack of confidence such as this…’cast your cares on God’…’you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you’…I wish words like that encouraged me as much as they seem to encourage them just by the very act of saying them.

The quote is right, in the end its my fault…I’ve said “I can’t” and well…I don’t. I’m learning to say “I can” more. Not to get intimidated, to know that God has given me the disposition and skills to handle a situation–because I can, and not let someone else figure it out.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. -NIV, 2 Cor 4:16.

Oddly, for me its the opposite. I was in theater for many years, I know how to ‘look’ the part, I know how I am supposed to ‘act’ outwardly. That doesn’t mean I am the same on the inside.  On the inside, often times I am freaking out. I think the essence of this verse though, is to just not give up. I need to learn not to give up on myself.

Short entry…but I’ve nothing more to say.

greener grass?

All your life you live so close to truth it becomes a permanent blur in the corner of your eye. And when something nudges it into outline, it’s like being ambushed by a grotesque.

~Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Devotional Blog: 10/22/2011, 10/26/2011, and 10/28/2011; “Being true to yourself” and “Fact and fiction”; Romans 12: 12-18, Acts 2: 32-39, and 2 Peter 1:15-21

I’m lumping these entries together because they speak of similar things regarding how we see ourselves compared to others, how others make us feel about ourselves and the alternate realities we concoct of a life ‘we want’ rather than the life we are supposed to be living. Continue reading “greener grass?”

Marking memories

Devotional Blog:

Topic: “Mark It”, 10/21/2011, Joshua 4:15-24

First I have a confession…I’d forgotten that Joshua was a book in the Bible! Horrible of me! Raised in this faith and when I saw the verse for the day I did a double take and asked myself–“This is a book in the Bible?…DOH!”. Bible literacy fail. Yes, I know the story of the fall of Jericho is in this book but for some reason I had it in my head that this story was in Deuteronomy–don’t ask why, I don’t know. So, in all fairness when was the last time I heard of this book? Eighth grade Bible history class at Bellevue Christian School where I attended one semester, does that excuse it? Probably not, but its what I’m going with.

The book of Joshua is about the Israelites journey into the promised land. When the crossed the Jordan, the Lord dried up the Jordan momentarily so they could pass. God then asked Joshua (who was leading them, he was the right hand of Moses by the way), anyway he asked Joshua to pick 12 men to take 1 stone each from the riverbed of the Jordan = 12 stones. When they’d stopped at Gilgal the western border of Jericho God told him to set up the stones as a reminder for generations to come that the Lord had pushed the waters back for their forefathers to walk on dry land into the promised land.

Pam, the author talking about ‘marking’ things that matter in our lives to solidify a memory in a solid shape of sorts, like making a stepping stone and putting into a garden then adding stepping stones. Thinking back I can remember all my ‘mementos’, my ‘mark it moments’ and when I got them, how I got them and where they are today and why they mattered. Compared to other families we had a more mobile life growing up so some of these ‘moments’ are no longer with me so I carry them in my heart instead…in no particular order…just as they come to me. Continue reading “Marking memories”

suck less, suck less…

Devotional Blog:

So you’ve probably noticed by now that (1) I don’t always post every single devotional topic/entry from the book and (2) sometimes they are out of order. I am caught up to the current date in my reading but I choose only to post on those topics I come across that matter to me or that I actually have something to say about. Do you all really want to hear my thoughts on menopause??? Ya I didn’t think so…and it was two days of devotional time in the book. Aside from the fact I couldn’t relate remotely to what she was talking about, I didn’t really feel the need to expound on the subject. Nor do I feel the need to tell you all about when I got my first period. Fair enough? Plus some of her topics that she attributes to the various verses are just well meh or too gooey and I’ve quite frankly nothing to say about them. So with that…lets get on with the topic today.

Topic: “Pursing praise”, 10/8/2011; Proverbs 7:13-27

In this section the idea of ‘pursuing praise and accolades’ is discussed. How some of us are so hungry for recognition we strive for it, we live for the ‘kudos’ of other people and she talks about how spiritually unhealthy that is. Ultimately she states that the only kudos we should look for are from God by living our lives to please him and that what other people say to us shouldn’t matter. Easier said than done is what I was thinking. No one likes to ‘suck’.

Continue reading “suck less, suck less…”

Having it ‘all together’–or not.

I thought this was funny…and I could relate to some of the ‘evaluations’ so I thought I would share. These quotes were taken from federal employee evaluations, crazily enough. I wonder if advisers/bosses knew that their employees could read the evaluations they’d still write things this harsh? Probably.

  1. Her women would follow her anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.
  2. Since my last report she has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.
  3. When she opens her mouth, it seems that this is only to change whichever foot was previously in there.
  4. This young lady has delusions of adequacy.
  5. This employee should go far, and the sooner she starts the better (My Ph.D. advisor said something akin to this to me!)
  6. She’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. (THIS TOO!..My advisor said something similar to this to me as well!)
  7. She’s about as bright as Alaska in December.
  8. She’s so dense light bends around her.
  9. She has a full six pack but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together.

Ouch. We all have moments of blatant stupidity for sure and while I can laugh about these comments now as they are painfully funny…when my advisor was suggesting such things it was mortifying.

Sealing my Ph.D. fate: repost from Sep 12, 2007, with ‘updates’

So I am procrastinating on a piece of analysis right now that would basically seal my fate for my Ph.D. time-wise here in Bozeman.  Following a surprisingly productive meeting with my advisor, this morning it turns out that I am 90% sure I will not finish ontime…and all the Ph.D. students said “surprise surprise…” Yeah I know, no student ever finishes ontime…but man I had hopes. I am allowed to hope now aren’t I?

This seems like the longest Ph.D. in the history of LIFE itself!

By way of Update: I ended up finishing my dissertation not in 4-6 mos as this post later implies but 3 YEARS LATER! Such is the Ph.D. process….*sigh*

Wasted intellect???

So yesterday at 8:29 am (according to facebook) I posted an article from the Economist entitled: Doctoral degrees: The disposable academic and it’s quite interesting the responses I’ve been getting. The article is at:

Some people whole heartedly agreed with the article, others were slightly offended at the insinuation that 5-8 years of labor was all for naught.

I thought the article was quite dispiriting and portrayed obtaining a PhD as this ‘waste of intellect/life’ and honestly you’d be hard pressed to find any PhD student that doesn’t think that at some point during their degree process. If you don’t believe me, check out PhD comics ( where their tag line is: “Piled Higher and Deeper (PhD) is the comic strip about life (or lack thereof) in academia.” They even mention graduate education as learning the ‘dark arts.’ I was and still am an avid reader of the comic.

Continue reading “Wasted intellect???”