28 August 2010

Finished my first two Developmental Psyc papers!

Woo-hoo! I'm exulting over just finishing my first two papers for Developmental Psychology. They were sort of a mental hurdle I was having trouble even beginning. But the Lord gave me the words and I even got a little testimony in there. (They had to ask whether religion or spirituality is decided more by nature or nurture. They opened the door right up!)

My instructor calls these 250-500 word essays "comments", which makes them sound so easy. I'm going to call them "papers", because I worked HARD on them and want them to sound more important, lol!

Just taking a snack break and then I'm back to the old study. Gotta get outdoors and soak in a little sunshine for a few minutes, at least!

Bye y'all!

27 August 2010

First week of fall semester comes to an end...

Five classes and five teachers, each with their own style and agenda. It can be mind boggling! I'm still sorting through all the online syllubus(es)(i)(?), handouts, audio lectures, virtual flashcards, course schedules, ad nauseum. And that doesn't even include the textbooks, study guides and lab manuals! It may take me a few weeks to really feel like I have a handle on how to use all of these resources, so I'll try to relax and keep an eternal perspective. That always helps!

After the first day of classes I decided that taking two science classes with labs back-to-back just wasn't going to work. I gave it some thought, made an appointment with my advisor and told her I was switching to the LPN track and dropping Chemistry, which isn't a requirement for LPN's. We replaced that class with another psychology class, so now I have introductory psychology and developmental psychology, anatomy and physiology, a literature class and a computer fundamentals class. I think this is a do-able, though certainly not easy schedule.

I have a great bunch of teachers. Not a sour puss among them!

I had a long day at the deli, so I'm going to bed early and then tomorrow I'm going to re-attack my homework. I have lots to do, so I'd better not procrastinate!


20 August 2010

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

This is one of those rare books that really makes you think and then makes you want to change how you relate to God.

Donald Miller is so willing to be transparent and vulnerable about his own life. His style is casual and often humorous. My 28 year old son, Jordan, loaned me this book and I'm so glad he did. Blue Like Jazz has a stream-of-consciousness sort of feel to it. It breaks many of the rules I'm learning in college writing classes and I think it's great! I found so many quotable passages reading through it that I'm not sure where to begin, but I'll try to choose a few to whet the reader's appetite.


"I wonder what it would be like to use food stamps for a month. I wonder how that would feel, standing in line at the grocery store, pulling from my wallet the bright currency of poverty, feeling the probing eyes of the customers as they studied my clothes and the items in my cart: frozen pizza, name-brand milk, coffee. I would want to explain to them that I have a good job and make good money.

I love to give charity, but I don't want to be charity. This is why I have so much trouble with grace." (quote from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller p.84)

"The days and weeks before a true commitment to Jesus can be terrible and lonely. I think I was feeling bitter about the human experience. I never asked to be human. Nobody came to the womb and explained the situation to me, asking for my permission to go into the world and live and breathe and eat and feel joy and pain. I started thinking about how odd it was to be human, how we are stuck inside this skin, forced to be attracted to the opposite sex, forced to eat food and use the rest room and then stuck to the earth by gravity. I think maybe I was going crazy or something. I spent an entire week feeling bitter because I couldn't breathe underwater. I told God I wanted to be a fish. I also felt a little bitter about sleep. Why do we have to sleep? I wanted to be able to stay awake for as long as I wanted, but God had put me in a body that had to sleep. Life no longer seemed like an experience of freedom."
(p. 98-99)

"I am wanted by God. He is wanting to preserve me, to guide me through the darkness of the shadow of death, up into the highlands of His presence and afterlife. I understand that I am temporary, in this shell of a thing on this dirt of an earth. I am being tempted by Satan, we are all being tempted by Satan, but I am preserved to tell those who do not know about our Savior and our Redeemer. This is why Paul had no questions. This is why he could be beaten one day, imprisoned the next, and released only to be beaten again and never ask God why. He understood the earth was fallen. He understood the rules of Rome could not save mankind, that mankind could not save itself; rather, it must be rescued, and he knew that he was not in the promised land, but still in the desert, and like Joshua and Caleb he was shouting, "Follow me and trust God!" (p. 100-101)

I'm finding it's harder than I thought picking out passages to quote because they must be read in context. These quotes don't really capture his "writing voice", but the parts that do get rather lengthy. I don't recommend this book for youngsters as he gets into some nitty-gritty aspects of his life, but us oldsters may learn a thing or two. If you're struggling with too much "religion" or just asking questions about Christianity this book will give some fresh perspective. I found it quite life changing.

Is fall almost here already?

Another summer has flown by! I suppose doing summer classes helped to rush it along. Now fall classes begin next week!

I've enjoyed my two week break from school and especially the three days spent with my mom and dad in Texas. Mom, if you're reading this, thanks for taking care of me and showing me the sights. I really enjoyed seeing all our old home places and taking pictures. Angleton has changed a lot, but there is still a lot left of the old Angleton I remember. Glenn, thanks for all your great cooking and for the copy of "Miss Potter" WITHOUT subtitles. What a treat! Now I can visualize you two going through your daily routines down South and I don't feel quite so far away. I'm looking forward to seeing you again in the Spring, and I hope to also look up some of the cousins.

Bob and I spent a couple of hours cleaning the garage yesterday. We're in the midst of a huge cleaning campaign on our little farm and I hope the momentum keeps us going until we have it looking a whole lot better.

We had a big rainstorm last night. Usually the grass is brown and crunchy this time of year, but we've had so much rain this summer that everything is green and lush. My petunias and marigolds look pretty healthy for late summer.

Well, I work this weekend and then on Monday I drive to Wadena for a day of orientation classes. My online classes also begin on Monday. Then it's off and running for the fall semester! I'll be glad when I'm all finished with school!! (But I'll try to get a good attitude going and enjoy it as much as I can.)

If I don't blog for a while, you'll know why! ;)

10 August 2010

Miss Potter with subtitles...

I had a hankering to watch "Miss Potter", the story of Beatrix Potter, but all the videos had been removed from YouTube except this one with Spanish subtitles. I love this movie and all the English scenery and beautiful old houses! Enjoy!

03 August 2010

Questioning the (College) Powers That Be...

Two more days of Introductory Algebra to go. It's a good thing. My brain has reached the saturation point and the excess algebra is running off into the ditches of my mind. Thankfully, my grade to this point is good, so even if I bomb on the final test, I should pass comfortably. Of course, I will study and do my best, but that brings me to the subject of my rant...

What's up with all the prerequisite classes in college? No matter what you want to major in, algebra is required. Oh, that's because you need algebra in order to understand chemistry. Well, you need chemistry in order to understand nutrition. At least that's what I've been led to understand are the reasons I've been required to take these classes. Then, of course, you need College Writing I and II. (I'm going for a nursing degree here, people!) And don't forget Nature Writers!

Okay, let's dissect some of this. A gal in my Introductory Algebra class already has her LPN (for which she didn't need algebra) and is going for her RN. Now she needs the algebra. She tells me that to be an LPN the only algebra she used was a formula for finding the volume of a liquid or some such thing. (I don't pretend that this is a scientifically researched opinion piece. Ahem...)

She also has to take chemistry to become an RN. I remember taking chemistry in high school, and since the class I'm taking in college is Fundamentals of Chemistry I'm thinking it probably won't cover much more than high school chemistry. Now just how much do you suppose an RN has to actually know about chemistry? I suspect it isn't a whole lot.

Now for nutrition. Okay, I'll admit a nurse probably needs to know about this.

That leaves College Writing I and II and Nature Writers. Does a nurse do much writing beyond filling out charts and forms? Yes, her writing should be legible and accurate so no mistakes are made, but if someone gets to this point in their life and can't write a decent sentence, they probably aren't going to learn from a class. Sorry. This sort of thing is picked up through life experience. Nature Writers? Give me a break. (Though I do think I'll enjoy the class if I have time to enjoy it due to the stress of trying to do so many other "required" classes at once.)

My point is this: why not put together one class for nursing students that covers the little bit of algebra and chemistry they will need for their specific job? Throw in some writing practice. Not tons; just enough. Then they may have the energy to do all the Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology and actual nursing courses.

Of course the real reason we're required to take all of these classes is that colleges couldn't survive financially without making us believe that we NEED to take LOTS of classes. "Why not space the classes out and take longer to get your degree?" an innocent bystander asks me. Because I won't qualify for financial aid unless I'm taking enough classes to drive me batty. All of this in the name of becoming well educated and broadening our horizons, right? Ppphhhttt! (I laugh.)

I don't remember signing up for Renaissance Woman 101 and I can educate myself as well as broadening my own horizons, thank you very much! Heck, I've been an autodidact all of my life. Why should someone else decide what sort of trivia I need to stuff my brain with? I can do that very well myself.

And so I come to the end of my rant. I rather doubt that my opinions will change the college system any time soon, so I, like other students, will continue to jump through the hoops that have been fabricated in the interest of filling the college coffers. Good luck, fellow students.

02 August 2010

Listening to Firestarters...

I'm watching a live streaming video of The Gathering 2010, which is a 9 day long Christian gathering in Ottertail, MN. My husband, son and daughter are there, but I had to stay home to finish some algebra homework, so I'm watching and listening as I can. The video begins each evening at 7 and will be aired through August 8. If you're curious you can watch at www.firestartersmusic.com. It's kind of radical stuff, but it challenges us to get "out of the box" in our spiritual walk. It's over an hour drive to get to Ottertail from here, but my family makes the trip and feels it's well worth it. We love these folks!

I just have 3 more days of algebra and I'll be finished with summer school. Woo-hoo!
I was thinking while driving home from school today about what I wanted to do with my nursing training once I graduate. (That's two years down the road.) I realize I'll probably have to work in a hospital for a while to get experience, but that's not what I want to continue to do. My real interest is to do home health nursing. I would like to enable people to stay home instead of needing to go into a nursing home and to make their lives a little easier. I think I would enjoy traveling around from home to home and having lots of variety in my day. I'd also like to do some medical missions trips, either to third world countries or even poor areas of our country. So this is one of those phases of life when training takes place that may not always be enjoyable (though I hope to enjoy some of it!) but is necessary to reach the end goal.

Well, I stayed up too late last night listening to The Gathering, so maybe I'll turn in earlier tonight so I can catch up on my sleep.