PaleBlueDotCrop

A God of Redemption

Our campus chaplain at the University where I work put together a lenten devotional for the campus and asked different members of the University community to write the devotion for each day. I was honored to be one of the ones he asked and thought the readers of the blog might enjoy it too.

Isaiah 65:17-21

17 “See, I will create
    new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
    nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
    in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
    and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
    and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
    will be heard in it no more.

20 “Never again will there be in it
    an infant who lives but a few days,
    or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
    will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
    will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

 

 

Our God’s redemptive power is on clear display in this passage. God will not leave his beloved creation in this fallen world forever. In his great mercy he will reverse the curse of Genesis 3 on a cosmic scale. One day this world will be replaced by a new heavens and new earth, a new creation so beautiful that the trials of this world won’t even be remembered in comparison.

God’s redemption is both cosmic and personal. He will redeem the entire world with a new heavens and new earth but he also cares about redeeming each person’s life where it is right now. A few chapters earlier in Isaiah God tells Israel, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2) No matter what you’ve done or what has been done to you, God proved through the saving death (and resurrection) of his son that he can redeem your circumstances into something for your good and his glory.

The apostle Paul is a great example. Although he spent the beginning of his life persecuting Christians, and the last part of his life being  persecuted for his Christianity, God was able to redeem Paul’s life and use it in a mighty way for the kingdom of God.

As Christians we are called to herald the coming re-creation by working to bring the kingdom of God here on earth. We look to Jesus for an example of what it looks like to bring this kingdom to our world and see that a life of bringing the kingdom of God is a life of service. When we serve or forgive others even when it is hard the world gets a glimpse of the New Jerusalem mentioned in this scripture. When we sit with someone and dry their tears or give them a moment of joy in the midst of a trial we give flesh to these verses and give them a real taste of heaven.

On Ash Wednesday we are told “for dust you are and to dust you shall return” as ashes are placed on our foreheads. Thankfully, our return to the dust isn’t the end of the story. Praise be to God that he can bring beauty out of ashes right now in our lives, and that he will bring eternal beauty out of the ashes of this world in the days to come.

Image: Pale Blue Dot

Go Cats?

I’ve been suffering from some serious writer’s block lately when it comes to the blog. There are now 18 partial posts sitting in my drafts folder but I haven’t been able to get it together enough to finish one and get it published. Nevertheless, I still wanted to join up with Medical Mondays today so I’m just going to tell you about real life happening right now.

At this very moment, we are watching the March Madness Championship game for the first time in my memory. See, this is our first year living in “Big Blue Country”. Our town is about 2 hours from the University of Kentucky but that doesn’t matter. You could ask anyone here and they will let you know. The people here bleed blue and white. UPIKE is the university in our town, but UK is the town’s team.

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Our town has painted bears scattered around, naturally one of them is UK Bear.

The med school Relay for Life team is showing the game on the big screens in the lecture hall as a fundraiser, so we’re able to watch it. We don’t pay for cable so we probably wouldn’t have watched it otherwise. In true med school fashion, half of the students have their iPads out and are attempting to study and watch at the same time.

Our team is really William and Mary but making it to the NCAA tournament isn’t quite our thing so I guess I’m cheering for Big Blue, but I have to admit it feels weird. I mean, I don’t have anything against UK, but I bleed green and gold – to the point that my co-workers tease me about it. No shame here.

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Andy has been full of good quotes during the game tonight, so I thought I’d record a few of them here for your enjoyment.

“If my hair turns white, I think I might grow it out long so I look like a wizard.”

:05 into the game when the score was still 0-0…
“They’re tied! They’re still tied!”

A commercial for Two Broke Girls comes on…
“That’s show’s been on for a while now, you’d think they wouldn’t be broke anymore.”

Looking up a website advertised on a commercial as being a healthy living website and one of its front page articles is, “How to Avoid ***holes At Work”…
“That would make it hard to have a bowl movement. Talk about constipation!”

Happy Medical Mondays! Go Cats?

Spring Breakin’ in Colorado

At 12:30am on Monday morning, we returned from a 5 day getaway to Colorado Springs over Andy’s spring break. The American Academy of Osteopathy was having their annual Convocation there this year. One of the clubs Andy is in was going and I thought it sounded like a great thing to tag along on. We have 4 dear friends from college that live within 2 hours of CO Springs, and it was wonderful to get to spend some time with them. You may remember my skiing buddy Caitie as one of the people who got an honorable mention in Chapter One of the Love Story.

Both times that I have been to Colorado have been delightful. Highlights of this trip included:

  • Garden of the Gods – A really cool park with incredible views that you can drive through (you can also walk, bike and horseback ride through it). We felt a bit like the stereotypical lazy Americans because we drove through it while eating fast food because we only had a short amount of time on Andy’s lunch break to check it out. Despite feeling super lazy, I was so thankful that it was set up in a way that we could really enjoy it in a short amount of time. The pictures hardly do it justice.
  • Olympic Training Center – We checked this out because on our free day it was really really cold and we didn’t want to do anything outside. I am so glad that we did! One really cool thing about the US Olympic Training Center is that the traditional Olympic team and the Paralympic team are treated equally there. Both teams live and train there and are both considered part of TEAM USA. Also, I didn’t realize how much of an emotional connection/American pride I have for the US Olympic team until I teared up watching the intro video. While I belong the Kingdom of God first, I love me some USA.
  • Eating Perogies in Manitou Springs – I have no photo evidence but we took a chance on a restaurant because we were really cold and really hungry and it totally paid off! One of the restaurant’s specialties was homemade perogies. Andy and I were skeptical so we got a hamburger and meat perogies to share. In the end we decided we should have both gotten the perogies because they were delicious. Really, so good! (and I’m really picky).
  • Skiing – Andy had no interest in skiing so one day while he was busy doing doctor-y things, Caitie and I went skiing. It was awesome! The weather was perfect, the crowds were light, and the slopes were awesome. Cross that one off the bucket list!

It was wonderful to get away just the two of us for a bit. Monday morning was a little rough because of our late arrival home, but totally worth it! On the way home from the trip we discussed a new life goal: visit all 50 states as a couple. Totally doable. One down, 40+ to go.

Paleo February: A Review and Reflections

Well, this didn’t happen to us. I’m not even sure who this is, but it looks like he really turned his health around! Way to go, unknown internet man!

Well, Paleo February is several weeks behind us now.  Non-Paleo (or possibly Anti-Paleo) March is well underway.  What did we think?  Did we love the experience?  Did it leave us bitter and scarred?

We both agreed that it was good.  We picked up a few dietary insights that we will carry with us into the rest of the year.  Here are our Paleo February take-aways:

  • There is a difference between eating strictly paleo and eating healthy (such as when you eat paleo muffins).  Unhealthy paleo food may not be as bad as unhealthy regular food, but that doesn’t make it good for you.
  • Speaking of muffins, it turns out paleo baking can get a little pricy!  Nut flours are a lot more exspensive that wheat flour.  I guess that is good, because it discourages us from doing too much baking?
  • A bright spot: our dinners are usually paleo anyways!  So, that was a pretty easy adjustment to make.  Dinner typically consists of a meat, salad, and a fresh fruit and vegetable.
  • I realized how much time I spent eating unhealthy snacks between meals.  I guess a little bit here and there adds up when you snack 30 times a day.  We will try to be more vigilant in not keeping unhealthy food around as much.  Our efforts will be aided by the depletion of our stash of German candy from my brother.
  • White flour is being relegated to “Dessert” status.  When we use flour for normal meals (which is not that often), we will use whole-wheat flour.
  • Sarah was able to throw off the shackles of the campus dining hall dessert table.  No more will it wield dominion over her!  In fact, she has re-evaluated the options the cafeteria provides and figured out how to make healthier choices there.

March 1st, we ate chocolate chip pancakes with ice cream on top for breakfast.  You could say that after Paleo February ended, we fell fast and hard.  Does this mean we hated it and would never try again?  No.  However, I think we may re-evaluate how we proceed in the future.  There was certainly some value in setting aside a designated period of time to a particular eating pattern.  It helped us identify problem areas in our diet and gave us an extra boost of self-discipline in making good choices.  Next time, we will probably give greater emphasis to “eating healthy”, rather than “eating paleo”.  Also, we may not try to go for a month at a time.  It may be better to try and go for 6 days a week, for several weeks.  I suspect that may curb the wildness that marked our early March.

Those are our thoughts from the great Paleo February experiment.  I hope that it was edifying for you to read about, and I would encourage you to evaluate your diet and overall health as well.  It’s fun!

Med School Snow Day?

Sometimes you wake up and it looks like this outside
(which has happened a lot lately)
our university doesn’t normally close for weather
but this is the worst storm we’ve had all winter
so the university actually closed
and I got a real day off (yay!).

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The view from our doorstep this morning.

Our county was even declared to be in a state of emergency…

However, it means that the big exam Andy has been studying for got delayed until tomorrow. He was pretty disappointed because he has been studying hard all week and is ready to get it over. Nevertheless, I’ll take a free day at home together even if  we both still have work to do. :)

I hope that if your area got hit by the snow, you are staying safe and warm. Remember Andy and his classmates in your prayers tomorrow if you have a chance as the conditions probably won’t be great as the students are traveling in tomorrow.

Hello to those who might be stopping by from Medical Mondays!
I’ve added a lot of new content to the blog since the last time I linked up. Check out what I wrote for a 7 posts in 7 days challenge last week and my new Saturday Morning Breakfast series.

Much Love,
Sarah