Miel et Cannelle

Romans 8:38. Nothing can take away this joy.

Month: January, 2011

On Trusting God

I think sometimes we as humans make things exceedingly difficult on ourselves. We tend to magnify our problems, blow them out of proportion, or force ourselves to figure it out “the hard way.” Luckily, when the going gets tough, the tough have God. And those are the times when it seems most obvious to us to seek Him. I know from personal experience that when things are going well in my life, it becomes easier to let my relationship with God drift a little bit. I’ll push my time with Him into a box, and rationalize it with school assignments and other obligations.

But what about when things are really hard? What about the times when you feel so scared that you begin to put your trust in things of the world because the fallible part of you, the part that makes you imperfect thinks that you’ll get quicker results that way? Of course, every believer knows that everything that happens is by God…so really, relying on earthly measures is a colossal waste of time. Yet we still do it–why?? I’ll draw on my life for example. I’ve been chronically ill for the past 5 years, and it’s been a bumpy road of check-ups, surgeries and medications. When I panic about my new med’s side effects, I know in my case, it isn’t because I’m actively mistrusting God. I’m not telling God, “I’m going on this medication because it’s going to fix me and you won’t.” Rather, I omit God altogether. I don’t pray for healing. I don’t ask Him for help. Sure, I continue to pray for the things I’ve always prayed for–my family, friends, school, forgiveness, etc. I even pray for the health of other people. Yet for the longest time, it never occurred to me to pray for my own healing. And that’s definitely something I’ve been working on lately. I know none of my medications are worth a passing thought if I don’t have God. He’s the one doing the true healing.

After all, it was Jesus who said:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you,

and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly

in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

 

This notion of radical trust, of seeking God for healing before anything else is something that has been on my mind a lot as of late. But I know that I am right where He wants me and if healing is in His plan, then it will happen. And if it isn’t, I know that He can use my illness for His glory. Either way, I know that trusting in God’s plan for me rather than worrying about my own plans for myself definitely lifts the burden and makes life a whole lot less stressful. I think if we all can remember that emboldened verse now and again, not matter what is troubling us, we can remind ourselves to give our burdens to God. Trust me, it’ll make your life a LOT easier.

Advertisements

Quick and easy

I’ve known how to knit for probably about 4 or 5 years, although I rarely do so mostly because it takes so long to complete a project. I have this thing I call “nursing school-onset ADD” where I can start a ton of different projects, but it’s exceedingly difficult to actually finish something. So, I have a remedy: a quick, easy project that is cute, affordable, and functional. I actually crocheted this rather than knitted it because I heard crocheting was faster. If you know how to knit already it’s fairly simple to teach yourself to crochet and vice versa. I just looked up videos on youtube and I learned everything I needed to know to make this–so don’t go buy any fancy books on crocheting.

Wildfire Cowl

What you’ll need:

2 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun yarn in “Wildfire” (or color of your choice)

1 Size K (10.5) Crochet Hook

Scissors

A bobby pin

Me wearing the finished product

First, Chain 46 (single chain)

Row 1: Double-chain in the 4th chain from hook and in each chain across.
Row 2:  Chain 3 (counts as first double-chain here and throughout), turn. Working in front loops only, double-chain in each stitch across.
Row 3: Chain 3, turn. Working in back loops only, double-chain in each stitch across.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until piece measures about 30 inches or so. Test the length by holding the scarf around your neck and joining at the ends to see how long it is. This pattern is a modified version of a Lion Brand pattern. That pattern called for 3 skeins of yarn and for the finished product to measure 50 in. Once I got to around 25 or 30 in., I found that I liked a more close-fitting cowl. I only used 1 and 1/2 skeins of the yarn. After you bind off, be sure to leave a long strand in order to weave in the ends to form the circular cowl. The pattern on Lion Brand Yarn’s website says you need to use a large-eye blunt needle, but I just used a bobby pin and it worked great! Fasten tightly, trim the loose ends, and enjoy!

Settlers of the Rockies

Some of you know that I’ve been working on making a board game for my boyfriend, Andrew, for Christmas. I must say, it was by far the most in-depth project I’ve worked on. I am beyond relieved that it is FINALLY complete. In fact, I gave it to him last night since we were apart for Christmas this year. We’ve played it twice. His mom won both times, which means I’ve literally been beaten at my own game.

I didn’t invent the game but instead made my own version of one of Andrew’s favorite board games, Settlers of Catan. It’s kind of a nerdy strategy game but very fun. The object of the game is to earn resources in order to expand your settlements into cities and just generally build as much as possible in order to gain “victory points”. It would take me forever to explain how to play so I won’t, except to say that it’s a great family game and loads of fun. If you’re into board games, I highly recommend it.

Instead of making “Settlers of Catan,” though, I based it on Colorado (Andrew loves it there) and called it “Settlers of the Rockies.” By the time the last hex was dry, I had probably spent between 35 and 40 hours on the entire game from start to finish. What took the most time was the resource cards; I hand drew and colored both sides of each of the 123 cards. The original game has 125 but I was working on this until my last day at home and needed to just get them laminated before I left Pasadena for Chicago, so I left two of the progress cards out. I had to custom order the hexes online because apparently wooden hexagons are not in high demand…weird, huh? I primed and oil painted the hexes, which took forever to dry. I also primed and painted the metal washer game pieces, but used acrylic paint instead. For the cards, I just cut 4×6 index cards in half and when I was done took them to Office Max to be laminated, then cut them out. I had a little manual corner rounder that I got at Staples and used that before and after laminating the cards.

Here are the pictures of the board game after we set it up for play:

All the individual hexes fit together to form the game board

 

The resource cards, which took forever

 

Settlers of the Rockies!

Building cost cards show which cards you need to build something

Progress cards give you an extra advantage

More of the progress cards

Game pieces I bought at Home Depot. Containers purchased at the Container Store.

You learn something new everyday.

Right now in my pathophysiology class, we’re learning about cell injury. The online lecture (most of my class is online, which is new for me) focused heavily on one aspect of the chapter–reactive oxygen species, or ROS. These are what are commonly known as “free radicals.”

Free radicals are oxygen molecules or atoms that have either lost or gained an electron, making them reactive and unstable. The reason free radicals are dangerous is because they will react with components of a cell, such as the membrane, that affect what travels in and out of the cell. This can potentially change the structure of the cell or even kill it. Furthermore, free radicals sometimes initiate a chain reaction in the phospholipid bilayer of cells (which composes the membrane, the cell’s main line of defense), causing the lipids to become free radicals themselves, and in turn change other lipids into free radicals until eventually the entire structure of the cell is different and the cell can no longer carry out its intended purpose. This is called “lipid peroxidation.”

Free Radical

Other types of damage caused by free radicals include: DNA mutations in the nucleus, inactivation of enzymes, impaired protein synthesis, uncontrolled cell divisionI won’t go into too much detail here about it except to explain the basics of why high levels of free radicals are dangerous and what you can do to diminish their effect.

Why are free radicals so harmful?

While it isn’t possible (or necessary) to completely extinguish the existence of free radicals in the body, high levels of these ROS (reactive oxygen species) can cause potentially irreversible tissue damage. Cancer, which is ultimately the progressive accumulation of mutated cells, is a possible result of excessive free radicals.

What can you do to decrease your risk?

There are many common sense things you can do to diminish your risk and get rid of free radicals. Perhaps first and most obvious is: stay as healthy as possible! Get plenty of rest, drink a lot of fluids and keep yourself in the best shape you can. This will keep your body performing at a high level of performance and allow optimal natural removal of these free radicals. Always remember that your body is an incredibly efficient creation. It does a lot of the work itself! However, if you want some added protection, there are a number of antioxidants and vitamins you can include in your diet to help the process along.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that essentially “take the hit,” so to speak, in either taking on or giving up an electron in order to stabilize the free radicals they encounter. This prevents the chain reaction by stopping the free radical from reacting with essential cell structures.

Carotenoids (beta carotene and lycopene)

Beta carotene is a Vitamin A precursor and essential in breaking the lipid peroxidation chain. Common sources of beta carotene include carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato.

Lycopene is found especially in cooked tomatoes

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is especially significant in retinal health and plays an important role in vision. Many of the same foods that contain beta carotene also include vitamin A since beta carotene eventually becomes vitamin A. Other sources include spinach, kale, and cheddar cheese

Vitamin C

Also called ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is water soluble (as opposed to lipid soluble). This means that Vitamin C, rather than breaking the lipid peroxidation chain, functions by eliminating circulating free radicals. In addition to citrus fruits, good sources of Vitamin C include: guava, kiwifruit, red peppers and green hot chilis. Although oranges get a lot of press for being rich in Vitamin C, strawberries actually contain more of the vitamin.

Vitamin E

Also an important factor in breaking lipid peroxidation. Commonly found in green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, whole wheat, nuts (almonds, hazelnuts), milk and egg yolks

Flavonoids

Flavonoids are plant polyphenols that are found in bright, colorful plants. These are the antioxidants often heard about on television commercials and in the media. Flavonoids are found in wine, tea, dark chocolate, and citrus fruit.

Maintining a healthy balance

Even though the antioxidants I mentioned are good ways to decrease your risk, it is important to remember not to go overboard. Too much of any antioxidant can turn them into “pro-oxidants” which means they will basically turn into free radicals themselves! While incorporating these nutritious and beneficial foods into your diet, be mindful of the daily recommended servings. Speak with your doctor before starting any vitamin supplements. Like I said, the body is very efficient and unless you are having a particular deficit of a vitamin, it can be detrimental to your health to take more than the recommended daily serving.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s just about midnight

I have class in 8 and a half hours. This is where I’d rather be:

Can I just have a blanket and a pillow please? I'd like to sleep with the lavender under the stars