Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm sure you're all wearing green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (or you did on St. Patrick's Day if you're reading this at a later date).  My question to you is simple.  Why?

How many of you know anything about St. Patrick?  Aside from the obvious, of course.  We all know he was Irish, drove the snakes out of Ireland, and was signified by the color green.  Actually, he was British, there were no snakes to begin with, and his official color is blue.  These are the most common known "facts" about St. Patrick, and they're all false.  How did we get to this point where we started celebrating this man's life without really knowing anything about it?

My guess is that, over time, the legends associated with St. Patrick became exaggerated to the point that people forgot the truth.  I encourage you to take some time and watch the video I've posted below about St. Patrick.  I think you'll find that, without the exaggerated legends, there's plenty of reason to celebrate Patrick as a saint.  Hope you all have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sense of Humor

A neutron walks into a bar and orders a drink. Upon being asked the price, the bartender responded, “For you? No charge.”
Two atoms are walking down the street. One suddenly stops and says, “Oh no, I’ve lost an electron.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m positive!”
What did the proton say to the electron?
Stop being so negative.
These are just a couple jokes that make me laugh because they match my sense of humor.  While I have a fairly wide range in my sense of humor, "nerd humor" has a special place in my heart.  This is most likely because I consider myself a nerd (in a positive sense).

I posted not too long ago about the benefit of laughter, but I couldn't help coming back to this topic.  Perhaps I've just spent a lot of time looking at nerd humor stuff online today.  Whatever is drawing me to this, I know one of the benefits of posting on this today is the opportunity to share a bit of myself with all of you.  Of all the types of humor out there, nerd humor is easily in my top 5 styles.  Even if the joke is just an awful pun or simply not that funny, the fact that it's a "nerd" joke makes it hilarious to me.  This is probably why I'm such a huge fan of "The Big Bang Theory" (the tv show, though the cosmological model is fairly interesting).

In short, if you want to make me laugh, tell me a joke that has something to do with science or math.  Bonus points if I don't get it right away.  Also, bonus points if you get this (taken from a webcomic I read almost daily):

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I spent some time today going through some old files at my parents' house.  It is amazing how much I had forgotten of what I looked through, particularly when I was looking at some of my accomplishments.

A lot of this was sparked when my mom found a letter from Who's Who Among American High School Students.  If you are not familiar with that organization, they recognize only five percent of US high school students every year.  To quote the letter:
"Who's Who is the most respected student recognition publication and award program in the nation.  Our standards have been cited by education, parent and teachers associations at the state and national levels.  Over 93% of colleges and universities surveyed equate the Who's Who award with academic excellence."
After finding that, my mom reminded me that I had scored a 1500 on the SAT when I was in seventh grade.  I don't include all of this here simply to toot my own horn (though I was pretty awesome back in the day).  I mention this because I am shocked that I would forget such achievements from my past.  These were huge accomplishments that (I would have thought) would have stayed with me forever.  Why did I forget about these?

Well, I've read a few articles online that suggest the human brain is not designed with happiness as the "base" mood.  In fact, happiness is used by our brains as a sort of carrot on the stick motivator for us.  In order to prevent us from becoming complacent, our brain only allows us to enjoy happiness for a brief period of time before returning to our base mood.

This helps make sense of why I would forget about such accomplishments from my past.  After experiencing the joy and happiness from these achievements, my brain settled me down in order for me to focus on the next accomplishment.  Perhaps this is why so many of us can feel like we are missing out on feeling happy.  We're not really missing out.  Sometimes, we just forget about some of the things that made us happy so that we can move on to the next achievement.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


During a Bible study earlier today, I had a sudden realization.  Well, I guess it would be more apt to call it a sudden remembrance of something I hadn't thought about in a while.  I remembered/realized that temptation is not always about wanting something bad.  Obviously, there are bad things that we sometimes want and can be a source of temptation, but this isn't always the case.

There are times when we are tempted by something that is good.  For example, success, the ability to support oneself and/or one's family, and receiving a good review/grade are positive things that we can want.  We can want them so bad, however, that we may be tempted to do something negative in order to achieve those goals.  Maybe it is taking credit for someone else's work in order to get ahead or cheating on a test so you can pass the class.  Whatever the method is, we can lure ourselves (or be lured by others) into thinking that, simply because our end goal is a good one, it's ok for us to do something that's maybe a bit unethical in order to get it.  In short, we become convinced that the end justifies the means.

I could go on and on about how this is just wrong (in fact, I did, but then realized this post was heading towards being ridiculously long and deleted half of it).  Instead of going into a long discourse, however, I'll just say that there are some means that are justified by some ends, but it is illogical to assume there are ends that are so good that any means used to achieve them are justified.

This is the temptation that is the most difficult to see and resist.  It is far easier to resist temptation when we know that the end is bad for us.  Resisting the temptation to do something questionable in order to do good?  That's where we get tricked.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daily Devotions

One of the expectations of us during the season of Lent is that we will spend time reading and meditating on God's holy Word.  Of course, this should be an expectation of us year round.  I did a post last week about the Android app I wrote for the Daily Office.  Currently, the app only has Morning and Evening Prayer (in English and Spanish), but you could head over to Mission St. Clare's website and get access to more of the offices and devotions found in the BCP.  While I am a big supporter of all things BCP, there are plenty of other resources out there for daily devotions.  Searching for "daily devotion" on just Amazon's website turned up over 4,000 results.  If you read an entire devotional book every day, there's enough on Amazon to keep you busy for over ten years, and that's just looking in one place.

With all of these resources out there, it can be difficult to find one that works for you.  I have found that I prefer devotions that take just a few verses from scripture and provide a short reflection and prayer on the passage.  One of my favorite devotionals in this style d365


This website is simple and uncluttered.  In addition to the devotions, they also provide soft background music.  Do you have any devotions that you do regularly?  If so, please let me know about them.  Prayer and devotion is a huge part of the Christian life, and I'm always interested in finding out how people are doing it.