Complete Control

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Strontium, Iodide, Calcium, Magnesium, pH, Ammonia, Nitrate, Buffer, Conditioner, Sodium.

Some of you are having haunting flashbacks to high school chemistry, but these elements and additives are just the very basics in controlling the balance in a saltwater aquarium. I won’t go into what these elements do, because this isn’t a blog to teach you about reef keeping. I want to talk about control.

As I lay in bed about to fall asleep, I am watching my red fromia sea star cling to the glass in front of me. My corals swaying with the water current. I must confess I watch my tank obsessively.
The amount of control I have in this tank is unlimited. I control the water temp, the salinity, how often the water is changed, when the sun rises and sets (lights). When food arrives, and so on… I have created an ocean in my bedroom and as far as these little critters are concerned, their world.

God is, on a much larger scale, like this aquarium is to me. He has complete control in my world. Sure the fish can say “I chose to eat that piece of food and not that one.” Just as I can say, “I chose to eat at Jersey Mikes instead of In-N-Out.” They chose to swim to the rock, just as I chose to go to class today. The result is the same. God controls my environment. He turns the lights on and off each day. He feeds me regularly. You get the point.

By far my favorite book in the bible is Matthew, which also happens to be my favorite brothers name! A powerful bible lesson comes from Matthew chapter six. It starts on verse 25. You can read the whole story, but I will just share some of my favorite verses from this passage.

26. Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
31. Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’
33.But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NASB).

Do not be worried about what might happen in the future. God has control and he will provide. Isn’t verse 34 so honest and almost poetic? I find myself worrying about the future all the time. This relates back to “The Death of Planning,” blog I wrote earlier. We are here for a select number of days. Don’t waste a single day worrying about tomorrow while you could be in action today.

I have something I just thought of; a little something funny to add to this story. My fish do not worry about when I will add their food again. (although they probably do have some cause for concern), but my dog is very frantic at 5:00:01pm about when is it feeding time or “food o’ clock” as I like to tease her (God doesn’t tease us. Bad example). There is a great point here though. Regardless if the dog or the fish worry about their condition, I love them equally and feed them properly. God is the same way. He knows your needs and will care for you properly whether you are begging for them or not. In all thing, seek God first and glorify him. Tell him your desires, but don’t forget we are here to serve, not to be served.

Until next time
Fork Em’

What Do Millennials Want?

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Perhaps the most impactful generation since the baby boomers; by far the most misinterpreted in recorded history. This isn’t a blog that discusses the pros and cons to our generation.  Whether we are considered entitled or innovative, we are who we are and this is a blog about what we actually want and how we think.

We are the first generation to have grown up with limitless access to social media, 2GB per month of internet data on a smartphone (when not on WIFI), and personally nearly 2,000 text messages in the last month!  This means that If I want to contact my nearly 1000 “friends,” I can do so in a matter of seconds.  We are connected to people in a way that no other generation has had the ability to do.  This is all a bunch of common facts that everyone knows, now for some things you might not…

Lets take the workplace for our first example.  We are the first generation that doesn’t just want to work for a paycheck.  Of course we want money, but more importantly we want a sense of belonging, we want a sense of purpose.  I would rather work to feel like I am contributing in some way and love being at my job, then be unhappy, 40 hours a week for twice the pay.

We are the first generation in the last few to be non-conformists.  If we find something disturbing, we make a stand and with numbers on our side we make a change.  Why do you think there is a green revolution? Because big businesses has figured out that if they want to survive and earn our business, then they have to have a reputation for being socially responsible.   Another great example is college.  In the past, professors didn’t care who you were, didn’t care if you understand the material, and couldn’t care less if you were interested in the lecture.  We have been changing that too.  Universities have found that traditional education style that I just mentioned is obsolete and students will get their education elsewhere.  They are taking our money and thus they will educate us in a manner that we believe is engaging and inspiring.  With the creation of “ratemyprofessor.com” students can literally dictate which professors have wait-lists and which professors class gets closed due to a lack of enrollment.  Consequently the professor gets canned for not being able to fill a classroom.  As I mentioned in my last blog, I go to a school of over 73,000 students.  Some of my classes have over 400 students enrolled.  The professors have changed the way they conduct class particularly for my generation.  Lectures are provided for us online before class and we can take notes off of them.  We bring those notes to class on our MacBooks and spend the class time asking questions about the lecture and further clarifying complex topics.  When we leave, we know more about the topic because we have gone over it twice.  Many of our tests are administered online and taken at our own time.  Technology has enabled us to learn at a more efficient rate than ever before

We live in a very complicated world.  I would say more so than ever before.  I read a statistic from AARP of all places, that said “21% of twenty-somethings are married while over 50% of baby boomers were married before they left their twenties.” Getting married?  Many of us don’t know where we will be in two years let alone five. We have lived our cognizant lives in a recession and in conflict across the world.  Gas has always been over $2.00/Gallon.  Teen suicide in the US is higher than ever. We are coming to the age where our generation will come to power and we obviously have a different perspective of the world. With that different mindset, I see a lot of change going to take place.

As I mentioned earlier, our generation breaks many standards of our previous generations.  The previous generations would enter into a group in this order; similar values, acceptance by other, sense of belonging.  We turn that same order of operations upside down.  Before we feel apart of a group, we want to feel like we belong, then we want to feel like we connect and are accepted, before we finally concern ourselves on if we share the same values.

Many of you are scratching your heads or laughing and this brings me to my next point.  We are a very coy generation. Do you want to know why we are always texting our friends or don’t have much to talk about?  It’s because you aren’t engaging us properly.  We like “:)))” and “Haha” with each text message.  I will try not to get into the culture of texting too much, maybe an idea for another blog, but it is the perfect media.  Texting allows us to formulate our response.  There is no time commitment for when we respond.  Conversations are saved for future reference.  We are no less social or lacking in communication skills than any other generation, but rather we communicate under different set of cultural norms.  So when you send a text message saying “K,” Thats rude! I can’t tell you the last time I responded to “K.” there are so many subtleties about us that are often overstepped.  Just like it is a cultural norm to not call you after 9pm on a weeknight, it is almost just as annoying to ask us about who we are texting or why we haven’t put our phones down.

Something else you might have noticed is that we shut down easily.  This is usually the case after we have just been asked 10-12 questions in a series about friends, my job, that girl, homework, classes, why I have on two different colored socks, and finally who am I texting.  The truth is we are sensitive to interrogation and often feel judged.  We sometimes find it difficult to express interest in things we are passionate about if we feel like the other generations won’t understand or will mock us for it.  This doesn’t always mean that we lack confidence or a backbone. Some information is just not passed across generations due to a lack of understanding or a fear of being rejected for it.

To sum up my rant, we want acceptance for being different than you.  We want to feel a connection to things.  We want you to be in our lives, not answering questions about it.  We want to feel impactful.  We want to make a difference in our own way.

Romans 15:7

As Always,

Fork Em’

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

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     The first time my eyes landed on her, my sense of time stopped;  My concentration fixated on her.  She doesn’t notice me yet. Her natural blond hair is loosely curled and falls just below her breasts.  Her skin is tan, but not aged by the sun.  Lip gloss shimmers on her light pink lips.   Something is stunning about her.  She catches me admiring her and I bashfully look back at my computer screen.  My mind still obsessing over her.   Keeping my head still, my eyes dart back to her again. “I cant get caught looking twice.” I think to myself.  This time I notice why I find her so stunning.  Her eyes are a soft powder blue, like the color of the sky on a warm summer day.  Rimming the inside of her eye is a splash of gold.  Gold as rare and as precious as the mineral itself.  “She is the most beautiful person I have ever seen in my entire life.”  I have never found myself faced with those words before. 

     A battle in my soul breaks out.  Like the devil and the angel on my shoulder, I begin to fight with myself over the urge to go up and talk to her.  At the very least she can reject me and I can be satisfied knowing I got to hear the sound of her voice.  I try and think of what I would even say?  She catches me again, almost like a game.  Our eye-contact makes me feel warmer as if she looks inside me.  This time I cannot look away.  My heart heart is beating so loud I can feel it in my ears.  I think of the movie “We Bought a Zoo.” The story about 20 seconds of extreme courage.  I get up, leaving my macbook, iPhone 5, backpack, and longboard at the table.  “If someone steals my items, It’s worth it.” I irrationally think to myself. I start my approach, our eyes still fixed on each other.  Mine in awe and hers in confusion.  I finally reach the table where she is sitting alone.  I say as confidently as I can, “Do you have a second?” She smiles.  Ah, she smiled!  A rush of excitement passes over me in that instance and she says “sure, sit down.”

     My stomach is fluttering and I am trying desperately to hide my shaking hands.  I exhale softly, trying to slow my racing heart.  I say, “My name is Patrick.”  She laughs.  Why is she laughing?  Is my name funny?  “My name is Patricia,” She states.  Wow, we have something in common.  As I settle in and adjust to the conversation, I know in the back of my mind that If I ever want to see this girl again.  I need to get her phone number before I leave.  I go to a school of 73,000 students.  That doesn’t include staff, visitors, and the annoying guy standing out front of the Union trying to explain why 9/11 is a hoax.  My phone is back at the table… 

     I can’t believe my luck.  I ask only a few lead in questions and  I have her girl talking to me!  She is responsive, intelligent, and as you may have already noticed, flawless, at least to me.  I notice that she is drinking a Venti Pumpkin Spice Late.  I make my final move.  “Hey, let me get your number so we can meet up for coffee sometime.  Your next P.S.L. is on me!” Perfect.  She obliges and I enter her phone number.  I call it so she has my number and I know that she gave me her real number.  As her white iPhone rings, my excitement is through the roof.  I tell her that it was very nice meeting her and I will text her soon.

Round one is a victory… now I just need to text her.

Thanks for reading,

Fork Em’

 

The Death of Planning

I used to consider myself a “planner.” I would plan for the short term, as well as long term. I would plan things like dates with the girlfriend, what I would wear the next day, I would even plan out my future. At one time I even had a plan as far as 5 years in advance! This was my plan:

Upon graduation of high school I would attend the University of Central Oklahoma. I planned to major in Biology and get my scuba certification. I would line up an internship at a major aquarium. I would move to the coast and then follow my plan on becoming a marine biologist.

Let’s just say life commonly leaves you, and your plans, hopelessly in shambles.

This last summer, life threw me some personal issues that were out of my control. All my plans had one by one been altered. I had a new major, no internship, a partially completed advanced scuba certification and no girlfriend. What I did have was one life changing decision left to make. I made that decision three months ago and it led me here at Arizona State. The move was not easy and the decision not taken lightly, but it was necessary and I am happy now because of it.

Life is going to happen whether you plan on it or not. I have learned that planning is effective in moderation. For instance, what’s for dinner? Who I am going to go out with tonight. You can have dreams and goals, but plans need to be in the here and now or else you are wasting your present trying to force your future.

The best thing to come of all of the change in my life is learning to trust God with my whole life. I’ve always been told to trust God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. But Sometimes it takes some strong shaking for me to hear what anyone is saying, let alone God himself. I now know that he will take care of me.

If you have the same struggles trusting God with your life like I did, think about this. The Lord is our shepherd and we are his flock. The sheep does not worry about the grass dying or the water drying up. It does not worry where it will sleep or if it will snow because the sheep knows that the shepherd will take care of it. Don’t be the sheep that gets lost trying to find greener pastures and needs to be rescued. Be able to let go and let God.

Until next time,
Fork Em

How can I be Godly and Devilish?

I am a Sun Devil.  I am a legacy spanning five generations to be exact.  My history at the largest university in the country dates back to the 1800’s.  I have some 15 or more relatives that I will soon share an alma mater with.  I am proud to be a Sun Devil.

I am a Christian.  My faith guides me in every decision I make. I have gotten involved in the local church serving in children’s ministry.  But I am no saint.  I make mistakes. I made one last Saturday if I’m being honest, but I am only human.

Although some might find it ironic that I call myself a “Godly Sun Devil”, I find it humorous.  The mascot “Sparky” is actually not a devil; he is an imp, more like a demon, than Devil himself.  Regardless the Sun Devil is the perfect pitchfork wielding mascot.   Its frightening, unlike the Stanford Tree’s or Scottsdale CC “Fighting Artichokes.” The pitchfork allows us to coin fun phrases like “Fork em” and “Put your forks up,”  (Symbolized by your index, middle, and pinky finger).

As many Americans are aware, ASU is playing Notre Dame tomorrow (Oct. 5th).  ASU is taking full advantage of this spiritual rivalry and wearing a new Hellfire uniform.  I am fortunate enough to have taken a coach bus to Arlington, TX to attend the game.  Look for me on national TV.  This is all I have for my first post.

Until next time

 

Fork Em’

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