Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Updates...
I realized as I was looking through the new website that some of the information contained therein was from a previous version... thus I was still an undergraduate at ndsu. (horrors... ;^)... just kidding).
Anyhoo... I fixed the problem and everything should be just dandy. Now I must go or I will be late for my beef rotation this afternoon. ~Ben
Winter has returned!
No more of this 50 degrees in the middle of January business... there is now about 8 inches of snow, a temperature of -2 and wind to go with it. Sigh... almost feels like home.
I'm the proud (?) owner of about 30 various, sundry, and assorted statistics and higher math textbooks... a professor in my department (he's a biostatistician) was cleaning out part of his library... and me, book addict that I am could not resist the offer. Yes.
Maybe I'll find a use for them somewhere. Anybody need any textbooks? Lol.
-Ben

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

It's blue... Its true ;^).
Better run on over to the main site and tell me what you think of the face lift. I of course am enthralled... to borrow the phrase, which in this case is entirely accurate...You Da MAN David :^).

I spent the afternoon out at the Ankeny dairy with my clinical foundations class, we had lots of fun learning how to do physical exams on dairy cows, collecting blood and urine samples, how to not (hopefully) get kicked... sigh... I remember again why I'm going into this business. I simply love vet medicine.

Yes I know that sounds sappy... but tis true nonetheless. :^D

I was amused to hear my Vet Immunology professor insert a little philosophical digression into his lecture on antigen antibody interactions... he was talking along about the basic structure of antibodies (IgG, for those of you who were wondering), when he stopped... got a funny look in his eye and launched into an altogether too lengthy commentary on how the antibody evolved. Can you believe it?

I almost asked him how he figured the animal survived while the antibody "evolved"... I'm sure he would have tried to give me some nonsense about the bacteria evolving at the same rate as the antibody... but of course this is bunk- if we truly believe in survival of the fittest, there must be something around to challenge the population, i.e. to kill off the "non-fit"... however, I would challenge anyone to explain to me how the structure of the antibody could ever have evolved while the animal was under challenge. Either the antibody is present and there is protection against the invader, or it isn't and the animal is susceptible. The same is true of any component of the immune system... so the argument that other defenses kept the animal safe falls on it's face right there. Wonderful little problem for macroevolution... that tricky subject of irreducible complexity... the whole thing has to be working in concert or the whole function is negated. Why is it so hard to just admit that there is an Intelligent Designer who cares and loved us so much that He sent His Son to die?! I know the answer to my own question... Permit me to quote:

"Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."

- Evolutionist Richard Lewontin (as quoted on this website)

How succinct. Lets face the facts shall we?
Let the whole earth Praise Jesus for His truth that sets us free.
Grace and peace,
Ben

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Life...


I was jolted awake this morning at quarter to 6 by Charlie running his cold little nose along the bottom of my warm foot. There's nothing quite like it believe me.

I decided that rather than getting back in bed I'd head out to the kitchen and feed the cats. The day was yet very young, with that quiet blue and gray silence that seems to be so typical of early morning in Iowa. The house was quiet, with only the steady hum of the refrigerator and gentle shhh of the floor vents to disturb the solitude. Fat Cat was sprawled on the back of the couch, very comfortably extending one arm over one side and the other under his head, both legs were stretched far out behind him and I wondered that he did not tumble off. Pipsqueak I saw in my desk chair, curled into an amazingly tight little ball... it remains a mystery to me how cats can bear to be so contorted. As I took a can of food from the cupboard and began to open it, I was jolted from my reverie by the cats springing to life at the crrrreeee... ptunk of the tin can's lid being peeled back. Instantly they were about my legs, swirling round and round at ever increasing rates of speed while the cacophony of their hungry voices rose in chorus... I placed the dishes with a portion of the food on the floor and they were soon engaged in the activity they had so eagerly anticipated... all the while Fat Cat attempting courageously to loudly purr his gratitude while busily engulfing the food on his plate. Pets can be so satisfying.

I set about to prepare for the day and suddenly the thought of tea drifted pleasantly into my consciousness... without too much further ado I had a hot mug of peach blossom tea sitting before me as I sat at the kitchen table in my flannels and slippers as the dawn gave way to the gentle bustle of morning around me. I took my favorite old bible with it's soft navy blue cover, worn pages, and myriad notes and markings and read from the Proverbs, the fourth chapter, and felt my self relax as I allowed the familiar words to wash over my mind again..."My Son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh". I pondered this for a while and thought about what the words meant... I have known for a long time the value of wisdom, but only within the last year or so have I felt that I truly grasp how wisdom interacts with knowledge. Many people, especially here at the university, have great knowledge and learning... and yet, I am reminded that though their education and learning is so advanced, they are as fools... for many of these deny the One who made them. The Lord by wisdom founded the earth... wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. When all is said and done, all the research accomplished, all the texts written, all the lectures exhausted... The fear of the Lord is still the beginning of knowledge. All basis for knowledge apart from this simple truth is true folly, for we deceive ourselves if we think that true understanding of reality can be obtained from a source outside of the Founder of that reality.

As I sit and write, I think again of the verse God gave me at the beginning of this new year... Philippians 3:10. It's so easy to get out of focus concerning what things are really important... especially when I consider that every earthly thing I do... including breath, is a temporary activity. The principle thing is exactly what that verse is talking about... "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death..."
I must remember, as per the words of Proverbs 4:26, to ponder the path of my feet, and let all my ways be established. Let us not turn to the right hand or the left my brethren- but let us press on for the goal that lies before us... God's will for our lives, not only in this world we now know, but in the wondrous world to come.

Grace and peace,
Ben

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Changes... etc. I was fiddling around with my website today to see if I could get a hit counter to work- I got one loaded, and uploaded the changed page to the server. Alas, I uploaded a pre-server crash version, and my lovely link to this blog from my website was gone. Following a brief but intense period of great panic and near hyperventilation, I realized that I could just put a link to the blog in my "news" section and kill the proverbial two birds with one stone- I could make my old "news" section available for your viewing pleasure (hehehehe) as well as connect my weblog to the main website. So... thus I did, and so you know if you went through the website to get here :^).

In other happenings, I discovered one of the not so lovely sides of home ownership today... ah the joy of frozen pipes. Yes. It was all the way up to 6 degrees above zero today and apparently I found the limits of my heat tape's abilities. Sigh. I noticed that not all my pipes are frozen however, just the supply line to the kitchen sink, the toilet, and my washer... the sink, shower, and tub in the bathroom all work. Go figure. It's supposed to warm up a little tomorrow, so I'm hoping that the pipes will thaw (ever wonder why some people say "un-thaw" when they mean "thaw"? Just a curiosity that I've noticed from time to time- heh) on their own. If not, I guess I'll be soliciting the services of a space heater or something to stick under there and restore movement to my water. I was going to do it today, but since I didn't really need the services of those water sources, and because there was about a -10 windchill outside, I did not relish the prospect of spending an hour on my back beneath a frozen pipe. Honestly, I think I gave my neighbors enough entertainment to see me wiggeling underneath my skirting to see where the trouble was... not exactly my idea of a great time... my jacket steadily sliding up my back, leaving my shirt stuck to the semi muddy/frozen ground (with my skin getting ever closer to the aforementioned ground... not a pleasant sensation, trust me) , and looking up to see the mirthful face of the person next door peering out her living room window down at me. Ten years from now I will think of this and laugh. (I hope). At any rate, I had no sooner forced my half frozen legs up my steps and into my house when I noticed this strange looking "cheapcollegestudentesque" black station wagon with an enormous red white and blue "VOTE FOR HOWARD DEAN" sign in the back and side windows. I thought to myself... oh no... they're going to want to talk to me... So I ducked into my back bedroom peeking out from behind the doorframe to see if the election stumper had seen me through my open living room curtains. I started becoming annoyed (well, slightly more annoyed than I was outside on my back on the ground)... how terrible is it when you have to hide in your own house?! Somewhat emboldened, I went back into the living room and realized with some chagrin that it was only my next door neighbor's roommate- a ISU pol sci croney stopping for something at his house. Lol... what a neighborhood. Thank God for His sense of humor... just when I thought my life was getting monotonous. Grace and peace friends, Ben

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Grammer... oi. Well, if you read any of the new articles you may have noticed that there were some errors (ruefull smile). They're fixed now... I guess thats what I get for working on it so late at night.

I went for a walk with Charlie (my basset hound) today. Last semester I had never had a chance (or the motivation it seems) to see more of what Ames has to offer in terms of walking trails, so I thought we'd explore the extent of the trail that goes behind my house. We walked and walked... and walked... and walked. We walked close to 3 miles, and still didn't come to the end of it. We both decided that we should try again another day (Charlie was so tired he couldn't even hold his tail all the way up in the air... he just sort of hobbled along behind me at half mast- lol). Then I realized we still had to walk all the way back home. Anyhoo... the long and the short of it was that Charlie got a 6 mile walk today... we're both a little out of shape it seems :^). I do love walking for excercise though- it's a rare treat that I get to do much walking in the middle of January (I'm used to -15 and a couple feet of snow this time of year :^) ), it was up to almost 30 today, and for all practical purposes we don't have any snow. Walking seems to have a wonderful effect on stress, it helps clear my mind, and puts me into a good mood for prayer and reflection. I've found even back at home that some of the times when I feel closest to God is when I'm out walking with nothing to distract me but the wind in my face, the birds singing quietly in the trees, and Charlie's soft clickity clickity of his nails on the trail. God is certainly good to so richly bless us with this earth, for all it's problems- there is no reason for despair. God is still in control (smile). It's time for supper. Grace and peace, Ben

The commenting feature is back! Due to some untimely server problems, BlogSpeak is no more- but HaloScan very nicely allowed the transfer of all BlogSpeak's accounts over to it's service. The long and the short of the matter is that you can comment on The Blessed Habitation again. Yaaay. ~Ben
Hi, I just wanted to update you all with some new happenings on the website. First, you will notice that I've changed the title of my blog... and hopefully my attitude with it ;^). The Lord had been convicting me lately about being content with wherever He has me... and although I'd like to be back in ND, and feel God calling me there eventually, now is the time to be in Iowa. So here I am :^). In other news, you should go check out the articles and papers page- there are several new papers posted, not all newly written- but new to the site. Of course if ever anybody has any questions or comments on what you find written there (or here for that matter) please feel free to email me! I love hearing what people think about what I think (lol) and I'd appreciate any feedback you have (don't worry about offending me- lol).
Well, I guess thats about enough for tonight.
Happy reading :^). Grace and peace, Ben

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Greetings friends!
I have returned to the little city among the corn fields :^).
I had a wonderfully restful Christmas break at home with family and friends. Our family was alone for Christmas eve and day, but as per our tradition we again had our new years eve party- we had over 30 people over for homemade pizza (thanks to the Friesens for their wonderful desem crusts!), games, music, dancing (Thanks to Mrs. Johnson for the Virginia reel lessons!), and fellowship followed by a time of prayer and reflection as we watched yet another year of the Lord's faithfulness begin. It was so good to see what the Lord was and is doing in our midst, as my dad likes to quote "...This is the Lord's doing, it is marvelous in our eyes...". God is so good to us, I marvel at His love and mercy in my life. I hope you take time in this new year to get to know Him better- it is such a privilege to serve Him! Classes have started out well, I'm adjusting quickly to the new schedule- It's good to be back at the "grindstone", the time till graduation seems so much less when I'm in the middle of classes (smile).
As I've told many of you, God has really been teaching me a lot lately about doing everything "as unto the Lord", you know- I need to have the exact same attitude shoveling stalls or shredding paper as I do assisting surgery or going on farm calls. I need to always bear in mind that any activity I do, including breathing, is only temporary, and that God is using every situation in my life for some good purpose, to the glory and praise of His will. It may seem like a trivial issue, after all- the job is getting done isn't it? Ah, but the Lord has been showing me that it is really a lack of trust on my part to feel disgusted with a less than pleasant job- that really is the key issue... Do I truly trust Him. It's easy to think I do, easy to tell people I do... But do any of us really know what that means? What a great and good God we serve, when I am faithless, He is faithful, when I move away, He draws me back to His side, when I fear, He is Love... Selah (pause and calmly think of that ;^) ). At any rate, I am grateful to Him for His blessings, and I encourage you to think again of His goodness in your life. It is time for Bible study... And I said I would be there... Thus I must depart (smile). Be blessed my friends.
Grace and peace,
Ben