Thursday, December 30, 2010

Take a breath, take a step...

Well, this is it, folks! ;)

I'm sitting here on my bedroom floor, surrounded by my suitcases...I have never packed SO much stuff in my life! And my sisters will attest to the fact that I usually pack excessively, but I've never had to pack for such a long trip.

In a few hours, we'll be heading to the airport. It all feels so surreal. I'm still not sure that I've gotten used to the idea of being gone for over four months. The last two weeks of Christmas break have been a haze of cleaning, getting together with friends and family, watching God provide for my financial needs for the trip (being completely blown away by the generosity and encouragement of friends and family), and packing. It's been an awesome break, though.

I don't have time to write much, but I wanted to share this song which has been running through my head constantly the last few days. I think it expresses my feelings quite well!

"I never got anywhere
By running away
I never learned anything
Without a mistake
Never loved anyone
By playing it safe
It's a long way down, but
I'm here right now, so...

Here goes nothing,
Here goes everything
Gotta reach for something
or you'll fall for anything

Take a breath,
Take a step,
What comes next
God only knows
But here goes

And what good is chance not taken?
What good is life not living?
What good is love not given?"

-Here Goes, by Bebo Norman

Not gonna lie, this trip scares me a little bit. It's out of my comfort zone....a leap of faith....a step into the unknown.

But I feel confident that this is where God wants me, and I'm excited to see what He has in store for me in Mexico City!

Besides, He's going with me. :)

I hope to post updates soon!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Um, hi.

K, so most of my blog posts start with an immediate acknowledgment of the elephant in the room: the fact that I have not blogged in eons. Usually I apologize profusely for my neglect.

This time? It will be different. I am living in a state of denial.

See, I'm such a prompt and informative blogger, keeping my readers fully up-to-date on everything that goes on and LALALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUNDS OF MY OWN AWESOMENESS.

Oh, look. I've just gotten a blog comment...hmm, it's spam:

"Rather cool place you've got here. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read more on that blog soon. How about changing it once in a few months?"

Hahaha, even the spammers are guilt-tripping me!! I just can't win...

Aaaaanyhow, I am here. I've got Pandora playing away [side note: Pandora rocks. I'm a little late to be joining the Pandora bandwagon, but it's just as cool as everyone says]. And I've got a lot of thoughts floating around in my head that would like to be blogged...we'll see how that goes!

First off, it's hard to believe that it was exactly a week ago today that I was heading in to my very last final. Yep, the sophomore fall semester = pwned. Actually, I didn't get that elusive 4.0 that I've been shooting for from the beginning, but I came closer than I ever have before. (It looks like it will be 4 As and one A-, but I'm happy). It was a long semester--I was working for the first half and trying to keep up with outside activities--so it's SO good to be done!! God is good.

I was a tad apprehensive about taking a class on campus (you know, being in the classroom setting for the first time...ever), but it actually was a great experience. The Spanish 1 & 2 classes that I took over the summer were sufficient to get me up to the level of Spanish 3, and I learned so much in that class. I met a sweet girl who was incredibly helpful as a study partner, and turned out to be related to me very distantly. Life is funny.

Thoughts on papers: PHC is forcing me to write. A lot. It's good for me, especially because I've always hated my writing and still don't think I'm good at it (and I'm seriously not fishing for compliments here, just being honest). That said, I have learned specifically that it's bad to use words that are not really words. Um, yeah. Even if Word agrees with me that convincingness is a's not. Actually, there are a lot of words that should be words but aren’t (at least, according to Microsoft Word). Like perfectify. And assentive. Memorability. And unforgetability. Oh well.

So, that's that.

Second, I am going to Mexico. Actually, I'm flying out almost exactly one week from today. week ago today I was taking a Spanish final (and then running out of the building and jumping into a snow bank out of sheer joy), and a week from today I'll be boarding a plane bound for a warmer climate. WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Sorry, had to get that out.

So far, break has been fantastic. My new laptop came yesterday, and I'm actually using it right now, trying to get used to the keyboard. I've been cleaning my room, sorting out the clothes I want to take, spending more time with siblings who don't want me to leave (awww!), and overall getting SO STOKED about this trip.

I've been completely overwhelmed (in a good way!) by the generosity of family and friends. I spoke in church about my opportunity to go on this missions trip, and people have been so supportive. Such a blessing.

Speaking of blessings, my conniving friends and sisters totally shocked me on Saturday with a surprise birthday/going away party. I was flabbergasted! I never suspected a thing...I guess I was nicknamed "Jessica the Oblivious" for good reason. =P It was a very special day; one that I don't think I'll ever forget.

GAH. Talking about birthday parties reminded me...I'm going to be 20. In like, five days? Yikes. It's funny, because when I was little, I decided that I would be married by age 20. Ha. Obviously that didn't exactly pan out, and I'm glad it didn't. Pretty sure I'm not mature enough to handle that sort of responsibility! Besides, God apparently has different plans for me right now, and His plans are always better than mine. =)

Lately I've been trying not to focus on the "lasts." You know, the last PHC distance learning semester at home, the last days of being a teenager, the last Sunday at my church, the last time seeing someone before May--that sort of thing.

Sometimes I'm thankful that I don't cry easily, because otherwise I would have been a complete emotional wreck the last week! (And other times I wish I were more emotional because it would be appropriate to cry and I just can't...haha.)

Well, this is getting more and more random, so I think I'll sign off. I really hope to write updates here while I'm in Mexico, but I know better than to make any promises. ;)

To any remaining, long-suffering blog readers, have a very Merry Christmas! It's cliche, I know, but do remember what we're celebrating: Christ, the Creator of the Universe, became flesh and dwelt among us!

As my new favorite song says so beautifully, "Down from His glory, Ever living story, My God and Savior came, And Jesus was His name. Born in a manger, To His own a stranger, A Man of sorrows, tears and agony. Oh how I love Him! How I adore Him! My breath, my sunshine, my all in all! The great Creator became my Savior..."

Isn't it wonderful?!

Monday, September 27, 2010

epic. fail.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I've utterly neglected my blog lately. Like, almost completely forgotten it existed. If it weren't for a persistent somebody, I wouldn't even be here now, listening to Aaron Shust and Coldplay (I know, unlikely combination, but I like it!), working on a rhetoric assignment, and typing away on this post [multitasking for the win!].

Actually, in my defense (haha), I thought I had blogged more recently. I figured that I had written since summer, but as it turns out...I haven't!

This means that I have much to catch up on. Almost 3 months, in fact.

Oh my.

So, summer was incredibly fast. I mean, summers have always seemed to go quickly to me, simply because I've never wanted them to end. But this one went especially fast because I was working roughly 20-30 hours per week and took 9 credits. I honestly don't ever want to do that again! I felt that I couldn't devote enough time to my classes (partially why I did rather poorly on that stupid trig exam...). Oh well...

I was really blessed with a job that paid more than I ever imagined it could. Actually, I earned more per hour there (most of the time, it fluctuates) than I did with my lovely government job. Tips are really nice... :) I've decided that I will be an amazing tipper for the rest of my life. 20%, people! Those sorts of tips make my life (30% tips ROCK.)

That restaurant job ended on Saturday, as the place closes for the winter. Plus, the owners are selling the restaurant (they own two others), so I'm not even sure if it will exist next summer. Depending on who takes it over, I may try to work there next summer. One of the day managers was considering taking over, and as I love her, I would SO stay there if she did.

I started fall classes on August 23rd. I'm taking 15 credits, which is the most I've ever done at once. (I know, I know...for a PHC student, 15 credits = underachiever. haha.)

Funny story: Here I am a sophomore in college, and I just now (well, August 23rd) started taking my first ever class in a real live classroom. It's a unique and entertaining experience, I think. So many things that I'd heard about but never actually experienced: a professor right in front of me who will answer any question right away! She doesn't pause for two days and then give a two sentence reply. :) It's interesting to compare the academics between a state university and a Christian liberal arts college, though. PHC is much more challenging, but Spanish 3 is definitely a stretch for me after doing all my language online previously.

Warning: bombshell ahead. Please spit out your gum now. (Unless of course, you know me, in which case you likely already know this. hmm. Never mind the gum comment.)

So, I might possibly potentially maybe kind of be going to Mexico in January for five months. It's an opportunity that I'm praying about, but so far God is really opening doors, and it seems as though he's leading me in that direction. I mean, I'm all about seizing opportunities and I love to pontificate on the necessity of not hesitating when you feel that God is calling you...but, Mexico City? By myself? For five months? Really now?

Basically, there is a sweet missionary family in Mexico City looking for someone to help homeschool their children for the spring semester. I would be helping with that as well as helping with the ministry, and in return, they would help me with my Spanish. The more I've read about their family and emailed with the parents, the more similarities I see with our family and the more comfortable I am with the whole situation.

As I was walking into Spanish class one beautiful morning last week, I was praying about Mexico. I had just realized just how expensive such a trip would be, especially while I'm trying to save up enough money to go on campus next fall. My finances would be completely strapped. Plus, my job was ending at my restaurant and I wasn't sure where to go next (I really despise searching for work!) As I walked, I was praying that if this is indeed God’s will, He would provide the means.

That night, my parents and I had a skype conversation with the missionary couple and I found out that I would actually need to go as a short term missionary under their missionary board. Meaning, I can call this a missions trip and need to raise support from friends, family, and local churches. Previously, I had been planning to pay for the whole trip out of my own pocket...but now I won't have to! Hmm, confirmation maybe?

Then on Saturday, I talked to my boss about whether she'd be keeping me on staff at one of her other restaurants or not. I didn't think she would, because when I'd worked at the other one (just one night due to a mix-up), they seemed fully staffed--maybe even overstaffed--and I felt as useless as a [insert appropriate metaphor here...haha]. To my surprise, she told me that restaurant needed revamping and that she really wants to keep me on. Aaand, when I asked a coworker what exactly needed revamping, she said the employees do--in other words, she'll fire some of them because she wants to keep me. Wow. I'm not sure if it will actually happen, but that could be another major blessing.

mmm, hear that creaking sound? Yeah, I think it's a door opening.

I'm just a little bit excited.


I'd really appreciate prayer for wisdom for both my parents and me. They're both pretty positive about the whole idea (especially after the skype convo), which is quite incredible. So, pretty soon it will be decision-making time. Yikes!

I. am. not. good. at. decisions.


I will [TRY to] keep you updated.

Peace out.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Don't fall out of your chair...

...because this is a new blog post. For real.

See, I thought I was doing well since I'm keeping up with publishing comments and always respond within a couple days to the emails from people with questions about my blog posts. But...then I hopped onto my blog and saw that my last post was published in May. And I realized that, dude, it's been way too long.

So here I am!

To be honest, I had plenty of time to blog in the first few weeks of June. I simply didn't have anything to blog about. Actually, I was bored for the first time in at least a year, maybe longer. I had been so busy finishing high school, applying to college, working, campaigning, and doing college that when it all abruptly ended, I really didn't know what to do with myself. It was the strangest feeling ever.

I spent the majority of June job-searching. It was a frustrating process, but on June 20th I finally landed a job. After weeks of looking, sixteen applications, and two interviews, you better believe that I was incredibly relieved. Proof that persistence pays off? Maybe. But definitely proof that God was teaching me a lesson about being patient and trusting Him to provide for my needs (namely, money for college) if it's His will that I continue at PHC.

Right after that, life started getting crazy again. A family reunion, two college classes in full swing, working three different jobs in the space of two weeks (I was helping out/filling in at two of my past jobs and training at my new one), and some political work quickly ended my boredom!

So now I'm working as a server (waitress) at a rather classy restaurant. On nights when we're busy, I've found that I can make up to $70 in tips, which is nice. Especially because I've now found a place to park legally! That sounds bad, so let me explain. The Chautauqua Institution has this thing about charging an arm and a leg for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Including parking. I found out the hard way that they really do care if you park without buying the $175 parking permit. Soo...I now park a million miles away (about a fifteen minute walk, not bad really) and pay $2 for parking. Anyhow, I've learned so much and have much to learn, but I'm starting to enjoy working there (especially the part where I find money meant for me to like, have under plates after my customers have left). It's quite a thrill.

Today is my second day off since my job started (on June 20th). I'm spending it creating a Euclidean geometry proof and catching up on some Spanish homework. It's surprising how difficult it is to motivate myself to do homework without falling asleep when I get home from work around 10 PM. Actually, the geometry proof was due last night, but I got an extension from my awesome professor since I literally had no time to finish it this week due to work and circulating petitions.

Some things I've been thinking about...

A couple Sundays ago, our pastor preached on Philippians 1:21, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Normally I focus on the second half of that verse, contemplating on how, for the Christian, death is not something to be feared or dreaded. But the sermon focused on the phrase "to live is Christ." In other words, everything we do in this life should be for Christ. Nothing I'd never heard before, but somehow it made me start thinking. Is my life spent passionately pursuing the Savior and doing God's will, or is it only centered on what I want to the exclusion of all else?

While driving to work last week, I was thinking about this when Francesca Battistelli came on the radio:

"It’s your life
What you gonna do?
The world is watching you
Every day the choices you make
Say what you are and who
Your heart beats for
It’s an open door"

Sooo, what do my choices say about me? That my heart beats for Christ...or for me?

Anyhow, it's something I'm still wrestling with, and something I'd encourage you to think on as well.

All right, that's it for now. Peace out, folks!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I've opened up this post several times over the last couple of weeks, fully intending to finish and publish it...but to no avail. Things have been a bit crazy lately, to the point that I'm not even sure where to start.

When I first started writing this post, on May 12th at 11:28 PM, it had a MUCH more creative title (haha) and began like this:

Roughly an hour ago, I finished my freshman year of college. Let me tell you, it is an aMAZing feeling!! I spaced my finals out so that I only did one per day, but it was still an intense experience that I'm glad to have over with. Very glad, in fact.

The next night, I tried again, changing it to

Roughly twenty-four hours ago, I finished my freshman year...

Obviously, it's not correct now, because twenty-four hours ago, I was still on my way home from an awesome trip to Tennessee and Indiana. My freshman year has been over for almost two weeks now, and I started my summer PHC Euclidean Geometry class last night (after unpacking, responding to a million emails, and practicing piano with a friend for our duet at the recital next week).

So yeah. After some major updating, here's from the original post:

These days, I'm so incredibly grateful for...
...the love and support of my family & friends
...the grace of God
...professors who are (for the most part!) understanding
...what looks to be an improvement in my GPA over last semester [yes!!]
...campaign opportunities
...encouraging and incredibly helpful classmates who organize study chats, briefing discussion boards, and helping me edit my papers
...happy texts that come just when I need them
...a friend who functions as an alarm clock when needed sister Erika, who "helps" me study (by pretending to listen while I explain my notes) mom, who drives to the bank at the drop of a hat when I need to buy plane tickets (haha) and always listens to my papers other little sibs, who mostly stay out of the way while I'm studying (even though I'm at home doing distance learning, they say that they never see me!

I've realized that one of the things that I'll miss the most about distance learning when I go to campus (Fall of 2011) is the artwork in my notebooks. See, my two youngest siblings (ages three and five) love to sit in my room with me and "write" in my notebooks. Later, when I'm taking notes, I'll run across the most hilarious drawings ever. Maybe sometimes I will post some of their pictures...they're just that funny! I've decided that before I go on campus, I will have Josh and Katrina draw some pictures in the notebooks I take, just so that I will have something to laugh at while studying. :)

Actually, I'll miss their encouragement as well. Not only do my siblings stay out of my room during exams (haha), but they also can tell when I'm stressed and tired and will write notes for me. I'm not exactly sure they can tell when I'm wiped out, but maybe it's because I start falling asleep everywhere. Like on my desk. (Yeah, again.) And in the van (Yeah, this time I literally did miss five minutes of my piano lesson because I fell asleep while waiting for my turn). Oh, and I started sleepwalking. Rather embarrassing, because I thought I had outgrown that, but apparently not! So, my siblings write me encouraging notes like this one which I taped to my wall:

Hey Jess, Don't give up on your college. Remember, God loves you. Philippians 4:6: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Isn't it sweet? Anyhow, I still have over a year of distance learning left, but I've already started thinking about what I'll miss about being here. (Yet, at the same time, I am incredibly excited about going on campus!)

I'm realizing that this post is already getting quite random and disjointed, but I need to hurry up and finish it so that I can get ready for a live geometry lecture and then a county GOP meeting.

A quick wrap-up of the trip:
-it was a blast.
-campaigning is fun, especially when a certain person is in a hilarious mood that involves non-stop, stream-of-consciousness talking. :P
-Tennessee weather is funky.
-There are a lot of homeschoolers in Indiana. 85 graduated along with my friend Emily at the INHF graduation ceremony. It was pretty cool.
-It's good to be home!

The next week will be rather intense, as I need to locate a job. See, on the drive up to Indiana on Friday, I got an interesting phone call wherein I learned that I no longer have a job this summer. Due to some budget cuts, there isn't enough money to hire me full-time during the summer. So, I am back to looking for a job! Needless to say, I was freaking out about it, knowing that if I can't make a certain amount of money over this summer, I'll need to drop out of PHC. But on Sunday, at Emily's church, the pastor preached from Philippians 4:19 which states, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." It was one of those sermons where you feel like every word is directed at you, and I came away feeling very encouraged. You see, I realized that if God wants me to continue at PHC, He will enable me to earn the money necessary. So many times I try to take things into my own hands, attempting to plan my future and control everything.
But in losing a job that I took for granted, I realized in a rather dramatic way that really, my life is in God's hands, not mine.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Do your eyes hurt?

In case you hadn't noticed (whoever you are, anyhow...), I've updated my blog header and changed my template. It was time for a change, since my last picture was taken last fall (in September, perhaps?) waaay back when I still had braces. Wow.

I realize the colors are a little bright, but I'm excited about spring (and daffodils!!!!!) and wanted my blog to reflect that excitement. So please bear with me until I decide to change it again.

This is going to be a really short post. [I think I said that last time. Oh well.] I only have three weeks left until I'm finished with the spring semester, at which point I will likely write another crazy post that will completely update everyone.

Last week was insane, with far too much due within a short amount of time for this frazzled girl. Stress and I do not get along well, and let's just say I'm thankful that God provides. Even when a term paper needs to be written in a day and a half.

Two things I learned over the last couple weeks: I fail epically at all-nighters. And I have not outgrown sleepwalking, sadly. [My sleeping habits have been pretty bad lately, can you tell? haha]

All righty folks, that's it for now! See you on the other side of finals!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Some Kind of Wonderful...

Yep, that is the title to a sappy romantic song, but don't worry, I'm not talking about a guy. Not even close! I'm actually talking about Spring Break!! It's finally here, and it is some kind of wonderful!!!

(Please excuse the exclamation points. They won't go away.)

It's a short break (just from Wednesday to Sunday) but I'll take it! I was starting to feel a little burned out with all of the assignments due just before break started. In fact, it was one mad scramble those last few days with exams and papers due, but the thought of spring break motivated me to write my Hume paper on Tuesday. And now I only have three papers and six exams to go (I have five papers and eight exams down).

On Thursday, a friend came over and we went traipsing through the woods, had an epic snowball fight (in bare feet, no less), had an adventure involving quicksand (we survived) and went out on the Beaver Pond in a flimsy raft and were nearly eaten by the Loch Beaver Monster (who is actually just an orange fish). It was awesome!

I'm getting ready to leave in about ten minutes to sing in a cantata presented by area churches titled "The Power of the Cross." I've really enjoyed being involved in it and I'm really looking forward to performing it. I hope it blesses the people watching as much as it has blessed me. It was so nice to take some time off for practices over the past few months. Singing is great therapy for the college-zonked mind. Haha.

Real quick before I dash out the door (since I doubt I'll be blogging for quite some time...maybe not even until college is over), I've started planning summer classes. Actually, I think my summer is totally booked. I plan on taking nine credits (Euclidean Geometry from PHC and Spanish 1 & 2 from a SUNY college through DL), working pretty much full time, and hopefully campaigning at some point for some awesome Tennesseans. :)

Well, my time is up! Catch you all later...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oh, look!

It's a (relatively) non-boring post!! What do you know...

So, I've just posted two papers from this semester (I've also written one on Descartes, but I don't think that will be appearing here any time soon. Let's just say I hope to never look at that paper again! Unless, of course, I am satisfied with the grade...) and feel that I should write something slightly more lighthearted before my blog becomes hopelessly dry. In fact, I was informed that I could blog my papers, but that I needed to write about my life as well. But...but...but...papers + exams + reading = my life right now!

That aside, I will attempt to comply with my orders and write something more readable than incoherent thoughts on Anselm and Adam Smith.

Not that this post will be interesting. I am feeling rather drained of creativity right now; plus, it's nearly 1 AM and my brain may shut down at any moment (Yes, I assure you that there would be a noticeable distinction between Jessica-with-functioning-brain and Jessica-without-functioning-brain. I just can't think of what exactly that would be.)

Most of this post was written while hopping between blogger and writing philosophy discussion board posts. That may be helpful to keep in mind. Or not.

Today, my mom and I went to the oral surgeon. <--- That sentence alone strikes terror into my soul.

Very scary words indeed.

You see, now that I have gotten my braces off, it seemed that the next logical step would be to...spend MORE money on my teeth/jaw/whatever. So not only have I been to a real live dentist (with NO ortho prefix! Novel idea.), but I have also been to the oral surgeon to see about removing my "third molars," aka wisdom teeth.

Actually, going to the dentist was itself rather humorous, as I had been going to the Dental Van over the past...maybe five or six years of my life. (Yeah, the Dental Van is about as exciting as it sounds.) That was all well and good, except the Dental Van is for kids and they kicked me out (not literally, of course) when I turned eighteen. So a couple weeks ago I ended up going to my mom's dentist, who had not seen me since May of 1997. Yes, I was six then. But what cracked me up was the medical history form that I was handed so that I could update it. It was what my mom had written about me waaaay back then, and I started laughing when I realized that absolutely nothing had changed...not even the note she had written under "patient problems or concerns": "she brushes often but never flosses." Sadly, that is still the case. And yes, I am aware that this makes me horrible person.

Anyways, I had some x-rays done (which the staff found hilarious....apparently the roots of my teeth are excessively long and are positioned abnormally because of my small jaw. So, it looks like my teeth have legs with little feet at the ends of the roots. And I'm sure you all wanted to know that. Moving on...) and the dentist told me that I do indeed have four wisdom teeth that should be removed as soon as possible.


So. Today. We went to the oral surgeon. It was a consultation visit; you know, the kind where you pay $45 dollars for having the doctor talk to you for five minutes. As part of the "informed consent" process, I was required to watch an 11-minute video all about the horrors great fun of the procedure. I was just fine until the talking dude mentioned that one possible side effect was DEATH. Wait, what?!

"Oh, and by the way...this is potentially fatal."

Like, hello?

I'm not exactly sure why, but I don't actually want to die while having my wisdom teeth extracted. I'm just weird like that.

The nurse came back in and said it was an "informative" video. I told her that I was now sufficiently petrified. She didn't seem concerned. And when I informed my mom that I was certain to die, she just laughed at me. Such sympathy.

However, there is hope.

The doctor came in and told us that my wisdom teeth are sufficiently impacted as to be completely embedded in the bone. For that reason, he thought it would be best to wait a year or more before extracting them so that the surgery would be easier. And believe me, I was just fine with that!

After that harrowing fantastic ordeal, we went to Starbucks. (Note: Starbucks is awesome.) The closest Starbucks we have is on the college campus (SUNY Fredonia) and I go there when I want to feel like an actual college student. Sitting in front of a computer gets old really fast, and living miles from your classmates...and having never met any of also a downside of distance learning. (Confession of the day: An example of the lengths I will go to convince myself that my classmates are real people and not just names on discussion board posts...I have found that by searching the student portal, I can learn all of the students' middle names. So, I have. Because I am just that much of a stalker.) Anyhow, sometimes I will go to the college library or Starbucks and brainstorm papers and pretend that I'm just one of the students. It's very sad how much of a thrill that gives me, actually.

Where was I? Oh, that's right. I introduced my mom to the campus Starbucks. It was fun. I conveniently had no money with me. Funny how that worked out. My sentences are getting choppy again. I would call it awesome mom-daughter bonding time...except I was reading an exhilarating book on FDR's New Deal and she was people watching. Whatever.

I have a feeling that this post is becoming ridiculously long, and my ability to write coherent sentences is flying out the window. So I think I'll just sum up some random things and then go to bed.

I have learned that...

*Rene is a boys' least in France.
*Descartes is pronounced WAY different than it looks.
*Discussion board posts should not be attempted when very tired.
*It is actually possible to fall asleep while sitting at a computer, with your head on the desk. I wish it only happened in movies.
*Papers do not write themselves while you are asleep on said desk.
*Falling asleep while sitting in the van waiting for a piano lesson is extremely disorienting.
*Waking up thinking that you've somehow slept through your piano lesson is very disconcerting.
*Being absorbed in studying for exams causes skipping way too many meals.
*Little sisters are awesome...especially when they bring me food in my room that I would otherwise completely forget to eat.
*Along the same lines...people will notice--and comment--if I lose even five pounds. Ridiculous.
*Hearing many people tell you to eat gets annoying. So, you eat. (No, I am NOT anorexic. I just forget to eat. Trust me on this.)
*Descartes was the dude who invented those horrid Cartesian coordinate planes. I KNEW there was a reason I didn't like him!
*Descartes should have stuck with math. Seriously.
*Adam Smith's invisible hand is awesome at helping to write essays on economics (sort of like a ghost writer, you see) but writes in invisible ink. (That's a definite downside.)
*My computer is run by a cave man.
*The cave man who runs my computer hates me with a passion.
*Having Firefox crash in the midst of a Philosophy exam is not a fun experience. (And yes, I am getting a new computer shortly.)
*Going OVER the maximum word count while writing a paper is an awesome feeling. And one that will probably never happen to me again.
*Microsoft Word is not really a fun place to hang out for a day. Or two.
*Giving up facebook for ten days in a row is an excellent idea. So much more can be accomplished, and I didn't even die! Shocking...
*Learning about soteriology from a reformed perspective is incredibly interesting. And much different from how I was brought up. And that's all I have to say about that. :P
*Asking dad the theology discussion board questions makes for an interesting conversation. And interesting in a very good way.
*Essentially is a good word. So is subsequently. (Does having favorite words make me a nerd?)
*I am overly excited when I use words in my papers that my mom has never heard of (I was almost giddy when I found a way to use epistemological and solipsism.)

This post is definitely too long. And it is 2 AM. Good night, blogosphere. It will probably be some time before I post again, so I hope this is satisfactory. Or maybe even phenomenal.


Phenomenal would be nice.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jessica erat in flagrante delicto...apparently.

Uh, for those of you who don't know Latin (I don't either, no worries), that apparently means that I was "caught in the act." I have been busted for lack of blogging! Actually, I have received two emails in the last roughly 24 hours that thoroughly impressed upon my heart that it is, indeed and truly, time for another blog post.

Wondering what kind of threats were used to force me to go to this time? Here's the email I received:

"Yes, Jessica, the time has come once again when I must speak to you about how infrequently you post on your blog. I'm sorry this is such a hassle, but apparently you still have not learned that I want to know more about your life than an occasional and far-between facebook one-line status updates. I care about you and want to get a more comprehensive view on how you are doing. And I am therefore asking you to blog.

Very sincerely, ********

ps Please do not say that you have blogged recently. By any standards it has been since the 18 January, 2010, which is fully a month and four days. And by my standards, which means something that actually talks about your life, it has been since 7 January 2010. In such post you brought up that you blogged more than twice a month last year, which you have not come close to this year. You have not been blogging recently. With all due respect: Jessica erat in flagrante delicto. Please remedy this."

So remedying I am. And I'll admit it. It has been forever since I blogged last. In fact, it has gotten so bad that I stopped checking my blog to see if I had updated.

My excuse is, of course, that I have been so insanely busy with college work that I hardly have time to eat and sleep, much less blog.

But for some people, that excuse just does not cut it. So, at the risk of killing my grades, failing classes, dropping out of college, ruining my life, and all other kinds of unspeakable doom, I will blog. Because that's just the kind of sacrificial person I am.

My life lately has consisted almost entirely of school work. I am only taking twelve credits (four classes), but it really is about all I can do to keep up. So far, I have completed the first four exams and have written one paper. I have three papers due within the next two weeks or so, and then exams again! It's never-ending, but it is doable...because God's strength is made perfect in my weakness, and man, have I been weak!

Philosophy has been my most difficult class this semester. However, thanks to Descartes I have made an amazing discovery: I can't think, therefore I am not. Which means I don't need to write any more philosophy posts or papers, since I don't exist! I was really excited about this until a classmate pointed out that I really can't think that I can't think, because thinking that I can't think is thinking. Snap!

Besides school, I have been still involved in Awana every Monday night, sometimes doing the council time lessons or doing the music for the Sparks. Choir practice seems to have been canceled a lot lately because of the snow, but I usually go to church for that on Wednesday nights. I am involved in an Easter cantata (singing soprano) that several area churches are organizing. I absolutely adore the music and am really enjoying learning the songs. (Chris Tomlin!!!! Yeah.)

I've been playing the piano every week in church (and starting to play the organ as well) to accompany the congregation. That has been a learning experience! I have wanted to play the congregational numbers for a long time, and it is a really amazing feeling to finally be able to (with varying degrees of success...but we won't go there). Currently I only play the chorus of the month, but I'd like to start playing the hymns as well.

What else is there to tell? I've gone to some political meetings and am back working at the Board of Elections every Thursday for a while. They have a project they needed help with that could not wait until summer, so I am attempting to work there one day a week and still keep my college classes afloat.

I hope that post suffices for now (AKA, are you happy now, ********?) I seriously will attempt to blog more often. Man, that's hard to say with a straight face. Fortunately, none of you can see my facial expressions, so you have no idea how insincere I am being. And Erika just walked in and said I "look horrible" so I guess that is one more reason to be glad you can't see me right now.

The End.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Will someone please explain to me why I am getting tons of hits from people all over the country who are googling "Jessica Soapbox"?? Thanks!

EDIT: Mystery solved. Apparently everyone is looking for this and land on my blog in the process of searching. Here I thought I was suddenly amazingly popular (I'm getting roughly 30 hits per hour). Oh, well. It's nice to know what's going on...I was a little weirded out. Thanks for the tip, anon!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010, really?

Can you believe that it's a new year?! We're in a new decade, in fact. Wow.

Isn't it amazing how much can happen in one year? For example, I blogged 27 times. Impressive, right? That's more than twice per month, people.

*waits several moments for applause*

*gives up waiting*

So, what's in store for this year? Really, only God knows what will happen in the coming months, but I trust that this year will be filled with blessings for all of my readers. (I feel like I can finally talk as if I have readers since I now have reached a whopping twelve followers....)

Yesterday I posted my last paper from last semester. My apologies for any formatting issues...Microsoft Word and Blogger don't get along very well. In fact, I spent at least an hour editing the html of that post so that it would look readable. There are still some problems with the footnotes, but let me assure you that they are correctly formatted in the actual document (proper spacing and all!).

Anyhow, it is the argumentative research paper that I wrote for my Research and Writing class. Yes, the "dangerous" paper that I wrote about a while back. And while we are on that subject, I must announce to a particular reader (*cough*Erika*cough*) that I STILL HAVE THAT SCAR!!! Just FYI. ((See, it wasn't exaggerated.))

In that post I mentioned my nightmare wherein I had worried that I had ended my paper with the word with. That's why it was rather humorous when my professor commented that my last sentence was good. If only she knew...

So, now I finally have my class grades and cumulative GPA. I am satisfied but not thrilled (Yep, I wanted that elusive 4.0.) But God is good! He is so faithful and it was only by His grace and the encouragement of friends and family that I got through the first few rough days of college and had the stamina to finish.

You see, I did something that I would never recommend anyone try: from the time that I was accepted at PHC to the day that classes started, I focused on anything but college. Finishing high school wore me out and my summer was busy while I worked a full-time job. My last day of work was Friday, my friend's graduation party (in our yard) was Sunday, and college started on Monday. So, that Monday morning, I logged onto the student portal and started trying to navigate my classes for the first time.

Incredibly. Bad. Idea.

That is why my first week of college was one of the worst weeks in my life. I learned that I did not have all my books, and I was just scrambling to keep up. In fact, the entire semester I was barely on track due to my stupidity and carelessness at the beginning.

Why am I saying all of this? Because I have determined to do better this time. College officially starts next Wednesday (or Thursday, depending on who I ask) but I have already started getting ready. I hope to be completely organized, have all of my books (I have many of them, but a few are still in the mail), finish the preliminaries (PKATs, etc), and have started the reading before the first day of class.

I think what I've just written is very much along the same lines as something my good friend just posted. She wrote,
I must not hold back when God is clearing the path for me. I need to be watching for the opportunities He puts before me, and when He says 'go', I need to throw myself into it instead of asking "are You sure?"
(Can you believe I just quoted you on my blog, bestie? You're famous now!)

Anyhow, what she said rings so true to me. I think it is so important that we seize the opportunities that God has given us. My acceptance at PHC was, I feel, an open door that God gave me to increase in knowledge and broaden my horizons. Rather than continually questioning what I will do with a degree and where God wants me to be in the future, I ought to focus on making the most of this amazing opportunity.

Moving on...

Break has been wonderful. I'm afraid that I took the catching-up-on-sleep-thing to an absolute extreme. I am definitely not going into details (though I'm sure Erika would be happy to satisfy your curiosity...please don't ask her!!). Let me just say that I think I've slept enough now that I could be up for the next week....

Besides sleeping excessively, I've been hanging out with family (sleigh rides, Christmas caroling, sledding, making snow angels), spending time with friends (especially one friend who will be leaving soon for several months...sniff, sniff!), playing piano (I've started playing piano with the congregation now...what an experience!) and overall just loving life.

Oh yes, I should mention the one adverse affect that college has had on me: wisdom teeth. At least, I think they are starting to come in (which means I need to get them all out right away before they ruin 4 1/2 years of orthodontic work) and my mom said that since college is making me so smart, it only makes sense that my wisdom teeth would come in.... Very funny.

Yep, break was fantastic, but...Spring semester, here I come!

Carpe diem, folks!!

Is it Morally Acceptable to Discard Unwanted Frozen Human Embryos?

Around the world, a debate is raging over the ethical and moral implications of scientific breakthroughs in the field of assisted reproductive technologies. At the center of the controversy is an organism so small that it can fit on the end of a pin: the frozen human embryo. [1] Suspended indefinitely in a place where time has stopped—frozen in vials in fertility clinics—hundreds of thousands of human embryos await implantation in a mother’s womb.[2] With storage space running low, many fertility clinics are left wondering what should be done with unclaimed and unwanted embryos. Discarding seems to be the easiest option, but some ethicists and scientists argue that destroying embryos is not morally acceptable because it takes the life of a human being.

The frozen human embryos in question are created using in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF is a process that allows infertile couples to conceive. In a study on reproductive technologies, Jacques Cohen and Robert Lee Hotz write, “These new technologies usually are aimed at women who cannot carry their own child and at those numerous couples—an estimated 2.4 million married couples in the United States (U.S. Congress 1988:3)—who are infertile and cannot conceive unaided.”[3]

In the IVF process, eggs are harvested from the female which are then fertilized in a Petri dish. After five to six days of growth, having formed six cells, the embryos are in the blastocyst stage, and are ready to be implanted in the mother’s womb. Because the success rate for IVF is low, many embryos are created at once and some are cryogenically preserved, or frozen, for later use.[4] According to Andrea Bonnicksen, “During a woman’s initial IVF cycle, three or four of the embryos created are transferred to her uterus, while the rest are frozen for storage, to be thawed and transferred at a later date.”[5] If the first batch of implanted embryos is not successful, the frozen embryos are used.

Cryopreservation of human embryos is possible because the freezing temperature literally slows down time and stops the development of the embryo until it is thawed for use. Dr. Jerome Lejeune, a geneticist renowned for his discovery of the cause of Down’s syndrome,[6] explains: “But in the fundamental sense what we are doing by lowering down the temperature is stopping not totally but very deeply the movements of the atoms and molecule so…we have more or less arrested the flux of the time.”[7] Because the growth of human embryos is halted, they can be left frozen for an indefinite period of time.

The issue arises when the embryos go unclaimed, and clinics are left with the dilemma of determining their fate. The clinics mail out letters, asking the parents to determine an outcome for their embryos. In a study about the rationales behind opting to either donate or discard embryos, Sheryl de Lacey writes that the decisions are “extremely difficult and morally challenging.”[8]

The two options available for unwanted frozen human embryos are either donation (to another couple or to research) or discarding. According to researcher Sheryl de Lacey:

Once a woman and her partner have determined that further treatment is no longer possible or desirable, the decision about the fate of the frozen embryos typically involves selecting between options that commonly include discarding embryos, donating embryos to another couple (either anonymously or to a known recipient), or donating to research. [9]
A study of current trends in Australia shows that a significant number of couples do choose to discard their unwanted embryos: “In essence, 64.7% of the patients applied for an extension or used the embryos themselves in the 6 months between the reminder and the expiry date. Only 5.9% patients overall opted to donate embryos to others and the decision was not influenced by pregnancy. This compared with 18.8% of patients who chose to discard their embryos.”[10]

But is it morally acceptable to discard human embryos? The answer depends on one’s view of life. To a person who believes that life begins at conception, the embryo is a human life. Lejeune states unequivocally that the embryo is a human being: “But as a geneticist you ask me whether this human being is a human, and I would tell you that because he is a being and being human, he is a human being.”[11] Reproductive rights supporter Cheryl Meyer follows the implications of the belief that human life begins at conception: “If the embryo represents human life, this could become an insurmountable problem to medical research on, or even performance of, the IVF procedure. Theoretically, physicians could no longer conduct research using embryos or discard embryos, because to do so could be considered murder.”[12]

However, in a 1979 report by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare that supported IVF and embryo transfer, the Ethics Advisory Board concluded that “the human embryo is entitled to profound respect; but this respect does not necessarily encompass the full legal and moral rights attributed to persons.”[13] Scott B. Rae and Paul M. Cox from the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity disagree:

Embryos are persons, deserving of full human rights. They are not potential persons, a concept that itself is problematic. Either one is a person, or one is not a person. What one normally means by this imprecise use of that term is that the embryo (and fetus also) is a person with the potential to become a full-grown adult. It is better to say that the embryo is a “person with potential.”[14]

Those who consider destruction of human embryos to be morally acceptable often use the term pre-embryo rather than embryo. However, Lejeune considers the term a “meaningless neologism,” stating that “before the embryo there are only the egg and the sperm, and, inasmuch as no one of them has achieved fertilization, no new being exists. There is, therefore, no pre-embryo, since by definition the embryo is the youngest form of being.” [15]

The fact that the frozen embryo has the potential to lead a normal life is another consideration when determining whether it is acceptable to discard frozen human embryos. According to a study in Human Reproduction, there is no noticeable increase in defects in children born from frozen embryos compared to children conceived naturally:

A study of 91 children born after transfer of cryopreserved embryos and 83 children born after natural conception (Sutcliff et. al., 1995), showed no increase in the incidence of malformations, either minor or major. Nor was there any difference in later psycho-motor development between the two groups, as assessed using Griffiths’ quotient (Griffiths, 1976) (Table XII).[16]

If Lejeune is correct that destroying frozen embryos takes the life of a living human being, and if it is true that the embryo has the potential to lead a normal life, what should be done in the case of unwanted frozen embryos? Donating the embryos to another couple is an alternative to discarding that preserves the life of the embryo, but statistics show that the option is not preferred.[17] A shortcoming to the adoption solution is that donating an embryo is a complex emotional decision, one that many couples are not prepared to make. Rae and Cox state, “Even though donation does not involve discarding the leftover embryos, and is more ethically acceptable, it is very difficult to accept emotionally for many couples.”[18]

Ethicists Rae and Cox propose another possible solution to the unwanted frozen embryo dilemma. They write that the number of embryos that can be created at one time should be limited, for if the doctor limited the creation of embryos to the number that could be implanted at one time, cryopreservation would become unnecessary and difficult decisions about the fate of excess embryos would not have to be made. Rae and Cox write,

The most prudent course for couples to follow and for their physicians to encourage in these procedures is to avoid having leftover embryos as best they can….A couple can inform the clinic of their views concerning when personhood begins, and tell the clinic they do not want any leftover embryos after they are finished doing business there.…The number of eggs to be fertilized depends on the number of embryos the couple wants implanted. [19]

Limiting the number of embryos created to the amount that could be implanted at one time would dispel the need to cryogenically preserve embryos, but the solution would require effort and time to implement.

Clearly, the debate over the fate of unwanted frozen human embryos is not one that will find an easy solution. The issue is complex, with many moral and ethical implications. Donating to willing couples and limiting the number of created embryos are both viable alternatives to discarding which recognize the human life and potential in the embryo. The implications of a decision on the fate of the embryos are far-ranging and will affect thousands of frozen human embryos, so it is important that all options be considered carefully. An understanding of the sacredness of human life will be necessary as scientific research moves forward and new discoveries with moral implications are made in the field of reproductive technologies.


Bonnicksen, Andrea. “Embryo Freezing: Ethical Issues in the Clinical Setting.” The Hastings Center Report, 1988.

Brinsden, Peter R., ed. A Textbook of In Vitro Fertilization and Assisted Reproduction: The Bourn Hall Guide to Clinical and Laboratory Practice. New York: The Parthenon Publishing Group Inc., 1999.

Cohen, Jacques and Robert Lee Hotz. “Toward Policies Regarding Assisted Reproductive Technologies.” In Emerging Issues in Biomedical Policy 1, ed. Robert H. Blank and Andrea Bonnicksen, 225-237.
New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. (accessed September 25, 2009).

Darlington, Neroli and Phillip Matson. “The Fate of Cryopreserved Human Embryos Approaching their Legal Limit of Storage within a West Australian In-Vitro Fertilization Clinic.” Human Reproduction 14, no. 9 (1999): 2343-2344, (accessed September 25, 2009).

de Lacey, Sheryl. “Decisions for the fate of frozen embryos: Fresh insights into patients' thinking and their rationales for donating or discarding embryos.” Human Reproduction 22, no. 6 (June 2007): 1751-1758, (accessed September 25, 2009).

Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Ethics Advisory Board. Report and Conclusions: HEW Support of Research Involving Human In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer. 1979. (accessed October 27, 2009).

Lejeune, Jerome. The Concentration Can: When Does Human Life Begin? An Eminent Geneticist Testifies. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992.

Ludwig, M., S.Al-Hasani, R.Felberbaum and K.Diedrich. “New aspects of cryopreservation of oocytes and embryos in assisted reproduction and future perspectives.” Human Reproduction 14 (1999): 162-185, (accessed September 25, 2009).

Meyer, Cheryl L. The Wandering Uterus: Politics and the Reproductive Rights of Women. New York: New York University Press, 1997.

Rae, Scott B. and Paul M. Cox. Bioethics: A Christian Approach in a Pluralistic Age. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999.

[1] Peter R. Brinsden, ed., A Textbook of In Vitro Fertilization and Assisted Reproduction: The Bourn Hall Guide to Clinical and Laboratory Practice (New York: The Parthenon Publishing Group Inc., 1999), 105.

[2] David Hoffman, Gail Zellman, Christine Fair, Jacob Mayer, Joyce Zeitz, William Gibbons, and Thomas Turner, Jr., “Cryopreserved embryos in the United States and their availability for research,” abstract, in Fertility and Sterility 79 Issue 5, (May 2003), (accessed October 18, 2009).

[3] Jacques Cohen and Robert Lee Hotz, “Toward Policies Regarding Assisted Reproductive Technologies,” in Emerging Issues in Biomedical Policy 1, ed. Robert H. Blank and Andrea Bonnicksen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992), 225.

[4] Ibid, 232.

[5] Andrea L. Bonnicksen, “Embryo Freezing: Ethical Issues in the Clinical Setting.” The Hastings Center Report (1988): 26.

[6] Jerome Lejeune, The Concentration Can: When Does Human Life Begin? An Eminent Geneticist Testifies (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992), 22.

[7] Ibid., 36.

[8] Sheryl de Lacey, “Decisions for the Fate of Frozen Embryos: Fresh Insights into Patients’ Thinking and their Rationales for Donating or Discarding Embryos,” Human Reproduction 22, no. 6 (2007), 1751, (accessed October 4, 2009).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Neroli Darlington and Phillip Matson, “The Fate of Cryopreserved Embryos Approaching their Legal Limit of Storage within a West Australian In-vitro Fertilization Clinic,” Human Reproduction 14 no.9 (1999): 2343.

[11] Jerome Lejeune, The Concentration Can: When Does Human Life Begin? An Eminent Geneticist Testifies (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992), 72.

[12] Cheryl L. Meyer, The Wandering Uterus: Politics and the Reproductive Rights of Women (New York: New York University Press, 1997), 64.

[13] Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Ethics Advisory Board, Report and Conclusions: HEW Support of Research Involving Human In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfer, 1979, reports/past_commissions/HEW_IVF_report.pdf (accessed October 27, 2009), 101.

[14] Scott B. Rae and Paul M. Cox, Bioethics: A Christian Approach in a Pluralistic Age, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 183.

[15] Jerome Lejeune, The Concentration Can: When Does Human Life Begin? An Eminent Geneticist Testifies (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992), 11.

[16] Ludwig, M., S.Al-Hasani, R.Felberbaum and K.Diedrich. “New aspects of cryopreservation of oocytes and embryos in assisted reproduction and future perspectives.” Human Reproduction 14 (1999): 162-185, (accessed September 25, 2009).

[17] Neroli Darlington and Phillip Matson, “The Fate of Cryopreserved Embryos Approaching their Legal Limit of Storage within a West Australian In-vitro Fertilization Clinic,” Human Reproduction 14 no.9 (1999): 2343.

[18] Scott B. Rae and Paul M. Cox, Bioethics: A Christian Approach in a Pluralistic Age, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999), 185.

[19] Ibid.