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Lows & Highs: Meaning of Life

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.
Low: On Monday, I woke up with a headache that lasted all day and did not respond to any of my normal natural or over-the-counter remedies.
 2014-07-23 09.29.26
High: We wrapped up our summer Bible study this week. Brian and I have been studying the book of Ecclesiastes with a small group of college girls. It may seem like an odd study for college students but they said they really enjoyed it. Brian and I enjoyed the whole process of reading and discussing with them. From their wide-eyed reaction to the first two chapters to their summaries of the whole book, the process of reading and discussing has been enjoyable and enlightening.

“Life sucks but God is good.” – Lindsey’s summary of Ecclesiastes
I like Ecclesiastes because it is a philosophical book written by a wise king – Solomon – who got everything he wanted and discovered that it was not fulfilling and not the point of life. Solomon summarizes the meaning of life in the last two verses, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
What are your lows and highs this week?
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Lows & Highs: 4/17-4/30/13

Lows:
1) I started drafting a tentative schedule for the day of the wedding and it looked like I would have to start getting ready at 6:30 a.m. (which seems far too early).  Brian and I talked about what truly matters to us on the schedule, though, and pared it down so I can start at seven. I know it is only 30 minutes later, but it seems much more reasonable in my mind.

2) I went clothes shopping by myself, spent hours trying on lots of stuff, and did not find garments that fit well. I finally stopped for a hazelnut Americano and a blueberry scone when I realized I was tired, frustrated, and hungry. I felt much better after that.

Highs:
1) Brian and I met up with our good friends, Jon and Priscilla, for dinner and our last scheduled premarital counseling meeting before the wedding. (Jon is going to be our officiant.) Since we had not seen them in weeks, we had a good visit with lots of catching up on plans and travels.

2) I went shopping for wedding and reception decor and found everything I was looking for that day at very reasonable prices!

3) I tried on my wedding dress for my first fitting and it looked even better than I remembered! In addition, jewelry I already have looks terrific with it.

What were your lows and highs from the past week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Experiments & Trouble

My siblings and I figured out at a very early age that we could often avoid getting in trouble for doing something by explaining that it was an experiment. Questions like “What are you doing?!” and “What were you thinking?!” and “Why did you do that?” could be answered with, “Well, it was a science experiment…” If Dad were the inquisitor, he would sigh and call, “Hon, come talk to your kid!” When we told Mom something was an experiment, she matter-of-factly asked what we learned. If we could show that we learned from the incident, we still had to clean up or amend whatever went wrong, but did not get in as much trouble. Ah, the perks of growing up with a science mom!

Both of our parents taught us to pay attention and learn from the world around us. Here are the key steps we used for our real-life experiments:

1. Observe
Pay attention to the world and to people, to tiny details and to big pictures.  What do you wonder about? What patterns do you notice? What oddities stand out? Ask lots of questions. Write the questions down if you like, so you will not forget them.

2. Research – Ok, so we tended to skip this step a lot, but it is very helpful!
Have others asked the same questions (or something similar)? What do they say about it? Are they reliable sources?

3. Theorize – A good way to get Mom’s attention and curiosity when we were kids, “Hey, Mom, I have this theory…” Yes, we knew what a theory was.
With the information you have, what do you think is true or what do you think will happen?

4. Plan
How can you find out whether the theory is correct? What are the variables? Risks?

5. Experiment
Try your plan and gather more information. You will probably end up with additional questions and will may change your theory. That is terrific! Experiments that do not work out the way you expect (sometimes called “failures”) have lots to teach you.  Part of experimenting is observing. Since you are already back at the beginning of the list, you may want to go through it again with your new questions and ideas.

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