Biology and Me

God certainly has a sense of humor.

I am currently working on a book with my husband. But that’s not the funny part. The funny part is that the main issue in the book is scientific in nature—more specifically, it deals with biology.

I never took biology. Not in high school. Not in college. The closest I came was Life Science in 7th grade. I got a C and vowed never to take such a horrible class again. And I didn’t. With some tall talking, I convinced my high school guidance counselor that General Science and Chemistry credits would be better for me than G.S. and Biology. As a history major in college, I needed only a semester of science. What did I choose? Physics. (Football Physics with Packard, to be exact. You Baylor grads will know what I mean!)

I have done everything possible to avoid the scientific world. I’d rather delve into historical problems or wade through convoluted literature than learn specifics about the world around us. God made it and it works—that’s all I’ve wanted and needed to know. I should have known that to skirt the issue all these years was too good to be true.

So here I am, 20 years after high school graduation, muddling my way through 7th grade Life Science with my son, 9th grade Biology with my daughter, and a novel with Biological facts and theories at its heart. As much as I’ve tried to worm my way around dealing with the facts (my husband is the researcher and expert on this one), I’ve come to the point where I realize I need to know something. I’ve put it off, avoided the reality. Then yesterday at church a man handed us a DVD explaining the whole thing. Out of the blue. Well, not out of the blue totally, but without a clue as to the fact that we are writing this book. He just knew my husband had an interest in such things and wanted to share what he’d found.

So God is good. I get to watch a video instead of read humorless books on theories of the origins of life. I never imagined I’d be glad for a video filled with biological facts.

See what I mean? God has a sense of humor.



Discipline. I hate the word, don’t you? And I REALLY hate Hebrews 12:11: All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

I always think of discipline, first, as punishment. And yet as I look at the word, it is really the broader definition that applies: training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement. I often forget that God allows disciplines in my life to train me for improvement, not to punish me for breaking the rules.
So why is discipline on my mind? Because I realize that this selling-the-house thing is disciplining me in a way I haven’t wanted before. For the past three weeks, my house has been straight and (mostly) clean. That means my household chores are caught up. When I am at home, things are in such a state that I can actually sit down and write without feeling guilty. Without wondering if we have enough clean cereal bowls to last one more day. Without the stress of walking through the living room and cringing at the sight of “stuff” left out where it doesn’t belong. Without the mountain of laundry on Sunday night in order to have clean clothes for school Monday morning.
It isn’t fun, this keeping up with the chores, but I can see myself (and I hope my kids) being trained by it. I have learned that when my house is not in disarray, I can write more effectively, less stressfully (but obviously with more adverbs! () My training continues. When this house finally sells and we find a new one—one that will cut my daily commutes to school and school activities in half—I want to continue to walk in this new-found discipline in my house. And when that peaceful fruit of righteousness finally comes, I know my writing will flow from new depths—depths unable to be plunged without the pain of discipline.


A Year Down Yonder

I love reading Young Adult novels. They are usually less stressful to me than novels geared for adults and now—in the midst of trying to keep my house clean to show—I am in need of less stressful reading! So I picked a book from my daughter’s shelf—a book I gave her, a book she hasn’t read yet.

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck was a delightful read. In chapter 1, I thought I knew where the story was going, but Mr. Peck turned my expectations upside down.
It is 1937 and Mary Alice Dowdel’s father is out of work and her brother is planting trees out west with the WPA. Fifteen-year-old Mary Alice, a city girl from Chicago, goes to live with her grandmother in a tiny rural town. Mary Alice’s expectations are turned upside down, along with the reader’s, as she learns more about her grandmother than one week summer visits ever revealed.

The story was engaging; the writing excellent. I am looking forward to seeking out more of Mr. Peck’s work.


Book Recommendation

If anyone out there reads this blog at all, you may have noticed on my “Currently Reading” list that I have been reading (gasp!) a NON-FICTION title. (Well, two, actually, but we’ll get to the other when I finish it—all 600ish pages.)

You may not be a first generation Christian, but chances are you know someone who is. Whether you realize it or not, they very likely struggle with issues of insecurity in their parenting—insecurity over their past, their unsaved relatives, their fear of not “doing it right.”

Building the Christian Family You Never Had by Mary DeMuth was released January 24th of this year. Mary, a fiction writer at heart, does not claim to be a parenting expert. In fact, this book is less about the nuts and bolts of parenting than it is about allowing the Lord to redeem your past and then moving forward in light of your relationship with Him.

A first-generation Christian herself, Mary speaks specifically to those who were raised in homes where Christ was not revered, glorified, or sometimes even acknowledged. With her own story woven into the words of encouragement, the conversational style reads like having coffee with a friend who has and is walking the obstacle-filled road of trying to raise Christian children without any practical understanding of what that looks like. The picture she paints within these pages are of a woman who parents from weakness and humility, running to Jesus with her hurts and insecurities and failures.

Mary’s exhortations are backed up by scripture as well as experience. And even though this book is geared toward “pioneer parents,” that is, first generation Christians who are now parents themselves, the truths she tells can apply to anyone on the journey of parenting.