Daily diary

After two weeks of “vacations” at my parents home- I’m back in my appartment, ready for another week of school !

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Vacations with quotations marks since of course, I’ve been studying a lot and right after I post this short entry, I’ll be back at my desk. Though difficult and filled with tons of concepts and tons of “actors”, i.e cells and the way the interact with each other, overall, immunology is enjoyable. And while I’m talking about school, I have to mention that I’m really excited  for this week ! My older brother will defend his doctoral dissertation and, God willing, will become a Pharmacist ! I’m a proud sister, and my parents are overwhelmed. My parents called a friend who owns a restaurant and booked a table for the evening, are getting everything ready, from the camera to the chocolates for the professors, they are just so involved in the process, and getting all emotional about it ! It’s really a huge transition for my brother: right after his final internship in a pharmaceutical company, they hired him so he had the luck to find a job right after his studies, which he is really happy about, yet I think he is going to miss university. So will I. I have one month of school yet and then, I’m off to a 6 months internship.

mujaddara

In the kitchen ! Lately, I was reading a culinary blog in which the author gave advice about finding your style in the kitchen and one of them was that it is better to stick to one type of cuisine rather than have all the ingredients, exotic and not so exotic, not use them a lot and , in the end, waste food. As basic as this sound, it definitely makes a difference when you’re learning to cook and to stock items in your pantry. So I decided that from now on, being Lebanese and Syrian, I would stick to traditional Middle-Eastern cuisine. Not that I refuse to cook something different every once in a while but it feels so much better, especially when you are trying to live with less and incorporate minimalism in your life, to have just the basic ingredients and fresh items and stick to a few dishes. Pictured above is Mujaddara, a dish of rice and lentils. It is traditionally served with fried onions and a tzatziki.

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Yesterday, I started reading a God-Entranced Vision of All things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards, by John Piper and Justin Taylor. You can find it for free on PDF, by the way, something that Desiring God Ministries do with most books they publish. Jonathan Edwards is one of my favorite authors and I think I will post a few of his quotes online throughout the week. His words are stirring my affections for Christ, which, lately, at times, I have to confess, have been growing cold. I have been mourning over my sin-I realized that at times, I have desired the approval of men more than the approval of the Lord Jesus and I’m not as disciplined when it comes to the reading of the Scriptures and putting God first in everything than I used to be- a lack of discipline which has caused me a lot of grief. I told my mother this morning, that I did not want to be so anymore. Sin makes false promises. It’s alluring, it’s tempting, and then, it kills you. I was reading something in that book that caught my attention:

“Many Christians think stoicism is a good antidote to sensuality. It isn’t. It is hopelessly weak and ineffective. And the reason it fails is that the power of sin comes from its promise of pleasure and is meant to be defeated by the superior promise of pleasure in God, not by the power of the human will. Willpower religion, when it succeeds, gets glory for the will. It produces legalists, not lovers.”-John Piper

And

Self-denial will also be reckoned amongst the troubles of the godly. . . . But whoever has tried self-denial can give in his testimony that they never experience greater pleasure and joys than after great acts of self-denial. Selfdenial destroys the very root and foundation of sorrow, and is nothing else but the lancing of a grievous and painful sore that effects a cure and brings abundance of health as a recompense for the pain of the operation.-Jonathan Edwards

So this week, I’ll be fighting for true joy. True Joy that is found only in Christ. “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalms 16:11). I will fight for it, and I know that the Lord will be my help in this fight, that I won’t be alone.

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Today’s diary: My back to school post !

 

Hy Ladies !

I am really excited to write this post (and no, it was not a lack of inspiration that led me to find some kind of super-uber-excited way of introduce it in order to get your attention lol). I am really excited to start university again, for what will be, God willing, my last year of pharmacy.

First of all, I want to start this post by thanking my God and Lord Jesus for the wonderful opportunity -after a year of questions and struggles, of an unexpected door- a Master’s degree in immunology, which is really interesting scientifically speaking and whose professors are amazing.

So today, for a bit of fun and also because I am well aware that I won’t have much time blogging this year, except for a few short posts every now and then, I thought I would blog about my back to school plans and habits !  Continue reading “Today’s diary: My back to school post !”

An update

I thought I would write a sort of random post about how life is going and where I have been lately !

I finished the exams two weeks ago and I am very thankful the year is over. It will be, God willing, my last year of community pharmacy- my initial plan was to become your typical pharmacist but the Lord has other plans for me. If the Lord wills, I will start, in September, my Master’s degree in immunology, which hopefully will be the last year of my pharmacy program… unless I pursue another Master’s degree… School is so fun and I have always loved learning differents things !

Last week’s conference 

Last week, we went to Houlgate, a beach located in the North of France for a Christian conference in Arabic this time.

houlgate crabe

FYI, the crab was dead

 the topic of the preaching was on the short yet powerful book of Malachi and the great lesson I will remember from this weekend is that we ought to aim at honoring the Lord, that so often we honor humans more than we honor Him: “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty.” (Malachi 1:6). It made a deep impression upon me and recently, I have been feeling more intensely the conviction of the Holy Spirit to seek to honor the Lord, even when I am alone at home, and with my thoughts, because the truth is, He is always here, and is the most Majestic being in the Universe, and deserves all the honor and worship.

We can’t do this on our own. It is because He loved us first that we are enabled to love Him ! But recently, that conviction led me to stop giving God the last crumbs. The last minutes of the day. The occasional thought or prayer when I am bored and I have nothing to do but pray. Sometimes, instead of putting some music on, I feel the conviction, again, to intentionally seek to “integrate”, “include” the Lord while I do my everyday tasks, such as cleaning my appartment, cooking… I thought, no one would talk to a loved one out of boredom, right ? We have to be intentional !

 

Thoughts on being useful as a young single woman

I noticed something interesting during the conference: a lot of young girls, between 11 and 17 years old, wanted to chat with me- the kind of one-on-one talk. About lots of things: school, God, the Bible, guys, and whatnot. And I began to realize that all the struggles I have faced during my life, what the Lord has taught me, sometimes in painful ways, was found to be useful during those conversations. Chance is that if you begin to see those young teens as younger brothers and sisters in the faith, you might become a mentor to them, an older sister, and your experiences might be useful, not to mention that they need to talk to someone who has been there and understands. These moments fill me with gratitude because though the world might portray single as desperate and “waiting on the bench”, God has ways to use ordinary people to encourage others.

 

My new hobby

 

Watercoloring is so fun ! I bought myself a watercolor palette and I have been painting nearly every day since the last week (yep, even at 6 AM in the train, I was wide awake and ready to paint the Eiffel Tower). I hope my mom does not read my blog because the picture on the right, “Tea Time” is a painting I am intending to give her as a mother’s day gift and the first one was a quick sketch I made for a friend who works at the hospital with me- we are both fond of a jumbo lemon-flavored muffin they bake at the cafeteria so I had to paint it 🙂

That was everything for today !

Have a lovely weekend readers !

A student’s diary:

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Studies:

Today I covered:

-Hypothyroidism

-Epileptic seizures

-Osteoporosis

-One type of cancer

-Cardiac arrhytmias

-Psoriasis

-Gout

And then took a huge nap !

Karma, yoga, incense, Buddha and namaste:

You are probably encountering those words regularly, these days.

I then prepared dinner and listened, while I was eating, to a short 13 minutes podcast by Ravi Zacharias, “The Spurious Glitter of Pantheism”. The religion I have the most studied is Islam, and so far my knowledge about Eastern religions is very limited. However, I am observing a new phenomenon in our society, as probably all of us are, whether we are living in America or France.

I had the occasion, during my internship this year, to get to know a young woman in my class, whom I did not know really well until this year. And as I was talking to her, I came to realize that she was practicing yoga and that she loved Buddha’s teaching. Yesterday, I noticed that a girl who was with me in highschool- a lady who had lots of questions about life, who loved to think, and was obviously trying to figure out the meaning of life– has become involved in buddhism to such an extent that she is blogging about it, had interviews with a buddhist monk, and, when she comes back from work, starts her essential oil diffuser, lights incense sticks, and meditates.

I might have an idea why more and more young people are attracted to that zen, green religion but I think it would be interesting to study that as this trend is spreading and we will probably meet colleagues or people that will “profess” New Age ideas. Ravi Zacharias is a reference when it comes to Hinduism and Buddhism.

And now, I am getting back to my desk ! *The student life*

 

Have a nice evening in the Presence of our Lord Jesus-Christ, our Only Rock,

 

Stéphanie

Tips for studying and a goodbye note

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Via Pinterest

A few days ago, a young friend of mine who also happens to be a reader of the blog asked me if I could write a little post where I would share, as a university students, a few tips on studying and faith. I felt the question was oriented toward how to obtain a balance between the two, in other words, how to make room for God and His word throughout the day. Far from knowing everything, I just wanted to share a few tips that helped me during the last few years; and, to be honest, writing them down also prepares me for the upcoming exams- it is good to have a reminder every once in a while .Oh, and speaking about exams, this post is timely because it will be the last one this month ! I am starting to revise for my exams of January and therefore, part of my discipline as a student is that I get rid of what could distract me.

So here are a few things I found useful during my studies:

 

  1. I learned that starting the day with God and ending the day with God is the best “frame” for the day. Charles Spurgeon once said “It is a good rule never to look into the face of a man in the morning till you have looked into the face of God”; a brother was once preaching about something and mentionned that Christ got up early to pray: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35). Just as we eat in the morning, it is good and necessary to feed our souls. To spend time with the Lord. I won’t list all the reasons why but one of them is that 1) As someone said, He is the Maker of time, and there is always a way to make time for Him 2) His words are full of wisdom and you will need them throughout the day. Trust me. Sometimes I will read a short passage of the Bible, or I will read the “text” of the day in a devotional (I have a few: during my first year of University, I used to read Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest; now I have a devotional by C.H Spurgeon). This morning, I read a few verses of 1 Timothy. Something I really love is the book of Proverbs, too ! It is jam-packed with wisdom for the day. You just can’t imagine how being influenced by the Word and obeying it dramatically changes your discipline for the best.
  2. Time is not ours. We ought to be good stewards of the time that was given to us. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23). I constantly have to ask myself, “Was this hour of work done heartily for the Lord ? Or was I complaining all the time ? Checking Facebook ? Wasting my time ?” When we work for the Lord, being grateful for the means and abilities the Lord gave us and using them the best we can, it changes a lot of things. We won’t try to stick to the bare minimum. So often we are discouraged because no one sees our work, or because no one acknowledge it. We feel lonely… but our Master sees it ! “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
  3. Working joyfully makes everything easier. Sure studies are not always easy, but try to make it more pleasant ! It will help you see it less than a chore, and more like a challenge. One of the thing I like to do is to light a candle on my desk; get myself a hot drink and the rule is that I should never leave the candle unattended (since it’s not safe !) and that the drink should continually be hot as to study for extended periods of time, and to go take a break just for getting another beverage or to take a short break. This way, the candle prevents me from leaving the room ! Make your desk a pleasant place, even your favorite place in the whole house !
  4. In order to avoid the temptation of going on the internet,  print, if possible, everything you will need beforehand. That’s what I’ll do this winter. I’ll print all my infectiology and hematology documents instead of constantly opening my computer ! If you really need Word or Open Office, give yourself a limited period of time to type your document and only use your computer for researches purpose, because…
  5. If you really need to take a break, avoid social media and internet at all costs ! Well, now this is my opinion but I think that most of the time, I think a profitable break is a 15 minutes cardio session, or, in my case, a 8-15 minutes Ballet Beautiful Workout; or a 20 minutes cleanup, or a 10 minutes little DIY just to relax. Physical Exercice will help your brain release endorphins, which will leave you energized and those little molecules are also a good antidepressant ! I also find Facebook a distraction, but also a bad place to go to during exam study sessions for a good reason: When I open facebook there are always people who will try to talk to you about how bad things are going for them with that lecture, that they just want to give up, and often, that leaves you depressed. Clearly. So I always make sure to let people know that I will not be available on FB and on text messages during this period of the year because I need to focus on my goal.
  6. Discipline has a price but it pays: look at ants. Look at bees. How organized and hardworking they are, and how their work pays.
  7. Stick to a schedule as to see the progress of your work: that helps when it comes to motivation to cross an item off the list.
  8. Michael Jordan. Yes, Michael Jordan.Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” (1 Cor 9:24-25) Sometimes, when my motivation was low, I would open Youtube and watch Michael Jordan interviews. To see that an athlete like him, a legend of basketball, was not accepted in his highschool basketball team when he was younger, but worked so hard that he finally managed to be the Prince of the NBA had a big impact on me. Of course there will be a need for self-control. Of course. But at the end, you will never regret it. It will teach you so many things.

 

It’s time for me to leave now ! I am going to make myself a good cup- I mean mug of tea, light a candle, stay in my room and study that dermatology lecture !

Have a blessed month of December, y’all ! Hope to be back at the keyboard at the end of January !

 

Stéphanie