Intro: The week I re-learned to rely on the Lord when I don't understand what He's doing
I’ll write something really short about last week – sorry it’s *very* random and there’s really no category to put it in. I’ve been busy, so I think this post is getting the brunt of my disorganized mind. It’s a bummer I didn’t get a chance earlier. I did write a partial post though, which I’m expanding.
Theme verse for last week:
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, 'O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.'” (Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV)
It’s hard to explain why this was the theme verse. No one was telling me to worship other gods. As best as I can describe it, it's because I'm trusting the Lord to do His will, whether that means I get thrown into the fire and die or He chooses to save me and I live. There's a lot more nuance to it that makes it more meaningful to me, but that's the best I can do. I'm surprised God gave me even those words!
Sunday – August 4th
Two Sunday’s ago, John wasn’t feeling that well and I got him this new flavor of Gatorade I found at the gas station by our house – “lime/cucumber.” I didn’t know how serious they were about the cucumber flavor. Apparently, very serious! John tried it and was like … “cucumber …?” I asked, “So it really DOES taste like cucumber??” He handed it to me and yes – IT DOES! It’s SO weird. He said every time he burped the rest of the day he tasted cucumber. Eww. I mean. I like cucumbers ok … but I don’t think I’d want a whole Gatoraid drink that tasted like them.
Monday – August 5th
I recall that as I was walking in in the morning, I noticed one of the elevators was “out of order,” which made me laugh to myself. I wonder what happened to it to break it. The elevators in Atwood Hall are kind of sketchy anyway. They have a mind of their own almost and practically smell old. Right now, they are covered with this strange, horribly-smelling wood over the walls hung from knobs at the ceiling and duct tape where they overlap. I asked a construction worker about this and he said it was to protect the walls from damage. Now I *really* wonder what they’re carrying or intend to carry in the elevators that could damage the walls. I still don’t know.
While this guy and I waited for the one elevator that worked to come down, there was this awful crunch of something falling in the other one and we both looked at each other and cringed. It was kind of hilarious.
Meeting about Data
I talked to Dr. Salaita about my data – he unexpectedly wanted to meet – and that was a lot of fun, but it was ruined by my being stressed. Afterward I was like … “Why the crap was I stressed??? That could have been a so much more enjoyable conversation!” ARG! *headdesk*
Tuesday – August 6th
Tuesday was hard. I enjoyed lab meeting and was happy for half the day. Then I started thinking sad and stressful thoughts and started getting depressed. Then I rebounded by focusing on the Lord more and praising Him. And then I agreed with lies of the enemy and sunk into a deep depression.
It was nothing to do with my science! That was great. I just felt as if the burdens the Lord has given me to pray for were suddenly crushing - like I was holding a boulder over my head, my arms became jelly, and it flattened me into a bleeding, broken mess. I get like this sometimes - it's happened many times before and it's hard to explain. I asked the Lord to help me because I couldn't carry this by myself. It was killing me. He did strengthen me enough so I could go on, but I continued horribly depressed all night. I texted Esther and she prayed for me.
What the Lord Showed Me on M/Tu
On Monday and Tuesday, God showed me that I was hearing Him incorrectly about some things. That really upset me on Monday – and I was like – what the crap?! I'm useless!
But on Tuesday, when He showed me this again, I wasn't so bothered. I figured it was His mercy and goodness that He showed me this so quickly and didn't let me remain in error. And just because I'd heard Him wrong didn't mean He wasn't still working. He's doing something, He knows what's going on, He was going to do what He was doing regardless of my weaknesses, He could speak to me if He chose and He would help me with this problem. So, I surrendered it to Him and decided not to worry about it anymore.
Wednesday – August 7th
Wednesday was a nice, peaceful day that I used to organize my thoughts and read some. I typed up my data from Tuesday and sent it to Khalid, then went wandering around campus to take a break. I found out how to get to the quad from Cox. I also ran across an Einstein Bagels store near the Business building! That was exciting. I walked in and they had all these people at a table and one of them walked over and said they were not open yet. Plastic was still covering the cash registers. I said, Oh well I was SO glad they were here! I really wish I had asked them when they were opening.
Root beer at Starbucks
I got a blueberry muffin and a root beer at Starbucks - they mix their own root beers and flavor them differently so that they're interesting. And Khalid walked by randomly, saw me and stopped in to chat! That was super unexpected and a pleasant surprise - like getting a free desert!
I mentioned my data and he said he'd gotten the email but hadn't had a chance to look at it yet - and suddenly decided to discuss it with me right then, because he had his laptop. :D Make that two free deserts. That quite made my day at the time. The rest of the day was largely uneventful.
Thursday – August 8th
On Thursday, I setup another ligation reaction, recalculating some parameters and simplifying it a great deal. Dr. Salaita was looking very serious. I gave him vegetables and said I hoped he was having a good day and he said his day was now much better! (!) That, I think, is one of the nicest things I've ever heard from anyone and I glowed the rest of the day thinking about it. Making Dr. Salaita happy is my most favorite thing at Emory that isn't research.
Unfortunately, other professors just probably won't get vegetables from me when Khalid is around. Knowing that he likes them, regardless if he seems happy about getting them or not, makes it irresistible for me not to give them to him. I can't help it.
On Thursday evening, I was able to order a hand-crafted belt from Galactic Civilized Gear online, a guy who makes and sells authentic Jedi belts he makes himself with real leather. I found out he really knows his stuff – what each Jedi’s belt looks like in each of the movies, down to scenes, and will craft them authentic to the films if you ask, with embellishments and some adjustments for practicality. Yes, it was expensive, but worth it. I was making this a birthday present to myself. I want my first real costume to be complete and thoroughly screen accurate. I also bought one of his handcrafted leather pouches. We’ll see if I can fit it on my belt, but I think it’s doable. It’s one of the small ones and looks super cool. See links for pictures – I’ll post additional ones once I get them. Click here for the page of leather pouches - I got the "medical" one. Here is the belt type I'm getting - it's called, "Young Wizard Saber Belt," second one from the top.
This belt completes my Jedi costume and I intend to join both the Jedi Assembly and Rebel Legion costuming groups within a month. Perhaps at some point after this, I shall begin assembling another costume from scratch, as my schedule allows.
Friday – August 9th
On Friday, I imaged my gels. The long and short of my research the last week was that I discovered my FAM labeled RNA would only work in the presence of 200 mM of salt in the reaction mix. My original conditions (following the Shuman paper) did not include salt – just manganese, the strands, buffer, the enzyme and GTP. It’s very peculiar. Partly it makes sense, but I still wonder what happens to the FAM that makes it refuse to ligate without salt. Maybe it sticks to the protein. I have no idea. I know it's the salt and not the DTT that Raines also added, because I checked for that on one of my gels. Very interesting.
So, it seems the Lord was right
I felt as if the Lord had been telling me the FAM RNA not working had sometime to do with the FAM and its structure and He told me to re-read the Raines paper, which is when I noticed the different conditions he used. I'm not sure why the FAM's extra charges would make such a difference or why salt is so important. I'd like to understand this better. Hmmm. It looks to be an issue with the FAM, because the hybrid substrates that are not FAM labeled, but just plain DNA/RNA hybrids do not have this problem. They can be ligated either with or without salt.
Finalizing belt details
The belt guy asked me to call him about details of the belt, so I did. He was an interesting person to talk to. We finalized what I wanted and he asked if it was for Dragon*Con and I said, in fact, yes it was. He said he was leading one of the youngling lightsaber classes down there and would be happy to say hi. Hilarious. I told John this. He also said he was making a whole set of leather armor for someone in Japan for a con. He had considered attending at one point, until he saw how risqué thinks were over there. John said oh yes, they have a different idea than we do of what is considered pornography. I’m glad I don’t know.
Dragon*Con isn’t so bad, by the way – you just have to know what parts to avoid – and as long as you don’t stay out to 1 a.m., it’s a total blast. All ages can come for sure. People told me horror stories about it, but seriously – look at the scheduling, man – there’s something for everybody down there – just don’t go to the things that are bad and have fun!
I wish I had more notes on Friday but alas, I don’t. I’ll write about the weekend and this past week hopefully this weekend. I know this one’s kind of random. O.o I wish it had a theme. The theme is spiritual warfare and me being confused about what the Lord was wanting from me, basically – that might not be obvious from what I wrote, but there it is.