- Physics lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings
- The veterans in my life and my ancestry, including my grandfathers (Austin and Galen), step-grandfather (Louis), and many friends.
- Leftover squash cake from Sunday potluck
- Being able to adjust my wife's bike seat to a better and (I hope) more stable height.
- Visiting the WiSE open house
- Writing birthday cards to our friends
- Dinner with friends to celebrate a birthday
- Fun at Watiki Water Park (Nov. 14)
- Getting part of our basement in better condition for guests
- Dinner at Famous Dave's
- My wife leading the discussion at our church on Sunday (Nov. 15)
- The wonderful people she told us about in her discussion
- A chance to help a friend through a rough time
- Finishing and posting the short version of a book review for my friend's novel Truest
- Good weather for walking over the weekend
- Meeting and petting a neighbor's cat, named Purry Como
- The STEM: Women Are All Over It shirt is back on sale!
- Pointing a student to a potentially helpful source of information on cosmic rays.
- Packing for my trip to the AAPT Teaching Workshop went smoothly
- My wife's help in getting ready for the trip
19 November 2015
15 November 2015
This novel is powerful, moving, deep, and marvelously infused with the author's faith. It grabbed places in my psyche that I barely knew were there, and it has refused to let go.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a personal friend of the author; we have known each other since college. Thus, any positive comments I have may be partly due to my personal bias as her friend. I will do my best to avoid this bias, but doing that perfectly is impossible because if she were not my friend, I would never have known this book existed.
The author achieves many great things in this novel. She created flawed yet compelling characters, moved me to admire Elliot, and took this reader through the growth and maturation of her characters. Running through these achievements are many motifs, including abandonment, rescue, faith, God as father, and uncertainty.
Regarding my admiration for Elliot, some explanation is required. Like Silas, I enjoy words, am an astronomy buff, and have long hair. I was bullied in high school, and several of those bullies were football players. In Elliot, Sommers created a character so realistic and yet contrary to stereotypes that I admire the football player more than the long-haired astronomy buff! That is an amazing achievement.
I think her greatest achievement is getting me to join in her characters' emotions and growth, but I cannot detail that without spoilers.
You may be wondering if I liked or enjoyed this book. My answer is that those not the right words; they do not have enough gravity, power, or depth to accommodate the emotional and spiritual wallop contained in Truest. I was moved, amazed, surprised, and deeply touched by this novel. It was far deeper and more powerful than I expected. She has crafted a parable (or series of parables) that honors her faith and respects her readers.
I have also posted this review on Amazon and Goodreads.
Posted by Luke C. at 10:01 AM
11 November 2015
- Excellent discussion and planning with Society of Physics Students
- My wife landed safely (and close to punctually) in Pittsburgh
- Received my influenza vaccination.
- Physics colloquium from one of our graduate students
- Time at the library this evening (Nov. 5)
- The Pleiades rising in the east.
- Retrieved my wife's bike from the bike shop)
- Tried a new restaurant (Nov. 7)
- My wife was able to spend most of Friday (Nov. 6) with dear friends
- Finished machine shop training
- I was able to help my wife find a hotel for part of her trip.
- Beautiful conjunction of Mars, Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon early in the morning as I was riding to a men's group (Nov. 6)
- Good discussion at men's group
- Being able to make tea in my office.
- My wife's bicycle is turned up and back home.
- Good conversation with a colleague about religions beliefs and their effect on society
- New pillars in place for our garage porch
- My wife's beautiful flight from Pittsburgh to Minneapolis
- Bringing my wife home from her trip
- All of the wonderful friends my wife caught up with during her trip
- Starting a calibration test of our radon monitor.
- Dark chocolate ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery
- Discussion of race and policing in Rapid City based on a study from the University of South Dakota.
- Leftovers from Sheetz
- Video of a levitating frog.
Posted by Luke C. at 10:00 AM
04 November 2015
- First lesson on using a milling machine
- Eating produce from our garden
- Lining a ramekin with parchment paper before microwaving an egg is an effective way to reduce cleaning time.
- The overwhelming messages of encouragement I have received in response to my Facebook question, “Whose story can I make better today?"
- A change in perspective on an important personal issue.
- The ability to communicate with a long-time friend on Facebook.
- Discussing faith, science, and affordable housing with friends at a morning men’s group.
- Learning to use a milling machine and making my first piece on it.
- Good conversation with a student who is having trouble.
- Helping a friend I have never met
- Opportunity to speak at The Well on Nov. 1
- Handing out candy to trick-or-treaters; my favorites were the boys dressed as Mario and Luigi!
- Physics Halloween social 2015, with us dressing (and acting) as Dark Matter an Dark Energy
- My friend wrote a novel called Truest, which is powerful, moving, deep, and infused with her faith. It grabbed places in my psyche that I barely knew were there, and it has refused to let go.
- Laughing with my wife while watching recorded TV shows on our Entertainment PC
- Homemade Sloppy Joes, including peppers from our garden.
- Clearance Halloween candy
- My presentation at The Well was well-received.
- Time with a good friend (Nov. 1)
- My improving ability to play our upcoming concert pieces in the SDSM&T Symphonic Band
- Progress in seeking new projects for my lab.
- Good meetings with students on Nov. 2
Posted by Luke C. at 5:00 AM
12 April 2014
1. Surprise breakfast from my wife (Apr. 7, 2014)
2. Helpful notice from my wife that I needed to cover my bike to protect it from incoming weather (Apr. 7, 2014)
3. Jerry's Cakes & Donuts
4. Fun conversation at Beer & Bible (Apr. 6, 2014)
5. Finished planning class for the remainder of the semester
6. Enjoyable lunch with Pres. Wilson, award-winning physics students, and the co-spokesperson of LUX
7. Informative presentation from a SD Public Utilities Commissioner
8. Good conversation about possible outreach opportunities to K-12 students
9. Wonderful dinner with good friends (Apr. 11, 2014)
10. Our friends' oldest son Matthew gave me a hug
11. Meeting our good friends new baby (2 weeks old) for the first time (Apr. 11, 2014)
12. Holding the new baby (Oliver)
13. Learned more about my colleagues
14. The latest episode of Cosmos, which I watched online.
15. Wrote my first letter of recommendation
16. Submitted a seed grant proposal a day early
17. Learned that we do not like a particular restaurant
18. More free evenings now that band rehearsal is done for the semester
19. Books ordered for my class in Fall Semester
20. Our friend Laura passed her Master's defense
21. I was able to attend Laura's defense
22. Attended part of the Honors convocation and congratulated our award-winning physics students in person
23. T-shirt from the High Plains Regional Science & Engineering Fair.
This list was inspired by the book One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces by Ann Voskamp. Since I am much more of a geek than Mrs. Voskamp, my goal was to list 1024 things for which I am grateful within a year. God has given me so many blessings that I have reached this goal in less than 8 months. Thank you all for reading, and thank you God for all the blessings.
Posted by Luke C. at 12:52 PM
06 April 2014
1. My sister's boyfriend getting a new job
2. Our friend Emily's new son Oliver
3. Beautiful weather (Mar. 29, 2014)
4. Walking to the library
5. Carrying books home from the library for my wife
6. Getting fries on the way home
7. Helping my wife install garden trellises
8. Helping my wife make turkey curry
9. Getting several tasks done that I meant to do yesterday (Mar. 30, 2014)
10. Significant progress on my proposal (Mar. 29, 2014)
11. Finding my balaclava, which was in the laundry the whole time
12. Rode in and home safely despite the campus being closed due to a "blizzard" (Mar. 31, 2014)
13. Excelling visit from a funding agency representative
14. Our Spring Concert was well-attneded, and I think we played our best (Apr. 4, 2014)
15. The other two groups in the concert were a joy to hear (Apr. 4, 2014)
16. Walking with my wife under a beautiful sky (Apr. 4, 2014)
17. Rode in safely despite unexpected heavy snow (Apr. 2, 2014)
18. Physics lunch was postponed (not cancelled) due to the snow
19. Good physics lunch at Dickey's BBQ Pit (Apr. 4, 2014)
20. Ability to play in the concert here and call in to NOvA meetings at Fermilab
21. Good discussion at the InterVarsity GFM meeting (Apr. 2, 2014)
22. Talking via Skype with Gary again (Apr. 1, 2014)
23. My wife had a good time at a gardening class (Apr. 1, 2014)
24. Significant progress on purchasing equipment for my lab
25. Submitted my proposal for the Board of Regents Competitive Research Grant Program (Apr. 1, 2014)
26. I have my teaching assignment for Fall Semester 2014.
Posted by Luke C. at 9:24 AM
30 March 2014
1. When I pulled my bike out of the garage, my rear tire was flat. I am grateful that I had time to change it and get to the office well before my first appointment of today. (Mar. 26, 2014)
2. Giving some of the light fixtures we replaced to a new home (Mar. 22, 2014)
3. Sending birthday card and gift to my sister
4. Watching the third episode of the new Cosmos series
5. Cosmos episodes are available for free online after airing
6. A friend told me about a state-level call for proposals that I would not have otherwise known about
7. Compliment from department chair on the letter of support I wrote from him to sign
8. Final interview for our new faculty search
9. Visiting the early morning Christian men's group (Mar. 28, 2014)
10. Engaging discussion at small group (Mar. 27, 2014)
11. Good physics lunch at Mongolian BBQ (Mar. 26, 2014)
12. Progress on getting orders submitted for my lab equipment
13. Visiting my wife in her office (Mar. 28, 2014)
14. Walking with my wife around campus (Mar. 28, 2014).
15. Kansas City Street is open again on my route home
16. Riding home with my wife on our bikes
17. New shoes
18. Unexpected discounts at the shoe store
19. Dinner, including wonderful noodle soup and Thai curry, at Saigon restaurant
20. Good conversations about finances
21. Increasing confidence in my relationships and life in general as a result of increasing acceptance of God's grace
Posted by Luke C. at 1:29 PM