Journeys & Writings of Paul

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You could win a pair of vibram fivefingers!

Alright friends, this is just a quick shout out for an awesome website I've stumbled across recently called They give away a pair of Vibram FiveFingers every month! Check out this website for great tips, reviews on barefoot running stuff, deals on running gear, etc. Coolest of all, you can sign up for a chance to win a pair of Vibram FiveFingers! Or sign up and win a pair then gift them to me. :) Here's the site:

Also, here are a few of my "trophies" or "prizes" as I like to see them as from some of my more recent runs.
A beautiful Catalpa tree flower (they smell amazing!)

A literal prize, a medal for placing first in my age category 20-29 in a 5K I ran May 26th

A beautiful sunset reflected in these clouds in the Eastern sky

 I don't have pictures for these next two, but some other little inspirational "trophies" that I recently found on my path, literally: 

  • The verse John 7:38 written over and over again in sidewalk chalk, presumably by VBS kids outside the church I ran by.
"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."
  •  On a trail that I was running on written in sidewalk chalk were a bunch of phrases and pictures that were encouraging such as, "don't give up!", "almost there!" and "the gates of inspiration" along with a picture of grandiose gates, etc. On a hot, humid, pollen-laden run, these words got me through my last mile when I was tired, hot, and felt like I was breathing through straws. :)
Get out there and move! I hope you're having a fabulous summer!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Maple scholars: 20 questions edition

I have just completed the second of eight weeks of the Maple Scholars Program I am participating in this summer for my school, Goshen College. Time for an update!

So what is this program you're involved with anyway?
Maple Scholars is an interdisciplinary research program. There are fourteen scholars this year working on projects ranging from algal biomass production to fair allocation to piano pedagogy methods. Students apply to work under a faculty member on their particular project, and once accepted work in conjunction with them for eight weeks during the summer.
 What is your project?
I am doing social research with Bob Yoder, the campus pastor. The research question I am working with is " how to strengthen Goshen College as a faith mentoring environment". My research is part of a larger work Bob had originally started under the college's Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning (CITL); it is a mixed methods project, but I am primarily working with qualitative data.
So what do you do for forty hours a week?
For the first week I did some pre-research; I looked at two other national longitudinal studies that are related to our topic, I have read over transcripts and listened to interviews from the two previous years of research, and have generally became acquainted with the subject matter. This included looking at the quantitative data compiled from two years of survey results sent out to the entire student body as well as faculty, staff, and administrators. I have edited some transcriptions as was needed, emailed the list of possible interviewees, set up interviews, etc.
Week two has involved me conducting interviews. After I interview the fifteen to twenty students, I will then transcribe the interviews word for word. Once those are all transcribed I will be working with NVIVO software to organized the data I have collected and look for the themes that emerge.
 Friday mornings we gather for a symposium to share the progress on our projects with one another.
Are you enjoying yourself?
Yes! I love this stuff! The project is the perfect meld between my two passions in life and my two majors. God and people. Sociology and Bible & Religion. I love both the nerdy sociological coding aspect and am also deeply interested in finding ways to equip the campus to be the type of environment that is holistically meeting the needs of the community that it is comprised of.
Do you have a life outside of this program?
I'm also running, hanging out with friends, cooking/baking great food, and generally really enjoying myself and the summer so far. You can write me! Or email me, or call/text me, or send a message via facebook or carrier pigeon. I would love to hear from you about your summer updates!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lessons learned

As I think back on this past year, my mind is reeling with all of the things that I have learned about leadership, friendship, relating to others, God, and the like. Below is one that is not new, but carries a deeper profoundness than before perhaps. Maybe it's because I'm getting older and wiser; in all reality it is probably more connected to the grace of God in my life, and his answering my desperate cries for the desire to be a more caring and understanding individual.

Listen to the stories of others - This is something that we did in my RA team this year. DaVonne made space for each of us to share our faith journeys with one another during our weekly meetings. I will speak for myself saying that it really helped me to see where my colleagues were coming from, the experiences that shaped them and brought them up until this moment. This gave me a deeper insight into the way they live, their gifts, struggles, etc. I really appreciated the vulnerability we shared as a group and I felt as though it helped us to get to know one another a lot better.
For me, this realization all boils down to this: everyone has a story; don't judge someone before you take the time to either listen to them or walk a mile in their shoes.

Yoder RAs for the 2011-12 school year, I love and appreciate each of you so much! I would like to say thanks you for great year of memories to Audrey, Austin, Julz, Justin, Luis, and Martin! And a huge shout out to our fearless leader, DaVonne. We couldn't have done it without you.