Perception: Coffee Shops and Book Covers

Image result for starbucks book creative commons

So I’m sitting outside at a local coffee shop (confession: it’s just Starbucks), and I’ve been stationed here for some time trying (and failing) to write a blog post. It was quiet and serene when I got here. Well, as quiet and serene as it can be when you’re positioned on the corner of two main roads. Slowly but surely, the place started to fill up, the customers inside spilling into my outside space. With more bodies come more noise, and to me, that means more distractions.

I am first joined by a couple of women who look to be in their early 40s, the typical soccer mom type. (In my head, one drives a Nissan Pathfinder and the other woman drives a Honda Odyssey, in case you were wondering.)

Next to the scene are two high school girls. They come out to the patio and sit down, and the only thing going through my head is, “Oh, great. More humans. My favorite.” (Spoiler: humans are not my favorite.) One girl was wearing all designer brand clothes, complete with an MK handbag and Birkenstocks. The other was nicely dressed as well. They were also drinking some non-coffee beverages at a coffee house. There’s just something not right about people who don’t like coffee.

In my already less-than-chipper state, I was expecting the girls to be another nuisance to me. I had assumed that their preppy selves were going to talk for ages about their pretty high school drama, also expecting them to talk loudly enough for me to hear their every word even though they were tables away.

Much to my surprise and delight, only half of that was true. The girls were talking loudly enough for me to hear them, but their conversation was much better than I imagined. The first words out of their mouth were about a Bible study that they were in, and then they were talking about needing to find a Blue Letter Bible. Not at all the topics of conversation that I would have guessed. My initial assumptions about these girls were incredibly wrong, making me feel ashamed and hypocritical, but also glad. As a matter of fact, my whole demeanor changed after overhearing their uplifting conversation.

I was judging them based off their appearances, something that drives me crazy when other people do it. You know, the judging books by their covers thing. (I still stand by my judgement of people who don’t like coffee, though. That one is valid.)

I was being a grouch because I allowed the circumstances of my own life to affect how I viewed the world and others, subconsciously choosing bitterness instead of joy. Because, friends, that’s the thing: joy is not just an emotion, but a choice. It is not always an easy choice. No, as believers it is frequently not an easy choice at all. It is much easier to look at the evil and destruction in the world and allow ourselves to become discouraged and bitter. I would know, because it happens to me. Friends, understand that these sorts of things happen when we aren’t expecting it, when we aren’t watching.  That’s why 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be alert, that we might not fall, and Colossians 3:2 reminds us to always have our minds set on things above, not on earthly things.

So, brothers and sisters, I leave you with some verses to marinate in. May they be an encouragement to you no matter what season you are in. And remember, as cliché as is seems, books are not always their covers.

1 Thessalonians 16-18, NIV Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Romans 12:12, ESV Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Philippians 4:4, ESV Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

James 1:2 -4, NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

1 Peter 5:8-9, NIV Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.

Part of This Good Breakfast!

Hello again everyone, It’s been a while! I’ve taken on some new life responsibilities (and said goodbye to a few as well), but I’ve been organizing and calculating, and I’ve concluded that blogging is something I would love to do this semester!

So, a couple of changes: As mentioned in my review of the 2011-2012 academic year, I was recently elected as S.G.A. President for the NYC Campus! That was no small feat considering all the hard work my opponent put into his campaign, but we got to know each other well during that period, and we now serve together on the team (he’s the upperclass rep, representing juniors and seniors). In the meantime, I’ve stepped down as Business Club Vice President to give due time to these new responsibilities and let more people have the opportunity to experience what I learned in that exciting role.

I’m a senior now, and coincidentally my classes are more challenging. I think it’s a senior thing. But I’m enjoying every minute of each one! I’ve also accepted new responsibilities at my job and in the music company I’ve worked with since 2008.

How do I do it all? through one fundamental change that makes it all possible: my eating habits! Yes, that’s right.

My breakfast went from a couple of grab-and-go foods (left) to a diverse assortment of nutritious breakfast items.

Now my frame is rather small (one of my professors jokingly replaces “enjoy the rest of your day” with “go eat something” in our conversations), so most people assume that I’m healthy and fit. However, both my biology course and my former feelings of excessive fatigue argued otherwise.

Dr. Wenbo Yan teaches biology and other science courses at Nyack College. He’s really passionate about his occupation, and he emphasizes the importance of eating healthy to take proper care of your body. He makes classes intriguing and engaging, and the students taking biology with him can truly say they know how their body works. Because of that, when he describes health implications of not eating, we get it.

“Big breakfast, nutritious lunch, small dinner,” Dr. Yan repeated on our first few classes, “but most Americans do the exact opposite.” Reflecting on my life, I realized I was a prime offender–I often woke up half an hour before leaving the house, grabbing some snacks and bolting out the door. Lunch would be anything I could find to stop my stomach from growling, and dinner? Oh, this would be the feast I anticipated upon coming home; surely it would make up for the meals I missed.

Sure we’ve seen plenty of ads about the no-breakfast fade, but I never really knew how it worked until now, like how your body relies on energy from nutrients we consume so that the mitochondria can produce ATP, our body’s universal energy currency. I also didn’t realize exactly how eating a large dinner and skipping breakfast leads to all sorts of health deficiencies and issues, like problems with your bladder. Yikes!

I once acknowledged the importance of a big breakfast, but I was less faithful when it wasn’t convenient. I’m now realizing that, similar to  connecting with God daily, breakfast is a vital requirement to a successful day. And yes, while going about my daily activities after doing both, I feel an extremely positive difference. Now that I know the facts, I’m all the more serious about eating healthy.

More about this later–healthy eating isn’t a topic you can fit into one blog post! Feel free to share your insights on healthy foods in the comment section. Have a great day (particularly contingent on your breakfast choice)!

Oh, and if you’re near the Nyack College NYC Campus this Tuesday around 5:15, you’re in for a treat: Dr. Yan is speaking during this week’s Nyack Experience about how physical health and spiritual health are related.

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