It is time to think about treasure mapping

WP_001020It is time to think about treasure mapping

I got this idea from my friend, Tracy (aka Jupitermom) to whom I give credit and have adapted it to harmonize with my Christian beliefs.

Every year in the beginning of spring, which is the biological new year, I gather with friends and create a treasure map. The treasure map is a very conscious way of determining what I want for my life over the following year.

When I look at these at the year anniversary of their creation, I always do so with a sense of wonder. The photograph I added is my treasure map of 2012. There is some stubborn lack of movement but I have another month and half and a lot usually happens at the last moment.

Holding on because the last six weeks will be a wild ride, I suspect.

I am thinking about Saturday, April 13 for my treasure mapping party. Everyone that is interested is invited.

If you live far away and can’t make it, try to have your treasure map making between 10 April and 13 April.

Declutter your life!


Because your stuff is a metaphor for your life in general and getting rid of what you don’t use or don’t like is simplifying your life but it is making room for new and good stuff to come into your life.

Think and pray about what you want manifested in your life for the next year.

Don’t worry about the little details until you are in the moment. I have found this time to be fluid and dynamic and the resulting treasure maps have been nothing short of amazing.

Looking at last year’s map, using the clock to orient the observer, at 12 oclock, no movement on the cytisine research because it is out of my hands but I really want that research to be done so I might transfer it to 2013. There has been a lot of recent movement with my book!

At 1 oclock, time with pat has improved a lot, time with Fiona is sketchy. At 5 oclock, protection. I believe I have been afforded a lot of angelic protection. 6 oclock is huge and in the air right now and I am holding hope that it will manifest by mid-april is “Show me the right path for my life” This is a prayer and I am waiting for an answer. At 7-8 oclock, I defended my thesis on 4 June 2013 and had minor revisions. My committee signed off in August (It would have been sooner but Dr. Gus was in the Congo and I had to wait for his return.) I received my MS in August, 2012 and am waiting for word on three phd applications. At 10 oclock is thrive not sure if I rise to thriving but so far, so good. At 11 oclock is provision. Throughout this horrid economy, God has blessed our family with provision over and above and I am thankful.

Liza Rivera gave me the idea of the sun (Son) in the middle, the source and center of my world and from which everything I have comes.

An Unusual Event as Confirmation

An Unusual Event as Confirmation

I’m having a difficult time expressing my feelings in words and would really appreciate input from others on this but is it normal and/or healthy to use sort of X-files or Twilight Zone spooky phenomenon as confirmation that whatever is going on stands a chance of being supernatural in nature.

What the heck is Debra Baker babbling about now?

It might help to relate the latest fun-strange perhaps prophetic thing that happened today and, as the title of my blog should lend a clue, opine!

I was in church worshipping and I got a vision for a slight change in the ending of the book that I’m writing. This sort of thing happens with regularity.  I went to the café and wrote my thoughts in a little notebook so I wouldn’t forget the brilliant idea. Part of the idea involved the book being written in code (HTML or C) instead of plain English and having the code switch to RNA thusly turning binary code into quaternary code (which, I think, would be a paradigm shift for data transfer and storage but I wanted it to be robot code and I couldn’t remember the name of robot code and told myself to ask Pat after church. I ended up chitchatting with a woman in church and the rest of the family was waiting outside, right outside the door so I said my good-byes and opened the door right as Pat mentioned the name of the ‘bot code.

How freaking cool is that.

But I take that to mean that I got some divine help hatching the idea in the first place and that my answer was provided before I asked the question was pretty sensational and afforded me confirmation.

Well, how do you feel about this?

My Bucket List



I’m beginning my bucket list and will add to it as I am inspired by this life of mine.

The following are things I want to do before I kick the bucket.

1)    I want to get my PhD.

2)    I want my book finished and published (Any help to that end is welcome.)

3)    I want to visit Ireland.

4)    I want to guest lecture at UBC (Note: I will need to have a subject of expertease to accomplish that goal.)

5)    I want to ski Heavenly.

6)    I want to vote for the first woman President.

7)    I want someone not on my facebook friends list and not related to me to commission a painting of mine.

8)    I want to take the entire family to Whistler.

9)    I want to fly faster than sound.

10)                       I want to be bumped into first class (on the way to Ireland would be a good time!)

11)                       I want to discover something and be remembered for that instead of anything bad I did or not be remembered for that if I was known for being kind and encouraging to other people.

Explaining Biological Processes Using Unscientific Language.

mitotic spindleAs I have noted in other posts, I greatly admire Deb and Dee over at The Wartburg Watch (TWW) because they are good examples of thoughtful Christians. Among many things, Deb and Dee are pro-science and are concerned at the level of ignorance in conservative communities.

One of the pet peeves is the fear and ignorance surrounding the theory of evolution.  I am thinking about writing a column  for them and here that will be themed “Explaining Biological Processes using proper unscientific English.

First, I will introduce a concept.

Next, I will explain the process using unscientific English but I will also introduce the reader to some vocab with simple explanations.

Finally, I will put the concept into context within which the concept becomes of some significance to most people

Here is an example of DNA replication and how homologous genes supports evolution.

I am a Biologist

I am also a Christian

I also firmly believe that life evolved from common ancestry.

I need to refresh myself with respect to Venema’s writings but based upon what Lyn wrote, it looks like he has focused on molecular genetics particularly the sameness of the genome of different species.

The same-ness of the DNA between species is called homology.
Things that are shared by almost everything is called deep homology.
Another term you will see is “conserved.”
Everything uses DNA or RNA to encode its information in order for it to be passed down to the next generation. Almost everything uses DNA to pass the directions onto the next generation Almost everything transcribes RNA from a template of DNA when it is time to make something the organism needs (protein) The only exception is retroviruses (Like HIV) that uses an enzyme called reverse transcriptase to use RNA to make DNA to insert into the host DNA (likely losing people here so I’ll stop.)
So almost everything uses DNA to pass traits to the next generation
The DNA is the same no exceptions. (How amazing is that!)
The way DNA works is base-pairing (that is why the code is accurately passed on and on and on with very few mutations.)
There are four bases in DNA no more, no less. They have a complimentary base they always base pair with one another. A, T, G, C.
A is always with T
G is always with C


There are a lot of molecules that are similar to these (Look at adenine and caffeine and chocolate which is theobromine and they are almost the same but only these four bases are used.) Why? Why is this? It points to everything coming from a common ancestor that gave rise to what we have today via natural selection.

If I am helping, I’ll do another post (explaining the insulin and transcription and translation and codons but lets see, if I’m blabbering at bedtime and doing no good, I’ll just fade into the woodwork.

Next, I discuss transcription and translation using simple words.

Here you go

Transcription and translation simplified.
DNA is a long chain of bases that base-pair to form the famous double helix. It opens up and each half is used as a template during replication.
That is how instructions (everything an organism will need) is passed onto the next generation.
That is DNA’s first job.
DNA has a second job and that is to provide a template to be used to transcribe a stretch of DNA needed to make a protein. That stretch of DNA is called a gene. When the organism is ready to make protein, it needs instructions because all proteins are a long chain of building blocks called amino acids. There are twenty essential amino acids.
This is a bit complicated.
DNA is a very old molecule that, in organisms more complicated than bacteria, (eukaryotes) live in the nucleus and is protected there so it will survive.
RNA, on the other hand, isn’t expected to live longer than it needs to finish the job of making a protein.
DNA provides the template to translate the gene that is found on DNA into RNA and the RNA gets taken out of the nucleus to the cell to help make protein.
A special molecular machine called a ribosome actually does the hard work of putting the amino acids together in the correct order (which is critically important because one mistake can kill a new baby.) The RNA tells the ribosome what the correct order is. RNA does this by the order in which the bases are found on that gene. Because there are twenty amino acids and you need a start code and a stop code, you need three bases for each amino acid or stop or start. If there were only fourteen amino acids instead of twenty, we could have squeeked by with two bases for each amino acid.)
Because we have a triplicate code, there are 64 possible combinations which means there are several codes for some of the amino acids.
Almost forgot, one difference between DNA and RNA is in RNA, the T is substituted with U. (there are reasons beyond scope.)
So, you could build an insulin protein using many combinations of triplicate codes but only the same ones are found across a diverse cohort of organisms.
This also supports common ancestry

Please send me feedback.

So, I’m giving up complaining for Lent and substituting gratitude for the complaining

A lot of people like this idea on facebook so I’m making a post here on my blog and we can all appreciate gratitude and a thankful heart.

As a Christian, the Lenten season is transformed by the joy and thankfulness toward Jesus for His sacrificial gift and triumph over death. I hope to have good friends who are also fellow travellers down this road. Day 1 is tomorrow.

Being ~vs~ Doing

This is a process and it isn’t coming to me naturally so this post will have loads of responses as I slowly and painfully learn how to be instead of being defined by what I do and produce.

I am coming to terms with the likelyhood of being rejected from all five schools to which I applied and there is no Dr. Debra Baker in this timeline and I am learning how to just be without fighing the lesson tooth and nail because at this point, it seems like a monumental waste of time but I will paint and I will work at least part time if I can find work and if not, I will have my student loans deferred and I might just kick the bucket and they won’t get repaid.


But, hey, the house will be clean and the garden will be lovely this summer and if I don’t get a PhD, I’ll get a puppy which will make miss Julianna happy.

Somehow, I will feel God’s love without any effort or merit and if I don’t get to use my brain, perhaps I’ll just be stupid and happy like half the world. I’ll learn to sit at Jesus’ feet and let other people do the work.  But I will paint and write and opine and find a valuable lesson in it all.

Shit, I hope there is a parallel universe where this goes down differently.


I think there are truths that are codified in various religious traditions and then there are truths that are woven into the human heart and are known as self-evident.

Life-liberty-pursuit of happiness is what likely comes to mind if you happen to be an American but I am sure those three truths are just as vital to anyone throughout the world.

Life and liberty are well visited rights but pursuit of happiness is hard to define but it is considered an inalienable right.

When Barak Obama was elected president the first time, one of the things that made my heart sing with joy was the notion that there were African Americans that, for the first time ever, as little children, could envision their grown up selves as President of the United States. Their dreams had no limits. White upper and middle class males have   enjoyed this privilege for generations but it is essential to everyone but denied most. Many women have never experienced this sensation of possessing limitless potential.

Last Tuesday, I was in the depths of a relentless depression. My temperament is not well suited to idleness and, like a border collie, if I don’t have a job, I will find myself in trouble one way or another. Tuesday was a typical dark cold wet miserable day and I knew I was rejected from Temple Pharmacology but I wasn’t feeling particularly optimistic about the other four programs for that matter.  School has started again and I feel forced to the margin again instead of being in the center of something dynamic.

Additionally, I was worried sick about the outcome of Julianna’s application to the STEM Academy.

While I was shopping for groceries, Pat texted me the simple message, “Stem just contacted me with their decision.”  It didn’t sound positive and I had to drive home before I could respond to that text. I had no idea how I was going to break the news that Julianna was declined admissions to STEM when her heart was set on going and the philosophy of the STEM Academy was compatible with Julianna’s learning style.

As it turned out, I was crying with deep relief when I called pat who quickly told me she was, in fact, accepted into STEM.

The waves of relief were overwhelming and I still feel echoes of that sensation in my spirit. We took her to Chilis to celebrate such a fine accomplishment and stopped off at the proximal strip mall and Pat went to Home Depot while Julianna and I picked up a few basics at Staples. While we were alone together, Julianna said that if felt as though a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She also said she feels like she could do anything; anything she set her mind to.

Fresh tears cascaded down my cheeks and the more I think of this the more profound it seems in my spirit.  Pursuit of happiness, she will get to chase her dreams!

But what about the dreams that were conceived but not allowed to completely gestate within my spirit?  Why does this culture dismiss me because they consider me old? This, I am discovering, is the root of the depression that I can get out of my system and I can assure anyone that is reading this; I have two choices, giving up my dreams will kill me or I can fight this and fight for all the other people that have been forced to give up audacious dreams and settle for existing rather than living and be what exists in my hopes and imagination. I want to use the talents God has given me. I want to leave the world a better place than I found.

Pursuit of happiness Note: our right is not happiness but the pursuit.

john pavlovitz

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