Category Archives: Fall 2015: The Habit Maze

Ivy and the Children of Ghana: A Story of Healing

I still cry when I think about those kids in Ghana—when I shuffle through their pictures or read the letters they wrote me on the day I left. I was told before I arrived that the kids would steal a part of my heart; I didn’t realize how large that portion would be. I must thank God, though, that my heart was given to such beautiful souls for safe-keeping. These kids opened their arms to my broken self, taking in every inch of my broken…

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How to Form Healthy Habits that Last

Trying out the latest fitness trends? Easy! Sticking to them? That’s the tough part. Whether you’re just beginning or well on your way toward a healthy lifestyle, these tips, developed by alumnus Taylor Robbins (12), can help. Taylor and his wife, Nikki (12), own an online fitness company called Body Temple System. Their expertise reaches people from San Diego to Germany, helping them form healthy habits for the (literal) long run. Tip #1: Determine Commitment is essential. Determine in your heart and mind exactly what…

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A Bear on the Loose: When Habits are Mindless and Stress Goes Unchecked

Picture a grown man—husband, father, college professor—lying in his bed. The lights are off and the shades drawn, even though it is the middle of the day. On one side sits his wife, trying to get him to eat a little cherry Jell-O. On the other side are his in-laws, holding his hands and praying for him. His body is shaking and all his muscles ache, like symptoms of a severe flu. When he sits up, his head pounds and the room spins as if…

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Scott Bennett

Dr. Scott Bennett’s students know what it’s like to be challenged, to be pushed beyond their comfort zones. Whether they are encouraged to visit a less-traveled country like Colombia, or asked to stretch themselves creatively by crafting a poem, Bennett’s Spanish major and minor students have felt his push to connect them with Latin American culture in a transformative way. The best classroom for Bennett is being fully immersed within another culture, exploring the vibrant European heart of Buenos Aires, walking along the ancient stone…

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The habit maze in the brain

Habit-Making, Habit-Breaking

“By servitude to passion, habit is formed, and habit to which there is no resistance becomes necessity.” – Augustine, Confessions Who hasn’t struggled to gain and keep good habits— and break negative ones? Take comfort: we are not alone. The apostle Paul expressed in Romans 7: 15-20, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” Though we are redeemed by Christ, most of us still wage the habit battle. Debates…

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A Review of Tom Sparrow and Adam Hutchinson’s A History of Habit: From Aristotle to Bourdieu

At PLNU, we often sum up our mission with three infinitives: “To teach, to shape, to send.” Faculty and staff fully embrace our commitment to “shape” students and alumni, just as they shape us. We teach students excellence in professional skills—but more importantly, we seek to anchor these skills in lifelong habits. That’s the heart of the Christian liberal arts within an intentional Christian community. PLNU’s mission “to shape,” in other words, aims at the formation of good—even holy—habits. Recently, many media reports and academic…

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From Late-Night Debates to Late-Night Newborns and Dissertations: The Priest, the Professor, and the Politician

“Impassioned political visionary Thomas Jefferson was not without ironclad convictions. Nevertheless, he wrote, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” Joel Day (07), Ben Kautzer (07), and Gaelan Gilbert (07) have followed Jefferson’s lead to the letter. While PLNU undergraduates, the three comrades would debate politics, religion, philosophy, and literature all night, every night, with the lights out in Goodwin Hall or with bottomless cups of coffee at Denny’s. Debating “the old…

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Athletics: Work Ethic Propels Sharp-Shooter Sam Okhotin to the Top

As he sat on the bench in his first official college basketball game, Sam Okhotin tried not to let his emotions take over. It was 2012, and PLNU was taking on Loyola Marymount University. Okhotin’s name was called. As he jumped onto the court, he realized he’d worked his whole life for this moment. Bigger, faster, stronger players surrounded him. The speed of play was intense. Suddenly, the game he’d played his entire life seemed unfamiliar to him. Flash forward: Okhotin is now entering his…

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Q&A with Sandy Soohoo-Refaei

In March 2015, Sandy Soohoo-Refaei joined PLNU’s staff as the new director of the Office of Global Studies. She has a B.A. in sociology from Western Washington University and a master’s degree in education counseling in higher education from Pacific Lutheran University in Washington. She has served as an assistant dean with the Semester at Sea program and associate director and summer “acting director” of the International Programs Office at Linfield College in Oregon for more than 10 years. Q: What inspired you to join…

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