Sep 11, 2003

[In reference to my time spent at the fort earlier today...]

God, You amaze me in every way! The waves, the wind, the sun, the sky, birds, water, sea-shells -- ALL amazing. Today I got a little glimpse of what it's like not to worry about what I eat or drink or what clothes I put on. I sat on the wall near the fort and I didn't have a care in the world. I just enjoyed You. It didn't matter that I was in a sloppy T-shirt; it didn't matter that my hair was wind-blown and a mess, or that I was missing dinner. What mattered was the rising tide, the constant wind, the warmth of the sun, the organization of the flock of birds flying nearby, even the way the clam shells stick together and form barnacle thingies! What matters is that it's a beautiful day and You want me to enjoy it. Philosophy is so much more bearable when read by the ocean! And uncomfortable seating is more bearable with an incredible view. It's funny how when I faced the ocean I felt completely and wonderfully secluded from the world, even though "the world" was only 50 yards behind me on the street. I love the noisy silence of the waves and the wind. I love that they block out sounds of modernization. I love the interplay of consistency and constant change in creation. It amazes me! Thanks for today, God. It is Yours and I will praise You for it.

Sep 10, 2003

*DISCLAIMER: this post will contain comments of harsh reality. It is not directed toward anyone, rather toward the human race as a whole as I see it. Please do not take offense!

Hypocritical, two-faced liars. That's what people are. (For the record, I'm not venting my anger today or anything. It's just a subject that I've really been doing some thinking about.) For the most part, all the people I've ever met -- including my closest of friends -- talk and talk and talk about what they believe, no matter the subject, but often demonstrate something completely opposite in their actual lives. When it's somebody I'm close to, I hate to think to myself, "man, he/she is a hypocrite," but often that's the exact phrase that enters my mind under certain circumstances. (It's way easier to label your enemies hypocrites, isn't it!) And I totally admit that I also can be included in this catagory, although it is harder for us to see our own faults than the faults of others. But seriously, somedays I just sit back and look at what I'm doing/thinking/saying and I think to myself, "man, I am such a hypocrite!" Why is it that it is so easy for us to verbally assert our belief in something, yet when it actually comes down to putting it into practice, we fail miserably? Why can't we claim the promises of Christ and live a victorious life? "Just human nature"? What a cop-out. Brain-washed by society? Possibly. But society isn't responsible for what we do; we are responsible for what we do. We like to take the easy way out, even when the results of the "hard way" would be better. We like to go with the flow, even when we've vowed not to. We like to do what makes us feel best, regardless of how it makes other people feel. It's so refreshing when I meet a "real" person -- one who you can tell is really living what they believe. Sadly, those seem few and far between. There are those who live this way for the most part but then have spurts of Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde syndrome, but occasionally you will have the opportunity of meeting someone who is real all the time. Those are the awesome ones who deserve the utmost respect. They don't fall prey to cultural lies. They aren't flippant in what they believe. They know what they believe and they make every effort possible to live it out to the fullest. That's awesome. That's who I hope to be one day. I'm not there yet.

Sep 9, 2003

"Na na" by Superchick

You're building a case against me / prosecutor, judge, and jury / we had this conversation in your head / cause I wasn't there you made up what I said / or what I would have said / you know me so well / you've heard how I am and how I'm going to heaven knows / we've never had this conversation / or should I call it a condemnation / cause you're not listening to me...

So Na na na na na / that's all I'm gonna say / cause na na na na na / you've made up your mind anyway / na na na na na / there's nothing I can do / na na na na na / couldn't we be friends if not for you

You're like a teacher from Charlie Brown / all you hear is that wah-wah-wah sound / maybe I'm a Pokemon, Peekachu / cause that's what comes out when I'm talkin' to you / [....] You made your own fact / your super-hero name is Mr. Right / Instead of trying to understand / you tell all your friends how wrong I am / and you're not listening to me...

So Na na na na na / that's all I'm gonna say / cause na na na na na / you've made up your mind anyway / na na na na na / there's nothing I can do / na na na na na / couldn't we be friends if not for you

Can't we be friends? / why does it end / before a word is even heard? / I look at you for attitude / why can't you see that it's not me?

Something in the end I see / the person I'm talking about is me / assuming you're the enemy / in the cross-hairs of my verbal easy / no matter who wins, we both lose / no matter who starts, we both choose / to keep it going on, and on, and on / but let's start listening and see

La la la la la / la la la la la / sorry that it got this way / la la la la la / next time I won't let it screw / la la la la la / couldn't we start over, me and you?

I'm in a Cross Cultural Communications class this semester (lots of Cs), which I will refer to as ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). It's a pretty interesting subject area. For that class, I am doing a practicum where I go to an elementary school and work basically one-on-one with an ESL (English as a Second Language) student. I went to set up my times today with the elementary teacher. I wound up staying and doing my first day, which I wasn't really expecting, but it turned out really good. I'm working with a 4th grader named Remo who is German. He's adorable! He's a pretty cool kid, too. He's really quite smart, too. Like today he was writing a paragraph (as was the rest of the class), and I could tell he was "sounding out" the words, although they were spelled incorrectly, because when I had him read the paragraph to me I realized he was spelling the words like he says them. His German accent is slight, but it still influences his pronunciation, and therefore his spelling, of words. He's way cool, and I'm really looking forward to the time I get to work with him. I don't know that you would care to know all that, but now you do anyway.

Along the same lines, I was reading for my ESOL class just a little while ago, and something really stood out to me. People of so-called "minority groups" in our nation are now called "people of color." I really have some severe problems with that term. I understand that they can no longer be called "minority groups" since their numbers are on a quick rise, but I do not care at all for the new term that has been chosen. First of all, I can't help but think of the pictures I've seen of segregated America, where one water fountain was labeled "white" and the other "colored." While we don't appear to be reverting to segregation, the terms are awefully similar. Secondly, I have a problem with the term "people of color" because it gives the impression that my skin tone is NOT a color. Furthermore, I have Hispanic and Filipino friends with skin colors nearly identical to mine, yet they are "people of color" and I am appearantly a "person without color." If that were true, would I not be clear instead of white? Third, I am not so pleased with the fact that our society has been divided into two portions, "white people" and "people of color," even though "people of color" is comprised of many various and distinct ethnic groups. (I'm wondering which catagory my German friends fall into. They all "look white"!) For some reason or another, I have done a lot of thinking about "race" lately -- another term that I do not particularly care for. In my "perfect world," there would be no such thing as race. Everybody would freely intermarry until races were eliminated. I'm not sure why this seems so important to me. I suppose it is because there is so much discrimination based on such an irrelevent issue. Hearts, minds, and souls are all made the same way, regardless of what your outside looks like or who your parents are. We all like to portray ourselves as free from racism (including myself), but the truth is that we all have some degree of it within us. Or at least everyone that I've ever met has had some degree of it. I think it's easy to be non-racist concerning individuals that we are friends with that are of another race, but on the grand scale, it's much harder. I guess it's the way we've been conditioned to think in our society. Being brainwashed stinks.
St. John's County School District
Ten Rules for Making Every Day A Great Day

1. Think that good things will happen.

2. Express gratitude to a loved one.

3. Put your gripes away in a box.

4. Be patient with an annoying person.

5. Do something special for yourself.

6. Reach out to someone who needs comfort.

7. Focus deeply on each moment.

8. Learn from a mistake.

9. Look closely at a flower or tree you haven't noticed before.

10. Smile.
(Not just for girls...)

No matter what may change throughout your life--no matter who leaves, who lets you down, who changes for the worse or better, no matter what unexpected things you find or lose--God is ever-constant and will never, ever change. He doesn't leave, change, go back on His word, or even sleep. He is always aware of what is taking place in your life, and He is in total control of it all-- total control. Never fear because He is on your side if you are His child. You are His little princess, and He loves you more than you could ever know. He never wishes any harm to come to His little girl. He is your daddy, and you can always come to Him and crawl up into His lap and let Him wrap His arms around you and love on you. When you follow God's plan, only the best will come to you. Sometimes, however, we may not understand the means that He uses to bring the best to us. You must simply trust Him with everything and then all things will work together for good. God loves you so much.

--from around March 2002, a time when I really needed to be reminded of this. But it's good to hear all the time.

Sep 7, 2003

Okay, I did finally finish that paper. Now for the details of last night that I promised.

The Edge was awesome. Quite honestly, when it was first getting started last night, I was a little nervous that it was going to be kind of weird. They passed out this sheet titled "uncommon senses" and it had something about each of the five senses and how we can worship God with them. They then said that there would be five "stations" where we would be able to put those forms of worship into practice. I was like, "okay, this is different," but once we got into it, it was really cool. We listened to music to praise Him with; we pressed huge nails on our skin to feel and remember the sacrifice He made for our sins; we ate bread to symbolize tasting God's will and being satisfied by it; we smelled incense, reminding us that we should have the odor of Christ; and we looked at the flame of a candle, representing the light of Christ in the world, which should be shining through our lives. Two cool analogies were made that I wouldn't have thought of on my own: First, Bobby mentioned the incense. He said in his generation, incense was associated with one thing... covering up the smell of pot. But just like that, Christ's "smell" covers our sins when we accept Him. The second analogy was made by Mason. He mentioned the smell in another way: he said we should have the sweat-smell of Christ, in that His "scent" should come out of every pore in our body. It's amazing how God has given us all our senses for practical reasons, yet we are fully able to worship Him with them, as well. The ongoing praise and worship portion of the service was awesome, as usual. I'm so glad to be a part of a body of believers that frequently comes together for some powerful times of worship. There are so many groups of well-intentioned Christians that just plain miss out on how real God is. I wish I had a way of showing them! I just want to scream at them sometimes: "Don't you get it? God is so huge! AND you have complete freedom in Him!" Experience the true freedom you have in Christ. Don't be held back by what we've been told for years we're "supposed" to do. Do what Christ alone tells you to do, and you will never go wrong.

I'm trying to write this paper for one of my classes and I just feel like one big, continuous brain-fart! It's really quite a simple assignment, yet I keep drawing complete blanks. I'll type the first half of a sentence and just stop because the word I want to use will not come to me. That would be fine if it only happened once, but it's like every other sentence! I'm going crazy!!! I took a break from writing, and I'm... writing....? There's no rules to this kind of writing, though. Except that your fingers have to cooperate, which they're not doing so well right now. (Couldn't tell you how many times I hit 'backspace' in that last sentence! Rediculous.) Anyway, I'm going to take a real break for a minute, and then it's back to work. Later.
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12/NIV

The Edge was incredible tonight. Details to follow tomorrow.