Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Christmas Carol and Poverty

I saw a live production of "A Christmas Carol" tonight with some friends. I've got a few thoughts concerning it. I hope you know the story. If not, here's a quick synopsis.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a hard nose, merciless tightwad. He scorns Christmas and all feelings associated. He doesn't quite realize that his lack of compassion and generosity are causing others to suffer and make him appear to be a heartless person. That is, he doesn't realize this until he is visited by three ghosts: The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. They show him scenes from his past life, the current situation, and what will happen if he doesn't change. This new knowledge lead him to become an extravagantly generous person, spreading Christmas cheer all around and being compassionate to other people. At the end, he is practically mad with helping people out and letting go of his shrewdness.

I didn't know until tonight that this play was originally written by Dickens to address social injustice and poverty. I kind of just thought it was a "be a good person" play. One of those that makes you feel good because Christmas is here. I didn't really care much about poverty until the last couple of years, when I was faced with scenes such as these......

This is the side someones house. Looks comfy, huh?

What about this one? You think it keeps the rain out?

Poverty is always going to be around; there are always going to be disparities among people. But why not do a little to help your fellow man out? Got a million bucks to spare? Put that to use. Got a dollar to throw in the red bucket with the bell ringers at the grocery store? Do that. Got a free weekend? Help out at the homeless shelter or visit a lonely elderly person. Though you may not find yourself giddy with compassion afterwards like Ebenezer, I guarantee you'll feel a little better about having made a difference in the world. There's a lot wrong with the world, but that's no reason to sit and do nothing about it. If you've been given much, please handle that responsibility appropriately, even after Christmas is over.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Thanksgiving Travels

Praise God for good friends! I'm so thankful that there are people all over who love me and like spending time with me! I was also grateful for time to sleep, read, and just be. This past week I was blessed with a long break from work long enough to travel to Arkansas to see friends. I drove by myself to the dismay of my parents all the way from MN to AR in one day. I spent a few days hanging out with some of the people who know me best-Jenel and Emily, of whom I neglected to get a picture of, but will include one from the past. I also ran into a bunch of my former professors and got to catch up with them.

Unfortunately, Jennifer couldn't be there, because she's in Africa. I was quite mad at her for this, because I really wanted to talk to her while I was making my 14-hr drive. Oh, well, I guess I'll get over it. :-)

After a few days in Searcy and lunch with my friend Tim, a group of of headed to Memphis to Jack and Linda's house. Jack and Linda are Ben's aunt and uncle, who are so welcoming to college-age friends of Ben. We were slightly delayed in getting there, for a few reasons. One was door-to-door salesmen offering a mass purchase of filet mignon. Let's just say the boys have a lot of meat now. Secondly, we got a phone call from Drew, Ben's roommate, saying his car had broken down in Little Rock on his way to Austin and he needed us to come get him. He ended up coming to Memphis with us. Thirdly, Greg accidently erased all of Ben's music from his ipod. This may sound like a benign statement, but if you know Ben, you know this was a huge catastrophe.

We finally made it to Memphis much later than planned to a nice lasagna dinner prepared by Linda. The boys went downtown for a while, but Amy and I stayed and relaxed in the heated outdoor pool until we were raisins. The next day we chilled and played around while helping some with the Thanksgiving dinner preparations. The day included a ride in an MG convertible and a rousing game of football golf with Drew serving as the hole.

Linda and her grandkids had made cute little namecards for everyone and had gone all out for Thanksgiving. We had a royal feast with other random people from the community. It was good to be there in such a hospitable place.

Headed back to Searcy for another rendezvous with Tim, Jenel, and Emily, and JD the cat. Then I went to Calico Rock, AR to spend the night with Jordan and her family. They are so amazing! I feel like I'm in a Little House on the Prairie book when I'm with them, though I don't remember anything from those books. But they are so loving, and truly care for each other. They spend hours talking, laughing, and sharing. We sat around and read poetry, listened to new music, watched the Matrix and discussed its implications. Random, huh? Jordan and I stayed up late talking. I also neglected to get a photo of their family, unfortunately.

I set off for MN again Saturday morning. 30 hrs in a car by yourself gives you lots of time to think as well as talk to others on a cell phone, though I don't feel like sharing too much of that right now. I'll just say I am happy, God is good, and I'm very excited about life.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Living World Religions Tour

So I went to Chicago this weekend with a few friends to meet a group from Harding coming there for a Living World Religions fieldtrip. I went with my roommate Amy to Madison, WI on Thursday to Julee Byram's house. I went to school with Julee. We stayed a quick night there, and left early Friday morning to go to Chicago. We first met the group of about 80 HU students and professors at the Baha'i House of Prayer in Chicago.

It was incredibly fun for me to see people. We weren't allowed to talk in the temple, and we barely got there in time, so I didn't get to talk to anyone before. It was so fun to see people see me and watch their eyes light up, but they couldn't talk! Most just gave me a big hug. Rebekah's reaction was my favorite. Rebekah was an intern in Honduras this last summer when I visited. I slid into a seat next to her while she was sitting alone contemplating the temple. She just gasped and hugged me for forever and continued to hold my hand long after that. She kept backing up and looking at me, then hugging me again in unbelief that I was there. I have hardly felt more loved than I did in that moment.

I started off writing a brief overview of each place I went, but just became frustrated with it. So I’m going to change the channel, and go a different direction. If you want to know more about each place we went, check out Amy’s website.

Here’s the list of all the places we went:
Baha’i House of Prayer
Islamic Center of Elston
Soka Gakkai (Buddist International Center)
Jewish Synagogue (Rodfel Zedek)
Hindu Temple (Shri Swaminarayan Mandir)
Willow Creek Community Church
Sikh Religious Society
Plus, we had a devo amongst ourselves.

What am I supposed to do with this weekend? I was on emotional overload. So overjoyed to be with great friends, so grateful for the conversations we had. I was humbled by the impact others’ religions have on their lives and impressed by their knowledge and commitment. I wondered if I could get up in front of 80+ people and field questions about Christianity in an effective way.

I was disturbed by the beliefs of some. I could see the appeal in most of them, especially in this post-modern generation. But I was left with questions, such as how can you find the meaning of life in chanting a certain phrase? How can you not believe in right and wrong? How can you pray towards a book, treating it like a holy person? How can you say you believe in what Jesus said and believe that other paths are ok? How can you pay someone to pray for you to a little carved image decorated with fake flowers and get fulfillment out of it? Maybe that’s what bothered me. I didn’t see fulfillment in the faces of the believers who practiced that last statement. I saw desperation, fear, and anxiety. I almost cried watching the Hindu worshippers.

I can’t imagine my life being on my shoulders and based on what I do. Maybe sometimes I live like that, but I don’t believe it. I just saw so many people this weekend running around like crazy, trying to please their god(s) in some desperate attempt for good fortune. It made me incredibly grateful for grace. Overwhelmed with grace. It made me want to serve God. Not the other way around.

I was so blessed to be able to talk with some outstanding professors from HU. Made me excited about….life. Maybe I’ll write more on that later. I’ll just say they believe in me, and that it huge.

It was a very eye-opening experience. I don’t know all the ways it will affect my life from now on. I wouldn’t trade some of the conversations of the weekend for anything. I’m very grateful I was able to have this experience.

On a totally unrelated topic, when we came back to Rochester, it had snowed! Apparently, it was about 10 inches, but a lot had melted by the time we got back. It was beautiful! I'm really warming up (haha) to this cold weather thing. Hats and scarfs are my new fun items.

I'm working on it....

Whoo, it's been a long time since I updated. I'll try to give a quick overview of life.

I went home for about 6 days for my grandmother's funeral. It was extremely beautiful and honoring, I thought. I was very proud to be her granddaughter! Everyone in my extended family got to be there and a ton of people from the community came out. I had lots of time to hang out with the family. Check out the pics of my newest cousins, Bell and David.

Since I got back, it's been a whirlwind of work, school, and etc. I put together two papers and two presentations. I visited a church I really like. I went to a Shakespearean play, a lecture or two, hung out with friends, and had people over. I bought a plane ticket to NJ for Emily's wedding. I'm heading to Searcy and Memphis for 6 days over Thanksgiving to see a ton of friends! Nothing that sounds really exciting to anyone else. But I'm happy! That's all I really wanted to say. :-)

Monday, October 23, 2006

It Happened

So, it happened. My grandma passed away today, peacefully and without a struggle. I'll be in TN from Tuesday about 2:40pm to Monday 8:00am. Thanks for all your prayers and kind thoughts for me and my family!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

In Celebration of My Grandma

I’m starting to write this in anticipation of my grandmother’s passing. She is 91 years old as of this past September, and her life looks to be nearing a close. But who really knows? She has fooled us several times before. But this time seems more real. I’m writing this before she passes, because I want it to be ready when the event does occur. I also know I’m not going to want or have time to write when it happens. I make no apologies for this being long or overly sentimental.

I’m glad I’m not in TN for these last few, trying months. That seems pretty selfish of me, but I wish to hold my current vision of my active, spry little grandma, not the lethargic, sickly woman I know she has become recently. I do wish I was there to talk with her and hold her hand and watch her eyes light up when I walk in the room, though she can’t quite verbalize who I am.

Most people hold a vision of what an ideal grandma should be like. The grandma of storybooks, who spoils her grandchildren mercilessly and is actively involved in their lives. My grandmother was one of these. You could always count on the bowl of M&Ms on the end table and her willingness to read from any of the Golden Books stacked up in the back bedroom. She’d let me put sugar in my cereal, something contraband at my own house. Even in her seventies, she was always up for a game of “Red light, green light” in the driveway. She taught me the ins-and-outs of solitaire and Old Maid. She had this drawer of tiny toys and dishes in the coffee table that never ceased to amaze me.

I remember her traveling a lot when I was really little. She seemed to go everywhere: Hawaii, the Bahamas, sometimes more than once. She’d always bring stuff back for her grandchildren, like the big shells you can hear the ocean in or a little brown shell with Hawaii and a little beach scene painted on it. I still have them.

Nothing in her house every changed. Ever. I’m pretty sure the house looked almost exactly the same from the sixties when they moved there to when she sold it to her grandson a couple of years ago. A coconut from some tropical place served as a doorstop for as long as I can remember. I’m glad no one ever cut it open. The same giant television, the same sunburst clock, the same furniture that seemed to be built for short people. The same map of TN on the fridge so she would see where the weather alerts were. The same Christmas decorations hidden in the back corner of the attic up the scary pull-down ladder.

She was pretty predicable as a person too, in some ways. She had a glass of buttermilk and a half a grapefruit with breakfast. She snored when she slept. If she was going to eat breakfast out, McDonald’s pancakes were her favorite. It was usually strawberry milkshakes from Snow White. If she was cooking, it was probably roast, with carrots and potatoes. How I tired of roast! She never was that great of a cook, but she did ok. She could make some killer sweet tea though, stored in reused glass Tropicana juice bottles. She loved to watch “her stories,” the cheesy soap operas she taped every weekday afternoon so she could go back and watch it if we kids distracted her. I was pretty into “Days of our Lives” for one summer thanks to her influence. Just one summer.

She taught me other things besides how to have a sweet tooth and how to play card games with the best of them. I remember the annual corn parties, where the women of the family would come together and shuck, boil, cool, and cream corn to be stored in a variety of zip-lock bag sizes. Sometimes it was at our house, sometimes at hers. It was an all-day event. We did the same thing with beans and peas. We would sit in front of the tv and shell peas till our hands were raw or stained purple from purple hull peas.

My grandmother was always a very active person. She awoke at 5:45 am every morning to go for a 3-mile walk with some ladies from her neighborhood. She was involved in MMM, LLL, and a few other three repetitive letter organizations. I never could keep straight what the letters stood for. I just knew she did a lot with them and would sometimes bring back good things to eat or homemade crafts from the meetings. She would go play in the rock garden with us grandkids, which is this area of large, limestone rocks at the back of her property. It was huge when we were kids! Now it seems so small. But many hours were spent hopping from one rock to other, avoiding the ground, or examining the countless crevices and interesting facets of the giant rocks.

My grandmother adored flowers and birds. She usually had this large row of tube roses on the edge of her garden that the strongest smell ever. She raised many different varieties of flowers, and she knew the name of each specie. She’d raise these big, impressive looking flowers and let me enter them in the county fair every year. Somehow I got credit for watering them once or twice. It was a major part of the day to water all the flowers because there were so many. She would work the rose exhibit at the county fair every year, saving these tiny little vases all year round to prepare for the big event. People expected her to be there. Even when her mind started to slip, she was still able to tell you the names of flowers long after she started forgetting people’s names.

My grandmother was a very impressive seamstress, and always had a project going on. She served as seamstress for Castle Heights Military Academy for years. She made quilts for each of her grandchildren. I’m her favorite, of course, so she made me two. The most beautiful one I think she ever made now decorates my bed and is one of my prized possessions.

She was always healthy up into her eighties. I don’t remember her ever being sick, but maybe it was overshadowed by my grandfather being really sick for so long before he passed. It all started with a scary incident where she “passed out” and fell while walking with some friends. Within a few days, my active, healthy grandmother went from being perfectly normal to being very strange. She couldn’t talk right, she dressed up in the most ridiculous outfits, and she didn’t know my name. I remember being in the back bedroom at her house that first time she didn’t know my name. I was stunned. Long story short, she had to have emergency brain surgery for a bleed on her brain. It didn’t look good.

I guess you could say I pulled my first night shift when she had that surgery. The hospital asked us to have a family member with her twenty-four hours a day. One night it was my turn, and I hardly remember a time when I have been more frustrated. She was up constantly, moving around, pulling on tubes, and unable to communicate. She had her head wrapped up like a mummy, and her speech was just moaning. I had not slept in preparation for the battle, and was delusional myself by the time the night was over.

She made a near-full recovery. She moved into a wonderful assisted living apartment. She made me laugh when she said she didn’t want to sit in the common room “with the old ladies who just watch people coming in and out and talk about people.” Things were good for a while, then the last few years have been a series of ups and downs.

Some things she does in her dementia are funny. One time at a family party we had chips and cheese dip as an appetizer. She took a big dollop of cheese and stirred it into her water glass. And drank it! She seemed to like it, but we just laughed at her and gave her a new glass. She pulled out her PICC line (a big IV that’s threaded through your arm to your heart) three times. I laughed. She tells me I’m her favorite grandchild, and whispers to me secretly not to tell the others. When we look through my scrapbooks, she point me out in pictures, saying “I know who that is!” but is unable to recall my name. She’d see my sister and just say “Ooo!” She knew us, she just didn’t know our names. Her speech is garbled now, but I can still make out “ I wub ooo!”

She has seen a lot: the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, two sons in the service, the loss of an adult daughter, the loss of her husband. Five children, ten grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and one on the way. She’s had a good life. She’s got a ton of friends, most with names like Mildred and Ida, many who have passed on. Nothing spectacular about her, and yet she’s been life-changing at the same time. I can’t imagine life without her, but she’s ready to go now. I’m ok with that because I know where her trust lies, but I’ll miss her. All four foot, nine inches of her.

I love you, Grandma!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I stole this idea from Kate's, thanks, Kate!

Top things I love about Minnesota

-The abundance of things to do outside and the fact that people actually do them
-The diversity of race, religions, backgrounds
-Bike trails and sidewalks
-"Ooftah!" (possibily spelled "uff-da", I'm not sure)
-The realization that most people think my Southern accent is cute
-Their Minnesotan accent
-Seemingly high standards of education
-Chipmunks, black squirrels, and shrews
-The friendliness of people
-The nearness of the Mall of America
-The uniqueness of the Mayo Clinic
-Caribou Coffee
-Walk-up Dairy Queens (that is, from March-October)

Things I miss from Tennessee/Arkansas
-Good barbeque and cornbread
-Really knowing people
-being with my grandma as she prepares to go home
-singing with fellow believers
-Pryor 109 and all associated
-Knowing exactly how to get places when I'm driving
-People knowing who I am
-Being in closer proximity with the rest of the U.S.
-Dropping in to Johnny's office

Friday, October 06, 2006

What are you thinking right NOW?

I'm thinking I'm incredibly tired from work, and there is NO way I could do this for years on end. At least not on my unit. I hurt. I'm achy. I know what did it today.....a 6'5", 280 lb quadriplegic who messed his bed and another nurse who left me there holding him from the side by myself. Shouldn't have done that one. Should have popped some ibuprofen. But alas, I didn't.

I had a really good day at work. It was so busy because all of my patients had major changes going on as far as their treatments and meds and such. I was just keeping pace. If something adverse would have happened, such as another messed bed or an overbearing family member, I probably would have been very behind. I felt like a switchboard operator, talking to this team, then this one, then putting this one on hold while I deal with another one. It was fun....I love dealing with the different teams of people who come to see my patients. I think I like it because I'm the only one who REALLY knows what's going on. I like knowing stuff. You know that. :-)

I'm thinking about how I volunteered with a tutoring program called Friendship Place last night for a little bit. I had a lot of fun! I worked with a 7th grade Somalian boy named Najib. He was SO cute and I just wanted to take him home and teach him social studies forever (that's what he was working on last night). After we were done and still waiting for his ride, we played Sorry, and he had the cutest smile. I'm going to try to go there fairly often.

I'm thinking maybe we should think about Somalia. They are beautiful people, and have AMAZING dress sometimes. Almost exclusively Muslim. Oh, yeah, and a war going on right now. One of the other Somalian girls was studying something social studies, and it had content about some other religion. She said, "Oh, that's about another religion. I can't read that." Hmm. I don't know the story behind that.

My grandmother has pneumonia now and is not moving herself at all. I bet I'll have to go home in the next few weeks.

I am taking two classes. One is Psychosocial Interventions Family Nursing. We talk about people's psychosocial responses to illness, crisis, etc and what we can do for them as advanced practice nurses. We deal with therapy, therapeutic techniques, working with families, and the like. I'm doing a presentation about adaptation to chronic pain and fibromyalgia. VERY interesting. Lots going on in the psychosocial realm with that. My other class is Advanced Roles Seminar, where we learn about and discuss all the advanced roles of nursing (nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse educator, nurse anesthetist, nurse administrator). Also VERY interesting. We cover the basics of what each does, licensure, regulation, plus deeper things such as role socialization, upcoming changes in practice, and lots more. There is so much out there that I know very little about. It is almost overwhelming thinking out it.

I'm applying for a few different nurse practitioner programs in January and should know by February if i am accepted. If I am, it will take 3 years to finish. If I get Mayo to pay for it, I owe them one year service after school (this is a new change I just found out about last week). So....if I get in, I'm looking at four years here. I don't' mind that, but there's always that question of....what if?

Amy and I think and talk about working with something like Doctors without Borders or Mercy Ships and doing that for a year or two. It would be awesome, but so would being a nurse practitioner.....

So, as of right now, I am very open to staying here 4 years. I kind of like the sound of it. (That is, until someone around me starts talking about other opportunities, I starting dreaming, and then I'm very unsure.) After moving and setting up house here, the thought of moving again just makes me.....tired. It's a lot of work. So I think I'm going to apply for these programs, and if I get in, I'll do it. I'll stay. If I don't, then I'll probably start looking at other opportunities, which probably involve living in a third world country. Hmmm.

I'm also thinking how I can run into that resident again that rotated off my unit last week. Hmm.

That's what I'm thinking right now. And sleep. I'm thinking about sleep. And how much I like the Bebo Norman song "My Eyes Have Seen Holy."

"Am I unfit for You?
Remember me, the one who turned from You.
I come in rags tattered by the Fall,
And all the earth, a witness to my crime.

Mercy, weep over me.
Let Your tears wash me clean.
Majesty, be merciful with me,
For my eyes have seen Holy.

Hear my prayer at night.
Let the morning find me alive.
For I am tired and weakened by the Fall.
Let all the earth bear witness to my cry.

Let the Amen sound from Heaven as You lift my soul,
Let the Amen sound from Heaven as You lift my soul,
Let the Angels sound from Heaven, Holy is the Lord."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Great Mood

I don't know what it is about today, but I am in the best mood. Nothing really spectacular happened. I think it is the weather.

Yesterday, my friend Kate and I rode bikes for about 2 1/2 hours. It was SO wonderful, just cruising around the city, going off on winding trails, catching some rays, and laughing at dogs, ducks, and whatever else crossed our way. When I got home, I fixed lunch and ate it in a baseball chair on my front lawn. Later that day, I went running just to spend more time outside. It was great.

Today was great weatherwise again. I went to class this morning, then took a long nap. It stormed while I slept, though I heard the beginning of it. Then it was amazingly sunny outside, with all types of cool clouds and a perfect breeze. I went to my afternoon class praising God for beauty. I came out of my class to see an amazing sunset. It was the kind where the clouds don't even look real, and it had all sorts of gleaming oranges and bright pinks. Wow. I just kept thinking that over and over. I went to church, and when I left, there was a refreshing crispness to the air. Yay for fall.

Good job, God.

On another note, I became really excited about going back to work tomorrow while I was sitting in class today. This is going to make me sound like a huge dork. Oh well, it is true. In one class, we were sharing a quick synopsis of our personal philosophy of nursing, represented by an art form. (I can hear those of you who really know me snickering now. Sarah? Art? Ha!) Anyway, I was really encouraged listening to everyone share what was really important to them in nursing. I know it's impossible to live up to all those ideals every day, but just to know people were thinking about them and had the ability to verbalize them gave me confidence in my co-workers. I had to write my philosophy some 15 million times in undergrad, but I never really got to hear anyone else's. I'm excited about trying harder to actualize some of what I claim to be my philosophy. See, I told you I'm a dork.

I'm just in a good mood. Maybe it was the peanut butter and banana sandwich that was my dinner.

It's official. Check out the new plates on my car AND the new sideview mirror. It was a victim of streetside parking.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thoughts on Nursing

I really like my job. (Gasp!) Yes, I did just say that. I really like it. All 12.5 hours at a time of it. I do a lot of gross stuff. Yep, I clean up poop, bathe immobile people, catch vomit, and measure urine. I also pack wounds, clean mouths, and get sputum samples (that's one of the worst.) I deal with blood, sweat, smells, drunks, druggies, explosive diarrhea, and bowel impaction. Yep, I'm a nurse.

But, wow, there is so much more to it that all that stuff. I also hold people's hands while they cry out in pain. I also talk with family members making tough decisions for loved ones. I make people comfortable when they don't have much time left. I help families deal with a possible cancer diagnosis. I explain this chaos we call healthcare to everyday people. I bother doctors to get what my patients really need. I celebrate with patients who make progress. I offer people help with addictions. I help people get back on their own. I keep mistakes from being made. Etc, etc, etc. (This examples all actually occurred in the last 2 days I worked.)

But sometimes I feel like I shortchange people. I'd do so much more if there was time. So much is required of me, there is little left to go beyond the list of tasks I'm expected to complete within my shift. They're here, then they're gone. Sometimes real interaction takes place, sometimes it doesn't. I know as I grow in my practice I will become more efficient at the "task" items, and will have more time for the "real" items. But right now I want to do so much more more.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Human Body

So I went to the Body Worlds exhibit today in St. Paul. Here's what the website says just to give you an idea of what it is if you haven't heard of it. A little pricey, but I recommend it to anyone.

The exhibition features about 200 authentic human specimens, including entire bodies, individual organs and transparent body slices that have been preserved through the process of Plastination, a technique that replaces bodily fluids and fat with reactive plastics. BODY WORLDS offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and understand our own physiology and health and to gain new appreciation and respect for what it means to be human.

I thought it was a really neat exhibit, extremely unique. I was so impressed by the intricate detail of the human exhibits, and I can't imagine how much time most of them would have taken. My favorite were the ones that showed the blood vessels. Wow, they were cool! They injected the vessels with this dye that made them like plastic, and then used caustic agents to take off the soft tissue around it, so all that was left were the blood vessels. And I liked seeing the kidneys. I don't know why, I just think they are funny. So little, yet sooooo important. Maybe I just liked them because I work on a nephrology (kidney) unit. :-)

It gave me new appreciation for how wonderfully we are made. Wow, God did a heck of a job. I'm amazed. Totally in awe of his creativity and wisdom. It made me think about how though I claim so much possession over this body I am in, it's really not mine. I only have it because of a gift from God. Romans 12:1: "Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleaseing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship." I am to offer my body back to God, to take care of it and allow myself to be used by him for his purposes.

Another interesting thing about the exhibit were that there were this quotes all around on big posters. Some were Scripture, some where quotes about how this life is all there is and we are nothing after death. I'm really glad I don't believe this is all there is, otherwise I would be one depressed person, despite how amazing some of creation is. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life." There are a ton of other verses that talk about eternity and God's promises to those who believe, and I wish I had time to recount more of them here. But, alas, I must sleep for now.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Has it really been that long?

I just realized the other day that it's been over a month and a half since I've had a hug. At least, I think it has been that long. Maybe I got some random hug along the way that I'm not remembering right now.

Wow. That sounds really sad. But I don't think it's really bothered me all that much. But it has the potential to eventually.

I wonder how many people go years without a hug or a touch. I bet it is a lot. It really makes me think about reaching out to people, not being afraid to touch them. It also brings to mind the huge issue of loneliness. Though I've had just a small, small taste of it, I know it really destroys people. I think at one point (ok, maybe two points) in my life it destroyed me for a while. I don't ever want to be there again. How many people live day in and day out with love? I see quite a few in my line of work. How many more are out there? Can I make a lasting difference to any of them?

I want to be deliberately touching lives. I'm not quite sure how to do that right now. In reality, there are too many ways. I just don't know which one (or two, or three) are good fits for me.

I have a lot of decisions to make and a good bit of wisdom to seek.

September 11

I can hardly believe it's been five years. I, like most people, remember exactly what I was doing five years ago today when news of the terrorist attacks first broke. I was a senior in high school, in Biology II class. We were about to take a test, and our drama-queen of a teacher ran in and gasped loudly, putting her hands over her mouth. Then she simply said, "I can't tell you what happened till you take your test!"

We thought she was a lunatic. (Actually, she was a lunatic. But that is beside the point.) She eventually did tell us the inaccurate information that New York had been bombed and told us it was the end of the world. I went through the rest of the day, glued to the television though some teachers would only let us put the picture on, but not the sound. I remember being furious with my keyboarding class which was made up of mostly freshman, except myself and one other senior. I was trying to watch the coverage, and they wouldn't be quiet. I couldn't hear well. So I yelled at them. I was a little tense that day. I felt on the verge of tears the whole school-day, but did not cry till I got home.

It is odd how so much has changed since then. Maybe it was something else or a combination of things, but I feel like the world kicked into high speed after that day. Maybe I just started becoming aware of it around that time. Even now, I try to keep up with current events, but they come to fast. One day it's a conflict in this sandy country, the next day it's in another nation. One morning I hear news of earthquakes and floods and fire; the next day's top story is a tsunami, hurricane, tornado, etc.

Wow. The bigness of the world's problems just hits me sometimes.

I get so overwhelmed I can't always watch the news. I have to put down the newspaper, ignore the breaking news of today.

I have to go elsewhere. And this is one of my favorite places. Maybe it will mean something to you, too. Ask me about it if you want.

Psalm 46
" God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire."

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I want to share a bit with you....

One of my all-time favorite song lines: "I got a little hope here in my pocket, wanna share a bit with you...."

This is kind of my main hope (haha) for this blog. I get overwhelmed almost daily by all the bad stuff of life: emptiness, loneliness, poverty, disease, injustice, futility, abuse, materialism, yada yada yada. Sometimes it truly gets me down and it's hard to see the good, the bright side. But there is always this glimmer of something else, no matter how bad things get. There's hope. I'm a diehard optimist 99% of the time because I believe seeing the good and keeping that light of possibility is crucial. Crucial for happiness, and just for accomplishing anything. I love hope. It makes life worth living.

I can honestly say without hope, I wouldn't want to be here. There would be no point. So what do I hope for? What do I hope in? I hope in something more, something greater than this rat race of life. I hope I am something more than a beaker of water with a bunch of solutes poured in. I hope in true joy with something or someone bigger than myself. I find my hope in God.

"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his hold name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." -Psalm 33:20-22

Of course, I won't always use this blog to post cheesy digressions seen through rose-colored glasses. I think I'll use this blog mostly to get some thoughts out of my head. I'll probably use it to deal with issues that bother me. I likely use it to rant on some of the bad things I mentioned earlier. I'll probably spend a big part of it sharing my dreams, goals, and ideals with whoever is reading. And I may just use it to update people who care on my life since I recently moved 900 miles from anything I've ever known. I should apologize on the forefront that I get a little melodramatic when I write. Sorry. But please post your comments and tell me what you're thinking! I'd love to hear from you.