Archive for May, 2011

Dear Stressors,

For the past few weeks I’ve been stressed. This to me is interesting because the only time I almost ever get stressed is when I’m in an argument with someone (which  rarely happens) or if I have a 8-12 page paper due in two days and I have no idea what to write about. Now, both of these issues are generally self-induced, and I have no one to blame but myself for my lack of self-control.

But the stress that’s come upon me lately is due to two specific things. Number one, the passing of my grandparents. And number two, my impending trip to Israel.

In April, when my Grandma passed, I wasn’t horribly stressed out about the situation. My main concern was for my Father, Aunt and Grandfather, and also for my missing a full week of school. But overall the trip was pleasant, aside from the circumstances, and my life continued, all be it I was a little bit sadder, and I was a little easier to distract.

But with this past trip to the U.P. there was more stress involved. However, this stress could be translated into sadness/mourning/regret. You see, I’ve never really had to deal with death before. Although I’ve been to the funerals of both my Uncle and my Grandmother, this funeral was different. Looking over it, I would say my sadness is more for the lack of communication and contact with my Grandparents while they were alive. Although I often prayed for them, and even enjoyed talking to them on the phone, there wasn’t a relationship there like I would have liked to have. I didn’t really know who my Grandparents were, aside from what people have told me about them.

There’s always a point when you reach a certain age, where the gap between you and your older relatives begins to narrow. Where your Grandparents or Aunts and Uncles become more of older wiser friends than someone who is just your Aunt or Grandparent. And although I’ve had the privilege to get to know my mom’s side of the family relatively well, I missed out on that with my Father’s side of the family. I regret this. So my sorrow doesn’t come necessarily from the passing of my Grandparents. I know that they are in Heaven and are happier now with Jesus than they ever were down here. No, my sorrow comes from not knowing who my Grandparents were, and not taking the time to get to know them as people. As I was up there I realized that there was all kinds of family history surrounding me, and I wanted to know about it. But those that could tell me the stories were gone.

switching subjects, my second cause of stress is, as stated before, my trip to Israel. I take flight two weeks from today. And with this impending trip comes all the lovely worries and stress of foreign travel, but added on to that is the worry and stress of taking a class. What fun!

I’ve never been on a trip that caused me so much stress, not only do I need things for the dig, but also for the weekends, oh and I also have books and articles to read, a presentation to plan AND a paper to write. Now, all of this together, really isn’t that stressful, and I’ve had time to do almost everything I need to do before I leave. I’m sure everything will get done, it’s just a wee bit stressful with the loss of a week while I was in the U. P. Please don’t get me wrong, I am extremely excited to go. 

 My overall intent in telling you this was not really to bitch about my problems. It’s just whenever I sit down to write about something here, these are the two things that clog my mind. So I figure if I write about them, maybe it will help me feel less stressed. Perhaps perhaps…I don’t know.

So I guess when I sum it up, I have excitement and stress for my trip, and an odd feeling of loss and regret for my relationship with my Grandparents. I suppose I just don’t quite know how to deal with all these feelings at the same time.

With mixed emotions,

Dana

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Dear Hands and Feet

RE:1 John 3:18

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”

Yesterday, when I was doing my Daily Bread reading I decided to go beyond the suggested reading and continue through more of 1 John. I don’t normally have much extra time in the morning, so I don’t often wander away from the short basic lesson that is set out for the day. But I happened to wake up earlier than normal and I was in need of something to cling to for the day. You see, this past week has been hard with the passing of my Grandfather, and I’ve been feeling distant from God. So I wanted to find something to draw me back. As I read I got to the verse above, 1 John 3:18, and found it interesting, but not really what I was wanting. I spent the rest of the day feeling a bit off with God, and wanting more of him in my life.

Today however, I had some free time in the morning, and figured I would see if I could find that verse again. I looked around for a few minutes and then found it. Now this verse isn’t that profound or earth-shattering really. It’s just a simple instruction that John gave to the receiver of his letter. But as I thought about this verse it reminded me of my heart for missions, and what kind of missions I want to do. So here I will explain:

When people ask me what I want to do when I ‘grow up’ I tell them I’m interested in missions. They then either say “oh that’s cool, have you been anywhere interesting?” or “oh…ok”. I feel that when most people think of missionaries (those that don’t know any personally) they tend to think of people preaching on a street corner or handing out tracks. Or maybe planting churches in crazy jungles in South America or Africa somewhere. Although there are missionaries like that, it’s not really what I mean when I say I want to do missions.

My interest is in helping people get out of the harsh situations they are in. Not to change who they are or their culture per se, but to show them a better way to live. Whether that is manifested through emotional, physical or spiritual support. My aim, whenever I’ve been on the mission field, has always been to help people in the name of Jesus. I’m not and Evangelist. I don’t necessarily feel a deep need to shout Jesus from the rooftops. My way is a little more personal, a little more quite. So when I read this verse ‘let us not love with words…but with action’ I found it a bit refreshing. I always felt like I only showed the love of Christ in this way because I was afraid. And honestly in some cases I am. But generally speaking I am better with actions  than I am with words so it makes more sense that I would use my hands and feet to serve the Lord rather than my words. (not that words aren’t important, that’s not what I’m saying here)

However, the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about this was how people tend to read the Bible how they want to read it. They find verses that support what they believe and ignore the verses that tell them they need to change. I don’t want to do that. I want to be willing to change if it will better myself and the Kingdom of God. So one of the things I’ve been thinking about is if  there are any of my beliefs or thoughts about things that need to be changed to line up with the whole word of God, and not just that one obscure verse that I cling to to try to justify myself. I don’t know. It’s something I’ll have to think and pray about.

The second thing that came to mind with this verse is the last two words “in truth”. To love in truth. I asked myself what this meant, what does John mean to love in truth. The best explanation I could gather on my drive into work was that he means to love honestly or sincerely. Not to pretend, but to actually love those you are serving. This one’s a little hard to swallow. It’s one thing to love someone, kind of, because Jesus told you to. But it’s another thing when you have to mean it. To truly love your brothers and sisters in Christ, and not only that but to truly love your enemies and those you dislike. This is what Jesus taught, and it’s something I’m honestly going to have to work on, because sometimes I just don’t want to love someone, sometimes  it’s easier to not serve, to not be like Jesus. But this is where the Holy Spirit comes in, and the Spirit will help when asked. The hard part is chosing to go against your nature and ask for help to serve and love your enemies. 

These are some of the things that I’ve been thinking about for the past 48 hours. I don’t know if they will help any of you readers at all. But I’ve found that when you tell people what God is teaching you, it’s more exciting to see what God is doing.

Have a blessed day,

Dana

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Dear Languages

To the languages that helped me survive foreign countries, study for anatomy and physiology tests or simply allowed for a more diverse frame of mind.

I’ve dabbled in several of you:

  • 2 years French
  • 1 year Latin
  • 2 semesters Greek
  • 1 semester (and one missions trip) Spanish
  • 1 missions trip Swahili
  • 1 semester Arabic
  • and several random phrases  in different languages picked up here or there

All of you have a place in my brain or heart…whether I like you or not.

French, you were the biggest pain in my rear end. I took you during Middle School. All the cool kids were taking Spanish, but my mom signed me up for French instead. I passed the class with something like a C-. Utter failure in my book. And I didn’t care, still don’t. It would be nice to be able to speak a language other than English, but French, we just couldn’t get along. There just wasn’t anything worth making a lifetime commitment to, so I dropped you. Happy day.

The only sad thing that came from my hatred of the French language was my unwillingness to travel to France with my class. They ran around for two weeks, looking at French paintings, eating French food, experiencing French culture. And I said no. My teacher wanted me to go, in fact, my teacher offered to pay for the flight. it would have cost under $1000 for me to go for two weeks, experiencing the best of France. But my hatred for the language ran so deep that I said no. This is the only thing I regret. Not that I like the language. But being where I am now, with my love of traveling and cultures, I can’t believe I said no. Stupid child I was.

Please don’t get me wrong. I have absolutely nothing against the people of France. It was just the language that I don’t get along with.

To Latin, I don’t have much to say to you. You helped me with English when I was growing up. Helped me understand where the words came from and the root of the words. But alas, as a dead language, you didn’t stick with me, and after a few semesters you fell.

Greek, you were my solemn helpmate during my pre-nursing years. The world of medicine is filled with your phrases, and knowing the basics helped me connect all kinds of anatomy together. But as my desire for nursing died, my knowledge of anything about the Greek language died as well.

Spanish, you whom I’ve never felt a need to study (despite everyone and their mother telling me it was wise to take it). I took you because, as I stated before, all the cool kids were taking you. However, the teacher left a lot to be desired and there was no structure to the class. Even in middle school I disliked classes that lacked structure and teachers who didn’t inspire me to learn. However, my second interaction with the language allowed for a more pleasant learning experience. However, the only phrase that really stuck with me was “Dios le bendiga”, meaning: “God bless you”. This was said to every single person in church on Sundays and Wednesdays, therefore the continual repetition forced the phrase into my head, and it will probably be stuck there forever.

Similarly, my dabbling in Swahili was only through my exposure to it for 10 days when I was 14. Although it was an extremely short exposure to the language, I picked up a few phrases and words. For example, “Mongu aku bariki”, means, “God bless you”, (shocker, I learned the same phrase in the missions trips I went on). But I also learned: “asante sana” which some may recognise in the funny phrase that the monkey in The Lion King sings “asante sana, squash banana”. The first part of the phrase means “thank you very much”. There are other words that I learned were mainly “Jombo” (Hello) and Matatu (Taxi). These were the only phrases I really needed over there.

My final dabbling in language is with my dear friend, Arabic. I loved it. It was fabulous. So foreign, so odd, so lovely. I took you because I thought I needed a language class to graduate (I was mistaken). I had several people tell me that I shouldn’t do it, that I should take Spanish instead. But the thought of drugging through another Spanish class was about as appealing as getting stabbed with a pin. So I made up my mind and signed up for the Arabic class. I excelled in the language. There was one time when my teacher was going to all the students when we were working on some words and he stopped by my desk and said “do you need any– oh, no. You don’t need any help”. Made me feel awesome. First time I ever felt that way about a language, like if I continued I could actually master it.

The sad day came when I realized I didn’t need the credit. So spending $1300 to continue in a class I didn’t need simply wasn’t justifiable. Therefore, despite it being my favorite language yet, I haven’t continued with it. I’ve looked every semester to see if it was possible for me to take it. But as of yet, it’s just not viable. I’ll probably go back and take some classes at the Community College when I’ve graduated.

The final category to examine is the random phrases and words, these are just what I’ve picked up from missionaries, my sisters journeys, classes and the like. They are pretty basic phrases. such as “munchi neellu” (clean water) which is Telugu. Or “guan xi” (Relationships) which I think is Mandarin (maybe Cantonese or Taiwanese). These phrases randomly pop into my head and make me feel more cultured and sophisticated which in reality is a load of bogus because knowing a few random words in a language doesn’t make you anything special.

All of you languages have helped in some way make me what I am. Even if I can’t recall anything but how to count to thirty in some of them (French). All in all it was a good experience though. and I’m generally glad I got the exposure to all of you languages that I did.

Ma’ Alsalam,

Dana

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Dear Sister

To you who indulged in my madness

Who built me up

Who listened to my woes

Who answered my calls

Who lead me to the edge of danger

Who laughed with me

Who Laughed at me

Who listened when I spoke

Who invited me out

Who drove me around when I was upset

Who chose me as a friend

Who made me what to smack you

Who made me want to hug you

Who answered my questions

Who always had something for me to wear

Who calls just because

Who helped make me who I am today

Thank you.

I love you,

Dana

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Dear Reader (#2)

You know what? Sometimes there is nothing I want to write about. Sometimes, I just want to scribble down my thoughts here without having to focus them in on one particular thing. Although I like my posts generally, sometimes it’s just to hard for me to focus my thoughts on one particular subject long enough to write about it. So this post is a break. I focused in on a few posts, and now it’s time to get my thoughts out of a funk. Perhaps I can clear some stuff up with a review of my thought life…

Welcome to my thought life.We shall begin on the left, where you’ll see some major decisions I’m balancing in my mind. The largest part of that section is the thought: “what am I going to do after I graduate”. But this thought hasn’t been getting much attention lately, because there are other things for my brain to focus in on.

To the right you’ll see my thoughts about Israel. ‘What else do I need to buy’  ‘what do I want to see’  ‘who will I miss’  ‘how will I cope’. These are some of the thoughts rolling around over there. They generally take up much of my time and at any given second, if you see me in a pensive state, I’m probably thinking about Israel in some form or another.

Related to these thoughts about Israel are the thoughts about my walk with God. This is located right below of my thoughts about Israel. These thoughts have been more weighty, thus they are below my thoughts of Israel, lest thoughts of God crush thoughts of Israel. These are thoughts such as, ‘perhaps I should read my Bible more’ ‘I know that I’m going to need to get back into that habit before I leave, because I won’t have church for four weeks, and that’s not good’. These types of thoughts plus the things that I’ve been talking to people about have led me to feel like I need to stop watching so many shows, and start cracking open my Bible instead.

Along with all of this is obviously the daily madness that I find myself dealing with, these thoughts are located right over there by the boredom section of my thoughts. These thoughts deal mainly with doing Weight Watchers and thinking about the points that I’m consuming. Nothing to fancy or fun is in this section of my brain, just the basics.

The above section is actually split in two, one section is near the boredom section as I mentioned, and the other is by the loved ones and interests section. This division of my thoughts doesn’t get enough attention, especially not the loved ones section. I tend to forget about those that I love, I don’t think about their needs or how what I’m saying may affect them. this is one that I should pay more attention to. Hopefully if I begin increasing my attention on the God section of my thoughts this section will automatically get a little more attention.

There are other sections of my thought life that I have not detailed here, but like an old home on display, there are always rooms that are closed for repair, or are just to private for the public to go into. So I’m sorry dear Reader, but those rooms are off-limits to you. My apologies.

It’s interesting taking a short tour of your thoughts. Makes you realize where your mind choses to go, and how things should be moved around…

I hope you enjoyed your tour,

Dana

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Dear Mr. Schultz

On the road to adulthood I stopped in at your imaginary world every once in a while. The Peanuts where one of my favorite comics growing up. They were always positive (kind of), never dirty or unkind, and life always seemed better in that two-dimensional world. I used to watch your program on television when I was young. It was a routine, on the lineup of must-watch comics for the day. Then, once they took your work off the air I began collecting your comic books. Not a grand collection mind you, I think I have about three or four of them in the basement. But they were my go-to entertainment for a while.

The comic above is by far my favorite of yours. I don’t know what your obsession was with the Zamboni but this isn’t the only comic strip you used them in. None  the less I find it humorous.  I always read this with a touch of anxiety in my mind. I feel this is the mood that you would have wanted it read.

The other reason this comic is my favorite is because, in my opinion, Snoopy and Woodstock were the best characters in your comics. I’ve spent several a class sitting and drawing Woodstock in the margins of my notes. Such a cute little bird. In all honesty, this feeling of like toword a feathery friend, whether comic or not, is amazing. I hate birds, they tend to get in my way, diving in font of my car while I drive, or waking me up at 5 am with their chirping. But Woodstock, well, he’s different, he’s got it figured out.

I mean, Look at him:

Awesome

Awesome.

Of course, you know this, you created him.

Another thing I loved about your comics was that our works seemed to cite Christian themes, such as love and kindness. Linus often brough that out in your comics, quoting the Bible, or telling Bible stories. Although you walked away from your faith toward the end, it was still cool to see references to Christian life in a comic.

This is a good one.

Thank you for creating such works, I’ve enjoyed being a Peanuts reader my whole life. And although I’m not as committed as I once was, I still say thank you.

Dana

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Dear Bloggers

I don’t often read much. Especially not on the internet. But sometimes, when things are slow, and the idea of trolling around Facebook is about as appealing as stalking people who you don’t really care about, that’s when I turn to a good Blog.

My go-to blogs are by people I know, or at least have met. Their ideas are sometimes inspiring, sometimes interesting, and sometimes humorous. But all of these thoughts that my acquaintances or friends post to the world are personal. Not unlike my posts, (all three of them right now). And I like that they aren’t afraid to tell the world what they think. Whether this be through pros or poem, it doesn’t matter. They are willing to stick out their opinions and take the results.

This is inspiring to me. This is one of the main reasons I started this blog. I needed to get back to what I was interested in, who I am and what I believe. To be willing to face the reality of myself. To understand my opinions and be willing to put them out there.

So I wanted to say thank you to those that inspired me to start writing. To those that I know personally and those that I’ve only met through their writings. I don’t know how long I will blog, but I do know who inspired me to do so, and to you I say thank you.

Dana

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