Archive for category Feeling

Dear Me

No, not in like a “dear me you look awful today”. More like Dear Dana…

There are some things in life that you just don’t like. Whether it be a job or school or your car or someone’s attitude. I’ve noticed lately that you have been in a bad mood. You’ve been complainy and emotional and out of whack. You tried to fix it by reading your Bible, but then you got to the middle of Exodus and got bored. You tried to fix your problems earlier by switching jobs, but now you complain about the one you have. You constantly complained about you van, and now that you have  a new car you complain about how you can’t sell your van.

These things in your life that you complain about all boil down to one main thing. Selfishness.

You were talking to your fiance Dave last night and it hit you. You are a selfish brat. You’ve been doing nothing but complain about you, and haven’t given one thought to others lately. So I’m writing to you today so that you will stop this incessant complaining and start giving a crap about other people and their issues.

We are called as children of God to be his light in this dark world. How can you be a light if you’re thoughts and actions are all internal? If you doubt yourself all the time and have no confidence in who God has made you to be. So what if you feel like you’re getting beat up on the front lines of school. Tuff it out and stand for what you believe in. Don’t wain because you want things to be easier on you! That’s no good at all. Example from the Bible: what if Jesus doubted that he was the son of God? Do you think he would have been crucified? Do you think he would have died for the sins of man?

You see! Even writing this now you have hesitation in your heart about making such a bold proclamation to your faith. You hold back because you are scared of what people will think of you. You don’t want others to think you a loony or odd for believing the same things that the crusaders did in the centuries ago. But you don’t believe the same thing! You don’t think Muslims or Jews deserve to die! Quite the opposite!

You had something in the past that you constantly are trying to achieve. that was confidence. To look yourself in the mirror and say I am beautiful because God made me. And to say that I will live for Christ today because he is my strength and refuge and if God is for me who can be against me? But now you feel like the whole world is against you…you lost your confidence in Christ.

Remember: “What you are in the sight of God that you truly are”? Do you really believe that? Do you? It’s time to take a stand against the selfish gene in every person, and it’s time to look at today as a new day that the Lord has made. You will rejoice and be glad in it. Because that’s what God wants you to do. And the opposite of being selfish is being selfless, and that’s exactly what Christ was…So work on being Christ to people today. Being selfless, and if you get noticed for your selflessness, then point not to yourself, but to God. Who gave you the ability to be who you are.

I hesitate to post this, it’s more personal than public. But I don’t think I’m the only one dealing with this. It’s something I’ve dealt with not only in my faith, but also with my love. either of family or my fiance or friends. Being selfless and humble makes you a person that God wants you to be, and it also makes you a more pleasant person to be around. So I guess my point is, if you’re feeling the same way, down, depressed, constantly complaining, then stop. There is a song I love when I’m close with God. It goes “turn your eyes upon Jesus, look forth in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”  Truth man.

So today I will look forth on Jesus’ face and work on (with Christ’s help) being a humble person.

With the spirit of tough love,

Dana

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Take a walk with me…

Today I’m feeling nostalgic, and therefore will write, but not in my standard way (as you can tell by my title). (and yes, I will get back to my favorite moments at some point…)
I just had an overwhelming feeling of wanting to be back in Israel. I can envision in my mind’s eye that I’m walking along the road headed to the Jaffa Gate. So I think today, I shall tell of the walk through the old city.

Please join me, As we go down the elevator and walk into the lobby of the Tower Hotel in Jerusalem. Walking strait, I go through the side door, because for some reason the revolving door always freaks me out just a smidge. As I walk out of my hotel, there is a large section of brick sidewalk, and then the road. To the right are shops, mainly selling clothes or coffee or some cheap accessories. And when I look to the left there’s a plethora of restaurants From Italian, Chinese, Japanese or American. Anything you want to eat is just a jaunt down the road.

Turn left to head to the old city. Walking past people, vendors and that graffiti that states “set the police in fire” on the side of the building. Such an odd thing to see posted on the side of a building. As we walk we go downhill, continuing for less than a mile, now we pass apartments and parked cars. We come to an intersection, where there are two roads curving at odd angles, which makes the sidewalk come to a sharp point where the roads meet. Time to cross, and don’t worry about waiting for the signal, as long as there aren’t any cars, you can cross. Sharp right! Cross two roads now, it’s a split road. Now just go down the stairs and you’ll see this:

This leads to the Jaffa gate

Pretty isn't it?

This is the passageway that leads to the Jaffa gate. You’ll notice that the wall ont the left has markings on it. That’s because they took it down and marked each piece and then rebuilt it, kink of like a giant puzzle. Something that my not be quite as clear from this picture is the art that line the walkway. Local artists (i belive) have sculpture lining this walkway it makes for a very chic and artsy look as you walk down. You almost feel like you’re in a giant art exhibit. The shops that line the walkway are a high price for the most part. Fancy spas or restaurants, but mainly clothes with super cute dresses in the windows.

We are now arriving at the end of the passageway, go up the stairs (amphitheater like, half circle stairs, just so you get a picture in your head). As you walk up you see the walls cascading up, there my friend is the Old City wall. From the stairs there’s a courtyard of sorts with people buzzing all around and vendors trying to sell you fresh bread and sweets. And apparently, just because they want to let you know that they’re hip, there’s a huge pice of modern art in the center of the courtyard. Looks kind of like a 40 foot tall mobile. Interesting really.

Moving forward we go through the gate, which is a huge (about 20? feet) pointed door. Then turn to the left and you’re now inside those mammoth walls that are the Old City of Jerusalem. This is what it looks like from the inside:

In the City Walls

Ooooo....Inside the City Walls

Now I don’t know if I’ve told you this or not, but did you know that all the buildings in Jerusalem (and I believe in Israel) have to be built with Israeli stone? Meaning all buildings are made with stones quarried from Israel itself. Interesting? Yes. Causing issues with a lack of building material? Yes.

If you keep going straight, following the sidewalk, you will enter the bazaar. It’s crazy and colorful and full of people and things yelling and walking and moving about. I didn’t get a picture of this. I’m sorry I failed you. walk through two slices of the bazaar then turn left then make a right, then walk down those stairs you are now entering a courtyard. to your left there is a beautiful synagogue which is being re-built, it’s one of the oldest in the city. Looking forward there are outdoor tables and chairs with umbrellas where people can sit and eat their lunch. The first time we walked down this way most of my classmates went into a small archeological museum, while me and a few others wandered around outside waiting for them. If you walk down one of the little roads it leads to a residential area, and that’s exactly where I went, you can see some of the pictures below:

Walls

A wall near the residential portion of the Old City

More Walls

A little side alley where people lived

This was actually one of my favorite times in the city. It was day 1 in Jerusalem and we only had about 15 or so minutes to take a break while the others went through the museum. But it was here that I saw the daily lives of the good Jewish Israelis. The women had their heads covered, and were wearing long skirts and 3/4 length shirts. They were taking out their trash, watching their kids and having conversations with their neighbors. It was here that I realized that they aren’t really any different from you or me. Despite the fact that they live in the Holy Land, they are still people looking to make a life for themselves. Taking care of their daily needs, and they were also people who had hurts and pains and were just as lost as anyone in the world. They were beautiful, and as I sat on a ledge under a tree, I began feeling God’s heart for his people and his land.

Israel really is a Holy Land, you can feel it when you stand there. But the funny thing is, you have to look for it. It doesn’t hit you in the face when you land in the airplane. It doesn’t hit you when you’re on the temple mount, and it doesn’t hit you when you’re standing in the countryside with a pick in your hand. It hits you when you sit and pray. When you ask God to show you. Then it hits you hard. Israel is a land full of religion…but God isn’t active there, not unless you search him out. And if you do seek him…well…hold on, it will be a crazy ride.

I got off on a tangent there…sorry.

Anyway! Going through that courtyard at an angle, you will head down a road lined with food vendors, (I got a bagel, seemed appropriate in the Jewish Quarter). Going under a large archway we keep going and make a slight shift to the right, and then you were there. At the top of the stairs looking down at the Western (Wailing) Wall. Descending the flight of stairs you go through the security system at the Wall (not unlike airport security). Then you walk out and you’re in the courtyard of the Western Wall, Isn’t it pretty?

The Courtyard for at the Western Wall

This picture wasn’t taken in the courtyard obviously, it’s taken from above, but I thought it would give you a better understanding of the layout.

From here you do your best to be respectful of the people at the Wall. If you so chose you can approach it. When I did the first time it was in the middle of the day, broad daylight. I walked up, found a small place between to women, and touched the wall. I placed my written prayers in the cracks…then I prayed. And then I cried. I cried for the people of Israel, I cried for my family, I cried for my schoolmates that were with me, and I cried for my (now) fiance. And then I cried for me.

I walked that road every day I was in Israel. From the hotel to the Jaffa gate, then normally to the Wall or somewhere around it. So I thought I’d share with you some of my walk. I hope you enjoyed the company.

Dana

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Dear Spring

Welcome back, I’ve missed you.

Well, in all honesty, I can’t really say this is Spring, shifting from 50 to 90 degrees in a few days isn’t really steady. However, this is Michigan, and I can’t really expect the weather to do anything but be temperamental. Weather issues aside though, you’ve been a good Spring to me so far, the past few days especially. Although the rains came down (and the floods came up! heh heh) this past week which caused our basement to leak, (which in turn caused a foul musty smell in the house for a whole week and a half) you came through for me with joy and sunshine in the past few days.

I’ve always enjoyed you spring, all the color you bring to the world after the long Michigan winters. However, even with all the color you bring, especially green, my favorite color, you’re still not my favorite season. If I had to analyze why, I’d say it’s probably the UPer blood in me. Fall generally strikes my fancy, knowing that school is starting and I can cover up and be toasty without being sweaty. It’s a good feeling. But I don’t want to talk about another when I’m writing to you, Spring.

This particular Spring has brought interesting changes. I’ve mentioned them in previous posts, namely, the passing of my Grandparents. This is most likely what I will remember when I look back at the Spring of 2011. My two trips to the UP within a few short months of each other, both taking place in Spring. I suppose the other things I will look back on is my preparations for my trip. But then again, I don’t really recall my preparations for Kenya, so maybe I won’t. Maybe this time will be lost only to my Grandparents. Will that bother me? I don’t think so. So long as I don’t forget where I was when the Spring of 2011 turned into the Summer of 2011.

To be honest Spring, there are other things on my mind. Other things to write about. I don’t know, maybe I should have written this post to someone else. But I feel that you may understand where I’m at. You may have noticed that I not only tagged this letter as a physical season, but also as a season of life. This is because, as far as I can tell, this Spring brings big changes with it. Determining if there will be shifts in the way I live, the way I see things, the way I act toward others, especially loved ones.

Apparently I have weighty things on my mind. I needed to write a letter so I thought I would write about Spring and the lovely days I’ve had out in the sun. But there are deeper things on my mind…

Please don’t worry about me, I am happy. It’s just that with new adventures bring new challenges and changes. And these changes are something I’m working through. But overall I’m positive. And looking out the window to a clear blue sky, I know that I am ok. And God has everything in control.

My the Lord bless you and keep you,

Dana

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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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