Thursday, September 30, 2010

to be something or nothing?

[nuhth-ing] –noun thing; not anything; naught: to say nothing. part, share, or trace (usually fol. by of ): The house showed nothing of its former magnificence.
3.something that is nonexistent.
4.nonexistence; nothingness: The sound faded to nothing.
5.something or someone of no importance or significance: Money is nothing when you're without health.
6.a trivial action, matter, circumstance, thing, or remark: to exchange a few nothings when being introduced.
7.a person of little or no importance; a nobody.
8.something that is without quantity or magnitude.
9.a cipher or naught: Nothing from nine leaves nine.
10.(used in conventional responses to expressions of thanks): Think nothing of it. It's nothing. Nothing to it.

It's rather interesting to me that there would be ten different definitions for the word 'nothing'. It must be the fact that to know 'nothing' is to have been 'nothing.' What is nothing? How does one be nothing? Do we want to be nothing or would we rather be something.

Oh, yes. Nothing is also the word that is commonly yelled when caught in some action that might be disapproved by parents. I often find myself squeaking the word 'nothing' as well when caught by a friend looking at things that I find comical but would not be generally considered funny. I feel that children learn the word 'nothing' very soon in life to be excused from questionable activities.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to Harmlessly Creep

We all do it. We watch people. It’s called people watching. There are those who claim this activity for their own personal hobby while others just observe without much reason. In these acts of observation, a person learns many things. A girl in her perusal of the weight room may learn how much a guy can lift and a guy might discover that a particular girl has an affinity for raisins and applesauce together.

Across the dining commons table, I saw one of my acquaintances observing those around her. Abruptly, I piped up, “Do you people watch?” After an affirmative answer, I asked Maggie, “How do you watch people?” Bluntly, she proclaimed, “Just stare.” This created a ripple of laughter throughout our companions and a bantering conversation commenced about times caught staring.

People watching is an uncomplicated hobby. Of course, there are a couple of essentials in which a person should invest. If you are to take up this particular hobby, purchase an exceptionally boring book and a large cup of caffeination. Once these are chosen, it is time to carefully consider where your observation shall take place. Will it be the small café down the street or a local park? After the location is set, opt for the chair or bench that gives an especially good view of a large portion of the park or restaurant. Be prepared to spend an hour or two in this spot. The coffee is there for stimulation just in case the people activity is on a minimum and your book becomes the main attraction.

On the off chance that you might be interested in tapping into your inner child, start asking yourself questions about the people that you observe. For example, in the movie Date Night, Phil Foster asks his wife, “What’s their story?” in regards to other restaurant diners. This question produces an amusing scene where the Fosters create original stories for unknowing couples. The realm of imagination has endless possibilities. In my mind’s eye, I have often observed couples fall desperately in love in the space of one normal moment or a seemingly typical dog that has complete control over its owner with a calculated movement of its tail. Therefore, ask yourself, “what’s their story?”

If you fear being termed a ‘stalker’ or a ‘creeper,’ I suggest that you consider a different hobby. People watching is not for the faint of heart nor for those who are not curious about their fellow earthlings. However, there are a couple of ways to not gain the above labels. Namely, refrain from anything in the way of Facebook stalking, hiding in bushes, or physically stalking. Now you know the rules, go and observe your fellow man or woman.

published in the Bethel Beacon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Psalm 13

How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;

my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

This has been a prayer on my heart.

Friday, September 24, 2010

of winds and things

The sunrise had a stalker this morning so did the stork that visits the pond. The sun courageously rose and the stork flew away bashfully. The sun painted the sky in oranges and pinks to the symphony of the wind while the stork sat upon the roof of the library and unceremoniously pooped (If you see a white drool across the roof, it was the stork).

Life is certain for the sun. It comes and it goes. It's like clockwork, but this clock will never break nor stop. However, the stork is jumpy expecting death around the corner. Although he has become a part of the scenery of this campus, life could easily cut him out of the picture. Who would miss him? Would any notice? His presence is always noted. Yet, the stork's appearances are uncertain and sporadic. He comes and goes as he will.

Uncertainty is a major part of my life. Like the stork finds comfort in the constancy of the sun, I find comfort in the certainty of the one who created the sun. He must be much more constant than the sun which is one of the most constant things on this planet. Certainty is found in the love of Jesus.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What is a real man?

Lately, a question has plagued me like no other question. It has settled in the depths of my stomach and has festered there. This pestering thought was actually stimulated by a conversation with a friend. However, it has been a couple of weeks since that initial conversation and my thoughts have fermented into, hopefully, a wise wine. This question was first asked to a group of us across the meal table. What makes a real man?

I was deeply disappointed in our ability to answer that question. The general consensus was simply "I don't know." Disappointment occasionally motivates me and so I began to think. I realized that there were many questions connected to that single question. What makes a real man? As a woman, how can I inspire men around me to be the best man that they can be? What characteristics are needed here? Is there actually a recipe to this question?

First of all, no man is equal. Therefore, each man has his own unique 'real man' qualities to discover and strengthen. However, that does not mean a man cannot learn patience if patience is not already his gift. We must realize if one were to try to name all the characteristics a man "should have," one would discover that they had just described God. Also, it's doubtful that a woman could inspire a man to true masculinity on her own. Sex might be inspiring, but it wouldn't inspire a true masculinity just a carnal response. It's easy to live a good life, but to live an inspirational life can only be acquired with the aid of Jesus.

Finally, during the length of a conversation with another friend, we talked about this 'real man' question. We came to a conclusion. Each of us already had men that we respected so we looked at them and asked, "why do we respect them?" Suddenly, the answer to this mind-boggling question seemed to be in grasp. There is no cookie cutter recipe for a real man. However, on the basis of this realization, a 'real' man is a reality. Namely, a real man is someone that can be respected in all areas of his life and lives above reproach.

Also, in my search for what a real man is, I googled the question like any true person of my generation would. I was both impressed and disappointed with what I found. What is a real man? Ten traits were listed. I would now like to take the liberty to add a bit of thought to these ten.

Trait #1 says, "A real man is strong." There is nothing wrong with this statement. And yet, I disagree with the print that backs up this phrase. Largely, I disagree with the statement, "A real man doesn't cry." Allow me to say that from a woman's perspective, I believe the biggest sign of strength is a man who can and does cry. This shows me that he is secure in who he is and is not afraid to show his true emotion. As this quote aptly states, "There is nothing so strong as gentleness, and nothing so gentle as real strength." Vulnerability is strength.

I would also like to respond to Trait #2 which states, "A real man is focused." Recently, I have noticed that a lot of men have no idea what they want in life. Not only are they confused, but they confuse those around them - namely, girls. Like butterflies, these men flit about from girl to girl. This is entirely unattractive unless the man actually embodies this insect. Yes, there are many beautiful flowers - I mean - girls in the world. However, why don't you save yourself and those gazillion girls from heartache by finding focus? If you don't know what you want, wait. You will surely figure it out.

"A real man can defend himself." aka Trait #10. I cannot agree more thoroughly with this one. I see plenty of potential leaders in the men about me. However, I don't see many who are willing to buck up and to take on a challenge. Hey, mistakes are scary. Yet, they are so very worth it. Those who are willing to fall on their faces a couple of times are so much more worthy of admiration especially when success comes because it will. So in the words of Mrs. Frizzle, "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!" Also, a real man not only defends himself but he defends others. The latter part of that statement actually may be more important than the former so take note. Defend others, men.

It's time. It's time for men to rise up. We have all grown weary of these poor examples of masculinity. Men being emasculated and women losing belief that real men do exist in the world is a sad reality. This is a reality that must be discarded. "Real" men do exist in the world. I have seen them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

books and life and how they connect

There are many things in this world that I just don't understand.
homework at 2 in the morning
the power of a smile

However, one thing that confuses me enough to equate a small blogpost is the following. Have you ever heard of those people who read the end of the book before the beginning? Why would anyone do that? I never understand why people choose to skip to the end of the book. I, myself, would lose any interest in reading the book if I already know the ending of the story.

Why does a person read a book? Well, ultimately, to get to the end of the book - sure. Yet, I think that books are enjoyable for the journey that the reader joins the protagonist on. The end has no meaning unless you have traveled the length of the book with the main character.

These are the musings of my mind that are bouncing around in my head. I read books because I enjoy the length of them and I often dislike coming to the end of the story because it means the end of that particular journey.

I think all these thoughts apply to life. If my life is a book and I'm striving towards the end, that means I am on a journey now. The journey is just as or more important than the ending of this book.

All these thoughts have stemmed from this lovely thing at my college entitled Spiritual Emphasis week. Remember that organization that I spent some of my summer with? Well, they're here at my college for this week and I'm loving it.

So, anyone want to share a favorite book or a particular journey in their lives that was memorable?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

a frolic of my kind

I'm looking for inspiration, you see. Sometimes, I dance around my room in complete oblivion because no one is there to see me look like a complete nincompoop. Other afternoons, you might find me completely delighted to take an excruciatingly long shower and then using lotion like sunscreen. After this lather of lotion, I sit on the couch and try to imagine that I'm a mango mandarin. Since I smell like one, I might as well try to picture how I would look. All I get in my head is a very strange looking girl-fruit. For a moment, responsibility will peek its head into my room of felicity.

I'll do homework.

As soon as responsibility leaves, though, I'm on my feet. I will imagine a bird that likes to stick its head in the ground. Well, instead of doing that, I will hypnotize myself by the odd way that my feet move. Why do they do that? What if I were to only walk on my heels and never on my toes or only on my toes and never on my heels! With a flick of my wrist, I will tie a ribbon of bells around my ankle and a new dance begins - this one is focused totally on the rhythm that I can make with a pound of my foot.

In this whirl of celebration of the world, I will catch a glance of my laughing eyes in the bathroom mirror. Like a magnet, I will be drawn to that pair of eyes. Why? Simply because I will have caught a glimmer of a sparkle. This sparkle is a familiar one - it was a part of my eyes years ago. This glimmer is a rebirth of the child's spirit within myself. I'll whirl away again feeling alive and incomparably ambrosial.

and this will be
because i am alone
and i am happy

Saturday, September 4, 2010

of the questionable

Have you ever been so frustrated with something that you just shredded it to pieces?

Or been so inspired by something that you imitated it?

has something been so beautiful that it took your breath away?

was there a moment that has been so right that you can taste it?

Have you ever followed a beautiful person through a crowd of people and amused yourself with the reactions that the beautiful person garners?

When have you not cried when you should have been crying?

what do Sharpies mean to you?

these aren't necessarily rhetorical questions. feel free to respond and even ask to have me answer one of those questions.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a smudge

The sidewalk is one that I see daily. My feet carry myself and my book bag over this cement daily - maybe multiple times during one day or hour. Therefore, my eyes have become quite familiar with the strange scratches and markings on this particular slab of cement. One particular mark that never ceases to captivate me is that of a vibrant simmering smudge. I fancy that it is the last remains of a shooting star that chose to be forever implanted in my sidewalk and in my life. Sometimes, I think it was where a newborn fairy skipped over a butterfly and then took a swift tumble. Other days, it's a poop smear of a squirrel who ate food from the Dining Commons that just didn't agree with him. My smudge can be whatever I want it to be. Welcome, September.