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I have not written in a while, but I feel it is time to start again. I have never been, nor ever will be as eloquent as C.S. Lewis, George Washington or Billy Graham. So bare with me. 
During my time at Northwestern I have lived in a bit of a dream state. A small, close knit community in a beautiful campus surrounded by ancient architecture and nature. We walk to class,  have very few fears, and stay up late by the fireplace discussing everything from missing socks to Sanctification. There are daiy chapels in which we can have a small portion of our day to relax, be near others, and listen to God’s unending grace. You can ususally tell if someone belongs here or not, if they are new, transfer or visiting. People get drug through the student center re-enacting scenees from Mont Python. And to top it all off we have an island. Who can beat that?

That all being said, I hate graduating. I have a rather large fear and disdain for what people say is ‘the real world’. I do not like the fact that my dear friends are no longer a close walk away. I love my job, but I miss walking to work. I miss seeing familliar faces 24/7, and the random rompings that followed our get togethers. The community that was based on solely community, unity, and Christ. But as I order my cap and gown I cannot help but feel I am leaving Narnia for a war stricken London. 

Now, enough with the complaining and let me illuminate why I am writing. Notice I chose a place wherein the story both places were of equal reality. College is as much the real world as working is. Otherwise there would be no point in going. But I am being kept awake at night by the single question of: why can’t we have community in the real world the same as in college? What is more, how can we recreate it? 

As for myself, I am sorely tempted to purchase a chunk of land and create what in Israel they call a Kubitz, what America thinks is a gated community. I am haunted by stories of such havens that seem much like Narnia to the Pevensies. Real, tangible, working- but unable to get there. Most say that is all that community is, stories you read about. 

Here, let me give you a detailed draft of my vision: A  town where people are not afraid to go outside, where walking and biking are the key transportations. A community that people are active in eachothers lives and whose homes are right down the street. A place where the main law of the land is, in fact, the Bible (don’t call me a bigot unless you have read it for yourself, even aithests agree most of societies laws come from within its pages). Where police know and take their job seriously, where others take the police seriously. Doesnt mean we always agree, that everyone is perfect. A slower pace of life is known, one that makes you savor the days at home and where contentment naturally grows. Every morning there is a get together to hear from the Word, to pray and confess in earnest before the hard labor of the day sets in. Where children know everyone from the mailman to the quirky arist whose last name starts with an A and is marrid to a curly blond preacher. Where crime does not happen because people know eachother, have honor and respect and know what it means to be disiplined. Faint catches of the smell of laundry being hung out to dry and fresh baked bread. Hymns being sung, community balls where people actually know how to dance and  it does not look like a full body seizure. And of course, tons of good archituture. 

I know I am not alone in this, who else has this common dream? 

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A year ago I wa…

A year ago I was instructed to look up an article that would affect the family and review it. I chose “The Little Princess Syndrome: When Our Daughters Act Out Fairy Tales” by Matthew Johnson. I knew about the ‘Princess Phase’ the so called “phase” when a young girl is obsessed with princesses and princes and mice that turn into pumpkins. I had gone through it, I remember crying when my parents told me I was not secretly royalty. My hopes to live an exciting, magical, romantic life were dashed. Because only princesses get that kind of stuff right? Gradually my longing to be a princess turned into my longing to be popular (the new kind of princess right?) And then, as I sat reading the article it all came together. I find this subject very interesting. And so I thought I’d share my findings. Don’t get me wrong, I love dressup and Disney just as any other girl does. But just like cheesecake, too much is bad. And even a little without proper guidance is terrible.

What is The Little Princess Syndrome? The absolute obsession of all things princess. When a girl has to have everything princess and her play time revolves around the prince and looks. Tell tale signs? Rejection of any criticism of princesses, embodying their story lines (one article I read had mothers writing in about their daughters no longer playing but sitting on the doorstep waiting for their prince to come.) Having to look exactly like the princess.. or at least have all the stuff she’s on. Sounds an awful lot like marketing right? If you wear/have/look like X you will get your dreams. Matthew Johnson points out: “being a princess brings girls wealth, beauty, and romance… As girls get older, the worrying aspects of princess culture -the passivity, consumerism, and so on- may become more and more confining.” Lyn Brown of Packaging Girlhood says “The issue is not princess play but the sheer dominance of princess culture: “when one thing is so dominant, then it’s no longer a choice; it’s a mandate, cannibalizing all other forms of play. There’s the illusion of more choices out there for girls, but if you look around, you’ll see their choices are steadily narrowing.’ 

That’s the scariest thing. You can tell a child’s character often by how they play and what they play, or if they refuse to play. Remember your parents saying “its a phase, you’ll get over it?” And remember growing up and saying, I wish they would have taught me rather than brushing it off rather than labeling it a phase? Same thing with Disney: you have a girl who talks only about a prince and getting ready for the ball and having to dress up in order so that he may see “the true her”, you will get a teen who talks only about boys, obsesses over looks and buys the clothes she thinks will attract the boy so that he can know “the real her”. This teen then grows into a woman, and pretty soon you’ve got a grade A scary woman who believes there is nothing more important in life than “to find her one true love”. Completely neglecting the little hints in the movies that the girl who actually gets the guy is kind, funny, generous, compassionate and smart. 

So after the “Princess Phase” without any correction or guidance, when the girl grows up you are left with _ huge issues:
1) If I am beautiful then and only then I am worthy of finding true love/ having true love find me
   -Sub-point: definition of beautiful is often referred back to princesses (animated, unrealistic, manage to look good all the time).
2) The only thing that will make my life complete and happy is finding my “prince”
3) If he isn’t my prince/true love it won’t work.

Next time I will be delving into the subliminal messages Disney has managed to send. Stay tooned!

 

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Ok, I admit it! I am addicted to pintrest! There I said it, whew!
I love the ideas of things, and that’s ok. I am an artist, a dreamer and a girl. But there are some very dangerous things with this and many other things from our culture. How this came about was a discussion with Chris and working with pre-teen girls.
I have a habit of saying “I really like the idea of ____” and when pointed out, I really like the end product of things, but not so much the time it takes to develop it. May it be a skill, relationship or hobby. Then I got to thinking, my first thought was T-Swift songs. How many girls jump up and down to her songs longing to have what they think the catchy lyrics are singing about, but in reality hardly any take the time to develop a relationship like that? Or who would honestly want a guy who is about to marry another girl and stand up at the ceremony to object? Not any that I know of. Personally if a guy did that I wouldn’t trust him, much less want him. But that is another subject entirely. The spineless jellyfish!

Let us take Disney’s ‘Tangled’ for an example, I like this movie a lot so do not think I am some crazy anti-disney fanatic. But the movie starts out with her being this wonderful girl who has all these different skills and fabulous long blonde hair. She falls in love with this guy and they live happily ever after. And girls think that if they look like her they will have that. Isn’t that the reason we buy products? Is because of the end result behind them. But here’s the catch, it took her years and years to get to where she was at! And she’s not even real! But It takes a long time to be able to do chores and all her multiple other hobbies efficiently. Not to mention her characteristics of being kind, patient and helpful. It takes a long time to want to be those with a ton of self discipline.

 Think about it. Our culture is addicted to the end goal, the ideas of things. It is what Disney movies are about, chic flicks, commercials, tumbler, pintrest, pop songs… the list could go on. Where I got called out on this was the idea of becoming a coupon queen. You know, those women who spend only 5 dollars for bags and bags full of groceries? I would love to be able to save and spend my money on something else. But here’s the catch, I would hate spending hours pouring over coupons, cutting them out, hunting down that exact thing in the store (though the thrill of the hunt is wonderful, just not for each thing). I go stir crazy and slightly nauseous just thinking about it.

The reason I write about the addiction to ideas is that it is causing MAJOR damage to our society. Because ideas without legit work are nothing more than unreasonable hopes. Movies end just as the relationship is starting out, commercials end with happiness and success and T-Swift either gets revenge or the guy. Now here’s the killer- we compare. We compare our lives to these things that have been scripted, edited and directed or maybe photographed if we are talking about online stuff. Then we find dissatisfaction in our lives because it doesn’t match the feelings we got from this illusion. We are now successfully addicted to the feelings the ideas give us and compare real life to them. Tell me that isn’t wrong?

There is a major difference from living things to seeing them, the emotions and results are not the same. We need to recognize this and live our lives rather than see/hear/pin them. And I speak to myself as well. We have to recognize fake from real life and learn to experience things for ourselves. That is NOT to say ban all these things and label them sinful. But take captive every thought, desire and wish and say “is this legit?” and if it isn’t, what are we doing wasting our time with it?

 

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Point Blank

There comes a point in our lives when we look in the mirror and discover that there are places we go, things we experience, and people we meet that cannot be met by good looks or charming personality alone. There comes a place where we recognize in ourselves the sheer ugliness this world has and that no amount of lipstick or jokes can conquer. That we ourselves cannot conquer alone. There comes a place where matt 6:34 and 11:28 live when we relinquish this idea of power and control and admit we need the Holy.

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Edan Town

Genevieve awoke to the high-pitched whistle of a tea kettle and the smell of bacon cooking. Lazily she rolled over to look at her clock and discovered it was much later than she had anticipated. She leaped from her bed, got tangled in her covers, went down with a thud and then sprang again towards her wardrobe- hurrying to dress herself for the day.
Elizabeth laughed as her longtime friend nearly fell down the stairs while trying to put on her shoes. Normally, it was Gen who was the morning glory, but today she enjoyed the switch. “Having issues this morning?” “You might say that.” The response was followed by a sudden ‘ouch!’ as she spilled hot water on her hand while pouring a cup of tea.
“There is no sense rushing Gen, everyone will be fine if we are a bit late.” It was that remark that made Genevieve stop and remember once more that they were no longer in the big city, but in a small town no one had ever heard of that was not even located on the map.

You might ask how they came upon such a town. Well, i will tell you. Shortly after the war began Genevieve’s family moved in with Eliza’s in attempt to conserve and keep costs low. Eventually the bombings became so horrible that both fathers agreed to send their daughters to the country. Eliza was the youngest of 3 and her other two sisters were married, though both sets living in the same house while the men fought in the war. Gen, on the other hand was an only child.
They had had trouble deciding where to send them until Eliza’s father recalled the somewhat miraculous little town his mother had grown up in and since there was no map with it on there, they had gone through the attic for sometime before his mother’s journal was found with directions written in it. It had been her wish for her son to go back someday and raise his family there. But he had refused in order to bring his family up where they may have the experience to travel or continue school if they wished. But he called it miraculous anyway, for two reasons: one, that it managed to stay off the radar in an ever shrinking world and two- that it was ever self sustaining and old fashioned.
So with their small horse and wagon the two packed their small collection of belongings and left with little but a diary to guide them. The journey itself could be called mysterious and had taken a total of 10 days, it would have taken longer had the two been able to sleep much. But instead of stopping at night they would often continue, taking turns in the back on top of the luggage.
On their second day they stopped at the last town before the wood which was mentioned in the the journal as being the only town before they reached their destination. They sent back a letter to their parents saying they had reached that point safely and were continuing on into the Wood. The clerk who took the letter laughed and jested that nothing lay beyond into the Wood except the neighboring towns that were mapped on the other side. He seemed like a nice man, even if his ears did bother Gen. She had never seen such sharp pointy ears and had to resist the urge to pull on them to see if they were real. As they left he waved cheerfully goodbye to them.
“Suppose he thinks we will get scared and come running back?” “Not sure, but if he truly believed there was nothing past here, don’t you think he would have been more persistent on us not going?” “Good point Eliza.”
The wood itself was a rich, old wood. One of those that you find on the edge of something ancient, or written about in great fantasy novels. That would be how Eliza described it. It was not, however, a silent wood. Indeed, there was a small breeze that had the leaves clapping along as if to welcome two great performers on stage; the birds sang boldly as if they had not a care in the world. It was a happy old forest they decided and after that drew the conclusion to not be afraid.
It was nearly lunch time when they reached a small brook and they decided to would be a great place to stop and eat. Eliza unhooked the weary horse and guided it to the stream while Gen grabbed her skillet and some of the meat they had bought just that morning in the town in front of the Wood.

 

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Meekness ain’t so meek

So this evening after all was said and done I thought I’d read my Bible a bit before heading off to bed. And my findings were so… brilliant that I thought I’d share them! (not that I’m brilliant, though im kind of smart, but that God’s truth was brilliant!) 

I opened up to James chapter 1 and continued where I had left off last night verse 17. Which even now as I skim over it was packed full of biblical goodness for my soul to omnomnom. Yes I did just use that word in a ‘religious’ sentence. hee! 
Anyway I stumbled upon verse 21. Which isn’t complete without the the first 2 verses before it:
“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore, rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.” (1:19-21)

So the first part: quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. Still working on it. But then there’s a reason for it! “your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.” ouch! But that is the truth! No matter how right I am or no matter how “righteous” I feel my anger is, it still will not produce God’s righteousness, no matter how much screaming, stamping, etc I do.. Because I am not God! 

But then here comes my discovery. I was looking at verse 21 and just thinking about the fact that God’s word has to the power to save souls that I was just amazed! I mean holy catfish! Then I looked at this word “meek” and I thought “hmmph the english language is fickle. I shall look up its original meaning in my Strongs and Vines Concise Dictionary”. Yes I do just happen to have one of those on my desk. They are amazing and you all need to go and buy one right now. Ready, GO! Seriously, they are such a blessing, you really do need one. 

So here is what their definition of meek is: (greek is bolded)

Prautes/ praotes (an earlier form) denotes ‘meekness’. In its use in Scripture, in which it has a fuller, deeper significance than in non-scriptural Greek writings, it consists not in a person’s outward behavior only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of the spirit in which we accept His dealing with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word tapeinophrosune (humility) and follows directly upon it Eph. 4:2, Col 3:12
         The meaning of prautes isn’t readily expressed in English, terms like meekness and mildness suggest weakeness whereas prautes does nothing of the kind. Some say gentleness is like it, but prautes describes a condition of mind and heart, gentleness is more actions related. It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was ‘meek’ because he had the infinite resources of God at His command. It is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.” 

Holy cow! So now go reread verse 21. “Welcome with meekness (the power of knowing that God and all He has for me is good) the implanted word that has the power to save your souls!” 

God is good. Good night ❤

PS. Sorry if that last little bit didn’t sum up the definition quite right. I was a bit at a loss for how to put that together, but you get the gist!

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Life is a fickle thing in the way that it repeats itself. Genevieve thought for the second time in 24 hours. Indeed, though she did not know it waking up that day, on an airmattress in the middle of her great aunts living room, it would be her main thought for the remainder of her stay.  The day started warm n joyous, as is tradition when one stays with family. For the first sound that she heard that morning was laughter, and the first smell smelt was coffee. Both promises of a grand day seemingly pulled Gen to her feet, urging her to get ready.  Each year in august her family went out east for a reunion. Well at least they tried. This was the first one Gen had attended in 10 years, so she hardly knew a soul outside of her party staying in town. Not that she minded. She enjoyed talking with her elders and listening to the stories from when her aunt and mom were girls. Even when grandma and her sister (her great aunt) talked. The only way to describe it was rich soil. Coming back to ones roots in family can only be described that way.  There was community, there was trust. They shared everything. Laughter and hurt. On the way out to the party they stopped near a small two story red brick building that had its windows borded up, and a prison of weeds around it. Tucked behind a housing development she was told that this was “the old farm house” (which meant that this was the house her grandmother and siblings grew up in, and where her mom and siblings and cousins had took holiday at in the summer) visiting it could only be described as going to a funeral. There were smiles in some of those sad eyes as her elders remembered all the good times. And there was reproach as they knew that they had to move on, that there wild and reckless times were now over and Gen would (along with her cousins) take wing.  She walked around to the back of the building and discovered a window had been opened and the board pulled off.  Hesitating momentarily as she was in a skirt (a white skirt at that) she eventually just decided to go for it and hoisted herself onto the the windowsill and peeped in. It was an addition to the original house and the roof had quite disassembled itself to the floor. She had entered on the window of an old bathroom. There was still a porcelain washtub in the corner and the top of the sink lay atop the debris that covered the floor. Even the wall seperating it was missing and the doors.  Her mother stopped her for a second, telling her to be careful of nails. Then let her go in, for she knew Gen was as determined as her in her youth.  The trip inside was exhilerating and heart breaking as she glanced in to what was only the remains of a home that was once brimming with life. Now it was worse than dead in its disrepair and vandalism.  She only scoped out the one room she had seen through the nonexistent wall then made her way back. Not having the heart to disturb the corpse anymore.

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