Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday-Funday: Some things

{1}  Quote of the day:  "Joad said, 'You're bound to get idears if you go thinkin' about stuff."  - Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck.

{2}  It's very spring-y out.  I've been wearing open-toed shoes, t-shirts, and sundresses in the past few days.  I may be whiter than sour cream but I just have to glory in the sunshine.

{3}  I've been mentally adding things to my bucket list.  I need to go to a Harry Connick Jr. concert, I must go visit Holland when the tulip fields are wild and bright, and I want to be able to do at least 50 push-ups without stopping.

{4}  Right now, I'm low-carbing.  I was eating healthfully before, but I was absolutely addicted to carbs and I just couldn't shake the little pudge around my middle.  So I'm now on Day 6.  The cravings are lessening a bit, and I'm finding that I feel better during the day.  I don't have more energy yet, nor is this easy, but I've learned so far that I can drink coffee without sugar and I am also strong enough to say no to birthday cake.  True story.

{5}  I'm moving to Alabama for the summer in a little under 10 weeks.  I've got so much school to do before then, and I've got to figure out what to ship and what to leave here for later.  I'm probably going to get a job as a waitress or something along those lines, and I'm so excited!  I can't wait to have a normal, American summer.  Then in August I'll be off to college!

{6}  College. I'm maybe a little terrified.  But mostly jazzed.

{7}  I miss a lot of people right now. I miss seeing their faces when we talk instead of just passing messages back and forth.  Skype is great, but I just never get around to using it as much as I could.  Ah, the worries of an online student.

{8}  I am swamped with school.  I'm blogging because I need a minute to rest my brain, but seriously, it's bananas.  I've got my senior thesis defense in two weeks, so I'm crazed about getting all the kinks worked out of that.  Also, AP econ is not my thing and I'm trying to beat it.  But I can do anything for ten weeks, right?

{9}  I've been making some new friends at my church.  The kids there are really very sweet, and it's been refreshing.  I think I even convinced one to come visit me in Alabama this summer!

{10}  I love following politics.  I do not love how some people skew truth and spew hatred instead of trying to seek truth in everything.  If you believe what you believe and I disagree, that's fine.  I will never resent you for it.  And yet, if I believe differently than you, you demonize me and those like me.  It's endlessly frustrating and it raises my blood pressure.

{11}  I could really go for a piece of bread right now.

Monday isn't my favorite, but positivity! Keeps! Me! Sane!  So Monday Funday it is.

Later, skaters.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

An open letter to the ones who wait.

Waiting is hard.  Hoping for something big and important to happen to you, growing tired of sitting around... these are things that most young people deal with, especially girls.

Girls have it hard sometimes.  It's not exactly right for us to go around asking boys out or chasing them.  We all know that the ladylike thing to do is wait for that one guy who will chase us.

But it gets hard.  In an era where feminists will tell you that it's ok to be the pursuer and that you don't really need a man anyway, but Christians are saying that you must be meek and wait and be silent, we girls can tend to get a little bit muddled.

Here's my opinion on the subject of girls and boys.  Please let me know in the comments what you think about it!  I'd love to have a little discussion about it with you guys.

First of all, I do believe that men should be the pursuers.  I have it as a rule that I will never call the boy first, nor will I initiate any conversations unless it's something I absolutely have to talk to him about.  This is not an arbitrary rule, but rather a gauge. (It also may just be Southern thing, but I like it!)  I would much rather make note of whether or not he pursues conversation with me than never know, simply because I pursued it myself!  It is acceptable, in my opinion, to respond with enthusiasm and mirth and honesty, but when the girl is the primary initiator, it simply makes her crazy with wondering why he never calls first.  Granted, these "rules" are not super stringent.  I don't have any issues with talking to boys, and it's ok if you don't believe that men should be the main pursuer!  I, personally, would just much rather be actively chased so that I can know where we stand.

Second, I don't think that boys and girls have to go from nothing to everything all at once if they decide they like each other.  The idea of dates is sort of flying out the window these days.  I think courting is fine, and I actually think it's healthy and good.  However, I don't want to begin the massive courtship "routine" with someone unless I know they're a viable candidate for marriage, if only because it's a lot of hullaballoo!

I don't think there's anything wrong with starting out by going on a date, or even a few.  I don't think that going out for coffee and seeing movies and just eating dinner together before an official DTR (define this relationship) is a bad thing.  If you go out for coffee with a guy, you may find that he's absolutely not the one for you, and it would save you an immense amount of frustration and, well, time!  There's nothing dangerous about going out on a date, in my opinion, especially if you understand that it's just for get-to-know-you purposes.  Granted, if you already know someone very well, like a close friend, dating first may be unnecessary.  But I still don't understand why many Christians rule it out.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on that!

Third, in regards to waiting, I feel your pain.  I know that there are probably girls reading this who are fed up with waiting for the guy they like to say anything to give her some hope, and I completely identify with you all.  And it is hard.  It may sound trivial to some, but some girls (most, probably), are wired to want that.  Girls are wired to love a man and want to be protected.  There comes a time in your life where you walk around, and all you can see are couples holding hands and you don't understand why your hand feels so empty.

It hurts, and it's not a small matter.

I can't be a major encourager on this because I struggle with that so often.  All I can do is give some advice that I think is hugely important.

  • One:  Do not settle.  If you feel as if you've waited too long and just don't want to be alone, do not settle for the first guy that shows interest.  Be discerning.  Remember who you are in Christ and be encouraged that there's someone made for you.
  • Two:  Figure out what you believe.  If you know your mind on issues like marriage, dating, courtship, and love in general, you will be so prepared, and it will help with your discernment.
  • Three:  Don't play games.  Do not have your friend call your other friend to ask her friend if that friend knows if their friend of your crush knows if he likes you.  Trust me on this one.  I know you've probably done it, and I know I have too.  And yet we all think we're so clever.... ;)  This is where the waiting gets hard, but do it anyway.  Games never end well because they're not honest.
  • Four:  What will be, will be.  If a guy you like ends up with someone else, then he wasn't the guy. It hurts big time, and it just might break your heart.  But keep hoping, because that just means there's someone better.  If HE was good, imagine how much more wonderful YOURS will be!
  • Five:  This you've heard a million times, but don't give yourself away.  You are too beautiful of a prize to be lost just because you were afraid of losing someone.  Keep yourself, and once you find that one person for you, you will have no regrets.
Girls and boys... it's hard.  But girls, do not fear being alone.  Boys, do not fear going after the girl.  

I think it's really as simple as that.  When those two puzzle pieces of waiting and pursuing fit together, it makes for what can only be something beautiful.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, everyone!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Dropping "Teen" from my Vocabulary

I want to talk about young people being put into a box.  A steel box.  Surrounded by barbed wire and guard dogs.  And a moat.  And probably some eyes in the sky to shoot down intruders.

This box is called by many names.  Sometimes it's "youth group."  Sometimes it's "Sunday School."  Other times it is "small group," and other times it's even "school."  Mostly, though, it can fall under the category of being a "teenager." This box with many names, if identified by those inside of it, is maddening.  It makes you bang your tin cup on the cell bars and pray for a prison break.


Youth.  Teens.  Kids.

I love the heck out of grown ups.  I've wanted to be an adult since I can remember.  I've never understood why Peter Pan wanted to live in Neverland, and I can't wait to be independent with my own house and my own family and the excitement of an unknown future.  I used to be upset when told to play with the little kids at dinner parties because I just wanted to sit and chew on whatever the adults were talking about, even though I didn't really understand all of it.

This is not me talking about how mature I am.  I still can't get through a sermon about "duty" on Sundays without biting my lip to keep from giggling.  SpongeBob cracks me up.  I still eat way too much sugar.  I'm not some kid who stands above her peers for this kind of desire and mindset.  This is about a lot of kids.

But the problem is, our numbers are shrinking.  We keep getting beat over the head with our youth, and so we start to believe it.  We start to believe that we're only capable of doing so much because of our age.  We start to build up little cells inside of the ones we've been put in already, simply doing more damage and giving ourselves less room to grow big and strong.

      Fellow young people,
            Fight it. Talk about this issue with people in your church or community with whom you share mutual trust.  Stop letting yourself believe that you can't do things because you are young.  Figure out what your passions are and go for them, even if you are met with doubt by people who say you can't.  Talk to your parents.  Meet adults and make friends with them; you won't regret their influence on you.  It is essential to grow up, and especially this day in age, you have to dig through a lot of stigmas to do so.  Just go for it.  Set examples for other young adults around you.  In the past, up until the past century, you were either a child or an adult.  No in between... no teenagers.  Only you, with the help of God on your side, can choose which one you will be.

          Give us some of your trust.  Try to believe in us.  We want so badly to live up to high standards, in our heart of hearts, but unless you set these standards for us, we simply won't bother.  We will postpone adulthood as long as possible.  Introduce your children to your peers.  Make your children sit at the dinner table with you when your friends visit.  Don't let us escape into our own worlds of self-centered entertainment, as we are so prone to do.  Let us be a part of a group of adults so that we can see how to act as one and learn how to shed childhood.  Segregating us to a particular age group and leaving us there will only slow the process.

I am so irked, lately, by the way people my age are treated.  We young people cannot give full glory to God if we are left to do less than our potential because of the age categories we're shoved into.  We need to be immersed in the world of adulthood so we know how to behave.

Where I stand, currently, there's not a whole lot I can do.  I live in a foreign country and will only be attending my current church for a few more months before I'm back in the States attending college.  But I am considering writing a book on this very topic at some point, maybe over the summer, and I would love to hear your thoughts, young or old.

This is not about accusing kids of not acting their age. Yes, this should be convicting and should inspire young people to action.  However, this should challenge adults.  If kids don't understand their potential, then we can't blame them wholly.  Churches and communities have got to learn that in order to raise young people into functioning members of society who will keep these institutions going strong, they have to raise the bar.

We want higher standards to achieve.

We love a challenge.