Sunday, February 23

19 lessons in 19 years.

  •  Running helps anything
endorphins are your friends. i'm an empty  head runner, meaning i don't think while i run. it is such a beautiful thing.

  • You always have more people to support you than you realize
sometimes you will hate the fact that people are on your side because you'd rather hate them; sometimes you have no idea that someone is supporting you and they turn out to be invaluable...but those people always exist.

  • Good coffee fixes almost anything
there are precious few things that a venti latte extra shot does not fix; even in these 'unfixable' situations, it helps

  • Yes, Jesus is always the answer
always always always always always.

  • Typewriters are a great investment, as is good chocolate 
yes, it's sort of like going back in history, but i LOVE my typewriter.
and expensive chocolate is always a good choice.

  • Homework before Netflix, but Netflix sill needs to happen
NETFLIX IS DISTRACTING!! but sometimes you write better papers when you're watching netflix. if you don't take a break, your head will implode. i am not kidding.

  • Get out of your dorm, be friendly, & do stuff
this one took me pretty much a whole semester to learn, but 99% of the time, if you want to be friends with people, you actually have to leave your dorm room for more than just class

  • Ask hard questions & grapple with the answers
I have been told time and time again that there is no better place or time to deal with hard questions of theology than here and now. USE YOUR DANG RESOURCES to figure out what you believe.

  • Stick to your guns, but be respectful of others 
what you decide that you believe won't always be popular. even in a small, Christian community, my views are different than some other people's. do not change your views for someone else, but do not try to stuff your theology down someone else's throat. (this does not mean that heated discussions are not allowed...heated discussions can be REALLY GOOD things, respect just has to be understood).

  • Take risks, be vulnerable, go out on a limb
nobody wants to be "that one guy" different from everyone else, but if you dare to be that guy, chances are that there will be people who will stand alongside you & everyone will be better because of it

  • Make intentional time for Jesus every day
It's easy to claim to be a Christian, to call on God when we need something, and to go about our day as decently good individuals, but growth and learning only happen when you're intentionally open and receptive to listening.

  • Pray before your meals
It can be the same prayer. It can be three words or three minutes. But it's a really good reminder.

  • Boys are dumb & sometimes they hurt you; don't make excuses for them 
Sometimes you date them and they hurt you. Sometimes you're friends and they're confusing. They will be dumb. But they're their own species and their own individuals and let them do what they do. But never settle for someone who treats you any less than you deserve.

  • Sleep is the most important thing you can do for yourself
sleep is more important than good food and working out and doing your homework. you have to do all of the other things, too. but sleep is kind of the most important by a long shot.

  • There are people that you don't like; be nice, but realize you're not going to be everyone's best friend
sometimes people are jerks or are just weird. you can't go out and change people, just let them be weird and try to limit your funny looks and eye rolls.

  • An iPhone will not make you happy; be content with whatever you're given in life
my crap trac phone serves me just fine. yes, everyone else has the latest and greatest of everything, but it's not an essential. get over it.

  • Work to have a big group of friends in college, it'll broaden your horizons
being friends with only people in your major, dorm, year, or classes won't really push you. plus you'll miss out on meeting a lot of great people and a ton of potential friendships. so meet people. and then meet people that those people know. and then talk to the people that they know.

  • Grades are not everything, but try hard anyway
there will be scores that you're not proud of. there will be technical errors that will steal points from you. news flash: YOU WILL NOT ACE EVERY SINGLE CLASS AND THAT IS OK. but that doesn't mean you get a free pass to fail; keep trying.

  • Writing things out will always help you make sense of them
i love my typewriter for this. and my blog. and any one of my multiple journals. but when you process things in words, outside of your head, you can realize how dumb some of your logic is.

Sunday, February 16

the early service

to say that today has been a rough day thus far would be a little bit of an understatement

...though i vividly remember taking my meds last night, it looks like i didn't
therefore, last night i did not sleep.
yeah, no joke.
wasn't any type of placebo effect, because i genuinely believed that i took them
but my less than two or three hours of sleep tells otherwise.

when this happens my sleep just gets thrown off for a night or two
and i'm back to normal lickedy split

so this morning i rolled out of bed,
frustratingly wide awake for the fact that it was 7am on a Sunday morning
and got myself to the SAFMC early service.

Mind you, I've never been to the early service.
All of the college students go to the second service...
more contemporary worship, later start time, more students.

But this morning I was up
[and I'm expecting an important phone call this afternoon,
so the sooner i was back in my room the better]
and figured... why not?

Let me tell you,
I stepped outside this morning and literally gasped.
God is *SO* good.

The weather around here has been pretty consistent: cold
but not a lot of snow this week.
I stepped outside of my building and snow was flying everywhere
huge flakes, reminiscent of the lake effect snow i see at home
and an accumulation of around 2 inches overnight.

It was absolutely beautiful.

As I walked into the FMC I was greeted by all of the friendly old people
and called a Snow Princess by more than a few, due to the fact that I was covered in snow(:
I got myself a hot cup of coffee
and sat down in the front row of the balcony
(unbeknownst to me, I think I stole a young family's regular spot
and the row behind me was full, but no one sat next to me. oh well :)
I got to sing hymns for the first time in awhile
and just truly loved the concept of being at church, surrounded by people, and still alone.
I didn't have friends on either side of me.
I didn't have people to talk to, or really a single face that I knew anywhere near me.

February is the FMC missions emphasis month, so we studied SAFMC's mission text, Isaiah 11:9
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea
let me tell you, this was an interesting concept.
The prophecy in the preceding verses, given 700 years before Christ, is equivalent to someone in 1314 accurately describing the workings of the internet. It's ridiculous how accurate they were!

...but the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord...
as the waters cover the sea
or, as was the example used today, as the snow covers the parking lot.

you take away the snow and the parking lot is barely recognizable
you take away the waters from the sea and you have no sea
you take away the knowledge of the LORD and the earth falls apart,
for in Him all things hold together.

Monday, February 3

the "HONORS" in my art foundations class

I'm a social work major and psychology minor. I love people. That's who I am. So bear with me on this little rambling:

There's this guy named Abraham Mazlow and he lived a good long while ago.
He came up with the concept that all of human's needs and goals in life come in stages.
Basic needs are at the bottom (the foundation) and more superficial needs are at the top.

The goal of every human being is to reach to top of the pyramid, self-actualization, being the best that you can be, yada yada yada. Pretty self explanatory:

Change gears for just a second with me. Honors Art Foundations: ART152H.
Memorize the names and artists of 50 famous paintings, take trips to the DIA and the Frederick Meijer Gardens, learn basic principles of art and design, discuss art at a professional level, so on and so forth.
But the "honors" idea of this course means we're also discussing Mazlow. Where does art fit into this?

Traditionally, Mazlow's hierarchy puts art and creativity as a self-actualization need. You have to have accepted yourself, gained respect and intimacy, and maintained all of your physiological and safety needs before you can think about creating things.
But I've got a problem with that, as does our prof.

If art is a self-actualization need... 
Why did people in concentration camps create art?
Why is art therapy such an important part of inpatient AND outpatient hospitalization for things like suicidality and depression? 
Why are things like dance and theater so freeing for people struggling with maintaining a healthy self-esteem?
Some of these groups aren't even above a "level 1" according to Mazlow! 

Here's a prime example from a friend of mine working internationally to end sex trafficking (check out her blog at ...her photo here:)

(Megan's words: )
"Yesterday we visited a former brothel in Svay Pak, a village formerly notorious for child trafficking. It was once estimated that over 90% of the children living in the village were victims of forced prostitution. In the brothel they showed us the one room they still have intact. At first it just seemed like a room to me but, then I turned around a saw this drawing on the wall. Suddenly this room was real to me. So many girls were trapped inside the four walls I was standing in. Some young girl probably drew this picture while she passed the horrific time between clients. The artist has a name and a story..."

Why did this girl who, according to Mazlow is a level 1, likely lacking even immediate safety needs, create art? Art did nothing to move her up the scale. Art did not make her safe. Art did not improve her immediate condition. Art did not erase the pain or the shame she was forced into time after time, john after john, day after day.
Why did she make art?

So here's what I walked out of that class today thinking and mulling over:
Art is a part of the human condition.
Art is a part of what makes humanity, humanity. 
We were made in the image of our Creator, and each of us has a part of the Master Creator within us. 
Organized religion usually falls, according to Mazlow, in the "Esteem" category. 
Dance and photography and creation and literature and expression are a part of self-actualization... but what if they're not?

Here's my proposal.
Somewhere between physiological and safety needs, we need to add in the concept of hope.
Hope is a requirement for the human condition. We have to believe that there is a chance, however slim, that there's something more than the brokenness we feel in whatever situation. 
If we're lucky enough to have been born into a middle class US background, this concept of hope could mean "I believe that I can become more than that label that someone put on me. I believe that I can succeed in this class/job/etc." But if we're not...maybe hope means "I believe that there is a chance, however slim, that I'll make it out of this concentration camp alive. I believe that there is a possibility for me to escape the cycle of prostitution. I believe that I can rise above my family's extreme poverty."

Art is an expression of hope.

But what about sad art? What about drawings of girls scrawled on brothel walls? What about photographs of death or abstract paintings depicting deep emotional turmoil? What if the artist is feeling hopeless?

Expression of pain...maybe even that is a sign of hope. 

What if we hypothesize that art created with the emotional mentality "This REALLY sucks!" is a simplistic way of saying the words that our hearts can't always fathom
...that maybe art created in pain is also a way of saying "Someone come take a look at this. Look at everything that's wrong with the present situation. Let me draw your attention to earth's brokenness and pain and maybe you or someone you know have the skills to pour a little bit of life and light into this situation. This is not fair, what are you going to do to fix it?"

So I leave you, me, and the globe (or the what...twelve people that'll ever read this post) with an idea...

Art is a fundamental part of the human condition. 
The need for creation is built in to us just like the need for food and pooping. 
Humanity needs to express itself in order to survive.
Art is as essential as breathing.