Tuesday, September 30, 2008

7 Month Sabbatical

Well, I haven't blogged in 7 months. That is a long time. Since I last blogged here are some things that have happened: turned 21
finished my third year of college
worked my second summer at Camp Galilee
moved into the dorms at Lindenwood-started my senior year

Yes, I live on campus now..for the first time..as a senior. How's it going? Well, it's going. My roommate is polite and quiet. The food is VERY similar to camp food...bland and very appealing to 12 year olds. The people on my floor and in my classes are very into doing there own thing. A lot of people don't seem to have a desire to make new friends. I don't quite get it. When I'm walking down the hall of my dorm, on my way to my room and I pass someone, they don't even look up to smile or say a friendly "hello". I find this a bit odd. To make a long story short, dorm life is not all it's cracked up to be. I know that part of this is because I've only been at Lindenwood for two semesters, not 4 years. I realize this. But, when my friends who have graduated talk about how much they miss college, I can't quite understand why. I just won't have that "classic college experience" and I'm realizing that I am all right with that. I'm glad that I haven't had the best time of my life yet. That means I have a lot to look forward to...like getting a job and making a difference. My degree is completely centered around service and making a difference and I can't help but count down the months until I graduate and begin the job search.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Such is life.

I'm sure that at one time or another, someone has asked you, "if money and time weren't an issue, what would you do?" Well, I have been asked this question before and it has always troubled me. It is troubling because I've given a great deal of thought to this question and sadly, have not come up with a deeply passionate answer. I've always been concerned about that.
Sure, I've thought of some things I would like to do...like travel. But, beyond that, nothing truly substantial.
I used to think that, because I didn't have a good answer to this question, something was wrong with me. For example, does that fact that I can't answer this question mean that I'm not truly passionate about anything, interested in anything, concerned about anything? I used to think that was the case. But, I'm finally learning that, it's okay not to have an answer to this question...or answer to a lot of other questions regarding my future.
Take a glance at my major: Nonprofit Administration. hmm..sounds legit but, what does that really mean? Well, they are preparing me to lead, administer, and operate a nonprofit company. I would say that 98% of the people who ask me what I'm going to do with my degree have the same response: "oh, you're not going to have any money!" or "really? you can study that and get a degree?" Awesome. That makes me feel great. So, while I have a major and am working toward a goal, (getting a degree) my plans are still murky. There are so many different directions I could go upon graduation and I don't feel a strong pull toward any one thing.
But, what I take comfort in is that I know God is in this plan. I know he is leading me towards something greater than what I'm doing now. Lindenwood is a great place to learn and get prepared for the next phase in my life. While I'm still not sure about the answer to that infamous question, I know that I trust God.
Really, isn't that a better answer to the question?? I could say whatever I wanted but, shouldn't God be in on my dreams and goals? Shouldn't he be the one in control?

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Electoral College

This November, I will vote in my first presidential election. Yes, I'm excited. As a result of this new civic responsibility, I am trying to become an informed voter. As I'm reading about candidates and polls and primary results, I am remembering this thing called the "electoral college" that we learned about in 9th grade.
Here is my frustration (which i'm sure that A LOT of people have thought about):
Why do we still have the electoral college?
I understand that the electoral college served it's purpose back in the day. However, we are an educated nation. Are we not capable of electing a president purely on the popular vote?
I could go on but, I'm interested to hear what Caldwell and my bro and especially my cousin have to say about this!

link issues

the links to my friends who have blogs don't work.

this will be fixed shortly.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Striving to answer Yali's question

I am taking an anthropology class regarding social and cultural change and am loving it. We are reading "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond and "Non-Zero" by Robert Wright...both excellent books.
In this class we are striving to answer one question: Why did wealth and power become distributed as they now are, rather than in some other way? For some, this may seem like an easy question with a few simple answers. To others, like myself, it may inspire quite a bit of thought. I don't believe the answer is simple at all. At the least, the answer requires one to review thousands upon thousands of years of human history; quite a daunting task.
The question can be posed in another form: Why weren't Native Americans, Africans, and Aboriginal Australians the ones who decimated, conquered, or virtually exterminated the Europeans and Asians? Why was it the other way around?
A friend of mine views this question as silly because, according to this person, it doesn't matter how it happened; it just did. It already happened and this fact requires no further thought. But, because of the way different peoples and cultures came about and how they conquered other peoples does matter. In fact, we are still living with the effects of said conquering and dominating today.
For example, the interactions among these peoples helped shape the modern world through epidemics, genocide, and conquest. The collisions of cultures caused by these conquests have created reverbations that we are still living with today.
Take Africa for example: Africa is known as the "cradle of civilization" Humans here had a huge head start regarding civilization and progress. Also, malaria and yellow fever that killed Europeans originated in Africa. Yet until recently (recently is relative) African tribes were still living in the stone ages and barely beyond the stage of hunter-gatherers. Why? Why weren't these people the first to domesticate animals? evolve into an agricultural society? produce steel?
This is puzzling to me.
It certainly doesn't boil down to intelligence, does it? Are Europeans smarter than Africans? Is this the answer to my question? Surely not. I do not believe, in any way, that one group is naturally smarter than the other. Different genes: yes. Higher forms of intelligence: I don't think so.
What about another simple answer: geography. Because of geography, did the people of one continent already have a clear advantage over another people?
Is it really that simple?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oh my 10K!

On Saturday morning at 8am, Amy Ruck and I set out on a mission: We ran a 10k for the first time. You must understand a few things in order to realize how simply wonderful it was for both of us. Neither Amy nor myself had run in a race before..no 5k, nothing! She set out to run this race in July, a month before I moved here. I moved to STL in August. As soon as we started spending time together, we just connected. Since then, my brother and I have been sharing in community with her and her family. They are some of the best people I have ever met. Amy and I have a lot in common..including the same frustrations and passions with the Church. We have lifted each other up, prayed for each other and laughed until we cried. We are also in a sweet card "club" together..rummy 500..play it.
She had told me about the race and I was really proud of her for training and for sticking to her desire to run the race. However, I really didn't want to run it with her, in the beginning atleast. On a sunny Saturday morning, Amy called my up and I went running with her. She had no problem running 4 miles..I felt like death. I realized how out-of-shape I was/am and I didn't like that about myself. I vowed to change my ways. I am cooking a lot of good things and watching what I eat. When it comes to excercise, I hate doing it but when I'm done, I feel great. I went running a few times..with no intention of running in the race with her.
Then I went with Amy to pick up her packet. It was all over from there. The shop where the registration was was filled with athletic and attractive people wearing spandex and looking good. They were excited about the upcoming run and..it got to me. As Amy and I walked back to her car, she casually said, "did you want to run tomorrow?" and I responsed, "uhhhmm, sure!"...and then we ran.
I was not adequately prepared to run at all. In fact, I had a terrible terrible cold that week and the morning of the run. Amy had a pretty substantial back injury herself. Nonetheless, we were determined. The race started and the first 25 minutes weren't bad. In fact, I felt great! Then my body started to freak out and every step was getting harder and harder. Amy was so great throughout the entire race. She kept encouraging me and pushing me and calling me "sunshine"..which was annoying at the time but, very sweet post race. We saw the 6 mile mark and saw the finish line and it was GLORIOUS. I haven't felt that much joy or adrenaline in a very long time. Amy and I finished the 10k together, with her family at the finish line. It was one of the greatest feelings of my life. Apparently, 6 miles is nothing for some people but, it was something agonizing for me. But, my body was fine. We finished and now, we are looking forward to running together on a regular basis..and running a half marathon over labor day weekend in Virginia Beach!
Post race, her back hurts. My body is sore and something is seriously wrong with my left foot. However, the memories we made are unforgettable.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Grocery Store Blues

I was in the grocery store the other day, buying honey crisp apples and jalapenos for adam and I's awesome burritos. I simply turned my head and noticed all the beautiful color and texture of the fruit and vegetables that I was surronded by. It all looked so good and colorful and healthy. And I wondered, who was it that decided that all this beautiful fruit was not good enough? When did we start producing high fructose corn syrup and cellulose gum and potassium sorbate? And when did we start liking it and not thinking it was weird to eat things we couldn't pronounce? Now, don't get me wrong, I love various manufactured foods that come in colorful boxes and food with "additives"..without this we wouldn't have: crunchwrap supremes and zebra cakes and my favorite..peanut butter concretes. I just think it's odd that God gaves us everything we need to survive. He gave us apples and peaches and strawberries and pineapple and melon and carrots and peppers and pecans and peanuts and read meat and chicken and whole grains. Why wasn't this good enough for us?