Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What is it about foreign things that scare Americans so? For a country populated mostly by immigrants, we seem very quickly to forget our roots. And though we have a poor grasp of our own language, we're very quick to judge other people for knowing less than we do, forgetting that it's not their native tongue. Next time you get impatient with the clerk who is mixing up her verb tenses, by all means, try speaking to her in her first language. We are a people, seeking to distance ourselves from the old world and become new, who have created a culture devoid of grace. No doubt, there is "American" culture. It has a lot to do with the concept of lifestyle. Much of the world can hardly afford to live, let alone choose what they look like while doing it. It is an immense blessing that even the poorest among us has rights, and the ability, through effort, to live and work relatively as they please (I realize this is oversimplified, but as compared to much of the world, this is true). We're just so afraid of being perceived as weird, fearful of things we don't understand and unwilling to expend any effort to explore something new. At no point in history were the greatest nations and prevailing cultures the only ones of interest, yet many Americans act as if ours is, by inherent right of being ours, the best civilization that has ever been. That we are a superpower is too obvious to contest, and I feel immensely blessed to have been born into the nation I was. Otherwise, I couldn't be complaining about it. ;) 

All this to say, I got into an interesting discussion about why I listen to foreign music. "You can't understand it, why listen?" was the main point on the opposing side. For one thing, music is sound, conveying more than merely the meaning of words. But even the words have a music to them. Words are sounds. What is poetry? Musical writing, conveying emotions. You dare to claim that music that "sounds weird" to you isn't worth listening to? Fine. Stay in your little world. But I live in a world that isn't mass produced in California and worn by obnoxious suburban white kids. A world with bizarre beauty and sweet suffering. A world where some people are just not attractive, but they are loved instead of mocked. A world where Christ came to seek and save the lost from every tribe, tongue and nation. How can we love our brothers and sisters if we totally ignore them, or worse, look down on them because they're not "like us"? Get off your western high horse and go love your neighbor. Listen to some world music, or if that's too far out, try this. My nanny kiddos absolutely love it. Seriously, it's on repeat.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to lose weight without really trying.


 Levothyroid. I've lost 3 pounds in a week doing absolutely nothing different other than taking a daily pill*. They actually come with a warning because that's a common side effect; it makes sense really, considering it's increasing my metabolism. As annoying as it is to have to wake up, take my meds, and wait 30 minutes before eating, this is a useful side effect. Still waiting for the part where I'm not cold all the time. I have yet to know why exactly my body needs to take these in the first place, but hopefully when the lab results are back in and my ultrasound is done, I'll know what the source of the problem is. For now, it's enough to know that God's in control, and it's a nice reminder that I'm still going to die someday anyway. Thank God! Immortality on this earth would be misery beyond description.

On a completely different note, my most recent musical acquisition: the Japanese electropop group "Perfume", apparently popular among gay people in Japan (in a Lady Gaga-esque way). Yes, I know the vocals are autotuned. Yes, I have translated the lyrics, and though clean, they're not mind-blowingly deep. But they're so unashamedly cute and feminine, and it makes good background music. Blame it on the drugs. ;)

(*disclaimer: These were legitimately prescribed for me by my doctor upon discovery that I was hypothyroid. On her advice, I am taking these and carefully watching my weight)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

On a way of life...and a bit of china.

Spending time away from school has given me a chance to really reflect on what I gleaned from my classes; what was helpful, what was miserable, and what I wish I had tried harder on. Ideally, it will assist me as I plan out my courses for January and will improve my school experience. I'm sure I've grown out of all my bad study habits. That's how these things work, right?  And lo and behold, in glorious retrospect, I've come to realize that the core requirements for my school are actually quite helpful (with the exception of Intro.Sociology...that was mildly interesting, but useless). Whatever your major, you need to know what's been done; study history. You need to know how to think and reason ; study philosophy. You need to know how people work and process things; study psychology. You need to communicate your thoughts effectively; study English. You need to know how the world works; study science. "Art washes away the dust of everyday life" and enables us to feel pretentious, so we study fine arts. And in the unique case of my school, you need to know the Word, so you study theology. But you don't study all these things so you can add to your pile of hats, switching between disciplines like changing clothes. Each subject adds to and completes your ensemble (with the exception of the Word...obviously of greater importance than all the wisdom of the world). Besides that, it's a helpful image for me of how learning should be complementary. Having to grapple with opposing ideas and theories, learning how to allow for individual difference, and realizing just how enormous the world is and how small you are, really changes your perspective. 

Speaking of feeling small...On my never-ending quest for sea glass, I was beach combing and found this bit of porcelain. Who dropped a dish, when? Did it get thrown overboard? Has anyone else found this, or is it the first time it's washed up? This rectangular piece of stone with random metal in it. What IS it. Who knows if I'll ever know? It's probable I'll never figure it out. But God not only knows, he wrote their stories. Every stone on that beach, every creature skipping in the seaweed, every molecule of water. How can that not be mindblowing? Author of creation. Easy to say, but impossible to fathom. Everything that is, from the natural world, to what we've "created" is known and sovereignly directed by God, the epitome of holism. Want to be well-balanced? Become like Him. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yes, it's a dated music video, but I love the song. There are few artists I know who possess such technical skill and achieve such success while retaining a poet's soul and love of exploring new (and in Sting's case, old) types of music. I will listen to his Christmas album year round without shame. One of many artists I wish was saved, because he would make the best worship songs ever. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Retrospect: backward thinking at its best.

I wish I could have captured the smell too...nothing like a misty morning rose. 
Ironically enough, I've been neglecting my blog, not because I have nothing to say, but because every time I sit down to write, a million disconnected thoughts swirl around wanting to be communicated. I end up staring at the screen trying to summarize my mental millieu and realizing that I ought to sleep.What is there left to be said that hasn't been already? What do I have to add? Nothing. And that's ok. Besides, most people have no concept and history and haven't read any classics. They'll never realize that my writing is unoriginal. ;)

I started this blog in 2008 because frankly, I was bored and needed a creative outlet. Now that two years have passed, it's interesting to look back at how my life has changed, to see how God's worked in my life and family in ways I'd never have imagined or chosen. In retrospect, all my experiences have been preparing me for where I've been led, without fail. You'd think there was some sovereign God graciously foreordaining my life or something.

In all my musings, it was interesting to see the role music has played in my life, how certain artists were on repeat in certain seasons, or even how much easier it is for me to remember lyrics to hundreds of songs than the current ages of my family. Recently, I've discovered a rather logical link between what I listen to prior to going to bed and what I wake up thinking about. The odds are fairly good that if I listen to a song, I'll wake up with it running through my head, even if I don't fall asleep thinking about it (the only exception is Linkin Park...for some reason, they seem to be my default mental soundtrack. Beats me).

...and, the point of this post. Right. The past matters, the present is important, and we need to be proactive about the legacy we're leaving. The people in your life right now are the people that God has put there. The ones that annoy you, the ones you love, the ones you admire, the ones you always feel awkward around, the weird relatives, they're the neighbors you're called to love ( Luke 10: 27). And I feel sorely that I have not been the mirror of Christ that I ought to have been to the people in my life. It's so tempting to live in the moment and keep telling myself that I'll go evangelize and love everyone when I've got the time, or when I'm fully trained (whenever that happens). But I already have the gospel. I have a heartbeat. That's enough. And I don't necessarily need to go to the ends of the earth, I may just be called to go to the end of my street. They need Jesus too! But it's too familiar, too close to home, for me to recognize it for the opportunity it is. So see the opportunities God's given you in your life and be a doer. Soak in the glorious gift of his word and be refreshed, hear his promises and testify to how he's been faithful in your life. What higher calling is there?