Monday, November 20, 2017

I watched Bubble-Hoping(Reality part 2) as my podcast to reflect on. The Podcast began by referring to the life of a dog and the statement that we love these animals and live in such close proximity with them, but fail to see the world through their lens. Later on, the blog focused on a man named Max and his experiment in order to leave his comfort zone, or bubble, in order to interact with other people outside of his daily routine.

The interesting takeaway about the two stories is that it is easy for people to get caught up in their own small world and forget that there is so much to see, learn and experience outside of our little bubbles. How can we ever know the world if we continue to do the same thing we have always done? This question was the driving force behind Max's experiment which caused him to find himself in multiple unique groups of people estranged to him.

The podcast brought up several questions in my own life. I have gotten used to the same routine, much as Max had. Being in IB has been both a blessing for me in this aspect. I am surrounded by all of the people who, up until this point, I have had no association with. Our hobbies seem to differ along with our interests and friend groups. As the year has progressed. however, and I am put in contact with them for the majority of everyday, my outlook has changed. I have stepped out of my old bubble and realized my perspective on these people couldn't be more wrong. As it turns out, Eva isn't crazy intimidating, but rather genuine, funny and interesting. I was so quick to label things and people that weren't in my bubble, making up excuses for why I shouldn't make an effort to branch out and consider them. Now, as IB has forced me to face my fears I realize maybe my bubble isn't the best but the worst thing for me. It seemed so safe in the past, but now, I think it could even be dangerous. It keeps me from being able to experience all that the world has out there to offer.

Experiencing new things is hard for me. I'm not a risk taker and I'm not one to come out of my comfort zone. However, IB has taught me that it's not so bad to step out on a limb. I am constantly challenged with new and frightening things in IB that have all seemed to pay off. In normal classes, I've acquired the mindset that if I fail, I've become vulnerable to people who will take advantage of me. I've learned, especially this year, that failing doesn't always mean you lose. There can always be a takeaway. My mind should be focused less on the fear of what's to come and more of what can be gained out of the situation I am faced with. The podcast did less of putting new thoughts into my mind, but more on clarifying the conclusions I'd already seemed to come to through the program, which is nice because I've got so many thoughts in my head that things tend to be scattered sometimes.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

When given the assignment to make a map of something that mattered to me, I struggled with what to base the project on. I knew that the biggest impacts on my life were my friends, my experiences, and God, who was there for all of it. I wanted to express this with my map, but I also wanted to express my desire to one day be where God wanted me to be. I want to look back on my life and say that it wasn't all a waste. I want to mean something, if not in the eyes of those around me, in the eyes of God. 

The best way to express all of these ideas and thoughts about what makes up me was a treasure map, I decided. This accounts not only for who I am, but for who I was and who I want to be. I first mapped a path in order to represent God's direction for my life. I then drew my own path, showing the endurance of loss, the lessons laid out for me, and the people I gained along the way. These things developed who I am, however, the red x is what drives my actions and guides me in the right direction. 

In efforts to make my map seem more like a map, I allowed symbols and names to represent my challenges in life along with the moments of prosperity and people. The sea of rage, containing many hidden monsters. represented a past experience with my dad's marriage that I like to keep hidden away. While this is true, I felt it necessary to map this experience as it was the most defining experience of my life. I chose this experience to lead me from my childhood-childhood channel- into adulthood. It forced me to wake up and pushed me to fall on God when I needed him most. 

I noticed that I was the only map with a clear destination. Many others focused more on one aspect of their life, or led up to where they are now rather than the whole picture. This is likely because none of us know where we will be later on and so naturally this future doesn't seem to be something that makes up who we are-at least not yet. My future, however, inspires me and pushes me to act as I do and work for what I want. It seems my future plays just as big a role as my past which is why I felt that I must map this aspect of myself along with the past. 

I did notice that Leyna used symbolic names in order to represent aspects of herself as well. While my map was more or less a timeline of events, though, Leyna's map seemed to be various places, ideas, and memories all displayed. Her placement, rather than chronological like mine, was based on what pieces of her life bled into or led into others. For example, she placed family next to selfishness and explained that her tendency to be selfish led to family issues at times. Our maps, while different both provided for a deeper understanding on the way our brains think and the culture in which we were raised. This was probably the coolest thing to me. Seeing that Leyna and I took an assignment and created two totally different products that were equally able to expose aspects of who we are and how we got here. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Language as a way of Knowing Presentation experience

I was nervous about the presentation for a few reasons. Being put with a group of individuals I had never worked in close proximity with was hard for me. I'm so used to being the smartest in my group or being surrounded by friends who make it easy for me to express myself. I've never been surrounding by so many smart, unique people. This is the core of IB and it was hard for me to come to terms with this new norm. The project forced me to face this fear head on.

Towards the beginning of the project I was hesitant to express ideas, concerns, and comments that I felt would benefit the project. I felt that the ones in my group were more capable than me, and that my ideas my hinder the group for being the best it could be. After talking to Brewer, I realized for my grade I would have to speak up and it turned out to be the best thing for me.

The group challenged me in ways I wouldn't have allowed myself to be challenged if it were my decision. Being forced out into the deep end opened my eyes. It turns out, the people in my group were some of the most interesting people. The aspects that each of us brought to the table made for a beautiful end product. Hearing Eva talk gave me a whole new perspective on a project that my friend group and I would have just gone through the motions with. Being in a group with a student with so much passion towards the topic of language was so much more beneficial to me than being in a group with the people I would have chosen, if given the chance.

Over the few days we had to work on the project, our group excelled and we were the first to present. This was another problem for me, as I was worried about knowing what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. However, my groups engagement encouraged me to be engaged and eased my worries about the presentation. I talked more than I thought I would have been able to and my group worked together in such a way that everyone was able to voice their own takes on the topic, which made for great discussion. The presentation went well, along with all of the activities we had planned and it turned out to be a fun process overall, despite my pessimistic attitude in the beginning. I don' think I would change a thing, other than maybe being able to delve deeper into works in translation and different takes individuals have depending on translation.

I think the project taught me more about IB than about linguistics. Being challenged to step out on a limb helped me understand that this class is more than just a class where I'll go through the motions. I'm surrounded by so many different people, so many smart people, that have all different takes on things. Everyone is as engaged as I am and for better or worse we are in it together. The only thing I would change about the project is my bad attitude in the beginning towards the thought of leaving my comfort zone, because that's part of what makes IB so unique.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

This I Believe

When I was younger, happiness seemed to be all around me. Nothing to drastic ever happened in my life to change that truth. It seemed to be the same routine everyday. Go to school, come home, hang out with my mom and go to bed. I didn't have extracurricular things to occupy my schedule and it seemed that it was just my mom and I.

Life goes on, people grow up, and with growing up came the desire to branch out, challenge myself, and find new and exciting things to occupy my time and add meaning to my life. Happiness, all of the sudden, didn't consist only of spending time with my mom, but instead having friends, a social life, and accomplishing new challenges became the issues I invested in and the sources of my happiness.

Taking on so much at once can be overwhelming. I wanted to control everything and I wanted everything to go just right. It was a difficult concept for me to grasp that there wasn't enough time to make everything go just right. I couldn't invest everything I had into every activity under the sun. This is what I wanted, though. Happiness became impossible to achieve. There was always something that wasn't good enough, there was always an area I was lacking in. I couldn't please everyone and myself.

I could find no way to escape the inevitable truth that there was no way to feel satisfied with myself as I had when I was little. I didn't understand where to invest my time, how to invest my time, and how to manage all of the moving pieces in my life.
Family, friends, school, coaches, and clubs each expected 100 percent of my attention and my participation. In the event that I decided to invest more time in one of these I found that the other had begun to be severely lacking. There was no peace and no escape for my mind to have rest...except church worship.

For maybe 15 minutes on a Sunday morning I felt peace. Everything around me was and continued to be chaotic, but for these 15 minutes of worship I could let the weight of the world fall to God. He would carry my worries for those 15 minutes so that I might have some rest. These moments on Sunday are the ones I live for. It's become comforting to know that while throughout the week I will have to bare the burdens of life and push through them each day I will soon have a moment of rest.

When I was young, the constant in my life was my mother. The schedule that never changed had been comforting. I had been happy and content with my simple little life and growing up I'd neglected that simplicity, greedily searching for other things to fill me up. I took for granted the simple happiness that came with childhood. Now as I'm older I've learned that there is something to be said about the comfort of a constant in life. This I believe: One can only truly appreciate something when they've experienced life without it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fulfillment





People connect with God in different ways. This is something I've come to realize growing up in the church. Some connect through worship, some connect through prayer, others connect through reading his word. When one finds their way of connecting with God, that the relationship between the two becomes so much more real, for lack of a better word. My way of feeling close to God is through worship. When I'm there, in that moment, praising his name I feel this overwhelming sense of understanding. He hears me, he's with me. In a world where everything is so hard and confusing and I feel so misunderstood, worship is where I find that understanding I long for. It's where I find him. In that moment when everything is going so wrong, there's this serenity. This enveloping feeling of peace where the pain of the present fades away and I can just be in his presence. I can just feel him in that moment.
 This wasn't something I came to experience until I was around 14. My mom was so passionate in her writing to God. She would write her prayers to him every night, often in tears. She tried to explain to me the feeling that writing to him gave her. She would tell me about how it made her feel heard in a way nothing else could. No amount of ears in the world made her feel as heard as she did when she would write to him. I didn't understand. I hadn't found my connection. I'd often gone to church just because it was the thing my family did. I stood for the songs wondering when I'd be able to sit down, hoping that the band wouldn't play another song. I wasn't open to that connection with Christ that my mom had, but I was envious of it all the same. I wanted what my mom had: a way out, an escape from the hurt that came with life, but I wasn't willing to search for it. In the end, I didn't need to. God came to me. God seeked me out when I was lost. 
Hearing the lyrics above, I found my connection with him. I'd been envious of my mother's relationship with Christ, and that's where I misunderstood. I would never have what she had with God. I couldn't mimic what she had with God and still find true understanding. To do this, I had to go on my own journey, find my own connection with him that was mine and mine alone. The song opened my eyes to that. In that moment, hearing those lyrics "I've heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night" I realized something. He wasn't my mom's god, or the world's god, but my god. To me, he was my god. Once I realized this, I found what I'd been missing. It wasn't so frightening anymore to have to share my creator with the world. I'd been looking at it all wrong.
He is each of ours in our own way. We each love him and connect with him in different ways. He, to me, is my father, and to find that moment with him where we can truly feel fulfilled ,as we all long to be, we must make him our own. It can't be a practice we have to go to church, or a means of being accepted, or even something we choose to believe because we are scared. It has to be real to the core. To make that connection, it has to be something we embrace, something we allow to engulf us and fill us to the brim. We have to accept his love not as an aspect of out life but as the building block of who we are. "I'm loved by you, it's who I am". We find our identities in him. When we are able to let go of the worldly things that define us, and allow ourselves to be defined by his love for us, that is when we find peace and fulfillment. 
Worldly things will fade, and because of this they cannot fulfill us as we so desperately want them to. God is forever, he is our constant, and is therefore the only source of fulfillment that will satisfy us. Until we learn to live life striving to please christ, and not the people of the world, we will never be truly happy. We will never be "enough" for the world. We can tear away at who we are, desperately trying to become what the world wants of us, and it will never be enough. We are enough in christ. This is what matters, and this is the fact that will stay with us when worldly standards fade away.  



Saturday, October 8, 2016

Image result for peer pressure       Every teenager, including myself, is itching to be independent, to be their own person. Along with this comes the ever-present desire to grow up. High school gives teenagers a chance to experience some of this freedom. Every teenager, including myself, is itching to be independent, to be their own person. Along with this comes the ever-present desire to grow up. High school gives teenagers a chance to experience some of this freedom. All around us our peers seem to know and have more. They seem to have the freedom we crave so bad, and peer pressure begins to hold a heavy hand on our daily lives, The black and white lines that separate the good and bad begin to blur and we start viewing the world around us differently. At a certain point we must decide, do we embrace this new reality and conform to the status quo or do we continue to stand by our morals and do what we believe is right. Does it really matter if we no longer stand for what we used to?
       As a little girl, I was taught the difference between right and wrong and when to say yes and if I  should say no. My parents warned me of the dangers of the world, trying to protect me as much as they could for as long as they could, because they knew at one point or another in my life, these lessons would be put to the test and I would have to start making decisions for myself. They taught me they best way they knew how knowing fully that one day, they wouldn't have an influence over my decisions These were the morals that I had to follow, I was only a child and my parents insisted that since they were the adults, they knew best. I didn't question or defy what they taught me for they obviously knew best.
      Sadly, high school changes this, we are thrown into a school filled with infinite numbers of opinions, morals, and thoughts. This is where our morals are truly put to the test. We have to decide if it is truly our choice to make big decisions that require big responsibility, that we are often not capable of making on our own. The influence of peer pressure changes each one of us as we try to change ourselves to fit in with everyone else. The choice of which morals we chose to live by and stand for, despite what has been thrown at us, make us who we are. Despite everything that I've been taught from little on, I still feel the pull to be independent and fall to the influence of my peers. Its something not only I, but the people around me struggle with more than any of us would like to admit. We know the difference between right and wrong and yet when faced with the decision between the two, we tend to struggle, sometimes even taking the turn we know isn't best for us. We find ourselves struggling to keep up with the rush of high school and the people around us and what they are doing. In the end while we may know right from wrong, we are going to make wrong decisions every once in a while and fall to peer pressure despite everything we have been taught.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is something I have always struggled with, along with most other people. Choosing to let go of what's been done to me has always been hard. When you're little you're taught the same as any other child: to love others and be a good person. This seems so simple when we are younger, when we don't have a care in the world. The principles seem so easy to follow. Life goes on, we grow up, and we are faced with new challenges. People hurt us, let us down, and give up on us when we need them most. These are the moments we've been prepared for since we were little. Suddenly, it all makes sense. Forgiveness is something that everyone has to learn to do in able to move forward. Holding on to the pain people cause you only makes you bitter, and hurts those who love you. Watching my dad struggle with letting go of his past and coming to terms helped me reach the point I am at today with forgiveness.

As a little girl, it was hard for me to understand what was going on. I didn't notice my dad coming home late, leaving for days on end, acting strange. A five-year old girl couldn't possibly understand. How could I have known that while my sister and I were asleep in bed, my dad was downstairs desperately crying out to make his pain go away, using drugs to push the problems out?

Image result for famous quote about yesterday being in the past
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Time went on. I grew up. I learned a valuable lesson that kept me safe for a time: how to keep quiet and pretend not to see. Following in my fathers footsteps, I pushed the feelings under so that nobody could see it was eating away at me. I had no relationship with my dad, and that was okay. The time at my dad's house slowly dragged by and I found myself counting down the seconds until it was my moms week to have me again. She was the constant that my father couldn't be for me. I hadn't known him to try, so I never expected anything from him. That is, until I was exposed to a new idea of what a father should be. In church, we are given this ideal image of what a father ought to look like. I found myself comparing my dad to this ideal image and part of me loathed him for the simple fact that he wasn't able to be what I felt he should have been for me. I thought nothing would ever change.

My dad hit a breaking point, eventually. He found himself all alone in a hotel room, high on who knows what. He was tired of being empty, tired of disappointing those he loved. In that moment, this man who hadn't gone to church in years, hadn't even thought of Christ, looked up and said, "God either take me away now, or take this from me." He should have died that night. He'd taken far too many pills to be okay. But here he is today.

My dad had to let go of his past and forgive himself before he could make the pain go away. By holding on to resentment, my dad wound up breaking the hearts of those he loved, and almost dying. It did nothing for him except tear his life apart. He'd lost himself because he refused to let go of the wrong done to him in the past. After finally letting go of this pain that was eating away at him, he was able to completely change. He's not the man I knew. His life has been transformed. He looks to the future, now, with hope and joy in his heart. My dad and our family was able to heal through his choice to let go. A valuable lesson is to be taken from this. Don't let the past make you bitter. Don't let the past take away from what's in store for you.