Wow. This past week has felt like three. I've enjoyed it, but it has been long. And I'm excited for this three day weekend.
Here's me in my cubicle
I'm really important. I have a cubicle. I like the word cubicle. It's like the word cuticle, but rounder.
I enjoy having lots of time in the morning. When my alarm goes off I may not think it's a good idea, but I do as I then get to leisurely eat breakfast, get ready, perhaps write on my blog . . .?
Leisurely is a tricky word to spell. That sure doesn't look like a word.
For about ten minutes yesterday I decided that after graduation I would move to Thailand and teach English. (The head of the Gender Studies department is also really connected with Thailand and has arranged it so Baylor graduates can go over there for a year--May to March--to teach English. She is best buds with the Thai royal family.) For about ten minutes the day before I decided I would do Teach For America (Claire was talking about it). Who knows what I will decide to do today. Or next May for that matter.
My coffee is cold but I keep drinking it.
That is all.
(Hm. That could be the name of a band or song or book or something--Cold Coffee. Or this blog post. It has a nice rhythm.)
So I have had two days of classes. I find all of my classes interesting, so that is a major plus. As a reminder, I am taking
Family: A Global Prospective
Philosophy and the Arts
Intro to Gender Studies
Va bene. And I am working as a TA for an Art History professor. I started that job today, which mainly consisted of making copies and typing up attendance sheets. I wasted a lot of paper in trying to figure out the monster copy machine and wasted a lot of time trying to figure out Excel. It's cool though. I have my own cubicle with my own iMac next to Melissa's own cubicle and own iMac, and she is a pro and so I ask her important questions like how to turn my computer on. (When I was being shown my cubicle by one of the faculty members I was like "Sure! I know Macs well! I have one." And then I couldn't figure out how to turn the thing on!)
Here are some interesting facts from my Families in Global and Multicultural Perspective book:
-"1.2 billion of the world's population is absolutely poor, defined as living on less than dollar a day . . . over 900 million, or 70% of the poor are women."
-"In April 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to offer full, legal marriage to same-sex couples."
-"In most of the developing world, homosexuality is still considered a mental illness and is punishable by imprisonment and even death."
-"The US has the highest rate of lone-parent families among industrialized nations, with one third of families headed by a single parent"
Interesting stuff, no? You can now pull those facts out at parties and sound education and concerned.
I am reading The Lost Message of Jesus by Steven Chalke and it has given me some thoughts. This particular chapter deals with the idea of being "saved" and "born again." Those words tend to make me cringe a little, and I'm glad to see that they do so to Steven Chalke too. It reminds me of a time during counselor training at Sky Ranch. While waiting to train on the jet skis, one of my fellow counselors asked me how I became "saved" and I told him my schpeel. Then I asked for his. And he said "This morning, I woke up and asked God to save me." And he says he is saved everyday. And I think that is beautiful.
In this book Chalke points out that in the Bible, Jesus only uses the phrase "born-again" twice and that was within one conversation with one guy--Nicodemus. "And yet it has become the basis for one of the most confusing, misused and abused, misunderstood and despised ideas in the history of the church." The Jesus of the Bible was more interested in the ongoing process of salvation. We are already saved and are continually learning to become and act like saved people all our lives. He quotes a bishop of the Church of England who, when asked if he was saved, replied, "I have been saved, I am being saved, and one day I will be saved." Isn't that beautiful?
My room is beautiful now too. I'm not as satisfied, though, as I thought I would be now that I'm all unpacked. It's just my room. The same. I like it, but it's just a room.
Class starts tomorrow and everywhere was crazy today--church, campus, the bookstore, Wal-Mart. I quickly returned to the sanctuary of my apartment, which is where I am now, snuggled in the papasan in the corner or my room.
I'm sitting on the floor of my furniture-less room in Waco. Me and some of my gal pals painted it green yesterday, which was a lot of fun. I left some of the pink though, as you can see in this picture.
Yesterday, all four of my roommates came back (roommates=Rachael, Tinsley, Elise, and Claire)! There was much merriment, together again. We ate at Clay Pot while Elise regaled us with stories of her adventures in Italy and Lithuania, and we did the same with a our various Texan adventures. Tomorrow I will move my furniture in. I'm not looking forward to the process, but I am looking forward to being able to assemble my room and put everything away. I'm living out of a suitcase right now.
It's good to be back, and weird, and scarey, and comfortable, and the same, and different. I'm just here right now, let's just leave it at that. I don't have to label everything with an emotion. I can just be.
I had some trouble this morning paying attention to the sermon at church. My mind was preoccupied. After the sermon though, while the band was playing a David Crowder Band song--"The Glory of It All"-- people who had been hidden backstage came out one by one, each holding a handwritten cardboard sign. On the front of the sign was a short sentence of what happened in their life and/or heart before knowing Christ, and the back of the sign said how Christ changed things. It was really moving. The last one was an older woman, Julia's grandmother, whose sign first said "I committed my life to Christ 78 years ago" and the back said something like "and he has remained faithful." By the end of the "show" I was crying, and was kind of embarrassed by it, but then heard the sniffles of people around me and realized I wasn't the only one moved to tears. After the service the women's restroom was more crowded than I usually found it, with women still dabbing their eyes or reapplying makeup. It was all very moving. And it was people just simply saying what God meant to them, in black letters on a piece of cardboard.
In other news, I just took a "spiritual gift analysis." Basically it's a long quiz to assert what gifts God had has blessed me with. I have taken one before, in high school, and nowadays I'm honestly kind of wary of things like this. To quantitatively measure how God has blessed me. And also just the separating of "spiritual" gifts and "worldly" gifts. I don't like those lines. I believe God is in all my gifts and talents.
It reminds me of a poll I took a few years back. The question was "When do you like to spend time with God?" The answer choices were like "in the morning," "in the car," "in the evening," etc. I didn't like the question. I thought, "I want to spend every minute of my day with God."
Anywho, I took the Spiritual Gift test and failed. I have no spiritual gifts. Just kidding. My top two were hospitality and mercy. The hospitality one didn't surprise me, I've always enjoyed having people over to my house and such, but the mercy one did. Looking back at my life now though, I can see it. Like in the way I've never been really angry with someone. Even if I know I've been wronged or treated unfairly, I think to myself "I feel like I should be mad . . . but I'm not. Hm, weird," and go about my merry way. That's nice I guess. It's not an invitation for you people to walk all over me. I
Ok, Bailey and Will are here now so I'm going to end this.
(as in this post, not my blog in general)
I woke up this morning and realized today was not my birthday. It was a little disappointing.
But yesterday was and now I'm 22. I don't think I have ever had such a fun-packed birthday. Thanks to everyone who participated. First there was Six Flags, then food, friends, family, and presents, then Main Event, which involved bowling, pool, and the aforementioned friends. It was a fun day, like I said.
I got three CDs from my brother and I'm in the process of putting them on my computer. Right now I'm listening to the Mamma Mia! soundtrack. As if I don't have that song in my head enough. Mamma mia, here I go again . . . I like it though. Thanks Will.
I think I will enjoy my 22nd year. 22 feels good.
And wow. I just saw that I took 101 pictures yesterday. Stay tuned for some of those maybe.
This past week has added to new members to the Carmack family. Little Mac Carmack (picture stolen from my mom's blog) . . .
And Mrs. Caroline Carmack (picture stolen from Linh's facebook). . .
So good! The wedding last night was great. I haven't been to the wedding of someone I know so well, one where a lot of my friends and family were present, and it was a lot of fun. A bit on the warm side, but really nice. And I love Caroline and happy she is now apart of my family.
It's Olympics time now, which means there is always something to watch on TV. I'm watching waterpolo right now. "Watching" = having it on in the background whilst I write on my blog and what not. Hungary vs. Montenegro.
Today Rob and Caroline go to Italy! What a honeymoon.
I just learned that the most common injury in Water Polo is a ruptured ear drum.
It has been a really good past couple of days. I was worried that I would get bored when I came home, but I've been pretty entertained. I've caught up with a lot of people, gotten to know others better, been to two concerts, and yesterday, I made quiche for my family. Today is an open book and we'll see where it takes me.
Speaking of books, the biography I'm reading of Muhammad is intriguing. Muhammad sounds like a good guy. The world islam simply means to surrender and Muhammad taught that that is was people should do--simply surrender to the will of Allah. Allah simply means God, and Muhammad believed that Jews and Christians ("People of the Book") worshipped the same god as Muslims. Different people just had different din or, way of life, moral law. He was actually greatly perplexed when Jews and Christians would preach that their religion was the only true religion. Muhammad believed "it was idolatry to take pride in belonging to a particular religious tradition rather than concentrating on Allah himself." And to him, we were all related anyway, all descendants of Abraham. For sure the Islam of today is different than a lot of what Muhammad preached, just as Christianity has evolved from the time of Jesus.
It's an interesting read.
Along the same vein, I'm next going to read a book called The Lost Message of Jesus by Steven Chalke for a Sunday school class I'm going to help lead in the fall. From what a hear, the book is about looking at the teachings of Jesus outside of our Western bifocals. I'm excited. I'll let you know how it goes.
And remember how at the beginning of this post I said I was going to see where today takes me? Well, it looks like it's going to take me to Oklahoma! I'm going there with my Momma soon to see my new baby cousin, Mac. Mac Carmack. These plans were formed as this post was being written. It is a very exciting month in the life of my family, let me tell ya.
I know it hasn't even been 24 hours, but here I am again. I just have things that I want to say.
I really enjoyed church this morning. I don't quite know where that came from, I have been having trouble enjoying church lately. Today I really listened. This morning Lee talked about the importance of believing in something bigger than yourself (which is funny, because that is what my last post was about). "You'll never find the true significance of life until you find something that is more important that you." That is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. This past year I have lived more by the motto--if its right for you, its right. But I'm changing my mind (and ah man, this is in writing. The means it's real, right Melyssa?). I think what's right goes beyond what I think. It goes beyond me. There is right outside of myself. We are apart of a bigger story, written and directed by a god of love. A god who just wants us to love each other. To stop all this other stuff and love each other. To stop looking in the mirror and love each other. And God knows we can't do it without him, because he is love. We can't know him without loving each other. It's just impossible.
That's what I've been thinking about.
And Lee shared a poem. So I'll share it with you (wee! two poems in a row!)
I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me--
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire--
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.
by Edgar Lee Masters
I bet Lee shared it cause his middle name is Lee. Heh.
I'm glad I have these few weeks after the farm and before school so I can debrief with myself.
A couple weeks ago we had a poetry night at the farm. We sat outside on a Sunday evening, sharing bread, cheese, wine, and poems-original and not.
Samson, an intern from Ghana, shared a poem he had written. I really appreciated his poem, so I asked for a copy of it:
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR
It is dangerous not to have what you stand for
Whether it is food or drink
Have what you stand for
Whether it is religious or intellectual belief
Have what you stand for
Whether it is singleness or marriage
Have what you stand for
Whether it is about life or death
Have what you stand for
Develop a conviction not just an opinion
Opinion is what you hold
But conviction is something that holds you
You will argue about your opinion
But you will be ready to suffer for your conviction & if necessary die for it.
Your conviction might not make you popular
Your conviction might even earn you undesirable names
So should that make you succumb?
Develop a conviction
What do you stand for?
For if you do not stand for anything
You will fall for anything
Convictions are hard to come by nowadays. I'm in the process of developing my own. I'm reading Muhammah: A Prophet For Our Time to better understand others' convictions.
So that's that.