bang bang

life is complicated and messy.

it seems like the news (not suprisingly) is filled with mostly stories of death, sickness, war, etc lately.
the news has been this way for awhile, as a child, i remembered wondering why there were always stories about ‘bad people’ on tv. as i grew older i realized that violence sells. thats just the way it is. but that’s not the point of this short note. that is the case and no matter how sad it is, that will always be the case.
but it seems like there are a lot of shootings lately.
shooting cops.
university shootings
kids shooting parents
parents shooting families
the usual angry boys shooting each other
but since the economy has tanked, the number of shootings out of nowhere has seemed to rise sharply. this is to be somewhat expected because of the overall psychological changes experienced by mass amounts of people, but why are we so preoccupied with guns?
i hear so many people freaking out that obama’s gonna take away all the guns or something of that nature, but does that mean that we can just shoot more? does that mean we all need to have a gun?
its kinda odd to me.
but the rise in shootings scares me. people panic and do stupid things. we don’t need guns just laying around. i’m not gonna sit here and go all anti gun, it just seems odd to me that we feel a need to have them and that shootings are seemingly on the rise in odd areas. fathers are killing their families and themselves to prevent the family the burden of the economy. school shootings are happening randomly. people are randomly shooting ‘for a cause.’ and its scary i think. and unnecessary.
oh and i just read a story about swine flu and it kinda got me thinking. i dont even know what swine flu is, but all of the top 10 stories on CNN were about something negative and it disgruntled me with the news again so i blogged for a split second.
off to sleep finally now.

in reading.

A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough” 1 Timothy 6:6-8

“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19

“Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.” 1 Timothy 4:11-14

“Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.” 1 Timothy 4:15-16

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.” 1 Timothy 2:1-3

just some verses that i think are helping me with my dilemma.

for me.

this post is more for me than anything. just to preface.

there are 3 major decisions up in the air right now and its driving me crazy.
the most…surfaced, pertinent i guess would be the word one is the job one.
2 jobs, i can justify both, they’re completely different and pay completely different, so that complicates things. it would be easier if they were similar, maybe. i dont know if it would.
one makes a lot of money and would basically always be fun and would just all around be a great time, but i can’t really find a way that it serves anyone. it would allow me to save money for next year which would make that easier. it would not be stressful in nearly any way. just an all around carefree summer with flexible hours and awesome pay.
other job. serving. super serving, super stressful, super low pay. those three usually go hand in hand which kinda sucks. i have been known not to handle stress very well outside of my job and let it affect me and those around me far too much which is an issue here. related to education. allows me to serve youth. there are nervous fears but i can put those aside. for 6 weeks, my life would be living, breathing, and being this job which is stressful in itself but could also be an extremely growing experience that would push me to my limits which is something i don’t always hate. you learn the most when you’re at your limit. you become strongest at your limits. would be working with a great christian group of people and as a staff we do daily devos which sounds awesome and would definitely be the only way i’d get through it. there’s no way i’d be able to do that job without strength from Him. i know that. that does not scare me, it comforts me. i’m rambling and probably sound ridiculous but i need to do this. this job, as i said, would push me to my limits nearly every day all day, but i would have the opportunity to make a HUGE impact on the lives of middle school students. which would be extremely rewarding.
i have problems with stress at times. i need me time and this wouldnt allow for much of that. i need sleep and this doesnt allow for that. i’m not a morning person, but i guess that’s just life. all of these things i feel may be selfish things that leaning into the Lord i can overcome, i know that, but they are still concerns right?
i’m wondering if i know what i should do and i’m just distracted by flavored water and financial security. i’m wondering if this job was offered to me for a reason. i’m wondering if this job (the second one) could be the most lifechanging experience i’ll have in a job. i dont want to give it up. i dont want to throw it away. i dont want to selfishly take the first job. i do have to look out for myself and take care of myself before i can take care of others, but the second job was perfectly clear until the first job appeared again. these thoughts were being subsided until friday morning when i discovered this job (the first one) would exist again. i have no idea what to do, or maybe i do. i have rambled but was trying to write it out to help myself.
i also realize that while serving has its merits, i need to be able to be full myself before i can pour into others. i know i can overcome all this with His strength, but these are legit concerns.

the other side

what will our country look like on the other side of this recession?

i’ve been pondering bits and pieces of this question for months…moreso recently as i see it affecting more and more in much deeper ways.
it hurts me.
not because i lost my job or was significantly impacted by it, but because i see so many people struggling out of no fault of their own while golden parachutes are everywhere.
i still have my job and while my hours have been cut and our budget is negative by a LARGE chunk, i still have a job. i still have my family and they still have their jobs. i have a wonderful boyfriend who, despite bumps in his job because of all of this, still has his job and gets to live in the wonderful city of nashville.
yes, my summer internship did disappear, and this summer i will make in 6 weeks what i made in 10 days last summer, but this job will be more rewarding. i’m excited, nervous, scared, and anxious about it all at the same time.
but all of that aside.
this recession scares me.
honestly, i have doubts that, as a majority, the country will be able to learn from this.
this is a time to learn about frugality, to realize that we need to cut back on individual spending not because there is no money but because we got completely ridiculous.
credit cards are bullshit.
yes i have one and yes i use it, but i have never not paid off the balance and never intend to leave a balance on it except if i finance a car or a house.
but we have lived credit card lifestyles for far too long. we have inflated our worth, our stock markets, our chests, and anything we could. but for what? so that we could look better to the people down the street? so we could say ‘oh i have….whatever’? so we could be seen in that fancy car or list that rich street when we recite our address? NONE of this matters. america has become a culture of celebrities and it has got to stop!
i hope that we will be able to learn from this and see the value in loving people and community once again.
i hope that we will be frugal and responsible and giving with our money AND our time.
i hope that we will invest in the future generation and not simply strap us/them with a larger burden than we could ever imagine.
i hope that we will reinvest in programs on our country such as education, poverty reform, and healthcare that have been neglected and allowed to balloon or fail.
but i’m sometimes afraid that we wont.
i’m sometimes afraid that only a handful of us see that this is what needs to happen.
or i’m afraid that we think we will only have to change temporarily before we can go back to our artificially inflated lives.
this scares me.
and it should scare you.
i’m not sure if i’m the only one who feels this way, please share if you do too…
i did a presentation on servant leadership today. i find the topic intriguing. the notion that we should serve the people we lead and lead them second. the notion that the people on top should not be on top of a pyramid but rather a leader among equals. the notion that people should be valued as just that: people. not a means to an organizational end. organizations and leaders should serve those they employ and build them as ‘whole’ people as Covey suggested later on.
this all makes sense to me. but it does not get put into place. why? because its messy and as americans we like to take the easy way out. look where thats gotten us.
if you’d like to take a look at my presentation, here it is (the fonts got a little changed up in the Mac to PC transition)

diversity: in general

today in my schools and society class we, in a roundabout way, talked about diversity and how it relates to schools. we discussed particularly high schools and higher education settings.

i realized something i do miss about my first three semesters of college. while many students at lipscomb were from a similar socioeconomic background and there were many large groups of students from select areas, the campus was diverse (at least the freshman class was, because many of the ‘diverse’ students transferred, but that’s another story for another time). those of you who went there will laugh at that statement because we often associate diversity simply with race or socioeconomic status. i want to take diversity to a higher level for the sake of this note, i want to apply it to ideologies/mindsets and discuss why i think small schools allow students to leave college with a much more diverse group of friends than their high school group was.

sidenote: the question was posed today in class “think about your group of friends throughout your k-12 schooling and think about the group(s) of friends you have/have had in college. are your college friends more or less diverse? or are they about the same with respects to diversity?”

i would say my group of friends is more diverse. and i would attribute that diversity almost exclusively to the small school in a city atmosphere that lipscomb created. i don’t think it was specifically lipscomb that created this diversity, i think it was its’ placement in a city and the fact that its students were from across the country and globe.

no one can argue that geography influences how you think about certain issues. (i don’t exclusively mean political). no one can argue that northerners are different than southerners and even westerners are different from both. different cultures create different ideologies. that’s a fact. at a small school, students are often from differing parts of the country, and while some may have a group of friends when entering college, many do not. this allows students to ‘start over’ and it requires each student to delve deep into themselves and figure out who they are because they have to make friends, but in order to do that, you will learn things you like and dislike, and will recognize the complements and counters to those in others. small schools force you to do this in a way larger state schools will never be able to. at a large school, you can sit out of the crowd completely, get drowned in it, and many students can simply extend their high school group of friends to college (not that this is completely bad).

because small schools have students from around the country and are more concentrated environments, they often initiate ‘icebreaker’ activities to allow students to develop relationships with ‘strangers.’

diversity is present across student bodies at large and small schools, but at larger schools there will likely be either a dominant and a minority group or several distinctly different groups who are able to operate independently without much interaction with the other groups. this does not facilitate open forum type thinking and does not facilitate learning about different cultures and ideologies, which is key to being a well rounded and informed person. i would go further to say taht i think this is key to being a competent person who can have intelligent conversations with those around him or her. i think it is necessary in life to be able to interact with anyone you encounter and recognize that the other person will have differing views, that’s ok, but we need to recognize those ideas and respect them. we can challenge them. we can disagree. we can even present our argument and discuss how we ours as more valid and have an intelligent, respectful ideological debate. but if we do not ever get out of our comfort zones and out of our bubbles and see what else is out there, i honestly do not consider you to be highly intelligent. i consider people who refuse to discuss with people they disagree with ignorant. i consider people who, by choice, never encounter opposing or differing views or people to be ignorant as well.

diversity is necessary.
melting pot groups are a beautiful thing.
they allow the presence of diverse ideologies, races, socioeconomic statuses, etc in a manner that facilitates a deeper and more beautiful understanding of the human race.

smaller schools, where interaction is initially forced and continually required facilitate this, which creates (in theory) more well rounded people. larger schools can try to do this, but larger schools may often lack community, which is necessary to this diversity and respect for diverse ideologies.

i’m not saying i miss lipscomb itself, but i do miss the environment nestled within a diverse city filled with people from all around the country and globe that allowed students to explore themselves at a deep and often spiritual level by creating opportunities within the community to get to know and pour into people who are different from you.

life is not about being comfortable and hanging out with people exactly like you, it’s about getting out of your comfort zone and finding similarities and building relationships with people you once viewed as ‘different’ from you.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ADDED LATER: i am not putting lipscomb up on a pedestal by any means. my parentheses about how many of the ‘diverse’ students transfer after freshman year illustrates that (in my mind) and i was merely using it as the example small school, not the perfect small school. the diversity in my mind was because schools within cities draw more diverse freshman classes than schools in rural areas such as lee or harding. when i mentioned ‘diverse’ students leaving after freshman year, that’s one of the reasons why i left. few of my close friends are still at lipscomb, several are because it had their limited program, they had full rides, or any other reason, but i saw many students leave after a year or maybe 2 because they realized that the teachings of the school do not cater to a diverse mindset. the atmosphere and location do, but the actual academics do not.

and on the note of ‘diversity’, i thought or at least meant to preface my note by saying that i think diversity within groups pertains to any differences, rather those be race, gender, sexual orientation, weight, ability, language, culture, or ideology, but i focused mostly on ideology for the purpose of my note. if i wanted to limit the definition, yes lipscomb is not racially diverse, but many of the freshman are ideologically diverse. by senior year this diversity has often left the campus because of the reasons stated above but as i said, thats another story and that’s in the past, i dont know how the school is now, ive heard its about the same but i cannot judge that.

i was focusing on ideologies and how smaller schools have smaller communities where you are often forced out of your comfort zone more than if you were at a larger school. larger schools in themselves force people out of comfort zones but because there are so many more students, many students can find a group to associate with that is like the group they have grown up in if they choose to, thus getting back into the comfort zone they are used to. this is not always the case at a small school. that’s what i was trying to say….