Category Archives: future

Sometimes I feel like I’m the wrong sort of person. I can’t exactly speak up when I’m supposed to, to the point where I used to think God was pretty disappointed in me because I wasn’t witnessing enough. I’m not good at the “have you heard about Jesus” or even the “here’s some exciting news from my life” conversations, much less the ones that start with, “Hello, I’m a concerned constituent and would like to voice my opinion.”

It’s easy to tell myself that since I won’t call my representatives, or hold debates with family and friends, or be a twitter celebrity, I don’t care about the wrongs committed by this country against those on the margins, and worse, I’m allowing them to happen. I feel helpless, and useless.

But lately I’ve been thinking that maybe there isn’t just one way to be a decent global citizen, and that if I focus on what I am good at instead of trying to be someone I’m not, I can actually be useful. Maybe I can’t be the loudest voice, but here’s what I am going to do:

I’m going to volunteer helping local kids in low-income schools master reading skills because I am good at one-on-one connections and working with kids.

I’m going to donate to local and national organizations like Refugee Services of Texas, International Rescue Committee, American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, Equal Justice Initiative, and the North Texas Food Bank whenever I have the means to do so.

I’m going to work towards a career in nonprofit administration because I have people skills and analytical skills.

One day, I’m going to be a part of adopting a child into our family, because I can love others.

I’m going to love the family and friends I have, because in the end, they are all I have.

What are you good at? What can you do, and what are you going to do? I want to hear your ideas too. Let’s work together.

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no one can foretell the lessons they’ll learn
not even the teacher with her lesson plans –
not when the blizzard comes
or the baby has colicked for days

so I won’t prescribe myself a destination, this year
a resolution I’ll never resolve
I’ll steer my mind hard to starboard, though

see, I can pinpoint the lessons now,
those that have crossed my way
so I’ll sail toward learning until morning
refrain from forcing my hand
and let myself be taught

[untitled]

They say my cells are born again
that I am recreated
that some years I give myself a birthday present
of a new me.
Well this year I’ve outdone myself
outshone my fleshly competition
These synapses?
Refurbished.
These shiny neurons?
Completely revamped.
“Newly remodeled!”
(I’m advertising)
but I’m not sure, still
of this me for the 21st century.
My new skin still crawls
it doesn’t fit
I haven’t broken myself in
And so I jump back into what’s familiar
Yes. This skin knows how to house me.
But you know what they say
of new wine in old skins
and I know I can’t stay.
What do I do with two of me
both unwanted
both uncomfortable
How to reinvent
the reinvention

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PIE

PIE, but not the kind you're thinking of

nope. just kidding.

Even though that pie is strawberry rhubarb, which has to be one of my favorites, PIE stands for Proto-Indo-European, the theoretical language root of Indo-European languages (a vast linguistic grouping), and is probably the most fascinating thing in the world. Then again, it might be the most fascinating thing in the entire universe, thanks to its starring role in Prometheus.

I remembered PIE this morning while researching the etymology of seminary, and from thence semen, which has roots in three non-Romance languages. Ridiculously entrancing. Meaning that the next step was for me to research Oxford’s DPhil program in Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics.

And from there, sadly, to be overwhelmed by the abundance of things in this world that I want to learn and know everything about. Or, as Cosmo Brown says in the first 10 seconds of this video:

And then I got excited because I thought of heaven, and of the possibility of learning for all of eternity, of becoming a physicist, a philologist, a philosopher, and other pursuits that don’t even start with the letter P. But mostly I thought about being a Professor of Philology at the . . .  uh . . . Pearly Gates Institute for Universal Language . . . I’m getting carried away now, but the question that gave me pause was this.

Will our language evolve in heaven?

We’ll all be speaking one language, obviously. (Although the presence of babel fish or a TARDIS isn’t necessarily out of the question, for the purpose of this argument I expect one language.) We might even be speaking PIE.

But PIE, as we know, over the years, became Old Church Slavonic and Phoenician and Latin, and Italian and Spanish and Romanian . . . And somewhere along the line came this bastard child of all languages, English, which has taken its own road from Chaucer to Shakespeare to Proust, and not to esteem myself so highly, but I bear this mantle too.

Any quick search of a good etymological dictionary will show that over time words change in meaning, and new words are birthed, and dialects are formed and branches split off, and suddenly we’ve cursed our own heaven-reaching towers and spread far and wide, each to his own tongue.

But does this natural turn of events continue in a perfect world? Will meanings continue to metamorphose as they whim, or will we have finally reached the Perfect Understanding, where evolution is an exercise in blasphemy?

This prods at the sleeping question–does change imply imperfection? By naturally morphing, does language define previous meanings as inherently bad?

In case you were wondering, I don’t have any answers. I just ask the questions.

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In Defense of the Rumspringa

Rumspringa: A term for adolescence among the Amish. In popular understanding, a time of sowing one’s wild oats.

I’ve learned recently that the view of rumspringa as a time of rebellion is not the general understanding in the Amish community. However, it is understood that adolescents are not held to the same higher standards as adults and that some misbehavior will occur.

Even with the rather apocryphal nature of this  idea, I’d like to stand in support of it. In doing so, I make myself terrifyingly vulnerable, more than I ever have, on the public platform of the internet. But it’s a vulnerability I consider to be worth it, a conversation I want to have (I think).

I’ve grown up in a conservative Christian home. I was homeschooled for five years and then attended a private Christian school. I’ve just graduated from a Christian university and am now attending another Christian university for my master’s. I’ve volunteered at a Christian organization, freelanced for Christian publications, held part-time jobs at a Christian bookstore and in Christian schools. This has been my heritage.

And suddenly, recently, all I’ve historically held dear has been thrown up into one giant Question Mark, and in talking with peers  with similar upbringings, I know I’m not alone. And yet, outside of these select few, this wave of radical questioning that I feel doesn’t seem to be accepted by the general Christian populace. In fact, I saw a church sign the other day that stated outright, “Questioning God? He made the brain cells you think with.”

Perhaps this is because it’s not a conversation I’ve actively pursued. And that is probably due to the fact that I almost neurotically crave the approval of others, and I’ve imagined how those closest to me would react if I ever expressed my real thoughts. “You don’t think you believe what?” “You do what now?” “Sinner.” “You’re dirty.” “I’m judging you.” “Just read your Bible.”

But a professor whose opinion I value has said many times, “I don’t trust a Christian who hasn’t rebelled.” And that’s why I defend some kind of rumspringa, some sort of allowance for the necessity  of doubt, even stepping away from what’s universally accepted to be right and holy and What Everyone Does.

Because I wish it were socially acceptable to be socially unacceptable for a time, that spiritual/moral/intellectual exploration was acknowledged and understood. That it wasn’t taboo to say, “I’m going to take everything I have ever valued and believe the opposite just because I can and I want to see what happens.”

It’s not hatred. It’s not antagonism. It’s a lot of malaise with a good portion of “but what if…” thrown in.

The result, in all likelihood, is that in the end I’ll see why I valued it all along. But I wish I could choose not to, with support and without social stigma. I wish I were allowed to be insane, to let things devolve into the question mark, because I will probably get saner later on.

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Hannah’s Chuppdate (age six)

From the always excellent archives, a letter I wrote to family and friends at the tender age of six. Enjoy my superb spelling and creative punctuation.

This is Hannah. it is my BirthDay Number Six ! .I am exsited !aren’t you to ?Well I am! Rejoice in the Lord always!we ALL! love all of you !. Here is some about me (Hannah)

THINGS I LIKE TO DO…

PLAY BALL
SWING (At PlayGrounds)
SLIDE
CLIMB TREES
READ BOOKS (Very Much Evan Big Ones!)
WORK ON THE COMPUTER!

Things I don’t like…

cleaningup
folding
thunder
broccoli

my favrite foods and season and why?

SEASON:summer
swimming

FOOD:spaghetti
pesto

Things I want to do while I’m six…

Learn to swim
Learn to ride a bike
Learn to play gatar
Learn to play piano

what I think about my DAD… he is…,speisal,happy,funny and loveable
MOM….she is…MY MOM!
PETER…he is…FUNNY!

My favrite things to do at SCOOL…

Corispondense
math

Here is a poem I wrote about hugs:

Hug’s Don’t Evaporate

Hug’s don’t evaporate
that is true.
When we say: Mama I’ve got a booboo!
that’s when we need a hug!

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because obviously they put cream and sugar in their coffee in hell.

I’ve learned I like to consume things that aren’t always pleasurable from the get-go.

Black coffee.

Whiskey.

Habanero salsa.

Onions.

And strangely it’s the bitterness, the acrid pain that endear these things to me. Which (naturally) got me to thinking about heaven.

Spicy foods induce pain, and bitterness connotes unpleasantness, so in heaven when every wrong is made right will coffee be bitter, will whiskey still be pungent, will salsa be spicy, will onions be biting? Are the sharpness and slightly disagreeable natures of these foods results of the fall? Or perhaps were our palates ruined by the fall and so our appreciation of such things is an illicit desire?

Oh, now I don’t like that conclusion one bit. I very much want to drink my coffee black in heaven and know that it’s been redeemed.

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On Falling in Love with a Familiar Story in an Entirely New Way

I sometimes endlessly ingested Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and grew up falling in love with Christian Bale & Winona Ryder’s movie version.

But the ending, whether print or film, always left me dissatisfied. Why, oh why, did spunky Jo, my idol, my model, my heart, why did she settle for an old geezer like Bhaer? He was nice, for sure, but with a niceness that seemed to fall into the realm of someone’s grandpa. Not a heartthrob like Teddy. I mean, come on.

Old and decrepit man, or . . . vs. total hottie? This should have been the easiest decision, Jo.

No contest, right?

I had a dream in high school, or middle school, I think, in which I ended up marrying Professor Bhaer. I found myself in the same setting as the movie, in pouring rain, under an umbrella . . . either that or in a school hallway. Anyways, I kissed this man I knew I was going to marry, and looked up, and it was Professor Bhaer. I woke up horrified. Never would such a thing happened to me.

Then this morning, I realized, as the anvil fell on my head, that Jo was on to something. She wasn’t settling. Not at all.

I realized this morning that Professor Bhaer is my ideal man. Behold:

  1. An older man. When Bhaer and Jo get married, he is around 40 and she in her mid-twenties, leaving an age-gap of 15ish years. My current ideal age for a man is 35, which leaves an age gap of 13 years. (Although I did just realize that this means he would be closer to my mom’s age than mine. Details.) Men mature at a slower rate than do women, so at this age he would likely be more wise, as well as have more life experience.
  2. European. I really don’t know what else I need to say to support the validity of this point.
  3. Professor. My current dream job is to be a professor and author. My current favorite men’s fashion look is professorial. I love academics.

There it is. We are destined for each other, Professor Bhaer and I, whenever we find each other.

I’ve always identified with Jo, and in fact last year that was my apartment’s nickname for me. And finally I can identify with her choice of Bhaer.

Meant to be. That’s all I’ve got to say.

True happiness right here . . .