Blog Archives

Serving the Needy

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I’m constantly reminded by my dear friend Becca what living out Christianity in regards to serving.

Whenever we see someone in need, she is the first person to jump at the chance to serve them wholeheartedly, regardless of the consequences.

A couple weeks ago we were going out to eat for a column I write for our school paper called Get Out! where I go out to eat and try local restaurants and then encourage (or discourage) my fellow schoolmates and the faculty and staff at CU to try it out. We planned on going to an Indian restaurant, but instead found ourselves going to a small Mexican Restaurant close to our church.

It was there in a parking lot we met a woman named Stacey who informed us that she needed exactly $28 dollars and was relying on God to help her get the money so she could get home. She told us a little bit about her faith in Christ, where she’d been in life, and how she is depending on God for her future.

It was Becca that was so quick to respond to this woman’s need and it was me, being the pessimist, that was hesitant to help her. But Becca told me later that she does it not only as a leap of faith, but that she would rather take the time to help someone and have them not be in need, than to not help someone who was not in need.

What if we lived our life like that? Instead of intentionally avoiding people in need, what if we were better at intentionally putting people first in our lives?

This song always reminds me of that need that we have in our life to serve others.

I’m still not perfect at giving to others, in fact I still struggle with it a lot, but I’m working on it, are you?

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Checking out different worlds

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It’s easy for me to stick to things I know, especially when it comes to music. I love listening to all different kinds – country, rock, pop, hip-hop, rap, Christian, classical, instrumental, Irish- but I’ve never really ventured in the the dub-step or alternative/underground band area.

Until recently that is.

My brother Logan is generally a straight country or rock type guy, he doesn’t really venture out of his comfort zone when it comes to music.

Until recently that is.

That’s when his best friend Josh introduced Logan to AWOLNATION and their song “Sail.” This group is more or less an underground band that is kind of alternative/ dub-step type thing. But it’s pretty cool. I hadn’t expected to enjoy this music as much as I did, but after listening to a couple times the song got stuck in my head and encouraged me to listen to it more.

This “Sail” song was a great way for me to delve into this genre of music and to experience new music that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

I’d encourage all of you this week to not only listen to this song, but check out other songs that are way different genre’s than what you usually listen to! 🙂

Remembering the ARTIST Michael Jackson

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This week I found myself watching Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” movie with my roommates Nicki and Amanda. I was amazed with how much thought Michael went through as he created these one-of-a-kind sets for his most famous songs.

It made me realize how much he cared about his fans and just how creative this artist was. It’s something I feel like his last few years of life people didn’t appreciate about him.

His image, at least in my childhood, was scarred by inappropriate behaviors he allegedly had at his home. People were so rocked by this that they started forgetting him as an artist and instead focused on the negatives associated with the guy.

Up until about five years ago, I felt the same way. I told myself I would never listen to Michael Jackson because he represents negativity and sinfulness and it’s something I shouldn’t expose myself to as a Christian. Wow, I’m really on a high horse aren’t I?

But I started educating myself. I started looking at the ‘real’ person of Michael Jackson, reading about what he was passionate about, what he did for others, and who he was as a musician and artist.

Truly this guys had a heart for people, really cared about them, and really wanted to make a difference in the lives of those around him.

I wish we could focus more on what someone is actually doing instead of focusing on what people SAY he is doing. Maybe then his life wouldn’t have been cut so drastically short.

Taylor Swift has WAY too much influence on the world

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Sometimes I feel like everywhere I turn Taylor Swift is there, especially at a college I feel like it’s impossible to get away from here. You get on Facebook, she’s on someone’s Spotify, you go to your class someone is talking about her.

Don’t you feel like saying, “She’s everywhere, she’s everywhere!!” right now?

Anyway, my point is that she evokes these fierce emotions from people. People love her, people hate her, either way it’s an extreme emotion. I can’t think of anyone who is just like, “I mean, Taylor Swift is pretty good, she’s not my favorite…” that’s like talking about Justin Bieber people. People don’t say that about him, they go, ” I HATE him,” or “I LOVE him.” No in between.

I wish people would step back and realize that Taylor Swift is a human, she has her flaws and her talents. She’s a great young musician, who tends to be kind of immature I feel for her age in my opinion, who has had an incredible impact on the world. But really guys, that doesn’t mean we need erect a monument or something.

Let’s just try to enjoy her music and not spend all your time talking about it, because seriously, there are other more important things to talk about.

Giving our hopes and dreams some air

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I realize this week that a number of people will post about this experience, the Chinese Lanterns that were released into the sky last Friday as part of ArtPrize, but I think it’s important to post about it as well.

This video particularly stuck out to me because at the very beginning of the video a woman seemed to be talking to her child and said that the lanterns were the hopes and dreams of the people around them. Instantly I went back to the movie Tangled.

I love the scene of lanterns in the movie Tangled, it’s probably one of my favorite parts is when Rapunzel watches this for the first time. Her entire life she had dreamed about the moment and she finally got to experience it with Flynn, or Eugene as she calls him throughout the movie.

What captures people most about this experience I think, I wasn’t actually there so I don’t know for sure, was this innocence of setting your hopes and dreams afloat. To have one more experience of the simple and slow things in life before we have to go back to the harsh reality and hasty speed of everyday life. Just for a moment we can experience awe again. We can be a child again. We can appreciate the simple.

Don’t you wish everyday could be like that?

I loved the comment that was posted at the bottom of the video about the lights, “Every person there that saw this “art” will never forget this 1/2 hour of their life!!!! For the rest of their life!
1st place for art prize! Goes to Mark and Dan!”

Boost in Shawarma sales….because of the Avengers?

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I watched The Avengers a couple weeks ago when we had the CU Drive-in, which by the way was pretty awesome ! But anyway, when watching the ending Robert Downey Jr’s character, Tony Stark, makes a reference to an obscure food called shawarma. Now being the movie buff that my friend and I are (at least when it comes to superheros) we decided we had to check it out and actually wound up at Parsley Mediterranean Grille downtown Grand Rapids to try it out.

It was different. Like very Middle Eastern authentic. Kind of bland, very chewy and very garlic filled. But I’m glad we tried it.

And come to find out we aren’t the only ones who’ve tried it. If you Google “shawarma” a number of links pop up about how much sales have increased at various shawarma serving restaurants. But really looking into it TMZ is behind it all and both the Huffington Post and Esquire only report the single restaurant TMZ reported which sales of shawarma increased by “80 percent.”

All surveys aside, I would believe that sales have drastically increased, at least while the movie has been out and theaters and because it’s about to be released on DVD. I’d doubt the fad goes on much longer than that, just because I find it hard to believe that at least Americans as a whole would enjoy adding shawarma into their daily diets.

However, for the 10 minutes or so it took me to eat it, I did feel just a little bit more connected to Tony Stark and the rest of The Avengers!

My Childhood: The Wild Thornberrys

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Loving cultures traces back to my early childhood when I watched the show The Wild Thornberrys -a show about a family who travels the world filming documentaries and the experiences they have along the way.

I haven’t thought about them in years but the other night in my World Civilization class we were talking about Machu Picchu (an Inca site in Peru) and my mind jumped back to the Thornberrys, specifically Eliza who had a desire to see it. She encouraged me to have dreams about the places I wanted to visit and the experiences I hoped to have some day.

I think this show as great for children because it showed them adventures they couldn’t dream of at their age and it encouraged them to reach for the stars like Eliza. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have to watch some more of it!