Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Non-Bloody Jesus

A quick post on how I know my sister loves me.

My brother-in-law is from Portugal. He's family is old school super Catholics. They go to mass all the time. They light candles for those we have lost. They visit the Shrine of our Lady of Fatima all the time!

So my sister went with her husband and their kids to Fatima Shrine last week to buy a spiritual for a wake she had to go to and to light candles for a friend my brother-in-law lost. While my brother-in-law and my nephews were lighting candles and praying my sister was in the gift shop. As she was telling me this story she asked "Do you know how awkward it is to be in a Catholic gift shop on a Catholic holy ground and ask for something NOT Catholic?"

My sister asked the clerk if there was anything in the gift shop that didn't have some image of the bloody Jesus attached to the crucifix. She and the clerk spent an hour searching for something that didn't have "Bloody Jesus" on it. She explained to the clerk that her sister (me) is graduating in May and is not Catholic but is religious. After searching for over an hour they found something that will work and she's giving it to me when I graduate next month. I am very interested in finding out what it is.

I know my sister loves me because she goes to the Catholic Shrine and asks for a non-bloody Jesus!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Commencement Speech I Would Give

I was sitting at my desk at work yesterday and my mind started to wander, as it typically does. It wandered to the speeches that were given at my High School graduation, and the speeches I've seen at other graduations. It wandered to the speeches given last year at AUC's graduation and then it arrived on if I were to give a speech at graduation what would I say? That thought mixed with reflecting on my time in college came up with this:

Lessons Learned

In my time at Atlantic Union College, I have said more than once, “I can’t wait to graduate”. Alright, to be honest, I have said that more times than I can actually count. When struggling through professor Lugenbeal’s Greek class: I cannot wait to graduate! When procrastinating in Dean Francis’ statistics class: I cannot wait to graduate! When attempting to understand the theological and apocalyptic implications of the interpretation of the different horses in the sixth chapter, verses 1 through 8, of the book of Revelation and the symbolism behind their coloring in Doctor Davis’ course on Revelation, (and surprise Dean Davis, I was paying attention), I may have uttered a couple hundred times, “I can’t wait to graduate!” From the day, I was accepted to graduate school, my mantra has been “I cannot wait to graduate!” 

And yet here I stand, mere moments from graduating from college, and I begin to reflect on my time here. I think of the things learned in the classroom but truly, it is the things learned outside of the classroom that stick out the most. There were the times I left class completely confused and it was not until studying with friends that things began to click. It was outside of class where I learned valuable things, like which toiletry bottles are best for holding open a window. (Turns out that a can of hairspray works best FYI). It was outside of class where I learned one of life’s most valuable lessons: It does not matter if you are white and have no rhythm whatsoever, get your butt out on the dance floor and enjoy yourself. It was outside of class where I learned that if you manage to go to sleep at 9:00 PM and wake up at 3:30 AM you will have amazing amounts of energy and actually manage to get work done. At that same time, I realized that no one is in the girls’ dorm computer lab at 3:30 AM so the only distraction from your work is yourself. 

It was outside of classes that I learned what a mystery substance known as stripples are. One of the greatest lessons I have learned during my nearly four years at Atlantic Union College was not learned in a classroom, it was not part of an assignment, and it was not during a chapel. The greatest thing I learned was something I learned from a fellow student this past semester. The greatest thing I learned was positive thinking. If you put yourself down that means, everyone else can. If you think you are beaten, you are. If you do not challenge yourself, no one ever will. A friend, whom I wish I had met earlier in my academic career, taught me this and I do not exaggerate when I say that it was her annoying little goal to drill it into my head over the course of the semester. 

In my time at Atlantic Union College, I have met amazing people. There have been professors who have guided us along the way. The first one that comes to mind is Rick Trott, who I have mentally referred to as Trottikins in my time here. Most of us have a professor that has given us extra help or has made our time here worth it. We have made friends here. Some of those friends we might never see after May 15, others we will stay in touch with via Facebook or email, and then there are those others...those that you have met in your time at AUC who have become family. I know for me at least, there are people I am graduating alongside that are like brothers and sisters to me, who I will not be losing contact with whether they like it or not. 
In my time at AUC, I have learned how to parse Greek verbs, how to find the standard deviation, how to counsel people, how to preach a sermon, how to be a pastor, how to be a friend, how to introduce myself in Spanish at a church, and how to develop my ideas in order to win an argument. Adam Ingano’s Radicals & Reformers, Rick Trott’s Christian Ethics, Andrew Francis’ Computer classes, Francy Duran’s History of Christianity, Gidget Keech’s Group Counseling, Roger Bothwell’s Introduction to Psychology, and Adam Ingano’s American National Government, these are some of the classes that have taught me lessons and provided me with experiences that I will keep with me after I leave this place, this campus, this town. 

In my time at Atlantic Union College, I have learned how to defend my beliefs and I have learned who I am. These are two of the most vital lessons a person can learn in life and I have Atlantic Union College to thank for that. Now that college is done, I intend to sleep for a week. I have to catch up for all of those all-nighters we have pulled this semester. I leave you with the memorable words of our former president, George W. Bush, “To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you too may one day be president of the United States.” 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Paying for Seminary

I have been so busy lately that I have been forgetting to do a lot of things...and one of those things is blog.

Money sucks! I wish we lived in a world where everything wasn't so dependent on money. David and I have had this conversation numerous times. He agrees, the fact that our society seems to revolve around money is depressing. My brother and I got into a fight the other night. Well, by fight I mean he informed me that I am wasting my life and that I'll never make money and will therefore get divorced, and I tried to defend myself. My family does not understand the desire to be a Pastor. No matter how many times I attempt to explain it, it never sinks in. My brother apparently looked at some list of professions and the amount of money they make and ministry was at the bottom of the list. Try as I might, my brother will never understand that it is not about the money. He also read that 80% of divorces are over money. So if I follow his logic: I'll become a pastor, I won't make any money, I'll be poor, and then I will get divorced because I have no money. Sigh!

I suppose what is making me write this post is the idea of paying for Seminary. I got my award letter for this year and it depressed me. With the PTS grant and Federal Work Study, I have been awarded $13,250. That's great, but when I use the cost calculator, it's not so great. Tuition+fees+dorm+15 meal plan+books=$20,880. $20,880-$13,250=$7,630. Considering I am financially independent (I don't have anyone helping me pay for school), and already have a lot of loans from my undergraduate years, that is incredibly daunting and depressing. Considering part of what my brother said is right, ministry does not make a whole lot of money, the idea of taking more loans on is frustrating.

So right now, I am wading my way through the Internet trying to find ANY grants and scholarships that I qualify for and applying to them. I'm already in a stressing and depressed mood due to the amount of work I have to do and this new factoid is not helping at all!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No Longer Jew or Greek, Male or Female, Gay or Straight

To be perfectly honest, if I do not care about an assignement I do not put a whole lot of effort into it. I do the assignment because it needs to be done. I do exactly what the assignment requires, nothing more, nothing less. Today I turned in an assignment that I cared about. I spent nearly a month doing research. I looked at obscure articles, I read books, I looked up theologians. I went to the More Light Presbyterians website and utilized their research section. I emailed the directors of a documentary on gay Sevneth Day Adventists. I asked people for their opinions on resources and I order books off of

I sat and stared at my reseach for hours on end. I had all of this amazing research and phenomenal quotes from theologians and pastors. But I had no idea where to start. And once I started, I wrote and erased and rewrote and deleted and rewrote. Finally I spent an entire weekend working on the paper. Not doing work for any other classes, but simply focusing on this paper. By the end of the weekend it was finished. It measures slightly over ten pages. I wrote it knowing that the primary audience is my professor and classmates who come from an extremely conservative Seventh-Day Adventist background. I wrote it, not wanting my classmates to stone me, knowing what the main view of homosexuality is in this setting.

I decided to upload my paper to Scribd so that any who might want to read it may. Here is my paper: No Longer Jew or Greek, Male or Female, Gay or Straight. Comments are appreciated!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How Web MD Made Me A Hypochondriac!

Web MD is a fabulous site. You can go on and find out about all kinds of illnesses and bodily type things. You can educate yourself on almost anything having to do with health and diet, bodily functions, diseases, medical conditions, allergens, and drugs and supplements. If there is something you want to know about health, you can probably find it on Web MD. I have used it as a source for papers before.
Web MD also has an interesting function on their website called the SYMPTOM CHECKER. You start by selecting your gender and age (wouldn't want to tell a man they're pregnant right?) and then you have two options: you can either click on the body parts that you are trying to diagnose or you can type symptoms into the search feature. For the past to days I have been dealing on and off with an issue. Randomly I will break out into hives. My skin will become super itchy, red, and splotchy. It looks oh so attractive! Someone suggested that perhaps it is stress related but it has been happening when I am at my least stressed. Not when I am presenting a paper, but rather when I am in the class I enjoy. Not when I am doing homework but when I am out at trivia night. Not when I am in the class that is kicking my butt but when I am at work surfing the internet. Very confusing. And it is more frustrating than anything else. 
So I went onto Web MD. I haven't changed my soap, or shampoo or lotion or anything I bathe with. I haven't changed laundry detergent (which reminds me I need to do laundry stat!) I simply cannot figure this out! So maybe Web MD could help? I selected the different symptoms, the redness, the itching, the hives and got some very interesting results:
  • Allergic Reaction- This makes sense, that was my first thought.
  • Contact Dermitis- That one makes sense as well. something touched my skin and its affecting me
  • Abscsess- hmm, no I think I would notice that
  • Poison Ivy, Sumac, Oak- Haven't come into contact with it and I think I'm immune
  • Burn- Wouldn't I notice that as well?
  • Osteomyelitis- a bone infection caused by bacteria...thats scary!
  • Epidermal cysts- it's just some hives and a rash not cysts...
  • Acne- Wait, I've been though puberty, I know a pimple when I see one. I do not have pimples all over my hands!
  • Brown Recluse spider bite- are you kidding me? Do they even live in New England?
  • Phlebitis- an inflammation of the veins. Another scary one? I thought I had a rash, do I have to worry about dying? I shouldn't have looked into this. I don't want to die!
  • Medication reaction/ drug allergy- Haven't taken anything, except for the Benedryl to deal with this issue.
  • Blepharitis- a Bacterial eye infection, ...?
  • Actinic Keratosis- precancerous skin condition that develops in sun-exposed skin, especially face, skin, forearms and neck in pale-skinned, fair-haired, light-eyes people. GREAT! So, I'm dying? pale-skinned? I make paper look tan! Fantastic! I'm already paranoid about cancer based on my genetics. but the description says the itchy patches don't go away, but mine went away yesterday and came back today. But they came back...I'm freaking out!
  • Cirrhosis- Seriously? I've only been legal to drink for 16 months! And there hasn't been any binge drinking in there. And where is the correlation between the liver and hives and itchiness on the skin? Cirrhosis is deadly. Do I need a liver transplant? Am I going to die?

Web MD is a great resource. But it can turn you into the biggest hypochondriac. After reading this I am fairly certain I am allergic to oxygen, am on fire, have pimples covering my body, my veins are clogged, my liver is scarred, have cancer, dying from spider toxins, and have been rolling in a patch of Poison Ivy that I just don't remember. Yeah it's a great resource to drive me crazy! And now I'm even more itchy...great...


Monday, April 4, 2011

Purple for Graduation

A few weeks ago, there was a group of students visiting from a high school in Canada. It was my job to give them a tour of the campus. When my boss was introducing me to the students and their chaperones she introduced me as “the cause person on campus”. She explained to them that I am always working on a different cause. At first, I was a little bit offended. Is that what I want to be known as? When I leave this college do I want people to remember me as the cause girl? After reflecting on it, I realized that I have no problem with people knowing me as the cause person. I am passionate about improving the world we live in and whether it is by collecting supplies to send to Haiti, organizing a 30-Hour Famine, putting on a TOMs One Day Without Shoes or something else, at least I am facilitating change.

Well school is almost over. Graduation is pretty soon. It is going to be great. My friends will be there and so will some family members. However, my Dad will not be and that really sucks. It has been three years since he passed away. It hurts to know that he will not be able to be here to see me graduate. My Nana Rosie will not be there either. It has been a year since she passed. I was pondering this the other day…thinking about how much it blows that they will not be there, thinking how much I wish they could see me, thinking how much I wish they would be with me on that day.

The gerbils that live in my mind are really random. They enjoy going off on their own little paths, and they tend to not agree with path to go down, so I have gerbils running in every direction making my thought patterns do the same. When I was reflecting on my dad and my Nana one of the smarter gerbils apparently won the fight for where my attention would go and a little thought popped into my head. And this, lead me to My Graduation Goal. If I can raise $500 by May 15th I will dye my hair Purple for Graduation. Purple? Why Purple? Purple is the color that the American Cancer Society uses for Cancer Awareness. Both My dad and my Nana were colon cancer survivors but then passed due to lung cancer. Many others in my life are either Cancer survivors or currently battling Cancer.

As I have said before I go to a pretty conservative Christian college. There are a great many of rules, some of them are expected because it is a Christian school, some are unique to their denomination, and others are just plain silly. No alcohol…well okay, it is a Christian school, a lot of Christian schools ban alcohol…I can understand it. No Jewelry…hmm, well that is tougher but for the most part, I will follow it. I am not removing my cross in class but I will not wear huge earring deal? No unnatural hair colors? Wait a second, seriously? If my hair is a color that does not occur naturally, I can lose my job? Unfortunately, they are not kidding. If I were to dye my hair green, pink, or any other unnatural color, I could lose my job.

Therefore, if (hopefully WHEN) I reach my goal of $500 you will not see it until the graduation ceremony. Please help me reach and exceed my goal by going to my Fundraising Site to donate!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Do NOT Pick A Topic You Care About

I have recently come to the conclusion that if you simply want to hurry up and be done with the semester. If you just want to write a paper, get a good grade, and be done. If you just want to breeze through the topic, DO NOT pick a topic that you actually care about. If you pick a topic that is of great interest to you, you want to give it your all. Instead of simply writing a paper and being done with it (which is where I am in most of my classes) you will give 150% effort. You analyze every aspect of it. You will write, delete, rewrite, delete, and rewrite. Instead of writing a ten page paper in one night, which is what you would ordinarily do, you will spend weeks researching, and trying to track down random and obscure references so that you paper will be perfect. Even after you come to the glaringly obvious realization that your professor does not give a rats ass about your topic, that most of your classmates think you are the anti-Christ, and when you present your paper they will be preparing the rocks to through at you, you still put your everything into it.

To be perfectly honest I disagree with what I just said. While I am spending weeks working on this paper, and if I had just picked a topic that I didn't care about all of the work for this class would have been done weeks ago, I am glad I picked this topic. While my professor and the vast majority of my classmates think I am headed to hell for the topic of my paper and that I am actually "trying to lead them away from Christ" by not condemning homosexuality I am glad I picked it. Yes, it is a topic I care about and if one student listens then yay, if not, I stood for what I believe in.

At this point I have gathered my sources: a great number of articles, books, websites, emails, and bible passages. I have begun to write the paper, and then deleted it so time to start over.