Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Journals in Israel

So, here I am, more than halfway through my second semester of college, and already I have worked my way through most of a large pile of paperwork. I have been preparing for two things in the next year. One, I will be starting nursing clinicals next spring. Two, I will be studying abroad in the fall.

Both are really exciting to me. Of course, now that I am more than halfway finished with the paperwork involved, I have more room to be excited. But I am especially excited for studying abroad, courtesy of the orientation meetings required.

Tonight's orientation session was focused around growing in our faith while studying abroad. They wanted us to think about what the dominant religious group was in our country, some lifestyle differences, new ideas or social issues, preparing for a support network and being salt and light in our country. I'm going to be studying in Jerusalem, Israel (apparently the college is on Mount Zion!). That gives me three religions, three cultures, three groups of people to identify with. Nevertheless, I am excited.

Then we had to think about practical ideas to "engage and grow our faith". Stuff like getting plugged in, not focusing on the community back home, getting involved in small groups, finding a mentor, continuing daily devotionals, and engaging the religions in the community. And journaling. O, I love journaling. Having a journal and writing in it faithfully is one of my loves. I brought most of my journals with me to college because I love going back through to look at them. Recently I finished a journal and began a new one that my sister gave to me for my birthday. :) I have also come to love writing in cursive in them. It's so pleasant and enjoyable. I love it.

Besides the point. I am recording in writing that I am going to 1) get a camera over the summer 2) start a blog specifically for my experience in Israel. I like having a place to record stuff like that (I write a lot in a personal journal, which means I don't need to write here as much to think about stuff, but for Israel I would want you all to hear about it all), and I want there to be a place for other students preparing to study abroad in Israel. I want there to be a place where people can go to step into my shoes for a few months, and see the Holy Land through my eyes. I plan on taking lots of beautiful pictures, especially of flowers (I love flowers. I took tons of pictures last year on Dad's and my trip to the Grand Canyon. (I suppose I should supply a post with details and pictures? Haha, one year later...)). I love taking pictures. It's just that I don't have a good camera... (I have my cell phone, but I hardly think that counts. I've gotten a few good pictures from my old-new phone, but others were just pixalated and terrible)

So right now the next step is getting the last piece of my application together, and sending it off. It must seem presumptuous for me to be making plans about what I'm going to do while there, before I've been accepted, but I'm pretty certain of my acceptance. It's just a matter of getting the materials in, and letting them know when my passport arrives.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fruit Loops and the Future

In the past week and a half, I have been introduced to the joys of Craig's List. It started with a kayak. Last Tuesday I got the sudden inspiration to go kayak-shopping on Craig's List in the hopes I could find an inexpensive, good kayak and equipment. While I was struck by my failure in timing, as I did not have a mode of transportation to GET the kayak, I did find that I enjoyed perusing Craig's List.

Now my downfall.

It's a very good thing that I do not have a house or a truck, because I have seen some really cool (and random) things on Craig's List, that, if I had a place to put the things, I would probably run out and get. Here's my collection of cool things and random ones.

Sleigh Bed. I always have loved sleigh beds because they just look cool. There's one that is about $500, but I really like it. It's very pretty.
Fabric. This is a good thing, since it would end up being less expensive than Joann's.

Free stuff:
Firewood! Free firewood is excellent in winter! Too bad I don't have a fireplace to burn it...
Couches. You wouldn't believe how many couches are stated as, "You bring the truck to haul it, it's yours."
TV's. Too bad I don't watch TV that often (though I do watch movies...!)
Whirlpool tub.
Fruit Loops. O.o

While all of this is just plain silly to look at, it makes me think of the future. I think about graduating from college and finding a place to live. Some of this stuff would be really great.

In CCC, we are on the Community unit. So, yesterday, we talked about neighborhood communities and I realized that there is a huge difference between the neighborhoods of today and the neighbors of today that I see in my head.

You see, I remember what life was like when I was a kid. I remember playing with the neighborhood kids, playing baseball in the col-de-sac even though I was terrible at it. I remember gathering a group of kids to go down to play at the creek. Because of those memories, I think of being able to let my kids do the same things one day.

But neighborhoods have changed. They are no longer safe for kids to play in the street. I don't know if I would feel comfortable letting my child just run around outside as long as he was in for dinner. Perhaps that is just that I am more aware of the dangers of life, but perhaps there is some value in my fear - that life is very different now than when I grew up.

It's weird for me to say that. I'm barely an adult. But childhood seems eons ago. And, with my little life experience, the time I remember was more than half my lifetime ago. Who can forget being 7 or 8? Who can forget the joys of being 9, 10, or 11? (Adolescence pretty much started kicking in at 12). But the truth of the matter is that I am not 7 anymore, so I do not think like a 7-year-old anymore. I cannot see the world through my young, innocent eyes anymore. That does not mean I should stop looking for it. It just means we should be careful.

In the past few weeks, I have taken to thinking about things I want in the future rather than just avoiding them altogether. In this way, I can confront those things rather than letting them hang out inside of me, secretly wishing they could come out. So, with this, I think about things I want with regards to where I will live and where I raise my children. I realize that some of them are very valid things to wish for, and some of them are not. Some of them are just silly thoughts, while some are serious concerns. I weed out the unnecessary things, so that, if they do not happen, I will have already thought about it. This does not mean I do not still want them to happen. I have dreams. But I should not be crushed if the less important wishes do not happen.

Because, in the end, it does not matter if I live in the suburb I have grown up in or in the country. The community, however, does matter with regards to raising a family. It does not matter if I have a hammock in the backyard or a swing on the porch. It does matter that I am prepared to make memories, no matter where.

Other things are materialistic and silly. I can dream, sure, but I'm part of God's kingdom, and His kingdom is not materialistic. I shall have to pry some of these dreams away from my fingers in the days to come.

I hope that this blog post is not too convoluted. I tend to let my mind wander when writing, so some of this might make no sense. I just let my fingers and thoughts flow. Please bring me in line if I don't make sense. :)

This is Sarah, signing off.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hello March

This is gonna be a real quick update on things in general, since I need to finish getting ready for today.

Last week, I had a plethora of tests and projects, and I've gotten grades back for many of them. Most of them are pretty good!

On Monday, I had a wonderful late-night discussion with the couple who leads the Loft team here. I'm still sorting out things from that conversation, but at least I'm not quite as confused as before. :)

As part of my morning devotions, I've been reading chapters from Eric Ludy's The Bravehearted Gospel. It's a fantastic book, and I will likely write a few posts on it in the near future.

Today is tomato soup day in the dining hall! Hehe, that might not be a big thing, but I LOVE tomato soup, and the dining hall only served it two or three times during the fall. I just hope I'll be able to keep it down...

Which leads me to a small prayer request. Yesterday I woke up with an upset stomach that has continued into today. I didn't sleep well last night because I was so uncomfortable. I've been doing my best to nibble on saltines and sip water, but they're not working as well as I would like. The small appetite I still do have is only present when I'm lying down, which makes meals a little difficult in the dining hall. By the time I get there for lunch, I think I could probably recline a little bit over some chairs since it won't be as crowded, but I'm nervous about being able to keep food down today. And due to my restless night, on top of being nauseous, I am also tired, hungry, and have a headache. It really stinks being hungry and nauseated at the same time... >_>

So I would appreciate a few prayers for health and school if you can spare them. :)