Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Yesterday, I spent my physics lecture doing a sudoku. I sat next to a friend who played solitaire on his iPod and who texted me in the middle of lecture, “If we’re not paying attention, what are we doing here?” I didn’t know. To not be rude? To fulfill obligation? In hopes that we’ll retain something? I know it’s me that’s responsible for my education. But what can I do if I’m simply not engaged? How much can I force? What if I don’t care what thermal convection means? I don’t care about thermal convection because I don’t understand how I’ll use it and how it will help me better the world. And I definitely don’t understand how it applies to Zoology or the things I’m passionate about.

Ironic. I went to my next lecture (The Information Society) and we talked about education and how it’s not all it’s cracked up to be anymore. We watched a video that shocked me but made sense at the same time.

I guess this blog in and of itself is a testament that I am learning. Half of what I write on here has to do with what I’m learning in class. This blog is a collection of my reflections and processing of the information I’m given in class. But still, why am I checked out half the time?

I guess we all need to learn how we learn and then get that for ourselves. But what if what we need is not available? I've been questioning my state university education, not because I don't think it's not good enough, but because much of the time I'm not getting what I need.

Attention. Dialogue. Human interaction. Some of that is missing here.

And I miss what this embodies:

(cheesy yes, but what they claim is true)

Kaplan University offers a solution: listen to America’s students and design education to fit their needs. But I think a question remains. HOW?

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Madison Community

I found a church!

It's so hard to "church shop." I even hate that term because it feels like I'm analyzing how well a church will be beneficial to me. This is important, but it feels selfish at the same time. You also have to look at the ways in which you can bless a community. It's a tough balance between getting what you know you need and being willing to give to a church that is imperfect (as they all are).

I've found a church that I feel home at. I'm so content here and it feels so right. I have no desire to look anywhere else. I leave every Sunday inspired and it's real church. It's Damascus Road Church. They embody what I feel church should be.

The preaching gets my heart every week. It's a bold kind of preaching that gets in trouble because it challenges the way church is. It's the kind of word from God that calls us out of our comfortable buildings.

"We are gonna be a people who remembers the poor."

"I think the church is a joke if we don't do something."

Damascus isn't pristine. In fact, there's a whole slew of different kinds of people. Of all ages. Of all backgrounds and lifestyles. And they come as they are ready to be different. We are all ready to be challenged out of the ways that we're living. Even if we feel we're in line with Christ, we want to be better because we know we still fall short.

What's becoming DR's mission statement is part of Isaiah 58:

6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the LORD's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I just love people

I had such a good afternoon yesterday. And it was all because of interactions and connections I had with friends and with strangers, too. I think we forget how much we can get out of just meeting with people - no matter who those people are or how well we know them.

I met with a friend for coffee on State Street. We talked about YWAM and family and our dreams and school and ... we talked for an hour but could've gone forever. From her, I learned that you can find familiarity and a home in someone even in a crowd of 40,000 students. You can find depth in someone you don't know very well.

I was on a high after that. And a 15-minute walk took over an hour.

I ran into some friends of mine who hang out on State Street. They're a homeless community of people persons. The funny thing is is that whenever I see them, they give me something. I wonder, shouldn't it be the other way around? One of the guys makes jewelry, mostly out of hemp, and freely gives it away. "I only accept donations." So far, I have a necklace and a ring that he just gave them to me. Another guy, who I met yesterday for the first time, had a bag of stuff and gave me a pink rock, a "love rock." I'm hoping it has no heavier meaning than I want. Haha. It's interesting that the people with the least are the most generous. From them I learned that nothing physical is worth keeping and generous giving can bring you more joy than what you're giving away.

A few blocks past them, I ran into a Greenpeace representative. Again, looooong, joy-giving conversation. This guy was so interesting. He's a former Marine who spent over 6 years in the Middle East. He got shot twice - once ended up being 2 centimeters from his heart. He's moved all over the US and is so passionate about conservation. He has a warm heart and just wants to talk to people about what he's passionate about. From him I learned that everyone has a story worth hearing, including the people who try to pull you out of your routine to take a survey, hear some facts, or donate some money. Psst, you can always say no. But their stories are invaluable.

Here's my challenge: talk to someone you don't know today. Take interest in them. Hear their story. Learn something. Be inspired.

Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interest, but take an interest in others, too. (Philippians 2:3-4)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I had a lot of response to my last post. Here are some things I was referred to that I want to share with you. It blows my mind how much of this we're still living.

An article about a Couples Retreat poster

Tim Wise, a secular speaker on white privilege. One speech in particular is exactly what I've been learning in class, exactly what I've been floored and silenced by. I encourage you to listen to the whole thing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

We've made progress, but ...

I'm learning that you have to filter absolutely everything. Even the things that are labelled as good.

I had an ironic moment. I was in a review session for my Contemporary American Society class. Yes, you've heard about this class many a times, but for a moment we were talking about race. Racism. Genocide. Racial disparities in prison sentences. Racial perspectives during Hurricane Katrina. Basically, in smaller but still significant ways than before, we are people that still discriminate.

I think it's just become more subtle than it has been in the past.

So I got a little distracted during the race talk and checked a few blogs that I read regularly. (Shhh) I clicked a link to a non-profit organization fighting against human trafficking. On this website, I saw this picture:


In light of our discussion on race, I immediately noticed the subtleties of this picture. Why is the victim white and the oppressor a minority? Why is the good/innocence of this picture white and the bad/evil not?

These are questions I don't feel I can address. These questions silence me.

I've also come across a short video, A Girl Like Me, which addresses the way that black women view themselves and if they know their own beauty in light of society.

To me, the most devastating part of this was a doll study they did - check it out in the middle of the video (around 3:30).

Friday, November 13, 2009


Last night, we were visited at PrimeTime (Campus Crusade for Christ) by an a cappella group on campus called Redefined.

They were so good!

It was so interesting to hear them recreate the instrumentation of a song with their voices and different noises (including a beat boxer). I thought it was so creative and beautiful. One of the songs they performed was "You Found Me" by The Fray. The song was there in its whole, meaning all the instrumentation you're used to hearing was present. But it was just their voices.

Plus, they got super into it and soon became a big clump of swaying and dancing people : ). They truly loved what they were doing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1000 words

I love pictures. I think photography is so beautiful and to capture beauty like some photographers can is so amazing to me.

Words can't do justice so just check out my favorite photography blogs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


So I know this is behind by a week and a half, but as you know, I wasn't on last week.

But I have to tell you about Halloween in Madison.

People kept warning me about how wild it gets. And I think it does, but Halloween comes aliveon State Street. People don't just put on costumes, they put on characters. And they're in character all night.

For the night I slapped on my good ol' full body tiger spandex.


Chris and his friend, Ollie the Ostrich

Rosie the Riveter.

We can do it.


H1N1 flu virus. Uh oh...


Baha! David Bowie.

One of the McDonald's characters (clearly I don't know much about them).

This was one of my favorite parts of the night. He was trying to get a drink of water.

Quite the ordeal through a layer of felt.

Sonic the hedgehog!

Sega Genesis anyone?

Yup. Jesus and Roman soldiers.

Here, actually one Jesus introducing himself to the other.

Other highlights include meeting Wolverine, being surrounded by a Chinese dragon, experiencing grunting cave men, and being sardined in a group of people. Good times : )

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I am compelled.

One of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced is re-entry after going to Uganda. Culture shock. In your own culture. It sucks. But it’s something that you need to go through and the feelings of discontent you’re left with are good.

I have my Contemporary American Society discussion on Thursdays. I leave every week so discontent. It’s amazingly informative and I’m learning a lot - but the thing is, the information is so depressing.

I feel like I’ll always be in a state of culture shock as long as our country is the way it is. Sociology 125 is definitely keeping me from moving on. But I think at this point moving on would be tragic and would make my experiences worthless.


On Thursday, we talked about poverty. Beside the fact that it’s out of control, we don’t even know how to measure poverty anymore. In the 1960’s, the poverty line was determined by the amount of money a typical family spends on food times 3. It was assumed that a third of a sustainable income went to food. It worked back then, but now we have more to take care of. Now a days, transportation takes the majority of a family income and food has become a smaller sliver in the pie graph. Even the creator of the poverty line herself thinks that now it’s way too low and should be 170% of what it actually is.

Our poverty line is $22,050 USD for a family of four. Unbelievable.

And who has the power? Those who have capital. Basically, as productivity in the US increases (and my goodness, it has), the rich get richer.

If minimum wage had increased like it should (to keep up with inflation and increased productivity), it would be around $18.00 today. We’re sitting at a federal minimum wage of $7.25.

It makes me so depressed. But as I go through this class (and hopefully as I stay informed beyond it) there are a few things I have to remember.

I can’t forget about Jesus. Even the thought of him brings me comfort in this. There’s a plan and I’m not the only part of it. It’s true that God has made me significant, but I’m not the savior of the world. Be sure to thank God for that because I would definitely fall short.

I also have to remember to not waste my time hating the United States and those in it who exploit people. That, in and of itself, won’t change anything. I remember what one of our speakers on DTS, Chris, said. He gave us advice on re-entry - that we should be ready to relearn how to love rich people. So true. I’m convinced that change comes through love. I have to love them. Every single one.

Obama, if you read this, know that I have no idea what to do. Can you improve our country? Can we have universal health care and a better social wage? Can you start a movement for better public transportation and housing? Go team - next we’ll tackle the War in Uganda.

Monday, November 2, 2009

G'bye for now.

I was just issued a challenge.

I'm taking Library and Information Sciences 201: The Information Society. We're talking about the advancement of technology in social networking, information organizing, etc... We watched a movie in class today about 3 college students who gave up their computers for 5 weeks. By give up I mean everything. One girl even boxed up her computer with duct tape and put it in her closet. Any assignments for class that were online they found ways around. They learned how to use typewriters and to make more phone calls and office visits.


So our professor challenged us to do a bit of this for a week. I think it would be too time consuming to figure out other options for things in class, but I will be giving up blogger, facebook, hotmail, youtube - basically anything outside the necessary.

For one week. I'm excited.

I think I've actually been looking for an excuse to log off. To be free. To have more time. To pretend I'm not an addict.

Ok bye.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Looks like I'll have to be more intentional

I've started to feel the lack of me time. Finding myself. Continuing to get to know who I am. Being alone with intentions to be poured into. This is was DTS and the time between then and now was all about.

And then I got to school.

Physics. Lit. Sociology. Homework. Papers. Exams. Studying. Task after task after task.

And me being the task master I am, I plow through them as best I can. Since me time isn't a task, per say, it gets back burnered.

Until I start to feel it. It's like a slump. A depression. An emptiness. A void. It feels gross and suffocating at the same time. It's no fun.

I was intentional this summer at camp about getting my quiet times in. Because our QT's rocked and finally I was learning that I need them. Apparently part of me is unlearning that. Blah.

So Friday, I was feeling that depression, that void. So I did something along the lines of one of our quiet times at camp. I encourage you to try it sometime, because it's unlike anything else I've ever done with Jesus.

I've talked about it in an older post, but I'll explain it again. It's called Java with Jesus. Baha. The idea is that you have a coffee date with Jesus. You can do soda or a walk in the park or whatever you would do on a day with a friend. Just something to get yourself to imagine a physical Jesus walking, sitting, sipping with you. You have to make a physical space for Jesus to be. It's something to get you to look into his eyes and hear his voice; and even though those physical things aren't there, you somehow still experience them. You might be surprised by how real He can become.

I went to the Union on campus, got a coffee, and sat in the Paul Bunyon room. I was sitting in a booth, so I was pretty enclosed, and had Jesus sit across the table from me.

He was so real. So present.

I'm not sure how, and I feel weird saying this, but I could hear Him to the point that He was making me laugh. I didn't literally LoL or anything because there were other people around me, but Jesus surely was pouring into me with humor, and with encouragement and affirmation.

Example of His humor. Before I started my Java with Jesus, I was working on Physics (which I'm not crazy about in any sense). So as we "sat" down, I moved my Physics stuff from right where Jesus was sitting and in my head apologized to Him like I would anyone else. Oh, sorry about my Physics stuff in your way. And He said, Nah it's ok. I created it. Baha! Oh yeah!

He was sarcastic. He was romantic. He was, and is always, everything I need. Phew, I feel so much better and am left wondering why I don't let Him take care of me more often.