Wednesday, December 23, 2009


So today I went and saw “Avatar” with ¾ of the rest of my family, and I must say, it was beyond fabulous. CG (computer generation) was AMAZING, and the storyline wasn’t even lame. It was sort of a mix between Fern Gully and Pocahontas, only for grown ups. It was goooooooooood. It did, however, get me thinking (what doesn’t get me thinking? Haha).

(Skip this paragraph if you’ve seen it.) In the movie the humans have found this other planet (Pandora) that has a rich supply of some sort of rock that can substitute for oil- it’s also very valuable. The largest supply of it on Pandora is directly under the “city” of the Na’vi- the native people. The humans are trying to get the Na’vi to relocate so they can mine the rock; this is where the avatars come in. The avatars are synthetically grown creatures made from mixing the DNA of humans with that of the Na’vi which can be linked to the mind of a human so that they can interact with the Na’vi one-on-one and convince them to relocate. The Na’vi, however, don’t want to relocate, so the head of the company and the military what’s-his-face decide to force them out (quite violently). In essence, the humans are willing to do just about anything to get what they want.

Isn’t that sort of thing what people do all the time? (Without the crazy technology and aliens, of course.) Humans want stuff. It’s this world we live in- we’re supposed to want everything we lay our eyes on- jewelry, cars, toys, money… everything, and we’ll do just about anything to get it. Now, I’m not saying that everyone out there would kill thousands of people for a pretty rock, but I think you get what I’m saying. People have become so focused on material things they don’t know what else to do with themselves. They don’t know what else to focus on.

Christmas is coming up rather quickly (in case you hadn’t noticed). One thing about Christmas that really bothers me is that people celebrate it even if they don’t believe in God or Jesus; it’s become a commercial holiday instead of Jesus’ birthday. Think about it- how much time do you spend trying to find “the perfect gift” and anticipating what you’ll get versus thinking about Christ? I know I’m guilty of it- I always want to get everyone something that they’ll absolutely love and I spend a lot of time thinking about it and looking for the right gift (even though I really don’t have much money at all), but on Christmas do I ever think about Jesus at all?

I guess this is a bit strange, linking Avatar to Christmas, but I guess that’s just how my brain works. My point here is that, as human beings we really need to think more about what we’re doing, how we’re spending our time. I’m not saying don’t get people gifts for Christmas, I’m saying we need to remember the real reason we have the holiday in the first place.

So Happy Christmas.

Go read your bible.

Sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus.

Go see Avatar.


The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him “Immanuel” which means, “God with us.” -Matthew 1:23

Monday, November 23, 2009

Distress, Depress, Blight, Bruise, and End.

So this month (November), the 13th was National TWLOHA day. TWLOHA stands for “To Write Love On Her Arms”—if you don’t know the organization you should definitely check it out. It’s an organization that I support wholly. This got me thinking: what do people know about this topic? What don’t people know? Does anyone else think about it? Hence came my blog topic for this month.

TWLOHA is an organization that’s taking a stand against something that’s a lot closer to home than a lot of people think- self-harm and suicide. I know a lot of people think that only “emo” kids cut; this is not true. Self-harm, suicide, and suicidal thoughts come about because of depression, loneliness, and other negative thoughts like that. Everyone has those feelings, it’s just that the degree of the emotions vary from person to person (duh).

Self-harm is the first stage. When a person feels severely depressed, lonely, secluded, or even stressed they feel they need a way out. Unfortunately this “way” is often through cutting, burning, bruising… none of it good. Temporary fixes, they divert the emotional pain into physical pain. It’s like drugs, in a way, and no less harmful.

If these feelings and emotions aren’t resolved, eventually the person will want to quit. Quit their activities, quit school, quit life. Suicidal thoughts- these, as you may have guessed, usually lead to suicide attempts, and sometimes success. It’s a path, and one that’s hard to get out of once you’re in it.

What I think a lot of people don’t realize is that there are people right next to them having these feelings, they’re just good at hiding it. Your sibling, your classmate, coworker, best friend- they might feel like the world could end tomorrow and you might not even know. A lot of people are better actors than they get credit for.

My point here is that there’s probably a lot of stuff around you that you just don’t know about. It happened to me- between my freshman and sophomore year I experienced things that most people don’t have to deal with in their entire lives, much less when they’re 14 and 15. I’m not going to give you the details since it involves other people whose personal lives I don’t want to disclose, but I can tell you it was bad. I couldn’t figure out why the entire world was crashing down, seemingly all at once. People I had thought were perfect, who I’d held in the highest regard turned out to have committed the most atrocious acts; others who I thought were the happiest, most carefree people in the world were actually depressed, cutting themselves every night to get away from it all.

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it. I was disgusted with myself. Honestly, it almost sent me over the edge. I had always prided myself in my ability to discern and analyze others’ emotions; here, however, I had failed miserably.

Looking back now, I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out earlier. I just wasn’t looking. If I had just taken the time to sit down with these people and sincerely ASK them what was going on, they might have opened up and the whole fiasco could have been avoided.

Really thinking about it, if I couldn’t figure out that my friends were having that much trouble, it doesn’t really surprise me that no one notices the other people around them. It’s not always the kid that sits alone at lunch who’s depressed; sometimes, but not always. Sometimes it’s the kid who looks happy until everyone looks away. The girl that covers the bags under her eyes with makeup so that no one will know she cries all night instead of sleeping.

It’s a terrible thing, this subject, but it shouldn’t be ignored. It scares people, and rightly so. It’s not something that should be taken lightly. So next time you go out, look around. Believe it or not, smiling at someone could make all the difference in the world; it could save someone’s life. Check out TWLOHA, see what you can do in your own community or around the world. However, be sure to support the cause, not just the organization. Don’t just wear the t-shirt, really believe in what you’re saying. If it truly means something to you, you’ll want to make a difference. You can, too, no matter who you are or where you live.

Please don’t ignore it.

Don’t ignore the people around you.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Muddled Ideals

So I’d like to start off by saying that October is being very strange. The snow and uber coldness then it gets all warm(er) and the leaves start to change colors… then it snows again. Well actually today it was raining the morning, then slushdropping (a mix between rain and snow- yes, I made up that word. It’s copyrighted) in the early afternoon, which turned to snow in the evening. At which time I was wearing flip flops. Smart, right? Whatever, I’m in Wisconsin now and I grew up in Minnesota; I do what I want. :)

Anyway, on to the actual topic for today.

This month, I really didn’t have a clue what to talk about. Honestly, I was sitting here on my bed at 8pm with my brain going, “________________.” Which is not good. So I clambered down (my bed is lofted), pulled out one of my many notebooks and started flipping through (I have this habit of writing down random ideas/bible verses in the middle of a notebook and forgetting about them until a much later time) to see what I might find. First notebook: not much, just last month’s blog. Eh. Not really helpful. I then, however, grabbed the tattered notebook I keep in my bag at all times (just in case) and opened it up carefully (it’s falling apart a bit). What do I find? One verse and three sentences I had written about it.

Can you say peeeeeeeeerfect? It just kinda hit me- I knew it was right. I’ve been wanting to write something about romantic relationships for a while now, but I just didn’t know where to start. While I have a ton of secondhand experience in relationships, I have zero firsthand experience, so it makes it hard to write much of anything with substance. Anyway, this verse is what I found:

“Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” -Genesis 2:24

This verse, I think, is a wonderful exemplar my views on relationships. Women are a part of men- equals in every way. Men should treat women as themselves; just as holy and pure. A man who treats a woman poorly is treating himself poorly as well.

I know not all guys are jerks- that’s just the stereotype they get a lot of times. Not all women are gentle and kind- that’s the stereotype they get. All types exist everywhere, and there is no getting around that. But I do think that everyone, whether male or female, needs to really take a look at how they treat their significant others. Do you treat them with respect, as you want to be treated yourself, or do you use them just to pass the time? I think one of the biggest problems with today’s society is “fun dating.” I don’t think it’s right to date someone just for the sake of having a boyfriend or girlfriend. The point of dating is to find someone you want to spend the rest of your life with- a potential marriage partner. When people date casually it desensitizes them to real feelings, and how they should treat others and be treated.

What I’m trying to say is THINK about your relationships. Are they worth it in the long run? Why are you dating whomever you’re dating? Does it really mean something? It should.


P.S. There is a blog that I *think* spurred me to write down this verse; it’s called “The Rebelution” by two guys, Alex and Brett Harris. This particular entry is about chivalry, and it’s just great. I highly suggest reading it:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Letting Go

So in case you haven't realized this yet (assuming all six of my "followers" actually read this, since no one ever comments on it...), I post a new blog every month on the 23rd. This month... it's been an interesting one. This entry, therefore, is going to be a little different from the past ones. It'll probably read a little more like a scattered journal entry rather than... I dunno, whatever it was before. If you don't follow it (welcome to the inside of my head) feel free to ask questions, demand clarification on something, tell me what you think, whatever. I welcome it. So anyway, here goes.

A lot of stuff has happened this past month. I left home again, came back to Wisconsin for year 2 of college. I had my first study abroad orientation (in case you didn't know, I'm going to Japan in January for a full semester... yikes!) and along with that my first sort of nervous breakdown about leaving for 4.5 months (and several more after that first one). I had what turned out to be quite possibly one of the best weekends of my life thus far, along with some really rough days. I remembered a dream (which is a big deal for me- I haven't remembered a dream since I was about 6), had a nightmare. I was reunited with some friends I haven't seen in a while, met some wonderful new people that I have tons in common with, also some people that I don't particularly want to run into ever again. I even succeeded in writing a poem that I actually like which then morphed into a song that I don't think is half bad; however, I still have to attempt to make accompaniment to it. We'll see how that goes over.

A whole lot more than that went over too, but I won't bore you with all the deets of my life; suffice to say it was a very busy, packed-full-of-junk month. It feels like the last 31 days have been one giant roller coaster, and not just emotionally, but with life in general.

After a bit more speculation (which happened today in geology class, 'cause it's BORING) I've decided that this is fairly normal- I think. I feel like people's lives are constantly filled with periods of confidence and joy followed by pain and uncertainty. Looking back on my life that's how I feel it's always been. If someone asks me to pick out the best year of my life thus far I think, "Well this year was great because of this and this and this. Oh wait, but there was this and this and this that absolutely sucked, so it can't be that year..." and so on with pretty much everything I remember. It's like happiness can't exist without sadness, beauty without pain, success without failure. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

No one wants the sadness, pain, and failure. Everyone wants to be beautiful, happy, and successful at the same time. But at the same time, without all the cruddy stuff could we really appreciate all the good stuff? I tend to think not. It's like taking stuff for granted- like that friend you never really appreciated until they weren't right around the corner anymore. As much as it sucks, I tend to think that the dark parts in life make the light even brighter. The tough part is dealing with those dark parts... The Classic Crime says it pretty well in their song "I Know the Feeling: "My heart's a hole that needs to constantly be filled with love." That's where Jesus comes in- He fills that hole. Once again though, there's a hard part: letting Him in.

Emotionally I have never been really honest with other people, or even myself. Over the years I have gotten very good at hiding what I'm really feeling if I don't feel like dealing with it. Honestly, even those of you who are closest to me can't see through it all the time. As much as this is the easy way out, making it so I don't have to talk about whatever is bothering me, it's really not healthy. It stays bottled up, honestly eating away at me from the inside out. For some inexplicable reason I feel like I need to hold on to my own problems- I'm strong, I can deal with it myself. Yeah, except not.

I just have to learn to let go of my issues. I know I have friends I can talk to; maybe I can't talk to everyone about everything, but there is definitely someone I can talk to for each individual issue that's on my mind who would understand. And, of course, God is always there. In fact, He's pretty much the most accessible of any of my friends- I don't have to go anywhere or use a phone or computer to get ahold of Him. Pretty convenient that all I have to do is pray, not gonna lie. I just gotta be like Nike and Gatorade- just do it and have it in me ("it" being God/Jesus). Easier said than done, however.

Sorry, I don't really know what this post is all about... it probably seems like a little self-help pamphlet for myself... it kindof was. However, I think it was needed. As you may have guessed, there's a lot of stuff on my mind right now; worries about my own personal issues, friends' issues, friends making bad decisions... a whole lot of crap. I guess what I'm trying to say is that as much as I try to and want to deal with it myself, I can't. I want to take on the world, but I can't do it myself- I need support, in both people and God. It's just hard to let go.


Also, I think I'll just throw out a song that I've been listening to a lot recently that I think fits pretty well... it's called "I Don't Wanna Feel" by Bensonwells. Check it out.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Music = Life

For those of you that know me, you probably also know that I’m pretty into music. Rather obsessed, actually. Music is pretty much my life, which is part of why the title of this particular blog is labeled what it is. I’m not going to explain why I love music so much though (it would take way too long), or how music has changed my life (which it has). I’m going to do something a little bit different.

I want you to go listen to a song. It doesn’t really matter which song it is, just make sure you know it and like it. Listen to it once through, sing along if you like, I know I always do. Wait until it’s over, then keep reading.

What did you notice about the song? Probably the melody, the lead singer’s vocal timbre, or the sweet guitar solo during the bridge, right? Something that caught your ear the first time and every time since then that makes you love the song. Have you ever listened to the other parts of the song though? Every song is so much more than a person with a microphone, but oftentimes people don’t pay attention to anyone but the frontman, anything but the main melody.

The other day I was washing the dishes, which for me requires music. I had stuck one of my favorite albums in the cd player and was just kinda rocking out (like usual), singing along, you know, that whole deal. While I love every song on the cd, there is one in particular that’s probably my favorite- I love the words, the beat, the style, everything about this song just drew me in from the first time I heard it and still even now. This song came on, and for some unknown reason I decided not to sing along this time. Because of this decision, I had a bit of an epiphany: during the pre-chorus I heard a second melody that I had never noticed before. Seriously, this song had over 100 plays on my itunes and probably many more just from listening to the cd, and I had never noticed this other melody the guy was singing. I was missing out too, ‘cause it was really genius! So good, in fact, that I stopped the cd and played that section of pre-chorus over and over and over again because I just couldn’t get enough of it. This section of the song was transformed from really good to absolutely incredible just by adding this second melody; hearing it made me appreciate the song so much more than I originally had.

Finding this polyphonic bit in the song got me thinking a little. How had I not noticed the details like this in one of my favorite songs? What else am I missing? Is it important to hear all the little things in a song, or is the obvious melody good enough? Unfortunately none of these questions have easy answers except probably the third one, which would be YES the little things are important, but I what I can do is tie this thought into regular, everyday life.

Take a look at people- just regular people. What we see is not usually what we get. There is a depth to every person that no one can see from the outside; actually, even the people closest to you probably don’t know you as well as they think, or even as well as you think. However well you know someone there is always another side to them, a story you don’t know, something they’ve done they haven’t told you about, good or bad. Unless you can literally get inside someone’s head and hear their thoughts you’re never really going to know them completely.

On a bit of a bigger scale, life is the same. It’s kindof like listening to an uber good album for the first time- exhilarating, suspenseful, moving, and a little scary. You never know what’s going to happen but you can’t turn it off because you HAVE to know what comes next. The first time you listen to a song, however, more than likely you’re not going to hear every little detail; you’re going to pay attention to the obvious. We’re so busy listening to the melody of our lives though that we miss a ton of the good stuff: harmonies, polyphonics, transitions, key changes… it’s all there, we just don’t take the time to listen closely enough, no matter how many times we listen to the record.

I challenge you to take a few minutes and try listening to just the drums for a song (maybe the same one you listened to back at the beginning). Then maybe just the background vocals or the rhythm guitar. Listen through the song as many times as you need to really understand each part, then go back and put it all together. Sounds much better, doesn’t it? Now that you have the understanding of how many little parts go into the making of just one song you can probably appreciate how much work the artist put into it, how complicated it actually is. Do you like the song better now than you did a few minutes ago?

Take some time, get the small picture of your life. You might be surprised at what you find. Examine all that stuff you take for granted: a friend, a hobby, even the place you live. Imagine for a second that all of it was different- how different would your life be? Imagine none of it was there at all- what would be the quality of your life then? How happy do you think you would be? These seemingly tiny little things can make such a big difference in how your life turns out, just like a simple harmony can change the entire sound of a song. The big picture (the main melody) is most definitely important too, but the details can make such a huge difference in the overall sound of your song (a chunk of your life), so make sure you don’t ignore them. If you really think about how complicated your life and the people in your life are, I can just about guarantee you’ll find a new appreciation for what you have.

Music really is my life, and yours. Appreciate it for what it really is, not what you think it is.

“I have come to the realization that life is more than what I have accomplished; life is more than the realization that we have accomplished nothing at all. True success if so selfless so drown in the lyrics of your life and give up the air that you breathe; you don’t need anything.” -"Who Needs Air" by The Classic Crime

[This, by the way, is a fabulous song, but not the one I was referring to at the beginning of the blog.]

-- Rachel

Thursday, July 23, 2009


(Before I begin I would like to point out that while coming up with this blog I was listening to The Rocket Summer… I think it fits and I highly suggest his music, so if you have some you should listen to it while taking the time to read this entry.  Thanks!!!)


So the other day I was reading a book called “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris, and it got me thinking.  I was reading the book because I was leading youth group at my church that week, so I really had to think about it.  I figured if I had to lead a discussion about it I should probably know what I’m talking about, right?  (By the way, I highly recommend this book to everyone- these two guys are pretty much my heroes at the moment, and I think just about everyone could learn a thing or two from them.) 

Anyway, something they said really peaked my interest.  We didn’t go into too big of a discussion about it at youth group, but I was still thinking about it a while later.  Think about the term “overachiever” for a moment.  What does it really mean?  Well in my little Oxford Dictionary it means “one who does better than expected, esp. in academic work.”  Ooookay, pretty self-explanatory.  So what is expected?  Who decides that?  Well that’s kinda where Alex and Brett came in.

In their book they talk a lot about the “myth of adolescence.”  What they’re saying is that “teenagers” really don’t exist… kindof.  It’s this strange stage between childhood and adulthood where, basically, people are expected to take a break.  Really, teens have little or no expectations at all.  Children are expected to learn to transport themselves from one place to another successfully (walk) and communicate with the rest of the world (talk); teenagers lots of the time don’t have to pay for their own car or gas, and much of the time cannot produce a grammatically correct sentence.  Adults, obviously, have much more responsibility: they are expected to exclusively take care of themselves and their families; the same cannot be said for teenagers.

So if teens [I assume most of my readers (if I actually have any??? I don’t actually know) are teenagers, and therefore can relate fairly well to what I’m saying] don’t have much responsibility at all (I know what you’re thinking, but reeeeeeally take some time to analyze your life.  What do you do, on a daily basis?  Anything world-changing?  Probably not.), what are the expectations?  They can’t be very high.  And if the expectations are not very high, what really is overachievement?  Is what we consider overachieving really what should be average?  Or even underachieving?  It’s a bit of a sobering thought.

When I think back to my elementary, junior high, and high school years, it makes me a bit sad.  I have several awards from various years, but to be honest I don’t even really remember what they were from.  Could they really have been that important if I don’t remember it even a few years later?  I do remember some people getting awards in elementary school for good attendance (I don’t know if I actually got one or not… maybe).  That is really disheartening to me.  These kids aren’t getting rewarded for doing something extraordinary- they’re getting a prize just for showing up.  They didn’t even have to do anything, just physically be there.  That, I think, is the stage for mediocrity.  The warm-up.  Is it really okay to just roll out of bed each morning and make it to class approximately on time?  Is it really acceptable to just slide by, even when we know we haven’t done our best?  I can think of many classes throughout my school career where I didn’t have to try at all, but got and A anyway.  Should I not have tried just because I didn’t have to?  Somehow I don’t think that’s right.

I tend to think that the bar is set too low.  Way too low.  Sure, everybody’s got different strengths and weaknesses.  What was easy for me probably made someone else just across the room struggle.  That’s ok.  That person struggling to get a C probably should have been rewarded instead of my getting an A just because they tried.  That kid out in gym class that got 11 minutes on the mile should have gotten that gold star instead of the kid who got 7, because he or she worked all semester to get under 12 minutes while the other kid didn’t improve at all.  Just because you have the best end result doesn’t mean you did the best work.

So the bar is low.  What can we do about it?  Think back to the title of Alex and Brett Harris’ book- “Do Hard Things.”  Ta-daa!  There’s the answer.  Seriously.  Do stuff that’s hard for you.  I know everybody likes to do stuff that they’re good at, stuff that’s easy, who doesn’t?  It means that you look good in front of your friends, or that cute guy who for some strange reason is watching your soccer practice.  So what?  Practice the hard stuff- pretty soon it won’t be nearly as hard as it was before, and likely in time it’ll become pretty easy.

Be an overachiever, and not necessarily by society’s standards.  Work at everything you do.  Don’t just do what you have to to get by, go above and beyond.  Good things always come from effort.  It might not be instant gratification like doing the easy stuff is, but in the long run, it’ll be worth it.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009


miracle: n.   1.  an event or action that apparently contradicts known scientific laws   2. a remarkable thing

For my own personal use here, I think I'm going to go with option number 2, for a couple reasons.  I mean, things contradict scientific laws all the time, including scientists, so that's just out of the picture.  The second definition, however, is simple and to the point; "A remarkable thing."  Because really,  that's what a miracle is.  People usually think of miracles as things like someone overcoming cancer against all odds or walking away from a terrible car accident without a scratch.  They're right too, those are miracles, however, they're forgetting the small things in life.

Miracles happen everyday.  They really do.  Take a second to think about it.  A baby being born.  A person deciding to stay home so they can avoid a bad decision.  A tree being planted.  Choosing forgiveness over revenge.

Heck, life itself is a miracle.  Really, take a second to think about this one too.  The budding leaf of a tree- do you know what that tree has to do to produce that single leaf?  It's incredible.  Animals too- a mammal fetus starts off as a single cell inside the mother, multiplying over and over again to produce an incredibly complex creature.  It's truly remarkable; a miracle.

People (myself included) ask for miracles all the time.  We pray for them, demand them, even try to make them ourselves.  We're never really satisfied with the results either.  I think, though, we actually receive miracles more often than we think.  I mean, what if we're just not looking in the right places?  I know the saying "God works in mysterious ways" is probably way overused, but that's how it really is.  Unfortunately for us, His plan is about a billion times bigger than anything we could ever possibly dream up, and we just don't get it.  There's a ton of bad in this world, but He does everything for a reason.  Now I'm not saying that cancer is a product of God, I don't believe that at all.  The bad in this world is the result of the devil and our own sins.  God, however, has provided us with a way out- Jesus Christ.  We follow Him and we're saved.  Not necessarily in this life, but that's not what's important- where your soul is going to spend eternity (also way bigger than our wildest imaginations) is what really matters.

Just because the big miracle you were hoping for didn't happen doesn't mean God wasn't there; it doesn't even mean there wasn't a miracle.  Maybe you just need to look at the bigger picture.  So next time you ask for a miracle, look around a little harder.  The answer you get might be closer than you think.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


People are stupid.  I kinda hate to say it, but it’s true.  Humans are “intelligent,” yes, but really?  Being “intelligent” has only brought about a crapload of complications.  I’d rather be a cat.  Seriously, their biggest issue is whether today’s bath is going to be followed by a nasty hairball.  It’s the same for all other creatures on this earth- they worry about eating, sleeping, and procreating.  That’s about it.  Humans are the only ones dumb enough to care about whether their mode of transportation is as good or better than their neighbor’s.


(Random word to the less-than-wise: when you move, unpack your stuff right away.  I just had to pause my writing here for a while to go on a quest to find my Bible in the mass of boxes and whatnot in my room, which is still there from when I moved home from college… a week ago.  Anyway, said quest took a while, and my train of thought was derailed a bit… forgive me if it takes a paragraph or two extra to get to my point now.  :/)


What I’m trying to figure out is why in the world people are so obsessed with material things.  I mean, we know they don’t matter; God tells us that (Matthew 6: 25-34).  So why are we so obsessed with having the next new thing?  Even people that claim to not care want the “stuff.”  It’s everything, not just expensive cars and big houses, and it’s all distractions from God.  It’s the things people don’t think about as being distractions- that cute purse, a new pair of jeans.  Whenever you’re thinking about the “stuff” you’re not thinking about what you should be- God. 


I once heard “worship” defined as what you’re thinking of all the time, day and night.  Take a second to think about what you really think about most (odd, isn’t it?).  It is what you thought it would be?  (Make sure you’re being honest with yourself too.)


At this very moment I am distracted by a giant green beetle that is apparently determined to make a nest on my foot (gross).   Now you’re probably thinking, “Rachel, how does a beetle tie into what you’re saying here?”  Well, just bear with me and my lame little tangent for a moment.  This beetle isn’t the kind of distraction in life I’m taking about.  I’m talking about the habitual stuff.  This green beetle isn’t going to be here next year, next week, or even five minutes from now; I’m going to make sure of that.  This green beetle is one distraction that I do not want in my life, so I’m going to get rid of it.  We need to do the same thing with the other distractions we have, whatever it may be.  The only problem s that lots of times we actually want the distractions, or we think we do.  We like to have the latest fashions and be “with the times.”  I’m not saying that it’s bad to be fashionable- I don’t think it really matters to God what brand of jeans you wear.  What I’m trying to say is that it shouldn’t take over your mind.


So in lieu of “How do you think?” (see my first blog), I’m going to challenge you to a new question: what do you think?  Don’t be stupid.  Hold yourself accountable.  Make sure you spend a significant amount of time everyday thinking about where you’ll be for eternity, and how you can help everyone else on this earth know where they’re going.  Don’t let your mind wander- make sure you’re thinking about what you should be thinking about.  Soon enough what you should be thinking about will be what you want to think about.

And don’t forget, when you’ve thought about it, don’t stop there-- DO something about it.

Love always,


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Being Beautiful

“Everyone with a beautiful body stand up!”  That’s what the head of the summer camp I used to go to said during announcements before dinner one day.  Then he made everyone stand up.  His point?  Everyone is beautiful.  No buts. So why is society so concerned with making people more beautiful?  With all the creams, make-up, and even plastic surgery, it’s like no one can be happy with the body God gave them anymore.  The world tells us that to be beautiful we must change the way our bodies look, and we believe them.

Make-up, for example.  It’s commonplace, everyday normal.  In fact, it’s considered rather strange if a woman doesn’t wear make-up.  If she doesn’t she’s told by the people around her that she could be so beautiful if only she’d put on a little mascara.  But why should women be required to wear make-up?  I recently saw a commercial that advertised being able to “make your own beautiful, whatever your budget.”  Aren’t we all beautiful though?  Do we really need synthetic products to be physically attractive?  If a girl doesn’t wear make-up does that make her ugly?

Apparently the world thinks a woman is defined by what she looks like.  Her clothes, her make-up; it all matters so much to everyone.  I don’t think superficial things should decide the worth of a person; they’re not going to last very long anyway.  Is there make-up in Heaven?  Are girls going to be putting on eyeliner for all of eternity?  I doubt it.

God created each and every one of us in His own image- that in itself makes us beautiful.  He made us each exactly the way He wanted, so why change it?  He thinks we’re all beautiful; that should be enough.  I’m not against make-up; other people can do whatever they want.  I do think, however, that everyone should get to decide for themselves what they want to do with their own body.

Deciding for oneself though, is not popular these days.  The world is telling us exactly what to do all the time.  Why can’t a girl just be herself?  Maybe she doesn’t like wearing make-up.  Maybe she likes her simple hairstyle and long skirts.  I don’t understand what is so wrong about that.  Today if a girl doesn’t conform to what’s popular she is told to “re-vamp” her appearance, make herself more interesting.  Individuality is gone in today’s society.  Magazines advertise “standing out” by wearing the same name brands as everyone else.  By having the same hairstyle as your favorite actress.  It’s all incredibly contradictory.

This has all been a big point of anxiety for me lately.  Everyone seems to be trying to change some aspect of me all the time, like I’m not good enough or something.  I’ve never been one to follow trends, but it seems like now more than ever people are concerned with what the people around them look like, as if they’re afraid to be associated with the wrong “type” of person.  No one style is better than another, and I don’t think anyone should try to change someone else’s style.  The only time it should even be brought up is if it’s offensive in some way, but I don’t see how wearing black the majority of the time could possibly be offensive.

Now don’t get me wrong in all this, if what you like is what happens to be popular, then by all means, go for it.  Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s bad.  But really, if one day you feel like wearing something totally off-the-wall just for the heck of it- go for it.  Wear whatever makes you feel confident about yourself, whatever you’re comfortable in.  Don’t let other people tell you that what you like isn’t good enough, because honestly, what do they know?  If you like it, it’s good enough.  People should like you for who you are, not what you look like.

God created us all beautiful, and he created us all with free will.  We all have an opinion- use it.  Everyone has his or her own individual personality, and that can be expressed through what he or she looks like.  Don’t let other people tell you what to look like.  You have a brain- decide for yourself and you’ll be beautiful no matter what.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Ever wonder what you're going to do with the rest of your life?  This is one question that is virtually pounding the inside of my mind everyday, demanding an answer that I don't have.  There is so much stuff to think about!  How can I possibly decide that?  I mean really, I know everyone says that the average person changes career like 6 times in their life or something like that, but really, I don't think it's that easy.  They leave out the little detail that each one of those careers is in a general area- biology, journalism, business, whatever.  Yeah, they change jobs, but they're all the same types of jobs.  And do you know what the world is making me do?  Choose what my variety of jobs will be right now.  Now?!  Really?  Yeah- 18 years old and they're telling me that I have to pick a major which, in essence, determines my future career(s), which determines all sorts of things, like my income, where I'll live, and the people I'll meet.  I mean, seriously, I'm 18.  And I have to choose now?

Society (and school) says I do.  Well that's a scary thought, because really if you take all that into account, I basically have to decide who I am.  Which scares me witless.  I don't have a clue who I really am.  I know what I like, what I don't like, what I'm good at, what I'm bad at, but does that define who I am?  That seems kinda superficial, even incorrect.  I mean, am I defined by what I'm good at?  What if I'm good at something but I hate doing it?  Should I still put my emphasis in that area just because I'm good at it?  I tend to think not.

Suffice to say that I don't know what to do.  At one point in the recent past I went ahead and asked someone who I hold in very high esteem (a hero of mine, actually) what to do, and honestly, I didn't really expect an answer because he's kindof, well, famous.  He actually did answer me, which in itself was really cool, but what he said was even cooler: "Don't be stressed that you don't know your true spot in life.  Not many people do.  Not even me.  ...  You should just live Christ."  Now, when he said he didn't know his place in life either, that pretty much astonished me.  I was like seriously?  You're a famous musician/author!  How can you possibly not know what you're doing?  It made me think.  How many people actually do know where they're supposed to be?  Probably not nearly as many as we think or as many who claim to know.  

Which brings me to the last part of what he said: "Just live for Christ."  Well it doesn't get much simpler than that, but you know what?  He's right.  God's gonna get me to where I need to be when I need to be there.  As if to emphasize this point the next song that came up on my itunes while on shuffle was "I Give Up" by Stellar Kart.  Really, that's all I have to do.  Yeah, I'm still going to have to make decisions, obviously, but I don't have to do it all.  I just have to give it to God, and he'll take it in his hands.  He'll take care of it.  Kindof a relief, not gonna lie.


P.S. Song reference- this is a youtube of Stellar Kart's "I Give Up."  Check it out, it's a goooooood song.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How do you think?

One of the hardest things in life is to change your way of thinking.  As hard as it might be to change your actions or what you say, it's infinitely easier to change those things than to change what goes on in the confines of your own mind.  Thoughts come almost inadvertently to the front of your mind, and sometimes it feels like you can't do anything about it.  In the bible it says that thinking a thought has as much impact and consequence as actually doing the action- a sinful thought is just as bad as a sinful action (VERSE).  Well that's kind of frightening, no?  I mean, normally we think that our thoughts won't hurt anyone- it's not like anyone can hear or see them anyway, right?  WRONG.  Firstly, God can hear all of our thoughts before we even think them, and it pains him to see us thinking a lot of the things we envision.  Try to remember all of the thoughts you've had in the past few hours.  Next, separate them into separate groups based on their nature; were they selfish, selfless, vengeful, amiable, or inconsequential?  Look at the list.  Each thought in the negative columns counts as a sin.  And that's just recently.  What about all the thoughts you've ever had?   Good days, bad days, everything in between, it all counts.  It's a scary thought.  What are we supposed to do with something like that?

CHANGE IT.  As hard as it is, change what you're thinking, because not only can God see what you're thinking (which is rather important), everyone else will eventually be able to also.  Whatever you're thinking eventually becomes something you say, or do, or imply.  Your thoughts dictate your words and your actions, whether you like it or not.  What you're thinking is really who you are- what you say and do is who you want other people to think you are.  Eventually the real you- your mind- is gonna come out in some way or another.

Examine your thoughts again.  Don't like what you find?  Yeah, me neither.  As good of a person as you might think you are, you're a sinner.  Everyone is, unless you happen to be the Son of God, and there's only one of Him.  So as hard as it is, don't think the bad stuff.  Keep your thoughts as pure as filtered drinking water.  Purer, even.  Someone makes you mad, pray FOR him or her instead of envisioning him or her failing miserably at his or her next soccer game, or embarrassing him- or herself during his or her speech.

It's a high goal to aim for, I know it, and in the beginning it's gonna be really, really hard.  But in the end you might just find that thinking happy good-luck thoughts for other people might actually make you feel happy yourself.  Gee, what a concept.  :)