Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hot Pink Headphones and Delayed Flights

I'm surprised that airlines still serve peanuts. Every time I fly I expect them not to have the tiny gold packages of peanuts covered in crystallized sugar, yet each time they do. With the large number of people allergic to peanuts and various other nut products, you'd think someone would have had a massive allergy attack on a plane, sued the airline, and the removal of all peanut products from planes ensued. Nope. I wonder if it will ever happen, the same with pretzels because they have gluten products in them.

Airports are boring at night. Everyone is burnt out, chilling with their Starbucks, a book, a movie, or just napping with their mouth open and drool dripping out (ok, ok, I may be exaggerating slightly). The sky is dark outside, dimming the lights of the airport itself and giving it a gloomy, sleepy feel (at least in the Phoenix airport this is true). Two-hour layovers delayed an extra hour-and-a-half increase this dismal feeling.

Oh geez. That was a downer paragraph! It's not really that bad...

I think that when women get older they start to become color blind. In an effort to look younger, they attempt to color their hair a more natural (possibly their original) color. Unfortunately for many of them, they judge this to be slightly more orange, blue, or red than it actually was, thus resulting in a highly unnatural hair color, rather than the younger lack-of-grey color they had wished to achieve.

At the Phoenix airport, approximately half of the announcements made over the loudspeaker are actually done by humans. The other half are done by some computerized recording system that sounds like robots are taking over the airport.

It's funny watching people give voice commands to their smartphones. Holding the phone close to their mouth, they speak to it slowly and with disjointed words, like inexperienced adults sound when they treat small children like they are dumb. As the smartphone is frequently unable to understand different inflections in tone and accents, the person's instructions become more and more disjointed, louder, and more robotic. It's great to know people will always be able to have conversations with their electronics when all their friends leave thinking they are crazy for talking to their phone. Oh the 21st century!

Some people like to cuss...a lot. At entirely unnecessary parts of the conversation. I guess it makes them feel badass (see what I did there? Now I feel cool too!)

Food in airports is very overpriced.

People resort to desperate measures when they are stressed, tired, and awaiting a (very) delayed flight...like cheering loudly when the plane arrives. Except I kinda felt like cheering too...

Puppies are adorable. Especially jack-russel terrier and chihuahua mixes. I know chihuahuas are small, yippy, and generally annoying, but I promise this one was the absolute opposite of all those stereotypes! Cutest dog I have ever seen. I stared at it for a good fifteen minutes while waiting for my flight. I'm sure the owner thought I was crazy...who cares.

I like watching people...until the really awkward moment when they look up, make eye contact, and realize you may or may not have been watching their unique behaviors for the past four minutes or so. It's awkward then. Also whenever I'm wearing glasses I forget people can still see my eyes because I got so used to hiding behind sunglasses this summer. So I think I can stare uninhibited, but that's a lie. Oops.

I have this super cool bracelet from Andy that changes colors in the sun. The beads turn purple and green. Like glow-in-the-dark bracelets in reverse. It's cool.

I also have a minion in my backpack. I feel super cool. I hope the security guys could see it when they scanned my backpack. I totally look like a well-rounded, very mature, adult-like college student.

And this one guy had a super cool Russian-looking hat. Then I heard him speaking to his mother (or really old sister?) and it sounded like they were speaking Russian. Score.

The plane to St. Louis is finally here! Yay long delays in boring, dark airports. If you couldn't tell, I got bored.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One Year

I almost didn't even realize that today marked an entire year since Ms. Julia went to be with Jesus (see blog post a year ago: To Ms. Juila, RIP). I can't believe it's been a whole year.

I remember it like it was yesterday, sitting in Jazzman's Cafe with my computer and getting a text from Victor telling me she had gone home and asking if I could sing with the choir at the funeral. I sat there with tears slowly running down my face as I scrolled through facebook and read post after post about a beautiful, loved, and influential woman who was finally free of pain. The posts were full of sadness accompanied with joy. Sorrow at the loss of someone so beautiful, inside and out, but thankfulness and happiness that she was no longer held hostage by the pain of cancer, now in absolute bliss with the Jesus she spent her life loving so much.

Ms. Julia will never be forgotten, nor will the influence she had on so many lives. Her passion for life and serving others was beautiful and inspirational. Even when she was very sick she continued to put others first. I remember having a conversation with her a little before I left for college. We talked about me, my summer, the college experience I was about to have, what I was going to do, not about her or her illness or how she was feeling. Her others-centeredness was rare, her love for the Lord was beautiful.

She lead the youth choir for years, and the friends and relationships I formed in that group, as well as the simple feeling of belonging, helped to shape my life. When she passed away last year, I remember wanting to change my life to live more like her, to live a life that would make her proud. To serve wholeheartedly and unselfishly as she had, a lifestyle I am still striving and praying and working towards.

Ms. Julia was beautiful, loving, serving, and had a heart for Jesus. She's at peace now, absolutely free of pain and sorrow. I can't wait to see her in Heaven one day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Do Something.

So last Thursday I went to this big Christian concert/evangelistic thing called Winter Jam. To be honest, those types of events aren't my favourite. Simply because I think it becomes too easy at huge events like that for it to become more about the show and lights and action than about God. Not to say that happened at Winter Jam, I can't see people's hearts, it just seems to easy for that to happen. Anyways.

An organization called Holt International (http://www.holtinternational.org/) was there. It's a Christian international adoption organization. So they had this fantastic opportunity where you could sponsor one of these orphans for $30 a month. Basically that covers basic needs (like food) for these kids. A lot of the kids are from China, or at least that's where the organization started.

The "goal" of the evening was to get 280 kids sponsored. By the end of the evening, 90 kids were sponsored. Now it's absolutely wonderful that 90 kids are now being taken care of, but here's the deal...there were over 4,500 people at Winter Jam that night. That means (if I did the math correctly) that 0.02% of the people there chose to sponsor a child.

$30 every month amounts to $360 a year. In the grand scheme of things...not that much. And if you think about how many people spent probably over $100 on the ticket for Winter Jam, popcorn, nachos, and band merch...well I think a kid actually eating is kinda important and totally affordable.

So I guess by the end of the night, I was a little disappointed (again) in humanity. Generally speaking, people are pretty selfish. You keep hoping and putting faith in the goodness of people, but often times that hope is in vain. So I'm disappointed enough that only 0.02% of a group of 4,500 people could manage to cough up $30 to save kids' lives, but I'm even more disappointed that this small percentage was at a Christian event.

Even without bringing Jesus into it, people should help other people! That's how the world gets better, that's how lives are changed, that's what brings joy. If we (most of us anyways), in America, can eat three or more very full meals every day, sleep in a warm place, watch TV, and have more clothes and shoes than we know what to do with, we should absolutely be helping people who don't have these things. We have our basic needs met, and more...way more.

People all around the world don't have these things. There are people in the United States who don't have these things. In our own states, cities, and towns, there are people lacking these basic needs.

And they need help.

And they're not gonna get help unless people help them.

That's just logical, right? I mean it makes sense in my mind. Maybe I'm crazy.

So I believe that everyone should be helping others, thinking about others, serving others. But if you're a Christian, you really should be doing these things.

We're called to be like Christ. His entire ministry was love and serving others. And one of the biggest callings in the Bible is to care for those who are weaker or suffering, poor or hurt, and to treat them with justice and mercy. To serve.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:27

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Proverbs 31:8-9

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Isaiah 1:17

I'm not saying everyone absolutely has to give money to orphans, or even adopt (though I think everyone should!) But everyone should give, love, help, and serve others. Whether you believe the Bible or not...help others.

 My little brother in the orphanage in the Ukraine with my parents, Dad's playing with Alex and other kids in the top, Mom's helping feed the kids in the bottom. 

And I'm sponsoring 2 kids now. I wish I could adopt on now, but college isn't very conducive to a baby!

Early Winter Morning

A world in glitter

Sparkling in the sun

In a magical land

A shining, beautiful world

Of snow.