Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ready? Set. Stress.

Finals week is here and we're half way through. I've received 2 of the 3 applicant results and upon the former decisions I've made, I now need to make a new set of decisions.

1.) Should I study for finals?
2.) Should I choose to spend my time wisely and focus on college decisions?
3.) Which college should I choose?
4.) Will I choose to perform well my second semester of school?
5.) Will I continue to add things I need to do to this list?

Decisions on top of other decisions just cause more stress than needed. It's like a domino effect. I make one decision and that decision will decipher my next decision. Joyous.

After all this stressing and pressure to complete and meet expectations, some I have yet to meet, it has finally caught up to me. I am mentally and physically drained. My voice is shot and I guess I could say I'm feeling under the weather. Figures, right? there's so much to do, but there's not enough time to do it all sadly. I'm looking forward to winter break, which is needed, but there's waaaaaaaay too much! Ahh! The pressure! Driving me insane, but hey. I learn to cope.

Off to study for finals. Woop. Pee. Joyous. Wonderful. Naaat!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Who Defines Us?

"Then How Shall We Live?"

"There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul

I can say "It is well"

"What I'm Listening to: The Wonder of the Cross" (Link)

I can't even express how much I've treasured my time with my family. Yes, they're always here with me, but being allowed to grow with them and spend time with them is truly a moment I won't pass up. I thank God for placing these wonderful people whom I can come to with "issues" and just receive not judgment, but love, compassion and truth. They tell it to me straight forward. Although it sometimes isn't what I want to hear, but it's what I need to hear. No beating around the bushes and for this, I am grateful. God has placed such amazing God-fearing people in my life! (I can't get over this!) And for this I praise him.

It was so easy growing closer to God in an environment where everyone shares your beliefs, where no one judges you for what you believe in. While I was at a winter retreat, I really enjoyed waking up to morning devotions, breakfast, going into worship and bible study, experiencing God's majesty first hand in nature, dinner and then back into worship and bible study. It just allowed me to step away from my worldly routine and just focus on God (which I really needed). Life's an uphill struggle, but because of God's everlasting joy, I can find refuge in Him. I grew closer to people whom I honestly thought I never would a few years back.

So often we become caught up in the world. I find myself trying to push myself to meet the expectations of colleges, parents, teachers... really the list goes on and on. I have to meet these expectations because it's how our world's run. Progress never sleeps, so why should we, right?
Who defines us? Is it our work, our cars, our houses, our insurance policy? Naturally in the high school environment, our education defines us along with our friendships, relationships, grades, merits, how we dress, how we speak, what music we listen to. Personally, I don't to be defined by my merits or success. I want Christ to define me.

The following passage is one of many of how God is defined.
Romans 1:19-20
For what can be known about God is plain the them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, having been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world. In the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

When coming back from a retreat, it's usually really depressing. I never felt so "out there" in my life. I couldn't talk to friends at school about what had occurred at the retreat in the spiritual aspect without them being absolutely confused or think I'm completely insane. My morning devotions were limited to a mere 30 minutes, when at the retreat they were basically the whole day! Stepping back into the world's routine, I was robbed! But thanks to God's irresistible grace, I can find my strength and refuge in Him, every second and every breath!

My goal that I'm still trying to have put together is to have GOD define me. I don't want my works, my education, profession, physical attributes, place in society etc. to define me. Why? I know that this life is futile when living for myself. If this is how I wish to be defined, then how should I live?

How then shall we live?
The Bible gives us a lot of evidence of how we should:

Romans 12: 1-2
Therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed to the patter of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

1 John 1:15-2:1-17 (I can't type the whole thing out here, but in a nutshell:"Living apart from the world's standards and living according to God's standards.")

Basically, my life here on earth is not to be lived for my own selfish desires or by the expectations of society, but for God's glory.
This is how we shall live.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pressure. and. Release.

I can't express how much stress I feel at the moment.As
much as I'm looking forward to Christmas break, there are so many things that I need to get done in order before I can be at ease.
The only way I can escape from the chaotic world is through my music. I know I can't stay away from the world forever, but music provides an outlet from the fast pace world that we live in. There are a lot of things that the world tries to take away, but one of the things that I won't let the world take away from me is my love for music. Music is what gives me release from pressure. It allows me to express myself. Sing my heart out like no one can hear me. Avoid all contact with the world.

Every morning, I wake up to music. Then I take my iPod off the speaker docket a
nd slip the little earbuds into my ears and listen away. As I walk to school, I'll hum along with the tunes playing into my little cochleas. I find peace. I live in my own world. (Random side note: I wish everyone had their own theme song everywhere they walked. So that when one walks around the corner, one can easily identify who that person is.) I contemplate the things that I am going to do, and what I need to do. Sometimes some of the songs I listen to are really meaningful and make me reflect on it. It isn't until I walk up the school steps and make way to my locker when I know I have to put my iPod away. I don't put it way until I close my locker: keeping the world out for as long as I can. Not going to lie, I often forget to put my iPod away because I become so absorbed in my music. The one thing I dread the most is pulling out those earbuds. Who knew two little things were so good at blocking out the world. I have to convince myself that it's better to put it away and listen later on the walk home... I pull out the earbuds and the sound of the world: students laughing, teacher's chatting, squeaking of shoes, closing of locker doors, rush into my now empty ears.
Thanks to this lovely piece of art (named Shane, meaning God is gracious) escapes have never been easier. I find myself writing music to express how I feel about certain aspects in life. Sometimes I just play just for the sake of playing. Sometimes I don't know what I'm playing, but if it sounds good, heck I'm happy. I know it's not a good habit, but sometimes when I don't feel like doing homework, I'll pick up Shane and play for two to three hours. If that's the only way I can find who I am again, fine. I love music with a passion. If I had the funds and the time and no restrictions what so ever, I'd definitely put together a band and travel. Apart from my faith obviously, music keeps me sane and alive. Music makes my world go round. Music is my escape. If nothing else in the world makes sense, music always finds a way. That's what I love about music. There are no rules or regulations to music. There are many different ways to express, whether it is loud, soft, sad, bright, jazzy, heavy. Music is the one thing that will always remain without boundaries. Sure, you can get all technical on me and say what about all the rules to writing music and what not. My response to this is simply this: You decide what happens in a piece. No one dictates how you should write something, you have a choice to perform or not perform. If only schoolwork were like music... but it's not.

...Welcome to reality...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What Cancer Has Done For Me.

For those who are not aware of the recent difficulties that have come about the "Pham(ily)" household, as of April 2009, my mom was diagnosed with stage four metastatic lung cancer. It has definitely taken a hard toll on us spiritually, mentally and physically. No doubt that this cancer has changed my life and it still is changing my life. Just when I thought I had everything all planned out – although I was still questioning my future – along came cancer. Undoubtedly this has taken a harder toll on my mom because this cancer is living in, on and with her twenty-four-seven.
What I'm about to talk about is not about how this cancer has ruined my life, but how it has benefited my life. Don’t get me wrong. If cancer was a choice, I would definitely choose to avoid it. I’m not saying that I wish illness upon my mom, but what I’m saying is this: By God’s grace, he has taken this disease, this bringer of hardship, this bringer of suffering, this bringer of pain and agony and whatever else – and turned it into a gift. A gift that is meant to amplify Him even more so.
What The Cancer Has Brought Us:
God gave my mom cancer. As hard as it is sometimes to believe, God is always in control and uses every single factor in our lives to bring glory to Himself. God gave this "curse" to my mom and turned it into a tool to show me His power, love, and most importantly, His sovereignty. In this he showed me this: "Look at Me. Trust Me. I'm in control. I'm going to use this to glorify me and show you things you wouldn't see unless I put you through this." And to my mom, "Don't waste what I've given you." (<-Link)

Sure, I've experienced finding out that relatives were diagnosed with cancer, but what about the person you've known the longest, gave life to me, nurtured me, loved me. We all live life as if we own it. As a matter of fact, we do not. With all these human advances, we forget how vulnerable we all are; even to the common cold. Through our daily lives, man is saying, "Look at ME," through designs, knowledge, success, fame, but what about God, whom is the creator of the earth. Does he not deserve any credit? In the Bible we read:
Isaiah 44:24-28
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by Myself, who frustrates the signs of liars and makes fools of diviners, who turns wise men back and makes their knowledge foolish, who confirms the word of his servant and fulfills the counsel of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, 'She shall be inhabited,' and of the cities of Judah, 'They shall be built and I will raise up their ruins'; who says the deep, 'Be dry; I will dry up your rivers'; who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose'; saying of Jerusalem, "She shall be built,' and of the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid.'"
And with this, God responds: "You are mine. I made you and you will bring me glory. All that I have given you, you will use it to glorify me."
God has taken this "curse" and used it to unify our family, both mom and dad's side. Not to go into too much detail, my mom's side and our family didn't get along so well, but because of this gift, strange as it may seem, it has brought out the kindness and understanding of both families. Now, we get plenty of phone calls each day and we get along better than ever. With this, we are able to continue witnessing to both sides of our family through our attitudes in handling the situation.
God has given us more support that we could have ever dreamed of. We have so many loving friends who pray for us daily. For this, I am truly grateful. Not only is this an encouragement to me, but it is also an encouragement to my mom. As much as my mom would like to socialize, her health would not permit her to do so, or at least as much as she would like. It's kind of crazy how God takes a vulgar disease like cancer and takes and uses it to unify the church in praying for my mom. I have become more familiar with faces around the church from those asking of my moms condition. I must admit, I do become weary of constantly having to repeat myself over and over again about my mom's updates, but as much as I'm tired of it, I find even more joy in that I can see God's love manifesting in my life through others' showing compassion toward our family.
Through this crazy roller coaster, God has allowed me to find joy in the littlest things. For example: Life. It is a gift. God's gift. He gave it, and he can take it. He'll use it, mold it, break it. I can find peace and comfort in knowing that if it is His will to allow my mom to live, than that is a gift, but if it is also to take her life, this is also a gift. To live, we would have many more memories and loving times together and from her experience, she can encourage others and let them know that they are not alone in this journey. To take, no more sorrow, no more pain, no more difficulties or hardships. She can be with our Father in Heaven!
I take great joy in my time with my mom more than I ever have before. Not going to lie, it has often become very frustrating providing for her needs, but when I perform these tasks, I take joy in it (or at least I do my best to).
I also take joy in the little cry of a child: showing how needy we were as little ones. How innocent, vulnerable; just as we are with Christ. We are needy; there is never a day where we do not go hungry, thirsty... Our dependence on God allows us to humble ourselves and come to Him, depend on Him.
I'm not trying to amplify my mom's condition because I know that there are others that are dealing with the same. The purpose of this was to encourage to you, so that if or when you encounter a tough situation or a hardship, that you would keep this in mind. It's funny. At Resolved, a christian conference, John Piper spoke about how God used sin to glorify Him. Just as this situation seems so big to us, there are millions of other situations going on also, all which are bringing glory to God. When struggling for joy, seek Him.

To this day, my mom is doing well. Sassy, as ever, but is doing well. As of recent, she has postponed her chemotherapy treatment due to low blood count. She should be starting up again in January.
For those who are always asking if we need any favors, thank you. The biggest favor you could bring us is prayer!
Thank you all for you love, support, and prayers! God bless! -- Sola Gratia.

Colossians 1: 9-14
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that
you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Aggravation, Frustration, Deliberation

Aggravation: an exasperated feeling of annoyance
I'm currently running a marathon that I don't want to run. I know I have to finish, but there are all these tedious things I have to complete before finishing the race. I have to make sure all my college applications are perfect and turn them in on time, keep up with schoolwork, keep my grades up, make sure I meet the expectations of my parents, have the ability to perform well in everything I do. I don't want to, but I have to. Aside from schoolwork, I also have personal issues. One, dealing with a parent who currently has cancer (I may post about this in a later blog). I currently feel as if I were on the 5th mile (out of 26), running up hill and everything's becoming a blur and long-winded. I want to quit so badly. I'm over it all. It was great running the race of senior year, but this marathon is so much different from what I've expected. "Senior year was easy..." Ha- riiiiight. You're killing me.

Frustration: the feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals
My goal this year: To get through senior year in one piece. So far, I've lost an arm and a leg or so it feels. My grades aren't at all where I want them to be. 2nd goal: I'm struggling so much to attain. I do all my work and turn all assignments in on time, but it's not just about turning it in for the sake of just turning it in, but to apply it, which I find extremely hard to do with all these assignments bombarding me. It's just exasperating and frustrating at how much is expected from me, but I just can't deliver, no matter how hard I try.

Deliberation: the act of weighing and examining the reasons for and against a choice or measure; careful consideration; mature reflection
I know that what I do now will impact my decisions and will make a difference on the outcome. For example, to get into the colleges of my choice, I need to keep my grades up to par or else I can kiss my acceptance letters goodbye. Although everything that I do seems repetitive and futile, but eventually, I don't know how, I know it'll benefit me in some strange way...yeaaah. If I won't do it for myself, I would do it for Christ, so that I may glorify Him, who is more than deserving of glorification, in all I do.

In closing,

1 Corinthians 10:31
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Psalm 73:25-26
"Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Currently Listening To: Jack Conte's Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Women's Place in Society

Women: the weaker of the sexes...
Is this really true? Because the last time I checked, there have been a lot of women in history. For example, Rosa Parks - fought for racial equality, Susan B. Anthony - abolitionist and contributed to womens' sufferage, Clara Barton - the "Angel of the Battlefield," Harriet Tubman - helped free hundreds of slaves, and many more. Each had a passion to improve society.
In Hamlet, Shakespeare presents Ophelia and Queen Gertude as passive and submissive women. Perhaps instead of putting the blame on these women, Shakespeare is exposing the flaws of men. In the past, because of pride, women were usually at fault even if they had nothing to do with the issue. In domestic violence (more commonly known as abusive relationships), men usually blame the woman for making him beat her. For example, from the Tyra Banks show (I know its a controversial issue, but it's the only one I could think of at the moment), the boyfriend responds to the confrontation by saying, "She makes it escilate... Why did you make me angry?... Why did you make me do this to you?" To watch the episode in its full context click: (Skip to 5mins for the male response) (here).
I'm not trying to say women are better than men or men are better than women. Men are better at somethings, while women are better at other things. Unfortunately women are often discredited because of stereotypes and whatnot. What does this have to do with Hamlet? These women were used in the schemes of men. As society would have it, naturally women are supposed to submit to their husbands, whether their submission is meant for good or evil.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I honestly don't know how to start this blog, however what I would like to focus on is the activity that we did on Friday, in class, in regards to Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy. My conflict had to do with the decision of for me v.s from me.
Should I fulfill and meet the expectations of my parents and show them what they want to see from me? Or do I live out my dreams and in return accept disappointment? On my card, I wrote the following:
"Do I live out my dreams to its fullest potential or do I risk the relationship with my parents because I'm not living their dream?"
Growing up, I always imagined myself becoming an musician, whether it be in a band or performing with an orchestra (My dream was to go to Julliard and learn vocals and composition). My other dream was to be an artist, more specifically a photographer. I love ambiguity in art. I love the fact that I can make the picture into what I want it to be, express what I want it to express. This way, I won't have specific guidelines. Traveling: Always wanted to travel and live in Spain for a summer. Gosh, that'd be the best experience ever. Go to a real football match and just experience the versatility, but naturally I don't have the funds for that just yet. I've always found myself more of an arts person as opposed to a book smart person. I really hate memorization and questions that have more than one right answer, but really only has one right answer. I'm not smart enough! Can't we just let it be?
As of today, I have a heart for helping families with children who have disabilities. I want to impact their lives in a positive manner. I want to know that what I'm doing is going to make a difference, not saying that being a doctor wouldn't do the same thing, but really... who wants to go through that much schooling because I sure don't want to. Education has become so strict and I feel trapped; living my life in the narrow boundaries of education. I'm becoming so weary of meeting the unreachable standards of today's modern society. Anyway, back to the issue with my parents. Yes, my parents are Asian, so growing up, I only had to options: To be a doctor or not to be (as in to be nonexistent because I would be unsucessful in anything else that I would want to do). Joyous.
I want to dedicate my life to serving others. Who says I can't serve being a doctor? Who says I have to serve by the means of being a doctor? I've suggested compromise with my parents, but my pleading was futile; their expectations would not budge. I've become discouraged to the max knowing that whatever else I did would not win the support from my parents. My cousin wasn't any help either. Instead of being encouraging, he mocked my desired profession. I love my family and although they have expectations, I'm going to have to say that their in for disappointment. I am persuing my dream in becoming a speech therapist. What my family has to say about it? They think I'm childish and foolish. I've resoned with my parents a great deal over why I made this decision.

"I rather be happy doing something I love, than be a slave to work and ultimately, money."

The friction in our household has died down a lot since then, but there are still some disagreements about my wants. All that my parents require of me now is to do my best and be content in all the situations or issues to come.
The picture to the above is titled: "Renovation" and it is by my brother dearest. I thought it was appropriate considering all the changes that I'm making in my life. Just like in Hamlet, Shakespeare uses words with double-meanings and the double-meanings behind the word "renovation" could consist of change, renewing, improving and to restore. I guess they're all really synonyms, but it depends how you look at the word and its definition. Anyway...So here's to the future!
My Purpose: To serve others with a whole heart and as selfless as possible.
1 Corinthians 10: 31-33
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Words of Wisdom: Words to Live By

If anything, I think this song called "Everyone's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), is completely relevant to what we did this week in class, regarding the letters from friends/family.
"Everyone's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" can be heard by clicking HERE

At the beginning of this week, we were assigned to ask 2 (or more) people for their words of wisdom. I know for a fact that I would look at these letters when I feel discouraged, which were probably the real reason as to why we did these, so thank you Mr. Burke. The first letter that I've received was from my dear friend, Kimberlee. She talked about how the world is going to lie to me and tell me how my purpose in life is to be successful. In this hectic world, it's always so easy to forget my purpose in life and lose track of who I am. As I mentioned in my journal, I know that living in the world and living of the world are two different things. I can't live my life for men and live my life for Christ. Scripture to back this statement up comes from Revelation 3:16 : "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." Living in the world and living of the world is like water and oil. You can't mix the two together no matter how much you stir. I'm going to be completely honest, sometimes I find myself living for the world instead of living for Christ as of recent because of school applications, grades, and whatnot. I end up losing myself in all the madness and sometimes struggle to swim back up to the surface wondering if I would ever make it back to the surface in time. My friend's letter has encouraged me tremendously. I know for sure that this letter will be a "shoebox" letter, meaning I'm going to keep it, treasure it and look at it as a source of encouragement. She recognizes the fact that these ties are going to be harder before they become easier - and that's so true! but at the rat that our world is changing/progressing, it's about to become a whole lot harder and easier won't be found as quickly as i would like it to be.
Over these past few years, my friends have had a tremendous impact on my life, mostly spiritually. They have set an example for me to live by - living out the gospel of Christ. each of these people that I've asked to write me these letters are people that I trust my life with. They are all responsible for shaping and molding me into the person who I am today. Without their guidance, I would be living a completely different life style- who knows where I'd be? I look forward to pulling these letters from a shoebox, possibly 20 years from now. It would remind me of how much they've invested, influenced and loved me.

Here, I guess I'll leave a message for my future self:
For when I encounter hardships, trials and tribulations:
+Romans 8:31-39 -"God's Everlasting Love"
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

+James 1:2-4 - "Testing of Your Faith"
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

+Romans 5:20-21 - "Peace with God Through Faith"
"Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"It's not the circumstances that determine who you're going to be, but how you deal with these problems and pains that come your way..." - Mat Kearney [<--This is a link!]

This quote comes from a song by one of my favorite artists, Mat Kearney. What makes him different from other artists is that he has a different way of approaching issues (issues that matter) of todays world. For example, in the song Girl America, Kearney addresses a girl's everyday issue and how instead of taking initiative on her own life and leading her life the way she would like it to be, she allows outside influences govern her decisions that she makes.
I think that this song, more directly the quote, is relevant to our class discussions on leaders and laws/morals. How? Well, the beginning starts out as how she allows worldly influences mold her to how she's going to live out her life, thus making her a follower of the leader, represented by the media, drugs, boys, etc.
I wouldn't say that leaders are confinded to the definition of one that leads others, but also she can govern herself; taking her reigns into her own hands and to the best of her ability, control what she can instead of allowing everything around her to manipulate the way she acts or reacts.
There are two different kinds of people in the world: ones that initiate and ones that react, however these reactions may be passive or active.
The ones that initaite usually feel as if something were wrong or feel that they are being threatened by something, thus the initiation for change.
The ones that react are considered as followers or ones that could care less. Followers are followers because they feel that they would not have enough leway to pursuade others to follow them in their opinion of matters, but if they find someone else who has more pursation on the public, the leaders, they then support these leaders in their decision and action for change. The others are passive. They are passive because it is possible that they could care less about what's going to happen, maybe because they don't feel like the decision has any relation to them or won't affect them in any shape, way or manner.

This upcoming months is going to be one of the most stressful months im ever going to encounter (aside from finals and AP testing). Why is this? Well as if I didn't have enough already, I now have the pleasure of filling out those wonderful application forms which will probably shape my life in terms of what exactly in my degree I'm specifically aiming at. It is up to me whether I want to let the school take me where it wants to take me or if I want to take it where I want it to take me. Will I govern my life to the best of my ability or will I let the influence on others guide my decisions?

Sunday, September 27, 2009


What is law?
Law is a system of rules a society sets to maintain order and protect harm to persons and property.

I usually have my notebook with me to help me pinpoint the important points so that I could incorporate them into my blog, but since I don't have it, I'm going to do my best to recall what we've talked about and what I've thought about the discussions.

We've discussed in class how whether one believes it or not, he or she has broken the law, if it may be through downloading music illegally, over-speeding in a car, cutting class, or even something as simple as jaywalking. As a civilian, it is our duty to obey the law. What causes us to break laws is that the benefit of the action oversees the consequence or maybe because we believe that it infringes on our rights. Sometimes we break the law because we may believe that the consequences are miniscule compared to the long run.

For example, man's law v. the gods' law. Would one choose to follow man's law because it results in death? Or would one choose to follow the gods' because gods' consequences are bigger than man's law?
I feel that what made Antigone defy man's law is because of this reason: the gods' law is an eternal law, and because it is an eternal law, the consequences would be an eternal consequence. Also, does man's law not come from the gods' laws?

Another example was in class in a discussion about law in regards to Martin Luther King Jr.
Everyone has a definition of right and everyone has a definition of wrong. Although two ideas may be similar, there is still room for disagreements. We have our own morals, which are learned through trial and errors. The choice that leads to civil disobedience is initiated by the cause and effect being bigger than the consequence.

I, myself, could see myself breaking the law if it is something I am passionate about, for example my faith. If the government were to keep me from practicing and growing in my faith, I would defy the law because I feel that my faith stands for something greater and cannot be defined by rules and regulations. The earth is temporary where as my God is eternal.
Isaiah 40:8 "
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Choice: Ours or Not?

Choice: Although being a simple six letter word, this word has the ability to stir up plenty of controversy. Many may argue that the choices that we make in life are our own. Others may argue that we, as humans, are incapable of making choices for ourselves and therefore have some divine hand or supernatural being guiding our decisions.
This week in class, we discussed how Oedipus's decisions affected his fulfilling of the prophecy. The way I saw it, was that Oedipus had no real choice. The prophecy was that he would kill his father and marry his mother and by 'choosing' to advert the prophecy, he was one step closer to fulfilling what he strove to avoid. From birth, Oedipus's world was being governed by the ancient gods above to establish justice.
From Paul Roche's Forward on "The Great Encounter" in relation to Sophocles's Oedipus, he expresses that "[t]hough we may be innocent, we are all potentially guilty, because of the germ of self-sufficiency and arrogance in our nature." Also, according to the Romans 3:10-12, "[n]one is righteous, no, not one; no one understand; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." From both these passages, we see that human nature is depraved and deprived. Roche concludes his paragraph saying that "both choice and destiny are ours." However, the Bible disagrees. As mentioned before, "no one does good..." meaning because of our sinful nature, we have the tendency to do wrong because it feels good. When one chooses to do the right thing, we may not notice why at first, but we "chose" the right thing because of consequence or benefit. We make our choices based on how we would benefit from these choices. Romans 8:28-30 continues to say, "And we know that for those who love God and all things work together for good; for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many borthers. and thos whom He predestined, He also called, and those whom He called He also Justified, and those whome He justified He also glorified."
To sum this all up, whatever we do, say, or think, its already been planned. Although what we do may be the most henious thing on earth, but believe it or not, God planned it out just the be the way it was. (Romans 9:18, "So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.") The henious act glorifies God and magnifies Him showing that we as humans are evil at our core and in order for us to be redeemed from this crime, which is punishable through death, God sent Jesus as a proptiation for our sins.
As for chosing whether one wants to be a Christian or not, I believe it is by God intervening in our lives and the grace that he gives us, allows us to follow Him. Being wretched and sinful as I am, there is no way in my human nature that I would have the ability to chose Him; He called me to Himself and through this he was glorified.
As for terms of justice, I would argue that God's way of establishing justice on earth is through people who want to live in denial; knowing the truth, but chosing to ignore it because the alternative sounds better. Allowing those who want to be deceived to have the selfish desires of their hearts. Being a Christian does not mean that one's life is going to be prosperous or easy. Becoming a Christian does not guarantee one a huge house, riches, a nice car, or his or her best life now.
Being a Christian means that one is willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of giving back to God and glorifying him in all that one does. Again, without God's grace and intervention, we would not have the ability to do this.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Growth and Development

When does it stop?
They say junior year of high school is the hardest. I believe it. It's the year where everyone expects the most out of you and more.

Junior year: SATs, Reviewing Colleges, AP Classes, Honor Roll, Volunteering, Sports, Leadership, Long Sleepless Nights, Community Involvement.

Senior year: it's all very much the same, but with the stressful additions of college applications. Whoever said senior year was easy was lying because I do not feel like it is so. I feel as it is the most stressful and overwhelming semester than I've ever had. I do recognize the fact that it would get easier as time progresses (probably because I'm still trying to get back into the gist of being back in school).
What ever happened to going to school to get an education? To learn? Because I'm definitely not learning in school anymore. It's all memorization to just pass the next test. The next thing I know, I don't remember what I "learned." When is enough enough?

According to America, enough is never enough. Standard bars for college acceptances are constantly rising and the pressure is on. Students have become more stressed and have taken on more than they can handle, me being one of them. After graduating from college for a bachelors, then it's masters, moving on to doctoral and if that isn't enough, a double doctoral... is that even possible? Well, at the rate that America's moving at, I say they'll push it to a triple. When does it end?

With all this hustling and bustling of trying to get my future figured out, looking at college requirements, I begin to question, "Am I good enough?" My answer every time, "Of course not. What makes you more special than the next person? Why should this college accept you? How am I supposed to get into the college of my choice? How can I stand out so my chances are just a little bit better?" I become more and more discouraged every time I see that the next student performing exceptionally better than I am. My frustration and annoyance continually grows each day I walk into the classroom. I can't keep up with the world's expectations anymore. I just hate it how the world sets up standards that very few people can reach. It kills me.

In class we discussed how although having a masters in some field doesn't automatically mean you qualify for any given position. We see Crawford as an example of this. Here, we saw a man with a masters degree in law, but wound up in an office writing a numerous amount of articles each day. We also see Bartleby's example. Perhaps Bartleby worked so hard only to end up as a scrivener. Maybe he only replied, "I would prefer not to," because he knew he deserved better because he worked harder or was knowledgeable. Now that I look at it, Crawford and Bartleby went through the same thing. They both worked hard for something (assuming that Bartleby had a masters in something), but wound up in a place where they deserved better.

My honest opinion of it all? "Forget school. Let me concentrate what matters most: My walk with Christ."
Yes, I have the right thought, but the wrong attitude at coming at it. Of course I have to complete my education and I have to do my best at everything I do, but I shouldn't be doing it to keep up with the world's standards or for myself, but rather doing it all for God's glory. And my attitude towards schoolwork is definitely not glorifying to God. (Note that I was using God as a reason to get out of school work... Repent? Yes.)

Today was church day followed by homework day. I've never been so frustrated and fed up in my life (with homework that is). But as frustrating and difficult my day was, I remember what we talked about in church. I shouldn't be frustrated and down on myself about getting into college and unsatisfied with my best performance. Although I am greatly discontent with myself and felt like I can no longer do it by myself. My pride took a step off the pedestal.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when i am weak, then I am strong.

And with this:

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I can't even express how stupid I feel. "I can do it by myself. I'm on my own, with no one to help me." Umm negatory... pride sucks. I was doing it all for myself and by myself. Wrong attitude. So sad.

Yes junior year is over, but senior year has just begun, but I can say that I look forward to the help and support I'll receive from my Lord. As for my future of college and schoolwork. I lay it all in God's hands. He is sovereign and whatever plans he has for me will surely bring glory to Him. This does not mean I leave everything in God's hands and not do anything about it. This means that I have been given responsibilities to fulfill what I need to fulfill and the Lord will aid me in these overwhelming tasks.

1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

And although this was meant for Jeremiah, it is still encouraging knowing that God is in control:
Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

AP Classes, college applications, volunteering, athletics, and more.... watch out because here I come.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekly Blog

Living in a Material World
With all the technological advances that we're having every few months or so, the demand for newer better things are increasing. However old the motto, "keep up with the Joneses," still applies to society today. Many know that there is more to life than what it has to offer, like fame, riches, a big house, or sports car, but may choose to dismiss it or are simply content in the current state they are in.

In class, we read a poem about Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson
. No doubt, the first thing on my mind was Simon and Garfunkel's Richard Cory.
(Song could be heard by clicking HERE)
We discussed how Richard Cory was a well respected man and how everyone strived to be like him. Many also envied his status in society. When I read this poem, it reminded me about how materialistic the world is in its quest to obtain anything that's better than the "outdated" objects.

We see that Richard Cory had everything one could possibly ask for: riches, fame, ect. but he went about it with a humble attitude. From the poem, one can say he was not one that would flaunt his status. Although he seemed to have everything and was set for life, the end of the poem reveals a different story, "[Richard Cory] went home and put a bullet in his head."
Although he lived a life of luxury, there was an internal conflict. In my opinion, it seems as if Richard Cory was not satisfied in all that the world had to offer. He chased everything in the world and came up empty.

Many find what they need to keep them going, whether it be family, faith, friends, love, trust. The world cannot create or provide these things for us. We cannot make the world genuinely love us. We cannot have the same bond with the world that which we could share with our family and friends. Our faith, whether it be in God, our family, or in people we trust, will not fail, but our faith in the world would be fleeting. "All flesh is grass..." (Isaiah 40:6-8)

Also in class this week, our classes wrote an in class essay. When Mr. Burke presented the in class essay example, I marveled at how much better that person was in writing. His use of expansive vocabulary, imagery, and connections to today just left me in awe. It has shown me the concepts I should grasp. Although our ideas were the same along the lines of "without words, ideas are powerless," the writer found so much more to write about than myself. Also, I find myself constrict myself in writing and Mr. Burke said, literature must flow. Literature is art and it should not be held back. Should U2 play their greatest hit only up to the middle? Of course not! Not only will they play it through, but they'll probably have an extensive intro, bridge, and ending; just as my writing should be. I have a lot to learn and as long as I'm willing to learn, I can achieve it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"The Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog"

In Class Questions:
-Why paint the backside of a man instead of showing his face?
-Is he alone?
-Is he on a mission?
-Why on a foggy day and not a sunny day?
-Why does the picture have an ominous feel to it?
-Is the picture foreshadowing the man's destiny?

Response to the Question:
My journey this semester is going to be a rough one. I know where I want to go, but before I can get there, I have to deal with my classes with homework, volunteering, sports and college applications to juggle. My goal is in site, but I've got to work hard to get there just as this man in the painting must work to reach his final destination.
In order for me to reach this goal without completely losing myself in the process, I have things that keep me going like my family, friends and youth group. In the picture, the man is holding a walking stick or cane. This can be interpreted as his item that comforts him. Maybe it reminds him of a fond memory that keeps him going.
The painter painted the backside of the man so that the onlooker could relate to the picture him or herself. For the man to be alone may mean it must be a personal journey. Maybe it is a search for his place in the world.
The ominous feel to the picture, represented by the mists or fog, may foreshadow the trials and tribulations that are to come in the man's journey while he does his best to accomplish his goal. Through these trials and tribulations, he can see out who he is as a person and see what he is made of. It seems like the man is accomplishing his goals one step at a time. Although one may seem to have a goal set for him or herself, there are still unaccounted obstacles that may hinder him from accomplishing his goal, but from the man's stance he looks as if he has prepared himself for both the triumphs and disappointments.