Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year in Review

 

Oh so cliché for New Years Eve, but whatever.

Highlights by month:

January: got a job. Learned my new favorite saying in Spanish “Si este vibora te pica, no hay remedio en la botica.”

February: Tickets to Guatemala are booked!

March: Apparently March was pretty pathetic, because I can’t think of anything significant that happened.

April: Easter. My obsession to listening to Disney songs in Spanish begins.  Veo en Ti La Luz es la mejor cancion.

May: Bought a wedding dress on eBay to take pictures in. Went to Florida. Saw 2 hammerhead sharks just swimming around—crossed seeing a shark in it’s natural habitat off my bucket list.

 

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June: First “real” photoshoot.

July: Wore my wedding dress through the mall.

August: ….another insignificant month

September: Went to Guatemala. Passed my first CLEP exam.

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October: Went to Ethiopia. (Cross seeing a wild monkey and hippo off the bucket list)

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November: Thanksgiving.

December: Grandfather goes to heaven. Christmas. 1 year anniversary of my grandmother’s death.

 

The “Ests” of 2012 (yes, I will be inventing some words.)

Scariest: Guatemala. Driving in a truck, at night, get out of truck so it can go up a hill. Met by 3 guys with shotguns, two of which are wearing ski masks, who then lowered their guns at us. Turns out, they were just guards, but still.

Longest: Travelling home from Ethiopia. On the way back: 24 hours total.

Popularest: blog post: I’ll Just Continue

Dumbest: Tucker: “hey look at that volcano smoking!” Me: “That’s just a hill with a cloud over it.” It was clear by the nest day that it was a volcano.

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Beautifulest:  Kalkidan.

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Entertainingest: Lincoln. Best movie I saw all year, of course, I’m not exactly a frequent movie go-er.

Favoritest: (picture)

IMG_3088                                                              I just ordered it on  a canvas!!

Craziest: Taking my second trips to Ethiopia and Guatemala in less than 2 months time.

Quotablest: “There are far, far better things  ahead than any we leave behind.” –C.S. Lewis

I want it on one of these bracelets from BookFiend on Etsy.

Self-portaitest: I have taken more photos of myself this year than ever before. My favorite of the year:

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Preciousest: (moment)

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Relatablest: …thing found on Pinterest:

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Songest: Many the Miles by Sara Bareilles. Actually I think it’s a kind of old song, but you know, I just discovered it recently, and I like to be behind on these things.

TVest: Sister Wives. It’s so stupid. So pointless. But so addicting.

Memorablest: (person) Selena from Guatemala.

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All in all, 2012 was a good year. Lot’s of memories created.

 

Friday, December 28, 2012

What I’d Tell My Brother

 

Christmas has been weird for two years in a row, and I think, it will feel weird for quite a while.

Christmas 2010. My grandma (dad’s mom) was healthy. My grandfather (mom’s dad) was not entirely healthy. Still battling cancer, but it was “normal” and he was doing okay. He fried oysters. Grandma made gravy. Like it had been, every single year.

At the end of November this year, my grandfather was told he had “weeks.”  He died late on December 11.

Last December, on my birthday, the doctors told her she had 6 months. By Christmas, she couldn’t walk on her own. She died on December 28.

One year ago today, my grandmother went to heaven.

While I am glad she is there, free from pain and suffering, I selfishly wish she was still here, so she could see her grandchildren get married, graduate, and just watch who they have become.

Two months before we brought Teshale home, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. He only got to see her a limited number of times, as she had to be careful not to be exposed to any sort of illness. So if there was any question, he stayed home with somebody.

He won’t remember her at all. He was just over a year when she died. I wish he could have gotten to know her, because she was one awesome-sauce lady.

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(favorite picture ever)

So Teshale, this is for you, these are things you should know:

  • She made the BEST mashed potatoes, I kid you not, I don’t care how good you think my or mom’s mashed potatoes are, hers were better.
  • She was so excited to meet you. Your picture was up on her fridge as soon as she got it.
  • It took her a while to say your name right…actually, I’m not sure that she ever got it.
  • I’m definitely going to have to tell you the story about the Labor Day cookout when she broke her wrist, but wouldn’t go to the ER until everyone got their food.
  • You could never watch a movie with her, and actually catch every detail, because she talked during them…(but not in theaters, she wasn’t one of those people)
  • You made her laugh. The last time we saw her, you were squealing, and she laughed. She was in pain, and kind out of it, but you made her laugh. We left shortly after that. The last thing I remember her doing, was laughing. Thanks for that. It’s a good final memory.
  • We all used to have toothbrushes up at her house with our nicknames written on them, for when we slept over. “Weebie” “Wildman” I don’t know why, but that little thing is something I will always remember.
  • She always said taco as “tacko”
  • She had such a servant’s heart.
  • Anywhere she was, there were at least 5 Ricolas in reaching distance. Riiiiiiiiicola.
  • Thanksgiving/Easter she had to make sure everyone had their favorite foods. Mashed potatoes for Rachel. Certain kinds of pies for certain people. Oh..and she always made Kraft Macaroni for Josh, since he wouldn’t eat the real stuff.
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“Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different....” –CS Lewis

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Do they know it’s Christmas time?

You know that song? The one we feel all good inside while shouting “FEEEEEEED THE WOOUUOORULLD.” It’s incredibly off if you listen to the words. I’m not saying it was a bad cause, raising $14 million for a famine in Ethiopia? Go for it. Awesome. Just write the song better next time.

Since this was supposedly written about Ethiopia, it will be my “country of reference.”

Let’s break it down.

It's Christmas time,
there's no need to be afraid.
At Christmas time
we let in light and banish shade

I am no poet,  and I really kind of hate metaphors and similes, so don’t judge me if I get this wrong. We let in light and banish shade? More like we pretend everything is fine and dandy everywhere and close our eyes to stuff we don’t want to see. Either way.


And in our world of plenty
we can spread a smile of Joy

Okay, sure we can use our resources to help others.


Throw your arms around the world
at Christmas time.

Only at Christmas? “I LOVE YOU WORLD!…okay, Christmas is over.”

But say a prayer,
Pray for the other ones.

Good thinking, I have no issue with that.

At Christmas time it's hard
but when you're having fun...
There's a world outside your window
and it's a world of dread and fear

Hardships. Not dread and fear. I’m sure during the famine it was worse, but the whole world outside your window is not full of dread and doom. That’s a bit of an egocentric point of view, don’tcha thing?

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Where the only water flowing is
the bitter sting of tears

Oh really?

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Where the Christmas bells that are ringing
are the clanging chimes of Doom

Yeah..um..pretty sure this is another metaphor, geez, I’m bad at those.

Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you.

Arguably the stupidest line in the whole song. “Dear God, I would just like to say thanks. I am so glad that little girl is starving and not me. Good thing that baby died and not me.” Erg.

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time

Actually, it does snow in Morocco, Lesotho, and South Africa. During a particularly cold spell it snowed in Algeria and Tunisia. Good try though.


The greatest gift they'll get this year is life.
Ohh....

Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow

Rainy:

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Actually a lake, not a river, but you know, large body of water.

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Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

Actually Christmas is celebrated on January 7th in Ethiopia. Egocentrism once again.

Here's to you...
Raise a glass for everyone

Yes, drinking has been proven to be an effective combatant in fighting hunger in third world countries.

Here's to them
Underneath that burning sun

See, you’re just really stuck on this whole Africa is a big desert country thing. (also, not a country, a continent, but that’s another rant for another day) In case you still aren’t convinced on water in Africa:

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Do they know it's Christmas time at all?

Seriously…January 7.

Feed the world...
Feed the world...
Feed the world,

Good thought, hard to do in reality.

Let them know it's Christmas time again.
Feed the world,
Let them know it's Christmas time again.
(Repeat several times and fade)

This song is just…it’s not a bad song, I guess, but it really shows how uneducated people are. Poverty does not equal a life of doom and despair. Africa is not a desert. And you’d think if you were writing a song you could do a quick google search and find out…oh wait…there is water in Africa…

and yes, I realize it was written because of a drought that caused a famine, but don’t tell me, “nothing ever grows. no rain or rivers flow” because obviously, ever, means like…ever.

Friday, November 30, 2012

complaints.

 

Complaining is the absence of thankfulness. –Dale Partridge

So occasionally in my pointless time on the internet, I will find something worthwhile. I like to stalk read Dale Partridge’s blog. He started up and is the top guy at Sevenly. Sevenly is basically a company that features a different organization every week, each week, there is a new shirt/tote bag/sometimes iphone cover design and $7 of every purchase goes towards said charity.

Also he’s really good at pinterest.

Anyway, so I was reading the other day and saw this post: http://dalepartridge.com/sevenlys-complaining-room/

At the Sevenly offices they have a complaining room, which according to that post is actually more of a big closet.

Whenever someone complains they are sent to the complaining room and have to write their complain on the walls.     All over the walls are covered with pictures of people in developing countries, fighting diseases, suffering oppression, etc.

I know writing my “first world problems” on the face of a malnourished child would make me stop and think. Now I’m wishing I had a closet to convert into a complaining room…I could just make a big canvas collage of pictures to make more portable “room.” hmm..

But you know, we like to complain about how bad life is.

Look around.

Yes, there are terrible, horrible things.

But there are also a lot of great things.

Such as:

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Beaches and sunsets.

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Travel opportunities, mountains, volcanoes.

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Tea, Christmas.

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Joy, laughter, beauty amongst struggles.

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Water, boat rides, great views, mountains.

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Water, waterfalls, taking walks, autumn.

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Monopoly games, camera remotes, self portraits, family.

 

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Fall, comfy dresses, sunshine.

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Cameras, comfy jackets.

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and of course, cupcakes.

Life isn’t perfect, but there is always something to be thankful for. Always.

 

Also Sevenly is doing a 7 days of Christmas thing where for a week they bring back an old tshirt every day…I wouldn’t mind if anyone bought me one.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Counting Blessings.

Blessed. We really are, aren’t we? We like to pretend we are not, but we are, we really are.

I’ll go ahead and venture to say that most anybody reading this is blessed in the following ways:

  1. A place to live. An estimated 100 million people are homeless worldwide. That doesn’t even include people living in bad conditions, or substandard housing.
  2.  Access to clean water. 780 million people lack access to clean water. That’s over 2.5 times the population of the United States.
  3.  Food. 15 million children die, each year, from hunger. 800 million people around the world suffer from hunger and starvation. An estimated 20,864 people will starve to death, today.
  4.  An education. Almost one billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or write their name.
  5. Freedom. Almost 1.5 billion people today live in Communist countries.

We too easily forget. If the internet is out for a day, I will complain. If I have to buy a tank of gas, I will complain. I should be thankful that I even have electricity—much less the internet. I should be thankful that I can afford to buy a tank of gas.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is the time of year when we all pretend to be a lot more thankful for things than we really are. Let’s make it real, and let’s make it last. Thankfulness should not be confined to one month of the year.

 

 

sources: http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/, http://www.statisticbrain.com/world-hunger-statistics/, http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats, http://geography.about.com/od/lists/tp/communistcountries.htm,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

An Open Letter to Women.

 

Dear women of the internet,

I’m a skinny girl, and the truth is, I don’t work for it. Never have. It’s natural. I’m sorry that the fact that some people are thinner than you really upsets you. It’s not my fault. But you know, in some people’s cases, it is their fault, because maybe they worked for it. It’s all over facebook, pinterest, and the rest of the internet. People are bashing girls because they are “too thin” or “too skinny,” automatically diagnosing random girls as anorexic.

Things like this are popping up:

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Awesome. I’m going to make a t-shirt that says, “18 is not a size.” I’m sure that would go over well. No, it wouldn’t---and I’m glad it wouldn’t. That would be totally wrong and offensive, to discriminate against larger people. But hey, if it’s a tiny girl, it’s totally cool, right? There is something wrong with this picture. If I commented on photos on the internet of big women and said things like, “nasty.” “gross” “quit eating sandwhiches.”  But if it’s a girl who is smaller than average, or hey, just smaller than you, it’s totally acceptable to bash. Awesome.

Here’s me, a size zero girl:

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Does that disgust you?

My thighs don’t touch when I sit. I don’t have rolls in my stomach. My arms don’t spread out against my side. I have knobby knees. I have a flat stomach (not abs, believe me, there’s a difference.) I can touch my fingers around my wrist. I went to a summer camp one year when I was 10-11ish, and some random girl came up to me and asked “Are you anorexic?” um..no.. Anorexia is a psychological disorder, not something you, a random girl, label another little girl, because she is smaller than you.

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Does that bother you? It shouldn’t.

Skinny girls aren’t disgusting. Overweight girls aren’t disgusting. Judgment for something as stupid as size is disgusting.

If you want to be bothered by a thin person, be bothered by the starving child, not by the teenage girl with a high metabolism or the girl who worked her butt off to look that way.

Why do you feel like you can weigh in on other people’s body type and weight, anyway? Insecurity?

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but really, just because you are insecure about yourself, whether you be 300lbs over weight, healthy, or underweight, you don’t get the right to bash other people.

A person’s a person, no matter how small, big, skinny, pretty, ugly.

Sincerely,

Bekah

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

21 things you don’t need to know.

 

So. If you know me halfway well, you know I enjoy a good random fact. Dead or boring conversation? “FUN FACT! Did you know….”

Here are a few of my favorites:

1. The real Maria Augusta Trapp has a cameo appearance in the Sound of Music. She’s like a little blur walking by, but hey, she’s in there.

2. Bubblegum is pink because the guy who was making it didn’t have any other food colorings left.

3. None of the cast of the Cosby show really liked Lisa Bonet.

4. In Virginia, it’s legal to marry your first cousin. [um…ew.]

5. Ronald Reagan loved jellybeans and always had a bowl on his desk in the White House.

6. Air travel is 22 times safer than riding in a car.

7. Alfred Hitchcock had his bellybutton surgically removed.

8. [some] Crayons are made from cow fat.

9. About 150 million hotdogs are eaten in the US on the 4th of July

10. Divorces and new marriage numbers dropped during the Great Depression. They spiked back up after World War II was over.

11. Mohammed is the most popular name in the world.

12.  Elephants can’t jump [imagine it, please, it’s hilarious.]

13. The guy who wrote Jaws, Peter Benchley, was a speechwriter for Lyndon Johnson.

14. The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland is mad because in the 1800s, the felt hatters were using to make hats had lead in them, which eventually lead to brain damage in the hatters, making them go “mad.”

15.  Squirrels have a 44 day gestation period.

16. Finding Nemo is the most sold DVD. Ever.

17. China produces the most tea of any country.

18. Gerald Ford was president and vice president, but he was never elected.

19. The multicolored horse in Wizard of Oz? That’s not paint, thanks to an animal rights group, it’s gelatin.

20.  The dots on dice are called pips.

21. Wednesday is the most popular day to be born on.

And now, you are a wee bit smarter.

You’re welcom.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I’ll just continue.

 

This last week I met people who will struggle to make $100 in a YEAR.

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I’ll continue to spend hundreds on lenses for my camera.

People will use water like this, everyday.

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I’ll continue to complain when the only thing we have to drink is water.

CHILDREN will carry loads of wood on their back, everyday, to use or sell.

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I’ll continue to complain about loading the dishwasher.

People will struggle to feed their families.

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I’ll continue to (well, just yesterday) spend $10 without thinking, at Starbucks.

This bed will be shared by 3 people tonight.

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I’ll continue wanting to paint my room because, “I don’t like that color.”

People will live here.

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I’ll continue to want things I don’t need. I’ll continue to whine about petty things. I’ll continue to not keep things in perspective.

It’s not bad to buy an overpriced coffee or to buy yourself a new shirt. I’m just saying it is so easy to forget. It’s easy to shut it all out, to pretend everything is okay in the world.

On Good Morning America today there was a huge story on poor Demi Moore, and how she is dealing with seeing Ashton and Mila together. REALLY? Is that REALLY the best thing you could come up with? What about all the people dying from conflict in the Middle East? Or the thousands who die everyday from AIDS?

People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.      -To Kill A Mockingbird

I can see all the things I’ve seen and genuinely hurt for those people, genuinely want to help them and make a difference, but at the same time, I can just continue on with my life. I don’t lead a totally frivolous wasteful life in comparison to most Americans. But in comparison to the majority of the world? Yes, I do.

I really, honestly, don’t think it’s wrong to spend money or time on things we don’t need. Just because others can’t have them doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

But sometimes, you feel guilty sipping on that $5 coffee, knowing that others can’t buy shoes, or don’t have access to clean water.

I don’t know what the answer is, I really don’t.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Desires of Your Heart.

 

I wrote this post: http://ramblingsbybekah.blogspot.com/2011/06/life-isnt-fair.html a while back.

It wasn’t even that long ago, but I can look back and tell you how those feelings were just the start of what is happening in my life now.

I’ll go ahead and be honest, when I was preparing for that trip to Guatemala in 2010, my thoughts weren’t really about the people there, or how God was going to use this trip to change me, or others. Nope. It was more about going somewhere, somewhere new. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel, and I love going to new places, but I had it wrong, for that kind of trip at least.

I got there. It wasn’t really what I expected, I don’t know what I expected, but this wasn’t it. That week, I saw so much…and I learned much more than I had anticipated. Life wasn’t really all about me. I don’t have it bad and sometimes, I just need to grow up and get over myself.

Romans 15:1-2:  We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.

And then I came home, it wasn’t quite the parade and “ohhh Rebekah you are so incredible” like I had expected. Which now I feel like God was saying, P.S.: still not about you.

Then, in September 2011, I went to Ethiopia, we didn’t really do any “mission work” because I was there with my mom to pick up Teshale. But still, if you look right outside the window, and it’s there.

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^that was actually taken from the window of the hotel we stayed in.

Then I went back to Guatemala this year, but with a little bit of a better mindset than before…and do you know the difference that made?

I have just recently started working towards a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies, the plan, after completing that is to “go-back” to school and get a second BA in Social Sciences.

Would I have made those decisions without having the opportunities to travel, like I have? I don’t know. I just know that I am glad that things have happened that have put me on this track. I don’t know if I’ll ever live in another country, I don’t know exactly what is going to happen in my life.

And that makes me think of this:

Psalm 37:5: Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

I heard/read it once somewhere, I don’t even remember where now, that instead of this verse meaning “Pray and get everything you want.” That perhaps, it might mean something more along the lines of delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart, he will show you what the desires of your heart should be. Because if you really are delighting yourself in the Lord, won’t the desires of your heart be something more than “I want to get an iPhone 5” or wanting to be able to eat out every night? I don’t know, I’m not perfect and I don’t know everything, but I think that the more we “delight ourselves in the Lord” the less earthly desires we will have..

okay, I’ll stop rambling now….

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Take…three?

So, I’m back, to try this blogging thing again, only this time I’m not even going to try to do a 30 days of photos or whatever.

I’m just going to post randomly.

The end.