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Monday, March 25, 2013

Letter From Heaven

So, digging all the way back to my senior year of high school, I found this poem and thought I'd share it.

Letter From Heaven

Live in the moment,
Laugh through the pain.
Life is to short to cry because of rain.

When you are hurting and

Monday, March 18, 2013

Thoughts on Thomas Hardy's Poetry

This is an essay that I wrote for my English Literature class last semester in response to some of Thomas Hardy's poetry.  

            The reading assignments this week, consisting of selections from the poetry of Thomas Hardy, were very interesting and enlightening.  I am familiar with Thomas Hardy as a novelist, having read two of his novels and seen the film adaptations of two more, but I was unaware of the fact that he was a poet as well.  All of Hardy’s poetry is beautiful and enjoyable to read, but the poem that stood out to me the most was “He Never Expected Much”. 
“Never, I own, expected I / That life would be all fair.
‘Twas then you said, and since have said, / Times since have said,
 In that mysterious voice you shed / From the clouds and hills around:
 ‘Many have loved me desperately, / Many with smooth serenity,
 While some have shown contempt of me / Till they dropped underground.”
(NEAL 2325-6)
            This excerpt stood out to me because the first two lines are fairly accurate of my attitude towards life.  I don’t

Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts on a Poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Continuing with some essays I wrote last semester, this one was also written for my English Literature class, this time about the poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  

As we transitioned from learning about the Romantic Era and its poetry into learning about the Victorian Era and the poetry produced in that time, one of the poems that really struck me was “The Lotos-Eaters” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  The entire poem, with its theme of wanting to give up, stand still and rest, I found really fascinating, but I particularly connected with this stanza:
They sat them down upon the yellow sand,
Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland
 Of child, and wide, and slave; but evermore
 Most weary the wandering fields of barren foam,
 Then someone said, “We will return no more”;  
And all at once they sang, “Our island home
 Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam.” (NAEL 1959)
 The sentiment expressed in this excerpt is one that I feel

Monday, March 4, 2013

Thoughts on Robert Browning's Poetry

This is a short essay that I wrote last semester for my English Literature class.  Throughout the semester we were to write responses to what we were reading.  These are some thoughts I had upon reading Robert Browning's poetry. 

Robert Browning was a poet who was not understood or appreciated in his lifetime.  His contemporaries thought that he was too difficult to read and understand.  While it is true that his poems are not as easy reading as other poets, such as his wife, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, Robert Browning’s poems are rich and deep with meaning, full of beautiful imagery and symbolism.  His poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” is a perfect example of this.  The eighteenth stanza of this poem in particular stood out to me:

Better this present than a past like that;
Back therefore to my darkening path again!
No sound, no sight as far as eye could strain. (NAEL 2067)

            The feeling expressed in this stanza is one that deeply

Monday, February 25, 2013

Old Life

Do you ever look through old journals, emails, letters or other personal things that you had written two, four, five or even ten years ago?  I do.  Not often, but every once in a while I'll come across an old diary or notebook and flip through it.  It's interesting to do that.  To read something that I wrote years ago; to get a glimpse of who I was then - a glimpse that is more and more enlightening as I grow older and have the perspective that age and time brings.  As each year passes and I grow closer to the Lord and He opens my eyes more to the sinful nature of my own heart, it becomes more and more humbling to read personal things that I wrote in high school.

I recently

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Day and Contentment

This last week was Valentine's Day.  Or, as many of my Facebook friends like to call it, Single's Awareness Day.  Honestly, hearing people call it that has always kind of cracked me up.  Every time I hear someone call it that my first response is: wow, bitter much?  Seriously.  What is so wrong with being single?  Don't get me wrong, I want a relationship just as bad as the next girl, but when that relationship comes, I know I am going to have to give up some of the freedoms that I enjoy now if I want it to work.  And that's the way it is supposed to be.  In order to say "yes" to one thing, you have to say "no" to another.  And people, do you honestly think that once you are in a relationship all your problems will go away?  If you do, you might want to re-assess what you expect because I can guarantee you that they won't.  

I am only 20, and I don't pretend to know a whole lot or have a bunch of wisdom or experience to offer the world.  However, the longer I live and the more people I meet the more convinced I become that one of the keys to living a happy and fulfilled life is contentment.  Choosing to be content wherever it is God has placed you will give you far more peace and happiness than wishing for your life to be different.  One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is the "if only" lie.  As singles we tell ourselves "if only I could find the right person, then I would be happy and content".  Then we find that person and get married and then we want kids.  Then we want the kids to grow up.  Then we want grandkids.  It never ends.  There is always going to be a season of life that looks more appealing than the one we are in right now.  If we are constantly looking ahead to that time, we will lose the joy that is offered in our lives right now.  That is why contentment is so important.  
I am not saying that it is wrong to want and even look forward to a time when you have that special person in your life.  If I said that, I would be a hypocrite, for if I were to be completely honest, I would have to confess that I desperately want to get married and raise a family.  If that is all I ended up doing with my life, I would be thrilled.  The fact of the matter is however, that this is not going to happen for quite some time as I am quite single.  What I, and everyone else who is in this season of life, need to remember is, this season is not going to last forever and it offers us the opportunity to do things that we won't be able to do when we am no longer single.  
Singleness offers the freedom of only having to balance the schedule of one person - me - which allows me to be flexible and available to serve in my church, in my school and in my workplace.  Once I have a significant other, I am not going to be as flexible because he will need to take a place of priority in my schedule. 

As I walk through the seasons of life that God leads me in, I want to be flexible and open so that He can use me.  If I spend my time wishing that my life were different, daydreaming my time away, He can't use me, for I have made myself unavailable to Him.  It makes me sad to see so many people who are discontent with where God has them, for they are robbing themselves of the joy that could be theirs if they only chose to satisfy themselves in Him and what He has given them.  I pray that He will keep  me convicted and content so that He can use me, and I hope that is the prayer of my friends as well.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Thankfulness and Stress

I've been really convicted lately about thankfulness.
 I think it started when I heard this quote: "What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?"

 It is so easy to go just through life, go through the motions every day things, so stuck in the routine that if someone asked you why you were doing something the only answer you would be able to give is "cause that's just what I do."  That happens to me sometimes.  Particularly when I have a lot on my plate.  I do the opposite of what I should do.  What I should do, on those days when I have so many things on my mind that I cannot possibly function, is

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Place of True Freedom

This is a piece I wrote for an English class my second year at junior college.  After we had read Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels", we were assigned to write a satirical essay.  This is the product of that assignment.

The Place of True Freedom

Walking home from work one night, feeling depressed at the state of the world, I saw a sign saying that a man who knew the secret to fixing the world’s problems was here tonight to share his knowledge with us.  Curious, I ducked into the theater where he would be speaking and took a seat.  The man came out to the podium set up on the stage and began to speak.  I leaned back in my chair, eager to listen to this marvelous man who held the secret to a peaceful and contented world.  This is his speech.
On Politics and Policies 
A Treatise on How to Make Our Country and World Safer and More Fair.
Our world today is filled with injustices and hatred.  People are fighting in the streets; children are going hungry while the big-shot CEOs are buying new cars and bigger houses; businessmen and policymakers are showing favoritism when they make decisions.  This is absolutely not right.  All humans are created equal.  We are all brothers and sisters in this world and as such we must join together and help each other, refusing to show favor or preference to one group or another.  If we want to make our world a better place, we must embrace unity, tolerance, justice and freedom.  Everyone must be free to express themselves without fear of censor or ridicule.  All are entitled to have freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom to do and think as one pleases.  We must have freedom from

Monday, January 28, 2013

Not All Glory

Here is another essay that I wrote for my freshman comp class in junior college.  The assignment was to chose a poem from our anthology and exposit it's meaning, using research and our own interpretations.

Not All Glory
I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in. 
- George McGovern 

In his poem, Dulce et Decorum Est, Wilfred Owen contests the wisdom of those who lead young men to believe that war is something to desire and aspire towards.  He attacks this concept with evidence from his own personal experiences at the front, using graphic imagery to impress upon the reader the horrors, the ugliness of battle.  War is not the beautiful, exhilarating and glorious experience that Romantics make it out to be; rather it is hard, ugly and more often than not, traumatic for those involved.  Owen knows this, having experienced war on the front, and he writes hoping to warn his readers. Hoping to protect them from having to experience this disillusionment firsthand. 
The title of the poem ironically suggests that it will be a

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Eyes. . .

Over the last couple of weeks God has opened my eyes  and broken my heart for people who don't know Him in a new way.  He showed me His heart by bringing to my attention several people who I know or have known closely who do not love Him or accept Him as their savior.  It just breaks my heart to see these friends, some of whom are like family to me, who grew up in Christian homes and went (or still go) to church and youth functions faithfully now rejecting the faith that they were raised in.  I was having a conversation with one of these friends a few days ago and it was just so heartbreaking.  They have the truth right in front of them and yet they can't or won't receive it.  The saddest part is the effect this rejection has upon a person's life.

Without God, life has no true meaning or purpose - something that I have seen evidenced in some of these friends as they have turned their backs on Him.  Their lives are hollow and they are searching for anything that is not God or religion that will fill the hole in their soul.  But they search in vain, because even if something seems to be working, eventually the emptiness with return.  Their lives are characterized by

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Legacy of Literature

Today I am going to move from things I wrote in high school to something I wrote my freshman year of college.  This essay was written for my freshman comp class during my first semester at junior college.  We were told to find an aphorism (which, according to the dictionary is a pithy observation that contains a general truth) and write an essay about why we thought the aphorism we chose was true using personal examples.  Enjoy.

                                                                            The Legacy of Literature
                                              “A room without books is like a body without a soul”
                                                                                        - Cicero

Just as the soul of a human being brings life and animation to the body, so do books bring those same qualities to a room. When the soul departs, the body is left a lifeless shell - a shadow of what was. Likewise, a room without books is dull, lifeless and dead. A person’s soul is immortal, living on after the body is dead; so to, are books. Long after an author has died, the books written by them have the potential to live on to inspire and teach those who come after. 
I have experienced such teaching and inspiration in my own life. Many of my favorite books, the ones that impacted me the most, were written by people who died many years before I was born. A perfect example

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lauren's Journal

Going back to the idea of posting some of my older work, I found a couple of things that I wrote in high school that I thought I might share with you all.  
This short story was written for some sort of contest in my junior or senior year of high school.  Once again, I have not changed anything from the original.  

 Lauren’s Journal
Who am I? What am I doing here? What’s the point in living anyway? Those were the words written in the center of the first page of the journal I had found. All around them, filling up the rest of the page, were drawings. Sad drawings. Pictures and sketches of crying girls, angry boys, wilting flowers and bleeding hearts. Pictures from the hopeless. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I turned the page. Whoever the owner of the journal was, they were obviously hurting.
At first I didn’t want to read it. It was someone’s personal journal, I had no right! But I felt drawn to it. Something inside me whispered and told me to read it. No! I kept saying, it isn’t mine. But it kept whispering. Then I realized it must be the Spirit. So I picked it up and started reading.  I read all night. It was impossible to put down. As I read, I wept. I wept as I never had before - - and doubt I ever shall again. This girl was hurting. Her very soul was screaming for help.
  Her name was Lauren Stewart and she was 16. Very likely only a few months younger than myself. She was an only child whose parents were alcoholics and drug dealers. They never paid much attention to her nor did they care about her, so