Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Taken to Soon

Seventeen, hardly old enough to take on life,
             Let alone a man twice my age,
                   Twice my misery.
The waves beat against the shore,
Washing away my innocence as he whispered:
              Come with me,
                     Come with me.
Do I dare reply, answering the sirens call?
The summer air was thick with desire,
It wrapped itself around us like a blanket of sin.
And I nestled myself in it
              Clinging to the heat.
You pulled me in with the intoxicating aroma:
              Bitter sweet air
                  Tangy mellow American Spirits
On the road we stood,
Trying to understand our purpose.
We seemed to find it in the sense of touch.
Together we became one
          Purely physical,
               Barley emotional
In a second I was gone, lost:
But I gained pleasure and passion,
       What could be better than that?
(Certainly not my sanity and sanctity)
Seventeen years turned to twenty-five in the blink of his eye,
Becoming something I could not escape
Facing the island, facing my fears,
Facing you, facing me.
Erase the grievous night with another,
          Night after night
                Man after man
What's freely given cannot be taken.
Life goes on,
Moments passing like the waves.
Time doesn't stop ticking,
Unlike my mutilated heart
                  For comfort
                      For worth
A body easily given,
Is a soul always taken.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Blogger Inspiration....

Tell us about another blogger who has influenced your own online journey.
I started this blog because my nanny that I had when I was younger started to blog about her life. She was my nanny or baby sitter until I was about 11 years old. At this point in her life, me and my twin sister were old enough to walk home from school and take care of ourselves. And at this point in her life, she decided to adopt a child from Russia. When she told me this, I vaguely remember crying (more than likely out of joy, the day was kind of a blur). I can’t help but feel that my sister and I were a pat in that decision in a way (since we were adopted from Russia as well). I feel like she may have expressed that too.
She started her blog when I was entering into my freshmen year of high school. This gave me an idea to start my own blog to write about all my teen angst. It was also a way for us to keep up to date with each others lives. I will regretfully admit that as time went on and I moved from middle school to high school (and now college), there has been less contact between us. So I loved reading her blog because it made me still feel connected to her in some small way. I grew up with her always there and she became someone I looked up to. She inspired my love for reading and French. I hated when she would speak French to me and my sister, but I guess it stuck with me because I went through middle school, high school, and some of college with French lessons. I wonder if I could hold a conversation with her in French today?
Anyway, she also inspired me to write a blog because that was what she was doing. And ever time I read her blog I feel a little more inspired. To see her raise a child that came from a rough place in Russia makes me want to do the same. I know I never want to get married. I have always thought I didn’t want kids, but I could see myself adopting the way she did. She gave me and my sister an incredible childhood, and now she is giving her daughter an incredible life. How much more inspirational can you get?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ordination of Women

Pick a contentious issue about which you care deeply — it could be the same-sex marriage debate, or just a disagreement you’re having with a friend. Write a post defending the opposite position, and then reflect on what it was like to do that.

I am writing a research paper on the ordination of women in the Anglican church and the rejection of such a notion in the Catholic Church. I am for it, even though I am Catholic and would settle for being a nun. Obviously there is a lot to why the Catholic church has rejected the ordination of women, so this will be some what abbreviated.

The Mulieris Dignitatem is a document written by Pope John Paul II addressing the 'Dignty and Vocation of women', which is where most of the justification for only male priests comes from. It asserts that because both man and women are equal as persons because the they are both made in 'the likenss and image of God'. The Church firmly belives that man and women are equal in all aspects. But, we all have roles that are predetermined by God. No role is above the other, thye are just different because that's the way God made them. In choosing only men to be his apostles, Jesus Christ affirmed that the role for men, in the eyes of God, is to lead. Many have stated that Jesus did this because of the societal standards that were acceptable during his lifettime, but He in fact he had free will (as does every human being) given by God, so he could ave chosen anyone he wanted. Since Jesus was sent by God to save His people from their sin, it is believed that Jesus' uses his free will to do the will of God. This is also justifiable because Jesus is one with God and so His will is God's will. So, Jesus chose men as his Apostles because it was the will of God for men to be the leader within His church. The roles that were recognized by Vatican II for women have to do with giving birth to children and then raising them in the Christian faith or staying celibate in a vocational life. These roles are just as important as the men's roles, which is to spread the word of Go through ministry and also support wife and kids in the faith. Through childbirth, women are renewing the contract that God made with the world of giving his only son ro die on the cross for humanities sins. They are also bringing more people of faith into the world, a miracle which should be praised.

Again, this was a very condensed explanation of why there is not women ordination in the Catholic Church and I think that it should be accepted. I think this because I believe Jesus chose men because of the culture he lived in. So that should not even be a consideration when talking about ordination  Women are great leaders, why can't they lead the Church? A female Pope would really shake up Vatican City.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet."

          I read St. Augustine a lot. First for class and then just because I like to read St. Augustine. I love the way that religion and philosophy work in harmony in his writings. Lately book XI of Confessions has been on my mind. (Just a side note, the title of the post is not a quote from this book I know, I just find this quote amusing). The ideas covered in this book are things I don;t really like to think about because they get to complex and make me question things that I thought to be transcendent are not. But then when I get thinking about such topics as what is time and what is actually transcendent in this world, I can't stop until I have come up with a satisfactory answer.  Of course with philosophy, one seemingly satisfactory answer leads to even more complex questions, so I never win. Nevertheless, here are some of my recent thoughts (really my way of trying to understand what Book XI is saying) on St. Augustine's writings. 

          When St. Augustine says  the present only tends towards non-being is that time may not actually exist. We have divided time in to three different section: past, present and future. The past is no longer, the future is the expectations of what is to come but is not in existence yet, and the present is not measurable because it is in existence only for a moment. That moment can not be measured because there is nothing to compare it to since it is the smallest division on can think of for time. The present lasts for this indivisible moment and then proceeds into the past and we can only recall it through memory, but yet it is no longer in existence. If the present moment is such a short amount of time (which we can’t say it is because time is relative to other things) that it can only be thought of as past of future, it does not exist because these things no longer exist. Or it could be that the moment is such that it can not be measured and the moment there fore is eternal. We can not comprehend the eternal because eternity is without beginning or end, without time. Being only human with only so much brain capacity, we can not fully comprehend a world without time. Either way, the idea of the ‘present’ leans towards non-existence than towards existence. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Break

     Over spring break I didn't do what someone typically thinks about when someone thinks about spring break.  No warm climate for me, I went back home to Maine and got braces. Not my ideal vacation, but I'll take it. It's amazing how much I appreciate being home doing nothing since I started college. Yes, I was bored sometimes but being bored doesn't really bother me anymore because being bored means that I dot have to be doing work or anything else; I don't get many chances like that at school 
     The most significant thin I did over break (besides getting braces, but that's not interesting at all) was volunteer at a local grade school where my mom works. I worked with grades fourth and fifth and it was a very enlightening way to spend my free time. I have never considered becoming a teacher since both my parents are and that career choice seems to close for comfort, but I could see my self doing it. I never saw myself as a kid friendly person either, but apparently my self perceptions are wrong. 
     I spent a good amount of my time at the school working with kids one on one who have different, minor learning disabilities. I sympathize with these kids. Having leaned about things such as ADHD, ADD and RAD in psych, I have some sense of what it might be like for these kids to keep up with the normal pace of typical classroom. One girl I sat with and helped stay focused on work, explaining instructions, etc. explained to me how she feels in class: “the work we do is like an cons wave and the whole class is surfing on the wave a I'm behind the wave."
This girl was very smart and quick to understand things, she just could not stay focused. Even with me holding her hand through all her work it was still a challenge. I have no idea how she gets anything done on a typical day. 
      Working with kids like this seemed Leo come easy to me. Doing it five days a week , I don't know if I coil handle that. I would be so worn out. Hopefully through a career in psych I can help kids or maybe I'll teach Sunday school or something that wouldn't require me to teach everyday. 
Another thing I enjoyed about working at the school was being able to share with them things they didn't know. I guess that's the joy of teaching. It made me realize that all the things I have ever learned in school that I questioned why we had to learn may actually come in handy, even if I just learned it to teach to some one else who may be able to use it in their life. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dead Man Walking: The Journey Continues

     On March 7th, Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking) gave a presentation at SMC about her experience with the death penalty. The way she started was priceless: "Do y'all understand southern? Good, we'll get along just fine". Imagine this said in a thick Louisianan accent and you've got the idea. She told the story of her childhood: grew up Catholic in a nice family. She grew up accustom to segregation  but never questioned it. When she became a nun, Sr. Prejean never imagined helping others in the way she did. After having to attend a conference about social justice, Sr. Prejean knew that she needed to help others as part of her ministry. She had gone into the conference with reluctance for she did not see the need to attend such a conference  As Sr. Prejean put it "We nuns, not social workers!". She later realized that when people are being defensive about something, it is the Spirit trying to pull them in a new direction.

      With this mindset, Sr. Prejean agreed to write letters to a death row inmate. At first the communication was for comfort and spiritual guidance, later it was for help getting the inmate off death row. This inmate was still executed but he was the beginning of Sr. Prejean's involvement with death row and the abolition of the death penalty. It amazes me that a simple nun could have such an impact. It is not only Sr. Prejean's willingness to help and her faith in the inmates, but the help she was able to give to the families involved with the inmates. She is unique in that she offered support to the inmates family. The victims family usually have the support of their family and community behind them, but the inmates family have nothing but ridicule and blame. Sr. Prejean started support groups where inmates families did not have to feel so alone. Sr. Prejean showed these families that they are not to blame for what the death row inmates did. Doing this, she helped many deal with the execution of their loved ones.

I have never supported the death penalty. I think that it is cruel and inhumane. I don't support murder either. But I think the executioner and the murder have committed the same crime; they have gone against nature and (in a way) attempted to be play he role of God. I am a strong believer in helping inmates through therapy and such. Sr. Prejean brought up the statistics about the death row inmates. 99% were abused as children (or at some point in their lives) and  98.2% come from  lower income situations. This seems to me that these criminals are products of their environments and could change if they had had the chance. I'm not saying shorten the inmates sentene or let them go free, but help them rather than kill them.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How do you Solve a Problem like Maria?

Plinky prompt: When you were five, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did it happen? I know this one may seem cliche, but I have a cute story and it has really influenced my life thus far.

I am not sure exactly what age this was (somewhere between three and five) but I wanted to be a nun. I don't think I fully understood what this meant but when my father asked me why I wanted to be a nun, this was my reply: "Because I want to pray and sing all day like Maria." I was talking about Maria from the Sound of Music. I absolutely loved that musical (I still do)! It was the first musical I saw on Broadway and the only think I remember about it was not wanting to walk back to the hotel after the show so different people took turns carrying me. Anyway, I use to put the things that cover the arms of the couch on my head and walk around  singing "how do you solve a problem like Maria?".

I moved away from that idea as I got older. I wanted to me a journalist for National Geographic. Then I wanted to be a music teacher. Now I'm studying psychology and religion in the hopes of becoming a clinical psychologist someday. The idea of becoming a nun really never left my mind, rather it was shoved in the background. Before the end of my senior year of high school the idea resurfaced and I though a lot about the religious life. It was a drastic change from the wanting to going to college and study psychology. To some extent, wanting to join a convent was my way of trying to control the changes I was about to face in my life. Also to some extent, wanting to a nun was more than just a desire, it felt like something I was meant to do. But obviously devoting ones life to a religious vocation takes a lot of discernment.

Hence the reason why I am in college with the intent of reeving a degree in both religious studies and psychology. I also have a lot of things I want to do with my life that I would not be able to do while confined in the walls of a convent. I want to travel and I want to help people through clinical psych. Becoming a nun is not a goal I specifically aiming for at this point in my life, but it is still something I think about. I think that someday (when I am much older) it could become a possibility. Who knows, life is so unpredictable but everything happens for a reason. Maybe wanting to be a nun at the age of five is a sign or maybe it's just a cute story.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Five People

     This week has been long thus far. There are lots of things (good and not so good) going on in my life, but none of these things I want to write about nor do feel inspired to write about. Since I have to write something because it is part of my grade, I needed some topic ideas. So I used Google and found some great prompts through the website Plinky (http://www.plinky.com/prompts). The one I will be writing on this week is as followed: Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?

     I am going to assume that these five people can be anyone, dead or alive. So here is my five: Jesus Christ, Socrates, my father, my mother, and my grandmother on my fathers’ side. There are hundreds of people I would love to meet spend time with in my life and it makes me sad I could not list all my friends and family. But these people are included in this list for specific and meaningful reasons. 

     First of all, Jesus is number one because I consider my self very religious person and meeting the man who is the foundation of the religion I practice. Spending my time with Him would make me a more faithful and generous person. Also, I think he would help me a understand a lot about my faith that I do not understand. And I love religious discussions and having them with Him would be incredibly fascinating. Spending time with Socrates might drive me crazy but it would also make me wise. He would help me understand the world and (more importantly) the people of the world. Doing this is what I seek to do in my life, hence why I am studying psychology. 

     I would like to spend my time with my parents because they are both people who I look up to and respect immensely. Talking with my parents is always interesting and I think they would make me wiser as well. Spending time with them would also teach me love. Being able to love someone and be loved is another thing I think we all strive for in my life. My father would also provide the music in my life (he is music teacher and fantastic musician himself) and my mother would provide me with books and knowledge (being the teacher and graduate student she is). They would both fill my time with fun because they are both fun to be with and we have great times together. The last person on my list is my Grammy because she has Alzheimer’s disease and I don’t know how much time I have left with her (or how much of that time she will know who I am). I would want to spend my time with her so that I could make however much time she has left amazing. Being with her I would learn about how to live a happy and full life (like she has) and also I would learn how to deal with and accept death. She would teach me how to be kind and how to take care of others in need, She has done this her whole life being a nurse, wife, mother, and finally grandmother. 

     Spending my time with all these people would definitely make my life a rich and interesting one. I think spending time with these people would help shape me into the picture perfect Sarah, if perfection actually existed. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sometimes I Think too Much and put My Thoughts on the Internet

     We just finished reading Camus’ The Stranger in class. Again, this is not my reaction to the book (I just wrote a six page paper on that). But I have to say that I really did like this book; it was short but deep. The main point I focused on in my paper was about absurdism and how that played into the book. Absurdism is a philosophy on life that basically states that we live in a meaningless, chaotic world. Before I go any further with this post, I would like to say that everything I write about is my opinion and interpretation. I write about these things because I like to share them with whom ever finds them interesting. In no way do I write my opinions and interpretations to put down, disagree with, or criticize any other opinions. I have an open mind and try my best not to judge.

     Absurdism is a philosophy that I have a hard time completely grasping because it is so different from my philosophy on life. In this post I want to share what my philosophy on life is because this is a topic I hardly touched upon in my reaction paper. Calling it ‘my philosophy on life’ makes it sound as if I know what life is all about. I don’t; I’m eighteen. But for the sake of keeping things simple, I will call it ‘my philosophy on life’. What I really mean by that phrase is what I kind of sort of think life is about, the meaning of life, etc. Again, I know that I am eighteen and am absolutely clueless about life but these are just some thoughts I have floating around in my mind that I decided I should write down. So, here we go...

     I think that every life has a purpose no matter how small that purpose is. I think that everything happens for a reason because everyone and everything that happens is part of a grander plan. Being part of a grander plan does not take away from the individuals purpose in life, but rather adds more meaning to that purpose. Here’s the catch: I don’t think that there is any way we can understand our entire purpose in life until the moment between life and death. I think it’s possible that we can have an outline of an idea of what our purpose in life is earlier than that, but nothing more than an incomplete idea of this purpose. My religious beliefs play a lot into these ideas as well but I do not want to get into that.

     I want to end this post with an example of a life that was short and seemingly meaningless, but that has a meaningful purpose in my life and heart. I was a triplet. I was adopted along with my twin sister but my brother died shortly after birth. I’ve grown up knowing his name was Lyubof (Любовь in cyrillic). In Russian, this means love. Today during philosophy class when I was think about writing this post, it just hit me what I think the purpose of Lyubof’s life was. (In regards to my life anyway. He could have had significant meaning in my birthmother or has a different meaning in my sister’s life. I don’t know.) Maybe he was born (and died) to help keep me connected to my heritage and to the part of my identity that is Russian. There are many ways in my life I have stayed connected to my Russian roots, but this connection is stronger than all the rest. I strongly believe that no matter what happens in life, through good and bad, my family will always be there. I know now that that is the one constant and anchor in my life I can always rely on. The memory of Lyubof is a part of that family anchor too, keeping me connected to the Russian family I may never know. Some might argue that my sister does this as well and I agree. But it’s different with her because she is actually here keeping me grounded to both my adopted family and Russian family roots.

     The point I am try to explain here is that even if a life is short and meaningless to some, it still has meaning to others. Nobody ever knew Lyubof and I may be the only one that cares about preserving the memory of him, but maybe that is the way it was meant to be.

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Facebook Free Weekend

I have been home sick this weekend. Not just "I'm missing class" staying home sick, but "I took a bus 6 hours so I could be home" kind of sick. I will spare you the details about being sick and just say I'm getting better. I still feel quite under the weather, but I'll live. When I got home, there was a bit of a misunderstanding about something I had posted on Facebook. In the heat of the moment I decided to deactivate my account. The misunderstanding has been understood and everything was cleared up, but I decided to keep my account deactivated for the duration of my visit home. Why you may ask? I'll tell you... For "The Examined Life" I had to read Nicholas Carr's The Shallows, a book about what the internet is doing to our brains. This is not my reaction to the book (I already had to write that for class) but I did not like it. So if you want more information about it, Google it. A lot of our class discussions thus far have been about the internet and how our society has become so addicted to it. Carr's book and our discussions got me thinking about my own internet addiction. I use the internet for a plethora of things but Facebook has to be the page I visit the most. My homepage is Facebook. I check my Facebook every single time I open my computer. It's a strange habit that I engage in mindlessly. I have been trying to cut back on my Facebook usage because it can't be health to be so addicted to a social networking site. When I deactivated my Facebook account out of anger, I was not even thinking about this. But it gave me the perfect opportunity to see what it would be like to go back to a time when I was not constantly checking my Facebook. Over the four days I was home, I did not go on Facebook and this is my experience with my “Facebook Free Weekend". The first thing I noticed was that I did not know where to go when I opened my internet browser. I had to change my homepage so I wouldn't be tempted to reactivate my account. I did once just after I had deactivated it, just to make sure I hadn't permanently deleted my account. The fact I did this showed me exactly how addicted I am to Facebook. I wanted to get away from Facebook for awhile, but I don't think I would be able to deal with deleting my account for good because there is so much information and so many connections I would lose if I no longer had a Facebook. I would feel completely out of the touch with my friends and family without this website. And I know this is exactly how I would feel if I lost my account because I felt this way over the weekend. At first it seemed as if I wouldn't even miss Facebook. I occupied my time online by using such websites as iwastesomuchtime and stumbleupon. But I feel that I spent significantly less time online than I usually do. This was absolutely wonderful because I spent a lot more time with my family. Spending less time on the internet and more time with my family is exactly what I needed to this weekend in order to recuperate after being sick. I found that I went to bed earlier this weekend as well (mainly because I was not at school socializing and I wasn’t feeling good in the first place) but also because I did not spend that extra hour or two before bed mindlessly looking at my news feed. When I got around to doing my homework, I found that I did it faster and more efficiently without Facebook. Why this happened is a no brainer: I wasn't procrastinating by turing to Facebook as I usually do. As for the negative aspects of not using Facebook, I found very few. I did find myself wondering what was going on at school without me. But this forced me to communicate with my friends in other ways to see what was happening. I do text a considerable amount but I don’t really like to. This weekend my most used means of communication was making a phone call and I found that certainly refreshing. Second to making phone calls was sending emails, and lastly there was texting. I find that people my age would rather text someone than talk to them on the phone. This makes sense because texting is quick and easy. But I like to call people rather than text because text conversations can get confusing. I find that I end up texting people rather than calling them because texting is societies preferred method of communication. I thought the amount I texted would go up a lot more (without the use of Facebook) than it did. How little I texted this weekend shows that I am not as reliant on texting compared to the average teenager. I’m not sure if I am proud of that or alarmed because I am going against the status quo. The biggest negative aspect of not using Facebook was more of an annoyance than a negative thing. I found myself having to explain over and over again why I was not on Facebook. My family and close friends were really the only ones who questioned me about it, which showed me who looks at my Facebook the most. I appreciated the concern friends showed about the fact they could not find me on Facebook, but I did not enjoy explaining myself. I knew that people would ask and I accepted the fact that I had to give them an answer. I am just stating that repeating my explanation was the number one most annoying thing about not going on Facebook. So, what did I get out of this experience? Well, I learned that I am more productive when I don’t have Facebook as a distraction. I now know who really cares about what I post on my Facebook. I now know that I can definitely live without Facebook. Do I want to? Nope. I enjoy the fact that I can easily get in touch with people. I like that Facebook helps me keep stay connected with anyone as little or as much as I want to. And there are a lot of memories (in forms of pictures, posts, and videos) on Facebook that I would be sad to lose if I deleted my account. Has this experience changed anything for me? Absolutely. I think that I will use Facebook a significantly less because I know that I can with little to no negative side effects. And I know that using Facebook less can lead to a lot of positive side effects, so that will be something I keep in mind every time I log on. Finally, I hope that my experience with a “Facebook Free Weekend” inspires others (if anybody reads this...) to revaluate your Facebook use and maybe even try a weekend logged off. I promise you that if you spend a weekend free of Facebook, you’ll have a great weekend. I know I did! MX

Friday, January 25, 2013

Today is A New Day

On Thursday August 28 2008 I started this blog. More than four years and 100 posts later, I have a blog that I'm little embarrassed of. Most of the posts are boring, grammatically incorrect, and have no real meaning. Despite these facts, I want to continue this blog. I have found writing to be an amazing way of express my thoughts and feelings. Before this blog I kept a daily journal. I started this blog so that I could rant about how much I hated the fact I had to attend a private Catholic high school. I don't know why I thought doing this online was a good idea. It probably had something to do with the fact that I wanted to be heard and acknowledge but anonymously. In other words, I wanted attention like every other teenager. But today, January 25 2013, I am starting this blog with more meaningful intentions. Okay, I decided to re-open this blog as part of an assignment for a class I'm taking. This was an optional assignment and it was just the inspiration I needed. I hope that I can transform this blog into an insightful and interesting one. I think what I write about will be inspired by whatever we will be talking about in class. We'll see how that goes. "With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." Eleanor Roosevelt