Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sure, I hear it while shopping, or in a friend's car, or on tv. But I don't consciously go out and find it, and I don't own any cds of mainstream music except for some Classical songs and I love Jazz, too.
Music was created for a purpose: to glorify God.
Satan was created as the archangel over all the praises sung to Him, so it should be no surprise that when he fell and warped things, he warped the very nature of music, too.
Not that I am against all music that isn't a hymn.
I think that as human beings made in the image of God, we reflect part of His nature by being creative. Music is an excellent expression of that creativity! I like all genres.
But, if it's not music made to bring glory to God, then I don't make a habit of listening to it.
Music affects us in a way that nothing else does; it doesn't just stay in the realm of the soul (mind, emotions, will), but goes into our very spirit. It can alter the way we think, feel, and treat others.
I'm just very careful about what I listen to. I don't know what else to say... and yes, I know I sound completely ridiculous but it's my opinion and I'm entitled to it. Don't think I'm being "judgmental" about music, because I'm not the judge. God is. Take it up with Him.
But, I do have a favorite blog.
This sweet girl was an acquaintance of mine in junior high and high school, and she is fabulous. I've grown up with her, watched her get married, and now she has a cute baby boy named Ryan!
You can read Mrs. Britney Gulbrandsen's blog here. It's precious.
I love that she tries to make a conscious effort to bring beauty to everyone around her, and always with a smile, too.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
I remember my mom singing and rocking me to sleep every night when I was very, very little.
I remember my dad reading books to me, when I was very, very little.
I remember my first dog, Jed, who had to be put down and comforting my parents in the car when I was very, very little.
I remember asking Jesus into my heart and thanking Him for taking away my sins... when I was very, very little.
I remember making cookies with mom and my cousins, and decorating them with sparkly pink and red frosting, when I was very, very little.
I remember when my parents hid my Easter eggs that I had worked so hard to decorate, and getting SO MAD at that Easter bunny for stealing my eggs. When I was very, very little.
I remember being in preschool and doing crafts and singing songs about rainbows and kitties when I was very, very little.
And they are all good memories. Thanks mom and dad. :)
Saturday, December 25, 2010
As far as places to visit (and these are not in order):
- Canada- specifically Prince Edward Island
- Russia (yes, really)
- All the US national parks
Scary thing is, this is just the short list. I have a much more detailed one... so, ummm, I'm a dreamer too. This whole challenge thing is making me look at myself in a whole different light. I think I need a reality check! But I reeeeeaaaaaally wish I could see everything on my list. I love looking at God's creation.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
- Woke up late, scrambled to get ready
- Dentist's appointment (funn)
- Run Daniel to Peter's house
- Fill up the car at Chevron
- Run home, eat lunch & grab coffee
- Drive to work
- Drive home.
- Spend some time with Grandpa & Grandma Jones
- Talk to boyfriend, talk to other friends
- Help make carne asada tacos for dinner
- Blog (quickly), check FB (quickly)
- Help brother with resume and applying to college
- Clean some more
- Go to bed!
Not a particularly thrilling day, but hey no school or homework was involved so YAY. :)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Ok, here we have:
Deep Enough to Dream by Chris Rice
Everything Glorious by the David Crowder Band
Friend Like That by Hawk Nelson
Work by Jars of Clay
Set the World on Fire by Britt Nicole
Unbreakable by Fireflight
Sadie Hawkin's Dance by Reliant K
Shine by the Newsboys
Jesus Freak by D.C Talk
Salt in the Snow by The Silver Cord
Hmm. So I guess this is supposed to say something about me?
Monday, December 20, 2010
I have a friend who was born the same day as me, and our moms are great friends so we've grown up together. Well one day-- we were four I think-- we were playing house. But we knew that we couldn't be a daddy and a mommy without being married first (of course!), so we kissed to "get married." It was cute. But our moms didn't think so!
Ha. Oh, the logic of little kids!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
All I ask for my future is that I'm following whatever path God has for me; that I haven't strayed. Even if I'm on that path alone, I'm sure it will be glorious!
That's the thing. God is so exciting. If you really know Him, you know that He's positively addictive. That's all I want. Whatever He has planned for my life, I am fully confident that it's better than anything I could think of on my own.
On a totally unrelated note, check out this Arizona snowman! It completely surprised me today on my way to class. It was just chillin' on this random table. Made me smile!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Ok, so that last post is pretty awful. So I'm going to pretend it's tomorrow and do number 8 too. Aaaaaaaand it's another way to put off finishing my paper (I need a break).
I think that I almost always feel satisfied with my life. Who wouldn't be? I love it.
I have everything, everything in the whole wide world. I am completely happy, because I have JOY. That is what 2010 for me has been about.
How to be content, or satisfied, in all things. When my dog is happy to see me... every single day of my life. Or when I feel hopeless studying Hebrew and want to throw my flashcards covered in 7 different verb categories out my second story window.
When I look outside, and see little plump brown cactus wrens making nests in the neighborhood saguaros, crowned in all their glory with snowy white and buttery yellow blooms.
When I see javelinas patrolling the neighborhood, and my mom trying to chase big horned owls off the roof.
When I am at school, and running on little sleep and coffee, and I want to take a nap but it's only 10 in the morning.
When I stop to take a picture of a pretty flower on campus, and someone notices and says hi, and then Bam! I made a new friend and shared a beautiful experience.
When my friend calls me crying because her hamster died, or when a coworker just needs a hug.
When I have my quiet time with God, and He puts everything back into perspective.
When I'm in pain all day, or when I'm not.
When I spend time with my cousins, any of them- I love them all dearly, and whether we're playing Hungry Hungry Hippos or talking about their day at school- I know that I have been blessed with an awesome family.
When little girls at my church share their secrets with me over candy canes and hot cocoa.
When my AWANA girls come in tired from life, and sigh in relief at my encouragement and support.
When I'm feeling ugly and waaaay tired at a friend's party, and my dad catches me sighing in the mirror and says, "Yes, Hannah. You're still beautiful."
When my brother asks me for help- and I may not have a lot of time, but I stay up all night to help him finish a project or show him how to write a resume, or surprise him with a Suns game. He's a great brother, and the only one I've got.
Wow, how's that for rambling.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I really love my life. I won the lottery.
I didn't even know what mine was, I had to look it up.
Turns out, I'm a Sagittarius, which is a horse or centaur (depends where you look I guess?)
I'm supposed to like art, and traveling, and be great at life in general. Well, this could describe anyone really, so I guess you could say it fits me too? I love art and traveling, at least.
Honestly, I think this one is a big waste of time... any of the zodiac descriptions could fit anyone, really.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Well, it depends. At home, I pretty much live in sweats or my favorite pajamas, because who cares what you look like at home, right?
For school, I have moved this year from school casual to business casual, because I'm in the Provost's office and I have to look nice. That means no more flip flops, and I have to dress up a little. It's kind of fun though! But it takes more time in the morning, so... hmm. I love the Avenue right now as far as places to shop.
As for my hair, it is naturally straight. Lucky me, I know. I like it medium length- I don't like it short, and I would grow it out longer, but then it's too much work. So medium is good. I usually just blow dry it upside down, and then I curl in my different layers so I have cute little curls framing my face. Or, I might put it half back, with a fancy clip or something. Recently, I've discovered those little spin- pins, those spiral bobby pin things? Those are AWESOME. I've been experimenting with putting my hair up, and so far it's been really cute.
I hardly ever have my finger nails painted- I think too many years in marching band broke me of that habit (you're not allowed to wear it). I always have my toes painted though- I feel naked when they aren't painted.
And I rarely ever go out without makeup on.
So, I guess at home it's whatever I feel comfortable in, and at school I'm by no means a fashionista but I do make an effort to look professional.
Friday, December 3, 2010
I don't think I have ever seriously thought about it- I think I've thought about what it would mean if I died, what it would mean to my family if I were gone. I've wondered if anyone but my family would come to my funeral, but that's always been with the thought that I hope I'm not in a freak accident or something.
Of all the places in the world I could have been born, I was put in America. Of all the families out there I could have been put in, I was put with two loving parents; parents who always made me and my brother first in their lives. Of all the places I could have ended up, I ended up right where I am... able to hold a job, and go to college for free. I have the privilege of putting into other people's lives with volunteer work, and I have an absolutely astounding church family I treasure more than anything. I have few close friends, but many good acquaintances, and I have been blessed with a capable mind and many talents to boot.
Why would I give that up?
Especially because my life is not my own- it belongs to Someone else. He gets to decide when I join Him, not me. What a slap in the face to God it would be if I decided I knew better than Him when that time was. Ouch.
I think it's awful that people feel so sad and desperate with their lives that they feel they have no reason to live. That's tragic, but suicide is never the answer. In fact, it is an incredibly selfish thing to do. It doesn't just affect you; it affects the lives of your family and countless others around you. Yikes.
Anyway. I hope tomorrow's topic is a more positive one!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
In the entire world, there are only two religions. Really. There are many, many shapes and colors of them, but when you look in the box and take off all the ribbon and wrappings you find either one or the other. The first you find is the religion of "I." "I" do good things or "I" don't do this, or "I" can do whatever I want because their is no God (although, that last one falls more under the category of mythology and not religion). The other one is the cross. That Jesus was both fully man and fully God, that he came to earth to suffer and die on the cross as atonement for our sins, as a perfect sacrifice, so that we could spend eternity with him. That there is nothing we can do to get to heaven ourselves, except accept the free gift of salvation and ask him into our hearts. That we do nothing; He already did everything.
That is all.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Drugs I am completely, completely against. Why on earth would you want to kill your brain cells?! And your body, and your life? They slowly take over, and alter absolutely everything in your life. They alter you. And in a non- reversible way. There are other, better ways to cope with life people. There are.
Alcohol I am completely, completely against. I don't drink, and even when I turn 21 in a few days, I still won't. Why? Alcohol does the same thing as drugs, just maybe not as fast. Why would I want to kill my brain cells and spend money on that? Plus, I know how it makes people act. It's not very becoming. It seems like people just like to use it as an excuse to "loosen up," and then they can't be held responsible for their actions because they were under the influence. Well, yeah, but that was your choice to put yourself in that situation. I've seen too many people get raped, hurt, abused, and addicted to it. I don't think it's cool. No, I'm not for prohibition or anything- if you want to drink, it's your legal right to. But you won't catch me participating in it.
Truth is, I don't need drugs or alcohol to have fun. I live a kind of lonely existence because of that choice, but you know what? It's SO worth it. I don't have to deal with any of the issues that go with either one of those two, and I'm still perfectly happy. :)
Friday, November 26, 2010
Hmm. I hope by then, to have learned Greek.
I want to have visited Europe with a good friend, and be done with or in grad school for my master's or phd.
I hope to be married, and maybe have a kid or two.
I want to look forward to waking up every day with someone I love and is my best friend, and who enjoys the little things in life that I do... a warm cup of tea, or the wagging tail of my puppy. A soft blanket, or the changing autumn leaves.
I would like to be in a place where the leaves change color.
I hope that I am able to bless people with my life as I have been blessed.
I want to have a library, with a book I've written and published in it.
I want to still be an AWANA leader, because I think it's important.
I hope that I have enough money that I'm not hungry, but not enough to spoil me and forget the Giver of money.
I want to be an aunt. I want my brother to be happy. I'm looking forward to the day that I have little nieces and nephews to spoil.
I hope that I have more time to paint by then, and that I've had the chance to just sit somewhere overseas- at some old ruin, perhaps in Greece; and paint.
I want to know my Savior on a deeper level than I do now. I don't want to ever, ever be complacent with that relationship.
I hope that I've made it as a technical writer at some point in that ten years.
I want to have checked off a lot more of my bucket list by then, so I can start writing about all the amazing experiences I've had.
I think that about covers it. It's getting late, anyway... and these are pretty awesome wishes so I'll say goodnight for now.
Monday, November 22, 2010
1.) When I went with my high school marching band to march int he St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland, we did a lot of sight seeing. We went to Blarney Castle, and we were supposed to all be in line to kiss the infamous Blarney Stone. Instead, I went with a few friends and my camcorder light and explored the dungeon underneath.... the dungeon I'm pretty sure we weren't supposed to be in. It was FUN. Instead of kissing some germ- ridden, I've-heard-that-locals-come-pee-on-at-night slab of stone, I did something different and had a blast!
2) I don't compartmentalize my life like I'm realizing a lot of people do. I know people who try and fit certain areas of their life into little boxes; for instance:
*Church life is on Sunday or whatever night Youth Group/ Bible Study/ Whatever is on, not for my everyday life.
*School life (I will only do school things at school)
*Social Life (I will do whatever I want with certain groups of people, but I have to behave around the goody two- shoes types)
*Family life (I will "endure" my family for the occasion, but not really attempt to connect with them in any sort of meaningful way)
And there are others.
I don't do that; I am always me and true to myself at all times. I never put on a show for people or adapt my behavior to whatever social situation I'm in. I may make a brief appearance at a party where there's alcohol, but I don't drink. Ever. (trust me, if I did everyone would be talking about it) I know a lot of people who cuss and swear like it's a normal thing to do, but I never engage in it. I may talk about movies, but I don't accept invitations from friends to see things I know are inappropriate. I don't back down on issues that are touchy, such as abortion or why I despise Harry Potter.
And most importantly, I don't try to put God in some little file folder in my mind, where I only think about Him on Sundays or at Bible Study. He is a constant part of my life; I talk to Him all the time. I don't set "prayer times," I just have this never- ending ongoing conversation with Him. It rocks.
3) I take God very seriously. I make time to study His Word as well as talk to Him. I have memorized over 1,000 Bible verses/passages so far, and have even taken Hebrew so that I can read the thing in its original language. Now that I can, I'm working on Greek. It's just that important to me. And you know what? I've learned SO much about the Bible, about God's people, and even about Him! No more of that "it was translated incorrectly" crap. I can read it for myself. Watch out: this means that I can actually hold an intellectually sound discussion about things that people want to gloss over or say "wasn't translated correctly." I now keep people (namely professors I really scare the you- know- what out of) accountable. It's awesome.
4) Something not about God: I co- founded the ASU Charity Knitting Club at ASU (even though I mostly crochet).
5) Even though people want to tag me as strictly left- brained, I'm not. I draw, paint, play several instruments, scrapbook, crochet/ knit, and compose music. When I was in 10th grade, I was ranked the 9th best percussionist in the region of schools in Mesa. Without a single private lesson. So yes folks, I do do other things besides school and work and volunteering. :)
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Day 01 - A picture of you and 5 interesting facts.
Day 02 - Where you’d like to be in 10 years.
Day 03 - Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 04 - Your views on religion.
Day 05 - A time you thought about ending your own life.
Day 06 - Your personal style.
Day 07 - Your zodiac sign and if you think it fits your personality.
Day 08 - A moment you felt the most satisfied with your life.
Day 09 - How you hope your future will be like.
Day 10 - Discuss your first love and first kiss.
Day 11 - Put your ipod on shuffle and write 10 songs that pop up.
Day 12 - Bullet your whole day.
Day 13 - Somewhere you’d like to move or visit.
Day 14 - Your earliest memory.
Day 15 - Your favorite tumblrs.
Day 16 - Your views on mainstream music.
Day 17 - Your highs and lows of this past year.
Day 18 - Your beliefs.
Day 19 - Disrespecting your parents.
Day 20 - How important you think education is.
Day 21 - One of your favorite shows.
Day 22 - How have you changed in the past 2 years?
Day 23 - Give pictures of 5 girls who are famous who you find attractive.
Day 24 - Your favorite movie and what it’s about.
Day 25 - Someone who fascinates you and why.
Day 26 - What kind of person attracts you.
Day 27 - A problem that you have had.
Day 28 - Something that you miss.
Day 29 - Goals for the next 30 days.
Day 30 - Your highs and lows of this moment.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
That Tolstoy is one of my favorite authors. That Greek verbs have 6 principle parts. That I really don't get a lot of Israeli humor, but I can say, "I love filalafel," so it's ok.
I learned that eating lunch with one of my professors is nice. And sitting up front in class is a good idea. That yes, it's probably weird that I'm facebook friends with some of my professors... but I always have gotten along better with older people than myself.
But the most important lesson of all: that God will continue to give me opportunities to speak about Him if I only pay attention and follow His lead.
Last Wednesday, I gave a lecture on a research project I did about three Jewish holidays and their origins, customs, connections to other ancient cultures as well as connections to the New Testament (or Greek Scriptures; I've learned that's a less- loaded way of saying "NT," and attracts more attention). I had a full room of people show up! To hear what? To hear about God. I focused especially on the connections of Pesach (Passover) to the book of John, and basically explained what Christianity is founded on theologically. Awesome. This was the 5th time I've presented it, so that's 5 room fulls of people who have heard the gospel in a nutshell.
Ok. So that was cool, but the week got better.
This upcoming semester, I'm doing another project with my Hebrew professor, but this time I'm focusing on the role that Hebrew names play in Hebrew and Greek narratives. It's absolutely fascinating, and apparently a unique project to boot.
So unique, in fact, that I've been asked to present my preliminary research at an English conference titled: "Text, Lies, and Mediascapes: Narrative Forms Shaping Human Experience."
Wow! It seems the more I want to talk about God and His Word, the more public opportunities He gives me.
On top of that, I've applied for a research scholarship as well as an English scholarship, and by what I can only call a miracle the Director of Graduate Studies wrote me a letter of recommendation for it. ?! Go figure.
I am so excited for what's ahead! And very grateful for the chances to talk about the whole purpose of my life; loving God, and loving His people the way He would have me love and care for them. Amen.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I can't believe it's already half over... where did it go?!
I also get to go to the Quarterback's Luncheon at the Buttes, for free, because they are launching the new Sparky license plates and because those fund our scholarships, some of us get to go and be there for it. Awesome!!
Today, I had lunch at the exclusive University Club with some bigwig Superintendents from around Arizona, and got to explain my MATHgazine and a little bit of our grant project. I love my job. :) Hopefully the rest of this month goes well too. :)
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I am a little disappointed, sure. Languages just open up a whole new world to discover, especially the ancient and dead ones. I am discovering this with Hebrew. For instance, in my Lit class the other day (titled, "The Bible as Literature"), we read some of Judges. At the end of chapter three, there are these verses (KJV):
The story is in the little details.
15But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.
16But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh.
17And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.
First of all, it's kind of weird that the writer mentioned that Ehud was a Benjamite that was left- handed. But, in Hebrew, "Benjamin" is a name meaning "Son of my right hand," so it serves a purpose in contrasting the character's name with what he does. Then in 17, we have this nice little detail about king Eglon being "a very fat man". Why is that even in there? Because in Hebrew, "eglon" means "calf," so you have in essence "the fatted calf" that is slain later. The Israelites would have been familiar with this imagery as animal sacrifices were part of daily life. And interestingly enough, "Ehud" comes from the Hebrew word "Ikhud," which means "one" in the sense of being united- and that is what happens when the king Eglon is killed- Moab gets reunited with Israel.
Knowing Hebrew is so much fun! For my next paper in there, I'm doing a word study on Hebrew names and their literary significance in the Bible. Names really do serve a purpose quite often, the more I'm looking at them.
I am determined to learn Greek at some point, and I already know more than I did at the beginning of the year, so we'll see what happens with that. :)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Greek is a little ridiculous, and in fact I shouldn't even be on here right now but I need a break.
Classes are going pretty well, and so is work. I think I'm getting my own office! How cool is that? With a name plate and everything. I'm so excited. I submitted my first proof yesterday, with "Hannah Jones, Editor" in it. Oh, so fun. And they are even ordering me a graphics tablet... wow (I've been bringing mine because I do some of the illustrations)!
So far I have been up to my eyeballs in work, and right now I'm going off of 4 1/2 hours of sleep, the norm so far. Yay me.
On a more positive note, I LOVE seeing friends and people I know randomly around campus. Today I saw Kelly (an old high school band bud), Amber (an even older bud from JH), Becca (from Hebrew last year!) and made friends with one of my co- workers who is also an undergrad (he's going to be an engineer). And all of these people were happy to see me!
I am also the newest member of Sigma Alpha Lambda, another honors organization. And I'm adding to the Undergrad Student Colloquia series I'm in charge of this semester- now, professors will have their own lecture series. :)
Life is hard, but it is good. And it will all be worth it in two years when I walk across the stage or more likely field and pick up my two hard- earned degrees and certificate. :)
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I found a job working as an assistant for someone at the beginning of the summer. Score! So that took care of the employment part... plus, I got hired by ASU as a writer/ editor for an ASU publication, so Double Score!! Today was my last day of summer, first day of grown- up job. :)
As far as losing weight, I have not lost as much as I wanted to, but it's ok. The point is that it's slowly coming off, and it took a while to put it on so it makes sense that it will take a while to get it off. But I'm happy with the progress.
Organizing= Success! I moved a bunch of books to the guest room, and went through all of my school papers. All of my other stuff is organized now, too.
Drawing/ Painting... eh. I did do some drawing, but hardly any painting.
My quilt? Not finished surprise surprise, but I have done a lot. Quilts are so expensive, and I'm sure if I had the money it would be done now, but oh well. It isn't a race, and what matters is how it turns out.
Cooking? I bought myself a Magic Bullet, and LOVE IT. I have made so many smoothies with it, as well as home made pesto and different pasta sauces. My grandma even bought me my own basil plant so I can have as much pesto as I want. Wasn't that sweet of her? My mom went to Minnesota for two weeks, and I cooked while she was gone. I loved it! And my dad & brother did too (not that they weren't happy when mom came back, but hey they liked what I made). :)
A far as guitar goes, I DID learn more!!! I can now play a few songs and I'm learning more.
And I did read my books ahead of time! Yay. I also bought a tablet for my Mac, and figured out how to make my own flashcards with it!! Hebrew and Greek don't have very usable fonts to make flashcards with, so now I can draw my own (as well as draw whatever else I want to!).
This summer was great. I hope next summer is at least as good!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Just wanted to share.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
And I thought about it for a while.
Eventually I smiled, and answered truthfully, "Yes, yes I am."
He gave me this funny look, and said, "Well how did you manage that?" and I replied, "Well, a lot of prayer."
"No, really- I pray a lot too, but how did you get there?!"
"Um, really, a lot of prayer."
It was the beginning of a Priceless conversation.
But you know what, I was honest with him. I really am very happy and content with my life right now, and I know that is a direct result of praying and taking care of my relationship with Christ.
That is the key to happiness and fulfillment- that long- term contentment people crave.
Let me explain what I mean.
Many people think that you have to work to get to heaven, but this is not the case. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, lest anyone should boast." There are MANY other verses that back this up, but this one states my point very well. Rather than works, we acknowledge that Christ came to earth in the form of a man, that he died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. He took the punishment for all of our sins, past and present, and all we have to do to secure that our future will be in heaven with Him is to acknowledge what He did, and invite Him into our hearts.
Something amazing happens when we do that.
There are three parts to man: a physical body; a soul which encompasses our mind, emotions, and will; and then we have this third part of us called a Spirit. When we invite Christ in, our Spirit is where His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) comes in and takes residence. Here's a diagram I drew to illustrate. In olive green are the Greek words for these found in the New Testament so you don't think I'm just making this up.
Ok, so Christ takes up residence in our Spirits. Now, there are 2 parts to being a Christian. The first part we already covered- asking Christ into our lives. That's the easy part. The second, however, is much more difficult and is a continuous process.
The second part of being a Christian is allowing Christ to change us from the inside out. If we let Him, He changes us into different people that exhibit His characteristics (this is what is meant when people talk about becoming "Christ- like"). It works like this:
He changes our mind, emotions, and will from the inside out. It's amazing, but it's a choice. We have to let Him- He won't do it without our permission and active involvement. This is what the Christian Life is all about- this process of changing our very nature into His; of allowing Him to come in and clean up. Out of this stems our works, our habits, our everything- purpose in life, figuring out our calling, how to serve those in need- everything stems from this process. In my life, this is not a result of my "working and trying harder," but rather a result of listening to God's voice nudging me into a new way of being; of letting Him take over every area of my life.
This is what my life is about. I've surrendered to this process. And you know what? IT IS AWESOME. Painful, full of tons of learning experiences, but nevertheless awesome. And it is the sole reason that my life is so good- I really can't take much credit for it on my own. This is why I answered the way I answered that question, The Question of Questions: "Are you happy with your life, and where you're at?"
Thank God, yes! :)
Just some thoughts from my heart (and years and years of study and personal experience),
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I need more summer. I don't want more summer, I need it. I have spent a good deal of it reading school books, making a TON of flashcards... I even have my own flashcard page on a flashcard- making website. My brain could really use more of a break, seriously.
On a more positive note, I rock... I got all the textbooks I need for next semester for $45!! Yep. Of course, it helped that I already had one that I need for a Classics class; you know how I know I'm a nerd?! I bought the book about a year ago, on my own, because I thought it looked cool. Apparently so does one of my proffs... that's like the ultimate nerd test. You buy textbooks before you know they're textbooks! Well, yay, one less book I have to buy right?
Also, I am making great progress on my adorable owl quilt.
This photo really does not do it justice, but it'll work for now. I still need to add leaves on the branches, and a few more little owls, and then I have to sew everything on right, stuff it, and finish it. But hey! I'm mostly there!
**This is my ORIGINAL work, and I'm copyrighting it. You won't find a pattern for it anywhere else, because I completely made it up. So don't take it or claim it as your own- you'll regret it.**
And, today was a great day. I went to lunch with my mom and a bunch of other awesome moms from Trinity, and I got to work from my computer there too! It was like work, and socializing, and there was pizza, and all around awesome company. It's a weekly summer tradition we all have, and growing up with it I guess I love it, and am sad that we only have one more "Pizza Tuesday" left this summer. Sad!! But it made me appreciate today even more. :)
Aaaand on a final note, I just finished watching this little cutie again, and I caught this funny behavior on my phone... it turns out the dog is a great hamster watcher!
Well, summer is almost over, so I'll have to post my follow- up to my Summer Goals! Hmm... :)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
First, you need to make a pattern. I drew mine by hand, but I'm sure one could find something off the internet.
I found a honeybun with some crazy material I liked, and if you know what a honeybun is then you already know that the fabric comes pre- cut into strips. No extra cutting or measuring needed. Just be sure to use the back of the fabric for tracing, and realize that your owl will be a mirror image of your pattern when right side up, unless you flip the pattern over.
Next is the wing. I cut out the wing slightly in my pattern, just so I could get the basic shape of it without having to draw another pattern. Again, make sure your pattern is facing the same way you cut the base piece or it will be backwards.
Then place the eyes (I picked out fabric that had these eye shapes already in it, I just cut them out, but you could make yours however), and beak.
This applique is small enough that I didn't need to pin anything, the fabric just stays in place when I sew it. Lucky me, I know.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Anyway, I go to the one that asked me first, because it's polite. And because I kind of had to, it was sort of a club meeting/ summer social for the Classics club at ASU.
We were supposed to watch Gladiator or 300, or something at least Classics related, but instead somehow we ended up watching Life of Bryan. I want my time back, it was so incredibly offensive. Granted, parts of it were hysterical, but on the whole it made me really uncomfortable.
And it hit me: yep, this is why I usually don't go places.
College kids. Tonight, conversation centered around drinking stories, racial jokes, and things like Harry Potter (which I haven't read btw) and movies I, you guessed it, haven't seen. Not to mention the whole conversation on music, where I hadn't heard a single song they were talking about, and therefore had absolutely nothing to contribute to the discussion.
So I don't have any drinking stories, because the only alcohol I've ever had was one sip of wine at Christmas two years ago (with my mom's permission, she was right there), and 4 sips of kosher wine this year at Passover, because, you know, that's part of it (Passover). But seriously folks, that's it. I don't turn 21 until December, and even when I do I'm not going to drink very much, if at all. I just don't like what it does to people.
I don't have any bad jokes either, because I don't think about things like that. Lascivious references were passed back and forth like 4th graders trading pokemon cards, and I had no clue as to what they were from. Most sexual innuendos I was totally in the dark on. I had no comment on the latest ribald movie.
Can you say... awkward?
I just don't have much to talk to people about. So I sit there quietly and uncomfortably, because I'm pretty much the only one not getting things and not laughing, and it's just awkward. I can't help it! I am who I am, and I'm not ashamed of it, but I feel bad for making others uncomfortable. They don't quite know what to make of me.
Oh well. I guess this is where I say I am what I am: totally naive about things.
But you know what?
That's right- it's ok.
I mean really, what am I supposed to do- go educate myself about these things so I can "fit in?" Read all the trendy magazines, watch the trendy movies, drink the beer, compromise my reputation? I don't think so. There's a reason I haven't done it already, and I'm not about to start.
The truth is, I'm glad I still have my innocence. And even though I know people snicker at me and totally, totally make fun of me behind my back... I'd rather that than be called a hypocrite. Because that's just it... I practice what I preach. Am I perfect? HA, certainly not. It's a process, I can tell you that. But I'm still a person of integrity, still a person of my word, and still following God. Because of my relationship with Him, I can't do those things. My conscience just won't let me.
Is it easy? Heck no. Who wants to be made fun of? Who wants to be alone a lot? Who wants to be known as the girl you can go to for answers on a test, but rarely anything else? Exactly.
It is hard sometimes. Ok, maybe more than sometimes.
But all things in life worth having are, I suppose.
I guess I just want to encourage those few out there like me that it is ok, and that you're not alone. People won't remember a ton about you, but they will remember how you live. And more importantly, God sees too and will reward you for making choices that please Him. He values your innocence! It's really a gift in disguise; when I get married someday- if I do- I won't have anything polluting my marriage. I won't have any baggage. I won't have any regrets! How awesome is that? Well, it is awesome, and completely worth paying the price for.
So for those of you out there making fun of me, I get it. I soooo get it, believe me I know I'm incredibly out of the loop of most of what's going on. But it's ok. I forgive you.
One day you'll understand.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Every time I turn around, people are getting married. Like I'll be on Facebook and think, "now who the heck is... OH! THEY GOT MARRIED!"
But it's like every other post on my home page!
I know it's a direct result of the area I live in, and even though on one level I get it, I still think it's a little crazy. I don't think there is, but it's almost like there's some sort of competition to see who can marry the fastest or something, and it makes me a little uncomfortable. Not that there's anything wrong with marriage, even at 18- 20, but whoa people, slowwwwww dowwwwn. To be called an old maid or to be treated like there's something wrong with you at 22 or 23 is CRAZY. Just sayin'.
What I really wanted to write about is letter writing.
Yes, the good old- fashioned practice of a hand- written note on nice stationary... remember those? ;)
One of my dearest friends recently sent me a letter, and I have yet to get back to her. Here's my problem:
I. Can't. Choose. The. Stationary.
I know, I know- that is a completely POINTLESS and STUPID problem, but it's nevertheless true. Here's what goes running through my head:
"Wow! That was so sweet of her!!! I'll write her back today. *goes to desk* Hmmm. Should I use this one, or make her one? Maybe I could use my water color postcards, and paint her something. No, I want to write more than that. Wait. I could use stamps, stamps will work! No... I don't want it to look completely dumb, because other than thank- yous I have owl and kid stamps. Ehhhh... Here! I can totally use these!!! Oh wait.... no I can't, I've had these since grade school, and she deserves something a little more sophisticated than bunnies at a tea party. We are not in 1st grade anymore. AHA!!! These look cute! Oh, darn, why do they have to be invitations?!"
And on and and it goes. I know people, I need help. I think I'm going to just go get some new stationary tomorrow, because I feel awful for not having written her back yet. Oy!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
First there's my dog, who thinks he's a mother duck. Yeah, that's right- my dog's a him.
Poor, confused, Raisin. ;) (but still cute!)
Second, my poor brother has some kind of flu bug.
Poor Daniel. I got him some Sprite & Jello, so hopefully he'll be able to keep those down.
What in the world is next? I hope nothing... but I probably just jinxed myself.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Hmm, what to say about my dad...
1) I remember when I was really little my dad would read a book to me every night.
In the morning, he would read to me from the paper. I'm pretty sure I was the only kindergartener who asked the teacher if she read about the latest headline. :) Well, I remember that was one of the best times of the day- snuggling on dad's lap with a book. One time he came home with this book about really furry cats that acted like people (one even pretended to be a hobo), and other times he would read Miss Spider. But my favorite thing he read to me was a ginormous collection of selected Biblical stories for kids, but in a very grown- up way, and there were lots of cool pictures and artifacts to look at with each story.
2) I also remember him taking me to the park, and for long walks. I remember him teaching me how to swing by myself (a big thing when you're little! ...well, at least to me it was), how to ride a bike, and how to climb this curly piece of playground equipment I couldn't figure out. Even when I was really scared, having Dad right there to catch me always gave me the courage to try and figure the scary things out (you know... like scary curly playground equipment). ;)
2) When I was a little older, maybe 8, I remember my family was going through a hard time. I was worried, and didn't know what to do with that kind of worry. I'll never forget looking for my dad one day. No particular reason, I just wondered where he was. I looked everywhere for him, but he wasn't to be found! I even checked the garage to see if he'd left, but both cars were there.
Finally, I looked in his closet. Sure enough, there Dad was- sitting cross- legged on the floor of his closet, reading his Bible. And it clicked; that's what you do in hard situations. You turn to God.
3) When I was a little older, I remember dad buying my brother and I our first Nintendo. It was a Super Nintendo, and boy were we excited! All three of us played countless hours of Donkey Kong Country, and my brother and I were so impressed that he beat the thing. :D Dad has always been our hero, even when it comes to small things like video games.
4) My dad is also very smart. He can solve rubix cubes, beat you at chess, and was ever- so- helpful with my math homework throughout the years, especially with trig and the little bit of calculus I had to know. Thanks, Dad.
5) Dad is a quiet person, but when he speaks he's either cracking a joke or saying something incredibly profound. He's the type of person who rarely speaks up about things in public, but when he does, everybody listens and fully respects what he has to say. Dad has taught me to be careful with my words, as well as taught me not to waste them. I've never heard him say a bad thing about anybody. Thanks for the lesson, Dad.
6) Another thing I love and respect my dad for is his being a great example of a Godly man. Aside from working hard and providing for his family, Dad has shown me an unconditional love- something I know not every daughter gets. He has always been there for me, always. He always has my best interest at heart, and is not afraid to tell me to shape up when he needs to. But it's ok- he does it gently and without anger.
7) There is so much I could say about my dad, but the bottom line is: he's great. I'm so glad he's mine! I could not have asked for a better father if I had custom- ordered one.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
So pretty much, if you know me, then you know that my life is about growing in my relationship with Christ and about showing His love to people.
This is a learning process. :)
Lately, I have been learning about one particular thing: Joy.
I am learning that Joy is not the same thing as happiness. That Joy comes from the assurance that God is in control, that He's on my side, and that no matter what happens, I can rest in Him. This is what true joy is!
I'm learning that joy is not dependent on feelings. While I may feel happy, I may not feel happy the next minute.
Like if I just handed you a new car, I bet you'd be pretty happy. But if I took it right back I bet you wouldn't be happy anymore. ;)
So, this is where joy is different. It doesn't matter if I'm having the crappiest day of my life, or if my world isn't exactly perfect, or if I let myself down once in a while. It doesn't matter if I'm at a spiritual low or between a rock and a hard place, or even if I'm feeling down because life isn't fair.
What truly matters is that I can have a peace that passes all understanding, and true joy because I know who I am, where I come from, and what my purpose here on earth is. It comes from knowing my Creator, and seeking His company! Most of all, I know that I am treasured by Him and that no matter what, I am His and He loves me more than I can even fully comprehend.
I am learning that this is what joy is. :)
Saturday, June 5, 2010
This is Georgia. Sweet disposition, and quite the cuddle bug!
So, what are the perks of dog sitting?
1) Well of course, getting paid. But aside from that:
2) Free food! Of course, with the whole losing weight thing, it's been hard not to dive into the ice cream. But I haven't!
3) The dogs themselves. They are all so playful; well, except for the two I'm watching right now. Here's the scene:
Me: *pick up ball, go to backyard, dogs follow. I throw the ball. "Go get it!" I yell, enthusiastically.
Blaise & Dakota: "What, does she actually think we're going to get it? Let's watch her get it." And they sit there!
As I retrieved the ball from the bushes, I swear they grinned at me. But moving on.
4) Pools! I love houses with pools. LOVE them. Sure, I can go swimming whenever I want to at home, but with a bunch of people. At other people's houses, I have one all to myself. I am trying to spend a lot of time in them, because it's good exercise and easy on my knee. Should have brought the sunscreen though... right now I could be mistaken for a lobster.
Maybe it'll turn into a nice tan??
Monday, May 24, 2010
Personal: Feel Good.
1) I'm going to lose 20 lbs on purpose. Now that my knee can tolerate a bike again, I will be biking and swimming every day early in the morning, along with eating healthier. No more biscotti with my morning coffee, and definitely no more big helpings of my special tortellini pasta with butternut squash sauce. :( This also means some serious weight training. I usually lose 15 lbs every summer just from stress reduction, so maybe I can make it an even 35 this time? That would be awesome.
2) I'm going to get more sleep. I'm so tired of looking like a cover model for Zombie Magazine. No more dark circles, no more dependency on coffee to stay awake in the morning! On average I get about 5 hours a night, if I'm lucky, but now I can get a whole lot more! That is guaranteed to make me feel like waking up in the morning, and will probably help with the whole weight loss goal, too.
Chores: Organize My Life.
1) I'm going to go through my closet and get rid of a ton of clothes I don't need anymore. Seriously, it's time to get rid of the stuff from 8th- 12th grade. Yikes.
2) I'm also going to go through my books, and see if I can't come up with some other place for a lot of them. My room is beginning to resemble a small library, and while I've ALWAYS wanted a library like Belle's in Beauty and the Beast, right now it's not very practical.
3) With the space I'll create from re- locating books, I'm going to better organize all of my crafty/ artsy stuff. It's not terrible now, but I'm going to find something that works better for organizing all of my:
knitting needles & crochet hooks
YARN. Oh man, that stuff piles up from leftovers from projects!
paper- watercolor, sketching, etc.
pencils/ markers/ glittery things/ etc.
scrapbooking supplies (again, a lot of stuff here too)
stamps, ribbons, etc.
beads (good for all sorts of media)
I don't really have knick- knacks, so that's good. Very, very good. But, I do have a lot of school papers to go through. Some of them I need to keep, but a lot I don't. They just clutter up my desk to the point I'm annoyed just looking at the stack of them.
School- Related: This summer, it's going to be about Getting Ahead.
1) Regularly go over Hebrew flashcards, and finish worksheets from last semester. If I can keep up with the vocabulary, which was A LOT this spring, I will be ahead for my third year this fall.
2) Start making flashcards for Greek. I found an awesome new website for those beginning Greek, and I am going to make flashcards for all of the grammatical terms, and learn the alphabet (print and script) for the fall. I have a feeling I will be thanking myself over and over again that I did!
3) Pre- read my books for all of the English classes I'm taking in the fall. I usually try and read what I can of textbooks before the start of school anyway, but I have a ridiculous amount of reading to do this semester... and if I have already read my books (for at least the English courses anyway), then I should be a lot better off than trying to stay up late and finish things during the semester. I'm trying to break that 5- hours- of- sleep-if- I'm- lucky streak!!
Fun: Hey! I can finally have some!
1) Catch up with friends! I don't get to see them nearly enough during the school year, and they are important. This is a priority.
2) Music: I'm going to improve my sweet guitar skills. If I can master just a few more chord progressions, then I can pretty much be my own band! I'm my own drums, keyboard, and bass. And soon guitar. Of course, I can't sing worth anything but that's ok... I'll find someone who can.
Can't forget, either, the good 'ol piano. I am going to be more dedicated to learning more this summer. I am going to record my compositions, and learn a song I've wanted to learn for relally long time.
3) I would love to finish my quilt, but I need a job first to secure the things necessary for its completion. So far, though, it's pretty darned cute! And owl themed. I'm in love with them.
I'm also going to make my own dress form, and figure out how to make my own dresses. Cute, light, summer ones, of course. Here's one of my practice appliqué owls. I have several different kinds, they aren't all shaped like this one. That's because I made my own patterns for them.
4) Painting. Drawing and painting are huge de- stressors for me, and I've begun to copy some of my favorite paintings and sculptures in black and white (it's the Classics major in me). I am going to add to this collection, and paint my very favorites. Check my "Experiments in Shadows" post for some examples if you want.
5) Cooking/ Baking. I love love LOVE to do these things. However, because I'm focusing on being healthier, I'm going to focus more on the cooking part. I already know I can bake well. ;)
I need to pay more attention to my mom, because she's an absolutely skilled woman when it comes to taking ordinary things and making them taste extraordinary.
6) Grandparents. Wait, what? I know, that's what just went through your head. Let me explain. My grandpa has been valiantly fighting that line between life & death for a while now... cancer does that. My goal with him? To get his life story. He has done it all- worked in a lot of different places, had many experiences in different parts of the country, and raised a large family. Every time I'm with him I learn something new about his life. A lot of times, old people (sorry grandpa) will tell the same old stories over and over, but with him it's not like that. He always has some new tales up his sleeve. Like when he was in the hospital recently, I learned that he wore pantyhose in a satirical production of a barn wedding. ??? You can't make this stuff up.
7) Well, can't leave out writing. This ties in with number six I guess, but I want to start writing my book. It's been in the planning stages for some time now, and I think with a few more tweaks of the character development I can finally start it! I'm excited. I also want to write and illustrate two children's books this summer. Contents are a secret though, because I don't want anybody taking them!
I guess that's about it for now. I know I had a few more, but I need to go help with dinner. :)
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Well. I suppose I had better post some really sweet memories and things about her before ya'll get the wrong idea. ;)
Some of my very first memories of her are from when I was still pretty much a baby. She would rock me and sing me to sleep every night.
I also have her to thank for being such a wonderful example of what it is to be a Christian woman- compassionate, gentle, and real. Speaking of compassion, I don't think I've ever met anyone else in my life whose compassion matches hers. I remember one day coming home from school and finding her sobbing in our living room. A quail had flown into our long kitchen window and was hurt, so there she was with it wrapped in an old washcloth, rocking the twitchy thing and crying. She's like that, and I'm glad.
She also sets an excellent example of how to grow in the faith. She prays with other moms once a week for kids at my brother's high school, and she and a friend pray every Friday morning for their kids. She makes going to church a priority, and even when she feels terrible she still goes.
Mom is also very creative. She has the best handwriting, and when I was little I always had the best school projects! She's artsy in her own way, even if she denies it.
Another thing I appreciate about my mother is her ability to cook. Oh my, she does it a little too well. Everything she does always tastes really good, but trying to watch how she does things frustrates me because she doesn't really follow recipes and it's hard to remember.
My mom also has a heart for people. She fills the role of counselor in many lives, not just mine. She is the first person everyone goes to for help or advice, and it is always given lovingly and for free. :)
I also have to say that she is FUN. Always the life of the party, NO ONE ever forgets my mom once they've met her. No matter where we go, she always runs into someone she knows! Seriously, everywhere.
And finally, she has this unique ability to get things for free, often. Because she is so funny and nice, she somehow affects people in a way that they give her things. I'm trying to figure out how she does it! Free dessert, free products, free drinks, free makeup, free whatever- it happens everywhere. What's so cool about it is that she never expects it- people just like her that much. :)
There is so much more I could say, but I guess the bottom line is that I am very blessed to have her as a mom. What more could a girl ask for?!
Friday, May 7, 2010
I will NEVER forget the time we drove up to Minnesota the summer before fifth grade. We crammed all of our stuff in the car, and didn't stop for two days. No hotels, nothin'. My brother and I got so annoyed with each other that we built a wall of stuff in the middle seat just so we wouldn't have to look at each other! So poor mom, dealing with two cranky kids, was forced to take over the job of distracting us. We were stopped at a gas station in Kansas, and mom mysteriously disappeared into the quikie mart. She came back and we got onto the interstate highway, and then... she whips out a pair of these!!
She put these puppies on, and waved likes a madwoman at passing old people. Oh my gosh, we had never been more embarrassed before. Priceless.
The next memory I will NEVER forget of my mom was the time I took my best friend Naomi on her first camping trip. We had to take two cars, so my dad & brother rode in one and us girls got in the other. It was a long drive, and we talked and chattered away. Until Mom broke out the CDs, that is. She popped in some oldies and started seriously groovin' to the beat. My friend looked at me, as I turned red, and we both laughed so hard that the Sprite we were drinking was in serious danger of coming out our noses. She got the car into it, too, and we were b-boppin our way through the forest. I can only wonder what the local wildlife thought.
Memory # 3
Years later, I took same friend Naomi with my family to Disneyland, because she had never been before.
Naomi, my mom, and I were walking around Main Street when, lo and behold, a fire truck drives by full of firemen with band instruments.
Before even thinking about it, my mom YELLS and I mean YELLS:
"Look, those are some horny firemen!!"
People stared. I cringed. My friend turned crimson, and so did one of the firemen. I could have died, but it was pretty hilarious.
Memory # 4
This is on ongoing memory, because it happens all the time. Maybe I should call it a characteristic of hers instead of a memory.
Anyway, it's a well-known fact that my mom is cool. Much, much cooler than I am- by far. She is so cool, in fact, that many of my friends text her or come over to see her under the pretense of seeing me (but I know they just want to see her). :) She has been dubbed "Mama Jones," and the story of that is of course worth hearing.
My brother had some friends over one time to create musical fusion in our loft. They had brought over another friend that had never met my mom, and he was kind of a shy kid.
Well they were all upstairs, and Brittany (the cute one) made him call my mom. Why, you ask? I have no idea, it was just random. So this scared kid calls my mom- without knowing it was her- and what on earth does my mom do? She doesn't even know who's talking to her, but she decided to start talking like a Southern African American lady. Oh yes, she did! So this poor kid is getting very confused, and talks back like a African American man. And thus, "Mama Jones" was born. When he came downstairs later, he met her in person. Then they told that poor kid who she was, and he about died running out the front door (I kid you not, he sprinted out that front door!).
I guess I should also tell you that when she used to work as a waitress, sometimes she would wait tables with foreign accents. Just because. Yup, NEVER a dull moment at my house!! :)
Well I have to go, but I will probably post more tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
The Dying Gual's head.
I love it.
Even if he does somehow mysteriously look like one of the Village People. Y-M-C-A!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
- Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
- be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
- be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
- both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.
- Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
- be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
- be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
- be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
- Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
- be thou my whole armor, be thou my true might;
- be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:
- O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.
- Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
- be thou mine inheritance now and always;
- be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
- O Sovereign of heaven, my treasure thou art.
- High King of heaven, thou heaven's bright sun,
- O grant me its joys after victory is won;
- great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
- still be thou my vision, O Ruler of all.
It was deadly quiet as I walked along, something incredibly strange for a bustling campus. And then I heard it- this beautiful voice, clear and sweet, singing these words. Aha! That would explain the confused looks on everyone's faces. Everyone just walked with their heads down, thinking, and concentrated on them. How odd.
As I got closer to her, I looked at her. She looked at me, and we both broke out in a grin. That was all, after she passed things went back to normal.
Such a simple moment, but one that I probably won't forget for a long time. What an excellent thing to be reminded of- my Tower, my Might, my Strength. Amen to whoever you are, sister. Amen. :)
Monday, April 26, 2010
Lost. I love that show- like the rest of the world, I have absolutely no idea what's going on, but I am half willing to bet that the show writers don't either and the ending is going to be incredibly cheesy. Gosh I hope I'm wrong.
I also hope I'm wrong about the amount of work I have to do for all of these upcoming projects and preparations for finals...
Ah, finals. I bet you're royally tired of hearing college kids gripe and complain about them. I mean I get on Facebook, and just about everyone's status says something like, "I got up after not sleeping and now I have to go to class, and then I have work, and then I have to prepare for all these stupid finals!!!!!" -No way!!
But really, as much as I worry and panic, I am grateful to be here. Out of all the places in the world I could have been born, out of all the families I could have been born to; out of all the opportunities I could have missed out on.... I am where I am and able to go to college. It's paid for, and I am studying what I want to study, and not just trying to get a degree so I can work; which seems to be the mindset of 96% of my peers. I have been given the chance to study books and writing, and to learn Hebrew and Greek, and to have other amazing opportunities. I am not trying to brag or anything, but I am saying I've been incredibly blessed. God is good! :)
Now if I can just get through these last few weeks of school... the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter... soooo close, and yet soooo far away!
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I do. I know that I don't really miss this person, but rather simply the idea of this person.
Sure glad I know the difference.
But it still sucks!!
I guess this is when thinking of all the reasons I broke off a relationship with this person comes in handy... but this only helps a little.
Again. The idea of this person, not this person... *repeats*
Thursday, April 15, 2010
While the lecture was good, I think there is still much to be explored in this area.
Here is some vocabulary to be expounded upon:
libitinarii: term for "guides of the dead," included Hermes (like Futrell mentioned), and Charon.
Hermes: in Greek mythology guided departed souls to Hades. He was also the herald and messenger of the gods and was known for his cunning. In the Roman arena, Hermes was portrayed by a person carrying a red-hot caduceus, with which he prodded people to make sure they were dead (a caduceus is the herald's staff carried by Hermes- it had two serpents twined around it and wings at the top).
Charon: In the Roman arena, Charon was portrayed by a person wearing a beaked mask and wielding a mallet. This portrayal was a combination of Greek and Etruscan beliefs. To the Greeks, Charon was a figure of death and the boatman who ferried the dead across the river Styx and Acheron in Hades (but only for a fee and if they had a proper burial). To the Etruscans, Charun (Charon) was the one who struck the death blow. In the arena his role was to absolutely kill those were to die if they were, say, on the sand convulsing.
andabata: term for a gladiator who fought on horseback, wore a helmet with the visor closed, which meant they fought blindfolded.
thracian: a gladiator who fought with a curved dagger (or scimitar) and used a small round shield... usually paired with a mirmillo.
mirmillo: means a type of fish. A gladiator who was armed in Gallic fashion with a helmet having fish- shaped crests, a sword, and a shield.
retiarus: "net man"- a gladiator who would try to trap or entangle his opponent with a net and then dispatch him with a trident. A retiarus usually only wore a short tunic and was usually paired with a secutor.
secutor: a gladiator who was fully armed and considered the "pursuer." He was supposed to chase his opponent down and kill him.
essedarius: "chariot man" - a gladiator who fought from a chariot pulled by two horses and usually decorated.
dimachaerus: "two- knife man" - gladiator who fought with a sword in each hand.
Anybody got any more fun terms related to the arena?
Monday, April 12, 2010
If you decide to participate, thank you in advance!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
The book of Exodus details the plight of the Israelites in captivity and their miraculous escape to the Promised Land, and it is here we find the origin of Pesach as well. During 1447 B. C. (Thiele, 21), there was an Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt. The Israelites became the slaves of the Egyptians because the Pharaoh was afraid they were growing too numerous; so they were made slaves and Pharaoh decreed baby boys were to be killed (Exodus 1:16). One boy escaped the child killings, and was raised by an Egyptian princess. His mother put him in a basket and sent him down the Nile. A princess was bathing and rescued him, and named him Moses (Exodus 2). When Moses grew up, he killed an Egyptian slave master for beating a man (Exodus 2:12). This became known, and Moses fled to Midian where he married Zipporah and had a son (Exodus 2:22). One day, Moses saw a bush he thought was on fire and went to investigate. As he approached the bush, a voice called him and said, “Moses! Moses!” and Moses replies, “Here I am.” The voice turned out to be God, the same God of his ancestors Isaac and Jacob. He told Moses that he was to go to Pharaoh and demand the Israelite’s release (Exodus 3:10). Of course Pharaoh said no. God then sent a series of plagues, and after nine of them Pharaoh would still not let them go. The tenth plague was different. God told Moses that he was going to pass over all the firstborn of Egypt and they would die (Exodus 11:5). Then God spoke to Moses and Aaron and told them a few things: first, that this month was to be for them their first month of the year. Next, they were told to tell the whole community of Israel to take a lamb for his family on the tenth day, and to slaughter them at twilight on the 14th day (Ex. 12:6). Then they were to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they consume the lambs. They were to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. They were to eat it with their cloak tucked in, with sandals on their feet, and staff in hand. They were to hurry, for it was the Lord’s Passover (Ex. 12: 8-11). The Lord told them that that day was to be commemorated for years to come, a lasting ordinance; and instructs them on how to celebrate it (starting in verse 15):
“For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. In the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day to the last must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat- that is all you may do. Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty- first day. For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native- born. Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread. “
When the Israelites were delivered, they did celebrate this day and in this manner during Biblical times.
In those times, the emphasis of Passover was on the killing of the lambs rather than on the other customs. The temple ceremonies dominated the day, and the other customs the night.
The Bible recognizes two different festivals; Pesach on the 14th of Nissan, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread or “ha matzot”, on the 15th. Since Rabbinic times, however, the name “Pesach” has been commonly referred to as “hag ha- matzot” (Solomon 285-6). Today Pesach has come to mean both, and the commemoration of each is combined.
The historical significance of Pesach is the redemption from slavery in Egypt, but there are agricultural and religious dimensions as well. Agriculturally, it is the festival of spring and new life and growth. In Biblical times this festival also celebrated the early cereal and barley harvest (Solomon 286). Religiously, it signifies that God is the Israelites’ Redeemer; they went from being slaves to pharaoh in Egypt to servants of God alone. The religious implications for this are perhaps the most important.
The “Seder” dinner is today the customary way to celebrate Pesach. Hebrew for “order,” the dinner is laid out on a special Seder plate in sections, for the telling of the Passover story. The meal is directed by the Passover Haggadah and its 15 rituals, and the meal consists of seven different symbols for the story. First, there is a ritual of washing hands, to get rid of impure or unclean influences for the meal. Then there are 4 cups of wine, symbolic of the four distinct redemptions promised by God in Exodus 6.
1. “I will take you out of Egypt,”
2. “I will deliver you from Egyptian slavery,”
3. “I will redeem you with a demonstration of my power,”
4. “I will acquire you as a nation”
These are the correlating promises, worthy of celebration with a drink! They remind the people every year that they can actively free themselves from whatever enslaves them (Klutznik- Harris 34). While there are four cups representing redemption drunk by the adults, there is a fifth cup reserved for the prophet Elijah, who is believed to visit every Seder table. This fifth cup represents redemption by the Messiah, and because the event has not occurred yet that cup is not drunk. There is also a custom of dipping drops of wine out onto a plate during the reading of the plagues, to show that the Israelite’s joy was tinged with sadness because the Egyptians were God’s creations too. The four cups of wine originated in Roman times, because the Romans began every feast or banquet by serving wine. The Romans also served wine while eating the main meal, and again after the meal was eaten. The rabbis of that time added the fourth and fifth cups themselves for symbolic purposes (Ha- Levi Web).
The next requirement for Passover is Matza or Matzo, Hebrew for “sweet” or “unleavened bread.” It has a number of symbolic meanings. One meaning is the sweetness of freedom, because matza is sweet and leavened bread is sour. It also symbolizes the speed with which the Israelis had to leave Egypt- they did not have time to add leavening to their dough before they had to take off. Therefore, it means both recalling the hardships of slavery along with the sweetness of freedom.
The next food item required is Maror, Hebrew for “bitter herbs.” Usually the herbs can be horseradish or romaine lettuce, and it symbolizes the hardship of slavery. It is placed in two places on the Seder plate, but sometimes the second place is replaced with “Chazeret,” Hebrew for “bitter vegetable.”
The next requirement is Beitzah, Hebrew for “roasted or hard- boiled egg.” In Aramaic, is means “want” or “desire,” symbolizing that the Israelites wanted to be saved from slavery. The hard- boiled egg symbolizes the gift that would have been brought to the temple in Jerusalem as an offering. This offering was brought during each of the three pilgrims festivals- Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. Because the temple was destroyed, it also stands for the mourning of the temple. During Roman times, the rabbis declared that the egg would replace the Passover lamb sacrifice. Other meanings include fertility, Springtime, rebirth, and the cycle of life (Ha- Levi Web).
The next requirement is Zeroa, meaning either “arm,” or “shoulder bone” or “wing” in Hebrew. This is either a shank bone or chicken wing, and it symbolizes the Pesach, or first lamb killed for Passover. It also symbolizes the gift offering for the temple in Jerusalem. It is not eaten. Some interpret it to also mean the outstretched “hand” or “arm” of God when he delivered them from Egypt.
“Karpas,” Hebrew for green vegetable, is the next requirement. The literal meaning of the word is debated, because in ancient times it is used to mean both celery and parsley, as both looked very similar. The symbolism represents the tears and sweat of the Hebrews when they toiled as slaves in Egypt.
“Charoset,” meaning “a mixture of fruits and nuts blended with cinnamon, ginger, and sometimes honey, and either wine or grape juice,” and symbolizes the clay the Israelites used to build Egyptian cities. Its sweet taste is to overpower the maror, and further symbolizes the transition of depending on another culture to depending on one’s own self for survival.
Another requirement for the table is “Mei Melach,” or “salt water” in Evrit. It stands for two things: the tears shed during slavery, as well as the Red Sea the Hebrews crossed with God’s help. Some Jews use different substances such as lemon juice, vinegar, or lime juice depending on their geographical customs.
A final thing at some Seder tables is a 6th cup of water placed for Miriam, Moses’ sister, in her honor. According to Exodus Miriam was a prophet in her own right, and because she watched over her brother when he was in the Nile, the Israelites had a well of water in the desert because of her until she died. Not everyone does this, though.
The Haggadah is placed at each setting at the table, and details the 15 steps for the meal. The 15 steps were developed to be easily remembered in case a Haggadah was not available during the celebration, but it is encouraged to tell the story in as many ways as possible, so there are many forms of it.
“Hassava,” Hebrew for “reclining,” is also necessary. Cushions are placed for everyone partaking of the meal, and if cushions are not available then everyone can recline or lean to the left. Like the wine custom, this one was started during Roman rule of Israel as well, because it was a symbol of the free and rich to recline while eating.
It is custom to dip the vegetables in the salt water or fruit juices, and this custom may also have been taken from the Romans as well. The rabbis who wrote the regulations for the Seder were writing at a time when the Romans ruled, and it is likely they copied many Roman eating customs and formatted them to fit the needs of the Passover story. Romans usually dipped their vegetables in some kind of fruit sauce too.
An interesting fact regarding the matza is that there are three total, and two represent the “Afikomen.” The “Afikomen” comes from either the Aramaic word “dessert,” or the Greek word “epikomaizon” meaning “after- dish,” or “dessert.” It has two interpretations; one from the Talmudic Sages from Israel, and one from the Talmudic Sages from Babylon. The Israeli sages interpreted it to mean that one should not end with the Afikomen, and the other takes it to mean that one should not end the night with revelry or entertainment, because the Greek word “epikomion” meant going off to another party or banquet immediately following the first one, a practice the Romans indulged in. It was thought that if the Jews did this, than they would be following the pagan customs of the Romans and Greeks too closely, and it would be difficult to see the difference in the Passover meal from any other meal. The Babylonian sages simply took it to mean that the meal should not end with dessert. There is a custom of hiding the Afikoman in the house, and having he children hunt for it. Once a child finds it, he or she is to keep it until a reward is given.
Some songs are sung, too. Psalms 115-118 are commonly sung, and there are other songs such as “Dayenu” (“it would have been enough) and eliyahu ha- navi, a song about wanting the Messiah to come.
There is also a custom that the Ashkenazi Jews still practice from the Middle Ages. They do not consume beans, corn, or rice during Passover because it was thought that the flour produced from those things resembled wheat flour- one of the five forbidden grains- and didn’t want anyone getting confused. So they banned them. However, those three are permitted for making Passover wine with certain rules (Ha- Levi Web).
There are many important connections between Passover and the New Testament. The biggest connection links the Passover lamb to Jesus, who became the sacrificial lamb for everyone, in order to be saved from death from sin (spiritual death). The gospel of John in particular has many parallels between the Passover in Exodus to Jesus’ crucifixion.
The book of John begins by affirming Jesus’ identity as God, and then we see John the Baptist proclaiming in 1: 29, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” The lamb John is referring to is the Passover lamb, and he equated Jesus with it in that bold statement. When Jesus stands before Pilate in John 19:14, it was about the 6th hour and the day for Passover preparations. The 6th hour was the time that the priests would begin the slaughter of the sacrificial lambs, and here Jesus is being slaughtered by the people- they want his death. Also, the Greek word for “day of preparation” is “paraskeuh,” which is also the word for Friday, so it does not disagree with other gospels. John makes a connection between the Passover lamb and Jesus on the cross by mentioning that Jesus’ bones remained unbroken, just as Moses said for the lamb in Exodus 12:46. Another connection is seen in chapter 19 verse 29 were the drink offered to Jesus was given with a hyssop branch, and hyssop was the branch used to sprinkle the blood of the lamb in the Passover Law in Exodus 12:22. John calls attention to the garment Jesus wore when the soldiers stripped him- is it a seamless linen tunic (19:23-24). The Greek word for garment used here (chiton) is the same word for an Old Testament tunic worn by the official high priest when sacrificing (Exodus 28:4 and Leviticus 16:4). John pays attention to that detail because it seems to point to Jesus as our High Priest as well as being the Passover Lamb. One of the most important connections John makes, however, is through the Last Supper with his disciples. In John it is simply called the “Last Supper,” and not Passover, but Matthew, Mark, and Luke all assert that it was. John’s account of the supper seems to follow the basic structure of the Seder meal as well. The cup Jesus offers is identified as the third traditional cup of the four; the cup of blessing. We know it is the third cup because of the immediate singing of the Hallel as seen in Mark 14:26. Strangely, Jesus skips drinking the fourth cup of the meal, the cup of consummation. He declares that he will not eat or drink the meal again until he is in heaven. After the singing, Jesus goes to the Garden to pray, and prays that his Father’s cup would be removed from him, equating the cup of consummation with it, but yet prays that his Father’s will be done, and not his. Jesus tells Peter in chapter 18 that he is to drink the cup his Father has given him, and that when he does, it will finish the commitment he made to do the Father’s will. On the cross, Jesus says that he is thirsty, and takes the wine offered to him. This is the fourth cup; and after that he says, “it is finished” and gives up his spirit. This drinking of the wine finishes the Passover meal of the Old Testament and transforms it into the Passover of the New Covenant.
The feast of Tabernacles, or the Feast of Booths, is commanded by God in the book of Exodus to commemorate the liberation of the Israelites from the Egyptians, also known as the Feast of Ingathering.
“On the first day you shall take the product of hadar trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook” (Lev. 23:40), and “You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt”
Like Pesach, Sukkot has three levels of interpretation: historical, agricultural, and religious. The historical significance is of course to remember living in tents in the desert. Agriculturally, it is the final harvest of the festival year. It traditionally celebrates the fruit harvest. Religiously, the festival is to highlight that God it the Israelite’s protector, and it is symbolized as they leave their houses and dwell in simple booths (Sukkot). The Mishna (RH 1:2) states that on Sukkot, heaven makes a judgment about how much water to provide for the coming year. This gives the festival a slightly different feel from other festivals, although the main prayer for rain is not prayed until Shemini Atzeret, which is a separate holiday unto itself but is understood to be combined with the 8th day of Sukkot (Solomon 365).
The structure of Sukkot is 8 days. The first day is celebrated like a full festival, but outside of Israel the first two days are celebrated as such. The six days following are known as festival weekdays, and the 7th day has its own special customs and is called Hoshana Rabbah, meaning “Great Hoshana.” Hoshana or Hosanna means Messiah, and this day has a special custom of walking around the sanctuary during morning prayers.
In Biblical times of the temple, it was celebrated a little differently. It was still celebrated from the 15th to the 21 or 22 day of the 7th month, and was a feast of thanksgiving. According to law, 70 bullocks were sacrificed on a decreasing scale each day, and the temple trumpets were blown daily. There was the ceremony of the outpouring of water, drawn from Siloam, in commemoration of the water from the rock Moses struck, and in anticipation of blessings for Israel and the world. The inner courts of the temple were illuminated, and the light of the great candelabra stood for the pillar of fire by night, which guided the Israelites through the desert. There was a parade of torches to the temple, and of course booths were erected by the people living in Jerusalem as well as those people traveling- because it is one of the pilgrim festivals. Deuteronomy (31:10-13) mandated that the Jewish king read selections from the Torah in the temple courtyard on the second day, and it was held every 7 years. The seventh day, Hoshana Rabbah, Hebrew for “Great Supplication,” is special because worshipers walk around the synagogue carrying something called “The Four Species” while reciting Psalm 118:25, and bundles of five willow branches are ceremoniously beaten on the ground. The “Four Species” are from the Torah, and are species of plants:
• Lulav (לולב) – a ripe, green, closed frond from a date palm tree
• Hadass (הדס) – boughs with leaves from the myrtle tree
• Aravah (ערבה) – branches with leaves from the willow tree
• Etrog (אתרוג) – the fruit of a citron tree
Today, there are many instructions for building the sukah, and rules about how to eat and live in them. In Jerusalem, it is custom to build apartments with a small outside slab of concrete just for celebrating this holiday.
In the Middle Ages, Jews were often confined to ghettos. It was difficult to get the required fruits for the holiday though, especially etrog. The distances from the ghettos to countries that grew it was often great, and so young men were sent on long journeys to acquire it. It was a lovely holiday because it brought the countryside to the squalid cities (Aspects of Jewish Culture in the Middle Ages 223).
Again we look to the gospel of John for the most prominent New Testament connections. In John chapter 7 we see that Jesus attends a Feast of Tabernacles, and in the middle of the feast week starts teaching openly in the temple. The Jewish leaders have to admit he knows what he’s talking about, but they are extremely annoyed. Jesus also presents himself as the “rock” of Moses’ day in chapter 7, implying that he is the rock from which flows rivers of living water. He does this on the last day of the feast, important because that is when the water ceremony is, and the prayer for water for next year. Jesus is speaking about the Holy Spirit here, and no one understands the full implication of his words until Pentecost later in the book of Acts. It is this that is the most important Net Testament connection. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrated the ending harvest, with special reference to the blessings received during the wandering in the wilderness, where God was pleased to manifest Himself in the tabernacle. But neither in the tabernacle nor the temple which replaced it was God fully manifested. The final and perfect manifestation of God was in Jesus, whose ministry would result in God’s dwelling neither in a tabernacle or temple, but in men’s hearts through his Spirit.
The book of Esther is unique to ancient and Biblical literature for two reasons: first, it is the only book of antiquity that portrays a woman as a hero. In patriarchal societies where women were second class people or lower, it is simply unheard of to have a woman hero narrative. Second, it is the only book in the Tenach and Bible where God is not mentioned explicitly.
During the third year of the reign of Persian king Ahasuerus, the king had a party. He ordered his queen, queen Vashti, to come before his guests with her crown and dazzle them with her beauty. She refused. Thus king Ahasuerus decided to remover her title and find himself a new queen. He ordered that all of the available maidens come before him after a ritualistic beauty purification rite that lasted 12 months, and when they were brought to him Esther, raised by her relative Mordecai, found favor in his eyes and became queen. She did not reveal that she was Jewish. Shortly after this, Mordecai learned of an assassination attempt on the king and notified his officials, and his service was recorded. He was never thanked properly, which came into play later. The king appointed a new vizier named Haman, who thought pretty highly of himself. It was one day at the palace gates where he passed by, and Mordecai was there. He would not bow down to him, stating that he only bowed to God alone. This angered Haman, and when he learned that Mordecai was Jewish, thought of a scheme to get rid of the whole minority from the kingdom. The king granted this, and so Haman cast lots to decide which day to do it. The day fell to the 13th of Adar, and so Haman made plans. When Esther and Mordecai learned of this, they asked all of the Jews in that city (the city was called Susa or Susha) to pray and fast for three days, after which Esther decided to approach the king. She was not allowed to do this, and her life hung in the balance. Nevertheless she went, and the king granted her her wish to see him. She invited the king to a feast, with Haman in attendance. This was done, and then Esther invited him to another feast the following day. In the meantime, Mordecai had again grieved Haman, and Haman constructed a gallows to hang Mordecai on. That night the king couldn’t sleep, and ordered that some of the court records be read to him. He learned of Mordecai’s service to him, and thought about a way to repay him. The next day, the king asked Haman how to show favor to a man who found favor in his eyes, and thinking the king meant himself, he said that the person to be honored should be led about on the royal horse for all to see. To his horror, the king ordered this be done for Mordecai. At the feast later that day, Esther reveals that Haman is plotting to kill the Jews and that includes her. Enraged, king Ahasuerus leaves the room, at which point Haman begs the queen for his life. Just then the king comes back, and thinks that Haman is attacking her, and so orders his death on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai. The king says he can do nothing about the edict, but allows Esther and Mordecai to write one of their own. They declare that the Jews can defend themselves from any attack. Smart. When the Jews were attacked, on the 13th of Adar, 500 attackers and Haman’s 10 sons were killed, along with 75 thousand Persians, though they took no plunder. Mordecai is then given Haman’s position, and he institutes a celebration of the events, now known as Purim, Hebrew for “lots” that Haman cast in order to determine the day of the attack.
The celebration of Purim has four main parts:
1. Listening to the public reading, usually in synagogue, of the Book of Esther in the evening and again in the following morning (k'riat megilla)
2. Sending food gifts to friends (mishloach manot)
3. Giving charity to the poor (matanot la'evyonim)
4. Eating a festive meal (se`udah)
The reading of the Megilla was prescribed by the Sages of the Great Assembly, in which Mordecai was reported to have been a member. Initially, the reading was only for the 14th, but later on in the 3rd century a rabbi prescribed it be read on the eve, as well. The rabbi also insisted that women attend the readings, since a woman is the hero of the story. The Talmud later adds other benedictions, such as the naming of Haman’s 10 sons in one breath, to indicate their simultaneous destruction.
Sending food or other gifts, known as Mishloah Manot, is customary, although it is better to spend more on the poor than on friends. This custom is mandated in Esther chapter 9, verse 22 mandates: "the sending of portions one man to another, and gifts to the poor." Typically the gifts sent to friends are consumable, such as wine or pastries or candy.
The Purim meal is known as Se’udat Purim, and wine is the prominent drink of choice. This is because the Talmud states that one should drink wine until he can no longer distinguish between the phrases “cursed is Haman” and “blessed is Mordecai.” In Hebrew “המן ארור” and “מרדכי לברוך.“
Another component of the celebration is dressing up in costumes, to signify the “hiddeness” of God in the story. Even though God is not mentioned expressly, his presence is still acknowledged. Dressing up in disguises symbolizes this. This custom was first introduced by the Italian Jews in about the fifteenth century because of the Roman carnivals where such things went on (Goodman, 24).
An interesting fact regarding the omission of God is that it might have been done on purpose to show that God is behind the works in everything, even if He is hidden. There is a Hebrew phrase, “פנים הסתר,” meaning “hiding of the Face,” the face being God’s, and the pronunciation of it, hester panim, is sort of a play on words. The book of Esther in Hebrew, the Megillat Esther, means literally “revelation of that which is hidden.” It is a word play of sorts.
Purim is celebrated on two different days, depending on one’s geographical location. People who live in a city that has been surrounded by a wall since the time of Joshua celebrate it on the 15th of Adar, whereas those living in a city not walled since the time of Joshua celebrate on the 14th of Adar. The rationale behind this is that outside the capital city of Susha, the Jews were able to subdue the enemy and so they rested on the 15th from battle. The Jews in Susha, however, had more enemies to fight and so it took them an extra day before they rested. The exception to this rule is Jerusalem, which at the time of the story was in ruins and the Jews lived in the Diaspora. The rabbis thus decreed that in order to give special consideration to Jerusalem, the observance of Purim in a walled city would include any walled city that was in existence since the time of Joshua (Lazerson). So, even in Israel there are different days for celebrating. If one comes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, I have no idea on which day he would celebrate.
The New Testament connections to the book of Esther are indirect at best. There are no mentions of her by name, or discussions of her anywhere. The only link I’ve ever heard connecting the book of Esther to the New Testament is from Galatians 3:28. It states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Theologians point to the book of Esther to illustrate that women are equally valuable to God, and are used by Him- it is used to demonstrate that God is no respecter of persons. This is not to say that men are not the head of their household, for that is in there too- but to point out that women are not to be looked down upon as inferior in any way.
Researching these holidays has been quite the experience. I have grown up hearing the stories, but the customs during the holidays were never explained or highlighted, and so this research illuminated my understanding of my Jewish friends along with my understanding of the New Testament. I learned that making sense of the New completely depends upon an understanding of the Old; and the things Jesus said at Jewish celebrations I now see as completely inflammatory and blasphemous to the Jews, if he was not the Messiah. Understanding the customs around Pesach and Sukkot were particularly helpful in understanding the four Gospels, especially John, and now I understand them on a much deeper level than I had.
I think it is amazing that Jews today still celebrate things ordained by God Himself- no other religion can claim that. Even Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter were not commanded to be celebrated, and are actually based on pagan customs- with the exception of communion, which Christ did command. But that is not a holiday. Overall, I am glad I was able to find out more about these three holidays and their religious and historical implications. These holidays back up a claim made by Kierkegard: Life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards.” These celebrations show that history is indeed important; without it we do not remember all that God has done, or that He has a theme running throughout history itself- the ultimate story of the redemption of His people.