Day 14: A picture of you last year – how have you changed?

This picture was taken of me on June 17th, almost exactly one year ago.  (Give or take a week?)  How do I know this?  This was the day I went for my college orientation.  I apologize if this picture is distorted, it’s much more flattering on a smaller scale!  This is actually one of the only ID pictures I really like of myself which I find funny because I remember how horrible I felt that day.

I was not ready for commuting to my college.  I ended up staying at the dorms my first year but now this is something that I will have to deal with!  I left my house at 5AM to reach school disastrously early at 7-ish.  I got off at the six train with a set of cute instructions from a friend of mine who graduated from my college a little while ago.  But being that the six train is so close to school my instructions ended there- I mean how could I get lost a block a way?

I got lost.  And I was petrified.  My college is in the city and I literally have little to no sense of direction.  I can go the same route everyday for a year and still need a GPS or navigation.

I eventually made it to school really sweaty and really exhausted.  It was then that I was told to smile for my ID picture.  My friends always yell at me for not smiling with my teeth but at that point I was so tired I’m lucky I didn’t blink.  I actually I did blink the first time this picture was taken, but I got a redo.  Aren’t we so lucky to have those sometimes?  I’ve had my fair share already.

I let my situation dictate my emotions.  A year ago, I did that ALL the time.  I remember a little later on our orientations leaders told us, “Don’t be sad in your ID pictures, you have them for 4 years!!” After hearing that I so desperately wanted to retake mine but was too scared to ask.  I just got really lucky that I still ended up liking it.

One year ago at this time I really didn’t want anything to do with InterVarsity, a christian fellowship at my school.  I didn’t want to be known as this crazy Jesus girl like I’ve been known for most of my life to my non-religious friends.  I was planning on joining a sorority and maybe a few other clubs like newspaper.  I thought being part of a church was enough, at that was the extent of my dedication to God.

A year ago I think I didn’t really even want to go to the college I now I go to.  I wasn’t secure in the person I now know I am.  And I was really scared of going to a college that everyone close to me told me not to go to.  My uncle and my mom wanted me to go to a small private college nearby.  And the idea of being in the city alone really scared them.  Some people told me going far away to upstate New York was the way to go.

Honestly, I can’t help but think about how Jeremiah 29:11 was in action all along,

“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'”

I look back at this journal entry the day I wrote I decided to go to college in the city.  And this was a decision I made 100% on my own, or so I thought.  God was really in control even from the start.

A year ago I was mostly the person I am today, just not fully there yet, something was missing.  And a year from now I’ll be pretty much the same as today, just a little bit better.

Day 3: Your first love

I was getting shake shack yesterday and took a picture of the look of raindrops from inside of a clear umbrella. Something about it is really beautiful.

 

When I first read that I would have to write about my first love, I thought that this was limited to “my first relationship”.  But it’s not because otherwise it would have said just that.  So today I want to tell you about the first thing I ever really did love, music.

Music was the first thing I ever loved but it was also the first thing I ever really hated.  When I was younger I remember going for song competitions at church and really hating it.  I want to clarify that there is a big difference between loving to do something and being good at something.  I am by no mean claiming to be a good singer, but I’ve always loved to sing.

How I started singing was really odd actually.  One day while I was preparing for competition, I chose my own song and when I sang it, I won first prize.  It was really odd because before that point I would get really excited to even get 3rd place and suddenly, I won.  I sang the song, “God so loved the world”, and from that point on, all I wanted to do was sing.

So I went to music class and even got vocal lessons and for a while I wanted to be defined by whether or not I could sing.  And I hated it.  I hated going for vocal lessons and having every note I sang being penalized.  I did sound really good, but I didn’t enjoy it anymore.

I hated going on stage to perform a song.  I almost always forgot the tune leaving me frazzled and embarrassed in front of an audience of people.  Because of this my hatred of singing and my hatred of music grew larger than my love of music.  And at one point in time I never wanted to sing again.

No one would really notice, except maybe the person sitting next to me in church.  But I stopped singing because I wanted to.   And I couldn’t really do this, at least for long.  I tried but when you’re surrounded by music how can you really not sing?

Because of this I missed music and suddenly singing again was really one of things that made me feel most happy in the entire world.  When I sing I can express feelings that I can’t just say out loud.  When I sing now, I don’t really care if I sound amazing or even out of tune.  I sing to lose my voice and I sing to cry.

Because music was the first thing I ever really hated, but it was also my first love.

Why InterVarsity will always Confuse me.

Image

I don’t think a lot of people notice this about me, but I’m a very competitive person.  I’ve always been a competitive person.  From as far back as I can remember, I have competed for something.  I remember being maybe 9 or 10 years old sitting with my brother and eating some oreos when suddenly a competition of “Who could eat the most oreos?!” was created.  The prize was a horrible stomach ache.

Fast forward to high school and I join DECA.  What is DECA?  Well DECA was my life but more specifically it was a organization of business students with regional, state-wide, and national competitions.  I loved it.  I was one of those really annoying people who really took it way to seriously.  I loved pin trading (Every state had a pin and at nationals you could trade pins with different states), I loved the adrenaline rush of presenting.  I loved winning.  I wasn’t too keen on losing though, but you need to lose some in order to win some.  In fact you need to lose a lot to win even a little.

With that being said, I have always hated the fact that I’m competitive.  And I’ve tried my best to not be the type of competitive person who steps on people to reach the top.  Do you know who these people are?  I think we ALL know who those people are.  I remember going into one DECA competition introducing myself to one of my competitors and having her greet me by saying, “Hi, I’m going to beat you!”.  Yeah, I actually wish I was joking.

I know people who send people the wrong words to memorize or conveniently have someone miss their presentation time.  I’ve seen them and find them repulsive.  More so because if I didn’t I think I would be one of those people.

But now back to the title of this blog, which is probably why you started reading this post.  InterVarsity is the christian fellowship on my campus (also an international organization…I think) and from what I’ve found, it’s done none of these things.  I go to a business school and even though I’m not at the point where there is even a need to be competitive, I know there are people I can’t trust.  I know that there are people who are really just looking for their best interest.  Can I blame them?  Not really.

I know these people and they are not few and far between.  In fact sometimes I feel like they engulf the school.  And being a competitive person, I’ve grown tired of being competitive and now just want to do my best.

The thing about InterVarsity that feels so odd is that fact that in the midst of all this I know so many selfless people.  I know people who barley even knew me but took the time out to mentor me and guide me.  I know people who took the time to see what I wanted and how I was feeling.  I know people who actually cared about me as a person.  Because at the end of the day with InterVarsity, it’s different.  We’re not subject to beating someone out for a test grade to feel self validated.  We serve a God who teaches us that love, peace, joy and kindness and the values we must emulate.

So this confuses me because most people I know are selfish.  Again, how can they not be?  But there is so much more to be gained in giving than receiving.  And maybe InterVarsity will always confuse me, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Arranged Marriages: A new look

Image

Almost 3 years ago I wrote an article for my school newspaper about arranged marriages because it was a topic that interested me.  My parents are a product of arranged marriages and have been married for such a long time now.  It got me to thinking about whether or not the either notion of marrying someone for love was more ridiculous than marrying someone for practicality.

When I first wrote that article 3 years ago my intention was to first just show that arranged marriages still existed and then show that sometimes they could be more effective than love marriages.  But now as a college student I find myself taking a completely new take on the issue.

I think arranged marriages are more effective than love marriages and for many reasons.  For one, in the past this was the way that most people married each other.  People married for purpose or because of their current situation and this actually worked.  Next this is currently working whereas divorce rates for love marriages have been sky rocketing.

I’m reminded of a quote from my previous article.  People are just too selfish to allow something like a marriage built out of love to work.  People are passionate and the minute the spark dies, so does the devotion.  What ever happened to loving someone in sickness and in health?  What ever happened to people growing old and dying together?  Instead people are so consumed with their own personal desires that marriages die in the process.

I am in no way of form experienced in this topic.  I’m not married nor do I intend to be married for a long time (Can we be real now, I’m eighteen years old!).  But I grew up my entire life believing love should be one particular way not realizing how selfish this type of love really is.  That’s the thing about love, love in and of itself is so selfless.  Marriage should not be about fulfilling your own individual desires, it is something so much more sacred than that.

I always imagined arranged marriages were forced and deprived people.  I grew up thinking that there is no way you can love someone in a marriage if you were arranged to marry them.  Holding unto this idea that everyone in the world has one person who is perfect for them.  Their other half who holds everything they could ever want in an another person.  But human beings are not made like that.  Human beings are born sinful and selfish.

I remember trying to argue against that idea with a friend of mine, but I couldn’t.  Face it.  Human beings are selfish, we may do kind things but because it makes us feel good.  And because human beings are like this, the idea of one perfect person out there is insane.  No one will fit perfectly in the mold of perfection that you may want them to be.  And trying to make someone into something they are not is cruel.

Maybe marrying someone who isn’t “perfect” but actually wants the same things in life as you is practical and maybe being practical is smart.  I’m only eighteen years old and have so much to learn in life, I don’t want to believe that love and being practical should mix.  But marriage and passion can never work because passion dies out and I don’t believe that you can ever really stop loving someone.  So maybe the idea of passionate love that fades isn’t right?

In a world where people divorce left and right the sanctity of marriage is just left out to dry, but this does not mean that it is no longer important.  Before you judge something like arranged marriages, give it another look.

Welcome =]

Now, I am going to be honest with you.  This is something most people say they like in their loved ones/friends/family, but let me tell you from experience that it REALLY is not all that it’s cracked out to be.

It’s like that twix commercial where a guy’s wife asks him[is that how it goes?] “Does this make my butt look big?“, and he takes a “moment” to chew it over with twix. JUST ONCE I’d like to see someone say “YES YOUR BUTT IS HUGE!”, [ assuming it is huge] but that’s the thing with honesty, people only like it when it’s convenient.

I remember when I had first saw an application called “Honesty Box” on Facebook I pounced at the chance to be honest, but ANONYMOUSLY!  [suh-weet!] There was this one girl who was a singer who was pretty good but had horrible range, so what did I write being the naive/ ignorant being that I am?

Well although I don’t remember the exact wording it was somewhere along the lines of :

You have a good voice but should work on your range.

I honestly [no pun intended] thought she wouldn’t care, well somehow she found out I wrote the comment and held an open grudge against me for around a day, until I apologized.  I was then talking to a friend and asked “She put that question open on honesty box, so what did she expect?” And he responded saying “People don’t ACTUALLY make those accounts for the honest comments they just want people to give them compliments!” [well duhh nina]

Who would have thought a honest box would be about honesty?

— Wow I went on QUITE a tangent about honesty, but you get my point now, right?  [maybe not?]

I’m going to be honest [now don’t we LOVE that word?] , I have rarely committed to anything I have ever done. There are a few small school clubs I have stuck with for 3 years but for the most part I drop the ball when the going gets rough.  After 1 day of my church choir I tried to quit, 1 year of violin was enough for me, 1 year of drama, and the list goes on and on.

Someone once told me that the personality traits we inherit early on in life, carry on with us in the years to come and quite frankly I don’t want to be known as a quitter.  I can just see it now on my business card “Nina Thomas, Quitter”, and I certainly don’t like it.

That is why for 200? 365 long days I am making a promise to myself, to make at least one blog post a day devoted to God.  The only time I will not make a post is if I do not have access to internet, in which case I will MAKE UP [later on] the posts I miss.

For example, I am going for a retreat Friday, Saturday and Sunday, SO I will make posts on my netbook and post them on Monday.  Sound good?

I’m doing this not because I want to , [maybe I want to just a lot  little] but because I stood on stage saying I would step outside my comfort zone and SERVE God and have yet to do ANYTHING for him.  That’s pretty lame.

I’m doing this to be more than a hypocrite who cannot keep her own promise, I am doing this to make a commitment.

I doubt I’ll acquire any loyal “followers” for this blog, but hey you never know.  This is post number 1 of 365, I have a VERY long way to go.

See you tommrow,

Nina

July 25th, 2010

10:32 pm

**I will ONLY post once a day because I tend to be “over devoted” the first day and “under devoted” for the rest of my time.  OH and the next post will be more about GOD!  ..It IS for him after all!