Monday, November 7, 2011

Definition of inspiration

Let's take a minute and define something that is the source of constant anxiety for most 20-something, career seeking, lack-luster humans.  Young adults seem to find themselves more and more lost the closer they get to a goal that once thought was so urgent to accomplish, but now may just seem lame.

in·spi·ra·tion (as Merriam-Webster defines it)

1 a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions
2 : the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs

That word is a lot bigger than I thought. Intellect. Drawing in. Emotions. Sacred. Influence. Ok, ok, I gotta break this down for a moment. Let's look at this on part that really caught my attention:
"2 : the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs"
You gotta draw in air to breathe, you gotta breathe to live, you got to be inspired to make it worth something. The act of inspiration allows your lungs to function. To do what they were made to do. So this brings me to think, am I ready to be inspired to do what I was made to do? Am I ready to do that "action or power of moving the intellect or emotion"? This comes full circle in my mind with my original dilemma of what the heck am I supposed to be doing here on Earth. What in the world is that action I should be doing or power I possess to move intellect? INTELLECT! How am I supposed to influence moving my intellect, others' intellect, a community's intellect?

I think the answer is that I'm not supposed to know. I'm not supposed to go out and just starting influencing people's attitudes, actions, thoughts or feelings. That's what crazy cult people do. Schemers.  Living in this world is not about that. It's about building a global community larger than one's self, yet as personable as one's block, apartment building, or classroom. I think just being a smiling face in the sky way, bus or sidewalk does a lot more for the world than tweeting, listening to hip-hop, or protesting for social change.

I know that I get caught up in the urgency of it all. I'm only 24 years old, but I feel immense pressure to have a career started, a plan laid out, a potential husband and a savings account. Although I would love to have all of those things, that just isn't in the cards for me right now.  The most confusing of it all  is that I don't know where in the world is that pressure coming from? Me? Culture? Family? It may be different for everyone, but amongst most of my friends my age, I hear this a lot. It's not usually to get married, but all my girlfriends feel like they should be in a relationship and if they aren't, they are apparently some old hag. If I live at home without a full-time job (regardless of my efforts to try to get accepted to a Masters program), I am labeled as a useless citizen that is just plain lazy. It's a lot to process.

So, where is my inspiration? What is assisting me to draw in air? What is moving my intellect and emotions? Although, most days I'm totally clueless as to the answers of these questions, I'm sure that prayer would be a productive way to find out. Although, most of the time I turn to hip-hop and find the lyrics to be the anthem of my day. This one has proven to be a reoccurring favorite of my days for many reasons. But mostly it makes me feel as if I could achieve something no matter how mediocre I feel.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Winter? You can go knock on someone else's door!

The sun is shining! Finally, the first sunshine I've seen in the last 36 hours and it brings me utter joy. Such a simple pleasure like the sun sometimes gets forgotten as the temperatures drop. Yet, I know that every Minnesotan out there does not take it for granted. We wait those six months of winter to melt away just to show us what beauty truly means. The green grass, warm lake shore sand, tall thick trees and moist summer air are all truly heavenly.

Today's high temperature was just about the lowest temperature I had to face last winter in Jordan. I can tell you right now that I am not looking forward to the frozen tundra, ass-freezing temperatures, and mountains of parking lot snow that will be coming this winter. The lack of sunlight and even further lack of vitamin D will probably break me down even further than the constant stress I had to endure of continous culture shock. But let's hope I built up some strength over the last year.

I think that with all the lessons I have learned, all the coping mechanisms I have developed and all the good hearted family and friends near me, that this winter will not even phase me. I am ready to take this God given challenge head on. 100%. No failing, hopefully minimal "learning" in respects to slipping up and maximum learning in respects to effing conquering it all!

So here's to encouraging one another and loving all those who cross your path!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's been one year and...

I feel as if nothing has changed. My life is just like a set of revolving doors that hate to be the ones the harsh winds and weather of the outside. Ever turning to get to sit in the warmth and light of the decorated interior of some over rated venue. Instead of it being some elegant department store or decedent restaurant, I'm talking about my heart and soul.

One year ago today I began this blog with the hopes it would somehow guide me through a journey I knew words would never suffice to describe. Although I would simply call it "word puke", others may argue it's public therapy to an unknown audience. I honestly see it as mostly whining. But it has done something to help me understand who I am including my faults, failures and sometimes bold strengths. I understand what it means to live a bit better and I really do mean only a smudge more of comprehension. And if nothing else, it has helped me to vastly improve my writing.

Yet, as I write this post the only thing on my mind is the tangling, frustrating bundle of emotions stuck in my chest that I wish someone could just rip out and toss away. I had to tell a dear, wonderful, close friend that we should sever ties. It was someone who helped me through the toughest times I ever had; most of which are described on this blog. It was a "make good choices" sort of decision. Something that if my heart had to decide, it would have chose something very different. Near nothing can rid this feeling and most certainly I am being incredibly too dramatic about it. But this is my character, this is what I do. I dwell. If there was a Nobel Prize in dwelling I'd be nominated and presented with the honor ten times over again.

So, although I know it's time to turn a page and make this blog into a more encouraging and empowering environment, today just can't be that day. Allow me to pledge that tomorrow is the beginning of my second year of vocab vomit. This one will be one that sees the sunnier side of this thing we call life and what I like to call "learning".

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blown away

This is something that blew me away. The talent of expression here is priceless, moving, intense. I want to be able to express myself in an art like this one day. It would be so incredibly empowering to express all this messed up spaghetti of my life encapsulated in my mind. I WANT THIS.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This is what a good weekend looks like.

With a dash of hip-hop.

I big up Grieves and Budo a lot, but serious talent here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Deeds not words

So the other day a dear friend shared the following quote with his friends on Facebook. I have pretty much been thinking about it everyday since and decided to not only share it with you readers, but act upon it.  I won't just stop at trying to show my love through actions and not words, but I think those people in my life that no matter how much I try to pass by or give them a rain-check on a slip-up -they just gotta go.

" through deeds and not through the tongue; for the latter hath no importance, as the majority of men are, in speech, well-wishers, while action is the best."

I think ultimately that this needs to be everyone's turn to advice. I can't handle wishy-washy people, flaky intentions, and words so full of plumped up false intention. It makes me want to puke just thinking about it. I just can't trust people's words any longer. They turned a gift, such as language, that is so incredibly beautiful into rotting garbage. And guess what? I'm a person, so I'm included in those "people". Ick. Time to turn the page.

 I am determined to make my life a polished mirror one step at a time. I am sick of trudging through the mud of gross substandard goo and mediocre accomplishments.  I know that graduate school is not an easy task and it's going to take a good eight months of staying where I'm at (which in my hard-headed, independent mindset seems like the most difficult thing to bear) just to know that I won't just be in some weird transition any longer.

Damn Middle East threw me for an effin' loop and here I am thinking I was probably the most foolish person on the Earth to think it was any way, shape, or form of a good idea.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Paint something

How ironic is it for a person wearing athletic gear to be a smoking a cigarette? It's probably horrible to combat stress with nicotine, but this whole mediation, prayer, and being as straight-laced as possible just seems a lot more difficult. I can publicly admit that I am not as glossy as I present myself at times. At the same time, I don't think that's a bad thing.  Part of striving is faking it until you make it. It's owning up to the words that leak out of one's mouth, it's full fledged effort into acting like you wish you could. No human is perfect and honestly lately striving for perfection just isn't real... especially if no one really is perfect. So why do we do it? Why do we set ourselves up to fail? Encouraging words at this moment would be helpful... got any?

I just think that imaginary and understanding what that imagery really represents is important. It could just be some big facade with nothing beneath the surface. When I listen to artists that have the most powerful lyrics, I seriously consider that the inspiration could have been something completely different than what is presented. I mean, they are all just trying to make it right? It would be a luxury to just lose yourself in your experience for a full four minutes of those rolling beats, silky words, and journey through all that you are. You can discover yourself through the language that has been given to us. Pick and choose each one of those words carefully, make it as strong and vibrant as possible. Paint with your vocabulary.

Paint your city with feeling that we all can learn from.  Make the community just a tad bit better. Work within a cause that fits closely with your soul.  Exert a little more strength into your day then you thought you wanted to, expand your knowledge at least 1%, get to know that one person you thought would be cool to hang out with, just try a little more. STRIVE.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Summary of Summer

I came to Minnesota in the last few days of June with the idea that the next 7 weeks was going to be a vacation. A time to reunite with friends, family, and spiritual siblings. I was joyful, happy, and optimistic.  I soaked up but every bit of sun my sad white skin could absorb.  My shoulders and calves bronzed in the light of freedom and shined with emancipation every time I lathered that creamy white sunscreen on them.  It was only four short weeks until my heart started to whimper in the anticipation of my return to Jordan.  It would remind me every morning that I would never be able to do any of my daily routine in Amman.  I wouldn't be able to drive the little timid bimmer to my friend's uptown apartment or have a mixed gathering in my home to share silly stories of our day. I would think about my night owl nature and how I would have to spend most of the twilight hours alone in my apartment. I had to make a decision.

That decision was extremely hard to express to the one I was attached to.  It didn't matter that deep down inside, I knew it wasn't my decision to make.  My soul, heart, and mind had already settled the score long before my consciousness even thought about expressing it to someone else.  There was no way any discussion or argument was going to make a difference on what was already cemented in my being.  The journey from that point was the most difficult I have ever been through. Aside from when my mom left to Jordan when I was 13 and when my parents divorced in 2nd grade, this last month has torn me, broken every emotional bone in my body and held my head under water for far too long.  But it also has given me the unbelievable strength to build myself back up. Build myself to understand that I have worth; the priceless lesson that I don't have to be dependent on a relationship to understand emotional support or love.  I can seek that from my own spirit, God, and true friends that stick by my side like a sister. It's true when they say, "brotherhood is not bound by blood".  But I'm not out of the thick of it, new tests are already pelting me.

It's time I come to terms with the fact that for some time I will have a lack of consistency and structure in my life.  Being unemployed has opened my eyes, mind, and soul to a place that is so uncertain to the point that I find my myself under constant anxiety.  It's scary to not have a time you have to be somewhere or leave your bed in the morning. It's also a bit terrifying that my only accountability is my own.  To say that I am learning about who I am is an understatement.  This is uncharted territory of Sara Ann and it's so out there that if one gets lost, good luck finding anyway to call for rescue - it will be a lost cause. There is no failing, only persevering. So here I go... persevering.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Why does the UN Security Council meeting chambers look like it's been untouched since 1952?  Shouldn't we get on top of LED projectors and touch screen monitors? Look at those blue chairs! I mean at least give em adjustable chairs, you know those people hate those chairs. Maybe that's what leads to some questionable decisions over the years? The fact that they are discussing in some post-nuclear underground facility without daylight could make for a few mistakes over the years.

I know that a work environment matters greatly to me.  A great aesthetically pleasing and functional workroom can make an individual more productive and happier.  And goodness do I know that my body looooooves me some sunshine!  I once worked in as hotel service agent answering phones in a room without windows and believe you me, I didn't last very long. It ended with me in tears and undeniably stressed out from the lack of human contact.

So my question is: how do you think you'd feel trying to make super duper important UN security decisions in this room?

Monday, August 22, 2011


Regardless of all that other business, may I please recommend some talented souls? The 4onthefloor.

Too many questions.

Why did I ever effin' leave my country?  Why did I put myself in this damn position?  Why do I continue to ask questions when really I have no answers to even begin to help myself?  I really feel like giving up today.  I'm not asking for your pity or your sympathy, I'm just pouring out all this garbage inside me that I simply can no longer deal with.  Broken friendships aren't easy to deal with, but sometimes that's just the way it's got to be. There are just too many things to name that aren't good right now. I'm looking for a job, but the only lead I got takes me out of my city. Relocation just seems like a lot right now, although I know I got the guts to do it.

This post is like word vomit all over a digital page.  Gross, I feel like I could just puke anyway. Music usually helps and it's doing nothing for me right now. I can't do this heart on my sleeve thing much longer, I'm just gonna end up turning into this bitter-hearted woman with permanent scar tissue around that thing which remotely resembles a soul. I really don't need to push all of the brightness away and that mirror in my spiritual being could use some polishing. Probably better idea to just start praying rather than blogging.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Walls | eL Seed

Most amazing art I've seen in a long time.


"Tradition and Modernity"

Walls | eL Seed

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Can you lie to yourself?

Once again life has decided to yank on the reigns and say, "Hey! Look! You're being out of control and this needs to stop. Also, stop being an idiot and start taking care of yourself!"  I just wish I would have listened when the gentle polite pulling started in March.  Instead, I ignored it all and just tried to convince myself that I would be ok. Yes, yes we all know hindsight is 20/20.  But the consequences are effin' hurtful sometimes.


I have the awful habit of wearing my heart on my sleeve. I trust too easily, I am all in or nothing at all... but rarely is it nothing at all.  I don't play games, I am real from the beginning.  I see myself just flipping the pages constantly, it's a vicious cycle.  Reliance on God should truly be what I am striving for, not acceptance or love.  Service to Him and humanity should be in the forefront of my mind.  Yet, I know that I can't be of service if I am dealing with all these other issues.  Sometimes, you just gotta figure out the drama and understand your own priorities and beliefs before you go out and help other people.  A wise lady once told me that sometimes women get the mother syndrome, we just want to help others and make sure everyone is cared for, but we got to remember to put that oxygen mask on ourselves before we help others.

It's about the journey sometimes and that means that it's all about the learning.  It's good to remind oneself that every single day.  Take it day by day.  Love for the sake of love and not oneself.  The ego should become smaller and fade each day.  It's about accountability. It's about time to grow.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What is love?

How can one know when they are beating a dead horse?  Probably once you notice that stiff attitude of self hate and exhausting expression of pain on your own face. Those are the tell tale signs of heart break and honesty.  I'm notorious for just running away when life gets rough, a unwanted trait inherited through a life experience that wasn't always the most confronting. Maybe that's why I'm so in love with The Civil Wars and their sad melodies along with the adorable southern tinge.  It seems better to drown oneself in piano, guitar and sullen voices than to actually face the reality of life.  None the less, as soon as that iPod is turned off and I step out of my little 1991 bimmer into the sunlight of the speeding life of materialism, relationships, and blinding realism, I understand that I can't just walk this path alone. Yes, my happiness matters, but not as much as my faith.  If my faith is suffering, it is my eternal soul which suffers most, not my self.  The self is so insignificant.  I want my soul to rejoice and be happy and if that means I gotta stay in my home, then I gotta stay.  But that said, I really don't need to break hearts along the way.

Sometimes one falls into love fast and hard only to understand later that it wasn't the best way of doing things.  Love does hurt and it's not easy.  It takes lots of time and energy and isn't contained in some box hidden instead your body.  It's a spiritual quality that is limitless.  It is something that is not attached to anyone or anything.  It's nothing that can be describe except as a quality of God. Man can attempt to understand it, but will always fall short.  It takes an everlasting striving endeavor to attain the true quality of love.  And if I can just continue on that path with a striving attitude and a posture of learning, I hope that those hardships I encounter better the lives of those involved rather than damage them.  That's my only prayer tonight.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Difficult Expression

I just need to clear my head. So, through the inspiration of an amazing lyricist, Grieves, I decided to explore a more rhythmic way of writing.  I'm also brought back to the beautiful poetry of a dear friend, Mary Barghout.  She truly is one of the most amazing souls I have ever met.  The following poem was sent to me via e-mail in early March 2011 after the revolution in Egypt.  I hope that with some honest effort I could write like she does one day.

Egypt as defined by American viewers

You are only what I want from you.

You are only the trinkets
I want to buy.
So present me with icons and
historic materials.

You are only the history
that sparks my interest.
So delight me with
gold and Pharaohs.

You are only valube
when you hold my esteem.

You are only present
when I think of you.
Your Cairo only exists when
I watch news of you.

You are simple because
I do not want
to have to
contemplate your complexities.

You are
because  I am there to witness.

You are for me to sample
you are for me to judge
you are for me to complement
or to disengage.

You give me visual stimulus
Pyramids and comely women
so I can give you funding.

The nile flowed into the world,
so I could rent a felucca to
ride in.

You are the spectacle
I am the audience.

I am therefore, you are.

You are finished when I
stop paying attention.

Maybe my glance will shift now.
and by my looking I will create


They cannot be, unless I create them.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


So, this video has stimulated a lot of feelings inside me. Some incredibly awesome and others not so enjoyable. I know you all may think I'm soul-less if I said that one second of this intensely adorable wedding could make me feel bad, but why not watch the twelve and a half minutes (which is all completely 100% true and not acted out in anyway) and then listen to my explanation.

A little background info... this is a friend of a friend of a friend's wedding.  The couple are each Baha'i and the beautiful writings that were read and the prayers that were sung (which can be found in the full version of their wedding video which includes the ceremony) are from the Baha'i Writings. The single vow to be officially married in the Baha'i Faith is, 
We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God.
I'm sure I could write an entire post on that sentence alone, but for today I will only leave a short thought. Those words are a wonderful promise that makes a relationship so inline with God's path, and not your own, that if your intentions are pure and you pour all of your soul into those words, your marriage can be nothing but blessed.

It was a dear friend of mine along with her darling/somewhat strange fascination with it's beauty, who shared this video with me.  But when I watched it, I couldn't take it all in, it was all just too much. Too much happy.  I felt overwhelmed and a little bit jealous and most of all confused.  Why can something so beautiful stir up such intense feelings? I have felt like marriage as been appearing in almost everything around me.  My friends and their stories about themselves and their friends, pictures and posts on Facebook, television, movies, music, my age and that "stage" in life... EVERYTHING. All in all, personally I love the idea of marriage, the eternal partnership that you have with someone, a bond that is like no other, the bud of a new family on that ridiculously large redwood of life.

But, why the feelings of discontent?  This is still a blurry mystery to me. However, I spoke about some of these awkward emotions with my other half and I gotta say that he really helped me sort some things out.  In the end, I think that if you find nothing but encouragement and patience from the one you love, you most definitely can actively strive together for a lifetime.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blessings in disguise

I'm pretty sure that nothing will make me happy.  Living in Jordan was awesome until it bummed me out. Visiting home made me ecstatic until I had to leave behind the BF and his family, I came into America bawling my eyes out.  Then, I see my dad, my friends, people I love and my heart fills with joy... only until it comes crashing down in a pile of broken computers, crappy cell phones, unidentified illness and an injured kitty.  I'm just discouraged and watching the news doesn't help.  I wanted this vacation to be rejuvenating, relaxing, refreshing and I feel as if it's all the opposite.  I miss my Jordanian home, my Jordanian family and yet I just wish I could transplant a Target store to Amman to put a huge smile on my face.

I must remind myself that just can't happen and believe it or not, these difficulties and tests are magnificent blessings.  They teach.  They teach so much! They teach patience and appreciation. They teach love and kindness. They allow for growth and understanding. How bountiful! I know I can't have everything, but if I can have at least something, I'll be more than blessed. Let's all remind ourselves of that.  I know that I need some help with it sometimes. So hey, human family, how about we band together and remember that we can learn from everything.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Emotional Divide

As I look at my empty shearling slippers under my vanity, I think about where they came from.  A holiday sale at an Eddie Bauer store in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.  Wow, I have definitely come a long way from there as the start of engagement plans enters my vocabulary.  I think to myself, "If I am dating an Palestinian-Muslim guy now, my dad can't be so mad if he seemed totally OK with me dating a 8 years older divorcee".  I was too young then to truly to understand the reality of the situation.  So, how can I even fathom to understand the reality of my situation now?

Hindsight is 20/20.  You can always look back and understand better the world than you ever could when you're actually there, living it.  Was going to university my first year out of high school the best idea? No. Was going to Chicago that first year and spending way too much in borrowed money a good idea? No.  Was taking 5 years to graduate with a BA a good idea? No. Was dating those guys, falling in and out of love, and having a long distance romance a good idea? No.  I could say all these things were not good ideas, but in the end did they give me indispensable knowledge to make me a better human being? Yes.

A few close people to me would probably not like that I am writing about my relationships or romance on a blog. Yet,at the end of the day this is a part of who I am and how I grew to be me.  Love isn't just about calling your crush on the phone when you're 16 and hanging up when he says hello.  It's about the trial and error to know what you think love and commitment means at age 16, 19, 21, and again at 23 - and it doesn't end there. Yes, I'm still amazingly young, but I'm also just plain amazing.  I think I should be looked at as a beautiful, intellectual and rational young woman instead of a "watch your back" fragile feminine creature.  It's important to know that experiences teach.  It allows for the opportunity to grow and learn, without them it's near impossible for me to express my opinions or feelings in an elevated matter.

I am thankful for my education in understanding and my ever growing knowledge that is deepened by experience and study.  But emotions are not something you can comprehend through reading, you need to feel them, react to them, move past them.  It is about interaction.  I ask this question to myself a lot while living in the Middle East, "How can women and men expect to build a society of equality, progress and justice when most of their lives are still lived separately?" And I sit and ponder without ever coming up with a decent enough explanation.  I think it takes far longer than I think to create an answer for that one.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Balance, faith, and love

Yeah, I know it's too late to start writing at 10:15pm, but here I am breaking all the rules at an attempt to try to center myself... here I go.

Lately, the topic of conversation in my life as been about faith.  Now, I'm not just speaking about faith as in religion, but the word "faith" as loyalty, faith as sincerity, faith as firm belief.  Here's how Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines it:

Definition of FAITH

a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty(1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
(1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion(1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust
: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

The words echo in my mind, "loyalty... sincerity... belief..."

They just continue to repeat, never really fading away.  I have become guilty, so so guilty about the role of faith in my life (or lack thereof).  What does it mean?  How can I practice better faith? How can I truly be a strong individual with steadfast faith?  I want that! I desire that! I strive to become FAITHFUL.  But just merely thinking about that isn't going to help me achieve my desires or goals.  It isn't going to bring me to a place where I feel like for once I'm not afraid to conquer all that I fear with my limitless faith. So, I decided to pray more, to talk more, to study more.  All of which includes setting aside time, borrowing a Quran, and understanding really what it means to be "clean".

Above all, I wanted to continue this journey with someone close to me, someone I plan to grow old with, share a life with, someone I love.  And the more I want to deepen my faith and converse about these precious topics the more I feel it splits us apart.  I feel the wedge get pushed in a little deeper and it pains me to even try to attempt to talk about it.  That's the last thing I wanted to happen.  In fact, I wanted the exact opposite to be achieved.  I wanted to grow closer, to become wiser together.  I wanted to develop a spiritual relationship with this special person, how can I do that when every conversation ends in frustration, anger, and confusion?

I'm starting to think that this might just have to be a personal journey.  A journey that is between me and God and no one else.  I don't want to feel guilty for exploring other religions, beliefs and understands.  I don't want to feel as if I am going back on a decision I made.  What I do want is to feel like I am truly investigating and striving to find the truth.  This path of service seems empty, but I think I am here in this land for a reason, and not just, "hayk".  I hope it becomes more evident each day and the path is made clear for me.  I am reminded of a beautiful Baha'i prayer,

"O Lord, my God, open thou the door, provide the means, make safe the path, prepare the way. Verily tho art The Help In Peril, The Self-Subsisting. Ya Baha'u'l'Abha."

And it is these words that I start my new day with, in hope and faith that I may continue my search for the truth.

The Slow Mo Guys - Droplet Collisions at 5000fps

This may make me the nerdiest person ever, but honestly I was thoroughly impressed by the magic of something so simple. God created some radical things and the fact that we now can witness it with the help of a camera that shoots 5,000 frames per second, has made me realize how amazing His creation truly is.  Check it out!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Naw Ruz

It's Naw Ruz! Happy Naw Ruz to all my friends around the world :) How else can I say that I'm completely blessed and thankful for everything in my life besides thanking God for providing me with it all?  I am so happy to have come to a place in my life that I can recognize that renewal is a concept that every soul needs to recognize. Without the ability to revitalize your spirit, one will always be holding onto something that is longer there.  Whether it is a positive attribute or a negative one, life is a process that is progressing and should not be entirely considered based on past thoughts, not an understanding through learning from the past. Today should have been the time to reflect, learn, and plan! Here I go!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Fast of Heart, Mind, Soul, and Body

Fasting has begun!  There is so much different this fasting season than the year before.  First, obviously I'm not in my hometown with all the familiar friends and faces that light up my life in the states.  Although, I got some pretty good ones in company now (I am blessed.), but it continues to be a struggle to start from a new place.  I set out on my journey across seas to find my path of service to humanity and instead I am finding out what humility true means.  The self can not be even an inkling in your mind when you want to do something for mankind.  I have learned that I must burn away those veils between myself and God with passion and prayer and focus on the Kingdom we are all here to build.

For others personal written and photographic reflection on each of the nineteen days of The Fast, please take a quick peek at . You'll enjoy it. I promise.

The friends that were helping building the foundation of my faith are people I hold so dear to my heart, but in the same time it's time to put on the hat of project manager and take true ownership of who I am.  I love learning with others, it's such a great way of exploring ourselves and discovering the hidden gems that we all possess. There are so many things in life you could never manage to find without the help of others - that great tea bar in that small part of town, or the great view from a hill you've never had the chance to see, but most important is to be  reflective.

At times, I get to a point where I become so comfortable with someone that I wear my heart on my sleeve. All my emotions are game for expression.  What a bad habit to start.  I have learned that sometimes who must keep things to oneself for reflection between you and God.  When you can find that one friend to open up to, you can express your opinion free of judgement, that's when you know you found a best friend for life.  So much growth occurs between friends, so much spiritual renewal and understanding... and what a better time to expand these relationships than during The Fast?  So potent a time, so special the days, it's limited and we must learn to take hold of every minute of it and experience it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beauty in The Hidden

It has been far too long since I have posted on this blog!  Over a month ago, I wrote my last purge of heart and a lot has happened. I have settled into my new job, but it has created some difficulties.  I don't think my supervisors think I could ever overcome these "issues" or maybe they just don't care to talk to me to see if I have overcame already.  There is one skill I have learned and that is to just take everything out of the mouth of someone from the UK with a grain of salt.  It's amazing the gap of cultural understanding even between western cultures.  At least I have learned a lot about myself and my own faults through teaching.  I love my first grade class and all that I teach them! I have found out a lot about my strengths and even more about my faults.  It's all really just a huge lesson in trial and error.
The gorgeous valley of Wadi Shitta

I've gotten sick a few times in the last month, mostly due to the over exposure to children and the fact that I don't have the immunity of a Jordanian.  Being sick in a foreign country without your family is really tough.  It makes me pine for Minnesota like no other.

Aside from physical illness, I am learning that Jordanian's beauty is really hidden in its wadis and small farm villages.  Mohammad has been the best tour guide showing me Wadi Shitta (Rain Valley) and Iraq Al-Amir.  Both are breath taking places. But it should be noted that  I felt something incredibly spiritual in Wadi Shitta.  I asked around and heard that it was known for it's pottery in biblical times, perhaps some of the prophets stops through the area during their travels?  Regardless, the feeling which overwhelmed my heart and soul paralleled to the spirituality I felt while living in Bethlehem in the summer of 2009.

Ancient palace in Iraq Al-Amir
Iraq Al-Amir was a very small farming village... but it's unique.  It has an old castle there and a few caves created in the Ammonite period (that's like 200 BCE - crazy old!).  I love that I have someone in my life that thinks my random, detailed and particular questions are insane but still listens to them.  Mohammad will stand there at the edge of an ancient palace's compound and ponder about how a once ancient town was probably built just outside the rock wall that lined the property.  The townspeople probably lived here, and the cemetery could have been over there, and from the caves in the side of the mountain were probably for torture (I mean, we are in the middle east right?), and that pigeon house several meters away was for there old messaging service to neighboring villages.  It's pretty awesome to just imagine a world you have no knowledge about just like you're 8 years old again playing in the backyard.

We also spent at least 10 minutes talking about how awesome it would be to have a time machine to be able to know what this place was like instead of relying on our ridiculous child-like assumptions.  Or a device that would be like a real life rewind button where you could just hit a button and stand there watching how time has changed the land around you  But I think my favorite part of our Friday day-trips are the stories Mohammad tells me about his father and how he came to know about the little hidden treasures of Jordan.  How he and his father would go out driving together and discover the places then bring the rest of his siblings the next weekend.  Maybe my favorite part of this particular adventure was the fact that when we drove up to the bagillion year old building, we're greeted by 4 old men just sitting around their pick up and how the old sheikh with the Jordanian keffeyeh around his head as the one key to the metal gate on the front of the 2,200 year old stones.  As we were leaving 5 or 6 shabbab (young guys) were sitting at the exit as we were leaving just to see something different for once.

So, I've had some really amazing experiences here in Jordan the last month.  I really love how this post originally was going to be purely about how I really think I want to go home this summer and stay there turned into me pouring out my heart about how much I love it here.  This whole living abroad thing is an effin' roller coaster, man.