Daily Prompt – Silence is the new Social

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I’ve found a new appreciation for solitude, but not in a recluse sort of way; often times, I simply want to seclude myself from the people I know. Many consider me to be very outgoing, being that I embody developed people skills and am often the designated planner of group events. But as important as my loved ones are, I sometimes feel the need to break away from the social circle and seek refuge is a mom-and-pop coffee house or local bookstore. I like to be out in public and feel unobligated to entertain others. If I could take friends out and not feel forced to continuously engage them in conversation, that would be optimal. However, this is not the case, hence my recent inclination to be alone for the majority of my free time. Silence is the new social, the willing wallflower mentality – the presence of people without personally interacting is the innovative public relationship.

written for The Daily Post, Daily Prompt: _____ is the new _____

Daily Prompt – Thank God, Hallelujah!

Prompt: “You get some incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully fantastic news. What’s the first thing you do?”

My first ideation was to dedicate an entire post to a description of my happy dance, a series of gyrating seizure-like movements that loudly broadcast my jubilee, but I doubt my readers would be too interested – although they should be. It’s a class act spectacle, really.

This post is actually intended to be on more of a serious note. When reading this prompt, the phrase “wonderfully fantastic news” automatically linked me to the thought of getting my first college acceptance letter (hopefully happening in the near future). This may not be applicable to all readers, but make the prompt relate personally – your boss informs you of a raise, a pregnancy test reveals itself positive, Annie reminds you the sun will come out tomorrow – whatever would plaster a smile on your face. Now what do you do?

When I have the pleasure of experiencing such an occurrence, I have to thank my God first and foremost. “Every good and perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17) and I am obligated to “give thanks to the God of Heaven” (Psalm 136:26). I cannot emphasize enough my gratitude for my Savior and all the blessing that occur in my life every day.

Three years ago, my family was very close to having our house foreclosed. The only way to reach economic sufficiency would be to cut cost in unessential areas; it seemed the only resolution was to remove my brother and me from our private Christian school in order to save money on tuition expenses. However, after months of stress and struggling, good news arrived – the company my parents were negotiating with approved the lowering of our monthly mortgage payment, saving both our house and mine and my brother’s education arrangements. God provided not only our monetary needs, but He also protected me spiritually – at that time, if I had transferred to a different school, I have no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be where I am today. I specifically remember praying together as a family, thanking God that our housing situation had been resolved. Now looking back, I also thank Him for protecting me from further negative influences and allowing me to stay at Schaumburg Christian, which ultimately became the location in which I found my Savior nearly a year ago. “God is my refuge and strength” (Psalm 46:1), and I pray that the habit of thankfulness to the Provider reoccurs in every instance of receiving good news.

written for The Daily Post, Daily Prompt: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

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In Times of Doubt: Evidences of Salvation

It is not uncommon for Christians to question their salvation, whether the theory be derived by unconfessed sin in one’s life, or the feeling that one has not repented fully because parts of his previous sinful lifestyle are still present. Those are just a couple of examples, but there are various reasons as to why one may doubt his salvation. God states clearly that one cannot lose his salvation (John 10:28), so why do Christians so often ask the question, “How do I know that I’m saved?” Scripture gives us a distinct indication as to what should be occurring in a Christian’s life – if the following applies, said Christian has no need to fret about his entrance into the pearly gates.

If one has accepted salvation, supernatural love towards others will be apparent. Christians are commanded to view Christ as an exemplar in their lives; Jesus embodied agape love, meaning he cared for others unconditionally (Ephesians 5:1-2). This being said, followers of God are to conduct the same sacrificial love towards others, despite another’s views or wrong doings (John 13:34). If one does not express this trait, he may reconsider if he has truly been saved, being that Scripture states, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8 NKJV).

Spiritual growth occurs in the lives of those who are saved. The term “spiritual growth” refers to the concept that a saved individual conquers trials through the power of the Holy Spirit, rather than allowing hardships to overtake one’s demeanor and cause lack of trust in God. The Bible reveals that God will never permit a trial that one cannot handle (1 Corinthians 10:13) and that in the midst of tribulation, He will protect his people (Psalm 46:1).When a saved individual is burdened, he remembers these promises and relies on God’s provision (Philippians 4:19). Those who have accepted salvation have the courage to grow spiritually because they know “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).

When a true child of God sins, he experiences genuine brokenness. This refers to one feeling remorseful after sinning, and the concept is shown by example numerous times in Scripture. In Psalm 51:2-4, David laments his faults and pleas to God saying, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.” Isaiah declared his regret for partaking in impure speech (Isaiah 6:5), and Peter “wept bitterly” after denying Christ (Matthew 26:75). Guilt is followed by acknowledgement and the desire to get right with God; every man is a sinner (Romans 3:23), and it is imperative for a Christian to confess his sin (Proverbs 28:13) – this is a common occurrence in the life of a saved individual.  

Lastly, one who has received salvation is a willing messenger, meaning he is fervently seeking opportunities to share the gospel with the unsaved. Christians are to obey God’s commandments (Psalm 119:10), and Scripture emphatically orders a follower of God to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). This concept is direct and absolute – the Bible states frequently the importance of the Great Commission (Mark 16:15, Psalm 96:3, Isaiah 12:4), and those who are saved enthusiastically participate.

These listed evidences either caused one to feel assured of their salvation, or provoked further doubt. If the latter, it is not too late to commit one’s life to Christ – “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10). Salvation through Christ is the only way to achieve a life of purpose and an eternity in Heaven. 

Other Affairs – Daily Prompt

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Emotion plays a huge role in my writing. Whether the piece is written as reference or fiction, I cannot seem to get past the onset of writer’s blocked caused by negative feelings. The worst is attempting poetry during these times; my work ends up resembling a mediocre emo band’s song lyrics from their earliest EP – it’s that bad. At that point, I normally decide it would be advantageous to take a step back from my overheating processor, for the sake of both my writing quality standard and the readers expecting genius dissertations. The pressing question: when not blogging, what does the developing eccentric do with her unstructured time? I greatly enjoy art and have experimented with various styles and mediums; this probably comes as no surprise, being that sketches and painting are simply the visual exertion of a creative mind. Much of my time is allotted to reading, from blog posts via WordPress to classic works of literature preserved by the ancient stylus pens of scribes. I am simply enamored with the city – the swelling excitement when exiting the dank Metra terminal, followed by the bustling throng of individuals carrying briefcases, textbooks, and DSLR cameras that few know how to function. [Listening to] music is another major interest; men who wear flannel button-downs and endorse unruly beards are often the creators of much of the bluegrass indie/folk alternative I’ve grown fondly accustomed to. The remainder of my time is shared with my family and friends, people who never cease to inspire and support me. Well there you have it – despite the fact I may appear blurry eyed and have the symptoms of premature carpel tunnel, I do occasionally click the “power off” button of my laptop. However, my phone is a completely different story – to expect one to disregard all sources of technology and thereby render him helpless without the 4G speed to answer to all life’s questions? Why, the idea is preposterous and utterly unheard-of.

written for The Daily Post, Daily Prompt: Bloggers, Unplugged.

Daily Prompt: Social Networks, Health Care, and Miley Cyrus

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The given prompt asks the question, “What’s the one thing that will get you to pick up a book or click on a link every single time?” My response is simple: anything that is up for debate. Author and environmentalist Edward Abbey once stated, “How could anything non-controversial be of intellectual interest to grown-ups?” I’m definitely described as a multi-faceted person, embodying a plethora of various studies and beliefs. This being said, a wide range of subjects interest me – factual content is always beneficial, personal accounts are amusing. But what captures my undivided attention is controversy – I cannot identify with the passive individual who is complacently ignorant and refutes development of opinion. I feel that it is imperative to have a stance on important controversial topics; this refers back to Hamilton’s statement, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” Despite the fact that this cliché is reblogged ten thousand times on Tumblr (typically meaning the post is of no scholarly merit), the concept couldn’t be more accurate – to truly be knowledgeable in a contentious subject, one must be familiar with various perspectives and form a personal opinion that can be supported with dependable information. To simply become a conformist of others’ ideas is unprofitable, considering most base their opinions by referring to untrustworthy sources. (e.g. No, Obama is not constructing concentration camps for conservatives… however, he is socialist.) The example given is most definitively a controversial statement, and any reader who passionately disagrees now feels the need to comment on this post in order to degrade me and my thoughts towards this issue. Bingo! – controversy produces discussion, intensity, and the opportunity to share one’s conceitedly dogmatic thoughts. (This is why everyone feels the need to criticize, for example, a post that praises Miley Cyrus as a role model.) Anyhow, when participating in these heated conversations, it is always important to consider the opposing party. Feel free to solicit my opinions on issues concerning religion, media, sexuality, environment, politics, and so forth; I would love to hear others thoughts as well. We are all intellectuals striving for excellence in thinking and constantly in need of reproof. Growth is caused by open-mindedness, respect for the opposed is imperative, and eclectic education is key.

written for The Daily Post, Daily Prompt: Reading Material

Sound Encouragement

“Sometimes in order to rise, we first fall. Take that first step, remember to keep going and finish the journey. This is one of those projects- one of those moments that will either break you or build you. Focus on creating a positive mindset, build that experience, and make something beautiful. With no right or wrong, there’s no pressure.” -Yohannan Lee on Creating Art

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Causes for Homelessness: Choice vs. Inevitable

In the hands of a tattered man are a makeshift cardboard sign stating blatantly, “I am homeless. Any amount will help,” and a drained McDonald’s coffee cup jingling with spare change. According to the National Law Center of Homelessness and Poverty, an estimated 2.3-3.5 million people in America annually experience homelessness. How is such a devastating situation possible in a country that is so economically and socially developed as the United States? There are various reasons for homelessness, all of which fall into two categories: an individual’s choice or an inevitable situation. Both categories have several similarities, but the prologue behind one’s homeless condition is the variable.

The stories of the homeless are greatly diverse; some brought the burden upon themselves due to lack of discernment, whereas others were completely unable to avoid the situation. An example of choice would be a background of substance abuse which resulted in homelessness. The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment conducted a survey and found that 85% of youth-related homelessness cases involved some sort of alcohol or drug dependency. In addition, the National Coalition for the Homeless identified that 38% of homeless adults were a product of alcohol abuse and 26% had a history of drug use. On the other hand, mental and physical disability would pertain to the category of the inevitable – the individual’s impairment rendered him unable to work or function in a normal society, therefore resulting in the unfortunate event of homelessness. A study by Samhsah’s National Mental Health Information Center revealed that 13% of the homeless are physically disabled, 39% have a report of mental health problems, along with 36% who are plagued with other acute or chronic illnesses. Sadly, forms of disabilities like these are often the reason that many United States military veterans find themselves homeless. Abandonment due to family conflict is contingent upon situation – if neglect was caused by one’s unacceptable actions, such as drug/alcohol involvement, unwanted pregnancy, or violent tendencies, then this cause for homelessness falls under the category of choice. Granted, perhaps the authority figure responded incorrectly by abandoning said individual, but the offender is equally to blame. Consequences, including vagrancy, for unjust actions are to be expected. Economic inadequacy is often the cause of homelessness; in the case of innate circumstances, job loss, or underemployment, the events leading up to homelessness would be out of the hands of the individual.

Despite the various scenarios, each individual who finds himself homeless share several qualities. Businessmen and tourists alike avoid eye contact when walking by a beggar on an urban street – regardless of the individual’s background, homelessness is looked down upon in society. No one plans to be homeless, and every person in destitute desires for a solution. Whether one is responsible for the situation or the outcome was unavoidable, any homeless individual is qualified to receive government aid and help from various organizations designed to support the homeless. Temporary and emergency shelter, dietary needs, housing advisement, and even career training and placement assistance is available.

Award winning author Wallace Stegner one said, “Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.” Many with homes, especially those in the United States, cannot comprehend the idea of extreme financial hardship, the effects of starvation, or living with an unrelieved ailment without medical treatment. Current America is often viewed as a land of greed and thanklessness; rather than fighting up the economic ladder, one should consider the impoverished below him in order to truly benefit society.

visit chicagohomeless.orglakeviewpantry.org/charity, volunteermatch.org, or any other volunteer website to get involved in your community and make a difference.

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