Hometown Glory: Where Do We Consider Ourselves From?

Hometown Glory: Where Do We Consider Ourselves From?

How I would personally answer the question, "Where are you from"?
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“What’s your name, and where are you from?”

Whenever you come up in a new location, whether it’s a new school, a new job, or a new experience, this is the first question you are usually asked. I find myself answering this frequently, including recently when I was at my orientation for my major. Mostly with the phrase, “I’m from around here,” because the place where I go to my university is also my hometown.

However, it’s also not the address I write on letters, where I register to vote; while I settle in my dorm during the weekdays, during the weekends I would take the trip up north, outside of city limits, to go back home. During high school, I would attend a private school barely south of the northern city limits, and then drive home back to that small city further north. It’s close enough so that it’s part of the Seattle metropolitan area, but far enough so that rush hour freeway trips can last quite a while.

In all my applications, I would just put my actual address in there, in which that would be legitimate, because I lived in that small city. But when somebody would go up and ask me about my hometown, I absorbed the small city into the Seattle metropolitan area, which stretches from Everett up north to Tacoma in the south.

That definition is very much ambiguous- of a metropolitan area. There’s differences in rural parts of the country, where they are clearly defined with small towns. Someone can just explain what their life is like there. On the other hand, one living in a small city near a much larger one can be ambiguous; a drive away there’s another one with larger skyscrapers, larger brand-name recognition, and more history.

While I do have a house in that small city of Lynnwood, I always considered myself part of the fabric of Seattle.

I was born there and spent the first decade of my life within the city. Even when I’ve had a home in a northern city, and attended middle school in their school district, I still considered it a place where I learned. My sister was educated there since the first grade in two private schools. My parents work there. I personally had many moments there with my friends, from high school and college. I’ve applied to and had my first job in the city where I was born and raised, not where I drove up north and merely live there.

For other people, they would prefer to be part of a smaller city. I’d like to think of it as being a “large fish in a little pond,” especially if they are going somewhere else for college. They would get to know their neighbors, their friends, and every little corner of their little city. These are stories that make their identity special, stories in which it makes someone want to listen, maybe to visit.

But for me, I want to identify with the city. Not because I want the vanity and the money-bathing aspirations of the urban elite, but I want to be part of its story. And it's part of my family as well.

Cover Image Credit: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Geological Survey, 1970

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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I Won't Forgive The Anti-Semitic Students Of Spain Park, Not Yet

Maybe it isn't time for an apology.

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I am Jewish. It is something I have never been afraid of and something I value as much in life as I do with my family and friends. Throughout my life, though I have witnessed hate of the Jewish people and jokes made about Jewish people.

In high school, I had to listen to jokes about Jews and the gas chambers and was asked because I was Jewish if I could do someone else's math homework.

To say I had to deal with anti-Semitism in the South does not come close to describing what I had to go through. As time went by the jokes stopped and I thought I would not have to deal with instances of prejudice or bigotry but I was wrong. Growing up as one of the only Jewish people in my friend group and in high school it made me consider myself strong and ready for college but in my freshman year I had to go through other jokes about my religion and even in sophomore year had to witness someone I thought was my friend make a joke about my religion because "he thought it was funny."

I let the instances of anti-Semitism serve as times when I could prove people wrong I learned to forgive and forget.

But I had to witness other acts of hate towards Judaism while in college. From swastikas on a fraternity house, a synagogue shooting, the BDS movement and more hate speech, the hate towards Jews have seemed to grow and I do not understand why. I get hurt each time I hear of an instance but it has not allowed me to view my Judaism any differently. However, there was an occurrence that has affected me in a different way.

It happened in my home state and it has not sat well with me.

On Monday a video surfaced of multiple high school students making anti-Semitic and anti-Black comments. The video featured a guy turning around the camera multiple times to show he was laughing and thought it was funny while others made comments about concentration camps, what would happen if Jews ruled the world and asking what the world would be like without the Holocaust. The students were from Spain Park in Birmingham and have gathered quite a reputation online.

To say I am filled with anger, disappointment, and embarrassment is an understatement.

This is my home state and these students are not only disrespecting the Jewish and Black people in the state of Alabama but throughout the US and possibly even in the world. I am hurt by this instance but I am not ready to forgive these students just yet.

After the video was leaked online some of the students sent messages to the person who uploaded the video apologizing. That I took as a mature gesture until I read the apology from the girl in the video. The apology asked if the user could remove the video because it would ruin her life and reputation. It was later found out that the female student is the daughter of the manager of the Toyota dealership in Hoover after the manager posted an apology.

Any remorse I had going for these students was now gone.

They were not sorry. They were sorry that they got caught and were facing consequences. They gave the apology that your parents made you say when you did not want to apologize. They did not care about who they had harmed or what they had said, they cared because they had to face consequences and they know that this mistake would follow them for the rest of their life.

I'm at a loss for words.

I don't know how to feel. I know someone will tell me I am overreacting but how am I supposed to approach this? What they said was wrong and there is no proper way to express frustration for it. I know people get offended by certain things but some things are not meant to be a joke. So I hope what you said was worth it and was fun to say because it will follow you for the rest of your life. Some lessons are best-learned overtime and it looks like you will have a chance to reflect on these events.

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